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The Vampire Hotel

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Laura smiled and took a healthy swallow of her cocoa as she put the finishing touches on her latest article for the Silas University newspaper. It was a rather tame use of her writing skills about the lack of healthy vegan choices in the cafeteria commons. Sure, deep-fried Oreos were surprisingly delicious, but they were not healthy. Personally, she had zero problems with this, but her editor thought she needed to spread her wings and branch out of her comfort zone.

Now that she was in her second year at Silas, Laura was being trusted with more solo assignments, and she knew that it was only a matter of time before a meatier story came along. Like the panther sightings on campus or why girls were losing their periods last semester. She was anxious to start digging into weightier topics, something that could make the front page. But until that happened she would have to continue doing the best job possible with the assignments she was given. Eventually, Laura knew that she would be tenacious enough to earn something that would put her name out there. In the meantime, she was left envious, on the sidelines, as her fellow reporters at the paper rushed around in excitement about a possible new corruption scandal involving the school administration.

Laura glanced up when she heard the front door shut. That would be her roommate Betty. They had been paired together freshman year in the dorms and decided after the year finished to get a small apartment together. Her dad didn’t mind since the price of the apartment was about the same as the cost of the dorms. Even though her dad was paying for it, the apartment made Laura feel more independent. Like a real adult with a large snack budget.

“Hey Laura, you home?” Betty called out as she slammed the door shut. No matter how many times Laura asked her not to do that she always seemed to forget. Despite being a great student, Betty could sometimes be a little absent-minded like that.  

“Yeah! I’m in my room. Hey, guess what? I finished that article about the vegan food!”

“Really? Ahead of schedule for once huh?” Betty quipped.

“Haha," Laura said, rolling her eyes. "Actually, it's due tomorrow morning. So, what’s up? You need something?”

Betty chewed on her lower lip and looked away. Finally, she said, “Uh yeah, your dad didn’t make the transfer again. Rent is due on Tuesday. So…”

“I’ll call him right now. This is weird because it happened last month too, “she mused. “Don’t worry Betty I’ll get on it. Sorry!” Laura reached for her phone and was dialing even as Betty left the room with a wave. 

Her dad picked up on the third ring, sounding tired when he said, “Hey honey. How’s school?”

“Um, it's fine. But, Is everything okay with you?”

Sherman was quiet for a few seconds, then said, "I'm sorry honey. I know I haven't sent your rent yet, but don’t you worry about that. I just need a couple of days.”

Laura frowned. “Dad, what aren’t you telling me?”

“Laura I don’t want you thinking about these things. You concentrate on making good grades. Keep making me proud, and I'll make you proud. I’ll take care of everything.”

Laura groaned. “I don’t want you to ‘take care of everything’ Dad. Please tell me, what’s going on?” She knew that he would recognize the irritation in her voice and probably wouldn’t appreciate it, but she just grew tired of his attempts to protect her from the world. At some point she was going to have to learn to face these things, right? 

Her dad didn’t say anything for nearly a minute, but then he sighed, sighed again, and to Laura, he just sounded defeated. Nothing at all like her strong father who could take on the world and wrestle bears. Or, in reality, effectively run from them; which was why he was so insistent upon always being prepared with bear spray. This time when she spoke, Laura made a concerted effort to keep the petulance to a minimum. “Dad, tell me what’s wrong.”

With a heavy sigh, he said, “Laura honey, I’m sorry. I got laid off, and I’ve been working some odd jobs here and there to make ends meet. I’m a little bit short with your rent payment for this month, but one of the guys is gonna give me a loan tomorrow to make up the difference. I’ll take care of it, honey, you just worry about your studies.”

Laura was floored. Her dad had a good job as the head of maintenance for a high-end hotel in Toronto. They weren't rich, but he never blinked when she said she wanted to go to Silas University in Styria to study journalism. And then she remembered that this was the second month in a row that her rent payment was late. "Dad how long has this been going on? I mean when did this happen? Why didn’t you say anything?”

“About six months ago. I didn’t say anything cause I didn’t want you to worry and you shouldn’t. You need to focus on your grades. Things have been tight, but I’ve been getting by. You remember my buddy, Hank? He’s been hooking me up with some odd jobs here and there.”

Laura groaned and felt like a poop head. “Here and there? Dad, tuition for next semester is due next month. I could have gotten a job and helped out. In fact, that’s what I’m going to do this weekend!” she said, determined. 

“No!” Sherman barked in his patented no-nonsense voice. “You are my daughter, and I take care of you. That is my job, and I am going to do it. This is just a rough patch. Laura, listen to me. Your only job is to go to school and make me proud. Make your mother proud. I want you to promise me that you won’t go do anything crazy.”

Laura had been in enough situations just like this to know exactly what to say. “I won’t do anything crazy Dad. But you do realize that I am completely capable of having a job. And contributing."

“I know that, but there was that situation when you tried to be a dog walker when you were fifteen.”

With a disgruntled sigh, Laura said, “I had no way of knowing that coyote wasn’t a dog that had gotten away. I mean that couple had like ten dogs!”

“Okay, but how about that time you decided to try babysitting?” her dad asked. He used a calm tone as if he knew that she would see things his way. 

Laura groaned. “Ugh. How was I supposed to know that ‘Tie up the babysitter’ wasn’t an actual game kids played with their babysitter? And seriously who toilet papers their own house?”

Her dad chuckled. “Those kids were wild. I’m glad I got so lucky,” he said fondly. “Look honey, I know you want to help, but please just let me handle this. I’m the dad and it’s my job. Promise me again that you will just focus on school. Promise me.”

“Sure Dad, I promise. I love you.” It was a complete lie, but a white one. Her dad would panic if she knew she was already forming a plan.

“Love you too sweet pea.”

After hanging up the phone Laura sat quietly for a few moments staring at her computer. Her dad always tried to protect her from everything, but this wasn’t fair to him. She knew she could help by getting a job and that is exactly what she would do. Slapping her hand against her desk in determination she stood up marched the five feet to Betty’s room. It really was a pretty small apartment.

Betty was sitting on her bed and looked up from a science textbook as Laura entered the room. “Hey, did you get it worked out?”

Laura nodded and said, “He will transfer the money for this month soon, but is there any chance you know of someone who is hiring?”


Laura found herself in quite the quandary after losing two jobs in three weeks, and only had 16.98€ to show for her efforts. She had made a decent salary at the flower shop, but her pay was docked after she had tripped into and crushed a bunch of roses. Honestly, she was just grateful that the thorns had been trimmed. A few more accidents later and Laura found herself fired and looking again.

She was able to start same day at the local cinema, and at first, the job seemed perfect. Who doesn’t love movies? But then on her second week, she managed to catch the popcorn machine on fire, and after the smoke was cleared, she once again found herself jobless. 

So now she was going to bake some cookies and consult with the smartest people she knew, LaFontaine and Perry. Luckily Betty was out on a date. Laura didn’t want to lie to her roomie, but she didn’t know how to tell her that she didn’t quite have next month’s rent. Her dad called in tears two days ago telling her he could only send half of the money she would need for tuition. All Laura could do was try and comfort him by letting him off the hook. So she told him about her job—not the losing it part—and that she would be able to cover the rest. Which now meant she was officially in panic mode. 

If push came to shove Danny would happily give her a loan, but Laura most definitely did not want to go that route. She and Danny had tried something for like five minutes, and while they were still great friends, Laura had learned early on not to let Danny’s protective side have any reason to show itself. So, nope, that would be her last resort and would fall somewhere selling her organs. Kidneys sold well on the black market, right?

Laura smiled when she heard the front door open. “Hey, guys. I made some cookies for us, and I have soda,” Laura said before quickly adding, “Oh and I got tea for Perry!”

“Awesome. So tell us what the emergency is. I told Perry that you probably are pre-diabetic from all of this sugar you insist on consuming. If you're interested, I've been working on an experiment that can alter the molecular makeup of your blood," Laf said, sounding entirely too enthusiastic about this prospect.

Perry slapped LaFontaine’s arm before smiling warmly at Laura. “Don’t worry Laura we will support you during this difficult time.”

Laura held up her hands to silence them. “What? No, I don’t have diabetes. Or pre-diabetes or whatever. Look I am having some money issues and was hoping you two might offer me some advice. I need to make rent in like a week. I mean I tried getting a job, well two jobs really, but I got fired from those. They also deducted most of my salary because I may or may not have accidentally destroyed some property. So right now I’m kinda in a pickle.”

After she explained the situation with her former jobs and how her finances got so tight, to begin with, Perry and LaF exchanged a glance in which they seemed to be able to communicate without words. Laura always found their connection to be pretty remarkable. Despite being friends with both of them for nearly a year now she still wasn’t sure if they were dating or not. 

After another moment Perry turned back to Laura and asked, “Laura if you need money we could probably loan it-”

“No!” Laura exclaimed a little too loud before lowering her voice. “Sorry. I appreciate that I do, but I feel like I’d just be in this situation again next month. I need a solution that will help me pay the bills every month. Other college students manage; I wonder what they do?”

“Most of them manage to keep their jobs Frosh. Although I’ve got to give it to you, the fire was impressive,” LaFontaine said with a small grin.

Perry frowned at LaFontaine. “Fires are dangerous and shouldn’t be applauded.”

“But Perry, Laura is practically a science experiment all on her own. She totally should be encouraged so we can find out if this is just a trend or if she is Laura the Human Tornado.”

“That is unkind. Laura most certainly is not a human tornado. She just happens to have uncanny ability to cause destruction," Perry said, primly.

Laura shoved an entire cookie in her mouth and tried not to glare at them as they bantered back and forth about her ability to destroy things inadvertently. Perhaps this hadn’t been the best idea after all. Laura was just starting to brace herself for the pride eating experience of asking Danny for help when LaF cleared their throat.

“You know Frosh, you could always go to a blood bank,” they suggested. “Hey whoa! Perr stop hitting me! It’s a valid suggestion, and even the Student Handbook says a little bit about it.”

Laura looked embarrassed when she said, “Yeah I kind of gave my handbook away to that shaggy guy with a dog. He said smoking the papers gives you a great high.”

Perry slapped LaF’s arm a few more times. “No, it is not a valid suggestion! She doesn’t need to go to one of those places.”

Laura felt like she was missing an important detail. “Wait, do they pay you to donate blood? I thought the whole point of a donation was that you gave freely.”

“Well yeah that’s if you are donating for medical purposes. Vampires, on the other hand, are willing to pay.”

Hold the phone. What? Vampires? Laura knew they were out there, but people talked about them the same they did Rube Goldberg competitions. Yeah, they existed, but it seemed safer never to bring him up. Being homeschooled, Laura never really had much exposure to vampire lore. She was almost positive that there hadn’t been any in the small town just outside of Toronto where she grew up. In fact, she could say with complete certainty that this very moment was the most thought she had ever committed to anything otherworldly. 

Meanwhile, not even dissuaded by Perry’s objections for a moment, LaF continued to sell the idea. “Look I know it sounds crazy, but it’s pretty safe. I decided to try it out once when I was a sophomore, you know, for science. It was extremely clean. Almost clinical,” they said with a side-glance in Perry's direction. “It's an efficient operation. Nurses draw your blood, and the cashier draws up a check. For the new people, they have a hostess who will show you the layout of the place.”

“Did you see a vampire?” Laura asked, trying not to sound too excited. Perry obviously disapproved of the conversation topic.

“No. At least I don’t think so. They didn’t seem willing to answer too many of my questions without getting unnecessarily scary.”

As fascinated as Laura was, Perry appeared to be equal parts furious and shocked. “I can’t believe you did something so, so, so very stupid. What if those evil menacing vampires had dragged you out back and drained all of your blood? What if they had turned you into a vampire? What if something had happened Susan, and I never even knew?” Perry practically screeched.

LaF laid a comforting hand on Perry’s shoulder and spoke in a calming tone that they often deployed when Perry started freaking out about something. “Hey, Perr seriously it was safe. I did my research ahead of time. You know how I sometimes get when it comes to science. I promise it won’t happen again if you promise never to call me Susan again. Deal?”

Perry sniffed. “I only call you that when you do something stupid. Like allowing a dead creature to snack on you. It's unsanitary. I know you can’t promise me that you won’t do stupid things again, but yes, I’ll try and refrain.” She drew in a deep breath. “Although, if you ever go to one of those places again I won’t be held responsible for my actions. That goes for you too Laura. Places like that aren’t safe. Vampires aren’t to be trifled with. Who knows what germs they carry?” she said firmly and neither LaF nor Laura felt the need to argue with her.

A little while and almost thirty cookies later her friends left with the promise that they could loan Laura some of the money she needed to make rent this month. She smiled gamely and assured them that if it came to that, she would consider asking them. Even if she had no intention of letting that happen.

After shutting the door, she managed to last all of 0.4815162342 seconds before she racing to her computer. Her first query of “blood banks” turned up some local donation centers. “Vampire blood banks” provided links to some weird porn she felt like she couldn’t unsee. Finally, she decided to simplify her search and Googled ‘where can I sell my blood to vampires?’. That did the trick. At the top of the page was a listing for a place called Succombez à Moi. It certainly sounded… French? She needed more details; this could just be some BDSM club or the place where one hit wonders go off to die. 

After clicking the link to the Succombez à Moi website Laura tapped on her fingers nervously on the desk while she waited for it to load. Soon enough she was looking at the site and found it almost welcoming. Sure, there was a substantial use of blacks, reds, and purples, but mostly it seemed to provide basic information about the establishment.

Apparently it was multi-level with the first level being a 5-star restaurant. Humans were welcome to dine and mingle with vampires. Potential “donors” were instructed to introduce themselves in the lobby, and they would then be escorted to a hostess who would lead them through the process. Unfortunately, no payout amounts were given on the site. In fact, the site was remarkably light on the necessary details of donating. It seemed that its sole intention was to create curiosity. Which was definitely working.

“Oh. My. God. Am I considering this?” Laura asked aloud. She wanted to deny it, but what was the point? Of course, she was considering this, because it seemed like a better option than approaching Danny. And her Dad didn’t need to know where she got the money. Laura had already confessed to having a job a few weeks ago so she could just let him assume that was working out. Was a lie by omission still a lie? Best not to overthink it.

Looking at the clock and seeing that it was still early she decided that there was no time like the present. Why sit around thinking about a solution when she could be out there getting something done? Besides time was of the essence. 

An hour later Laura found herself standing outside of what appeared to be an incredibly expensive hotel rather than a vampire blood den of antiquity. Not what she was expecting. Outside the building, a few well-dressed employees, wearing suits, opened the doors for even better-dressed patrons. She wasn’t even sure that she was in the right place since everyone seemed so…normal. 

Finally, after a few minutes of contemplation she walked up to a friendly looking doorman and asked, “Hi is this the blood bank?”

He smiled politely. “Yes ma'am, it is. Succombez à Moi. Are you looking to become a donor?” he asked.

“Um, maybe. This seemed like a great idea, but now I’m starting to wonder what I was thinking. It was probably sugar rush. My friends and I ate like thirty cookies earlier. At least twenty-five of them were me,” she admitted, without shame.

He smiled again, and said, “Hey no shame in that. Maybe I can introduce you to someone who can answer your questions? I mean you came out here, right? No need for a wasted trip.”

It was a reasonable enough suggestion, so Laura found herself following him inside. If she had been impressed with the outside, she had to admit that the inside was ridiculously lavish. Everything was marble or gold. She wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the crystals on that massive chandelier were diamonds. All this opulence made her feel self-conscious in her jeans and an old pair of slip on shoes. Apparently, this excursion hadn’t been very well thought out because she stood out like a sore thumb amongst all the wealth.

The doorman seemed to notice her sudden hesitation. “Hey don’t worry about it. I mean tons of students come through here. Our employers want us to make everyone welcome, but the donors most of all. I guess it makes sense since they are vampires and all,” he said with a laugh. “Seriously though, if you come back again we have a back entrance that is a little more low-key. You can always come through the front, but a lot of the students prefer to go there. Okay, here we are. I’ll just hand you over to Natalie who can help you decide what you want to do. Good luck!” 

Laura watched him walk away before turning back to Natalie, a pretty Asian girl, who was watching her with a friendly smile. This all seemed way too welcoming, and Laura wondered if she might feel more comfortable with the whole “gothy children of the night” setup she had been expecting.

Laura smiled and tried to keep the nervousness out of her tone. “Hi, my friend did this and said it was safe. Or maybe they just said clinical. I can’t remember. I have no idea what I’m doing.”

Natalie humored her with a wink and said, “Nobody does the first time they do something. But if you like, I could give you a tour?”

“Uh, sure.”

Natalie led Laura to an elevator and explained that they would be going up to the second floor which is where the donating stations were located. When the doors opened, they were greeted with large brightly lit reception room. Several people sat around in chairs, and there was at least one person she vaguely recognized from school. How had she not heard of this before? Maybe she really should've read the Student Handbook.

“So this is our reception area. If you choose to be a donor this is where you will wait until you are called back. You’ll just sign in here at the desk. Now if you will follow me through this door. These stations are where our nurses will draw your blood. If you’ve ever donated at a medical clinic before then you will find the experience very similar,” Natalie said in a professionally.

Her hostess led them over to the center of the room where there was a large help desk with several employees who were either answering questions or cashing out the donors. Natalie kept talking, but Laura only heard half of what she was saying about safety regulations. The pricing chart had her full attention. 

“Ah yes. Most new donors are usually interested in this part. We get a lot of college students. I assume you go to Silas right?” When Laura nodded, she continued. “We provide spending money for a significant portion of Silas University. Each donation will earn you 150€.”

For Laura it wasn’t spending money though. And inside her stomach was rolling because the 150€ she would earn wouldn’t be nearly enough to pay for her expenses. Somehow she had banked all of her hopes on this being the answer to her problems. 

“It’s not enough,” she unintentionally whispered out loud.

Natalie dropped her smile and regarded Laura for a moment. “Well, there is another option. Most of our donors choose to go this route, preferring no interaction with vampires. But some opt to become Source Donors.”

Laura frowned as she tried to work out what that meant. Source? Like as in from the source? Oh. Interaction with vampires likely was code for fangs.

With a serious nod, Natalie said, “Yes, the source donors allow vampires to drink directly from them. It’s perfectly safe, but it does leave a mark. No pun intended. There are risks, and you will have to be evaluated by our doctors first. The payout for an SD is 1000€, quite a significant bonus.”

Laura’s eyes widened. This is what she had hoped to hear. Not the part about the vampires, but this amount of money would be enough to keep her in school and pay this month’s rent. It would also give her enough to time to find a job—that wouldn’t fire her—so she could start paying her bills the normal way. Trying not to think too hard about the idea of a vampire biting and then drinking blood from her neck she said, “Okay I’ll do it.”

 

Chapter Text

After agreeing to become a “Source Donor,” Laura had expected to be led to a waiting vampire who would immediately commence with mauling her. The process would be terrifying, but over. Something akin to ripping off a band-aid. Instead, she was shown to a room with a kindly older man who asked her random questions about family, school, and her general interests. She filled out and read several documents, most of which dealt with her consent and understanding of the situation. After that, there was a pretty blond doctor taking her blood. The whole process took about an hour, and now she was waiting to see if she was approved.

<Betty> Hey its late wru?

Crap. Of course, she hadn't thought this little escapade out and now would need to find a reasonable explanation as to why she wouldn’t be home as expected. Laura didn’t want anyone to know what she was doing. If this somehow got back to her dad, he would explode. And then she would probably find herself in a convent. At least there were girls in a convent right? 

<Laura> Hey researching article will be l8 cu tm prob?

<Betty> K b safe gl

This was, of course, a complete lie. Betty never spent too much time asking what she was working on so Laura was confident that she wouldn’t be dodging too many questions. Now she could get back to worrying about her decision to become a human Slurpee. This whole situation was surreal. Five hours ago she hadn’t ever spared more than a minute thinking about the existence of vampires, and now she was about to offer her neck up as a chew toy.

In no particular order she mentally listed out her priorities. Cookies. Rent. College. Cookies. Rent. College.

Laura just kept repeating these things as a reminder that while this option was extreme, it was still an opportunity that offered her a modicum of control. And was good. Great even.

“Laura Hollis?” A smooth voice asked from the entryway. She hadn’t even heard the door open.

Laura snapped her head around at the sound of her name and found herself looking up a striking black woman impeccably garbed in a white silk dress that clung to her curves. With a killer smile and glittering eyes, this woman was the very definition of beautiful and exotic.

Laura stood and wiped her sweating palms on her pants. “Um yes. That’s me. Laura Hollis. I mean just Laura. Please call me Laura.” 

With an amused laugh the other woman held out her hand and said, “My name is Matska Belmonde, and you are adorable. Scrumptious. I’ve come to greet and personally welcome you to my home.”

As Laura shook the offered hand she processed those words and realized she was in the presence of a vampire. A real vampire. Okay, she could do this. Definitely. No regrets. Cookies. Rent. College. Should she like, bend her head to the side to make it easier? Offer up a wrist?

“Calm down Miss Hollis. Panicking isn't good for your blood pressure, and I assure you, you're perfectly safe. I've already fed, and I have no intention of making you an after dinner dessert. I just thought we could have a nice chat. Please sit back down so that we might converse. May I offer you a refreshment?” Ms. Belmonde asked and motioned to the chair next to Laura. She, in turn, sat like a queen, with perfect posture and hands spread wide to rest on the arms of the chair. As soon as the question was asked one of the hotel staff entered the room to take their order.

“Hot chocolate?” Laura asked, unsure if this would be on the menu.

“Of course, whatever you’d like. Now, let us get to know you better.”

Laura blinked. “Me? Aren’t you supposed to be biting me by now?” 

This time when the vampire smiled Laura saw a flash of fang. “Are you truly so eager Ms. Hollis?” 

“Not really. I guess I just expected something else. More grr! argh!” Laura said as she made claw hands and imitated a monster, “and less chatting. I'm fine with the talking though.”

“The most important thing you can learn from this experience Ms. Hollis is that it is consensual. If for any reason you feel uncomfortable you can always say no and leave. The vampires who reside in this hotel are profoundly grateful to those who grant us the gift of life.”

Laura was interrupted from replying by the waitress who returned with their beverages. A mug of hot cocoa for her and a wine glass filled halfway with red liquid for Ms. Belmonde.

“You see Laura, while it is true that vampires can have victims, I believe that I have found a better way. Succombez à Moi offers a safe environment and a few Euros to line the pockets of our donors. Most of them never even have to see a vampire. What you have asked for is profoundly more intimate. It’s important that you understand what you are signing up for.”

“Intimate?” Laura squeaked out.

Ms. Belmonde laughed. “Oh, you are going to be fun. No, not quite like that. However, it is impossible for this experience not to feel personal. Tell me, Laura, how did you come to hear of Succombez à Moi?”

“Oh, a friend of mine said they did it awhile back and that it wasn’t bad. It seemed like a good idea.”

“I see. So was your friend a Source Donor?”

Laura furrowed her brow as she considered the question. She wished she had been able to question LaF without Perry present. “Ah no. I don’t think so, I mean, I never asked. I didn’t even know this was such a thing until the tour. But it seemed like a good option for my situation.”

“I assume that your reasons are monetary?” Ms. Belmonde asked pointedly.

Laura shrugged and replied, “Rent and college.” She thought better of adding dessert to the list since she wanted this impressive woman to take her seriously. 

Matska Belmonde slowly crossed her legs and placed one hand on her lap while the other loosely held the wine glass between thumb and forefinger. “Some people are motivated by the desire to feel the vampire’s embrace while others are motivated by finances, like yourself. No matter the cause that led you here I hope that you will find this experience to be a positive one. Now with your permission perhaps we can schedule an appointment for you. You will need to plan to stay overnight, so I ask that you keep that in mind.”

“Overnight? Why?” Laura asked, wide-eyed.

“Safety of course. We can’t very well expect to drain someone and send them on their way, can we? We have several doctors on staff that watch over our donors to make sure you remain as healthy as possible.”

“When you say ‘drain someone’…”

Ms. Belmonde winked. “An expression, nothing more.”

A little vexed, Laura said, “I thought we would do it today.” Getting the nerve to come here once was commendable. She wasn’t sure how she would manage to do it twice.

“Regret is an emotion that I would prefer you not experience in conjunction with Succombez à Moi. It’s best to let the idea marinate a little before you take that proverbial leap don’t you think?”

“Tomorrow then?”

This earned Laura a raised eyebrow and a wicked grin. “Are you sure you aren’t eager?” Ms. Belmonde asked as she stood up and led them through the door.

Laura resisted rolling her eyes and said, “No. I’m just on a deadline.” Why did she feel so comfortable with this vampire? Something about Matska Belmonde put her at ease.

“Two days Laura. Come back anytime after 6 pm if you are still interested.”

“Wait. Will it be you?” Laura watched as the corners of the vampire’s mouth lifted in amusement. 

“Definitely eager, but no. You will have your choice though. So beautiful and wholesome, I doubt any vampire could resist what you offer.”

Ms. Belmonde had a driver take her home. Laura made him stop a block away. She was a little paranoid about Betty seeing her get out of a strange car which would undoubtedly lead to questions. Questions she didn’t have the answer to yet.


The next two days were incredibly nerve-wracking for Laura. She had decided it would be in her best interest to keep this new vampire hobby to herself. No, wait. Not a hobby. No one, outside of maybe LaFontaine, would understand. Danny and Perry would flip out. Betty would be disgusted. Which Laura knew for a fact after she asked Betty what her opinion on vampires was after they had dinner one evening. Definitely not a discussion that needed revisiting. Ever.

And then there was her Dad. She didn’t even want to think about the potential fallout from his reaction. Nuclear maybe?

Grudgingly, Laura admitted that Ms. Belmonde had been right to make her take a few nights to think it over. She had assumed that Succombez à Moi would be scary, but it wasn’t that at all. Laura found herself wanting to know more. Perhaps it was just her inner journalist, that part of her that had an insatiable need to know. This felt like the first step in a journey she needed to see to completion. 

Before she left the other night, Natalie had met her again with a folder that she said would contain the information Laura would need. Lies. Thus far she'd flipped through the documents at least a hundred times. Sure, there was information, but none of it answered the questions she was dying to know. Like, what would it feel like? And nothing was said about the vampires.

Laura had learned, though, that she'd be provided a hotel room and room service at no charge. Check out would be by noon the following day. Unless doctors determined she needed further observation. It was also recommended that Source Donors give themselves a day, if possible, before returning to work or school.

Further research on the internet provided few definitive facts. She discovered that most vampires preferred to keep their own company. Apparently, they were more prevalent in larger tourist-centric cities such as New York, Las Vegas, and London. Also, a person was seemingly more likely to die from a shark bite than a vampire bite. Good to know even if she was a little dubious on the accuracy of the “fact.” 

But other than that there was little to let her know what to expect. Why weren't people talking about this? Vampires everywhere and the only information she could find about them came across as tepid and vague. She needed answers in the worst way. 

Laura found that having school to distract her until the big day was a blessing and a curse. The distraction was nice, but the anticipation was killing her. Perhaps kill wasn’t the best word to use when planning to offer yourself up as a juice box. Her frazzled nerves caused Betty to give her some odd looks. So it was with no small amount of relief that Laura found herself at the back entrance of Succombez à Moi ten minutes early on the date of her appointment. A doorman invited her in, and Laura was surprised to find Ms. Belmonde waiting for her. 

“Welcome back Ms. Hollis. I was hoping you would choose to keep your appointment. May I assume that your current state of bouncing from one foot to the other means you are nervous?”

Laura looked down. Ugh. She was bouncing. “Yeah, I am kind of nervous. I mean not too bad. It’s not like I’m going to full-fledged panic or anything. I think it’s more like anticipation. Maybe I’m a little afraid, but not too much. I figure if you were going to eat me that would have happened when I was here before. Mostly I’m just anxious I think. Oh my god why can’t I stop talking?”

Matska Belmonde raised an eyebrow and regarded Laura with a smile that made her look just a little bit hungry. “Well my guess is that you are eager, but I suppose we can go with anxious for now. Follow me, and we will get you checked into your room, and then I’ll take you to meet the vampires.”

“Vampires as in plural? More than one? Honestly, I’m not sure I have enough blood for that.” Laughter spilled from her companion, startling Laura and a few of the nearby vampires.

“No darling, you will meet them so you can pick who you would like to feed. We always have more vampires than we have Source Donors.  So I expect we will find most of them lounging around our dining room in the hopes that they might gain your favor.”

Laura frowned as she received this information. After a moment she gathered her courage and asked, “What if I want it to be you?”

Ms. Belmonde glanced at her, almost kindly, before replying. “While I’m flattered that you feel so comfortable with me, I’m afraid that won’t be possible. Come let us get you settled so that the evening may commence.”

Nearly an hour later, after checking into the hotel and depositing her bags into a luxurious room, Laura found herself standing with Ms. Belmonde outside of two large double doors.

“We can go in when you are ready,” Ms. Belmonde said. She crossed her arms and stood comfortably at Laura's side as if they had all the time in the world.

“How many of us are there? Other donors?” Laura asked.

“Well we have some regulars who show up as often as possible based on health restrictions. Then there are those who perhaps only come once or twice a year. Usually, we have at least two or three new donors a month. Of those perhaps one returns.”

Laura turned away from the doors to face the vampire. “Why so few?”

“A variety of reasons. Perhaps the vampire bite was too much for them? For others, a curiosity fulfilled. And then there are those who allow their actions to be influenced by shame. Some humans find they like what happens here much more than they ever expected to and then find themselves unable to face that truth or how it defines them. How do you tell a loved one that you enjoy the way a vampire’s fangs slide into your neck?” And then with a wicked smile Ms. Belmonde added, “Or other places.”

Laura blushed and asked, “So we go in there and I just pick someone and they bite me?”

“I'd advise talking to them first. You might want to find out if you are compatible or not. Oh don’t wrinkle your nose at me. As I said before, this can be rather intimate. You’ll want to at least pick someone you can stand.”

Laura closed her eyes for a moment and gathered her courage. “Fine. Okay, I’m ready. I can do this.”

Ms. Belmonde laughed lightly and placed a gentle hand on Laura’s shoulder. Her touch was cool and dry, but it also felt oddly comforting. Finally, after she deemed Laura to be ready, she pulled the doors open with a dramatic flourish. Suddenly Laura was staring into a large room with about twenty vampires in it. Immediately every head in the room turned towards them.

“Follow me Laura. Remember the choice is yours, and despite what your instincts might be saying, you are safe here.”

Laura nodded even though she had no idea why she felt okay with this situation. “I trust you. I think. Well, you seem trustworthy, for a vampire. Not that I’ve known any untrustworthy vampires. Or any vampires. I’m going to stop talking now.”

“I have my moments. Now let me introduce you around. Tell me, male or female? Do you have a preference?” Ms. Belmonde asked.

Unable to stop her blush Laura said, “Girls. Definitely girls.”

“Well then, I think we have a few decent choices. Look over to our left. The brunette in the red dress. She is a friend of sorts, and I would trust her to treat you well tonight.”

The first thing Laura had noticed about the vampires in this room is that they were all incredibly attractive. Like runway model attractive. The woman Ms. Belmonde pointed out was no exception to the rule. She appeared to be very feminine with soft brown curls that fell just past her shoulders. The dress she wore was conservative, but probably cost ten times more than Laura’s entire wardrobe. And that wasn’t even considering her jewelry, sparkling jewels adorning her neck, ears, and wrist. 

Unsure of this choice, Laura chewed on her bottom lip and asked, “What’s her name?”

“Eleanor. Would you like to meet her?”

“I don’t know. I mean she is beautiful. All of you are beautiful. I guess she is a little out of my league maybe? What if I get blood on that dress?”

“Perhaps that is why she is wearing red?”

“Ew, gross.”

Before Ms. Belmonde could respond further, a handsome clean-cut young man walked over to them. He had a mischievous cast to his face as he said, “Mattie! You have to introduce me. Never mind, I’ll do that.” He turned to Laura and raised her hand to his lips before she could object. “You are beautiful, and my name is Will. I’m very wealthy, and well-endowed. I’d love to get to know you better. ”

Ms. Belmonde slapped his hand away from Laura and said firmly, annoyance lacing her words, “Hands off William. She prefers the fairer sex, and even if she didn’t, you wouldn’t stand a chance.”

Will slapped both hands against his heart and gasped. “You wound me, sister. But as usual, I can see that you are attempting to protect the innocents from my ample charms. I suppose I’ll just have to go over to the bar and see what is on tap. Hopefully B positive. Farewell, pretty girl.”

Laura watched him saunter over to the bar. “He's your brother?”

“Unfortunately. Don’t worry about him though, irritating me is a hobby of his. Let’s get back to the matter at hand. Look around the room and see if anyone strikes your fancy. If not, perhaps you’ll give Eleanor a chance. She would love the opportunity to get to know you better.”

Most of the vampires had gone back to their previous activities, but she couldn’t help but notice the glances and confident smiles they kept throwing her way. All of them but one, a girl reclining on a chaise lounge sofa in the corner. Dark hair to match equally dark eyes. She wore black leather pants paired with combat boots. Black t-shirt and even her chipped nail polish was black. From this distance, Laura couldn’t quite make out the title of the book that she was reading.

“Who is that?”

Ms. Belmonde followed her gaze and then laughed loudly. “That would be my sister Carmilla.”

“How many siblings do you have?” Laura asked curiously.

“More than two. Would you like to meet her? I think you would have an easier time with Eleanor, but Carmilla does have a certain charm once you get to know her.”

Without waiting for an answer, Ms. Belmonde placed a hand on the small of Laura’s back and led her over to her sister. “Carmilla I’d like to introduce you to Laura. She asked to meet you.”

Carmilla glanced up briefly and ran her eyes over Laura before sighing and in a weary tone said, “No.” With that her eyes dropped back down to the worn book she was reading, it’s title long ago faded beyond recognition.

It was a dismissal. One that Laura didn’t expect since Ms. Belmonde had made it clear that the vampires would be welcoming. She suddenly felt uncomfortable; the rejection reminded her a little too much of high school.

Ms. Belmonde cleared her throat and said, “Carmilla, what have I said time and again about how to treat our guests?”

Carmilla sighed again and rolled her eyes. This time she closed the book and gave Laura another perusal. Her eyes drifted over Laura’s body, apparently finding something interesting in the top half of Laura’s torso. Carmilla continued to stare rudely at Laura’s breasts as she said, “Sorry about that sweetheart, but there are about two dozen vampires in this room who would love to make your acquaintance. So why don’t you leave me alone and sell yourself to one of them?" Her eyes flicked over to her sister. "Better Mattie? You should know by now that I don’t want to play with your toys.”

Forgetting that she was in a room of predators, Laura felt her temper rise and boil over. This moody vampire was treating her like she was a nuisance. Someone unworthy of even polite conversation. “Excuse me. I’d like to be shown the same respect that I’d give to you. And yeah, I know there are a bunch of vampires in this room trying to get my attention, but you were the only one who wasn’t. I was curious and wanted to talk to you. But no, you had to be an ass before I even got a word out.” Laura slapped her forehead and continued, “What am I doing? I’m in a room with a bunch of people who want to eat me while trying to convince the one person who isn’t interested, “she paused, “that she should eat me. This is crazy. And you’re a butthead.” That last addition caused the butthead vampire in question to grimace.

Ms. Belmonde appeared amused. After a moment she said, “I believe you’ve met your match here sis. I trust that you’ll treat her well. I’m off to make sure that brother of our stays out of trouble. Tata!”

Carmilla's eyes widened in alarm and she up tossing her book to the side. Her sister had already crossed the room, though, and was in discussion with Eleanor, the vampire she had initially wanted to introduce to Laura . The woman glanced Laura’s way, glaring briefly, before smoothing her features and turning to leaving the room.

Laura blew out a frustrated breath and focused on Carmilla again. “I’m sorry, I just wanted to meet you. You are different from the others, and this is so awkward. I don’t belong here,” she admitted. “I should go home.” She raised her hand for an awkward goodbye wave as she began to back away.

Laughing, but without humor, Carmilla asked, “What's your room number cutie?”

“What? Why?”

“Do you really want to do this here?” Carmilla asked, using her hand to gesture to the room. “I’m not that much of an exhibitionist.”

“Very funny. Um, Room 307.” Laura couldn’t believe what she was about to do. With this vampire. A very hot vampire.

“Alright. I’ll meet you there in an hour. Drink some water. At least a glass and try to eat some food.” With that the vampire left the room.

Laura watched her go and wondered about the state of her sanity.


While she awaited Carmilla's arrival Laura managed to consume one glass of water, one grape soda, a piece of pie, and ten cookies. She was caught somewhere between excited and panicked which played havoc with her desire to appear calm. When she heard a rapid knock at her door, she nearly jumped through the roof. 

Carmilla was pulling off disaffected pretty well, leaning against the doorframe and wearing sunglasses that could have served no purpose other than to make her look cool. Seriously, who besides Corey Hart wears their sunglasses at night?

“Hey.”

Laura smiled and stood back allowing her entry.

“Nice place. Mattie goes all out for you,” Carmilla said as she took the room in.

“Haven’t you seen the rooms before?” Laura asked.

“No. This isn’t exactly my scene,” Carmilla replied as she walked over to the window. The room was beautiful and offered an impressive view of the skyline.

“Why’d you say yes then?”

Carmilla shrugged. “A momentary lapse in judgment I suppose. You getting mad was cute. It reminded me that I hadn’t eaten. So here I am.”

Laura stared at her back and considered what to say next. “You don’t want to be here do you?”

“The opposite. There are some things you should know first.” Carmilla continued to stare out the window as she spoke. Her hands hung loosely at her sides, and she released a resigned-sounding sigh. “It’s not that I wasn’t interested in what you are offering, it’s just that I have specific,” she grew silent for a few seconds as she searched for the right word, “desires when it comes to feeding. Asking someone who has never done this before to meet those desires can be spectacularly awkward. Does this make sense?”

Laura sat on the edge of the bed and frowned at Carmilla’s back. Finally, she replied, “No. I have no idea what you are talking about.”

The vampire groaned. “And you are an innocent. Of course.”

“Or you are exceptionally talented at being vague,” Laura muttered, exasperated. “I mean I’ve done stuff- wait what are you talking about? I’m confused.”

“I like control sweetheart. I don’t do gentle. Mattie likes her vampire johns to play nice. I don’t do nice. Do you get it now? If we do this, we do it my way. Say the word, and I’m out of here. I’m sure Mattie will work something else out for you.”

The wheels in Laura's mind were turning and she was able to put together a few guesses about what Carmilla was alluding to. Eventually, she asked, “Can you look at me?” When Carmilla turned around her gaze was heated, and Laura’s heart started pounding in her chest. There was something there in the vampire’s eyes which seemed primal. “So you want to control me?”

“I want you to lay down on the bed, then I want to hold you down so you can’t move. And then I want to drink from your neck and leave a mark there that you will remember.” Carmilla’s face remained impassive as she said this, but she gave herself away when she stepped forward once, then twice, in Laura’s direction. Her hand twitched as if she longed to reach out.

Laura’s jaw fell slightly open as enlightenment arrived. Well, things were starting to be clearer. A small part of her brain kept logically trying to explain why this was a terrible idea. Luckily she had a lot of practice ignoring logical suggestions. 

With a nervous smile she asked, “Will it hurt?”

Carmilla nodded and flashed her fangs as if this was explanation enough. And it was. The surprising thing is that Laura wasn’t scared. Despite this all being a completely foreign experience Carmilla didn’t scare her at all. “Okay.”

Surprise registered plainly on the vampire’s face. Obviously, Laura’s response had been unexpected. “Okay? You want to do this?”

“I guess I do. I know this is insane. You’re talking about holding me down and giving me bites to remember. Exactly what does that mean? I brought a turtleneck to wear tomorrow, but I think I’m missing some important details.”

Carmilla walked over and stood close enough to touch. A mere breath away. She was so beautiful that Laura had trouble concentrating on anything else. Her black hair pulled up into a messy bun which exposed a chiseled jawline, and her eyes, her eyes were something else altogether. They spoke of pain and longing. And loneliness. She stood impossibly still now, like a Greek statue. Laura realized suddenly that maybe she was looking forward to being held down by this exquisite creature. When Carmilla seemed to be waiting for a response, Laura guessed that she must have missed part of the conversation. So she said the first thing that came to mind.

“I need to pee.”

Carmilla pinched the bridge of her nose. "Maybe you should go do that.”

Laura nodded and raced to the bathroom. When she finished and was washing her hands, she stared at her reflection in the mirror for a few minutes. Somehow she knew that this girl she saw staring back at her was about to change profoundly. She drew in a deep calming breath and opened the bathroom door. As she did so, Laura said, “I probably should have asked about this before, but how permanent is this bite mark?”

Carmilla smiled. “Not very. It should heal over in a day or so. Unless you are looking for it, the scar shouldn’t be noticeable. Are you ready?”

When Laura nodded Carmilla held out her hand. The vampire’s touch was cool and her skin soft. Despite what she had indicated earlier, Carmilla was surprisingly gentle.

“What do I need to do?”

Carmilla ran her thumb over Laura’s knuckles and replied, “Behind us, in the dresser are some shirts. Put one of those on. I’ll turn around.”

Laura scrunched up her nose. “Why?”

“Don’t want to get blood on your clothing do you sweetheart? Just a precaution.”

She walked over to the dresser and pulled open the top drawer which had been labeled “small.” Inside were various tops, all black. Laura pulled out a tank figuring it made for easier access. True to her word Carmilla was turned away. She quickly divested herself of the shirt she wore, then slipped on the new one. 

Carmilla seemed to know she was ready because she said, “Now go and lay down on the bed. Get comfortable.”

Laura did as she said. First, she kicked off her shoes and then climbed up on the bed. Getting comfortable was easy because the bed must cost several thousand euros. 

Carmilla removed her leather vest and dropped it on the floor. Then she turned around and moved to the edge of the bed. “You can say no at anytime sweetheart. It might be a little awkward with my fangs in your neck, but I promise I’ll stop. Understand?”

Laura gulped. Wow. Okay, this was happening. “Yeah.” When Carmilla smiled at her response, she got a clear view of sharp fangs.

“Excellent,” Carmilla said as she moved gracefully onto the bed until she was straddling Laura’s hips. She looked every inch the predator as she ran her fingers up Laura’s sides, avoiding her breasts until her hands reached Laura’s wrists. With deliberate intent, the vampire pulled both of her arms above her head and held them in place with one hand. Her grip was bruising, just this side of painful, but it wasn’t unpleasant either. Laura relaxed, she had no urge to fight this.

The corners of Carmilla’s mouth curved upwards into a wicked smile. “I have to admit that there is a part of me that wishes this wasn’t a transaction. Your innocence is intoxicating. The things I could do to you,” she said, her voice little more than a husky growl. It sounded like an offer and a promise. If only.

With a quick move Carmilla released Laura's right hand so she could pull her head to the side and expose her neck. “I’m going to enjoy this. I hope you do too.”

 Laura pulled against Carmilla's grip if only to confirm that she couldn’t move. She didn’t want to. The whites of Carmilla’s eyes had turned red, and she was lightly panting, no longer even attempting to hide her fangs. She allowed Laura to stare at them for a moment, perhaps allowing her to be sure, and then her mouth was on Laura’s neck. She stiffened, but Carmilla's grip held her in place. The moment was heavy with anticipation, and as soon as Laura started to relax, Carmilla struck.

And it hurt. Oh god, it hurt. Carmilla was enthusiastically sucking at the punctures and Laura could feel it each time her tongue caressed the wounds. The pain was too much and not enough all at once. She couldn’t understand what was happening to her. She wanted to beg for more, but more of what? The answer might have lain with Carmilla, who was lightly grinding her hips into Laura’s stomach. Sexual, intimate.

She hadn’t expected this. Pain and pleasure swirling together and confusing her senses. It was a gnawing feeling that started in her belly and spread lower. Each time Carmilla growled and sucked a little harder, Laura released a pained whimper, but her groin was on fire. She felt lightheaded but so turned on, with her clit pounding out a happy beat of its own.

Just when she thought she was going to buckle and beg the vampire to touch her, Carmilla pulled away. She lapped at the wound a few times before sitting up and gazing down at Laura. Her chin was covered in blood which she didn’t particularly appear to be embarrassed by.

“You are delicious creampuff. Like the best dessert I’ve ever had. How do you feel?”

Laura could hardly keep her eyes open. “Tired I think.”

“That’s normal. I’ll get the doctor so she can check you out.”

Carmilla was almost through the door before Laura blurted, “Wait!” She tried to sit up, but the energy required was more than she possessed, so she settled for leaning on an elbow instead.

“What?”

Laura struggled to sit up and after a moment gave up. “I just, I don’t know. Is that it?”

Carmilla hung her head for a moment before leaving without a response. Laura watched the door for a moment before dropping back onto the pillow. She raised her fingers to her neck and winced when she accidentally brushed one of the punctures. The pain had faded to a dull throbbing. When the door opened, she hoped that Carmilla had returned, but instead it was a doctor who smiled kindly at her. 

“Hello Laura. I’m Doctor Summers. How are you feeling?”

Laura stared at the ceiling and said for the second time in a few minutes, “Tired. I just want to sleep. Is Carmilla coming back?”

The doctor smiled again as she began to unpack supplies. “That is normal with blood loss," she said as she examined Laura's neck. "Huh, your vampire was a bit of a sloppy eater. You should be fine. Let’s get you cleaned up so that you can get some rest.”

Soon enough Laura was once again left alone. Her neck washed and bandaged. An IV was connected to her arm so that she could get some fluids. She'd been assured it was just precaution and that she would feel much better in the morning.

Laura had doubts about that because inside, she felt kind of empty.

 

Chapter Text

When she woke up the next morning, the first thing Laura noticed was that her neck felt stiff and sore. To the point that she could hardly move it. And despite sleeping almost twelve hours, she was still exhausted. Vampire blood donation apparently had some drawbacks. 

During the night someone must have come in and removed the IV and changed the bandage on her neck. She must have slept through the process. 

A quick glance at the clocked showed that she had enough time to shower and change before checkout. And with that thought in mind, Laura decided that now all she needed to do was crawl out of bed so that she could get home. She gingerly pulled herself up and grimaced as the movement pulled at the wounds on her neck. 

Didn’t paranormal romance novels make this experience out to be erotic and pleasurable? Of course, part of it had been that. Carmilla holding her down. Carmilla grinding against her as she fed. Carmilla tonguing those very wounds she had made on Laura’s neck. It had hurt, but not in a way that Laura hated. Or even disliked. And that part was confusing. She wished she had someone to talk to about this. 

When she finally managed to remove all her clothes, Laura stood naked in front of the bathroom's full-length mirror. She carefully removed the bandage from her neck so that she could inspect the damage. The puncture wounds were quite small and appeared almost healed. The area around them was heavily bruised, though, which explained the soreness. 

The hotel room was state of the art, and the huge bathroom likely cost as much as a small house. She climbed into the shower and was pleased to discover that it was also state of the art with nozzles pointing at her from the middle of each wall. The heated water washed over her in rejuvenating waves and Laura soon felt little more like herself. The phone rang just as she got out of the shower and she rushed over to grab it. “Hello?”

“Good morning Miss Hollis. This call is just to let you know that checkout will be in an hour. Also, Ms. Belmonde would like to see you before you leave. You will receive your compensation from her. Please take the elevator to the top floor, and from there security will escort you.”

Security? Did vampires need security? “Okay, thank you.”

After finding two Band-Aids in the bathroom and applying them, Laura got dressed and prepared to head out. When she arrived at the top floor, a security guard pointed her in the direction of Ms. Belmonde’s office.

Laura knocked and a voice said, “Laura please come in and take a seat. I had a hot chocolate prepared for you.” 

The cup was still steaming and had a few marshmallows floating in it. “Thank you.”

Once she was seated Ms. Belmonde stared at her with a sly smile. “Tell me, dear, how was it?”

This was a difficult question to answer, and one Laura hadn’t had much time to process. Sure the day after was a pain in the neck. Literally. And parts of it had seemed terrible, but mostly she now just felt longing. For more. Why was she so drawn to Carmilla, someone she’d just met? “It was um, fine.”

Ms. Belmonde raised an inquisitive eyebrow. “Just fine? Fine sounds so mundane, don’t you think?”

Laura shrugged, not knowing how to respond. How do you say ‘it hurt like hell, but maybe I liked it’?

“Let me guess. You aren’t exactly sure how you should feel? I'm sure you're wondering about whether I'm psychic, and the answer would be no. In my experience, people either run for the hills the moment they see a fang, or they come in here smiling like they won the lottery. Some though, like you, get quiet. The quiet ones are almost always confused about the experience.”

“Maybe I’m a quiet person.”

“Yes,” Ms. Belmonde drawled. “Like a Chihuahua.”

Laura sputtered.

The vampire laughed lightly and stood up from her desk so that she could walk around to Laura’s side. “Stay still, I’d like to look at your bite,” she said as pulled the turtleneck collar to the side. Laura hissed at the sting of the Band-Aids being removed. Tsking softly, Ms. Belmonde said, “You’ll live, but my sister wasn’t gentle was she? You look like a wolverine went at you. Carmilla does enjoy leaving an impression.”

Yeah, or maybe Carmilla liked things a little rough? Laura wanted to find out but, that wasn't a question she intended to ask Ms. Belmonde. Instead, she asked, “Is Carmilla here?”

Smiling knowingly, Ms. Belmonde laughed again. “Still eager aren’t you? I’m sure she is asleep. I must admit that I am a touch surprised that you haven't had enough. Carmilla can be rather abrasive don’t you think?”

“What? No. I mean she is a little grumpy, but I was okay with that. It seemed more bluster than anything.”

“Yes, but look at how she brutalized your neck,” Ms. Belmonde gestured in Laura's direction. “A vampire with even a small amount of consideration could have avoided that. I think perhaps I should have insisted on someone who would have been gentle. Eleanor was disappointed.”

Laura felt annoyed. “I don’t break easily, and seriously, it’s just a bruise. She would have stopped if I asked.”

Ms. Belmonde nodded. “Of course, I understand. As you said before, the money is important to you. That doesn’t mean you should have gone through that," she said, apparently unwilling to drop the topic.

Now Laura narrowed her eyes. “My inner Lois Lane is detecting that you are up to something. Yesterday you were all ‘my sister has a certain charm, ’ and now you’re all ‘she’s a sloppy eater who leaves bruises on innocent girls.' What’s up with that?”

Ms. Belmonde leaned back and steepled her fingers on the desk. Very Monty Burns. “Very astute Miss Hollis. I’d like to ask you a question. Why aren’t you afraid?”

Confused, Laura tilted her head to the side. “Afraid of what?”

“I’d think you were being deliberately obtuse, but I suspect it’s just your naiveté rearing its gorgeous head,” the vampire replied with a brilliant smile. “You are an attractive little thing. I bet my sister just ate you up.”

“Are you saying I should be afraid?” Laura asked uncertainly.

“It’s a little late for self-preservation to kick in don’t you think dear? But no, you shouldn’t be afraid. As I said before, this is a safe place. You’re a curiosity of sorts for me,” she said as she opened a file that was on her desk. “I had my investigator run a background check on you.”

Laura blinked. “What? Since yesterday? I can’t...why?”

“Don’t be silly. Do you think we’d let someone we haven’t vetted just walk in here? I had you checked out days ago. Now,” she paused, “I’d like to talk about your job history. There are a few items of note that concern me,” Ms. Belmonde said as she perused the contents of the file.

“Job history?” The Twilight Zone, this was the Twilight Zone. Or maybe The Outer Limits. Either way, Laura felt like she had missed an integral part of the conversation.

“Yes, your job history. Follow along, please. Now I realize that I have a few years on you, but even you must be aware that losing two jobs in three weeks is dreadful. I contacted both of your former employers, and they inferred that you are accident prone. That’s a polite way of saying clumsy. I’m hoping that I can mold that out of you once you come and work for me.”

Wait. What? Trying not to appear too confused Laura asked, “Work for you?” Perhaps she was foggy from the blood loss the night before. Or maybe she had plunged head first through the rabbit hole and fallen straight into full-on crazy.

Ms. Belmonde sighed. “Laura this isn’t the best way to impress a potential employer. One would think you weren’t prepared at all for this interview.”

Laura’s eyes widened and she asked, “Wait, this is an interview?”

Ms. Belmonde frowned as if she were the one who had reason to be confused. “Of course. Are you always this slow? When you start working for me, I’ll expect you to be quicker on the uptake.”

“I’m working for you?” Laura knew she sounded like a broken record, but this was one of the strangest conversations of her life.

“Yes. It’s settled. You’ll start a week from Monday. We can work around your school schedule, and I fully expect that you will be able to maintain an excellent GPA.” This was said in a firm tone with a fair amount of menace. “Remember, a week from Monday. I’d like you to be here be at eight sharp, don’t be late. And please, dress professionally. Our attire helps us project a certain confidence.”

Laura blinked and nodded. Ms. Bellmonde was, even more, intimidating now as she channeled her inner Miranda Priestly.

“With that said, I’d like to be the first to welcome you to the team. I’m sure you’ll be a wonderful addition,” Ms. Belmonde stated and held out her hand for Laura to shake. Now she was showing off that dazzlingly smile again which compelled Laura to offer a hesitant one in return.

As she was about to leave the office Laura tried to decipher at exactly which point the conversation had left her behind. She had come in here to get her check, and then things took a turn for the weird, and now she had a job. Oh, the check.

“Ms. Belmonde I forgot to ask about the-”

“Your check was deposited into your account this morning Laura. All my employees have direct deposit. I look forward to seeing you again soon. I think we will have a wonderful working relationship. I’ll let Carmilla know you asked after her."

And just like that, she was dismissed. “Oh, okay.” Laura tried to process what happened even as she tried to figure out how she felt about Ms. Belmonde doing something so invasive as obtaining her bank account information? She didn’t even begin to know what to say to that. It was all very Big Brother. If she hadn’t felt so worn out, Laura might have offered some sort of protest. Instead, she turned back around and headed for the elevators. Once she reached the lobby, the receptionist there flagged her down with a wave of her hand. 

“Laura Hollis?” the woman inquired.

“Yes?”

“Ms. Belmonde asked me to let you know that she ordered a car to take you home.”

Huh, that was considerate, although disconcerting. Changes were happening in her life, and Laura wondered if she was the marionette to Ms. Belmonde's puppeteer.

Due to the lack of traffic, the ride back to her apartment only took a few minutes. And when she opened her front door, Laura decided she would forever be grateful that Betty wasn't home. Not today. Not when her emotions were raging, and she needed a moment of quiet. She opened the fridge and reached for a can of soda. In her room, Laura stripped down to her underwear and flopped down on her bed.

The past couple of days had been a whirlwind experience, and somehow she ended up with a job at the end of it. It made absolutely no sense. She knew she had no qualifications, so why in the name of Godrick Gryffindor would the owner of a five-star hotel want to hire her? The interview had been odd at best. In fact, it wasn’t even an interview considering Laura hadn’t applied for anything. She wasn’t exactly sure why Ms. Belmonde chose her for this, but assumed it had something to do with Carmilla. That was a concerning thought, but considering her financial situation, Laura didn't feel like she was in a position to refuse the opportunity.

There was also the fact that she wouldn’t mind seeing a certain dark-haired vampire again. Carmilla claimed that she regretted a transaction had stood between them. Perhaps if Laura had a job there, then they could get to know one another without it being about money. 

She rolled her eyes. And then what? Dinner and a movie? Dating and holding hands? There was no way the vampire would be interested in that. No, if anything Carmilla would want Laura at her mercy again. And if she were being honest, Laura was opposed to the idea. There was just something about the last night that felt eye-opening. A revelation.

It’s not like she considered herself inexperienced. Well not entirely. There had been some awkward moments with her high school girlfriend. Fumblings that rarely resulted in orgasm, but were nonetheless exciting. And then there was that time she had been just drunk enough to think it was a good idea to let Danny’s hand into her pants. It had been nice, but empty. Afterwards, Laura wondered if she'd ever meet someone who would light her on fire. And then last night, she met a vampire named Carmilla.

Never in a thousand years could Laura have guessed that she would have enjoyed what had happened last night. The pain hadn't been a surprise, but the arousal? Holy Hufflepuff. Was this normal? Carmilla said she hoped that Laura would enjoy it. So that must mean there were others who did as well, right?

Laura wanted, no, needed answers, but they would have to wait since exhaustion was kicking her butt. She barely lasted a minute before slipping into a deep relaxing slumber. Later that afternoon, when she woke from her nap, the bite marks on her neck had faded completely. Now only a slight bruise remained as proof of what had transpired between her and Carmilla. 


The Friday before her new job started Laura sat at her computer reading over her notes for an article that was titled “Fun on a budget for any college student.” It seemed that Sock Puppet Theater and Adonis Hunts were all the rage in Styria.

Unfortunately, she couldn’t concentrate on writing. Her first day at Succombez à Moi was fast approaching, and her anxiety was multiplying. The only instructions she'd been given were ‘don’t be late’ and ‘dress professionally.' Laura didn’t even know what her job would be. All of this would be unbearable if she weren't so excited to potentially see Carmilla again. Which was crazy. Absolutely insane. After Carmilla finished drinking from her, she'd walked out of the room like Laura's feelings didn't matter. Sure, it was the hottest thing that had ever happened in Laura's short life, but that didn’t mean it was even a blip on the radar for a vampire though. 

Perhaps the best thing to do would be to call the hotel up and let Ms. Belmonde know that she wouldn’t be able to take the job. Maybe then Laura could spare herself the humiliation of what would happen if she threw herself at Carmilla. Without thinking twice, Laura dialed the number for Succombez à Moi. When she gave her name, she was asked to hold.

“Laura?” Ms. Belmonde asked, her tone colored with a hint of annoyance. 

“Hi! I was-”

“This better not be a call telling me you won’t be taking the job I so very kindly offered you. Hold a moment.”

Laura could hear murmured voices in the background and wondered what she should say when given a chance to talk. Maybe this was a mistake. Maybe even going to this vampire hotel had been her biggest mistake. Of course, Laura had to consider the fact that her rent and tuition were now paid. Two weeks ago she hadn’t even been sure how she would feed herself.

“I’m back. Tell me, why are you calling?”

Laura hesitated for a moment and then said, “Look a few weeks ago I hadn’t even thought about vampires for more than two seconds in my entire life. And now I’ve let one bite me and oh look I’m going to be working for one too. And about that!” She felt like she was on a roll now so threw caution to the wind. “Don’t think I didn’t figure out that you tricked me into this job. Do I even want this job? Exactly what is this jo-”

“Stop talking,” Ms. Belmonde said, no-nonsense. “You’ll find that while I have a tremendous amount of patience, I also expect a certain amount of respect. In that train of thought, I would suggest watching your tone when you speak to me. I like you, but I won’t tolerate insubordination from one of my employees. And you are one of my employees. Do we have an understanding?”

“Yes,” Laura squeaked. Okay, so she had a job. Working for a vampire. She decided that she would put off calling her dad for a while. Or ever again.

Ms. Belmonde sighed. “I don't want you to be afraid of me Laura. It may not seem like it from where you are standing, but I am looking out for your welfare. Tell me, what are your plans for this weekend?”

“Homework?”

“Was that a question? No matter. I’m sending a car to pick you up in an hour. Bring your homework and enough clothes for the weekend and Monday as well. As for tonight, try and wear something suitable for dinner. One hour.”

Just like that the line went dead, and Laura sat staring at the phone. What just happened? Ms. Belmonde kept railroading her in their conversations. “Hey, Betty?” Laura called out.

“Yeah?”

“Hey I think I’m going out for the weekend. I’ll be back Monday night.”

Betty strolled over to her doorway as Laura was packing and through a mouthful of food asked, “What’s up?” It sounded more like 'whuthup.'

“Oh I’m going to Su-” Laura choked as she only just managed to stop herself from confessing where she was going.

Smiling, Betty walked over and patted her on the back. “Go where?”

“On a stakeout! I’m going on a stakeout for school. It’s a secret mission for journalists. Like when Frodo had to take the one ring to Mount Doom. Or Peggy Carter. But without the fighting.” Laura tried not to wince as the word vomit flowed from her mouth. Luckily, though, Betty seemed to buy her story.

“Cool. Have a good time being stealthy or whatever,” Betty said and left the room.

Hmm, Laura decided to never again underestimate her roommate’s apathy for journalism projects. After a few minutes of rustling through her closet, Laura chose to wear her favorite owl sweater over a burgundy button down for dinner. 

The driver who arrived to pick her up was the same one who had previously taken her home. He was polite as he said, “Ms. Belmonde instructed me to drop you off and then I’ll have your bag taken up to your room. You’re to meet her and the other guests in the formal dining room.”

Laura looked down at her clothing and hoped this outfit would get a pass. Thankfully, no one seemed to be wearing tuxedos and evening gowns, but she still felt a little underdressed. Several tables dotted the room, but the crowd of thirty or so people mostly appeared to be standing around and mingling. Laura waited at the entrance of the room and scanned the crowd until she finally spotted Ms. Belmonde. The vampire appeared to be entertaining a few of the hotel's guests. 

She took a deep breath and started walking towards the group. She could do this. She exuded poise and grace. Until she noticed Carmilla. The vampire in question stood next to her sister and glared at any of the guests who tried to speak to her. Laura was charmed just watching her being grumpy. 

“Ms. Belmonde?” Laura asked once she approached the group. 

“Oh Laura! I’m thrilled you could make it. And please, it’s time for you to start calling me Mattie. We are going to be seeing so much of one another, and it’ll be much more comfortable to remove some of the formality from our relationship.”

“Laura?” Carmilla asked in astonishment.

With a Cheshire Cat grin, Mattie said, “Oh sis, did I not tell you that Laura is coming to work for me? She and I just got along so well that it only seemed natural to offer her a job. You'll be seeing her all the time now. Isn’t she scrumptious?”

Carmilla glowered at her sister, and Laura melted. How was it that someone who was the vampire equivalent of Grumpy Cat could be so attractive? “Mattie, what the hell? What’re you trying to pull here?”

Mattie soothingly rubbed her sister's back. “Pull? Darling, you give me too much credit. I simply needed a personal assistant and Laura met all of my qualifications. She and I have so much in common that I knew we would be a match. Professionally.”

Other than their immediate location, Laura couldn’t think of a single thing they had common. And if the expression on Carmilla's face was telling, she didn’t buy it either. Also, personal assistant? Laura had zero experience at that sort of thing, and now she wondered if Mattie was match-making? She glanced over at Carmilla who was staring back at her. Angry and distant. Okay seriously? It wasn’t like Laura had chosen to be in this situation.

“Alright now children, let us behave. I think dinner is about to be served. Laura, I took the liberty of ordering for you. I hope chicken Marsala is all right. Come sit on my right side. Carmilla always sits at my left. Both of you feel free to converse with me. I'm sure that in no time at all the three of us will be fast friends.” This statement was said with a fair amount of humor; Mattie was enjoying herself.

Dinner was uncomfortable even if the meal itself was delicious. Carmilla kept scowling over Mattie’s shoulder which only made Laura scowl back. For her part, Mattie carried on like they both weren’t shooting daggers at one another. All the while the other guests at their table just seemed confused. This whole situation seemed to be a disaster of epic proportions. And oh joy! Now, working for Mattie, Laura would be able to experience these high levels of unfair resentment all the time.

As the evening began to draw to a close, Laura watched as Carmilla got up and stormed out of the room. Like a child. Why had she even hoped that there would be some kind of connection between them?

Laura waited until most of the other guests had left before excusing herself. Mattie smiled fondly and wished her a pleasant evening.

“Room 307 Ms. Hollis,” the front desk clerk said as he handed over a keycard.

Laura smiled and reached for the card. “Thank you."

“Of course. We were told you have a preference for that room. Have a nice evening.”

Preference? Great, now she would have to spend the evening thinking about Carmilla. As she left the elevator, Laura was lost in thought, which is why she was surprised when someone shoved her face first against the wall outside her room. Immediately following this aggressive action, a strong slender body pressed her back and Laura relaxed. She knew this smell. Damp earth as snow melts atop it. A little bit of chocolate mixed with a light coppery scent. She knew this body. Carmilla.

“Tell me no Laura,” the vampire said, her breath warm against the shell of Laura’s ear.

“What?”

“If you don’t want this to happen, then you need to tell me no. I'll be honest here, creampuff, this is a terrible idea. For both of us. But I can't seem to help myself; I want you.”

Not want this to happen? Laura nearly laughed out loud but decided that reaction probably wouldn’t go over too well. Besides Carmilla was currently placing gentle kisses on her neck. Who was Laura to deny something she so desperately wanted? “Stay. Don’t go. But do you think maybe we could go inside?” she asked, breathy. Needy.

Carmilla continued kissing her neck and said, “I think we are good here. I can’t wait to be inside of you again. Do you want that, cupcake?”

Were they talking about the same thing here? Sex or biting? The answer was the same regardless. “Yes.”

Suddenly both of her hands were grasped and placed on the wall on either side of her head. “Don’t move your hands.” The vampire ran her fingers through Laura's hair, pulling it to the side and against her ear, she whispered, “I love your hair. So soft and the color of honey.”

The air caught in her throat and Laura stopped breathing when Carmilla ran one hand up over her stomach to the area just beneath her breasts. Her touch, soft and exploring, made Laura dizzy with anticipation. “Please.”

Carmilla nipped at her neck before responding, “I’d like to drink from you again. I think we’d both enjoyed our previous encounter, but there is something else I want as well. So tell me, would you like me to touch you, sweetheart? Do you want me inside you? What you felt before can be so much better with a little stimulation. Do you want that? I know I would.”

Oh yes. That was a definite yes. Also, Laura quickly realized that Carmilla enjoyed talking during intimacy. Whether in bed or standing up against a wall in a public hallway. “Yes that sounds like a great idea.” And it did. Who would say no?

“Excellent. That’s what I was hoping to hear.” The vampire’s voice sounded huskier, and she teased the tips of her fangs against Laura's soft, pliant skin. She trailed her hand higher to Laura’s breast and began to knead it. Her touch grew more possessive with each passing moment. “Is this what you want, cutie? Tell me, say it.”

She was so turned on that it was difficult to speak. “I want it,” Laura said, blushing. “I liked what you did before.”

“Oh? Which part did you like? Did you like it when I held you down?” When she didn’t answer Carmilla pulled back slightly so that she could wrap a hand around Laura’s throat. Her grip was firm, but not so tight that she constricted breathing. “Tell me.”

“I liked that,” Laura gasped, pushing against the hand on her neck. And when the fingers there squeezed she found herself moaning. "This too."

“And my bite. How did that make you feel?” Carmilla chuckled, obviously aware of what Laura's response would be. She demanded to hear it anyways.

“Yes, I liked that too.”

 “I was hoping you would say so.” Carmilla lifted the cup of Laura’s bra and twisted her nipple. 

Laura winced at the pain, equal parts blinding and exquisite. Her flesh was pinched and pulled. Abused and cherished. Don’t stop. Please don’t stop.”

“I don’t plan to creampuff. I’m going to fuck you now. And while I’m fucking you I’m going to drink from you.” Carmilla used her free hand to unbutton Laura’s pants and then slipped inside of her cotton panties. Her fingertips brushed against trimmed curls. Soon a single finger trailed once, then twice, over Laura's clit. “So wet. I bet you are delicious, but I'm wanting a different taste on my tongue.”

Laura sighed in relief as two of Carmilla’s fingers pushed lower and then curled inside of her. There wasn’t much room to maneuver, and the vampire was forced to use short, shallow thrusts. Jerky movements that lifted Laura to the balls of her feet, and she was almost certain that nothing in her life had felt as quite as amazing as this.

“There you go sweetheart. You can feel it coming, can’t you? You are so beautiful like this, desperate for my touch.”

Down the hall Laura heard a door open, but the man who left never looked their way. What would have happened if he had? The uncertainty of the situation caused her skin to flush hotter, and Laura struggled to stay silent, to not bring attention to them. Carmilla's hand started rubbing against her clit as she kept up a steady rhythm of hard thrusts. If only there were a little more pressure, Laura knew she would come.

“Do you want to come, cupcake? If so, then I'd like you to ask me for something.”

She bit her bottom lip and groaned. Unlike the vampire, Laura didn’t seem to have the ability to talk and have sex at the same time. “Yes, anything. Please.”

She felt those sharp teeth close around her earlobe briefly before a raspy reply came. “Ask me to bite you. Ask me, and I’ll let you come.”

Perhaps it was the forbidden nature of the request, but Laura nearly fell apart from that alone. However, the thrusts had slowed considerably to a rhythmic ebb and flow. Either way, this was an easy decision. She would have said yes even before the hot wall sex. “Please. I want you to bite me. I want it.”

This time there was no waiting. Carmilla snarled, low and guttural, and then she bit. Just like before, it hurt, but now the vampire was fucking her fast with one hand and pinching her nipple with the other making the pain melded with the pleasure. Laura wasn’t sure, but it felt like those fangs reentered her body more than once.

It didn’t take much before she came undone. An explosion that started in her belly and spread throughout her whole body. Then she seized before finally, relaxing into the vampire's embrace. Carmilla didn’t stop drinking, but she did remove her hand from Laura’s pants before placing it on her belly. Her touch, bruising only moments ago, now soothed.

The pain faded away, and a sense of euphoria settled over Laura. This felt right, being held, by Carmilla.

 

Chapter Text

This time, when she woke up, the wounds from Carmilla’s bite had healed, and only a tiny bruise remained. Additionally, she wasn’t experiencing any of the stiffness that had happened after the first bite. Laura considered that perhaps Carmilla had been gentler this time even if it hadn’t felt like it in the moment. For some inexplicable reason, she wanted to get to know her. Compulsion was driving Laura into Carmilla's orbit, and she couldn't think of a single reason to fight the pull. Unfortunately, it seemed that every time they breathed the same air, it turned into something sexual. It was hard to learn about someone when all you had experienced together was orgasms. Third times the charm maybe? Or fourth. No need to put a limit on the sexy times.

Laura felt a little guilty that she hadn’t called her friends to update them on her situation. But what exactly could she say? ‘Hi guys! I decided to do the vampire thing after all. And then I let one of them bite me. Oh and I thought it was super hot, so I let her do it again. And this was while she fucked me against a wall. The best part is her sister seems to approve because now I have a job working for vampires! So how have you two been? Science good? Bake anything lately?’ That totally would not go over well at all. In fact, she could imagine Perry’s head exploding. So until she could figure out how to handle the situation, it was probably best to avoid them.

Danny would be a harder nut to crack, though. She was often annoyingly persistent in her desire to make sure Laura was safe. Laura felt pretty sure that a new vampire hookup wouldn’t meet her friend's qualifications for safe. And avoidance would only make her suspicious. Ultimately, it would be her Dad who would provide the biggest hurdle. But telling him about this arrangement was a solid no. Maybe it would be best if she just went with prostitution. Woman of the night would likely meet with more approval than anything involving a vampire.

A knock at her door broke Laura from her reverie. “Hold on,” she called out as she padded over to the door to see who it was. A quick glance through the peephole revealed Mattie and Dr. Summers.

“Hi, what’s up?” Laura greeted as she opened the door with a nervous smile. She tugged at her dancing panda pajamas and tried not to feel too self-conscious about having not changed for the day.

Without waiting for an invitation, Mattie breezed into the room followed closely by Dr. Summers who carried her medical bag. “Hello Laura, it’s a pleasure to see you again,” she said as she walked by, placing the bag of supplies on the coffee table.

“Uh hi. What’s going on?” Laura asked as she watched the doctor unpack some medical equipment. Syringes? A bottle filled with a questionable liquid.

Mattie walked up and tapped her lightly on the nose. “Don’t you worry your adorable little head about it, darling. Once I was aware that my sister made an unscheduled visit to you last night I thought it prudent to have our esteemed doctor come and give you a checkup.”

“Unscheduled? There’s a schedule?”

The vampire buffed her nails against the shoulder of her dress and said, “It’s best to plan these things out. My sister does enjoy her little rebellions, but your continued health is my priority. You're quite lucky security noticed Carmilla on the video feed lurking in the hallway outside your room.”

Of course, there were cameras. Laura’s knew her complexion must have been an impressive shade of red, but tried to keep her tone even when she said, “So, is there is a video of your sister outside my room?”

Mattie rolled her eyes. “Don’t be silly. I had them turn off the video feed as soon as I was informed about your little rendezvous. Besides, I don’t believe sex tapes are quite the career maker they used to be. However, in the future, might I suggest a little discretion, hmm? As for more important matters, since my sister couldn’t keep her paws to herself, I asked Dr. Summers to join us. Doctor?”

The doctor went through the motions of drawing a few vials of blood and checking Laura's vitals. Then she gave Laura an injection of vitamins that were to help offset the loss of energy one might feel after a vampire bite. She vaguely recalled receiving the same shot on her first visit to the hotel.

“So Laura, Carmilla did, in fact, take blood from you last night?” Dr. Summers asked as she grazed her fingers over the area where Carmilla had bitten her.

Laura glanced over at Mattie who offered an encouraging smile that was a little more wicked than comforting and said, “Yes. Kind of hard to forget that part.”

“From your neck?”

Laura nodded she hoped never to have to answer this question again if the answer was anything other than a resounding yes.

Dr. Summers straightened and patted her on the back. “That is excellent. Your neck appears to have healed completely. I still plan to run some bloodwork, but I think everything should come back positive. If you feel like your energy levels are decreasing talk to Mattie, and I’ll make sure you get another dose of the vitamins. Also, try and refrain from another draining for a few days. I think you will be fine, but caution should be exercised until we have a better idea of what your limits are.”

“Thank you Dr. Summers, you may go,” Mattie said as she continued to stare at Laura.

After the doctor left Laura decided she might not have a better opportunity to clear up a few things. “Can I ask a question?”

Mattie nodded, “You may.”

Laura tucked her legs underneath her and tried not to fidget beneath Mattie's cool inviting gaze. “Actually I have a couple of questions. Dr. Summers said I would be able to be with Carmilla again in a few days, but that doesn’t make any sense. If I donated my blood to a health center, they would say for me to wait eight weeks before donating again. But Dr. Summers said a few days?”

“Vampire saliva helps your wounds heal much faster than they normally would. All species evolve, and this is one of the ways vampires have grown,” Mattie said with a smile and a dismissive wave of her hand.

This seemed like a partial answer, but she wasn’t sure it was necessarily incorrect. Maybe it made sense? Laura thought that if she could find the right question, then perhaps she could get the answer that would fill in a piece of the puzzle. “Why are you so interested in me? I’m sure there are tons of other girls like me who come here, so why me?”

Mattie’s smile glittered, and she replied, “Simple. My sister is interested; thus I am. I will admit that I liked you from the start, though. You’re spunky.”

“So if Carmilla wasn’t interested then you wouldn’t be either?”

“Well, if that had happened I suppose I would have taken you myself. Being so eager, as you are, it wouldn’t do to have you fall into the clutches of just any vampire would it?” Mattie said playfully. “Oh, calm down I’m joking. What could’ve happened is neither here nor there. Enough questions, I thought I would invite you to lunch today. I’m supposed to meet Carmilla in about twenty minutes and thought that you might like to join us. Although, I do suggest a change of clothing. Perhaps something without animal prints?”

Laura’s questions faded away at the mention of seeing Carmilla again. As she slipped into a clean pair of jeans, Laura daydreamed about how their next encounter would go. Hopefully, they’d be able to talk now that biting was off the table. She hoped to find out if they had any similar interests. Carmilla could discuss her favorite books, and in turn, Laura would educate her about Wonder Woman who was leading the way for all female superheroes. Maybe later they could take a walk or just go upstairs and do stuff. Stuff that involved the removal of clothes.

Once she got past her initial surprise at seeing Laura again, Carmilla's mood took a turn for the worse. Her innate broodiness had morphed into unbridled hostility the longer they shared a table. She refused to acknowledge Laura’s presence, only speaking if Mattie asked her a question directly. It seemed they were back to playing the rejection game. If Carmilla didn’t want to see her then why did she show up at Laura’s room the night before?

To make matters worse, Mattie acted as if this behavior was normal and that the tension in the room wasn't threatening to boil over. She carried the conversation, asking Laura questions about school and her various interests; listening patiently as Laura rambled on about her father, her rankings of the modern Doctors from Doctor Who, and her favorite role models – currently Lois Lane.

“Personally, I would have liked to have seen more of Christopher Eccleston. One series simply wasn’t enough,” Mattie said.

Laura gasped. "You watch Dr. Who?"

"I prefer to be well-versed in many things."

Mattie was charming and never hesitated to use her thousand watt smile to dazzling effect. It didn’t take long before Laura’s attention was focused on every word that Mattie spoke. Even so, her body gravitated towards Carmilla, and only through force of will did she resist the pull. As lunch started to come to an end, Laura's phone rang and with an apologetic smile for her host, she answered it.

"Laura, thank God."

“Hey Danny.”

“I haven’t seen you in a few weeks. I went by your place, but Betty said you were on a stakeout?”

Had it been a few weeks? She’d hardly noticed. “Sorry about the disappearing act, Danny. School and stuff, you know.” Acutely away that her conversation could be heard by everyone at the table, Laura turned a little in her seat so that she was facing away from Mattie and Carmilla. “So, what’s up?”

“I thought we could go get ice cream tonight. Catch up. That place you like has a new pumpkin spice flavor.”

Laura chewed on her lip and frowned. Obviously, tonight wasn’t good. Mattie hadn’t said she had to stay at the hotel all weekend, but Laura wanted to make a good impression. “I’m busy tonight, but how about we go out Monday? We can get tacos too. My treat.”

“That sounds great. See you then,” Danny said, not even bothering to hide her excitement.

Before Laura had even managed to slip the phone back into her pocket, Carmilla asked, “Who is Danny?”

Laura's initial surprise that she was being spoken to was quickly surpassed by anger. She opened her mouth, a retort on her tongue when Mattie answered for her.

“Danny is an old girlfriend of Laura’s. I’m sure they are just friends now. It all sounds perfectly innocent if you ask me,” she supplied helpfully, in the least helpful way possible.

Laura frowned. Was she trying to create drama? If so, then she was wildly successful because Carmilla was glaring again. And that was super awkward and annoying because it’s not like they were even dating. Two bites and wall sex did not a relationship make. Besides not even five minutes ago the moody vampire refused to even speak to her. And now she was acting like Laura had done something wrong by making plans to spend time with a friend.

Talk about mixed signals. Laura was bound to end up with whiplash.

Mattie crossed her arms and appeared highly amused as she regarded the two of them. “Well, I think it’s time that I excused myself. Laura why don’t you stay here and chat with my sister for a while. I’d like you to join me for dinner though. You can spend some time getting to know our family. Kitty-cat I suggest you keep those fangs of yours retracted today.”

Carmilla sighed. Laura expected another dose of the silent treatment, but instead, the vampire started railing against her.

“What’s your game here cupcake? I don’t know what little schemes my sister is pulling, but I can promise you that I'm not interested in playing.”

Trying to have a normal conversation with Carmilla was like pulling teeth. This stupid vampire was irresistible one minute and infuriating the next. “You know what? You are full of crap. Yes, I wanted to get to know you. I don’t know why since you are one of the rudest people on the planet, but I did. However, you are way too full of yourself to make that possible. You could have said no that first night, and yeah, rejection is never fun, but I would have been fine. And last night, just in case you forgot, it was you who was being the creeper outside my door. You initiated the wall sex. And you were the one who went all possessive a minute ago when Danny called. So will you please stop acting like I’m forcing myself on you? And if you have a problem with your sister’s so-called schemes then maybe you should take that up with her.”

Clearly irritated, Carmilla's jaw clenched, but she didn’t contradict what Laura had said. “You’re right,” she admitted grudgingly. “There’s something about you. Your scent is intoxicating. I could just bury myself in it.”

“Well I do shower daily,” Laura remarked, grinning.

This earned her a glare, albeit an amused one. Carmilla sighed and crossed her arms. “The only thing that is stopping me from tearing your clothes off right now is the fact that we are in a public place.”

“That didn’t seem to stop you last night,” Laura murmured. She leaned forward, placing her elbows on the table. “Is this normal? The way I feel? And what you're feeling? The way I just keep wanting to be around you even when you are obnoxious?”

Carmilla shook her head and hesitated. Her expression was caught somewhere between concern and indifference. “No, I don’t think so. I’ve bitten people a lot of people in the past and never once gave them another thought. I don’t know why you are different, but you are.” she admitted, shrugging.

Laura smiled again. “It’s probably my winning personality. It sounded like there might have been a compliment somewhere in what you just said. So maybe instead of fighting this thing between us, we should spend some time getting to know one another?”

Carmilla smirked and waggled her eyebrows. “I thought we had been doing that. I guess I need to work harder on leaving an impression, cutie.”

Laura felt like she was on an emotional rollercoaster. One moment Carmilla acted like a child and the next she smiled and made all of Laura’s doubts fade away. “Not what I was thinking of exactly. I was hoping for something more along the lines of watching movies or just, I don’t know, going on a picnic. A date.”

"A date." Suddenly contemplative, Carmilla said, “Well a daytime picnic isn’t going to happen, but an evening one might be nice. We could watch the stars, drink champagne.” This suggestion was made with a fair amount of apprehension as if she was worried that Laura would laugh at her.

This was more like it. Laura inwardly applauded her vampire whisperer skills. “That sounds amazing. Next Friday? I have a pretty busy class schedule during the week. I would say tonight, but then your sister invited me to dinner, and I get the impression that not many people say no to her. Friday would be good too since I wouldn’t have to get up early the next morning. Not that I’m implying that we would be doing anything that would require sleeping in late.”

Carmilla’s head was tilted to the side as she regarded Laura with something like affection. “You enjoy talking.”

“And you're just now figuring this out?” Laura asked with a sheepish smile.

“Except in bed,” the vampire mused.

“Unlike you with your leather pants and all ‘ask me to bite you, Laura.’”

Carmilla leaned forward on the table until she was inches away from Laura. “Hey, we all have our roles. I happen to enjoy mine. And I have an inkling that you might enjoy yours too. I bet you think about it, don’t you? The things I could do to you. The things I want do to you. I’d love to have you on your hands and knees so I could fuck you from behind. Or to simply have you on your knees as you pleasure me. The next time we’re together, I’ll make you scream my name.”

Laura gulped. So long PG-13, it was nice knowing you. “Oh. My. God. Thirty seconds ago we were talking about picnics and stargazing and now you’ve jumped straight to BDSM.”

“You brought it up,” Carmilla said with a shameless shrug as she lifted up glass up and took a healthy drink from it.

"I did not," Laura said, enjoying the banter. She noted the red liquid and guessed it to be blood. She should have been grossed out, but she wasn’t. Was this was her new normal?

“You were the one to mention sleeping in late. What was I supposed to think?”

“You are so frustrating,” Laura said.

Carmilla’s face was carefully blank except the small curl at the corner of her mouth. “Tell you what cupcake, I’ll give you a freebie. Ask me anything.”

Laura considered her question. “What is your favorite hobby? Besides sex,” she added.

“I enjoy studying philosophy. There is something comforting about questioning your place in the universe.”

"Okay. Well, that explains the brooding." Not knowing any follow-up questions about philosophy Laura asked, “Anything you want to know about me?”

Carmilla studied her a moment. “Tell me your favorite memory. Something Mattie wouldn't have found out.”

“Oh. Yeah sure.” Laura closed her eyes and leaned her head back as she thought about a particular moment. “I was always a little smaller than the other kids. I’d get teased about it constantly. So one day after this kid pushed me down, I was sulking around the house, and my Dad decided he'd had enough. He dragged Mom and me out to the store. For months, I had been begging my parents for a kite. I picked out one and then we went to the park. What started as an awful day ended up being this absolutely perfect moment in time. Warm and breezy with a few clouds in the sky. I still remember flying that kite. My dad got it started for me and then passed the spool of string over,” Laura stopped the retelling as laughter bubbled from her lips. “Well once he let go a particularly strong gust of wind came through, and I was kind of pulled off of my feet. The kite must have dragged me ten or so feet. The whole time my dad was chasing after me, and my mom was rolling around laughing.”

“You love your family,” Carmilla said. Her eyes were soft, and a smile presented itself. A smile that was at odds with her badass persona. She was beautiful.

Laura nodded. “It was the best kind of day. Sometimes I wish I could go back and just repeat it over and over again. My turn again.”

“If you insist cutie. Last one, so you better make it good.”

“How old are you?”

Later, Laura would reflect that Carmilla appeared to be a ‘vampiric deer in the headlights.’ For now, it seemed she had asked the perfect question.


On her way to dinner that evening, Laura considered that Carmilla had a few years on her. Okay, more than a few. More than three hundred. Age notwithstanding, they had more than a few issues standing between them. Namely Laura’s need to keep all of this hidden. That probably wouldn’t go over very well. No one wanted or deserved to be another person's secret.

Was she thinking about dating Carmilla? They didn't seem to have much in common, but Laura wasn't sure that mattered. After all, the saying suggested that opposites attract. Even with the constant snark, Laura knew she would at least be willing to give it a shot. Carmilla was all she could think about, which made not trying out of the question.

She was surprised to discover that Mattie lived on the top floor of the hotel. The entire top floor. Laura wasn't sure if she was impressed or intimidated that she needed to have a member of security escort her.

When the doors opened, she was immediately taken aback by the sheer opulence. The entire floor shouted wealth. Marble floors, gold inlay on pretty much everything and, seriously, were those diamonds on the chandelier? There were also two huge paintings of Mattie that she could see, one of them that had both her and Carmilla posing together. It looked old, and in it, Carmilla was wearing a Victorian-era dress and smiling brightly. The smile caught and held her attention; it was the smile of someone who was winsome and happy. Until this moment, Laura hadn’t considered how close the sisters were. They must’ve known each other for centuries, and that would create quite the bond. Laura hadn’t been able to witness much of that side of their relationship thus far, but it made sense.

“Hey, Laura, nice to see you again,” Will greeted. “Mattie tells me you start work for her on Monday. Excited? Terrified? Both are valid choices.” He leaned in close and said conspiratorially, “Any chance I could get you to serve her a blood coffee mixture? It would be hilarious.”

“Hi Will,” Laura said smiling. “And I think you are overestimating my desire to poke bears. What you say is hilarious probably means dangerous for humans.” He had plenty of his sister’s charm. Mattie, not Carmilla. Carmilla had something that she couldn’t even begin to put a name to. “As for my feelings about working for Mattie, I’d probably say I’m more terrified than excited. I have no idea what I’ll be doing.”

He laughed gamely. “I doubt she does either. Mattie hasn’t ever had a personal assistant before. I suppose you will have to slog through it together. Come on; I’ll show you the dining room. Usually, it’s just a family gathering, but Mattie thought you might appreciate some other humans, so there are more of us tonight.”

“Is Carmilla here?”

He snickered. “Taking a liking to my sister have you? Personally, I think she's a bit of an asshole, but I suppose there has to be someone for everyone right? To answer your question, no, she rarely joins us for dinner. Family politics and all. Follow me, and I’ll get you some wine. Is red okay? I hate to admit this, but it makes me laugh when I can pretend the humans are drinking blood.”

Laura blinked. “Gross. Are you ten?”

He laughed. “I'm reconnecting with my youth.”

“Or you're simply an immature buffoon,” Mattie said from the dining room entranceway. “William, what have I said about staying away from her?”

Frowning, he said, “Hey I’m not hitting on her. We were just talking.”

Mattie nodded to the dining room, and he scurried off. She took a moment wash her gaze over Laura before saying, “Laura, you are lovely tonight. Scrumptious even. Did your talk with Carmilla go well?”

“Great actually. Well at first we fought, but then we started talking, and it was nice. We are going on a date next week.”

“Let me guess, somewhere sappy? If I know my sister, she is probably going to drag you on a moonlit walk as she recites poetry and the two of you hold hands. Although, I must admit that her behavior hasn't nearly been so predictable as of late,” Mattie said with a mischievous twinkle in her eye.

“She suggested a nighttime picnic while we stare stargaze. It sounds nice.”

Mattie released an amusing laugh that drew curious glances in their direction from other minglers. “Nevermind. She truly is predictable. She likes you, though, and that is something.”

“I asked her how old she is.”

Mattie’s eyebrow rose. “Oh really? And how are you taking it, Lolita?”

Laura grimaced. “I don’t know, it’s weird. We come from completely different worlds. How can we relate? Why would someone who has several lifetimes worth of life experience show interest in me? I don't even know if I should be sharing this with you.”

Mattie put a hand on Laura's shoulder and led them away so that they might talk in private. “Because I’m so very old? Have you considered that perhaps I’m the perfect person to ask?” She wrapped her hand around Laura’s elbow and led her over to the open balcony. The view from here was breathtaking. “Vampires who don't get themselves killed are given a chance at eternal life. The first few decades are spent chasing after all the things we thought we wanted. Eventually, some of us realize that the only thing we want is something we will never have again. A mortal life is only an attractive concept when it's no longer an option. What was the question you asked? What do you and Carmilla have in common? More than you think. You see, for vampires, a part of us always remains at that age in which we died.”

"Do you have this same longing for your humanity?"

Mattie smiled, but it didn't quite reach her eyes. "A question for another time, I think." The vampire reached out and rested a gentle hand on Laura’s shoulder. “However, you should understand something darling. While I have most certainly encouraged this dalliance you have with my sister; please know that there is not a person in this world more important to me. It’s been more than a hundred years since I’ve seen her so much as look at another girl as something other than food, or a rough tumble. Honestly, after a few hundred years or so, most vampires give up entirely on the concept of romantic love. And despite appearances, I can assure you that Carmilla hasn't.”

“Ah there’s our host,” a lyrical British accented voice said from the doorway. “And our guest of honor. Come along you two; dinner is being served.” It was Eleanor, the vampire Mattie had wanted to introduce her to the night she met Carm.

Laura once again sat next to Mattie and was grateful that some of the other guests were human. It would have been painfully awkward to be the only one eating actual food. For their part, the vampires were all drinking blood from wine glasses. Everyone was friendly, especially Will who continually tried to make her laugh by pulling ridiculous stunts that had Mattie threatening to stake him.

So why didn’t Carmilla take part in these dinners? What family politics had Will been talking about? And why didn't vampires date each other? Wouldn't that make things easier? Being with a human had to ultimately be heartbreaking as that person would die, leaving their lover alone.

Once dinner and dessert were finished the guests started excusing themselves. Before she could leave though, Mattie pulled her into a light embrace and whispered, “Be patient with her. She might surprise you.” It was these words that were on her mind as she got onto the elevator to go back to her floor.

“Care for some company?”

Laura looked up and smiled. “Oh, hey. It's Eleanor, right? Please join me. I’m on the third floor."

The vampire walked in and pressed the button for the lobby. “Only Carmilla stays here. I live nearby in an apartment a few miles away. But please, let’s dispense with the formalities. I think you and I could be great friends, so please, call me Elle.

Chapter Text

Laura felt like she was living at the hotel these days. During her first official week employed at Succombez à Moi she had only returned home twice. Home was great, but the hotel’s bathroom was practically larger than her two-bedroom apartment. Right now she was home preparing to go back to her second home. After a hectic week, where she somehow managed not to get fired and get her schoolwork done, it was finally time to prepare for her date with Carmilla.

First world problems. She had no idea what to wear. This required help. An expert. Or just a sounding board. Luckily Betty always seemed willing to fill that role.

There was one surefire way to get her roommate’s attention. “I have a date!” Laura shouted as she started piling the contents of her closet on the bed.

Betty walked into her room and frowned. “With a girl?”

“Of course a girl. What, did you think I meant, a vampire?” Laura asked with a shaky laugh as she turned away to peruse the remaining clothes in her closet. Neither the parka or the hazmat would inspire romance.

“Um, ew, necrophilia? That’s gross. No, you surprised me. Oh my god, have you and Danny made up? I almost forgot you had that thing on Monday. Did it go well? Did you have make-up sex? Please tell me there was make-up sex!”

Laura grunted and rolled her eyes. “That would be a negative, captain. No, Danny and I definitely aren’t relationship compatible.”

“Okay, so not Danny,” Betty said slowly, drawing the words out as she worked through other possibilities. “I think you’re making a mistake.” This was said under her breath, but loud enough to be heard.

“Betty,” Laura chided.

“I get it! I get it. You don’t want to go out with the super-hot girl who treats you like a princess. The one who has a killer body and looks at you like you walk on water. Oh, and have you seen her abs? I can see why you wouldn’t want to be with her.”

“Betty.” This time Laura didn’t try to hide her irritation. This conversation came up too often. And not only with her roommate. Once he met her friend, Laura’s dad often tried to push her in Danny’s direction. With Danny there were constant reminders to call, or interrogations about potential friends. It had gotten old quick. However, this was a quality in Danny that her dad loved. Why couldn’t they get that she didn’t want someone who would be so smothering?

Carmilla showed a possessive streak; something primal that flashed her eyes, a darkness that promised wanting and passion. It probably wasn’t very feminist of her, but Laura liked this quality in Carmilla. Now it just remained to be seen if the vampire possessed an overbearing suffocating quality as well. Which brought her back to her original problem.

Sighing, Laura said, “I have a date tonight so I was hoping to get some advice on what to wear. Which means no more Danny stuff okay? Please?”

Betty started fiddling around with the clothes strewn across the bed. “Fine. This girl, did she ask you or did you ask her?”

“It was me kinda. And the date idea was a bit of a tag team effort. I wanted a picnic and she wanted stargazing.”

Her roommate didn’t look impressed; in fact, she looked horrified. Betty’s idea of a great date tended to involve jello shots and beer pong. “So okay it’s going to be romantic. And boring. But hey, who am I to judge? I mean if you never ever ever want to get laid then stargazing,” this was said with an exaggerated yawn, “would be a great activity. Stargazing is like birdwatching or stamp collecting. Snore, no passion. Take my advice roomie, send the stargazer packing. You need to find someone who is a tiger in the bedroom.”

So Betty was suggesting that Laura find someone who would bite and eat her? Well that was covered. She stifled a laugh, and decided to get them back on track. “Jungle cat in bed. Got it. I’ll add that to my checklist. Now can we maybe focus on what to wear? I really want to impress her.”

“Hmm, if you want to impress her then I would suggest lacy underwear, but since you don’t have any of those then wear those red boy shorts. I think I saw a bra that would match in your underwear drawer too. Also, since she is a probably a big ole nerd you don’t want to appear too much cooler than her, so I would just go as your normal self. That way you will be on equal footing. But if things happen to take a turn for the sexy she will be totally into your almost sexy underwear. Yeah?”

"She isn't a nerd. But the red undies are a good idea. I have an inkling that she likes red. Wait," Laura blurted and stared at her roommate. “Betty, why were you going through my underwear drawer?”

~*~*~*~

Laura eventually decided on a long sleeved hunter green sweater and a pair of blue jeans. She would've worn a dress, but it didn’t seem overly practical for a nighttime picnic. She also had thrown some extra clothes into a duffel bag since she wanted to be prepared to stay the weekend. 

As she walked into Succombez à Moi that evening Laura was surprised to see Carmilla waiting for her. The vampire appeared to be engrossed in a book and was comfortably lounging in a lobby chair. Despite this, she seemed to sense Laura’s arrival the moment she entered through the doors. Her shoulders visibly relaxed more and more with each step that drew them closer together.

When she lifted her head and their eyes met, Laura noticed an intensity in Carmilla’s gaze. Some emotion there that Laura couldn’t quite decipher. Not sex focused, but something else entirely. Expectation?

“Hi.” Laura lifted one of her hands in greeting. Why did this feel so awkward?

A slight smile and then, “Hey. I wasn’t sure you would come.”

Laura set her backpack and duffel on the floor and took a seat next to her. “Why wouldn’t I come? We did make a date. Or was that all in my head? We could always call it off and I could see if Mattie needs any more filing done,” she teased.

Carmilla snorted and said, “Sure, if you want to send her running away in terror. Not sure I’ve ever seen my sister more grateful for the weekend. She said you are a menace. I heard you blew up a microwave, and somehow managed to shred some legal documents that a courier delivered. So yeah, if you showed up now she would either run screaming or drain you dry. Don't think that she wouldn't.”

“Yes, I did blow up the microwave, but the shredding thing wasn’t completely my fault. That courier kept crossing herself. I thought those documents were religious propaganda,” she defended with an exasperated huff.

"Sounds entirely justified then."

Laura lowered her head for a moment before giving the vampire a sideways glance. "Hey Carm, can I ask you a question?"

"I don't know, can you?"

"Ugh, are made of sarcasm?"

Carmilla didn't try to hide her amusement. "That's your question? Then yes, cupcake, I am made of sarcasm and homosexuality."

"Well at least there is one positive there." Laura sighed. "I wanted to ask... I wanted to ask if this date is real? Are you interested in me for the times I won't be your dinner? Or your you know,” she said as she made a suggestive motion with her hands.

"Donut hole?" 

"Hookup," Laura blurted. To her mortification, this was said loudly enough to draw a few stares.

Carmilla chuckled briefly before growing contemplative. "I don't have any real answers that won't come off as vampire crap. But, I want you close. Something inside me settles when you are nearby, when your attention is focused on me."

Like she could be focused on anything else. Like from the moment they met Laura had even thought about anyone, anything, else. "So that means you'll want a second date?"

Carmilla rolled her eyes and said, "That means I'd like to actually start this one. Come on, we should get going."

Laura immediately perked up. “Going? Where are we going? How are we getting there? Do you have a car?”

Instead of answering, the vampire stood up and tucked her book into the side pocket of Laura’s backpack. She easily hefted both bags onto one shoulder and held out her other hand for Laura. 

“Let me guess, come with you if I want to live?”

Carmilla quirked her eyebrow and stared.

“Oh come on! It’s the Terminator. Pop culture is wasted on you. Alright let’s go.” Interlacing her fingers with Carmilla’s felt natural. And just a little bit thrilling.

The vampire led her to a black sedan just like the one that had taken her home before. The bags were deposited in the trunk and soon they were both seated in the back of the roomy vehicle.

“Where are we going?” Laura asked as she settled in. She wanted to move closer to Carmilla, to touch her.

Carmilla smiled and took hold of her hand again. She seemed to enjoy the contact just as much as Laura did. “My family’s estate. You wanted a picnic and we couldn’t really see the stars well here in the city. It’ll take about an hour or so to get there.”

“You… you have an estate?”

“My family does. I usually stay in the city with Mattie, but I thought that my home would be more appropriate for this evening of infinite possibilities,” Carmilla said, trailing her fingers along Laura’s jaw. The vampire’s dark eyes seemed fathomless as she leaned in and brushed against Laura’s jaw. Then she placed another at the corner of her mouth. And then, close enough so that they breathed the same air, Carmilla whispered, “You bewitch me.” The kiss that followed wasn’t anything like the others they shared. It started as a slow, a gentle exploration. Carmilla seemed patiently intent on learning all of the things that made her hum. Their lips moved together in a dance that , until finally, Carmilla pressed her tongue against Laura’s lips, asking for invitation.

Her heartbeat ratcheted up significantly as the vampire’s tongue stroked against hers over and over again. Laura hardly even noticed when she was lifted up and settled so that she was straddling Carmilla’s thighs. Two strong hands ran down her back until they cupped and kneaded the cheeks of her ass. Not quite rough, but firm, possessive. Laura knew she was grinding her hips into Carmilla’s stomach. Knew and didn’t care. The heat between them felt dangerous; it sizzled and threatened to consume, and yet still she did not care. Being lost in Carmilla felt remarkably like being found.

“Ow!” Laura hissed and pulled back. “I cuth my thung on your fangths.” The fangs in question had emerged during their brief make-out session. This was an unnecessary explanation as those dark eyes turned red at the scent of blood and she was drawn back in. Their kiss grew markedly more aggressive now as Carmilla seemed determined to devour her whole. She could taste her own blood and knew that it was driving Carmilla crazy with lust. Suddenly their positions were flipped and Laura was being pushed firmly into the seat. Right as Laura was feeling very happy about the privacy screen in the car, the weight on her body disappeared and she was left alone wondering what had just happened. Carmilla was sitting as far away from her as possible while still being seated in the car. Any further and she would be hanging out the window. Her eyes were closed and she had her head bent. Laura could hear a low ragged growl that seemed to come from deep within the vampire.

Laura reached out her hand, intending to comfort. “Carm are you okay? Did I do something wrong?”

“No, stay back. I need a minute. You smell so good; gods what you do to me,” the vampire muttered in between shaky breaths.

The scent thing again. Laura wondered if maybe it really was her body wash. Or her shampoo. She had recently changed brands and considered that maybe dating would be easier for everyone if they just found the right combination of personal care supplies. 

“It wasn’t supposed to go like this. I wanted to show you that,” Carmilla paused and laughed derisively, “I want you to not feel like a meal.”

Laura slid forward until she was once again nestled against the vampire. “I don't. Not really. Also, maybe I haven’t made this clear, but I love the way you touch me. I feel comfortable with you.” She hesitated, then asked, “Can I ask why you didn’t want to go into my room last time? I mean what happened was all rawr and super-hot, but it seemed, I don’t know, like you were avoiding getting too close.”

Carmilla pulled their bodies together and nuzzled her face against Laura’s neck. “I wanted you, but I was trying to remain distant. Sex is one thing. Sex followed by cuddling is another. Mattie made sure to voice some of her opinions after that happened. She said that you deserve better and she’s right. I want tonight to be different.”

The car rolled to a gentle stop and the partition cracked open slightly. Probably to preserve their privacy if needed. “Ma’am we’ve arrived at the cottage.”

“Thank you. Can you make sure Laura’s bags get inside?” 

Carmilla didn’t wait for a response as she once again interlaced their fingers and pulled Laura from the car. The cottage was really more a mini castle. It definitely had kind of a medieval look to it. The moonlight illuminated the building so that the castle looked both beautiful and ominous. 

“Is this your castle?”

Glancing over at the building in question, Carmilla took a moment to answer. “Yes. Mother built it for me a long time ago,” she paused, “it was an apology of sorts. Perhaps a little pretentious, but private. Anyways follow me and watch your footing; the ground can be a little uneven along this path.”

“I bet this is beautiful during the day,” Laura said as she looked at the canopy of trees above them. Slivers of moonlight sprinkled through and the romance of this experience was breathtaking.

“I wouldn’t know. I’ve never seen it during the day. Besides, even in life, I’ve always preferred the night. We’re almost there.”

They walked along quietly for a while, their fingers held loosely together, but Laura didn’t think the silence felt awkward. Carmilla’s family obviously had a lot of money. She supposed that only made sense since many of them were very old, having had time to accumulate this kind of wealth.

Eventually they came upon an area that had been cleared of trees. In the center of the clearing, next to the stump of an old oak, lay a blanket that had been spread out. On top of that sat a picnic basket. Carmilla ran her thumb over Laura's knuckles and seemed to be nervously awaiting her reaction. Somewhat of a contradiction to the confident side the vampire generally presented.

“Champagne too. Wow, do you pull out the stops for all of your dates Carm?”

The vampire snorted, “Is that a not so subtle attempt to find out if there are other girls? Honestly, it’s been a long time since anyone has captured my interest. Mattie, who takes meddling to a whole new level, has been trying for years to find someone worthy of my attention. That hasn’t happened, until now.”

Laura took a few steps away to put some distance between them. Their hands, as if possessing a will of their own, clung together until finally fingertips were pulled apart. She spread her arms wide and with a wry smile asked, “Why me? What makes me worthy? I’m nineteen-years-old Carm. You’ve got all this life experience. Literally lifetimes of experience! And me? This is the second real date I’ve ever been on and oh my god please kill me because I’m ruining it.”

Carmilla stepped forward until they once again shared the same space. She raised her hand and gently tucked Laura’s hair behind her ear before trailing fingers down to the place on her neck that had first been bitten. The marks had long since faded, but sometimes she could still feel each puncture, a ghostly ache. Carmilla briefly traced her fingers around them and then raised her eyes to meet Laura’s. “Come on, sit down and then we can talk. I bet you are hungry. I think there might be cupcakes, cupcake.”

“Well who am I to say no to treats?” Laura said as she got comfortable and began searching through the basket to find things she would like. “Oh, this all looks really good. I’m not sure you brought enough food though. What if we have to hold up here for more than a month?” she joked. “Seriously, did you think we would eat all of this tonight?”

Carmilla leaned back against the tree stump and shrugged. “I told one of Mother’s servants to pack us some food. We can take the rest of it inside with us later.”

Laura nodded and loaded up a small plate with cookies and brownies. She could almost hear her father’s voice reminding her to balance her food groups so she added two grapes be healthy. When finished she offered the plate to Carmilla who shook her head.

“Tell me about stargazing,” Laura requested after a bite of a chocolate chunk cookie.

“The stars are beautiful, and peaceful. No matter how old and powerful someone is, they are but a blink of the eye in comparison to the universe. They sooth me.”

Laura chewed on her lip for a moment and then said, “I’m pretty sure you aren’t talking about yourself,” and then after a moment’s hesitation, “or Mattie, when you say old and powerful?”

Carmilla’s laughter was laced with bitterness when she replied, “No, definitely not Mattie or I.”

"You and Mattie are close." This was an obvious truth, but Laura hoped to keep her talking. She wanted to know more about Carmilla. She wanted to know everything.

She brushed some of Laura's hair off of her forehead and said, "Mattie saved me. Ever since I was raised we've had a connection, there was something there. During those early years when I felt so lost it was Mattie who kept me sane.” Absentmindedly, Carmilla lifted Laura’s hand and pulled it into her lap. “A few years back, I nearly died after taking a run at a fish god that was threatening Mother's claim to power. After that, I was in a vampire equivalent of a coma. I slept for a long while. Even when everyone else had written me off, Mattie never gave up on getting me back. She kept me with her, and Mother was more than happy to toss me aside now that I was no longer useful. There's no one more important to me than Mattie." 

Carmilla didn’t seem willing to offer more as she grew quiet and settled her gaze on the stars above them. This was heavy stuff for a first date. Laura didn’t want to have her withdraw and thought maybe she should let the past lie for the time being. She also didn't want to go all Fatale Attraction obsessive on her either. 

Deciding to lighten the mood Laura said, “Tell me more about the stars. Beginner course please. Which ones are these?”

And like a light clicking on, the mood suddenly changed. Carmilla’s eyes danced over her body and she said, “Come here, lean against me and I’ll show you.”

Without words Laura set her plate of remaining cookies and two grapes on top of the picnic basket and crawled over to Carmilla. The vampire had spread her legs into a ‘v’ so that Laura could settle between them. As she relaxed into Carmilla’s embrace she wondered about the incredible ease of their intimacy. It hadn’t been like this with Danny. Sweet, wonderful Danny who was always gentle and considerate. Danny, who would make her father so proud. And yet, her touch made Laura cringe on those few times they got too close. This would be so much easier, why couldn’t it be Danny?

As long as "more" was left out of it they generally had a great friendship. But the most interesting thing about their ice cream date last Monday had been a text message from Ell and the end when Laura had finally been able to go home.

She felt like she was in a spiraling freefall into this world of vampires. Her friends weren’t asking questions yet, but she knew she couldn’t keep this part of her life a secret forever.

“Penny for your thoughts?” Carmilla said into her hair. The vampire’s arms were wrapped loosely around Laura’s waist and it safe and warm and wonderful.

Laura hummed in contentment. “I was just thinking about how I like being here with you, being held by you,” she replied. She felt her hair being swept to the side and then a small kiss placed on her neck. Once again the place of the bite. It was clear that this meant something to Carmilla.

“Ready for your astronomy 101?” Carmilla pointed into the sky. “Look up there to our left,” she said and used her pointer finger to trace the stars of a constellation. “That is Ursa Major, also called the great bear. There's the Big Dipper. Do you see it? It’s called an asterism, and it is composed of the seven brightest stars in Ursa Major.”

The vampire’s tone had a soothing effect and Laura relaxed further into Carmilla’s arms. When she woke up a short time later she was mortified to realize that she had fallen asleep. 

“Oh good, you’re awake. I was starting to think that I was boring you,” the vampire said drolly. Laura tried to pull away so that she might apologize, but Carmilla held her in place with one gentle hand. “I think you should make it up to me buttercup.”

“I could give you a cookie?”

“I do have something sweet in mind so you’re on the right track. Try again.” She lifted Laura up so that she could then lay her down on the blanket. 

Laura felt her heart rate speed up as she watched Carmilla stand up and pull the t-shirt she was wearing up over her head. The vampire then toed off her boots, managing to somehow look graceful as she did so, before kicking them onto the grass. “Okay, just for clarity’s sake, are you referring to the cheese danish I saw in the basket or are we talking about s-e-x now?”

“Definitely the pastry,” Carmilla replied as she unbuttoned her pants and pushed them past her hips, revealing surprisingly lacey black thong. 

She was really starting to see the benefits of falling asleep during astronomy lessons. “I’m pretty sure I know the answer to this, but when you say pastry, you are talking about me right?”

“You know cupcake, I’ve been wondering if that mouth of yours is good for other things. Care to find out?” Carmilla asked as she added her panties to the growing pile of discarded clothing.

And then there was a naked vampire smirking down at her. She was so beautiful and confident. Flawless skin and breasts that a plastic surgeon couldn't achieve. The ideal combination of seductress and predator.

Laura knew vampires had a certain perfection about them. A weaponized beauty. Had even seen that weapon in action several times now since becoming a part of this world. But to her, Carmilla was so much more attractive than the others. She couldn't explain it, but no one else could compare.

Carmilla gracefully moved forward and lowered herself to straddle Laura's hips. She leaned back and seemed content to allow her a moment to relax. As if that were even possible. Laura had been reasonably sure sex was coming on this date so why hadn’t she prepared better? Like tongue push-ups. Or maybe she could have watched a how to video. Did they make how to videos for oral sex or was that what porn was for? YouTube pretty much had videos for everything. Oh god, she should have prepared.

“Breathe out creampuff. Talk to me.”

“You’re naked,” Laura said dumbly while alternating her gaze from Carmilla’s breasts to the trimmed landing strip between her thighs. 

“Nice catch there Sherlock. It’ll be your turn soon, but as for right now,” she paused and grinned wickedly, “I think you owe me one.”

She was still nodding her wholehearted agreement when the vampire scooted forward and placed her knees on either side of Laura’s head. This was equal parts amazing and terrifying. Mostly amazing because her gay happened to be bursting into rainbows. Laura was fairly certain that carpe diem wasn’t referring to oral sex, but it did seem appropriate at the moment. She brushed her tongue tentatively through Carmilla’s folds. And then again. The flavor wasn’t quite sweet, but still not unpleasant either. The vampire didn’t lower herself immediately so Laura had to stretch her neck so that she might get another taste. And when she got close Carmilla pulled just out of her reach and grinned.

Laura knew her glare achieved its desired goal because the Carmilla laughed and eased back down to Laura’s waiting mouth. She had two immediate thoughts; this was going to be messy and more alarming was that she had no idea what she was doing. 

She remembered overhearing two guys in a class last year talking about how they spelled out the alphabet when pleasuring girls. She was a bit dubious on the ability of college aged boys to please any girl, but the method seemed as good as any for the inexperienced.

The alphabet started to grow boring after the letter “C”. Perhaps she could write out sentences instead?

P-E-G-G-Y C-A-R-T-E-R K-I-C-K-S B-U-T-T

Carmilla moaned and Laura just knew she was on the right track. Maybe there was some wisdom in this theory after all? It just required tweaking. Now she needed something great to follow that up with.

C-O-S-I-M-A I-S T-H-E H-O-T-T-E-S-T C-L-O…

Carmilla leaned back and looked down at Laura as if she were insane. “Creampuff what are you doing down there?”

Laura frowned and asked, “Oh, are you not an Orphan Black fan?”

“What?”

Oops, so maybe the boys in her class were stupid. “Um, I was doing the alphabet.”

It took all of two seconds for the Carmilla’s look of confusion to turn into a burst of laughter which made Laura want to hide under a very large rock. Unfortunately, she was stuck between the thighs of a hot vampire. Well maybe unfortunate wasn’t the right word.

“Don’t pout. It’s easy sometimes to forget how innocent you are. How about I lend a hand this time around? We’ll have some pleasurable lessons in the future.”

Laura narrowed her eyes. “Lend a hand how?”

The vampire winked. “Tell you what, if you need to come up for air give me a pinch.” She had maybe a few seconds to prepare before Carmilla settled back over her. This time she ran her fingers through Laura’s hair before gripping it tight. “Keep your tongue firm.”

She wasn’t sure exactly what was happening until the vampire started leisurely grinding her labia over Laura’s tongue and nose. Soon enough Carmilla quickened her pace and held nothing back on her moans. She definitely wasn’t worried about being discovered if the constant chants of “oh fuck” meant anything. Laura had one coherent reoccurring thought. This experience was the most incredible of her life, and grew more so the rougher it became. Watching Carmilla writhe and use her for pleasure was the stuff of fantasies Laura never even knew she had.

When the command of, “Suck on my clit,” came Laura felt mostly equal to the task. She took that sensitive part of Carmilla between her lips and did as commanded. Then in a small burst of inspiration she decided to personalize the experience with small strokes of her tongue.

l-a-u-r-a w-a-s h-e-r-e

Carmilla’s entire body stiffened for several moments and then she slumped forward, catching herself with one hand before she fell too far. After a few quick breaths she moved down Laura’s body until she could kneel above her. “That was incredible creampuff, and now I plan to fuck you within an inch of your life,” she said just before she shredded Laura’s shirt and bra. 

“Um, I could have just taken those off,” she complained. It was a halfhearted complaint though because the vampire’s breasts were in her face. 

“My way is faster. Don't worry I'll get you some new ones,” Carmilla replied as she reached forward and ran her thumbs over one of Laura's nipples. She bit her lip and groaned at the sensation which made all of the cells in her body dance a happy jig. This elicited a please smile from the vampire. Carmilla's touch always made her nerve endings come alive in the most delicious way. Luckily her pants and shoes fared better during their removal than her top garments.

She felt like she should feel self-conscious in her nudity, but mostly her senses were on overload. And the way that Carmilla stared down at her made Laura feel beautiful and desired. 

“Kiss me please,” Laura pleaded. She tried to reach for her, but Carmilla caught both of her wrists and pinned them down next to Laura’s head. The kiss that followed was fierce and all consuming. They were both breathing hard as they parted and she watched in amazement as the whites of Carmilla’s eyes clouded into a deep red. A primal animalistic quality seemed to overtake the vammpire and Laura was fascinated that even her irises changed into something a little catlike in shape.

“You’re mine,” Carmilla growled. She was vibrating with an energy that she seemed barely in control of. “No one else will touch you.”

She seemed to be waiting for some response so Laura replied, “Yes, yours.”

The vampire’s fangs were buried in her neck a moment later and Laura’s breath caught deep in her chest as she held back a cry. This time Carmilla didn’t drink as deeply and pulled back after sucking on the wounds for only a few brief moments. 

“You know you could warn a girl before you do that,” she chastised once the pain faded a bit.

Carmilla didn’t seem sorry. At all. This was made evident by her cheeky smile, with lips stained red by Laura’s blood. “Is that a real complaint?”

“Yes. No. Maybe.”

“Well here’s your chance to find out for sure cupcake. I’m going to do it again. And again.” She released Laura’s hands and moved lower so that she could pull one of Laura’s nipples into her mouth. Carmilla sucked and nibbled at it until it felt tender and Laura thought she might beg for mercy. Her left breast then got the same treatment even as the vampire’s hand trailed down to the apex of her thighs and began massaging and rubbing her through her underwear.

“You are so beautiful, like a sunrise that was meant for me alone,” Carmilla said just before sinking her fangs into the side of Laura's breast. The pain was expected this time, and it blended into something incredible with the help of that amazing hand between her legs. Laura threaded her fingers through Carmilla’s hair to hold her in place. Just as before, she didn’t drink long, and hardly seemed interested in the blood that continued to trickle past the punctures once she pulled away.

Some part of Laura knew that this wasn't a feeding like before. Instead she got the distinct impression that this was the vampire version marking one’s territory. A little angel on her shoulder suggested to her that maybe she was in over her head, but that part of her was completely drowned out by the devil on the other side who was twerking and doing hip thrusts as it spun around on a stripper’s pole. She visualized the angel and devil high-fiving though when Carmilla ripped her panties away and eased two fingers inside. 

Carmilla sat up straight so that she could watch those fingers enter Laura’s body over and over. “I love you like this, spread open for me, only for me. Tell me what you need cupcake.”

“Faster,” she pleaded.

“Can you come?” This was asked just as she added a thumb to Laura’s clit which definitely influenced her answer.

The combination of the rhythmic thrusting with the pleasant lingering ache of the bite caused her to spill over in an intensely satisfying way. Her body wanted to relax, but Carmilla didn’t stop, she just added a slight curl to her fingers. Small kisses were placed against her belly. Soon those fangs entered her again just above her hip and this time Laura tried to pull away. “Carm, that hurts.” In response the vampire added a third finger and rubbed her clit faster which eased the sting to a tolerable level. Enough to have her sighing in pleasure again.

Carmilla used her free hand to knead Laura’s breast as she continued to drink. Laura could see spots at the edge of her vision and knew that another orgasm wasn’t far off. Was it possible to dread and yearn for something at the same time?

“Don’t stop. Oh, oh don’t stop,” Laura begged.

Carmilla didn’t stop. If anything, she added more force into her movements, rocking Laura’s body with near violent thrusts. This orgasm inspired fingernails to be raked down the vampire’s back. Laura wasn't allowed a moment's rest as Carmilla settled her head between her thighs. “I swear to god if you bite me there I will stake you,” she said weakly.

Carmilla’s laughter rang out and this intimacy felt all kinds of wonderful. She wanted to protest that she didn’t have an unlimited number of these orgasms and maybe they should save a few for later, but then the vampire’s tongue pushed inside and Laura decided save that complaint for another time. Instead she stared up at the sky and thanked her lucky stars.

~*~*~*~

Later that night a beeping sound woke her up out of a dead sleep and she realized she was lying in a comfortable bed with a heavy weight on top of her. Carmilla. The vampire was wrapped around her and seemed to even have a possessive streak in sleep. A broody, often cranky vampire who was a secret cuddler. 

Laura vaguely remembered falling asleep after their lovemaking. At some point Carm must have carried her back to her castle.

Laura heard the beeping again and recognized it as her phone which Carm must have brought in as well. She stretched her arm out and was able to grab it off of the bedside table. 

Four messages from three different people. 

<Dad 7:49 pm> Hey honey just checking in hope u r doing okay haven’t seen u on the bookface or the tumbler call me soon. 

<Danny 8:22 pm> Really enjoyed having dinner with you earlier this week!!! Maybe we can do it again soon? I bet there are some movies we would both love to see! We should totally do this more often!! Let me know! :)

<Ell 11:40 pm> How was your date? Did she eat you alive?

<Ell 11:53 pm> Well, you must be occupied. Let’s do lunch next week and you can tell me all about it. Can't wait to share.

Ugh, when did her life get to be so complicated? Also was Carmilla purring in her sleep?

 

Chapter Text

Laura groaned and slapped at her phone which wouldn’t stop ringing. Carm was no help at all. The vampire just snuggled in closer which prevented her from reaching the phone before it went to voicemail. The phone immediately started ringing again so she wrestled further out of Carmilla’s grasp and was able to get a hand on it. Mattie’s scowling face flashed on the screen. The picture curtesy of a

“Hi Mattie, its Saturday. It’s 6am. It’s 6am on a Saturday,” she mumbled.

“Yes, thank you for that; I wasn’t aware. I’m honestly not sure how I muddled through my days before you arrived with so much pertinent information,” Mattie replied, adding a little something extra into her sarcasm. “I’ve requested a car to collect you in an hour.”

“Um, its Saturday. My day off,” Laura repeated. “You know, the day you told me not to come into work. Also, I feel really drained. I need to catch up on sleep.”

Mattie sighed, as if putting up with Laura were an exercise in futility. “Now isn’t the time to discuss your sex life. I could use your assistance this morning. I’ve finally figured out something you can do for my hotel that hopefully won’t cause too much wanton destruction.”

Laura squirmed further away from Carmilla who snarled in her sleep and pulled her back into a possessive cuddle. She definitely wasn’t feeling great; like she could use fifty hours of sleep, but decided that arguments with Mattie weren’t meant to be won. In a resigned tone she asked, “And this something couldn’t wait until a time that isn’t my day off?”

Mattie said, “No, definitely not. I had a brilliant idea and decided to put it into action. Besides darling, you must understand, I am vampire therefore I do what I want.” Click.

“Stupid head, stupid bossy face vampire,” Laura muttered as she pried Carmilla’s arm away from her waist and slid out of bed. The slumbering vampire growled and kneaded Laura’s pillow with one hand. Weirdo.

Once in the shower she quickly washed and rinsed her hair before making use of Carmilla’s body wash. Just as she was about to finish up, Laura ran her hands over her hip and winced. “Ow!” Looking down she saw that Carm’s bite from last night hadn’t healed at all. If anything it looked a little worse; inflamed with angry red lines leading away from the punctures. The entire area felt tender and sore to the touch. Laura ran her fingers up and over the other bites, but only found smooth skin. Maybe going into work today would be a good thing? She could have Dr. Summers take a look at it. In the meantime, a couple of band-aids she found in the medicine cabinet would do the trick. 

Once she was dressed and ready to leave she wrote a quick note to Carmilla explaining why their morning was interrupted and that she hoped to see her this evening. She added a big smiley face at the end for good measure. Laura wondered if all vampire-human relationships came with these intense feelings of need and attachment. With reluctance she gathered her bags and went outside where a car was waiting for her. 

By the time she arrived at Succombez à Moi, Laura was a little more clear-headed and seemingly out of the fog she had woken up in. A cup of coffee later and she felt almost chipper, ready to take on the world.  

As she opened the door to her boss’s office she said, “Hi Mattie! Thank you so much for being the first voice I heard this beautiful morning! I can’t begin to say how thrilled I am that you called to wake me up. Your sister sleeps like the dead by the way. And no that wasn’t a joke. Do you need any coffee or blood? Oh, have you considered trying a coffee-blood combo? We could call it Bloodee! Caffeinated blood for the modern vampire,” she said as if this were a sales pitch before breaking into a huge smile. “Get it? Bloodee? With double e’s.”

Mattie was made of stone and didn’t crack even the smallest of smiles. Which was her usual reaction whenever Laura attempted humor. Rather than be deterred, she took this as an indication to try harder. Laura Hollis wasn’t a quitter. Besides she knew for a fact that the vampire found her amusing.

“Okay, so what was your great idea o’ fearless leader?” she asked as she plopped into the chair in front of Mattie’s desk. The blinds behind the vampire were pulled shut as they usually were during the day. 

“I don’t frighten you at all, do I? Don’t answer that,” she said with a wave of her hand, “it was rhetorical. In addition to your duties as my assistant I thought you would be an excellent choice to be a liaison of sorts between us and the humans who wish to be blood donors. You, after all, are in a successful relationship with a vampire.”

Laura frowned and said, “We’ve literally had one date.”

“Young love is blossoming in the air,” Mattie replied primly.

“Okay, your sister is over 300 years old. Not exactly young. Also nobody said anything about love.”

“A May-December romance for the ages.”

“What? Ew. Stop trying to put a spin on it. Besides we don’t have a definition for it yet. I mean we aren’t together.” Starting something with Carmilla sounded great, but there was no way she wanted Mattie to be the conductor of her theoretical relationship. 

Mattie raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow and her lips curved into a tiny smile. “Does Carmilla know this? Vampires can be very possessive,” she advised in a singsong voice, clearly enjoying the topic at hand. “We don’t like interlopers encroaching on our territory.”

Laura groaned and decided to change the subject. Mattie had prying for information down to an art form. She and Carmilla hadn’t even talked about this stuff. “So you want me to show your new juice boxes that the vampire life is safe? What would be involved with that?”

“Perhaps you can start by not calling them juice boxes. You may refer to yourself and others who have been bitten as Source Donors. This is the term that polled the highest with our test groups. I’d prefer that when outside this room you always use politically correct terminology. It makes the little people feel safe.”

She snorted and rolled her eyes. Mattie had this infuriating ability to be charming and condescending at the exact same time. “Got it. When talking to the ‘little people’ I should only use pre-approved words. Anything else?”

“Be completely honest. To a point. There is no need to embellish or downplay what happens. Be wary of the crazies. They’re usually obvious about waving the psycho flag, so you won’t have to look hard.”

Laura grinned and bounced in her chair. “This should be fun! I can practice my journalism skills. Oh maybe one day I can write a memoir and call it Interview With a Vampire’s Juice Box.”

Mattie blinked. “Somehow you manage to pull off adorable and annoying in one breathe. It’s remarkable. If you weren’t so damn likable I’d have drained you by now. Enough of this,” she said with a dismissive wave of her hand. “There is a young woman arriving today who is interested in what we offer. I’d like you to speak with her and ease any fears she might have. Get a feel for her personality; try to determine if she would fit in with our program. In a professional manner. Keep the vampire jokes at zero.”

With an affirmative nod and a thumbs up Laura replied, “Got it. Be professional. I’m ready.”

“We’ll see. You’ll be assisting one of our vampire scientists who tends to get overly nervous when talking to,” she paused, “well anyone. I think the two of you will get along well enough and should prove to be a competent team in alleviating the fears of those who are interested in joining our little family.”

“Wait, isn’t that your job?” she asked, confused. “You met with me.”

“Consider yourself special. My time is valuable and it’s my hope that you can help weed out some of those who wouldn’t fit in with our program. If they get past you then perhaps I’ll have them speak to someone with clout,” she said off handily. “Go to the lab and ask for JP Armitage. Let him answer the girl’s technical questions; you’ll be there to reassure her that the vampires at Succombez à Moi only have her best interests in mind. Feel free to answer questions about how the bite feels, your personal recovery time, etcetera. It’s my hope that by having someone on staff who has experienced a vampire bite and dare I say, enjoyed it, we can convince more people to become source donors.”

“And you’ve never had someone working for you that has been bitten?”

Mattie showed off her rather impressive predator smile, fangs exposed, and said, “Not anyone so… wholesome. Besides you belong to us now which makes you the perfect representative. Enough talk. Run along and meet with Mr. Armitage. Try to determine this girl’s suitability.”

Before Laura could argue about how people weren’t possessions, the office door was flung open and Ell strode into the room in a righteous fury.

“Dammit Matska, I thought you said that I would be next. I want to talk about this,” Ell hissed before noticing Laura’s presence. Her demeanor immediately changed and she smiled warmly. Well more like the way a cat would smile at a mouse. Which she was coming to understand was typical for most vampires. “Hello Laura. How wonderful it is to see you again. You look lovely. You never did answer my text message last night so I must assume you were otherwise occupied. I can’t say I’m surprised, because you look like a delectable morsel even if you are beginning to smell like her,” Ell purred suggestively as she moved into Laura’s personal space and played with the collar of her shirt.

Okay, awkward. She quickly backed up a few steps to put some space between the two of them. “Um, thank you?” Was there proper etiquette for responding to a vampire’s form of a compliment? You smell so good, I could just eat you, literally. Mm, look your neck, I could just sink my teeth into that. Wait Ell just said... “What did you mean by that? I smell like her? Did you mean Carmilla?” 

Instead of answering, Ell stared at her in astonishment before she turned to Mattie and said, “Unbelievable. She is completely immune to my thrall. How is that possible?”

Mattie was around the desk so fast that Laura’s eyes couldn’t discern the movement until the woman had a hand on her lower back and she was being escorted out of the office. “Off you go Laura. Make me proud today.”

And just like that she was outside the office with a door being shut in her face. What just happened? Ell said something about thrall. Who could she ask for answers? Mattie was too shrewd, just as likely to offer misdirection as she would truth. Ell might be willing to talk, but seemed to want something from her. Laura wasn’t sure if she was comfortable even finding out what that might be. She made a mental note to see if Carmilla could cast some light on her questions. Although, she wondered if her loyalty to Mattie might prevent Carm from being entirely forthcoming.  

The more she thought about it, the more Laura realized she should have been asking questions sooner. Between school, this job, and the attentions of an incredibly hot vampire Laura felt like she had been in a haze of easy acceptance. Which was strange because normally she questioned everything. Well no more sleep walking through her days. She had a mystery to solve. And she would get right on that just as soon as she did Mattie’s bidding. Like a good little minion of darkness.

JP Armitage turned out to be charmingly nervous and eerily familiar. Although Laura was sure she would have remembered him if they had met before. 

“So very thrilled to make your acquaintance Ms. Hollis,” he said in a crisp British accent. “I had hoped we might find a moment to converse now that you are working at the hotel. Generally, I must admit that I rarely find occasion to leave the lab, but I was absolutely thrilled for the chance to meet face to face.” 

Laura smiled and said, “You seem to know a lot about me.”

“Yes, well, humans such as yourself are the reason I love to pursue the sciences. I’m a vampire of course. Not always. Actually only for the last seventy years or so. Quite young for one of my kind. I must say, you have the most fascinating blood and I’ve been marveling for weeks at how it reacts with-” he paused and seemed to catch himself. “I apologize. Sometimes I forget myself and blather on endlessly. Perhaps we should go meet our guest?”

Soon enough they were introducing themselves to a pretty brunette named Rebecca. Her curly hair was so out of control it looked like she had stuck a finger in an electrical socket. “Are you one of them, a vampire?” she asked Laura with a sly smile and an unhealthy amount of interest. Did she just caress her own breast? Oh god, was this girl actually pinching her own nipple? 

“Ah no. I just work for one of them. Definitely not a vampire. Totally planning on dying in sixty or seventy years,” she replied with wide eyes. 

Her denial left poor JP to be the sole focus of the girl’s attention. “Oh that must mean you are the vampire! I was hoping for a guy, but a friend of mine told me that most of the vampires here are of the taco variety so I figured it had to be that one,” she said with a vague gesture in Laura’s direction. “I would’ve made due for the chance to be with one of your kind, but I’m totally down with the sausage if you know what I mean.”

JP stared at the girl before throwing a helpless glance at Laura. “Um, no I’m afraid I don’t understand. Are you saying you prefer American cuisine? I believe the dining room serves many varieties,” he replied anxiously. Somehow he had managed to back himself into a corner only to be followed by an enthusiastic Rebecca.

Recognizing JP’s need of a rescue, Laura stepped between them and said, “Reign yourself in there, Putty Tat. JP isn’t Tweety Bird.”

Without taking her gaze off of him the girl inquired, “But he is a vampire right?” 

Somehow Laura managed to rescue JP from the corner and led him over to a loveseat. She was startled when she was pulled down next to him and he had a rather punishing grip on her wrist.

“Please sit with me while we interview our guest,” he requested through clenched teeth. “Um, please, Ms. Rebecca why don’t you sit across from us while we get to know, um, while we ask you some questions. Laura ask her some questions,” he said and thrust his clipboard into her hands.

Laura looked down at the questionnaire and it seemed straightforward enough. “Okay, so what drew you to Succombez à Moi?”

Rebecca didn’t take her eyes off of JP and licked her lips repeatedly before she answered. “I was reading this book about this girl who falls in love with these two guys. And the guys are brothers, so totally hot right? Anyways she can’t choose between them because they are twins so eventually she decides that she loves them both. Well it turns out they are vampires who have to have sex and blood to survive! She found this out because they glow in the dark. I thought that was so cool. So eventually she has sex with them and they decide they can’t bear to have her grow old and ugly so they turn her into a vampire so she can be young for them forever. It was the most romantic thing I could imagine and I realized that I wanted to be in a relationship just like that.” 

Laura felt confused and tried to formulate a response, but before she could Rebecca started talking again.

“So I knew then that I wanted to try the vampire thing right? I just needed to know if I would be cool with the biting. Well I talked to my boyfriend and he agreed to bite me, and I thought it was great! Here check out my scar,” she said and pulled the collar of her blouse to the side. 

Laura could clearly see two rows of healed teeth marks where it looked like said boyfriend had tried to take a chunk of flesh out of her. Laura blew out a breath and wondered if Mattie were punishing her for something. It just wasn’t possible that this girl was random. Mattie was likely having a great laugh as she watched the video of this ineptitude. 

JP wasn’t any help, he just quietly beside Laura and stared at the girl like she was insane. Laura asked, “And this experience was positive because…? I mean that’s a pretty impressive scar, all raised and angry looking.”

“Oh it was like totally awesome! I just loved the way it felt so I kept having him do it, but then my dad found out about it after one of the bites got infected so he had my boyfriend arrested. For assault! Can you believe that? Okay, so I was only sixteen at the time, but obviously I was capable of making my own decisions right? Anyways, he broke up with me and that’s when I realized I needed to try out the real thing. So yay here I am!” Rebecca exclaimed and held her arms out wide. 

Was she waiting for a hug? Cause, no. Just no.

“Well! That is super interesting. You sure seem to know what you want- which if you ask me sounds like a werewolf. Whoa, are there werewolves?” Laura asked JP who shook his head. Her phone beeped and she looked down to see a text from Mattie.

<Mattie 9:42 am> This was fun at first, but I’m getting bored. Time to cut her loose.

<Laura 9:42 am> What? How? And I knew you were watching!!!!!

<Mattie 9:43 am> Be creative. 

She took a deep breath and decided that the only way to work this situation was to meet crazy with crazy. “So Rebecca, you seem absolutely perfect. I just have a few more questions. How do you feel about permanent facial scarring? Involuntary blindness? Losing both knees so that sitting will forever be an exercise in futility? Are you okay with cannibalism? Some of our vampires enjoy both drinking your blood and occasionally they’ll also eat a toe. Or an ear.”

JP startled, then peered over her shoulder as if he expected those questions to have been written down on the questionnaire. 

Rebecca took a few moments to work through Laura’s questions. Finally, she smiled and replied, “Sure, I’m fine with all of that. I can sign a waiver or whatever, it’s cool.”

Laura knew her mouth was hanging open. There was also a possibility that she looked a little bit like a fish with her jaw bobbing up and down as she tried unsuccessfully to form a coherent sentence. Where did this girl come from? Was she being punk’d? 

“Just for the record, I’d like to state that I have no interest in cannibalism. Honestly even the thought of biting someone makes me squeamish. I consider myself to be a pacifist,” JP stated proudly. “I’ve actually been working for years on a vegan alternative for vampires. Sadly, the project hasn’t garnered much interest from my peers.”

“Okay Rebecca! I’m afraid that currently all Source Donor positions have been filled. However, if any openings arise you will be our first call. Thanks for stopping in! Bye!”

Filled with visions of strangling a certain vampire boss, Laura raced out of the room, leaving both JP and Rebecca to stare after her. It only took a few minutes for her to reach the area just outside of Mattie’s office. She took a moment compose herself before giving a sharp knock on the door.

“Come in Laura,” came a muted invitation.

As soon as she walked in Laura knew that she had been made the butt of a joke. Mattie wasn’t even attempting to hide her mirth. “Okay, seriously? It’s my day off! I was sleeping. Was all of this really necessary?” she asked as she plopped into the chair in front of Mattie’s desk.

Mattie’s lips curved into a thousand kilowatt smile and she said, “Necessary? Actually, yes. You have to admit that the entire situation was hilarious. You’re like my little minion, or a toy, that I can send to do menial tasks. I’m having a wonderful time, aren’t you? Now stop complaining and tell me what you learned.”

Laura furrowed her brow and decided to ignore the minion comment. Mattie had an immature habit of trying to get a rise out of everyone she spoke to. Instead she focused on the last part of the statement. “This was a learning opportunity,” she said. It hadn’t occurred to her that Mattie might have an agenda beyond silly pranks.

“I do love to find humor in most situations. There was, however, a valuable lesson to be learned here.”

“You wanted me to see the,” Laura hesitated as she tried to find the right word, “wrong kind of applicant. I don’t want to be mean, but Rebecca was kind of odd.”

Mattie scoffed. “Please. That girl was bat-shit crazy. If you’re going to work for me, as a minion,” she clarified with a smirk, “then you need to see and understand some of the dangers we face. I insisted you come in this morning because you needed to see the worst kind of applicant. People like that idiot girl represent a potential political nightmare. She is the type who would be first in line to write a tell-all book. It’s imperative that we exercise caution in these decisions. In the past, before this ridiculous information age, it was much easier to be a vampire. As little as thirty years ago one could snack a random person and at worst the incident might end up in the National Enquirer. Now we have to be more vigilant and cautious in our choices. It’s tragic. Life was so much simpler when I didn’t have to worry whether my meal was going to snapchat the experience.”

So vampires weren’t exactly poster children for morality. “You preached up consensual biting pretty hard when I first met you, but it sounds like you miss the good ole days of munching on random street walkers. Wait, not prostitutes. Just people, random people.”

“It’s a newer concept that I’ve been trying out. So far we’ve gotten some positive results. Especially in college towns. Young people seem to have a certain fondness for experimentation. You have to love the blind curiosity and feelings of invincibility in youth. We simply had to open the doors and they started pouring in, begging to be the first one picked. It’s not an experience for everyone, but as I’ve said, we’ve had positive results. There is a part of me, however, that misses the hunt. Nothing quite like the thrill of a victim on the run,” Mattie said wistfully as she leaned back in her chair. 

Mattie was staring at her and Laura could swear that she was up to something. Sometimes her boss could be surprisingly forthcoming. Conversations like this one were a reminder that these beings could be dangerous and amoral. It’s not like she hadn’t recognized the predator in Carmilla; she just didn’t care. Laura felt safe in Carmilla’s presence, in her arms. 

“You know I’m studying to be a journalist right? If you’re so worried about your secrets getting out, then how do you know that you can trust me not to write about this stuff?”

“And potentially harm Carmilla? I think not. By the way, how was your date last night?” she inquired pleasantly. “I’m pleased my sister finally got her head out of her ass and stopped resisting. If you live long enough, you’ll learn that some things are inevitable. Carmilla has always had a stubborn streak and would rather struggle needlessly simply to prove that she can.”

“Um, my date was fine. Until it was interrupted so that I could come to work and meet with a cross between Lindsey Lohan and a Hellraiser enthusiast. Which yeah, thanks for that. And no, I’m not giving you any details, so don’t ask.”

“Feisty. I love it. Fine, we won’t share this time-”

“Or anytime,” Laura interrupted. “I won’t ever be that girl.”

Mattie rolled her eyes and continued, “I want to teach you what to look for and more importantly what to avoid with these people. That girl never would have made it through our initial screening, but I thought she would provide a valuable learning experience. Feel free to take the rest of the day off. Your room is available should you need it, but I’m sure Carmilla will be seeking you out soon enough.”

Commenting that she should’ve had the entire day off was entirely pointless. She stood up and felt suddenly very lightheaded. Her vision blurred and for a brief moment she thought she might collapse. 

For the second time that day Mattie rushed to her side. The vampire wrapped a gentle hand around Laura’s arm to steady her. “Careful there darling. You look like you might pass out. Are you feeling alright?”

Once the room stopped spinning she replied, “Ugh. Yeah I think I just need to get some food. Maybe I’ll head down to the dining room.”

Mattie stared at her for several long seconds before releasing her hold and stepping back. “I’m worried my sister has been a little too enthusiastic in her appreciation of you. I’ll admit that there is an awful lot to appreciate. She needs to lay off a bit and let your tiny body recover.”

Laura decided to skip the meal and headed towards her room instead. She had absolutely zero complaints about her lack of sleep due to the sexy times last night, but right now she was really feeling the exhaustion. As soon as she shut the door she removed her clothes and slipped beneath the covers. 

Carmilla probably would come back to the hotel this evening and she figured they could spend some time together then. Admittedly she wasn’t sure if she would rather just Netflix or Netflix and chill. Would it be greedy to hope for both? Either way she would need some sleep before then.

When Laura woke up she was surprised to discover that the afternoon had faded into early evening. Even more shocking was a note left on her nightstand.

Carmilla told me that she owed you some clothing. No, I didn’t ask. I had my personal shopper pick some things out that   you   I might like. You may thank me later. 

P.S. Sleeping so deeply can be dangerous. -M

Well that was super creepy. Laura decided that she would need to put a lock on the door so that vampires wouldn’t be making themselves at home to watch her sleep. Also surprising was the closet full of clothing, all in her size. There had to be at least a thousand euros worth of clothing here. This made Laura feel more than a little uncomfortable. She didn’t feel like she had done anything to earn this stuff. Or this job with its free hotel room and unlimited room service. The only thing she had done so far is open a vein. And it’s not like she was the first girl to come along and do that.

Yes, she and Carmilla were showing interest in one another, but it’s not like an engagement had been set. They didn’t even have promise rings between them. So why exactly was Mattie so interested in her? The entire family seemed so open and friendly. One minute she is a complete stranger and the next she is in the family business of blood draining (not drinking!) and being invited to family dinners. 

Laura suddenly felt resolved to get some answers. She had someone in mind. Someone who seemed very eager to get to know her.

<Laura 6:23 pm> Hey any chance you would want to have dinner with me tonight?

<Ell 6:24 pm> Would love to! Meet in lobby in 30?

<Laura 6:24 pm> See you then!!!

 

Chapter Text

She took a quick shower and was happy to find some band-aids in the medicine cabinet to replace the ones she had put on her hip. The bite didn’t look any worse than it had in the earlier, so that was good. Still she wrote a reminder on a post-it to have it looked at in the morning. Despite what Mattie wrote about the clothing choices, Laura was pleased to find everything fit her style to some degree. 

She made it to the lobby with two minutes to spare and found Ell lingering by the reception desk. The young man working there appeared enraptured by whatever she was saying. She must have been a comic genius too because he was laughing way too much. Either that or he thought she was impressed by him. 

Laura felt a tug on her sleeve and then a familiar voice said, “Hey, I expected to find you in your room. I was thinking that maybe you might talk me into watching one of those shows you were rambling on about last night.”

Carmilla. Almost as if it were happening in slow motion Laura felt her spirits lift. It was like her heart was saying ‘pay attention, this person makes me happy’. Something about her made Laura’s very being sing. Simply being in her presence made everything better, brighter. Laura turned and threw her arms around Carmilla’s neck and grinned into a chaste kiss. There would be better ones later. Tongue kisses. She loved tongue kisses with those gentle teasing bites to her lips in between.

The vampire’s hands fell to her hips and she seemed content to hold Laura close in middle of the lobby. “Looks like you might have missed me.” Carmilla didn’t quite smile, but it was close. She looked pretty happy about the possibility of being missed.

“I could play coy, but I don’t see the point. I missed you. I’m sorry I had to leave this morning,” she said and leaned forward to steal another quick kiss. Such an awesome perk.

Carmilla raised a perfectly sculpted brow and said, “Yeah? I figured Mattie was playing one of her games. It’s her way of letting us know who is in charge. Hate to break it to you, cupcake, but she loves being in the middle of everything. It’s been a thousand-year hobby for her.”

“Well as long as she isn’t in the middle of everything,” Laura giggled.

“Eh, been there, done that,” Carmilla sighed with a dismissive shrug.

“Wait, what!?” She blurted, just a hair too loud. Seriously, what? “Oh my god. She’s your sister. That’s incest!”

This earned a laugh and an affectionate grin from Carmilla. A real smile. “You do realize we aren’t blood related right? I would have thought it was obvious with the skin tones. Besides it was an experimental phase. You don’t have to worry though; I have no intention of sharing you. With anyone. You are mine alone. I just hope that you want me the same way,” she finished. “So, how about it? Dinner, you pick something to watch and then we spend the night together. If you want that.” She seemed almost nervous as she played with a few strands of Laura’s hair.

The words had been said lightly, but they sounded like more and some part of Laura knew that there was a warning and perhaps a promise hidden there as well. A fine layer of darkness underneath the tone. How could she say no when Carmilla’s eyes held the answers to questions Laura hadn’t even asked?  “Carm, I-”

“Well, my my, isn’t this a cozy scene? Laura you didn’t tell me you were inviting anyone on our little soirée. Or is my sister just crashing?” Ell said, in complete vampire seduction mode. Did she have to make it sound like they were going on some romantic rendezvous? 

Carmilla pulled away and Laura could just tell that she was irritated. Instantly, she closed off, her body now stiff and guarded. A complete reversal from mere moments before. “What’s going on here? You didn’t tell me you were acquainted with my sister.” ‘Sister’ was said with two extra helpings of sarcasm.

Ell looked back and forth between them before focusing on Laura alone. Her words, however, were meant for Carmilla. “Oh don’t get your panties in a bunch, dear sister. Now that she has practically joined the family I thought we should get to know one another a little more intimately.”

“I’m not,” Laura said, “a part of your family. Your family is really really weird. And just to be clear, I thought that before I learned about the incest. Besides, we’ve all known each other for a few weeks. This amount of attachment can’t be very healty.” 

Ell’s answering smile was a little disconcerting and Carmilla looked uncomfortable. “What aren’t you all telling me? Even Mattie said something about, I dunno, belonging to you?” she asked.

“Mircalla I think this is your department. The girl needs some answers,” Ell said as she turned her attention back to Laura, a slight smirk playing across her lips.  “Vampires are so frustrating aren’t they, Laura? So many secrets piled on top of other secrets. So possessive when it suits them. Willing to toss you aside when it doesn’t. I’m not so old that I don’t remember what that was like. I’m a surprised at Mircalla though. You’d think after what happened last time she’d be a little more forthcoming.” The words and tone were said with cheer, but Ell’s expression as she stared at Carmilla was bitter. “I’m willing to bet that’s why you wanted to talk to me tonight isn’t it? Quite interesting that you believe that it is I who will solve your riddles. Very fitting. Once again I’m left with an impossible choice.”

“Mircalla?” Laura asked. Clearly Ell was talking about Carm, but why the different name? The tension hanging between the two vampires was heavy and weighted. 

“Laura! Thank god, there you are. I’ve been so scared and looking for you everywhere!”

And it was official. The only way the night could get worse was if Voldemort attacked. Which at this rate wouldn’t surprise her if it did happen. She literally had two seconds to prepare before strong arms spun her around and she was enfolded into a protective embrace. Oh, this was so awkward. The height difference between her and Danny always made Laura feel like an Oompa Loompa when they stood close.

“Hey Danny,” Laura said, wishing she were anywhere but here. She pulled away and offered her friend a weak smile. “How did you find me?”

Danny frowned as if the question were asked in a foreign language. It was obvious she was expecting to be treated like a white knight who rides in to rescue the damsel in distress. “Laura, you’ve practically been missing in action. When I spoke to Perry she said that she and LaFontaine hadn’t spoken to you in weeks. So I went by your place and Betty told me that you’re almost never home. I had to call your dad so he could give me access to that tracking app he installed on your phone. I just knew this would be bad, but do you have any idea what kind of place this is? The things that happen here?” She threw her arms out to the side in dramatic fashion. “Laura this is a place that vampires go. They. Go. Here. To. Feed. On. Humans. You don’t belong here; you understand that right? What have they been doing to you? There are laws Laura, they can’t coerce people. Whatever they’ve told you isn’t true. We can leave right now.” Danny said, in the way an adult might talk to a child. 

Behind her Ell started laughing. “Do you hear that Mircalla? Poor Laura might run into a vampire if she hangs around here too long. Oh my, this has some real entertainment potential. I’m afraid I’m not in the mood to watch a train wreck tonight though. I think I’ll go find some willing dinner elsewhere. Call me Laura, I’d love to reschedule our little date. We have so much to share,” she said with a playful wink in Carmilla’s direction before walking away and entering an elevator.

“What the frilly hell is going on Laura? First Ell and now this ginger?” Carmilla asked from behind her. She sounded a few steps past irritated. When she turned around Laura saw the vampire glaring at Danny who wasn’t backing down from the staring contest. 

She moved to stand between Carmilla and Danny before saying, “Okay there’s an explanation for this. I mean I was kinda hoping for a little more time, but-”

“Laura we need to get out of here. Now,” Danny said as grabbed her arm and started manhandling her towards the door.

“Wait, Danny. Stop,” Laura said as she tried unsuccessfully tried to pull away from the too strong grip.

Her pleas went unnoticed by Danny. But not by Carmilla. The vampire looked enraged. The sound coming from her started as a low growl that reverberated throughout the lobby before turning into an explosive roar.

Her instincts were screaming “Danger, Will Robinson”. But not for herself. Laura knew with absolute certainty that Carmilla would never harm her. Knew it on a cellular level. Carmilla would never ever hurt her. This knowledge made her aware of a more immediate problem however. Carmilla also would never let anyone else hurt her either. Danny, though, seemed oblivious to the threat. And Laura’s struggles. 

Laura knew she needed to get away from Danny or Carmilla would intervene. She didn’t know exactly what that would entail, but it couldn’t be pretty. Laura frantically tried to pull Danny’s much stronger fingers away from her arm while she watched the situation deteriorate quickly. Carmilla was still Carmilla, but the air around her shimmered with an energy. She appeared to almost be blurry. In her fury, the vampire’s eyes had started glow red as they had during their more intimate encounters. Obviously rage, as well as lust, was a trigger and Laura could tell they had mere seconds to defuse the situation.

“Danny you have to let go now. Please.” Finally, she got through and her friend dropped her hand, only to then move in front of Laura in a protective gesture. Foolishly thinking the peril was Laura’s and not her own.

They needed a miracle and it arrived in the form of sharp clicking from a stylish pair of Monolo Blahniks. Mattie moved in front of Carmilla, and seemed rightly annoyed at having her night disturbed. “I was told there was an issue in the lobby that needed a cooler head. Of course I find that you two are involved,” she said, referring to Laura and Carmilla. “Laura, explain. The short version please.”

“Uh, hey Mattie. This is Danny. She’s just a friend who didn’t know I’ve been working here. I was going to have dinner with Ell, then Carm showed up, then Danny showed up, then Ell left. And here we are.”

“Well, that is the short version.” She sounded impressed. “I’m sure we can get this sorted out quickly enough. Danny is it? I’ll get right to the point, why are you here? Succombez à Moi prides itself on providing a relaxing atmosphere for our guests. I’d greatly appreciate it if you would save your anti-vampire protests for those times when you aren’t trespassing on my property. Nor am I appreciative of your blatant attempt to abduct my assistant. I’ve grown quite partial to her,” Mattie said and gave Laura’s cheek an affectionate pinch. “Unless Ms. Hollis wishes to leave with you, and I stress, under her own free will, then I’ll have to ask that you refrain. Do we have an understanding?”

This question was posed to Danny, who was looking at Laura, horrified. After a few tense seconds Danny ran her hand through her hair and incredulously said, “What is going on here? Jesus, Laura are you, are you sleeping with one of them?”

Laura felt like pins could drop and the entire room would have heard them. That was impossible since they weren’t speaking that loudly, but she was still hyper-aware of the curious glances tossed in their direction. “Look Danny, it’s… complicated.” Behind her, Carmilla growled again. 

Ugh, this night sucked. So much.

Danny opened her mouth to respond before glancing at Mattie and Carmilla. She sighed and said, “We need to talk. Privately.”

“Um, sure. No problem. Let’s step outside.” Turning to Carmilla, Laura said, “I’ll be right back, okay?” 

As soon as Laura exited the building Danny started in with her tirade. “What the hell are you thinking Laura? I can’t believe you would do this,” Danny hissed. “This is so messed up. What would your dad think? Your mom! What would your mom think? You need to tell people before you do things like this!”

That was it. She broke. Inwardly, Laura had been dreading the moment when this secret would come out, but this was too much. And a perfect example of why she and Danny would never work. “How dare you? Seriously, how dare you! You never knew my mom and you hardly know my dad.” She took a few calming breaths and continued, “Okay, look I feel a little guilty since I’ve been a bit of an absentee friend, but this is exactly none of your business. I can’t even begin to say how invasive it was for you to actually call my Dad so that you would be able to track me down. That needs to never ever happen again. I wasn’t even missing since I told Betty I probably wouldn’t be home until Sunday. I’m an adult Danny. I don’t need you to watch out for me. And I most definitely don’t need to run any of my decisions by you.”

Danny wore her frustration on her sleeve, but she at least had the good grace to be a little embarrassed. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have mentioned your mom. I was concerned, that’s all.”

“I can appreciate that, but this wasn’t cool. Like I’m really not okay with how you acted tonight. Look, we can talk more next week. I need to get back inside.”

“Wait, Laura. You’re going back in there? With them?” Danny sounded flabbergasted. 

Laura offered her a weary smile before she turned away. “Yeah, I am. Tell my dad, or don’t. It’s up to you.”

Only Mattie was waiting for her when she returned. “There you are darling. I was worried that the freakishly tall girl had dragged you away.”

Laura snorted and rolled her eyes. “No you weren’t. I have a feeling you’re somehow aware of every word we said.” She sighed and continued, “Danny wouldn’t normally do that. I think she was just scared and confused. I guess she couldn’t figure out why I would be here.”

“Bad behavior doesn’t deserve an excuse, but believe as you will.”

“So, where’s Carm?”

“I imagine she is off wondering why she bothered to start playing with a human. It all is just so… complicated isn’t it?” Mattie said. “Oh, I suppose if past patterns hold true, then she’s probably shredding the upholstery.”

Laura nodded. Then winced. “This might seem a strange question, “But can you me tell me where her room is?”

“No.”

“Huh?”

“I’d like to know your intentions toward my sister,” Mattie said as she buffed her fingernails against the shoulder of her blouse. 

Laura sputtered. Were all vampires actually insane? “Are you kidding me?”

“Of course darling.” Mattie reached out and placed a keycard in Laura’s hand. “Here, use this in the elevator. It’ll take you to her floor. You might want to expect some territorial behavior. Vampires don’t appreciate others touching the things that belong to us. Oh and one last thing,” she paused and grew serious, “what happened tonight mustn’t ever happen again. If it does, I won’t be nearly so kind to the trespassers. You will forever be safe in my care, but I hold no such affections for your friends… or family. Neither of us want you to have to see that side of me. Are we understood?” 

“Yes. I understand. It won’t happen again, I promise.” She heard the tremble in her own voice and assumed Mattie did as well. 

“Excellent. Now run along.”

Later after she had set things right with Carmilla, Laura swore to get to the bottom of all this. Mattie had just laid out how important she was in a very terrifying way. She was special and had been from the beginning. Why? Why? Before she could stop them the words tumbled out of her mouth. “Wait Mattie, I have questions. I need to know what’s going on. I can’t wait anymore. Please.”

The corner of Mattie’s mouth curved upwards and she replied, “I suppose it was only a matter of time before you started asking questions. This isn’t the time though. You have a more important task you need to accomplish don’t you Laura? My sister is waiting; you should go to her.”

Mattie’s eyes flashed and then Laura slowly blinked. She couldn’t remember what had she had been trying to ask or why she was wasting time. Mattie was right. Questions weren’t important. Carmilla was. She needed to go to Carmilla. Nothing was more important than being with Carmilla.

She stared at the keycard in her hand and must have missed Mattie’s exit. Everything was moving much too fast. The different parts of her life felt like they were on a collision course, despite her knowledge of this fact, Laura still found that her thoughts were laser focused on Carmilla alone. Outside distractions of her job, school, her friends, none of it mattered nearly as much as this vampire she hardly knew. When the bell dinged signaling she had reached the top floor Laura decided that internal hows and whys could wait. 

She wasn’t sure why it was a surprise that Carmilla actually had an entire floor to herself. Or that the vampire’s preferred decorating scheme involved tons of black with an extra helping of macabre. 

The walls were covered in various paintings all of which were illuminated with accent lighting. “What in the name of…? Is that a painting of an eviscerated man? With his um, cut off? Oh god, I’m going to throw up, he’s holding it in his hand! Oh look at that one. Why is she naked with her eyes and mouth sewn shut? What the…” Okay, so the art was morbid. That was an understatement. Morbid was a good word for it. Gross and disgusting worked too. Perhaps this would be a good place to diet since nobody except a vampire would want to eat after being in here.

The whole room was very open though, and had a studio apartment feel about it. Two walls were nothing but glass and offered a beautiful view of the cityscape. All of the furnishings were covered in black or red, from the countertops to a few very comfortable looking couches. A leopard print throw blanket lay in a jumble on one cushion. Next to it there was a worn copy of The Stranger and a yellow pillow similar to the one in her own room. The entire place was dimly lit with only a few candles providing any illumination. If there was such a thing as a vampire stereotype, then Carmilla was living it. Laura was about to wander to one of the bookcases to peruse the titles there, when a door located in one corner opened. A door that likely led to the bedroom. 

“Creampuff?” The vampire was bathed in shadow. She wore a silky bathrobe that was adorned with what looked like cats.  

“I wanted to see you. Mattie gave me a key,” she clarified and held up the object in question. The silence seemed too loud so she hurried to fill it. “Your eyes, they’re glowing red.”

Carmilla turned away and walked over to the fridge. Along the way she blew out some of the candles casting the room further into darkness. “Yeah, it happens when I’m hungry or irritated. Or other things. Part of being a vampire,” she said as she poured some blood into a mug. Her voice sounded huskier than it normally did. Deeper, gravelly.

“Oh. Which one is it now?” Laura asked curiously.

Instead of answering the question Carmilla responded with one of her own, “Why are you here Laura? Shouldn’t you be off having dinner with Ell or maybe being rescued by ginger Groot?”

“I’d rather be with you. They’re just friends. Well Danny is, I don’t know Ell very well. At all really,” she blurted. “I met her at Mattie’s dinner party and she was nice. I thought she could help me figure some things out. I can’t really remember what those things are at the moment though.” She took a few steps in Carmilla’s direction, but stopped when she heard a warning growl. 

“Are you mad at me?” Laura asked, feeling unsure of what exactly she had done wrong.

Carmilla blew out a frustrated breath and said, “You don’t get to choose here. I can’t be something I’m not. I’m a vampire, and with that comes a certain amount of,” she threw her head back, “bullshit. Which is why I never let this thing we are doing happen. It’s why I stick to this stuff,” she pointed at the mug in her hand.

Laura frowned. “So what are you saying?” The room was so dark that Laura could barely make out her expression.

Carmilla sneered, “I’m saying, go home. Go home to your normal friends and your safe uncomplicated,” she put a ridiculous amount of emphasis on this word,” life. I don’t want you here.”

“Oh my god! It was just a word and I was super stressed. Can you really deny that this is complicated? And no, I don’t want to leave. Also can we turn on a light? I can hardly see you, and the candles showcasing your macabre art isn’t really setting a comforting mood.” She plopped down on the couch and settled in, determined to fight stubborn with stubborn. 

“I don’t think you know what you want,” Carmilla said as she turned on a table lamp. She stared at Laura for a few long seconds then downed the contents of her mug and went back to get a refill. 

Laura pulled at her hair with both hands and said, louder than necessary, “Ugh! You stupid vampire, I want to be with you, I always want to be with you. I can’t explain why exactly, but does that even matter? I see you and I feel happy. Even when you are all Grinchy you make me happy. Isn’t that enough?”

Carmilla walked over to the patio door and stared outside. The stars were bright here, but couldn’t nearly compare to the view from the vampire’s countryside estate. She now stood about as far away from Laura as she possibly could.

“The very first evening I saw you, I felt like the sun was shining down upon me once again. In that moment and every one since then, I realize you’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. But the thing about the sun is that for vampires, it burns. You and I are two entirely different people. The things I want, the things I want to do to you,” Carmilla sighed raggedly and continued, “the things I’ve already done to you. You don’t belong in my world.”

“Isn’t that up to me to decide?”

Perhaps a minute passed before Carmilla responded. It felt like an eternity. “I want to possess you. I want you on your knees willing to sate my every dark desire. I want to be your everything. In turn, I want you to be mine. Mine to cherish, but mine alone. Right about now you should be terrified, cupcake. The things I want from you aren’t pretty, they aren’t sweet. But I want them nonetheless.”

“What if instead I just said yes to all of that?” Laura asked, softly.

“What?” Carmilla turned her head and stared.

“Carm, it’s not like I’ve run away from you yet. I’d like to be yours. And you, mine. Like you said.”

“Cupcake, you’re not quite twenty, you can’t possibly know what you are asking for,” the vampire whispered as she walked forward and stood in front of her. “Look at me,” she demanded. “Is this the monster you were hoping for in all of your innocent girlhood fantasies? This is what I am. Who I am and it will never change.”

Laura had seen Carmilla in vampire mode before, complete with fangs and red eyes. That had been hot. This was different; she was being shown the monster. She reeked of menace and dark promises. The kind of beast that horror novelists wrote of. She reached her hand out, but Carmilla deftly avoided her touch, moving several feet away in a mere blink.

“I’m not scared of you Carm. You can’t warn me off,” Laura said as she licked her lips; perhaps betraying some of her nervousness.

“I won’t be gentle. Not tonight.”

“Yeah, you’ve said that before. Still not scared,” Laura said. She flashed a smile, attempting to reassure, because it was true. If this was the side of herself that Carmilla thought would drive Laura away, then the vampire was sorely mistaken. “You won’t hurt me.”

“I worry that I might,” Carmilla whispered.

This time when Laura reached out she wasn’t denied. Carmilla laced their fingers together and led the way to the bedroom. A candle on the dresser was the only light the room provided. Laura made a mental note that Carmilla seemed to appreciate the soft ambiance they provided. 

Once they were in middle of the room, Carmilla released her hand and pushed her onto the bed, where Laura bounced a few times before settling on her elbows.

The vampire leaned against the dresser and watched as Laura took a few minutes to take in the décor. On the wall a large painting, perhaps five feet in length, depicted a panther feasting on a man whose lips were curled in a silent everlasting scream. “You have interesting taste when it comes to art. And by interesting I mean gruesome.”

Carmilla shrugged. “I see beauty in these things. Are you frightened yet?”

“No.”

“Good. You have thirty seconds to take off your clothes before I do it for you.”

Laura was pretty sure she accomplished the task in twenty-four. She almost cheered until she remembered that she wasn’t going to receive a grade for this. She gulped and said, “Okay I’m not scared, but I am a little nervous. I don’t know why since it’s not like we haven’t done this before. And those times were awesome, so I should really be more excited than nervous. Although maybe it’s because I’m practically naked and you aren’t.”

Carmilla smiled, showing just a hint of fang. “I think we can remedy that. Come and help me remove my clothes.”

Oh. Those eyes. Hooded. Still red, but deep and beguiling. This woman could give all vampires lessons in how to employ seduction eyes. Obediently, she stood up and padded over to Carmilla who seemed content for the moment to watch and see what Laura would do. She wore a navy blue shirt that was unbuttoned just enough to show a hint of cleavage. Laura raised her hands to the first button and waited for permission to continue. Carmilla smiled, reassuring and slightly wicked, apparently pleased with Laura’s natural submission. She willed her hands to stop shaking and took her time with each button, caught within the anticipation of each new patch of skin that was revealed. 

The vampire’s arms hung loosely at her sides which made it easy to pull the garment from her shoulders and let it drift to the floor. Her lacy black bra followed and once again Laura waited for permission. Seeming to understand the unspoken question, Carmilla nodded her assent. Laura proceeded to place small gentle kisses across the top of her breasts, pleased when she heard the vampire groan.

Laura took a nipple into her mouth and tweaked it lightly between her teeth. Carmilla reached up and used both hands to hold her in place. “Do that again,” Carm sighed. Using her lips, Laura increased the suction and interspersed that with tiny bites of varying intensity. She knew she must be doing something right because of the strong fingers kneading into her hair.

After several minutes of this treatment Carmilla pulled her up into a hungry kiss. “Finish what you started, no teasing,” she warned. “Christ cupcake, being around you drives me crazy. I want to wrap myself up in your; to imprint my soul onto yours. How about you help me remove the rest of my clothes.”

Thrilled at the prospect of seeing Carmilla naked again, Laura wasted no time lowering herself to the floor so that she could remove the vampire’s boots which were already partially unlaced. Her black boy shorts fell to the ground next. As before, Carmilla displayed no shyness in her nudity. She boldly walked around the bed to a second smaller dresser.

“Get on the bed cupcake. We’re going to do something I’ve been fantasizing about for weeks.”

Laura scrambled onto the bed and resisted the urge to bounce up and down on the incredibly expensive mattress. She watched as Carmilla opened a few drawers and began pulling sex toys out and placing them on the top of the dresser. Some of which looked like torture devices. “Um all of those?” she squeaked. 

Carmilla winked. “No not tonight. I’ll always be open for whatever might want to try, but tonight I’m going to fuck you hard.”

“Are there actually any clothes in that dresser?” Laura asked as she watch the vampire slip into a harness complete with a swirled black and pink dildo. It was kinda of pretty actually. Based on the décor of the house she was almost surprised the thing wasn’t zombie shaped. No need to give a morbid vampire any ideas though. 

“Get on your hands and knees creampuff. I’d suggest you find something to hold on to.”

Laura rolled over and crawled forward on the bed. The vampire’s strong hands grasped her hips and held her in place. A few seconds later her shoulders were being pressed down into the bed.

“I want your ass in the air. Stay there,” Carmilla said and pushed two fingers inside. Once sheathed the vampire gave her a moment to adjust and then started a quick rhythm that caused Laura to gasp and try to meet each rough thrust. Instead those fingers were pulled away and pressed against her mouth. “Taste yourself cupcake. Yes, just like that, lick it all off. Good girl,” Carmilla said as Laura wrapped her tongue around the vampire’s cool fingers. “This might be a little uncomfortable at first, but I promise you’ll learn to love it.”

Laura felt the head of the thingy press against her opening. Carmilla hesitated only a moment before pushing a few inches inside. She kept still for a few seconds before pulling out and driving forward again. This was repeated over and over until Carmilla’s hips were flush against Laura’s ass. The penetration felt tight, with just a hint of pain. A good kind of pain.

She tried to rise up to her elbows, but the vampire pressed a hand between her shoulder blades. “Stay there.”

Carmilla didn’t move her hips, instead running her hands across Laura’s back. Her ass received most of this attention as the vampire seemed to be fascinated at the feel of her skin. “You’re beautiful. I could spend my life looking at you and never grow bored.” What had initially made Laura feel mildly too full now felt fucking fantastic as their thighs started slapping together. This was just the beginning though as the tempo increased into a punishing pace. Laura winced when her head was yanked back after Carmilla had wrapped her hair around her hand. Every few thrusts the vampire would slam into her extra hard and it took Laura’s breath away every single time.

“You’re being fucked by a monster right now sweetheart. And I can tell you love it. Admit it, say it now.”

Laura panted and tried to agree, but the air kept being driven out of her lungs. 

Carmilla didn’t seem to mind. “What would your friends say right now if they could see you? That fucking tree that was in here tonight. What would she think if she could see what you let me do to you? What would she say if she knew how much you wanted it? That my touch sets you on fire?” 

Laura’s clit was pinched and she came apart and was overtaken by an orgasm that melted through her body. Carmilla obviously wasn’t a fan of recovery periods because she didn’t miss a beat, continuing to fuck like she intended to use the fake cock to burrow her way straight through Laura’s body. Fucking so hard she was panting and growling due to the exertion. This wasn’t just rough sex, it was animalistic. Out of control.   

Carmilla released her hair only to take ahold of Laura’s hips. She winced and was overcome with nearly blinding pain when a finger brushed one of the band-aid covered punctures that had been made there the night before. For several long seconds Laura thought she might pass out, but then the feeling quickly passed when that hand released her in favor of slapping her ass. Miraculously, her arousal hadn’t faded. If anything the pain had enhanced the pleasure. Laura’s body was hypersensitive to Carmilla’s every movement. Could feel every inch of the dildo as it was pistoned in and out of her body.

The vampire’s now free hand trailed across her back before wandering once again to Laura’s backside. Carmilla slid her thumb through the wetness between Laura’s legs and then tested the resistance of her asshole. “You ever have anything in this other hole sweetheart?” She asked in a near mocking tone. “No, of course you haven’t. Don’t worry we won’t play with that territory today. Maybe some other time. Besides, we can’t remove all that innocence in one go. For now, I want you to come again on my cock. Do you want that Laura?” 

“Oh god. Yes, please.”

“Then tell me what I want to hear. Say it like you mean it.”

“I’m yours Carm, only yours,” Laura said through ragged breaths. 

“Yes. MINE.” Carmilla pulled out only to flip her on her back. She was quickly back inside and rested her body atop Laura’s.  The pace was easier now. Almost sweet. “I’m so close. I won’t drink, but I want, need-”

Laura wanted it too, so she tilted her neck to side. She couldn’t be completely sure, but as those fangs slid into her neck, she and Carmilla might’ve reached that peak together.

~*~*~*~*~

When she woke up a few hours later Laura felt much too warm, overheated. And extremely thirsty like she could drink a gallon of water. Carmilla was, once again, doing a pretty fair imitation of a koala bear as she had her arms snuggled firmly around Laura. One minute a she was a broody disaffected sex machine, the next? World champion cuddler. The best of both worlds in Laura’s mind. Deciding that she wasn’t up for a wrestling match again, Laura slapped at the vampire’s arm until Carmilla loosened her hold.

“Hey. What’s wrong?” Carm asked sleepily, raising her head off of the pillow to check out what was wrong.

Laura leaned over kissed her forehead. “Nothing. I just need some water.”

“You can find the kitchen?”

She giggled. “Yeah it’s just outside the door,” she said as her feet hit the floor. Laura took exactly three steps before the dizziness hit her. The room started spinning and she couldn’t focus. “Carm, I think that I am going to fain…”

Black.

 

Chapter Text

She kept hearing voices. Some words made sense, others less so. Occasionally Laura could even recognize the speaker, but couldn’t focus enough to understand the context of what was being said.

“…move aside. We…to have…look at her. Trust…say that we all…vested interest in her...”

“…understand this…her hip…it looked…infection…blood tests were negative…perfectly healthy…except for this....”

“…the fuck is…I want…answers!”

“…worried that…overdid…doses…seemed to be responding...”

“…you do seem…talent of ruining…lives…girls who dare…love you...”

Laura’s level of cognizance faded in and out, and no matter how hard she tried she couldn’t find the energy to open her eyes. There was just enough awareness to realize she was drifting in and out of sleep, but somehow she still felt so exhausted. So she slept, only finding true rest when a familiar warm body was wrapped around her.

There were dreams too. Sometimes these were peaceful respites in her endless nights. But those times were overwhelmed by terrible nightmares with horrors she never could quite make out. Invisible terrors that stalked her relentlessly. But in the darkest moments, her constant companion, a huge black feline that made the average panther look like a lap cat, shielded her from the worst of these sights. But not from the sounds. Screams of terror filled her days and nights and when this got to be too unbearable, strong arms wrapped around her and held tight. And she was safe.

~*~*~*~*~

When Laura finally woke up it was to unfamiliar surroundings. Some kind of hospital room? The shades on the windows were pulled and she could see Carmilla sleeping on a nearby couch. An old hardcover of Nietzche’s Beyond Good and Evil lay open on her stomach. A nearby trashcan was overflowing with empty blood bags. Several items of discarded clothing littered the ground around her as well. It looked like she had been camping out here for some time. 

She looked so peaceful, relaxed. Laura hated to disturb her, but in that moment she wanted nothing more than a glass of water. Her tongue was dry and felt like cotton in her mouth. It took two attempts, but she was finally able to croak out a barely audible ‘Carm’. The vampire’s eyes immediately popped open and focused on her, perhaps she had been waiting for that exact word to leave Laura’s lips.

“Laura. Creampuff.” A myriad of emotions crossed Carmilla’s face. Surprise. Relief. Concern. And something else?

“Thirsty.”

Carmilla poured some water into a glass from a nearby pitcher and held it up to Laura’s lips.

After a few tiny sips Laura asked, “How long?” Her voice sounded foreign to her ears.

“Almost two weeks.”

Laura grew silent as she tried to work what was going on. Finally, she asked, “What happened?”

“You fainted and were running a pretty impressive fever, buttercup. If I’m being honest, I’ll have to admit that this was a terrible idea for a second date. Hospital rooms don’t really give off an air of romance,” Carmilla said. She tried to keep her tone light, but her worry was evident from the set of her mouth, and the intensity of her stare.

Despite having just woken up and the general weariness of her body, Laura’s mind felt sharper than it had in weeks. So many things seemed to click into place. She looked down at her arm and noted the saline drip that was attached there. That made sense. Hospital room and all. Except she needed it out. Laura knew she was done with this place; she wanted to be anywhere else.

She lifted her hand to pull out the needle, but was stopped short by soft cuffs on each wrist. She glared at Carmilla accusingly. The vampire looked apologetic as she immediately moved to pull the velcro straps apart so Laura could free her arms.

“You’ve been having nightmares. We were worried you were going to hurt yourself.”

“I need to get out of here,” Laura said, pulling the IV out of her arm with no care at all. Tiny droplets of blood immediately began rolling down her arm and fell one by one to stain the white sheets below.

“Hey! Hey, Laura stop. Okay, please hold still. You’re going to hurt yourself,” Carmilla said.

Time seemed to slow for several seconds as Laura dropped her feet to the floor and pushed past the vampire. Which was a mistake, as her balance was off, and she immediately started to pitch forward. Quick hands from behind steadied her until Laura was able to regain some equilibrium. She braced herself against the bed for several moments until she felt confident enough to take a few wobbly steps forward.

“You can’t keep me here,” Laura grunted as she ineffectively tried to struggle away from Carmilla’s grip.

“What? You’re not a prisoner. Cupcake, you need to calm down. You’re safe.” She rubbed her hands up and down Laura’s arms in a soothing manner.

Laura relaxed slightly, but didn’t lose her determination. “I’m leaving. Right now.”

Carmilla moved to stand in front of her. She continued to use one hand to steady Laura, but the other was held up in surrender. “That isn’t a good idea. Why don’t we call a doctor? Or Mattie?”

“No, definitely not her. She is the one who did this to me!” Laura fumed through gritted teeth.

“Uh, no Laura. Mattie didn’t do this, it was me. On our date, I uh, I bit you on your hip. I gave you a kind of virus.”

“An STD?” Laura asked, perplexed and a little horrified. Should they have used protection? Was there protection? Fang condoms?

“What? Ew, no. Mattie explained that it has more to do with, uh, possessiveness. Like I was trying to mark you to keep other vampires away. It’s kind of a scent thing and, fuck, this is so awkward. Come on, why don’t you sit down.”

Laura ignored the suggestion with a shake of her head, and asked, “So you are saying that this is what made me sick?”

“Yeah it kind of looks that way,” Carmilla replied, sounding embarrassed. “This sort of thing isn’t common, but Mattie is looking into it.”

Laura rolled her eyes and said, “So you’re saying that you are completely at fault and Mattie had nothing to do with any of this?”

“Cupcake, I don’t know exactly what is going on in that head of yours, but I promise that Mattie has been just as worried about you as I have.”

“Oh, I bet she’s been worried.” Laura snorted. “You are so wrong Carm. I think she is responsible for all of this.” She threw her arms outward to indicate the hotel and all of the people within it. “She’s been doing something to me. I can’t explain it, but now that I’ve woken up I feel so different, like I’m free of her influence.”

With a suddenly wary expression, Carmilla asked, “What are you saying?”

Laura took a few moments to collect her thoughts before deciding on the best explanation. “Okay in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Voldemort has Professor Quirrell drink unicorn blood. It helps keep him alive. The thing is, drinking unicorn blood means that you’ll live only half a life. I guess I feel like until now I’ve been drinking unicorn blood and been living half a life. Does that make sense?”

A tiny smile played at the corners of Carmilla’s mouth. “Do you have a Harry Potter reference for everything?”

She nodded. “I try to save them for special occasions. You can’t overuse these analogies otherwise people won’t take them seriously.”

“I’ll try to keep that in mind. When my cupcake refers to Harry Potter then a serious discussion is about to take place.” She sighed and said, “Listen, I have a few theories about this that I need to discuss Mattie. Do you think you’ll be okay until I get back?”

“Will you tell me what these theories are?” Laura really didn’t want Carmilla to leave. She also didn’t want to appear clingy, so instead she nodded and smiled. Her father would remind her that Hollises were made of sterner stuff. Oh crap. Her dad had to be freaking out by now.

“Yeah. Just let me confirm something first,” Carmilla said.

“Carm, wait. My dad. I need to talk to him. Where is my phone?”

“I think it might be in my room. I’ll go check okay? For now, let’s get you back in bed.” Carmilla cupped Laura’s face in her hands and pressed a gentle kiss to her forehead. “You scared me. Don’t do it again,” she ordered with a soft smile.

Laura sighed, realizing she had momentarily forgotten how tired she actually was. Bed sounded kind of nice. Maybe she could leave later when she wasn’t so sleepy. “As long as you keep your vampire STDs to yourself, I should be fine,” she joked and pulled their bodies together so that she might rest her head on the Carmilla’s shoulder. Wrapping her arms around the vampire’s waist, she held her as tight as she was able. Carmilla stiffened at the spontaneous show of affection, but slowly relaxed into the embrace. “This is going to sound strange, but I had these horrible dreams and I felt like you were there with me the whole time. I was scared, but not alone. I always feel safe when I’m with you, Carm.”

Carmilla helped Laura slip beneath the covers. “I hesitate to say this, but you should get some more rest. I’ll be back in a little while okay? Maybe you can call your dad then.”

Laura watched her leave the room and grinned when, less than a minute later, the door cracked open. “Miss me already?”

“I’ve been waiting for you to wake up,” Ell said, as she slipped into the room. She looked like she belonged at a party, not a hospital. Her blond hair was piled on top of her head so that it appeared strategically messy and she wore a glimmering sapphire dress that showed just a little too much cleavage.

“What are you doing here?” Laura asked as she pushed herself into a sitting position. And tried not to stare at the boob display. She was dying to know how they managed to not fall out of the dress. Double sided tape?

Ell crossed the room and after staring at the mess that Carmilla had made of the sofa, chose a comfortable looking armchair instead. “I just came to chat, cupcake. I could use a friend. How about you Laura? Would you like a friend? Perhaps we could do that sharing thing that girls do, get to know one another,” she winked, “become girlfriends. Gal pals.”

“I generally require my friends not to be creepy. Which is how you’re acting right now.”

Apparently this must have been really funny because Ell started laughing. “You’ll have to forgive me. It’s a quality that comes with the territory I’m afraid. Occasionally, I think being a vampire is something akin to being a teenage boy. Oh, we can act interested in what you’re saying, but ultimately we all just want one thing,” she said with another playful wink. “No doubt you’ve noticed this behavior yourself.”

“Carmilla doesn’t think like that,” Laura said, feeling defensive. She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at the vampire who was now looking at her like she was a moron. Maybe she was. Every time they were together Laura had opened a vein, but that was just a small part of the time they were together. Right?

“Do you know what I miss? The sun,” Ell said. There was a dreamy quality to her voice as she stared longingly at the window. It was covered by a custom blackout screen that would open automatically once the sun had set. “It’s difficult living in constant darkness. I’ve been told that some tolerance for daylight comes with age. Who knows, in four or five hundred years I might be able to watch a sunset.”

“I’m sorry, but why are you telling me this?” This conversation was perplexing to say the least.

“I’m here for enlightenment,” Ell replied, a tiny smile gracing her beautiful face.

“Yours or mine?” Laura asked.

“I suppose that remains to be seen. If you’ll grant me a few moments, I’d like to tell you a story. My story,” she clarified. “You can then do with the truth as you will.”

Truth. Some sixth sense told Laura that Ell was after something else entirely. However, she couldn’t deny her curiosity demanded to be satiated. This vampire was a mystery and might possess a few of the pieces to the Carmilla puzzle. “Yeah okay,” she said and nodded for Ell to begin.

“Very well. So there are some things that I absolutely love about being a vampire. Eternal beauty is nothing to scoff at. Even the weakest of us is powerful by your standards. And make no mistake, the worship of humans can be quite a heady drug. But then there are those times when I miss the sun. When I long for the innocent girl I once was. I couldn’t have known it then, but I loved being that silly girl who loved too easy, too quickly. I’ve spent countless years examining what I could’ve done differently. Was this life always fated to be? Therein lies the question, was I always meant to love a monster? To become one?”

Laura stared at her and tried to figure out where this conversation was going. “Are you talking about Carmilla?”

“Carmilla.” Ell drew the name out derisively. “She decides she doesn’t want to live with her guilt anymore so she changes her name. Oh look at me! I’ve changed my name and now I’m no longer quite the monster I once was,” she said in a terrible imitation of Carmilla’s voice. “If only it were so easy for the rest of us. But to answer your question, yes, her. And oh how I loved Mircalla Von Karnstein. Truly, madly, deeply. She said all the right things, brought me flowers, and wrote the loveliest poetry and sonnets meant for my ears alone. The sheer romance of it all was everything a young girl yearns for. How could I not love her when the trap was laid out so expertly? She played the poetic seductress and I leapt into her fire gladly. Alas, our love twas not meant to be.”

“What happened between you two?”

Ell smiled sadly. “It’s quite the tale of woe. Maman needed virgins for a sacrifice. These things always seem to require a virgin. I was sixteen years old and met the criteria, being virginal as I was. I was discovered, by her, when attending a ball where I was to meet my betrothed. He wasn’t anything special. Old, pimply, fat. A disgusting creature if I’m to be honest. But he was also wealthy and titled. My parents were thrilled, but I longed for any other existence than the one that was being chosen for me. I felt as if I was being thrown away; a common fate for many a girl in those times. I was on a balcony lamenting to the stars about my cruel fate when she found me. Mircalla. At the time, I thought our introduction was happenstance. Little did I know that everything involving Mircalla was very calculated. She befriended me, just as she had done to countless other girls before and since. Within her presence, I felt that the world could be a beautiful kaleidoscope of possibilities.”

“She didn’t love you back?” Laura asked. This didn’t sound like the Carmilla she knew. Her Carmilla didn’t seduce innocent girls… Huh. Okay, so maybe she did.

“She did love me,” Ell said. “Enough to betray her mother. Love isn’t ever the problem with vampires though. We love to the point of obsession.”

“That doesn’t sound healthy.”

“Is obsession ever healthy? We don’t always intend to, but vampires destroy the things we love. Beauty can’t survive the chaos we wrought. Simply put, you can’t drain the life force from someone and expect them to thrive.”

The message was clear enough, but Laura didn’t know how to respond. She had just woken from this vampire induced coma state knowing that her head had been messed with. But what could she do? Run away? That wasn’t acceptable and she somehow felt it would be impossible. Impossible to completely escape this life. She needed to be near Carmilla. To be with her.

Ell sighed deeply before continuing her story. “It wasn’t long before our love was found out. Mircalla foolishly tried to convince me to flee with her. We were caught a few miles away from my family home. Her mother revealed Mircalla’s true nature to me, likely in the hopes that I would be horrified.”

“Were you?” Laura asked as she played with the corner of her blanket. She didn’t like hearing about how Carmilla had loved someone else, even if it happened a long time ago.

“A little, but I was an optimistic child who had no comprehension of evil. Heedless of the danger I proclaimed my devotion and swore upon the Almighty that I would never love another. Maman delighted in this and instead gave me a choice. Die now, or die and live forever. An easy decision, don’t you think? Believing in eternity, I picked love. Silly me.” Ell smiled. It was a joyless smile, full of bitterness and self-loathing. “The choice was no choice at all. I was simply to be a lesson for Maman’s favorite daughter.”

Laura licked her lips nervously. “It was a trap wasn’t it?”

Ell’s lips curled into a cruel smile. “For Mircalla yes. There was no salvation for either of us that night. Had I chosen a permanent death, then that would have been Mircalla’s punishment for loving me. Likely a kinder fate. Instead, in my desperation, I chose selfishly. Maman spent the better part of two days torturing me while Mircalla was forced to watch. Have you ever seen the skin peeled off of someone’s hand? I remember screaming in agony and begging for it to end,” Ell said as she strummed her - now healed - fingers anxiously against the armrests of the chair. “The entire time Maman conversed with me about art and opera while licking the blood from my ruined flesh. ‘Mustn’t waste a single drop’ she would say. And finally, when my frail body could no longer withstand her touch, I was granted a life in death.

“I awoke to experience a thirst that only one who has known prolonged starvation might understand. Before she would allow me to feed, my new life was explained to me. Maman told me that I had a new family now, and that I must release old ties. So she fed me my ten-year-old sister,” Ell said nonchalantly. Her eyes were fixed upon Laura’s. “One child couldn’t possibly provide enough sustenance to a new vampire so my parents were next. I drained my father while my mother just screamed ‘why why’ over and over. It seems terrible to say, as that was the last time I ever saw my family, but honestly I was just happy to shut the woman up.” Ell shrugged and continued, “All of it, a worthy sacrifice had I been allowed to keep Mircalla.”

Laura felt like vomiting. Ell didn’t seem bothered by what she had done to her family, nor what happened to her. She didn’t want to know any more. Except she did. She knew that Ell was waiting for her to ask, anticipation was practically flowing off of the vampire. It wasn’t like she actually stood a chance of not asking. “What did she do to Carm?”

The answering smile would have been beautiful if the topic hadn’t been so horrific. “Oh Maman can be quite sadistic, and she seemed to be going through a crucifixion phase at the time. I’m sure she found some ironic humor in it. Mircalla tied to a cross, stakes driven into her hands and feet. Have you ever seen what happens to a vampire exposed to holy water?” Ell shuddered. “Well Mircalla was practically bathed in it. Then forced to drink it. Up until that point she had stood up to all the torture with a brave face. Her screams were almost… lyrical. The worst was yet to come. Her cross was planted into the earth, and she was left to await the new day. Stories would have you think that one of my kind simply burns alive once the dawn arrives. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mircalla did burn, but it was more of a slow roasting. Gruesome. By evening when she was finally pulled from the cross, her skin had been burnt black. I remember standing next to Maman and watching small flecks of ash fall from Mircalla’s charred body. Like blackened snow. It seemed impossible, but she yet lived. Cruel fate had denied Mircalla a final death, and thus her punishment for loving me had only just begun.”

Laura didn’t understand, but words wouldn’t come. What could be worse than what Ell had described?

Ell, caught up in her retelling, didn’t seem to need a response. “Maman buried her beneath the earth within a coffin of blood. The blood so that she might heal. And then she would become acquainted with true suffering. Absolutely brilliant if I’m to be honest. Enough blood to ensure her continued survival from the crucifixion, and when that ran out she would then starve. Possibly for centuries. And so it was that Mircalla spent more than half a century trapped in that coffin. Bombs from the great war released her from that prison. It would be nearly a decade before we would meet again. My love survived, while hers did not. The end.”

“She blamed you for what happened?” Laura asked, perplexed.

“Blamed?” Ell responded bitterly, “Silly girl, nothing so dramatic. Mircalla simply didn’t care for me anymore. This is just how she loves. A flame that burns brightly only to fade away once as boredom sets in. I suppose that coffin gave her enough time to reconsider her affections.”

Scrunching her nose in bewilderment, Laura wondered at Ell’s train of thought. Being trapped in a coffin seemed a lot more like extreme trauma than boredom. She figured the point wasn’t worth arguing, instead deciding to encourage narrative to continue. “So, what happened to you after Carm was buried?” This conversation was so out of her comfort zone.

Ell shrugged again and crossed her legs. The tight dress she wore strained across her thighs making the action seem purposeful. “Mattie took me under her wing for a time. Maman truly didn’t care what became of me and said as much. So it was left to my sister to pick up the pieces and make sure I didn’t go on some kind of killing spree. Eventually I traveled to the Americas.”

“Why didn’t Mattie rescue Carm?”

“Likely because she had no idea where Mircalla was buried. And even attempting to do so would have brought the wrath of Maman down upon her. No one is worth that kind of suffering.”

Laura didn’t agree with that, but felt unsure about how to respond to this tragic story. “I’m sorry.” The platitude sounded weak to her ears, as it should have. She had no basis of understanding in her own life that would allow her to offer up another, more appropriate, response.

Ell sneered, “For what? Because my life has been a lengthy vacation in hell? I assure you, I’ve grown used to the heat. Or is it because I’m alone and unloved? Such is the life of a vampire. I’m most definitely not alone in that. Or are you sorry because she wants you and not me? She won’t for long; my story should have taught you that. Or perhaps because you chose her and not me? Which is it?”

Laura blinked. What? “When was I supposed to choose you?”

“You were promised to me, but at the very first opportunity that promise was rescinded and you were allowed to pick the one person who had hurt me the most,” Ell said, the whites of her eyes now tinged with red. “Truly, I’ve been wondering if you were directed to do so. What are the chances that the girl who should have been mine would choose my one great love instead? She can’t possibly want you more than I do. So that leaves me to ask, why do you want her more than me? Enlighten me.”

All at once Laura felt frightened. She still thought it important not to lie. “I feel a connection to her. When I entered that room and saw Carmilla I just,” she paused, “knew. I had to meet her."

“I suppose never stood much of a chance.” Ell stated, sounding eerily calm, after the distraught emotion she had shown earlier.

“No. I mean, Mattie pointed you out and she wanted to introduce us. But then I saw Carm,” Laura said firmly.

Ell exhaled loudly and leaned her head back so that she was staring at the ceiling.

Laura’s eyes widened and she said, “What do you want from me?”

Silence permeated the room and Laura was fairly sure she could hear her own heart beating. She was frightened, but tried her best not to show any emotion. Because now Ell was looking at her with those same fully blood red eyes that Carmilla often sported before drinking from Laura.

“Honestly? I’m not sure. The only thing I know is that I want to touch you. Possess you. To be perfectly honest, it’s all I can think about. You who should have been mine. You were promised to me. Not to her, but to me,” Ell said, pointing her finger first at Laura and then herself. “You smell like her, and while that is thoroughly off-putting, I simply don’t care. I find that I don’t even really care that she’s marked you for her own. I do know that I’d like to erase her presence upon your skin and make you mine. Tell me Laura, is that so wrong? You would be safer if you were mine. Maman couldn’t give a damn about my dalliances, but her precious favorite? That is another matter entirely. Say yes, and I’ll show you a kind of devotion that she never will.”

Taken aback by this absurd seduction Laura watched as Ell stood up and strolled, with slow deliberate steps, towards the bed. Was that an extra hip sway added to her steps? Cause yeah, she literally had just woken up from a mini coma an hour ago, and apparently Ell thought that this would be a great time to make a play. If she wasn’t so frightened by the vampire’s stalkerish actions, Laura would’ve been a little flattered. She hadn’t even had a shower yet. On instinct she hopped off the bed, stumbling a little as she caught her balance, and started inching towards the door. Shouldn’t Carmilla be coming back soon? Where was a stake when you needed one?

“Stop,” Ell ordered, a hint of power lacing the command.

Laura saw her eyes flash briefly, and knew she had seen this before. Mattie did it often, yet Laura couldn’t remember ever being compelled to even think of it. Until now. As for stopping, zero chance of that happening. “What? So you can have a taste? I don’t think so. You need to find a different buffet.”

The vampire bowed her head in acquiescence and stopped her advance. “Yes, of course. You don’t have to decide now.”

Why was it that some people just didn’t understand the word “no”? “Look, maybe you should leave. Carm should be back soon, she only went to get my phone.”

Ell didn’t look overly concerned as she moved to recline back into the armchair. She opened her purse removed a compact so that she might check her makeup. Maybe she hoped that Carmilla would find her here. “Please sit down. I’ll tell you what happened to you. More so, I’ll tell you why. In return, I’d love to know how you’ve manage to resist my thrall twice now.”

Laura eyed the vampire warily as she moved to sit on the edge of the bed. “I’m watching you, so no sudden movements.”

“You can’t help yourself can you?” Ell mocked. “A sensible girl would be running by now. I was reasonably sure I was going to have to chase you down. Hoping for it actually.”

Like running would actually work. Laura took a few deep calming breaths. “Okay so what has Mattie been doing to me?”

“Cutting right to the chase, color me impressed. You’ve been under thrall. Which, I believe, is why it didn’t work when I tried before. My power cannot even begin to match hers. Although this doesn’t explain why you are able to resist just now. Mattie is powerful, but not even Maman’s thrall would last during your coma.” Ell mused with a slight tilt of her head as she examined Laura with those eerie red eyes. On Carmilla they were seductive, on Ell they were disturbing.

“Why would she do that?”

“I’m not a part of any inner circle, so I have only conjecture. I assume due to your blood status she wanted to keep an eye on you. Providing you with a job helped keep you close. Putting you in thrall ensured that you wouldn’t say no or try to run. Very practical.”

“Blood status? Like a wizard or a muggle?”

“Hmm, more like you are fine wine compared to a glass of water. Finding people with blood like yours has been Mattie’s goal from the beginning. This setup was a stroke of genius on her part. We don’t even have to hunt anymore; you’ll just offer yourselves up for a few euros.”

Laura tried to wrap her head around this information. “So my life gets turned upside down because I’m a filet mignon in a sea of big macs? It just doesn’t make sense. Okay… so I taste better, but that doesn’t explain brainwashing or being all evilily and making me a minion of the undead. I’ve seen all of Buffy. And in the first episode of season five Xander becomes one of Dracula’s minions. Anyways Xander starts eating bugs and stuff. Which is gross and totally not acceptable. I haven’t had any of those kind of urges.”

“I believe you’re asking the wrong issues dear,” Ell said as she trailed a finger along the tops of her mostly exposed breasts. “Perhaps you should be wondering who else might have been involved in this deception.”

Ell obviously thought she was being clever in implicating Carmilla. “What are you getting at?” Laura narrowed her eyes. “Carmilla wouldn’t hurt me.”

With a slight shrug, Ell sighed and answered, “If you insist. I once was sure of that fact myself. It didn’t turn out so well for me. And if the past two weeks were any indication then maybe not so well for you either. Mircalla is closer to Mattie than anyone and would trust her judgement. Besides, as vampires we wouldn’t view putting you in thrall as harming you. It’s an effective way of keeping someone calm while we feed.”

“And you approve of this?” Laura crossed her arms. “Is this happening to all of these,” she threw up her hands to indicate quotation marks, “source donors?”

“Why wouldn’t I approve? I’m a vampire. As for the other humans, possibly. It was their choice to walk through the door after all.”

“Free will is something everyone should have all of the time. Not just when vampires decide it suits them. People should be allowed to make their own decisions. Mattie kept preaching about choice when I first visited here. Now I find out that isn’t the M.O. at all. Oh and on top of all that you are acting like Carmilla knew that this was happening. Sorry but, I’m not buying it.”

Ell raised one perfectly sculpted eyebrow and simply stared back at Laura. Like she was an idiot. Maybe it was stupid to have absolute faith in a vampire you had just met, but Carmilla wouldn’t be involved in something like this. Laura was sure of that. Why should she trust someone with suspicious motives over someone she actually cared about?

“I can practically see the cogs in your head turning. Right about now you are wondering why you should listen to anything I have to say. After all, now that you’ve heard a few bits of my tragic past with Mircalla you have to be wondering what I’m up to. Oh, look, it’s Eleanor. Poor tragic Eleanor, who was tossed aside so casually by her first love. Eleanor who now is forced to watch from the sideline as the girl who should have been hers instead choses that very same first love. Such a pathetic lonely vampire!” Ell’s upper lip curled as she sneered. “As if I even desire to play such childish games. Open your eyes. This is a vampire hotel, not a child’s playground. Morals don’t exist within these walls.”

Laura ground her teeth together. “You can’t just say ‘oh I’m a vampire’ and go do whatever you want. Right and wrong matter!”

Ell smiled, unrepentitent. “Actually, we can. We’re monsters, games of suffering are our forte. Such is the life of demons,” she paused and the red faded from her eyes. “I believe your girlfriend is on her way back, so our little chat has come to an end. Enlightening don’t you think?”

“So what exactly what were you hoping to gain from all this?” Laura asked as Ell opened the door.

“Best case scenario? You break Mircalla’s heart,” Ell said before gliding out of the room. “Worst case? A little mayhem.”

 

Chapter Text

Carmilla arrived a few minutes after Ell left, looking distracted and apprehensive. Anxiety radiated off of her, a mutual feeling considering the incredibly uncomfortable conversation Laura just had with Ell.

“Uh, hey. So you just missed Ell.”

“Yeah, she made sure I saw her before she left.” Carmilla opened her mouth to say more, but seemed to change tack and instead followed with, “How are you feeling? I guess you didn’t get any rest.”

Laura nearly laughed. How was she feeling? So many options. Tired? Confused? Exasperated? “Truthfully Carm, I’m frustrated. And I’m kinda longing for the time in my life when I thought that figuring out vegan recipes for the student paper was a major issue. I’m annoyed because I’m wondering why I’ve been kept in the dark. I know there are things I’m not being told. Like, for instance, is Mattie a vampire Emma Frost? I’m bothered that Ell came in here and pretty much told me that you are a kidnapper who ruthlessly throws girlfriends away. I should mention she hopes that I’ll break your heart. That’ll make future family dinners awkward. So yeah, that entire conversation ranked pretty high on the awkward and creepy scale. I’m angry that I’ve been asleep for two weeks and no one thought about calling my dad, or making sure that my roommate knew I was okay, or my friends, or my school.” Laura’s eyes grew wide as realization set in. “Oh my god. School. I was in middle of a paper on the viability of siege tactics in modern society! I am totally going to flunk out. Oh god, I’ll be forced to become an amateur blogger.”

The vampire’s response to this was a blank stare. School obviously wasn’t big on the priority list of a vampire who was hundreds of years old. Instead Carmilla sighed and said, “Ell is a lunatic. Half of what she says is a twisted delusional version of the past. ”

“She said your mother tortured her.”

“Yeah. That’s true.”

“She also said that Mattie has been doing this thrall thing to me,” Laura accused.

Carmilla winced. “Ah, well that is true. Mattie had her reasons, some of them valid.”

“What reasons? There can’t possibly be a reason good enough to take away choice. Are you actually defending her? Do you even get that I am really unhappy right now?”

“Uh, yeah, I’m picking up on that,” Carmilla muttered as she used her right hand to massage the tension out of her neck. “I didn’t say that I agreed with her methods, but the situation isn’t that cut and dry. In her own controlling and slightly manipulative way, Mattie has been watching out for you. Believe me when I say that there are worse things out there than her.”

Laura wondered if she could throttle a vampire. “Is being cryptic in vampire DNA? Does everything have to be a mystery with you people? The only person who seems willing to provide me with answers is Ell. Who, more or less just admitted to wanting to eat me.” She hesitated and seemed to shrink into herself as she turned away to stare at the blackout blinds. Not even a tiny sliver of light peeked through. She thought that it almost seemed like a metaphor for her life right now. “As for you, for us, I’m starting to feel like I’m just a stupid girl with a foolish crush,” she admitted, hating the crack in voice which betrayed how upset she was over this.

Carmilla stepped forward and used one hand to brush some of Laura’s hair behind her ear, then leaned forward to lay a gentle kiss against the invisible scars on her neck. The very same spot she returned to time and again. Laura knew that the shiver that trailed down her body was unmistakable.

When she pulled back, Carmilla smiled, soft and reassuring. “You’re not a stupid girl. And the crush, it’s mutual okay? Every time I look at you, it’s like the sun is shining down upon me for the first time in centuries.” She sighed. “You can’t imagine how being with you feels after having been lonely for such a long time. I know it doesn’t seem like it right now, but Mattie was looking out for you. I hope you’ll give her a chance to explain. Cupcake, I promise you that there aren’t any sides here. But if there were, then I’d be on yours.”

“Why can’t you explain ‘things’ to me?” Laura used her fingers to make air quotes. Grumpy air quotes. “How do I know she isn’t going to mojo me? Oh, don’t roll your eyes like I’m being difficult. It’s a valid question.”

“Because Mattie owes you the truth. She doesn’t like it, but she agrees. You deserve to feel safe here. It’s important to me that you feel safe here,” Carmilla added. “And another thing. You don’t have to worry about her thrall; it shouldn’t work on you anymore.”

Laura chewed on the inside of her cheek as she contemplated that statement. Finally, she reached down and pulled her pants just low enough to expose the bite on her hip. It had healed enough that only faint scars remained. “Is it because of this? And the virus you mentioned earlier?”

Carmilla stared at that mark, seemingly caught somewhere between pride and shame. “Yeah. It wasn’t intentional, but a benefit of this is that you will be mostly safe from vampire influence.”

“Mostly,” Laura said, stumbling over the word. “I’m ‘mostly’ safe because you marked me? As yours?”

“It’s not that simple, but essentially, yes. That mark tells other vampires to stay away. To them you will seem toxic. Unappealing.”

If she were being completely honest, Laura had to admit that she was somewhat torn at this notion of belonging. To her ears, it sounded a little like ownership. The problem was that for her being “owned” by Carmilla didn’t seem so horrible. It was easy to get lost in the idea of spending her life exploring all of those hidden places that made this particular vampire tick. There was also the fantastic sex to consider. But sexy vampire girlfriend or no, Gloria Steinem would likely be disappointed by these trains of thoughts.

“So Mattie will let me leave?” Laura asked finally, deciding that she needed to stay on track.

“Yeah.”

“Can’t say I’m convinced, but I guess I’d like to hear what she has to say,” Laura said with a shake of her head. “Alright let’s go talk.”

During the walk there Laura wondered if this was a terrible idea. And now, as they stood outside of Mattie’s office she realized that, yes, this definitely was a terrible idea. The worst. This could only end in tears. Only a complete moron would be offering herself up on a platter. She should probably jump out of window. Dramatic, yet memorable.

“Cupcake, are you psyching yourself up?” Carmilla asked.

Laura snapped her head in the vampire’s direction. “Why do you say that?”

“You’re jogging in place and stretching your muscles,” Carmilla drawled, raised eyebrow on point.

“You say that like it’s completely unreasonable. Hold on, I need a weapon,” Laura replied as she began moving towards a nearby umbrella rack, only to be brought up short by a gentle hand on her wrist.

Smiling fondly, as she often did when she thought Laura was being silly, Carmilla said, “And you thought you would what? Impress her with your best Mary Poppins impression? Come on, Mattie won’t hurt you, I promise.” She took a deep breath and stared directly into Laura’s eyes. “Do you trust me?”

Talk about a loaded question. Did she trust Carmilla? The short answer, the one that was instinctual, that threatened to burst from her lips, was a definitive yes. The longer answer was complicated and involved a series of questions Laura didn’t quite have the answer to. Like, how could she be this devoted to someone she just met? How could she possibly know that this person, this vampire, would forever be an important part of her life? How could she be so sure of this, unless she had been somehow influenced by Mattie’s power? So yes, she trusted Carmilla. But Laura wasn’t quite sure she could trust herself.

So instead of answering, Laura took hold of Carmilla’s hand and gave it a light squeeze. She drew a few calming breaths before finally knocking on the door. After hearing the command to enter, she grasped ahold of the knob and turned the handle. Once inside the office, Laura could see Mattie reading through some documents. She didn’t bother looking up as she said, “Please sit down, both of you.”

A childish part of Laura really wanted to be rebellious and refuse, but this seemed like a silly time to be obstinate. So instead, she pulled Carmilla forward so that they could sit side by side in front of the desk. Mattie took her sweet time in acknowledging them, seemingly perfectly happy to be obstinate. This was a tactic that Laura was familiar with from her time working for the vampire. Instead of getting frustrated, she studied Carmilla’s hand, which was resting in Laura’s lap. Their fingers were still interlaced. As always, the vampire’s skin felt a little cool to the touch, but she didn’t find this off-putting.

When Mattie finished her task, she raised her head and regarded them with a million-watt smile that was so capable of disarming its targets. Laura really wished she had practiced a glare in the mirror before this meeting. Her current attempt at an angry face obviously wasn’t doing the job as Mattie appeared to be amused, tossing a wink at her in response.

“You’re fidgeting,” Mattie said focused entirely on Laura.

“Yeah well, can you blame me?” Laura asked.

Mattie’s arms were relaxed and resting on the arms of her high backed chair, her face impassive. She appeared regal, a queen in her element. And completely unconcerned with Laura’s irritation. “I suppose not. Although you seem to be under the false misconception that I have some sort of malicious intent towards you. In truth, I only sought to protect you. From your own self-destructive tendencies, mostly,” she added. “Typical of millennials, I suppose.”

“From myself?” Laura leaned forward in her chair. “I don’t need your protection, thank you very much. I most definitely didn’t need you messing with my head so that you could do this blood donation thing? Which,” she paused for emphasis, “is super weird, because it seems you pretty much offered me up as a juicy snack to your sister. Is this how you find dates for your siblings? Is any of this,” Laura waved her free hand back and forth between herself and Carmilla. And when she spoke again she couldn’t help the way her voice cracked, “even real? Are my feelings my own, or ones that you put there?” Beside her, Carmilla stiffened. The grip she had on Laura’s hand tightened, nearly to the point of pain, and then it was gone. They were separated and instantly Laura felt the loss of her touch. Laura glanced in her direction, trying to understand what had happened, but Carmilla refused to meet her eyes, staring instead at the wall over Mattie’s shoulder.

“That would be quite the nefarious plot wouldn’t it? One absolutely worthy of my time,” Mattie said, with just a hint of sarcasm lacing her tone. “You’ve been watching too much reality television.”

Laura tried to ignore the reality TV jibe not wanting admit that she’d been watching season four of Real Housecats of Silas for the past few months. Kitty and Buffy were definitely in malicious feline cahoots against poor Joxer, the lovable dimwitted tabby, during the last episode she watched. “I found out some things. Like what you’ve been doing to me. And why you’ve been doing them. Did you really think you can keep this quiet?”

“Your journalism skills could use some fine tuning. Yes, I’m sure Eleanor told you all sorts of fascinating things. Likely starting with her tale of woe. Filled with all the anguish one could ever desire in a tragic story about two people who loved and lost. Furthermore, I’m sure she dished up quite the platter of vampire conspiracy theories for you to gorge yourself upon.”

“She told me that you are using me for my blood.”

Mattie narrowed her eyes. “Interesting. Please continue.”

Laura wasn’t exactly sure whether or not she was going to get Ell in trouble, but she didn’t see any other choice if she hoped to get to the bottom of this mystery. “Um, she told me that my blood is like wine instead of water. Which is why you’ve had your little doctor filling me with ‘vitamins’ and other crap. Maybe to make me taste better. Who knows, maybe you’ve been filling me with vampire spices. I don’t know.”

Mattie nodded in an exaggerated manner as if preparing to unleash a slap down. “I agree, clearly you don’t know. By your logic, I should be opening up your jugular and serving myself up a delicious warm glass of delicious Laura Hollis punch. It’s a little contradictory, don’t you think, for my evil agenda to involve brainwashing you so that I’d have your blood at my constant disposal? Only then to allow my sister to be the lone vampire to sample the goods? That wouldn’t be very selfish or pragmatic of me would it? And lest you have any doubts on the matter let me assure you, dear, when it comes to my own needs, I can be quite selfish.”

There was a suggestive quality to her voice, sinister and perhaps a little sexual, that was clearly intended to make Laura uncomfortable. And gold star to Mattie, because it was working. Matters were not helped by the fact that Carmilla continued to sit sullenly beside her in the midst of an epic pout. Her jaw was clenched and shoulders turned away. Chewing at her lower lip, Laura considered what she should say next. Mattie happened to be right about a lot of this. Laura’s facts had been given to her by a vampire who, not only lacked more than a few marbles, but Ell had also made no secret of the fact that she wanted Carmilla to suffer.

“So,” Laura drew the word out long enough that she had to take another breath before continuing to speak. “You are saying that you haven’t been doing anything to me?” she asked in disbelief. “I might not know the motive, but I’m sure that you’ve done something to me.”

Mattie stared long and hard at Laura before directing her attention to Carmilla as if trying to gleam some sort of direction from the stubbornly silent woman. Eventually, she sighed and said, “Well I suppose this game has been losing its appeal. Fine, have it your way. You might wish that you hadn’t heard the truth once it’s been revealed.”

“If you knew me better, then you would know that I always value the truth. Even when it’s painful. Even when it’s something I don’t want to hear,” Laura said, forcing tears back as a memory from another painful truth invaded her thoughts, as it often did when least expecting it.

“Of course, your mother,” Mattie replied with a gentle nod. “I’m aware of your past and your experience with uncomfortable truths.”

A small, miniscule sliver of doubt crept into Laura’s mind. She was fairly certain that nothing said could possibly be worse than Ell’s graphic descriptions of the torture Mattie and Carmilla had faced at the hands of the vampire matron. But then things could always be worse couldn’t they? “I’ll do just fine, thank you,” Laura said. “I’m not someone who will ever want to live a life of not knowing.” She sat a little straighter and braced her shoulders as if Mattie’s next words could strike some kind of physical blow.

“No I don’t suppose you are. Very well. I imagine that Eleanor told you that you’ve been under my thrall,” Mattie waited until Laura confirmed this with a quick nod. “This is true. Not for the quality of blood flowing through your veins. That is utterly ridiculous and frankly, insulting. As if I would use my abilities for something so silly as coercing a child to donate her blood. If I wanted your blood that badly I’d just take it,” she said reasonably. So practical about it potential murder that she came across as terrifying even if that had not been the intent of her words.

This here was a truth that required very little explanation. After talking to Ell earlier and Mattie now, Laura realized that she had time and again turned a blind eye to the nature of these creatures. Because of Carmilla. She made looking the other way easy. Laura felt so drawn to her that ignoring the monster part had become effortless. Or was that Mattie’s doing?

“So why then?” Laura asked, her previous indignation had faded into calm resignation. “I woke up, and knew something was wrong. If Ell is lying, then why?”

Mattie snorted. And on her it seemed almost elegant. “Ell isn’t lying. She’s bat shit crazy. As for you, when was the last time you’ve attended a journalism class?” Mattie inquired. This statement, in the form of a question, was actually an answer. Or at least a part of one.

Laura, blinked, opened her mouth to respond, but hesitated. When was the last time she attended a journalism class? Or even spoken to her editor? Or any of her classmates? Even thinking of them now produced memories that were enveloped in a deep fog with whispering tendrils that suggested she redirect her attentions elsewhere. Only now, suddenly aware of the deliberate misdirection, was Laura able to concentrate on these people. Beside her, Carmilla was a statue. She radiated disquiet and her anxiety, that Laura easily picked up on, stood at odds with her body’s unnatural stillness.

Mattie took note of Laura’s obvious confusion and began speaking again. “The answer is that you haven’t given them much thought at all. And that Laura, is thrall. I told you not to give these people another thought, and you didn’t. I told you to come and work for me, and despite your confusion at the request, you did. Only due to this untimely coma has my influence began to waver. It broke my hold over you. The paranoia you’re feeling is quite natural for those who awaken from long-term thrall. Now, go ahead and ask your next question.”

“Why? Why did you do this?”

“Because of Carmilla’s interest in you of course. When it comes to my interest in you, nearly all roads lead back to my sister. I would give her anything. When I saw that she wanted you, I made sure that happened.” Mattie reached for a mug that Laura had given her that said ‘World’s Best Boss’. She had spontaneously purchased it from the hotel gift shop one evening.

Laura twisted her entire body around so that she could fully face Carmilla. The vampire still refused to return her gaze, only now she appeared uncomfortable rather than standoffish. “Carm? I don’t understand. What does this have to do with my journalism class?”

When Carmilla continued to remain silent, Mattie took the lead again, seemingly relaxed as she leaned back in her chair and spoke in an even tone of voice. “Carmilla started growing attached, rather quickly I might add, and you do have a certain quality to your blood, just not what Eleanor thought it was. Thus, I decided that it would be prudent to save your life. Keeping you away from the journalism class was the simplest way of doing that. Well, the simplest that didn’t have me locking you up in a dungeon.”

Sometimes Mattie made talking in circles and misdirection into an art form. “Okay. You saved my life. So you say. You make it sound like I was in danger. In my journalism class. From who? Because I don’t really remember anything scary.”

“Maman of course. Who else?” She said this as if anyone who hadn’t figured out the villain of this story was a was a complete idiot. Which must have made Laura an idiot.

“But why?”

“Those foolish children were beginning to work on an article that threatened to expose some of her more unsavory practices. Sacrifices, murders. That sort of thing. They were warned to stop their investigation, and they chose to ignore that warning. Had you continued to attend the class you would have been in her crosshairs, and likely now, a drained husk. The whole affair was very gruesome. Instead you get to live. It was obvious to me, from our first meeting that you were probably the high school student who was voted most likely to be murdered. Thus, you had to be protected from yourself,” Mattie said smoothly, using one hand to brush the hair from her shoulders, and smirking at Laura as she did so. “You should be thanking me instead of focusing on this incessant need to create drama.”

“Creating drama,” Laura said with a sardonic laugh as she tried to process this information. So her friends were dead, murdered by this woman who had tortured Ell. Tortured Carmilla. “Why didn’t you save the other students?”

Mattie appeared genuinely confused. “Why would I?”

Now it was Laura’s turn at confusion. “It’s the right thing to do. Those were people. People with families who will miss them.”

Mattie turned away from them and stood up. The sun had started to set and the blackout blinds had opened to reveal the last rays of the sunset. “Laura, I am over a thousand years old. During my life millions have lived and died. Why in the world do you think that I would deign to care about the pointless lives of a few children who decided to run out into traffic after being told not to?”

“But I- ”

“The difference, between you and them,” Mattie snapped, continuing to look out at the horizon, “is that my sister would have suffered had something happened to you. Your life has great value to me, because she values it. I don’t know how long I can keep you from Maman’s all-seeing gaze, but I will endeavor to do so for as long as Carmilla wishes to be in your company. Having you in thrall made this task infinitely easier. I won’t apologize for this.”

One thing wasn’t adding up. “But my blood. All of these tests. JP has almost said something once or twice. I know there is more to it than that,” Laura insisted.

Beside her, Carmilla finally spoke up. “Tell her, Mattie. She deserves to know.”

“Very well,” Mattie said, sighing. “There is something special about your blood, dumpling. It calls to us. I’m sure that due to your quality education you know all about blood types. The ABO system. Rh factor. Well you have a subtype of blood that is particularly attractive to vampires.”

Laura frowned, suddenly regretting spending so much time perusing fanfiction during her science classes. She shook her head and asked, “Subtypes? I’ve been to doctors before. They never said anything about this. Or that anything was different about me.”

Mattie turned back around, and this time when she regarded Laura her gaze held a touch of sympathy. “It’s unlikely that the average doctor would have been on the lookout for a rare blood condition that would only be of interest to the dead. Our doctors, however, generally have a different focus than the ones you’ve been to. They study how a human’s lifeblood interacts with vampire saliva, and in turn, ways to keep our hosts thriving. Our saliva induces rapid healing in hosts causing their wounds to heal over in a day, perhaps two. An added benefit for these hosts is that most of them experience exceptional well-being and vigor. Think of it as our way of giving back. Still, at best, we can usually hope that someone might be able to host once a month.”

Like dominos, so many things began to fall into place and Laura began to understand. “Carm has fed from me on back to back days before,” she said slowly, trying to work out how many times they had actually been together. Her head snapped up. “Wait. I got sick, the coma. That isn’t a health benefit.” She couldn’t help but feel a little cheated.

Mattie sat back down in her chair and took a sip of blood before she responded, with a condescending smirk. “Actually, the coma was a side effect of you bonding yourself to Carmilla. You did manage to break my thrall though, so bravo to you.”

Laura felt like her head was on a swivel as she looked back and forth between the two vampires. Each of them stared back at her, seemingly content to wait for whatever response might come. She blinked. Shook her head. “I don’t understand. Bonding myself? I don’t understand.”

“Yes, well I’ll admit that it was an effective way of proclaiming your feelings. Perhaps a little hasty, but you lesbians do like to move quickly.”

Ignoring Mattie’s joke, Laura asked, “What does this mean? Bonding?”

“It means that you’ve decided to imprint yourself onto my gorgeous sister,” she smiled again. “It’s quite the romantic gesture; better than if you had given her a diamond ring. You have my blessing by the way.”

The statement carried weight, heavy with implications. Ones that Laura didn’t exactly comprehend. Except. Except for the truth that tickled at her consciousness. She turned to look at Carmilla who was watching her quietly. “Carm?”

Carmilla reached her hand out, brushed her fingers on Laura’s forearm. Maintained eye contact, now freely offering whatever comfort she was able. “Cupcake. She isn’t lying.”

Sputtering, Laura said, “So you’re saying that somehow I managed to what? Commit myself to you without actually knowing that I did it? That makes no sense, how would I have even done this? I’m not a vampire, I don’t have super powers.”

Mattie cleared her throat. “Actually my dear, you do have certain abilities. Ones that rely more on instinct than conscious decision, but nonetheless, they are there. Some part of you knew you wanted my sister and your blood called to her. Gods, when I met you, it called to me. Believe me when I say that resisting was not easy. Each subsequent feeding strengthened the bond between the two of you. The coma was the final nail in the coffin, so to speak.”

Laura stood up, pulling her arm away from Carmilla’s soothing touch. She crossed the room so that she could be as far away from them as possible. “You both knew this and let it happen without telling me?”

Once more Mattie spoke up. “In this, my sister is innocent. I knew what was happening to you and encouraged it as best as I could. She would have tried to stop me.” She held up her hand to stop Laura’s imminent outburst. “Had I not let this bonding happen then our mother would have found you. Likely when she was tearing your friends at the paper apart.”

Mother. Mattie’s mention of this woman deflated Laura’s anger. There was genuine fear there. So instead of continuing to shout at them she asked, “What would have happened if she had found me?”

“She would have thralled you into loving her. And you would have. Your only desire would have been to please her and when you were finally bound together she would have you away with her other toys. Those unfortunate few who share that same quality of blood as you. You would live simply to please her, to be fed upon. Or should she wish it your body would have been hers as well. I’m sure Eleanor told you of some of Maman’s baser appetites. Your adorable face would be ruined, but no matter, it’s your blood she would desire.”

“Mattie, enough,” Carmilla said, practically in a growl.

“She needs to understand the threat.”

“Not like this.”

“The danger isn’t over kitty cat, you know that. She may not want to feed on your chosen, but she would punish you for having her. Don’t forget, we’ve been through this before. The result of her anger is currently running around my hotel creating conspiracy theories.”

Carmilla look angry. Worried. “I know. But not tonight okay?”

Laura watched the sisters and thought they resembled two cats in a staring match. Eventually Mattie nodded, but said nothing more. She resumed her paperwork which was her way dismissing both them and the topic.

Carmilla walked over and regarded Laura. “Are you up for taking a walk?” she asked, holding her hand out invitation. Hopeful, but also prepared for disappointment.

Suddenly, just like that, realization clicked. This centuries-old vampire was standing in front of Laura, nervously wondering if a naïve twenty-year-old girl would want to hold her hand and go for a walk. It was ridiculous and sweet. Despite the plethora of doubts that filled her, the imminent danger of a too-scary-for-words mother, brainwashing and so much more. Despite all of this Laura knew that she mattered to Carmilla. And maybe more importantly, that Carmilla mattered to her. That this was real and not something that put there by a vampire with control issues. “Yeah, I think I’d like that,” she said and placed her hand within Carm’s. “Do you want some ice cream? I think I want some ice cream.”

“Sure, cupcake. Whatever you want.” As they left the hotel she asked, “Do you want to talk about what Mattie said?”

“Yes. No. Maybe? I’m not sure what this even means. We are bonded? So is that ‘vampire’ for dating?” Laura knew that it wasn’t dating. That it was more, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to give voice to it. Both for fear that it was true, but also that it wasn’t.

Carmilla stared up at the night sky. Something she often did when they were outside together and she was gathering her thoughts. “It means that no other vampire will ever feed off of you. They won’t want to because they will be able to smell my scent on you.”

“Ell wanted to. Earlier she kinda tried,” Laura admitted.

“Tried? Did she hurt you?”

Taken aback by Carmilla’s sudden anger, Laura said, “No. No. She sounded a more than a little crazy, but she never touched me. Ell really does seem to hate you though.”

“I don’t blame her. She has every right to.” Carmilla said, shrugging.

“Because you don’t love her?”

“No. Because I did love her. I loved her and because of that Maman tortured her to the point of insanity. She forced Ell into a sick devotion and then tossed her aside. Mattie has been watching out for her since she was turned. She’s mostly stable now with the exception of the occasional killing spree.”

“And Mattie was going to let her feed off of me?” Laura asked shrilly.

Laughing Carmilla said, “I think Mattie suggested Ell because she couldn’t have bonded with you, she’s too young. It ended up being a moot point because you chose me instead.”

“Still! Murderer!”

“Cupcake. Vampire is just another word for murderer. You’re going to have to come to terms with that.”

Laura wasn’t sure how she would ever be able to reconcile that, but knew she wouldn’t forever be able to pretend that Carmilla was an exception to this rule. How could she care about someone who had hurt innocent people? Had killed innocent people?

A short time later they sat on park bench in front of an intricate fountain each holding an ice cream cone. Laura had almost finished hers while Carmilla was mostly trying to avoid having any drip on her hands.

“Do you think their wishes came true?” Laura asked, using her free hand to indicate the coins that littered the bottom of the fountain.

Carmilla shrugged once more. “I wouldn’t bet on it. Tossing a coin into a water fountain is an absurdly illogical way of obtaining anything.”

 Laura grinned and fished some change out of her jeans. “The trick Carm, is to believe,” she said and flipped a silver coin end over end into the water.

“It’s that easy for you?”

As she finished the last bite of her cone Laura reached over took the other one from Carmilla. “I think wishes are important. They are a reflection of our hopes and dreams.”

“They are also a fantasy. Wishing for something won’t make it any more likely to come true.” Carmilla appeared surprised when a coin was slipped into her hand. “You’re kidding right?”

“Nope. Make a wish. I don’t believe you when you say you don’t have any.”

“Fine.” Carmilla’s coin was flung forward, a dangerous projectile had it been thrown at a person. Instead it sank, and settled in with the other change.

“Okay so what did you wish for?” Laura asked excitedly. She clapped her hands together.

“Isn’t this supposed to be a secret, otherwise it won’t come true?”

“Oh please. That’s just a myth. So what did you wish for?”

“Didn’t you just give me this whole speech about wishes being important?”

“Seriously Carm, that wasn’t a speech. I once talked for two hours straight. That was a speech. So stop being difficult. Will it help if I tell you my wish?”

“Fine,” the vampire said. She looked like she was trying to hide her interest behind a grumpy façade.

Shyly Laura said, “I always wish for the same thing. To see my mom again, and to tell her I’m sorry. Now you. What did you wish for?”

Carmilla stared down at their joined hands. “In this entire world there is only one thing I could think of that I want. You.”

Chapter Text

“Are you ready to head back?” Carmilla asked. Her arm hung loosely around Laura’s waist as they strolled through the well-lit paths in the park. Occasionally, curious fingers would slip just under Laura’s shirt to caress the skin of her back, or waist.

It was a beautiful night. A peaceful interlude in what had been a trying day. She hadn’t forgotten about Ell, Mattie, or any other vampire craziness. If she was being honest with herself then Laura had to admit she wasn’t quite ready to examine all of Mattie’s revelations. Mommie Dearest was another problem altogether. Right now none of that ranked very high in her thoughts or worries. Laura didn’t want this evening to end, but she was starting to feel tired. The natural kind, not post-coma tired. Not exactly an expert on comas – especially vampire induced ones – she’d expected to be lethargic. Instead, as the night had gone on, she felt better and better. Physically at least. Emotionally was tougher. She clucked her tongue and considered the best approach to the topic that was on her mind. “So I was thinking.”

“Thinking huh? Should I be worried?”

Laura spun out of Carmilla’s hold so that she was facing her and walking backwards. She interlaced their fingers, and swung their connected arms back and forth as they continued along the path. “Would you mind if maybe we went back to my apartment tonight instead of the hotel? We could sleep there too.”

“Oh. Uh, yeah, sure. That sounds great.”

The complete lack of enthusiasm in that response made Laura want to laugh out loud. Grinning, she stopped walking long enough to lean up and press a pleased kiss against Carmilla’s cheek. “Don’t sound so excited. I haven’t been home in a while, I haven’t seen my friends, and I still haven’t called my dad.”

“And I need to be there for these tasks?” Carmilla said sarcastically.

“No. I mean; you don’t have to come if you don’t want. I just thought we could spend the day together. In my world,” she clarified. “Maybe you can meet my friends.”

“Cupcake, I don’t know,” Carmilla blew out a breath, “your friends are what, twenty-year-olds? I’m not going to have much in common with them.”

Laura rolled her eyes. “In case you’ve forgotten, I’m twenty-years-old too.”

A shrug. “That’s different. You’re you. Fascinating to me. Your friends, less so.”

“Please,” Laura begged, with a tiny hint of whine. She really did want her friends to meet Carmilla, so she was prepared to pull out all the stops in her arsenal of persuasion. Cute smile. Tiny nose scrunch. Mini hops on the balls of her feet. Some girls had sex appeal, Laura had adorable and knew how to use it.

“And you’re adorkable,” Carmilla groaned, seemingly resigned to her fate.

Boom! Mission accomplished. “Yay! Wait, that’s a yes right?”

“Did I ever actually have a choice?”

“Well, no, but I might be able to offer some incentive.” Unfortunately, Laura could feel a rather impressive blush coloring her cheeks. Flirting was decidedly more difficult when you looked embarrassed doing it.

“So, I’m going to get lucky, huh?” Carmilla asked, an amused smirk gracing her perfect mouth. “Let me guess, you have a twin size bed? And a two-hundred square foot apartment?”

She wasn’t too far off, but Laura lifted one shoulder, not wanting to give Carmilla a reason to back out. “Not quite that small. Betty and I don’t trip over one another or anything.”

“Sounds cozy. I suppose if it’s too cramped I’ll just have to spend some time in your personal space.”

“Is that code for sex?” Sometimes it was difficult to tell with vampires. Mattie in particular, was quite skilled at making the most mundane statements sound like a proposition. Nothing quite like having your boss read a section of the employee handbook to you, and wondering about her intentions.

“Not necessarily. Intimacy isn’t only about sex.” Carmilla placed her hands on Laura's hips and pulled their bodies together so that they stood face to face. Close enough to breathe the same air. “I like holding you; being close to you.” She nuzzled Laura’s neck, twirled a few of her honey blond strands between her fingers. When she pulled back, something soft, an expression akin to perhaps adoration, crossed her face and then she smiled – actually smiled – and in this moment no one would mistake Carmilla for anything other than a teenage girl.

Standing together, alone in a beautiful moonlit park made it almost easy to forget that vampires existed. Laura chewed on the inside of her cheek and wondered. Wondered if it could be this easy. If they could just be Laura and Carmilla. Together. Together and not have outside interferences like vampires, psychotic mothers, and worried friends pulling them apart.

“Hey, Carm, can I ask you something?”

“Uh oh. Sounds serious,” Carmilla said lightly, still smiling.

“Maybe it is? I was thinking about what you said before at the water fountain, about me being your wish. Is that true?”

“Yes.”

Laura nodded, slipping out of Carmilla’s arms so that she could walk beside her. Some conversations were easier to tackle without eye contact. “So I’m not sure if you’re aware of this or not, but I don’t have a lot of dating experience. I mean there was that pretty much non-existent thing with Danny. Before that, in highschoo, I sort of had this girlfriend. Except we weren’t allowed to call ourselves girlfriends, or be seen in public together. We kissed a few times. Not the way you and I kiss, which makes me forget how to breathe. I guess my point is that I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing here. Or what you want from me. Or what we’re supposed to be. Like are we sex-buddies with after-cuddles? I’m pretty sure that we’ve at least progressed to after-cuddles. Or are we something else entirely?”

“I take your breath away, huh?”

A quick glance in Carmilla’s direction confirmed that the vampire was looking pretty proud of herself. “That’s what you took from everything I said?” Laura grumbled. She tried not to feel too irritated, or disappointed, being completely aware that she was fumbling through this conversation.

Carmilla stepped in front of Laura and steadied her with two hands on her shoulders. “Hey. This isn’t easy for me either creampuff. But I get it, and I hear you, I do. Here’s the thing,” she said, ducking her head a little so that she could make eye contact with Laura’s downcast gaze, “despite what I believe you probably imagine, I haven’t actually done this many times. Relationships. I am correct in guessing that is what you’re asking for, right?”

“Mattie said earlier that we are, uh,” she fumbled for the right word, “bonded. Because of my blood.”

“I know what she said, I was there too, remember? I love my sister, but she doesn’t get to decide this for either of us. Laura, listen to me, the blood part of this is important, but it’s not the most important thing. It’s not why you matter to me.”

A tiny chipmunk sitting on the edge of a drinking fountain caught Laura’s attention and she stared at it while gathering her thoughts. “When we first met you wanted nothing to do with me. That wasn’t that long ago. I’m worried this is going really fast, but then I think that maybe it’s going much too slow.”

Carmilla scrunched her nose up in an expression that could only be interpreted as amusement. “Oh god. Nothing to do with you? Cupcake you seem to be forgetting the part where I went up to your room and nearly ripped your clothes off because I wanted you.”

“You literally said ‘no’ the first time we met.”

Shrugging, Carmilla replied, “You aren’t the first girl that Mattie has shoved in my direction. I didn’t expect to be immediately drawn to you. I went up to your room because I was curious. Your scent is intoxicating.”

“You’ve mentioned the smell thing before.” Puzzle pieces were beginning to click into place. “It’s my blood right?”

Carmilla nodded, considering. “I suppose an analogy you can appreciate would be helpful. For you it might be like the smell of fresh baked cookies coming out of the oven.”

Ohhhhh. “With chocolate chips?”

“Pretty irresistible,” Carmilla agreed.

Laura moaned and said, “No wonder you are always biting me and calling me food nicknames. I’m literally a vampire cookie. Is it weird that I feel super proud right now? I want to blog about this, but I’m not sure my dad would appreciate the correlation.”

“Seriously, you should take some time to consider what being with me will be like. For you. There will be normal relationship things you won’t have. There won’t be an obnoxious wedding with hundreds of relatives. No children. We won’t do the things normal couples do as they grow old together. Because I’ll never grow old. Then there is Mattie who will continue to manipulate you as she sees fit. Or Ell. Eventually my mother will find out about us, and that is a minefield you cannot begin to comprehend.” Carmilla’s expression had turned dark as she discussed her mother.

“Are you trying to talk me out of this?” Laura asked, her brow furrowed.

Smiling wryly, Carmilla said, “No, never. It’s just,” she sighed and brushed Laura’s hair behind her ear, “I want you to be sure.”

As they left the park, hand in hand, Laura thought about what Carmilla had said. How things wouldn’t be easy for them. The more she considered the various hurdles, though, the more Laura circled back to the same thought. Carmilla stared at her like she hung the moon. A vampire who was well over three hundred years old, someone who could likely have nearly any woman, wanted her – Laura Hollis – more than anyone else. Laura knew that any relationship required more than simply wanting, but it was easy to imagine that the magic she felt with Carmilla would be enough for most hurdles.

Earlier that night, Mattie had said that Laura’s blood had called to Carmilla. The truth of the matter was that Carmilla called to her as well. From the very first moment she had laid eyes on the vampire, Laura had wanted no one else. Couldn’t imagine anyone else.

As they were leaving the park Laura managed to talk Carmilla into taking an Uber back to her apartment. They now stood out on the stoop as she fumbled around for her keys.

“You sure about this, cupcake?” Carmilla asked as she stared at the wreath of garlic hanging from the door. “Either your roommate isn’t big on vampires or she has a thing for Italian food.”

“She’ll come around when she sees how great you are. Hold on, I’ve got the key here somewhere.”

Underneath the garlic was what appeared to be a hastily whittled stake which was taped to the door. It might have previously been a chair leg. The tip had been dipped in ketchup for some kind of blood effect. “I’m guessing you told her you were bringing me along?”

“What?” Laura seemed to finally notice what Carmilla was staring at. “Oh yeah, I sent her a text. Don’t worry about that,” she said, motioning to the additions on the front door. “Betty can be a little dramatic.” Truthfully, she really wasn’t sure what Betty’s reaction to her absence would be. Or, more importantly, what her reaction to Carmilla would be. Her roommate hadn’t once tried to hide her contempt for vampires. But, Laura wasn’t looking to hide Carmilla anymore. Sure, when this had started she had been reluctant to divulge the truth to her friends. That had been before she realized she wanted more. She’d woken up with a sense of clarity that hadn’t been there before. No time like the present to start forcing the puzzle pieces of her life together.

Laura wasn’t an avoider. She faced things head on. Although…maybe she could wait a few days before facing her dad. No need to tackle everything at once.

The door swung open before Laura could find her key. An angry looking Betty stood staring at them.

“Laura. You decided to come home after all,” Betty snapped.

“Hey Betty, this is my, my uh, Carmilla,” Laura said, with a huge smile. Perhaps a touch overdone.

Carmilla, never one for pleasantries, just nodded. In fact, she appeared to have already moved on to bored.

“If not for Danny, I would have thought you were missing. Perhaps dead in a gutter. Maybe kidnapped, forced to join a circus or be a sex slave. But no, it’s worse than that. You decided to shack up with vampires. Willingly. I told you they were terrible and you did it anyways.” Betty glowered. “Have you thought about anyone but yourself?”

Not really. Laura really wasn’t in the mood for this conversation. The situation was deteriorating quickly, so Laura grabbed Carmilla’s hand and pulled her inside the apartment, past Betty, who jumped away from them as if she could contract vampirism by proximity alone.

“Betty, we are going to go to bed now. Maybe we can discuss this in the morning?” Laura said, as she dragged Carmilla into the bedroom. The door was shut and locked before Betty could respond.

Okay. So that didn’t go well. “Betty might need a little more time to get used to the idea of us together,” Laura whispered as she leaned back against the bedroom door. She briefly worried that Betty might start banging against it in another furious attempt to berate Laura’s decision making abilities.

“Sure.” Carmilla had moved on, finding the contents of Laura’s room a worthier distraction. Occasionally, her eyes would fixate on something specific that might be a small definition of who Laura was. A second place trophy from a Krav Maga tournament or the photo of Laura’s mother that sat upon the small worn desk in the corner. “She looks like you, darker hair. Same nose. You have her eyes.”

Laura sat down on the bed beside her and studied the photo. Trying to see her mother as Carmilla would, without the desperate longing that Laura experienced. Despite being situated in a frame, it had a few creases and the gloss was fading due to the many times she had pulled it out. Sometimes she felt as if removing the glass barrier would bring her closer to her mom. “That was taken just after I was born. You can’t see it, but off camera my dad was doing something funny and that is why my mom was laughing. She was really pretty, wasn’t she?”

“You have that in common.” Carmilla paused, serious now, “Cupcake, you know if you ever want to you can talk to me about her.”

Smiling at the compliment, Laura leaned forward and pressed a kiss against Carmilla’s lips. “Maybe someday. Right now, we should get ready for bed.” The vampire watched her, waiting to see what she would do. “Hold on I’ll grab us some pajamas,” she said as she began rifling through some drawers. “Oh I think these will fit you.” She held up a top and bottom that were covered in tiny cats each holding a lightsaber in their paws. Interspersed with these pictures were lines of text that said ‘Meow the Force be with you’.

Carmilla stared the garments in horror. “Oh, hell no.”

“You don’t like cats? Look at them! They are Jedi. With lightsabers! Adorable, right?”

“Fuck no. I’ll sleep in my underwear. Or nothing at all.”

Not even ten minutes of the most fervent and impassioned pleading could convince the vampire to wear Laura’s choice in pajamas. Instead, Carmilla had stripped down to her black boy shorts and t-shirt and was reclining on Laura’s bed with her hands resting behind her head on a bright yellow pillow. She seemed content to watch Laura who was now sitting at her desk researching the deaths of the journalism students.

“I can’t believe they’re all dead and I didn’t know about it,” Laura said, equally dismayed and bewildered. “Your mother did this. Ell told me how she hurt you. She needs to be sto-”

“Whoa, hold it right there, cupcake. You’re a college student and no match for my mother,” Carmilla leaned up on her elbows so that she would be in a better position to stare Laura down. “You need to keep your head down and hope she never notices you.”

Laura swiveled her chair around so that they were facing one another. “Carm, I get that it’s dangerous, but she shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this. Those were kids. They had families. They were my friends, and they didn’t deserve to be ripped apart like that and have no one care. People actually think this was a rogue lion attack because irresponsible news outlets reported it that way. People have a right to know what really happened.”

“Is this what it’s always going to be like?” Carmilla asked, head hanging low and sounding weary with the topic. She sat up and used her palms to rub tiredly at her eyes. “You rushing off to your death and me trying to pull you back from the edge of the abyss? My mother doesn’t believe in mercy. The last thing you need to be doing is to wave your arms around like a lunatic and make her realize that she might’ve missed one. Those students are dead, and getting yourself killed won’t bring them back.”

Laura shook her head, a little confused. Shouldn’t Carmilla want to help her do the right thing? “I believe in doing what’s right. I may not be able to save those students, but their families deserve justice.”

“Cupcake.” Carmilla reached out and pulled Laura’s rolling chair forward so that their knees touched. “Victims rarely receive justice. Sometimes they can have vengeance, but justice is rare. When it comes to my mother, both are impossible.”

Laura leaned back in her chair and grimaced. Frowned. Grew angry. “I can’t accept that. Their deaths were meaningless.”

“Yeah they were. Because they were idiots.” Carmilla turned her head away and settled on a fan art drawing of Lois Lane that Laura had pinned to the wall. “Mother would like nothing better than to take you from me. Please don’t make it easy for her. Please.”

Perhaps it was the worried tremor in Carmilla’s voice, a quality that hinted at many hidden traumas. Or maybe it was the slight realization that when it came to the vampire matron, there was real peril involved. This vampire tortured her so-called children. She murdered casually. Even an idiot could see that she shouldn’t be taken lightly. Laura decided that perhaps she needed to give this more thought before any attempts were made at tackling the Dean. So she nodded, smiled at Carmilla and said, “I can drop it.” And yes, for now, she would.

Sighing in palpable relief, Carmilla plopped back on the bed and resumed her previous bored apathetic vampire pose. Laura stood up and pushed the chair back under the desk. “Are you ready for bed? I know you sleep during the day a lot. I have a bunch of books if you want to read instead.”

A mischievous smirk, one that often meant that Carmilla was about to say something suggestive, appeared on the vampire’s face. “I’m ready for you to get in bed with me. I’d like to see how long those ridiculous night clothes of yours stay on.” She sat up long enough to pull her own shirt over her head and fling it on the floor next to the bed.

Laura’s nose twitched. She really hated leaving a mess on the floor, but Carmilla’s breasts were right there. She still had her lacy black bra on, but it was see-through and obviously designed to tease. Carmilla’s dusky nipples were practically begging to be freed from their confinement, to be touched. Preferably by Laura’s tongue.

She stepped forward and finally dragged her eyes up. Carmilla winked once their eyes met and Laura knew she had been caught staring. Not that she really cared. “Maybe I should help with this clothing issue,” she said and pushed the hardly worn Jedi cats past her hips and allowed them to fall and bunch up at her feet. The mess could always be cleaned up tomorrow. Laura wasted no time climbing on the bed and straddling Carmilla’s hips. Her eyes were greedy as they took in the lines and curves on presentation.

“You are so beautiful,” Laura whispered, hoping Carmilla hadn’t heard the nervous crack in her voice. Her fingers lingered just below those perfect breasts. She felt like she was showing admirable restraint. “Sometimes I feel so,” she hesitated. “ordinary. Just a girl, like a million others. Except when I’m with you. There are so many things that I know I should be stressing about, but right now all I see is you. It seems crazy, but I feel like, right now, you are looking at me the same way. Like I’m your everything.”

“What if you are?” Carmilla asked. Her hands had settled on Laura’s hips, fingers possessive, and began rocking their bodies together.

Laura’s eyes slid shut and she let her body go into autopilot, to focus on sensation. Her brain often fumbled through these encounters. They both seemed content to let the moment carry itself and to simply indulge in one another’s touch, presence. Carmilla’s fingers slowly, casually crept inside her panties and then further back until she was cupping the cheeks of her ass. She spread Laura just enough to allow those fingers to explore and entice. To dip into Laura’s wetness.

“Carm,” Laura sighed, trying to pull herself out of the sexual haze she had so quickly fallen into. “Wait, there’s something I want to try.”

Carmilla’s hands froze in place and she seemed apprehensive. “Cupcake, I’m not really into role playing.”

“Wait, what?”

The fingers started stroking her again, in a pretty blatant and obvious attempt to distract. “I’m just saying that dressing up as Princess Leia or Harry Potter isn’t my thing. However, I’m willing to give whatever fantasy you have a go. So if it’s Harry Potter, then it’s Harry Potter.”

“Oh god.” Hastily, Laura reached down and grabbed one of Carmilla’s hands, pulling it to the front of her body, then lower and pushed two of those fingers inside. She kept her own hand wrapped around Carmilla’s wrist instinctually wanting to make sure the vampire didn’t move. After allowing her body barely a second to adjust to the intrusion, Laura lifted her body a few inches up and then settled back down again. The friction was exquisite, tight and full. She kept the pace slow at first, raising and lowering her hips until Carmilla’s hand was slick with arousal.

“Say it again Carm,” Laura said, short of breath.

“Say what?” Carmilla blurted. She was staring at her own hand, possibly in wonder. “How did this happen?”

“Harry Potter.”

“What?”

“Stop fucking ruining the moment Carm,” Laura hissed. “I need to come, please. Just say it.” She dug her nails into Carmilla’s wrist and quickened the pace of her movements. “Give me another finger. Now.”

“Harry Potter,” Carmilla said, sounding a little unsure as she added a third finger and kept her thumb rigid so that Laura’s clit would catch it on each down stroke. Despite the command, she obviously hadn’t expected that the words would have any effect. “Holy fuck. This is the hottest thing I’ve ever seen.”

“Don’t stop.” Laura threw her head back, clenched her jaw. She was so close, she just needed a bit more. Carmilla’s other hand, the one not inside her, provided balance. And squeezed her ass cheek in a rhythm with her movements.

“Um, okay shit. Dr. Who, uh X-Files, Orphan Black, Agent Carter?”

Laura’s body grew taunt, her breathing erratic. She clenched around Carmilla’s fingers, and for a fleeting second worried that she might actually cause injury with the strength of the orgasm. Her mouth fell open, but only a tiny gasp for air emerged. Finally, she relaxed, leaning forward to rest on the body beneath her. It only seemed natural to tuck her head beneath Carmilla’s chin as she recovered.

Carmilla wrapped one arm around Laura and started to remove the hand that was inside her.

“No. Please stay. It feels like you are a part of me.” Laura felt a kiss pressed to the top of her head, which made her smile. She felt content, and strong sense of belonging made her want to wrap Carmilla up and never let go.

“Harry Potter, huh?” Carmilla asked after a few quiet minutes as she allowed Laura to recover. She slid her fingers from Laura so that she could embrace her with both arms.

Laura lifted her head. “I probably should be embarrassed, but I’m not,” she said with a smug, lop-sided grin.

“Cupcake, that was incredible. You won’t be hearing any kink shaming from me.”

“Are you ready for your turn?”

“My turn?” The corner of Carmilla’s mouth curled up in a tiny smirk. “Do you have something in mind?”

Nodding enthusiastically, Laura sat up. Her hands were braced on either side of Carmilla and her hair hung like a curtain around their faces. “Earlier, when I said I wanted to try something I wasn’t talking about dress up. I was thinking that maybe you could let me lead this time – to be the one in control. Not that I don’t love it when you’re in control. I do. It’s amazing. I love all of it, even when you bite me. Especially then. So I don’t want you to think that I think that there is-”

“Cupcake, this is cute, but you don’t need to convince me.” Clearly amused, Carmilla said, “I’m all yours, lead away.” To punctuate her point, she threw her arms out to the side.

Asking for something and then doing it were two completely different things. Laura hadn’t actually planned this far ahead. Having a ready and willing vampire at her mercy was a little daunting. So she did the only thing she could think of: she kissed her.

Laura leaned down, cupping the sides of Carmilla’s face. By accident their noses bumped awkwardly which drew twin chuckles before they tried again and pressed their lips together. As always, her lips were cool to the touch. But soft. And alive. Carmilla responded immediately, and true to her word, didn’t try to take over. Laura set a leisurely pace, deftly using one hand to remove Carmilla’s front clasping bra – a move she may have practiced – while pressing kiss after kiss against Carmilla’s lips. She smelled wonderful, damp earth touched with just a hint of something else. Chocolate. If nothing else that had to be sign that they belonged together.

“You smell like home,” Laura whispered, a barely audible mumble before deepening the kiss. Their tongues moved in a sensuous dance that only excited her more when a familiar pair fangs revealed themselves. She sucked on Carmilla’s bottom lip, nipped at it. She felt like her hands were all over the place. Seemingly all at once touching stomach, breasts, and hips. She was too excited to focus on any one thing. This was the polar opposite of Carm’s more methodical approach. The way she whispered erotic instructions into Laura’s ear and played her body like a stringed instrument.

“Your skin feels cooler than usual. Do you need to feed?” Laura asked between heated kisses. She’d noticed this a few times now, but kept getting distracted. Expecting enthusiasm, she was already moving to position herself to be fed upon, when a hand on her shoulder held her in place.

“No need. I’m good. Why don’t you continue showing me who’s boss?” This statement was accompanied by a laugh that could only be described as a snicker.

Laura recognized a challenge when she heard one. “What? You don’t think I can?”

“I told you once before that we each have our roles,” Carmilla replied. “Yours is on the bottom.” She winked, wiggled her eyebrows. An intended effect which made her appear goofy. Playful.

“Yeah, but I’m on top now.”

Carmilla laced her fingers behind her head, which lifted and put her perfect breasts on display. “If you're not careful, that could change at any moment.” And the smirk reappeared.

Even though she was pretty sure she was being toyed with, Laura didn’t really care. Because breasts. And nakedness. Her sex life was still in its infancy, and Carmilla was every girlhood fantasy she’d ever had come to life. So yeah, she could handle a little ribbing because the reward was epic.

Laura placed her hands over Carmilla’s breasts. Kneaded them. Ran her thumbs over the nipples, feeling them stiffen between her fingertips. The vampire’s eyes were closed as she seemed to revel in Laura’s touch. It sounded like she was purring again. Laura began to suspect that in addition to being a vampire there was a cat trapped in that sexy body as well. “Carm, there’s something else I kind of want to try. I don’t know…maybe,” she sighed, uncertain. Maybe too many firsts for one night?

“Whatever you want creampuff. Just don’t stop.”

The reply wasn’t dismissive, just distracted. Deciding to shelve this line of thinking for a moment, Laura replaced one of her hands with her mouth. She kissed the nipple at its tip. Licked it, ran her tongue around it. She used her teeth and tongue, varying intensity and earning a vocal reaction for her efforts.

“That feels fantastic,” Carmilla sighed. Her fingers were now absent mindedly kneading at Laura’s scalp.

Switching focus to the other breast, Laura used her hands to push Carmilla’s boy shorts down a little bit and past her thigh and then, with the aid of a foot, off completely. It was definitely more awkward than she intended. A gentle tug on her hair caused Laura to pull back and check in.

“Hey? Did I do something wrong?”

Carmilla laughed, a soft almost disbelieving sound. “I’m not sure you could ever do anything wrong. No, I stopped you because you didn’t tell me what you wanted to try. Don’t keep me in suspense, sweetheart.”

Now resting between Carmilla’s legs, half on her body, half off, Laura second-guessed the impulsiveness earlier. She wished that for once she would take a moment and think things through. “I was just wondering about the biting.”

“Oh?”

“Is it about a food source or domination? Marking your territory?”

Carmilla raised her head, frowned. “You picked an interesting time for this conversation. It’s complicated. But the short version is, that when it comes to you, it’s all of those things. And more.”

“And this,” she lifted the hand that was still on Carmilla’s breast and waved it, indicating the two of them together, “is different from what you’ve experienced before?”

“Yes.”

Laura nodded. She had known the answer to this before asking. “Okay, but what if I want to try it? Biting. You.” She blushed after saying the last two words.

“Well,” Carmilla drew the word out, “I’d suggest you get a move on before I fall asleep.”

“It won’t make me a vampire will it? I mean I don’t plan on actually drinking blood, gross, but just in case.” Totally valid question. Explaining to her father that she was dating a vampire was one thing. Explaining to him that she had accidently become one was another. Hey dad, guess what I learned at college…

“Not how it works. Less talking, more doing.”

Laura smiled at the suggestion, and continued where she had left off before. Suckling at Carmilla’s breast, nipping it now. She read the answering groan as approval and tried again, harder this time. Same result. She slipped her hand between Carmilla’s legs. The vampire sighed, and she pulled Laura into a fevered kiss.

“Fuck me Laura. I need you to fuck me.”

Deciding that now was definitely not the time to start talking again, Laura slipped her hand between Carmilla’s legs and didn’t waste any time with gentleness once she discovered the wetness waiting for her. She slid her fingers inside of Carmilla and noticed once again how cool her skin felt. The chill wasn’t off putting, just different.

“That is fucking amazing butterc…cakepuff. Yeah, keep doing that.”

Laura almost grinned. Making the other woman forget which nickname she was saying before it even left her mouth probably deserved a high five. She swung one leg over Carmilla’s so she could straddle it, grateful when the vampire raised her thigh. Each time she pushed inside Carmilla, Laura’s clit rubbed against the vampire’s hip. She hadn’t expected to be close again, so soon. She leaned down for another kiss. It was sloppier than the others, noses and teeth clashing. A fang cut her lip allowing a few drops of blood to fall into Carmilla’s mouth.

The vampire’s expression was at once startled and longing. And briefly, for a few mere seconds, she sucked on that lip before jerking her head away with shaky breaths. “Don’t stop. Please.”

Redoubling her efforts, Laura continued massaging and thrusting into the vampire’s folds. The muscles in her arm ached and burned with the strain of giving pleasure. She worked her fingers around hoping that maybe she was grazing the on g-spot every third or fourth stroke. This was not easy. This was actually really hard. Why hadn’t she researched “finishing”? Why didn’t they teach this in school?

Just as she was about to ask Carmilla for direction, she felt a slight fluttering around her fingers. Contractions that were squeezing and pushing her out.

“Do it.”

She didn’t have to ask what “it” was. Laura leaned into Carmilla’s body, exhilarating at the skin on skin contact of their breasts. Trying not to think too hard about what she was about to do, Laura bit down on Carmilla’s neck. In the exact same area she had first been bitten. It seemed appropriate. Full circle. She was hesitant at first, nervous about doing this thing that seemed almost violent. Primal. It wasn’t anything she had fantasized about doing to another person, but Laura could admit that she wanted to leave her mark on Carmilla. Just as Carmilla had done with her.

Two hands clasped at her head. Nails digging in, pushing and begging without words for more. Laura gave what she could, satisfied that this too might be another connection that would bind them.

When Laura woke up the next morning and tried to get out of bed Carmilla growled and pulled her back in. She giggled as the vampire rolled them over and started nibbling on her neck.

“Carm. Stop I need to pee. And I need food. I think I smell fresh baked cookies.” She sniffed the air. “Oooh and brownies. Maybe cake. You haven’t lived until you had dessert for breakfast. Hold on, I’ll be right back. Do you want me to grab you anything?”

Carmilla’s mouth curled into a tiny smile. “No, all I need is you. So please come back before your crazy roommate tries to stake me.”

Walking into the kitchen, Laura was shocked to discover her friends waiting for her. LaFontaine was sitting at the kitchen table and was shoving breakfast dessert into their mouth. Perry and Danny stood near the oven and were whispering.

“Hey guys. What are you doing here?”

Perry turned around, and with a huge sigh said, “Laura dear, we’re here for your intervention.”

 

Chapter Text

Laura burst into her room, not even bothering to keep the noise level down. She scooped up their discarded clothing and became a whirlwind of activity. In less than five minutes, anything that even slightly resembled clutter had either been discarded or put in its proper place.

“Isn’t it a little early for this?” Carmilla groaned. She burrowed deeper under the blankets and made a determined effort to bury her head in Laura’s pillow. “I thought you were coming back to bed.”

“I intended to. But that was before I was greeted by torches and pitchforks. Soooo, you need to get up. We have company and they are demanding to meet you. They’ll also be coming in here in a few minutes. I set some clean clothes out for you to wear. Put those on before they come in here, okay?” Laura ordered as she moved to leave the room.

There was some rustling around of the bed sheets and then, “Wait. Laura, no. No. Absolutely not. Bring my clothes back. I’m not wearing this. No seriously. Laura bring my stuff back. I’m not kiddi-”

Laura shut the door on the vampire’s pleas and now stood in the hallway of the tiny apartment trying to tamper down on her mild panic. Why did she suggest that everyone congregate in her bedroom? Now they would definitely know that Carmilla had spent the night. It wouldn’t be a far leap to figure out that sex happened. Awesome sex with a hot vampire. That would be totally obvious to everyone. Because Carmilla was outrageously hot. It was almost offensive how hot she was. So when her friends came in and saw Carmilla of course they would know that she and Laura had sex. It would be really suspicious if they hadn’t done stuff. There literally wasn’t a person on the planet who wouldn’t want to have sex with Carmilla. Her friends absolutely would know what happened. Oh god.

“Hey Laura. You okay?”

Laura’s head snapped up. She was still holding the dirty clothes. Hugging them actually. Awkward.

“You doing alright there, frosh?” LaFontaine asked again. They moved forward and placed a comforting hand on Laura’s shoulder. “You look a little lost. Terrified. Anxious. Take your pick.”

“Uh, yeah. Hey LaF, can I tell you something? I mean now before this thing happens?” Laura glanced around her friend and was relieved that no one from the kitchen was paying them any attention. She took a few steps back so that she could step into the bathroom that she and Betty shared. She wanted some privacy and this would allow her to drop yesterday’s clothes in the hamper and stop hugging Carmilla’s leather pants like a creeper.

LaFontaine’s eyes danced at the potential of being on the information side of a conspiracy. They grinned and followed her. “Yeah, sure. What’s up?”

Laura sighed, under her breath and said, “So Carmilla is in my bedroom. You know the bedroom that I volunteered as a meeting place.”

“Dude, we know. That’s why Betty called Perry.”

“And they think I need an intervention?” Laura practically choked.

They shrugged, it was a half-hearted motion. “Both of them are concerned about your habit of leaping before you look. And they have some experience with vampires. They’re just worried you are in over your head. But seriously, your vampire is welcome to stay. Perry wants to size her up.”

“Size her up? I know for a fact that is not going to go well at all. Also, I’m worried everyone will know Carmilla and I were, you know,” Laura mumbled and made some motions with her hands because she was about ninety percent sure that Perry had super listening powers and could hear everything they were saying in spite of using hushed tones.

Nodding sagely, LaF said, “Making lesbian donut holes. Got it. Well, I don’t think your donut making adventures are going to be on the discussion list for today, so no worries.” They appeared pretty pleased with themselves for lesbian donut hole euphemism.

“You say that now…” Laura trailed off.

“But this does have something to do with the fact that you’ve been getting jiggy with vampires,” they said with a shrug.

“Vampire,” Laura hissed. Suddenly livid. “Vampire. Not vampires. Not plural. Just one, so very not an orgy. Wait I thought you said this wasn’t about my donut holes.”

A voice from the kitchen – which was literally ten feet away – interrupted LaFontaine’s response. “Laura, are you almost ready? We’re going to bring in some chairs so we can all sit comfortably.”

“Oh god.” Flustered, Laura pushed past LaFontaine and ran back inside her bedroom. She didn’t get more than two steps in before she was brought up short. She was able to admit that she had been a little flustered after the intervention announcement. So yes, she had been justifiably out of sorts when picking out some clothing for Carmilla to wear. The vampire who normally wore black with an extra helping of black was now wearing a pair of Laura’s pants and her owl sweater.

“Hey. So that’s my owl sweater with you in it. You look great,” Laura commented, wishing she had pulled out her burgundy button down to go with it. Carmilla didn’t appear to appreciate the observation. In fact, she looked a lot like grumpy cat in human form, frowning with her arms crossed as she sat on Laura’s bed. It probably would have been a more intimidating effect had she not been wearing an owl sweater.

“You want to tell me what’s going on cupcake?”

“Okay, so you don’t sound happy. And if I’m being honest, I don’t see that getting better in the next couple of minutes. I guess I just want you to know one thing. Last night was,” Laura grinned, “well it was great. Really awesome. I think that you and I are so good at this that we could make an instructional video.”

Carmilla’s nose and eyes scrunched up and her mouth quirked into a tiny smile. The smile she always used when she was about to tease. “Did you just ask me to make a sex tape with you?”

“I’m not sure that is an example of the college lifestyle my dad suggested that I explore,” Laura laughed. She stepped close enough to stand in between Carmilla’s legs. Close enough to have arms wrap around her waist and pull their bodies together. As always, they seemed to fit perfectly together.

“What’s going on here and why am I dressed like a cupcake?”

“I just wanted to remind you that I have been patiently dealing with your slightly murderous high maintenance family. It’s only fair that you spend some time with mine.”

Immediately suspicious, Carmilla stared in the direction of the kitchen. She likely had already heard the voices, but probably assumed they were Betty’s guests. “You said something about wanting me to meet your friends. I didn’t realize that would be now.”

Sheepishly Laura shrugged and said, “Same. I wanted you to meet them, for sure. But they did this on their own though. Listen, there is something else you should know.” Laura pushed her hair behind her ear. “My friends are here to protest our-”

“Sorry Laura, my hands are full.” Came an interruption in the form of Perry pushing the door open.

“Hold on Perry. I’m moving,” Laura said and scrambled up on the bed next to Carmilla.

LaFontaine came in under Perry’s arm and claimed Laura’s desk chair. Danny and Perry followed with kitchen chairs, both piled high with food. Finally, Betty pushed a chair in from her room. They were all practically sitting atop one another.

Carmilla asked, “What the frilly hell is going on?”

Perry who was in the process of piling up extreme amounts of snacks turned around and said, “Oh, I’m sorry, you must be Laura’s special friend.”

“She’s the vampire,” Danny confirmed, sounding lost somewhere between pissed and resigned. The food had been removed from her chair and she now sat with her arms crossed in a mirror of Carmilla.

“Will someone who is not a ginger kindly tell me why my sleep needed to get interrupted?” Carmilla snapped. She obviously meant Laura, but it was Betty who answered.

“I called them. Somebody had to do something. Did you really think that we would just give Laura up?” Betty hissed. She had apparently thrown self-preservation out the window and seemed close to jumping an irritated vampire. Before that disaster could strike Perry shoved a brownie into Betty’s hand.

Perry had already moved back to her chair, but seemed satisfied that all eyes were now on her. “Thank you. I realize that we all have some strong feelings concerning this delicate matter. However, I believe through proper communication techniques we can discuss the situation without insults or rude remarks. Remember, we aren’t here to attack Laura or her,” she regarded Carmilla shrewdly, “friends. We simply need to make sure our friend is safe. So please, whenever you speak, please use statements that begin with the phrase ‘I feel’. And remember, good manners will be rewarded.” She smiled and held up a plate of cookies. “So who wants to go first?”

Laura raised her hand. And when there were no challengers for the floor said, “I feel that I don’t know why there is an intervention. It’s not like I’m an addict.”

“Aren’t you?” Danny asked through a thinly veiled mask of bitterness. Those two words were spat out like weapons intended to pierce and maim. “You’ve been selfish Laura. You’ve cut your friends out of your life for a relationship that has no realistic chance of making it. You’ve got to see that, right?” The anger faded from her friend’s face as quickly as it had arrived. Now she sounded almost desperate, glancing once at Laura’s hand that had curled itself into Carmilla’s. “I care about you. I hope you know that. But I feel like someone needs to be honest with you and tell you the truth. This thing you have with her can’t last. She is a vampire who won’t get old. She is always going to look like she is twenty. For the rest of your life. And, yeah, right now that works because you are young. And beautiful. But what happens when you are thirty? Forty? Sixty? This relationship, it has an expiration date that is fast approaching.” Danny clenched her jaw and turned her head so that she didn’t have to look at them anymore. And after a moment, when she spoke again, her head was hung low and heartache could be heard in every word. “She isn’t going to be able to offer you a lifetime. All you have for her is a moment. Your life will be seconds in the eternity that is hers.”

The silence from Danny’s speech lasted all of three seconds before Betty jumped back in. “Have you even thought about what this is like for everyone else? You enter into a relationship with this thing and expect your friends to just deal?”

Betty was quickly cut off by Perry who thrust another confection at her. “Remember the rules,” she scolded. “Please use ‘I feel’ statements. We are here to support Laura, not attack her. And it would probably be wise not to poke the vampire who could kill us all.”

Betty’s eye roll was so pronounced that with just a little more effort she might’ve dislocated her eyeballs. She kept her tone calmer when she spoke next. “Alright. I feel like you’ve completely disregarded the feelings of everyone you claim to care about. I told you I don’t like her kind and yet here you are, with one of them and you brought her into my home. How could you disrespect me like that? One of them ruined my family when she stole my dad away from us. We didn’t see him until he came crawling back almost ten years later. And the only reason he came back was because his vampire slut didn’t want him anymore. He had gotten too old for her. And for about a year it was great. We were a family again. Until the day he put a bullet in his brain and left us an apology note saying how he was miserable living without her anymore.” Betty threw a furious glare in Carmilla’s direction, as if this was the vampire who had ruined her family. “It’s like Danny said. What do you think is going to happen here Laura? Do you really believe she is going to want you when you’re old with wrinkles? Like at thirty?”

Perry cleared her throat, and tossed an admonishing look at both Danny and Betty. “I’m beginning to realize that the pointers on interventions we discussed this morning didn’t stick.” She scooted her chair closer to the bed and placed a hand on Laura’s knee. “Sweety, I feel like we are all just worried about you. You understand that, right? We’re worried that you’re moving too fast. We care about you and want to make sure you understand the potential consequences that might go along with some of your, well let’s say, atypical decisions.”

Tears were gathering in Laura’s eyes and she furiously tried to blink them back. When that didn’t work she used one hand to wipe under each eye before they could fall down her cheeks. “You guys think I’m what? That I’m trying to sabotage your lives or something? You do realize that what I do with my life has nothing to do with you right? What I have with Carm is our business, not yours.”

When she felt a subtle squeeze of her hand Laura turned and saw Carmilla staring back at her. Concern shown in her eyes and she asked, barely above a whisper, “What’s going on here? Did you know they were going to do this?”

Extremely aware that there were four other sets of eyes staring at them Laura said, “Definitely not. They are worried or offended that we are uh, together. The vampire part of you being the main point of contention.”

Nodding, Carmilla used her own thumb to wipe away one of those lingering tears. “I see. I just wanted to make sure I understood the situation before I expressed my feelings.” She looked around the room. Angrily made deliberate eye contact with everyone there. “Here’s how it is. I feel, “she emphasized, “that the next tear that threatens to slip down my girlfriend’s face will inspire me to shove some of those cookies up somebody’s ass.”

Laura gasped. Girlfriend? But instead of commenting on that particular word choice she focused on stopping a tragedy from happening. “No Carm. Not the cookies.”

“My apologies, what’s your name? Carm?” Perry asked. She was twisting her hands together having taken the cookie up the backside threat seriously.

“Definitely a no on the nickname there, Betty Crocker. Only the creampuff gets to use those. You can call me Carmilla.”

Perry jumped up and handed the tray of cookies to LaFontaine. “Oh! I nearly forgot. I’m a terrible hostess. Please wait a moment while I run and grab something.” No one said anything until she returned, holding a mug which was handed to Carmilla. “Here you go. A mug of blood. I know it’s better when it’s warm, but wasn’t sure if you like it artificially heated or not. My uncle doesn’t. He is a vampire too. An unfortunate misunderstanding that occurred during a Rocky Horror reenactment. Here, take a few cookies to dip in the blood. They make for a delicious treat.” She waited until Carmilla had taken both the mug and the plate of cookies before continuing. “So, Carmilla. Is that a family name? Something passed down perhaps?”

“No.”

Undeterred Carmilla didn’t elaborate, Perry sighed and with false cheer said, “You said you are Laura’s girlfriend? Her vampire girlfriend, correct?”

“That’s right.” Reluctantly Carmilla picked up one of the cookies and dunked it in the blood. The entire room went silent as the blood soaked cookie was raised to her lips. She was oblivious to the attention though as bit into the cookie. And after a few tense seconds, Carmilla hummed and began happily chewing, obviously finding the flavor combination to her liking. Once she finished her tongue darted out to lick up a drop of blood that had fallen onto her lip.

“I suppose I’m pleased she likes them even if the imagery is a touch distasteful,” Perry said, looking away.

“I don’t think so,” Laura replied. And it was true. Carmilla’s need for blood was as natural as her own need for cocoa.

Off to the side Betty snorted in disgust, but didn’t offer any additional protest beyond crossing her arms. Laura glanced wearily at her roommate before turning her attention back to the hand holding her own. How was it that one person’s touch could be as necessary to one’s survival as air? And it hadn’t escaped her notice that Carmilla had said they were girlfriends. Twice. It had only been last night Laura had said she wanted more. She’d been implored – by Carmilla – to take some time and consider what she really wanted. And now today they were girlfriends? There were no complaints to be had, but Laura wondered if Carmilla was just saying this to further antagonize the lynch mob.

Before Perry ask something else, LaFontaine spoke up. “I feel that I have a ton of questions if you don’t mind my asking.” They didn’t give Carmilla a chance to say whether or not she was fine with this or not. “I donated blood at Succombez à Moi, but I never was able to get past the lab coats. You are actually the first vampire I’ve managed to meet. So exactly how old are you? I’ve done some reading on the undead. A lot of it from disreputable sources, if you know what I mean.” They accompanied this statement with a proud smirk. “And I’ve read that many of you have different talents. Metamorphasis. Biokinesis. Psychokinesis. Necromancy. The list just goes on and on. So do all vampires have the potential to do these things or is it random? Oh hey, I’d really love to take DNA sample from you. Run some bloodwork too. Yeah?”

“No.”

Perry’s lips were pursed as she waited for LaFontaine to finish their speech. “You know, the more I think about it the more it seems to me that vampire is a word with some very real negative connotations. Tell me Carmilla, do your kind consider ‘vampire’ to be a racial slur?”

LaF seemed a little bummed that their questions would go unanswered, but perked up in anticipation of any new information. Apparently they were interested in the response to this question as well. Carmilla didn’t care to appease however. Instead she turned back to Laura, eyebrows scrunched together, and asked, “Are all of your friends gingers?”

“Excuse me. I am not a ginger. So stop calling me one,” Betty snapped.

Without even glancing in her direction, or sounding remotely apologetic, Carmilla said, “Yeah, sorry there, beanstalk. I was blinded by the sea of orange.”

“I think we are getting off topic again,” Perry pointed out.

“Were we ever on topic?” LaFontaine asked. “Besides Laura’s vampire seems closer to maliciously insensitive than maliciously dangerous.”

“You’re wrong LaF,” Danny said, “Even if Carmilla isn’t a direct threat to Laura, then her world is. Be honest, is someone like Laura ever going to be safe in your world, Carmilla? She is innocent and good. Words that don’t exactly mesh with the word vampire.”

The lack of response and subtle tightening of Carmilla’s hand in her own told Laura that this was probably a question the vampire had asked herself many times. It was the triumphant expression on Danny’s face that woke the sleeping giant that was Laura’s temper. “Enough. Here is the problem with all of this. Nobody has actually asked about my feelings. All of you are trying to make decisions for me. I’m adult and am perfectly capable of running my own life. Do you understand that, Danny? I don’t need you to protect me. I don’t need anyone to protect me. Perry, thank you for making snacks. Betty, I’m sorry. I didn’t know about your family, but that doesn’t mean that all vampires are bad. I’ve met several really nice ones.”

Danny ground her teeth and said, “They aren’t all bad? That is your answer? Really? Everyone in your journalism class, except for you, is dead Laura.” She threw her hands out wide, accidently knocking an old ninja turtle toy off of Laura’s desk. “This happened right around the time you started spending so much time at that hotel. Then you just disappeared for two weeks and every single time I tried to find out what happened, every door leading to answers was shut in my face. I couldn’t even get a single step into that hotel. I tried going to the police and was ignored. I tried calling your father only to discover that my number is blocked. Which happened right after a less than polite phone conversation I had with that woman you work for. I’m not sure how, but she made it so I couldn’t reach him. And now you show back up with your snarky vampire girlfriend and act like we should be treating this as something normal? You say you don’t need protecting? I’m sorry that just doesn’t work for me. Us. We thought they had made you disappear. Had killed you. Do you get that? We thought you were dead.”

“Danny you are my friend,” Laura paused to lightly smack Carmilla’s hand when the vampire gagged, “but I promise I’m fine. I wasn’t feeling… well for a few weeks. I’m better now though. And I know I’ve been absent for a while, but that’ll change. I promise.”

“No. I don’t think so.” It was Betty who spoke and once she had everyone’s attention she said, “Look Laura.  I like you, but this isn’t what I signed up for. I don’t think I could deal with you bringing a vampire into my home and having really loud sex with her several times a week. You’re a good roommate, but if you are going to keep seeing her then I’m going to have to ask you to move out. I’m sorry.”

“What? Are you serious?” Laura stared at Betty who now refused to make eye contact.

Her roommate eventually stood up to leave, but paused at the doorway, with her head hung low and all fight having drained away. “I’m not trying to be an ass, Laura. I just need to do what is right for me. I’ll give you some time to find a place, but,” she took a deep unsteady breath, “please don’t bring her back again.”

The only person not uncomfortable with Betty’s sudden exit was Carmilla who was now dunking a brownie into the mug of blood. Laura tried not to think too hard about what a terrible waste of treats that was.

“Laura, sweetie, I’m so sorry. All I heard was vampire, and I was worried about you. Yes, I have an uncle who has been turned, but LaFontaine will tell you he can be very unstable,” Perry said. Her cheeks were flushed in embarrassment or perhaps shame. “You should come and stay with LaFontaine and I until you get things figured out. Carmilla will, of course, be welcome to visit.”

“That would be cool. Dude have you ever seen Farscape?” LaF was grinning as they always did when trying to get Laura to watch something new.

“Or you could stay at my place, Laura. I’ll sleep on the couch,” Danny offered.

Carmilla’s warning growl didn’t take Laura by surprise. She was beginning to expect these things. “Thanks guys, but I’ll be okay. Can we forever close this topic though? I think you should all know me well enough by now to know that I wouldn’t take this well. Actually, does anyone ever take these things well? Have you guys even watched Orphan Black?”

“Nothing I say is going to change your mind is it?” Danny glanced at Carmilla and it was obvious she wished she could be having this conversation without an audience, “I don’t really understand what’s going on here with her, but I want you to know that I would do…”

Knowing that Danny Lawerence was in love with her and seeing the pained evidence of it written on her friend’s face was another thing entirely. Laura listened sympathetically as Danny trailed off, seemingly unable to finish her thoughts. Each of her friend’s had a reason for participating in this morning’s farce, but this was the most difficult. Was there actually a way to gently twist in the knife in your friend’s heart? Laura really didn’t want to do it here, but it seemed that the issue was going to be forced anyways because Danny started speaking again.

“The thing is,” she groaned, “the thing is that there are people, humans, who would want to spend a lifetime making you happy. People like…me. I’ve been here for so long and I’m worried we are getting to this point where it will be too late. I can’t be patient anymore Laura, because this is killing me.”

Laura was shocked that Carmilla didn’t interject some kind of cutting comment, a witty barb that would tear Danny down further. She didn’t though, and Laura was grateful. Her friend would have to know that this was coming from Laura. She smiled at Danny. Sympathetic and regretful, because yes, loving Danny would be easier. But loving Carmilla was fulfilling. And exciting. And terrifying. Love? What a strange time for that word, that emotion, to present itself. She pulled Carmilla’s palm into her lap, lifted it to her face pressed a soft kiss there. Then another.

When Laura turned back to Danny her friend wore defeat like a blanket. “You guys are my friends and I hope I never have to give any of you up. But she is the person who makes me realize that I can be happy. You all care so much, and I really do appreciate that, but you need to understand that I don’t need or want protection. Especially from Carmilla. So no more interference, okay? Okay?”

~*~*~*~

Laura had stuffed a bunch of her belongings into a duffel bag and was now prepared to leave her home. Rather than knock on Betty’s bedroom door, she’d left a note saying that she would be back for her things asap. Danny had already left and now Perry and LaFontaine stood nearby.

“Frosh, I’m totally down with you dating vampires. I’d be more down with it if you could get me an interview with a vampire,” LaFontaine suggested, smiling at their own pun. “I’d love to talk science with someone in the know.”

Thinking of JP, Laura said, “I might know someone.” She hugged both of them and promised to arrange a hangout later. Maybe a movie night. And then they were in the back of one of Mattie’s limos heading back to the hotel. Home?

For most of the drive Laura stared out the window and considered the changes her life had gone through since that fateful day when she chose to let vampires into her life. After a while she could feel Carmilla’s eyes on her so she shifted her attention to her girlfriend. A description that would never get old. “Hey.”

“Hey.”

“You look worried,” Laura said. “What’s wrong?”

“Your friends weren’t wrong, cupcake. Nothing they said in there was a lie.”

“My friends think that you only want me around to serve as dinner.”

“Not true. You make a good dessert as well.”

Laura laughed and climbed onto Carmilla’s lap. “I think you should kiss me before you start talking about dessert.”

Carmilla rubbed their noses together, but refrained from giving in. “Why aren’t you worried? You’re almost unconcerned with this situation. I’m worried that one day you will wake up and realize that Clifford is right and you could do better.”

Laura considered her words before she responded. “Sure, sometimes I worry that we don’t have anything in common. Your desire to binge Netflix is about as high as mine is to discuss the contents of moldy books. I think about these things, but then I remember that somehow you make all of the stuff I love better just by being near it. Also your snarky comments about my favorite things are kind of adorable and sexy,” Laura admitted.

“Oh really? And what else do you think is sexy about me?” Carmilla smiled and leaned back in the seat. The Cheshire cat grin she had on her face indicated that any other concerns she had would be shelved for the moment.

Playing along, Laura used her index finger to map out the owl on the sweater Carmilla still wore. She still felt like she was riding a high from the previous night which was also why she felt comfortable in being bold. In running her knuckles on the undersides of Carmilla’s breasts, her nipples. “Well, I do like your clothes. These especially look great,” she said, her own cheeky smile equally as brilliant as Carmilla’s. “I think your confidence is sexy. How you don’t care what anyone thinks.”

“Hmm. Except you. Is that all?”

“No. I really think it’s sexy how you take control when you want something.” Laura moved to pull her shirt up and over her head, but was stopped before she could get it above her waist.

“Did you forget we are still in the limo?”

Boo. She had actually forgotten. Carmilla had a talent for making Laura forget herself. She looked out the window and noticed that the vehicle had stopped moving and they reached the underground entrance for the hotel. She guessed that the driver realized a certain amount of discretion was advisable and thus hadn’t opened their door. “Do we need to go visit your sister before we go upstairs?”

Carmilla shook her head, but said nothing more. That familiar blood staining of her eyes was sexy too and Laura decided to say as much. To keep the game going. “Your eyes are sexy, how they practically glow red when you look at me like you are planning something. And your fangs too. You sometimes try to hide them from me, but I wish you wouldn’t. I don’t want to be protected from what you are when it’s who you are that I care about. There’s nothing about you that I don’t find sexy Carm.”

“I don’t want to wait to get you upstairs. Wrap your arms around my neck and hold on tight.” Carmilla’s voice was huskier than normal. “I won’t let you go.”

“Okay, I trust you.” Laura wasn’t sure what to expect and was a little let down when they appeared inside Carmilla’s apartment. There hadn’t really been any fanfare. One moment they were in the limo and the next they reappeared in a puff of black smoke in foyer. Somehow she was naked though.

“Seriously Carm?”

Carmilla didn’t put much effort into hiding her smirk as she eyed Laura’s bare body. “Think of it as a time saver. Someone will bring your clothes up.” She pulled the owl sweater up over her head and tossed it across the room. “Now would you like me to show you how sexy I think you are?” When Laura nodded Carmilla stalked forward while shedding her remaining clothing. “I love how your body melts into mine when we fuck. How your body begs me for more when your mouth loses any and all ability to form words. How you take everything I have to give and demand more.” She pushed Laura’s shoulders into the wall and Laura was reminded of that first time they had sex. It had been hot and rough, pleasure and pain melding together into an explosive night that she would never forget. It had been wonderful. But that time lacked something that this one had in spades. Trust. Affection.

And maybe love. Laura wasn’t ready to say any of this yet. But, in the meantime, she could luxuriate in Carmilla’s touch and imagine she was loved in return.

“This tight body of yours is incredible, buttercup. Your muscle tone is very sexy. It makes me want to fuck you. Makes me want to throw anything that isn’t fast and rough out the window.” Carmilla traced Laura’s abs with her fingers and couldn’t seem to take her eyes off of them. In that moment Laura swore to herself that she would put in a couple extra hours at the gym each week if this is the kind of reaction she could continue to expect.

“Is that what you want Laura? Do you want me to remind you that you are mine? To fuck you hard and fast? Leave you sore and aching tomorrow? Or would you like me to love you gently tonight? To cherish you with my hands and mouth?”

Swallowing loudly, and feeling ready for all of this to begin, Laura asked, “Any chance we can do all of that? It’s like cake and pie. Why choose?”

“I concur,” Carmilla said and started sucking on Laura’s neck. Hard enough that a mark would remain. Their nude bodies slid against one another in a smooth sensuous dance. Laura closed her eyes and sighed when her nipple was flicked. Once, then again. And again. It was pinched. Twisted. Rolled between unforgiving fingers that left her gasping and grinding her hips as she sought out relief. Relief that quickly backed off. “Sorry cutie, it’s much too soon for you to get off.”

“Carm,” Laura whined, even though she knew it wouldn’t make a difference to the vampire.

“You aren’t allowed to come until I say so. Understand?”

Carmilla’s fingers were massaging Laura’s labia, spreading the moisture around, and honestly Laura wondered why she was being requested to answer questions. Later when she was more coherent she thought she might explain this. In the meantime, she managed to hum her agreement which luckily turned out to be answer enough.

One hand lifted Laura’s leg up and kept her just off balance enough that she had to rest her hands to Carmilla’s shoulders. The hot mouth that had been sucking on her throat moved to another spot and was now teasing at her skin with tiny bites from two very sharp teeth. This was coupled with fingers that rocked her body with forceful thrusts. Laura quickly forgot about the not being allowed to come. Unfortunately, Carmilla hadn’t forgotten and pulled those pleasure giving fingers from Laura’s malleable and overheated body.

“Oh, somebody was about to be bad,” Carmilla whispered against Laura’s skin. “That won’t do at all. Why don’t we take a moment and let you cool off?”

Laura soon discovered that the vampire version of cooling off ended up meaning that a certain someone’s tongue practicing it’s plundering skills in her mouth. Carmilla backed off, though, when Laura almost cut her tongue on a fang again. The fact that this time the action was intentional led Laura to wonder that something might be wrong. She was quickly distracted again as she was turned around to face the wall.

“So many other interesting things can happen from this angle,” Carmilla said, brushing Laura’s hair aside and then speaking seductively into Laura’s ear. “Do you trust me?”

“Yes.” Because of course she did.

“Good. Because I want to do something special tonight. Hold tight, don’t move.”

One moment Carmilla was there against her body and the next she was a breeze that caressed Laura’s skin. She must have used vampire speed because she was back and kissing Laura’s shoulders within a few short seconds.

“I turned the heat up, I didn’t want you to get cold.”

Like that was going to happen. “That’s why you left?”

“Ah, no. What we are about to do might require something to ease the way. Lubrication,” she clarified with a few more gentle kisses.

Even though she had started to suspect as much, Laura’s eyes widened when she realized what she was about to experience. “Butt stuff, Carm?”

“Anal. And yeah. I’ve wanted a piece of your ass ever since I first saw it. Tell me if you are uncomfortable though. We don’t have to do this.”

Laura nodded in understanding and wished she could look into Carmilla’s eyes. Everything they had done together had been fantastic, and there was no reason to think this wouldn’t be the same. But that didn’t mean she wasn’t a little nervous. “Kiss me first?”

“Yes.”

It wasn’t a great angle, with Laura’s torso pressed into the wall, but the passion was there as their lips moved together. Her body tingled in all of the places Carmilla’s touched. Laura sighed into the kiss and tried to concentrate on the hard nipples pressing into her back. Because that was really hot.

Carmilla’s strong hands started kneading at the muscle of Laura’s ass cheeks. There would likely be a spattering of tiny bruises left in her wake. “Tell me you want this, that you want me. Be honest.”

With a tiny incredulous laugh, Laura said, “I always want you Carm. I trust you. My body is yours.” Two hands covered hers so that they were placed on the wall near her head. Carmilla’s mouth nibbled at Laura’s ear and that sensitive place just beneath it.

And when she spoke again her words were heavy with longing. Devotion. “I’m glad to hear you say that, cupcake, because I plan to prove to you that I’m yours as well. That we belong together.”

“You told me to think about it, to be sure. Then you called me your girlfriend earlier.”

Carmilla’s hands were now stroking the front of Laura’s body. Cupping her breasts before traveling lower, and teasing. “There is a vast difference between wanting you and wanting what’s best for you. In that tiny apartment with your friends earlier and just now, when I said you were mine, all I could think was that I wanted you. That’s how I feel now.”

“I think you’re what’s best for me,” Laura moaned. “But maybe an orgasm would be super best for me right now.”

“This will be easier if you are aroused. So I’m going to fuck you now. Relax and just let me take you there.” And there was laughter in her voice when she said, “Don’t come.”

Laura had nothing to hold onto, but she never felt like she wasn’t safe in Carmilla’s arms. Those very same arms that now fucked her mercilessly. One arm held her in place while the other pistoned relentlessly in and out of her body. Carmilla knew all of her secret places, had always known them it seemed, and delighted in making Laura aware of that fact.

“You love this don’t you, cupcake? Being fucked by me. Knowing that soon I’m going to fuck your ass and you’ll love that too. And you will sweetheart. I promise you will. I know your body, and how it wants me, calls out for me. Just like mine, in turn, needs you.” A few more hard thrusts and Carmilla pulled out, instantly going from rough and demanding to gentle and considerate. “I’m not going to hurt you. Just relax and if you want me to stop, just say so.”

Laura would have agreed to anything that would just let her come, so was more than ready to try anything that Carmilla suggested. “Okay. I’m ready.” Both of Carmilla’s hands briefly left her body, and Laura squeaked in protest as her jellied state of arousal nearly caused her to topple over.

“Sorry about that,” Carmilla said. One hand returned to Laura’s front and started flicking and stimulating her clit. The other snaked lower, between her cheeks and Laura felt a cool slick substance being applied liberally there. She instinctively tried to shy away, but there was nowhere to go.

“Shhh,” Carmilla hummed. “Just relax and push against my fingers. Trust me.” She kissed Laura again and whispered encouragement into her flesh. One of her fingers had begun massaging Laura’s rim and applied consistent pressure against it while making tiny circles.

It surprised her when that finger did slip inside. Carmilla stilled to allow Laura a chance to acclimate to the invasion. But really, beyond a bit of discomfort it didn’t hurt. If she were to compare this to having fangs pushed into her body Laura would probably say it was a 1.5 on the pain scale. The rubbing motion against her clit did help though. In fact, that made everything feel so amazing, Laura knew she could easily come soon. She didn’t want to give in before Carmilla gave her permission though.

Soon enough that finger started moving, pulling out and pushing a tiny bit deeper with each thrust. Carmilla laughed in her ear when Laura surprised them both by meeting her half way. “Oh that is so hot. I think you’re ready for more,” she said and added a second finger.

The progress was slower this time, a little more painful too, but in a way that Laura had begun to recognize as something she enjoyed. That white hot molten feeling that initially battered at her senses and eventually melted into something else, something that made her nerve endings sing. That is what was happening now as two of Carmilla’s fingers were pumping fluidly in and out of her ass. And in front, Carmilla’s other hand had entered her and she had a thumb casually circling Laura’s clit.

Laura felt stuffed, unable to breath, wracked by too many sensations at once. It was all too much. “Carm,” she croaked. “Please.”

“Yes come now. For me. You’re beautiful and you are mine.”

Laura was overloaded. But she needed something else. Something that had been bonded into her that she would always need. She couldn’t form a sentence to explain it though, so instead just breathed one word. “Bite.”

There was a moment of hesitation, but Carmilla didn’t deny her. She kissed Laura’s pulse point and without further delay pushed her teeth into the flesh there. Her body tightened as release washed over her in waves. Simultaneously a violent storm and tranquil invigorating rain. And once it was over Carmilla scooped her up and carried her to bed, murmuring verses from what sounded like a German poem in her ear.


 

Chapter Text

Laura was in the middle of her third victory dance in a row when Mattie, her voice dripping acid, said, “I swear, if you don’t stop that, I’ll rip your spine out and drain you dry before your lifeless corpse hits the floor.”

This statement caused Laura to burst into laughter which she quickly toned down lest she disturb Carmilla, who was snoozing on a nearby chaise. After losing three straight matches of chess to Mattie, Laura had dared the vampire to play her at Mario Kart. The results had been hilarious.

“You always say that.” This was true. A day never went by without Mattie threatening Laura’s life.

Mattie set the Nintendo controller on the coffee table in front of her and said, “Yes, and one day I’ll mean it.”

“I think,” Laura started, and then paused for dramatic effect.  “I think your threatening me is actually your way of saying you care.” She plastered her best shit-eating grin on her face in response to the glare she was receiving.

“You’re lucky my sister has a thing for you. I suggest you keep her happy if you don’t want to end up as vampire V8.” Mattie crossed her legs and placed both hands on one knee. Everything about her body language suggested she might pounce at any moment. Except for the warm smile that graced her lips. Her new fondness for adopting Laura’s vampire slang was always amusing.

“Yeah, but then who would be around to serve you up a delicious piece of humble pie? Boom.” Laura flicked her fingers against her shoulders then spread her arms wide in a moment of silly posturing.

“I’m definitely going to have to eat you. If I hadn’t already had lunch, I’d do it now.”

Grinning wider than ever Laura sat down nudged Mattie’s shoulder with her own. “Sorry Mattie. You’ve lost your intimidation factor,” Laura said. “You’re practically my sister from another mister now.”

Mattie’s eyes widened in mock horror. “Never say that again, you adorable munchkin. Clearly you’ve been allowed to run free for too long. Next week you are going in a cage. Or the pit. Now, I believe it’s time for me to return to the business of running this hotel. When my lazy sister finally wakes up please let her know that I stopped by.”

Once she was alone, Laura leaned back on the couch and considered the many changes in her life. It had been nearly two months since Laura had moved out of her apartment and into the Mattie’s hotel, Succombez à Moi. Initially, her father had been a huge issue to tackle. He had been less than thrilled to find out that Laura had moved out of her apartment and into a hotel owned and run by a vampire. On top of that bomb, his reaction to finding out about Carmilla’s role in her life would best be described as nuclear.

There had been a frantic plane flight to Styria, followed by her father bursting into the hotel and demanding to see his daughter. Mattie, ever the charmer, had diffused the situation and had him eating out of her hand. Soon enough there were animated family dinners and the absolute mortification of having her baby photos passed around a room of vampires. Laura had watched in amazement as Mattie asked her dad to help come up with a plan to keep Laura safe.

Sherman Hollis stayed a week. He’d gone from threatening the hotel staff with bear spray and a homemade longbow to deciding that this place could provide a positive and safe learning environment for his daughter.

And in that time she had really started to settle in. Growing comfortable and letting your guard down while surrounded by a hoard of vampires probably wasn’t the wisest thing, but, truth be told, Laura was happy here. Her life was pretty great too. When she wasn’t going to class or moonlighting as Mattie’s personal assistant, Laura would spend time with with J.P. or even Will, much to Carmilla’s dismay. He had a love of childish pranks that Laura was occasionally all too willing to participate in. Remembering how they had replaced all of the poetry books in Carmilla’s library with Dr. Seuss never failed to make Laura giggle.

Ell had been avoiding her. There were a few dark looks and some forced polite conversation between them, but never once were they alone. She never asked about it, but Laura had a strong suspicion that Mattie had a hand in keeping Ell away. 

Finally, there was Carmilla.

Carmilla, who treated Laura like she hung the moon. She had this smile, a smile that belonged to Laura alone, it would transform her from a broody vampire into a... well…a less broody vampire. But that smile, when flashed in her direction, made Laura’s heart beat so rapidly she often gained the attention of every vampire in the room. Their heads would turn in Laura’s direction, trying to determine if there was danger or if the silly human was distracted by her girlfriend again. Carmilla would always laugh, quietly, her eyes crinkling in amusement. And this, her laughter and happiness, also belonged to Laura.

She was romantic in a way that Laura never would have expected after the wall sex, the biting, and the vampire’s dominant nature in the bedroom. The first evidence of this had been at the picnic. A magical night that had been repeated several times over. There were the times she was slipping a flower behind Laura’s ear or reading verses of some obscure poetry spoken in a language Laura didn’t understand. Grinning, Laura would climb into Carmilla’s lap and ask – between kisses – for a translation.

This request tended to lead to Laura being naked and begging as Carmilla fucked her senseless. An occurrence that had been happening nearly every day. Carmilla was insatiable, and Laura was exhausted. Okay, so it might have been a great way to work off the extra snacks that had a way of working themselves into her diet. Laura hadn’t even been able to get out of bed this morning before she had an orgasm. After lunch she was accosted by Carmilla and dragged into a linen closet. There, Laura had to shove half of her fist into her mouth to stop herself from screaming as Carmilla made an impressive show of proving how inexhaustible her tongue was. Once finished, Carm had stood up, used the back of her hand to wipe her mouth off, and winked. Then she promised a repeat performance later that night, and poofed away with an impressive flourish.

This level of sexual activity was an everyday thing. Which, in theory, sounded great, but in reality was actually super tiring. A quick glance at the chaise confirmed that Carmilla was, thankfully, still asleep. Probably recovering for another bout of sex.

It was perfect except… The only problem in their relationship was that Carmilla refused to feed from Laura anymore. It seemed ridiculous to worry about not being fed on by a vampire, but Laura was worried. There were there signs that this wasn’t exactly normal. When she wasn’t fucking Laura silly, Carmilla was tired all the time. Her skin was always cold to the touch now too. When confronted about this she would spout some nonsense about not being hungry, and then attempt to distract Laura with more sex. A highly effective tactic, unfortunately.

The biting, however, hadn’t slowed down in the slightest. If anything, Laura was a bit surprised she didn’t resemble a walking pincushion. Carmilla would sink her teeth into Laura’s neck or inner thigh, and there would always be this moment right after – somewhere between a gasp of pain and her sigh of contentment – when Laura would think that this was it. That Carmilla would finally consume her body and soul. Just as she’d done so many times before. It never happened though. More often than not, Carmilla would pull her mouth away, after barely a sip, and mumble an apology as she pulled Laura into a cuddle. The tiny trickles of blood that still flowed from the fresh wounds were forever ignored. It was impossible to do anything but wonder if she no longer wanted Laura’s blood.

The only reason Laura hadn’t gone to Mattie is that she didn’t really know what was wrong. Or if there was actually anything wrong. Perhaps it was nothing. Maybe this was all in her head. Laura didn’t think so, but she really wasn’t sure what to do.

She glanced over at Carmilla’s sleeping form and smiled. The vampire was alternating purrs and growls again and was adorable in her sleep.

It was only mid-afternoon and it would likely be a few hours until Carmilla woke up, so Laura decided that there was no time like the present to get an early dessert. There was an ice cream shop less than a block from the hotel that Laura frequented nearly every day. She took pride in the fact that she was on a first name basis with the entire staff and had managed to even get to know some of their family. Making these kind of important connections was necessary to be successful in life. She’d already managed two free sundaes.

Laura wrote a note to Carm, explaining where she was going and then set off with her laptop in hand. The shop had wifi and was a great place to get homework done without any needy vampire interruptions. She saw Ell on her way out, but kept her head down hoping she wasn’t seen. Laura really wasn’t in the mood for the inappropriate smiles or the dark wanting in Ell’s eyes when she didn’t think anyone was watching. Laura trusted Mattie to keep the younger vampire in line, but that didn’t mean she shouldn’t give Ell a wide berth.

She was able to work for three solid hours before sundown. Carmilla was usually a late riser which always allowed Laura to run a bit late when coming home. Home.  It was impossible not to laugh a little at that sentiment being true for a hotel. A place, by description, that was intended to be temporary. She waved a goodbye to the people behind the counter and grinned when one of them said they’d see her tomorrow.

Laura’s head was in the clouds as she left the shop, causing her to lose her balance when a woman stepped in her path. In an effort to not barrel into the other person, she tripped over her own feet and was about to plummet to the ground when quick two hands steadied her.

“There, there. I’ve got you, dear.” The woman brushed Laura’s shoulders off and took a step back. “This must be serendipity. I was so hoping we would have a chance to meet.”

Words of gratitude were tumbling out of Laura’s mouth until she looked up and saw her savior. The woman was smiling, but not in a nice way. Not in a human way. There was a sense of familiarity about the her too. Not in that Laura would have seen her before, but that she recognized the power. It felt a lot like Mattie’s, but amplified and flowing off the woman in crushing waves.

“I…” Laura didn’t know what to say so trailed off. She had never met Mattie and Carmilla's mother, but there was no doubt who this was. Laura had seen her picture dozens of times around the university. Lilita Morgan. She was tall, nearly Danny’s height, and beautiful in an ageless way. Her dark features resembled Carmilla’s, but they were less appealing somehow.

“Your habits are quite predictable, dear. As a person in the position to look after the welfare of so many young minds, I can tell you that it is always wise to switch up your patterns. There are predators that lurk in the dark.” She pinched Laura’s cheek and continued, “But it was only a matter of time before we got a face to face. Now, let us be off. I simply relish the opportunity to get to know you. Your name is Laura, correct? I insist you call me Lilita. We are practically family after all.”

It was phrased as a suggestion, but there was no doubt that this really just a polite way of saying that she would be coming along, forcibly if necessary. Laura knew enough about vampires to realize that fighting would be futile. And she knew enough about this vampire to know that disobedience would be inadvisable.

Laura looked helplessly back at the doors of the ice cream shop, but made no move to alert anyone inside. Those people couldn’t help her, they’d just be throwing their lives away, and Laura would still be taken. There was a sea of bodies on this busy street, but she was all alone. “Right. Um, so, Carmilla will be expecting me home soon.”

“Home? That hotel? How cute.” Lilita smiled, condescending this time. An improvement on her last one which was pure evil. “Alas, you needn’t worry. Eleanor should be passing along a message and I expect that Mircalla will come running along soon enough.”

Not seeing any other option Laura climbed into the back of the waiting town car and sat as far away from Lilita as possible. The vampire matron didn’t seem to notice and spent the entire car ride on doing something on her phone. Was that Candy Crush? As they left the city more and more of the landscape seemed increasingly recognizable. They were heading towards the estate that housed Carmilla’s home. And obviously, Lilita Morgan’s as well.

Once they arrived, Lilita waited until the driver opened her door and offered her his hand. He held his hand out for Laura as well, which made for an awkward moment since she was still plastered against the other door.

Outside, Lilita could be heard sighing. “Laura dear, please come along. You can’t possibly believe you are in any danger.”

“Are you kidding me?” Laura screeched. “You’re a murderous vampire who has tortured and killed countless people!”

Lilita’s head ducked down so that she could meet Laura’s eyes. “I think that is a fair point. However, since I have no real intention of harming you, then you should be fine. Come along or I’ll have you dragged from the car.”

Okay, so that was motivation. Laura reluctantly peeled herself away from the door and scooted to the edge of the seat. The driver was young and Laura briefly wondered if he was a human lackey or a vampire lackey.

The inside of the house was lavishly decorated. Where Mattie’s sense of style seemed modern, Lilita clearly had a leaning towards the past. Several paintings lined the walls of her home, a good portion of them being portraits of the vampire matron herself. Surprisingly, there were several of Mattie and Carmilla as well. And a few sprinkled portraits of her other children as well. Laura was immediately drawn to a painting of Carmilla. The talent of the artist must have been incredibly because they caught Carmilla down to the smallest detail. In the painting, her girlfriend was wearing a conservative dress. Being a casual girl herself, Laura wasn’t sure, but she thought it looked like something royalty would wear. Pearls, diamonds, and white lace. This girl in the portrait looked like her Carmilla, but also wasn’t her at the same time. Carmilla in the painting still seemed to have some small shred of innocence left. And despite the sadness in her eyes, hope still lingered there as well.

“I had that made soon after I raised her. My daughter has always been quite the beauty. It’s a shame about her nose, but I suppose it adds character.” This was said like character was a consolation prize in lieu of beauty.

“I love her nose. It’s perfect. She’s perfect.” Laura said, contrary words blurting out of her mouth without thought.

Lilita cast her a pitying look. “New love has a way blurring out the imperfections we see in our lovers. Give it time, a few hundred years together, and you’ll likely want to rip her throat out. Enough dallying, follow me.”

A few hundred what?

Lilita didn’t wait to see if Laura would follow. She walked briskly through the house, staying on the ground floor. The sharp click of her heels echoed loudly throughout the empty house. This place was too big for one person. Did she live here alone? Laura wanted to ask these things, but decided to wait and see where this all would lead. If draining was going to happen, then she’d already have the juicer’s fangs in her neck, right?

She was led to a large library that seemed to take up almost half of the bottom floor. Floor to ceiling bookshelves lined every wall and there were several that made aisles as well. The entire room smelled of old books which Laura found comforting. Off to one side there were a few leather covered couches and chairs which is where she was led. When Lilita motioned for her to do so, Laura sat down stiffly in the indicated chair.

On a table in front of her there was a steaming mug of…cocoa? Nope. Definitely not touching the evil cocoa.

“I built this room for her, you know. My Mircalla has always been studious, and so I built this for her so that she would might have a place of her own. I didn’t expect that I’d have to coerce her to leave it.”

Laura frowned. Balled her hands into fists. Chewed on the inside of her cheek. And, inevitably, lost the battle at keeping her mouth shut. “Would you prefer she still be your helper minion? Maybe involved in that little murder spree of the journalism class?”

“An unfortunate necessity. They were warned. I couldn’t very well tolerate insubordination, could I?”

“Insubordination. Which might lead to, oh I don’t know, expulsion? Who wrote the student handbook so that you literally don’t have any steps between a warning and murder?”

The terrible and evil vampire tilted her head to the side as if she were regarding a particularly odd sort of bug. Probably an accurate description.

“How peculiar. Do you always say exactly what’s on your mind? A generational trait, I suppose. I was informed that you have a tendency to be stubborn and foolishly bold.”

“By Ell?” Mattie obviously hadn’t been watching her closely enough.

“Eleanor. And yes. Of my children she is the only one left that still wishes to speak to me. I could force them, but honestly I’ve grown tired of the blatant hatred and vitriol. Mircalla is particularly stubborn.” Lilita sounded oddly proud of this.

“So you thought the best way to get the two of you back on speaking terms was to take her girlfriend hostage? And you don’t consider that forcing? I can see why there are some major communication issues. I’m thinking that there has never been a greater need for family counseling. Did you ever think to try a phone call or,” Laura threw her hands up in the air, “a carrier pigeon? Literally anything would be better than this.”

“Yes, but this guarantees she will arrive in a timely manner. Besides, I’ve offered my hospitality to you, and she’ll see that you’ve been treated well.”

The Big Bad had a point. Carmilla would be arriving soon. And likely not in much of a mood to deal with her mother. They’d talked a few times in the past few months about their families. Nights where Laura would lay her head in Carmilla’s lap and talk about her mother, about how she sometimes felt responsible. Felt responsible, even though a brain aneurism couldn’t possibly be her fault. Carmilla would rarely say anything during these moments. There were no words offering reassurances or false sympathies. She just listened. And that is what Laura appreciated the most. Without them ever speaking about it, Carmilla seemed to understand that Laura really just wanted someone to listen. Not to offer advice. Not explain the flaws in her thinking. Just listen.

In turn, Laura had spent a fair amount of time now learning about Lilita Morgan. Learning about her from Carmilla’s point of view that is. Their relationship was – as far as Laura could tell – and for lack of a better word, complicated. One moment, Carm would be spitting hatred about the woman and in the next she would grow quiet. And when she spoke again her voice held a note of longing as she recounted travels to exotic places and balls that lasted into the early hours of the morning.

It was difficult for Laura to hold her tongue during those times when her girlfriend spoke wistfully of her past. To not bring up the murders, luring girls to their deaths, or the cruelty Carmilla had received at her mother’s hand. She and Carm only had one fight about these things. It hadn’t gone well, with Laura getting angry and Carmilla being pigheaded the longer they kept to the topic. It hadn’t mattered that Carmilla had refused to see her mother unless summoned. Laura had wanted more, a public denouncement, or perhaps a Super Friends team-up to oust the woman from her position at Silas U. Anything. But Carmilla didn’t seem want any of that. She’d simply said that she would be fine never seeing her mother again. Beyond that, she didn’t really see an issue with her mother’s actions.

Which was the crux of the problem. How could she not see? Or care? It was obvious that the woman was literally the face of evil. There was even a photo of her shaking hands with Donald Trump in the campus library. And truly, what further proof of evil intent was really needed?

Mattie – always practical – sat Laura down and told her she had to make a very simple choice. Love a vampire, or don’t.

It didn’t really seem so simple, but Laura understood that she would have to accept Carmilla for who she was. Vampire and all. So far it was an ongoing process. Which is why instead of arguing that hospitality and treating someone well didn’t include kidnapping, she asked, “Why do you want to talk to her so much?”

Lilita stared at Laura for an uncomfortably long time. Long enough that Laura felt compelled to look elsewhere, and still the vampire didn’t answer. The silence was interrupted by the library door opening. That was when a young woman entered the room.

She kept her eyes trained to floor, her shoulders squared, as she walked in their direction. Steady. Robotic. Something was off about this girl, but Laura couldn’t put her finger on it exactly what it was. She’d been hasty in assuming that Lilita was alone in this monstrosity of a home.

“Ana, come. Don’t keep us waiting. Our guest would like to know why I summoned my daughter. I thought we could show her.”

The girl, Ana, stepped close and after receiving a small nod of permission knelt gracefully on the ground in in front of Lilita. The vampire placed her fingers under the girl’s chin and gently raised her head until their eyes met. “You look lovely today, my dear.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” Ana said.

“Today, my beautiful girl, we have a guest. Her name is Laura. Greet her please.”

“Hello, Laura,” Ana said, never looking away from her mistress.

Lilita smiled. “You are so special, Ana. Precious to me. Our guest, Laura, is much like you in that she has much to offer a vampire. I admit that I’m a touch sad that she isn’t mine, but perhaps that is a blessing in disguise, as they say. Laura very well could be the tool that heals my family. Wouldn’t that be nice my dear? We could have family dinners. Wouldn’t you like that?”

“Yes, ma’am.” There was no inflection in the girl’s voice. No emotion whatsoever. Nothing to indicate whether she was interested, scared, anxious.

“Excellent, I knew you would,” Lilita said. Her hand kept brushing through Ana’s hair over and over. Like she was petting Ana. “Now, I’d like your help in a small performance. Laura has little understanding of the benefits of her condition. Let us show her. Remove your top.”

Ana was wearing a simple white long sleeved shirt that matched pants which were cut the same way. These clothes were meant to be practical, not sensuous. Both garments were loosely fit, and looked like something a person might wear at a meditation retreat. The top was removed mechanically making it obvious she had done this before. Ana showed no reluctance at all in baring herself. She was flawless – too flawless. There were no scars, blemishes, or beauty marks.

Laura felt uncomfortable observing this, whatever it was. But the moment she tried to look away Lilita snapped her fingers.

“Watch,” she commanded. And like she’d seen so many times on Carmilla, Lilita Morgan’s eyes turned blood red and when she smirked, her sharp fangs were revealed. They resembled vicious tiny daggers. Unlike Carmilla, this wasn’t hot. Carmilla’s touch was reverent, as if she couldn’t possibly believe that Laura would want to be hers. But the way Lilita held Ana wasn’t the same. This looked like ownership.

The urge to flinch away when those fangs slid into the girl’s neck was overwhelming, but Laura did as commanded. She was partially terrified that she would be next, but there was another part of her that felt if she shared in this experience then the girl’s pain would be lessened. Not that Ana ever flinched. She hardly moved a muscle. Lilita didn’t drink long, less than a minute. When she pulled away there were but a few minute drops of blood on her lips which were quickly wiped away by her thumb.

The first thought that came to Laura’s mind wasn’t about Lilita, or Ana, or her own peril. No, her first thought was that Carm was a messy eater. She thought about all the times Carmilla and would get blood everywhere. Everywhere. It would be on her clothing, Laura’s clothing, and whatever surface they happened to be having sex on. Afterwards, Carmilla would be embarrassed as she cleaned Laura up. The recent consumption of blood creating a pretty blush across her features. There’d be whispered apologies on her tongue that Laura would silence with a lingering kiss.

And sure there would be a lot of laundry, but that future with her messy vampire sounded wonderful. She missed the intimacy of feeding Carmilla, of giving a part of herself that would provide sustenance to another. Or the tiny moans of contentment that would escape Carm’s throat when her lips were attached to Laura’s skin. The way she would hold on so tight, but gentle too.

This thing that Laura had just watched was none of that. It was a feeding. Nothing more. She didn’t understand Lilita’s so-called lesson until the vampire had settled back into her chair. Right before Laura’s eyes, Ana’s skin healed, taking mere seconds to reform until the flesh of her neck was smooth and, with the exception of two tiny smears of blood, unblemished.

Laura leaned a little closer to make sure her eyes weren’t playing tricks. From previous experience, she was used to healing a bit faster than the average juice box. But this was crazy. Ana, however, had just healed in seconds. When Laura raised her head she saw Lilita smiling triumphantly at her.

“Yes dear. Beautiful isn’t it? The way her flesh knits itself back together. It takes quite a long time for the healing to progress to this point, but I am nothing if not patient. Every feeding strengthens the bond, and Ana and I have been together for a very long time. She has suffered grievous wounds in the past only to walk away a short time later.”

Of course, Laura knew that Lilita was expecting her next question. Had set up this whole thing so that Laura would ask this question. “How long have you been together?”

Lilita grinned. “Ana tell us how old you are.”

“I am one hundred and thirty-eight years old ma’am.”

Time slowed down to a crawl as Laura tried to process this information. “She looks so young. Like my age. Is she a vampire?”

Clearly offended by the suggestion, Lilita sneered in disgust. “As if I would drink such a rancid glass of death. Don’t be an idiot, child. Ana is every bit as human as you are. She and I are bonded. We will be together for the rest of her life. Wouldn’t that be wonderful, Ana?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Laura chewed the inside of her lip and picked at a stray thread on her pants. “And so you are saying that this will happen to me?”

“Provided my daughter continues to consistently feed from you, then yes, you’ll live a longer life. Not a forever life such as vampires are granted, but a longer one where you will remain young and beautiful.”

“Neither Carmilla nor Mattie have said anything about this,” Laura said, scrunching her nose up in confusion. “And, no offense, but why would I trust you?”

Shrugging, Lilita said, “You don’t need to trust me, dear. You’ll see in ten years or so that I’m correct.”

Laura jerked her head up as a thought struck home. “So what would happen if Carmilla would stop drinking my blood?”

“Don’t be absurd. Why would she do that? Eleanor has communicated to me that you’ve bonded. That would only make her significantly weaker and your potential would be wasted on a natural lifespan. No vampire in their right mind would give up such a blood source. I love murder as much as the next person, but having a convenience such as Ana makes things much easier. And she in turn receives benefit. Her body will remain as you see her now. A youthful flower.”

Staring at Ana, Laura asked, “How long will that be?”

“Who could know? I had one lad that lasted nearly a thousand years. Another girl who barely managed fifty.”

Laura could think of at least one reason that a vampire might cut themselves off from this kind of bond. To allow a human to live their normal lifespan, to grow old. They’d never spoken of love, but Laura no longer had any doubts on the matter. She loved Carmilla, had known it for a while. And now because of Lilita’s callous words, Laura had a revelation. Carmilla knew that Laura didn’t want to be a vampire. Sometimes, bodies intertwined together after lovemaking, they would discuss these things. Their hopes and dreams.

It had been a whispered confession one night, before the coma, when Laura had told Carmilla that she didn’t have any interest in living forever. Upon reflection, the statement seemed a little callous since Carm was trapped in that lonely existence. But she must have been listening, because that would be the only reason to stop feeding from Laura. To take away that chance of forever, or their closest possibility of it.

Carmilla loved Laura enough to give her up. They would always have an expiration date. But in the one Carmilla had chosen for them it would arrive much sooner. Carmilla, in her love, was willing to give Laura as much of a normal life as she was able.

The only thing was that she never asked Laura what she wanted. These decisions required two people, not one person being the martyr. There would definitely be a conversation between the two of them if Laura managed to survive her first meeting with the monster-in-law.

She had no intention of sharing these thoughts with Lilita. Which meant keeping her mouth shut. Repressing her need to know. Waiting quietly for rescue was the best option. Laura’s eyes focused on Ana, who continued to remain still at Lilita’s feet.

“Why is she like that?”

Lilita’s gaze settled on Ana and she smiled. “Because I wish it. For the bond to work I needed Ana to love me. So she does.”

“Mother!”

The muffled shout came from outside the room and for a brief moment Laura thought it was Carmilla’s voice. But no, it was Mattie – in a righteous fury – who strode into the room.

In her brief time with them, Laura had never truly seen a vampire angry. Out of control, might possibly breath fire, kind of angry. But that was how she’d have described Mattie in this moment. Well, until the vampire caught sight of her. Mattie deflated into her normal cool and collected self. Armor fully back in place. She didn’t acknowledge her mother, just said, “Laura, there is a car waiting out front. Go now and wait while Mother and I have a chat.”

“I don’t think so. Where is Mircalla? Did Eleanor not pass on my message? I’m not letting this girl go until I’ve spoken with my daughter.”

“Of course she passed it on. That stupid girl is so desperate for someone to love her that she’d even turn to you. But to answer your question, yes, Carmilla knows about your little message. But she won’t be coming. This game needs to end, here and now, mother.”

Laura wanted to leave, but her feet were frozen. Actually her whole body was frozen. Lilita had a hand pointed in her direction. Some kind of power was being used to hold her in place.

“Very well. If Mircalla won’t come, then I’ll have to eviscerate her little toy.”

Mattie sighed, as if this conversation was commonplace and bothersome, and said, “Please, as if you would destroy any hope of her ever loving you. And that is what would happen Mother. Harming this girl will guarantee that your favorite daughter will never again want anything to do with you. The only child you’ve ever wanted to love you back will never again look in your direction without being commanded to do so.”

One moment Laura felt like her body was in a vise and the next she was free.

“Take the girl, and tell Mircalla that I wish to speak with her. This family has been torn apart for far too long.”

“I’ll pass your message along.” Mattie didn’t spare another word. She simply took Laura’s hand and hastily walked to the exit. Soon enough they were in the back of the car speeding, presumably, back to the hotel.

“Oh my god,” Laura said, feeling an odd mixture of relieved and terrified. Now that her escape had been made she felt almost giddy. When she suddenly burst into a fit of laughter, Mattie looked at her like she was insane.

“You are almost more trouble than you’re worth.” Mattie shook her head, but a hint of a smile was showing through her stony expression. “Are you all right?”

Laura nodded. “She never tried to hurt me.”

“Good. Nor shall she. Tomorrow I’m having a mystic put some protections on you. This wouldn’t be necessary if you would just stay where you were put. So high maintenance. Such a bother. You’re lucky my sister cares about you.”

“Or you’d eat me?” Tears welled up in Laura’s eyes and she did the only thing she could think of. She lunged forward and wrapped her arms around Mattie’s waist. “I’m lucky you care about me too, Mattie. Thank you for saving me.”

“Yes, well, I couldn’t very well leave you to die before I beat you at that infernal game. Now unhand me before I forget that you belong to my sister. Who by the way is currently shredding the upholstery in her worry. I blame you for that.”

“Uh huh.”

“Oh get that glib look off of your face. I don’t have an endless amount of money to keep replacing these things every time she’s feral. No more getting kidnapped or putting yourself in any kind of danger. My bank account won’t be able to keep up with your girlfriend’s childish temper tantrums.”

When they arrived back at the hotel Mattie escorted Laura up to Carmilla’s apartment and she opened the door to discover a completely trashed room. The couch had been shredded. And chewed. The stuffing from the cushions was everywhere. Everywhere. Carmilla’s paintings had been knock off the walls and these too had suffered the same fate. Truthfully, Laura couldn’t be too upset by that. Claw and teeth marks covered every square inch of the room. It was almost as if…

A roar from Carm’s bedroom interrupted Laura’s train of thought and she jumped back only to discover that Mattie blocked her path. Without any warning a tiger-sized panther bounded out of the bedroom in Laura’s direction and didn’t stop until it had reached her side. The cat nudged her hand and when that didn’t work, did a full body rub across her legs. This caused Laura to tip over and fall to the ground. The panther took advantage and proceeded to lie down on top of Laura, protecting her from the bulk of its weight by placing its forepaws on either side of her body. The panther didn’t hesitate before starting to lick her chin and Laura laughed loudly because it tickled.

She wasn’t scared of this animal. More giggles escaped once she ruffled its ears and the panther pushed against her hand for more rubbings.

After a few more minutes of playing with the huge cat, Laura asked, “Mattie, when did Carm get a pet panther?”

 

Chapter Text

Laura practiced some deep breathing exercises she’d learned in yoga as she prepared herself for another battle of wills. Her joyful reunion with her girlfriend – who just happened to be a panther some of the time – had lasted all of an hour. Hearing where Laura had been during her brief absence had been enough to make Carmilla go ballistic. And then she’d shut down. Or, more specifically, she shut Laura out.

The change hadn’t been immediately obvious. They made love that night, but Carmilla held some part of herself back. She hadn’t allowed Laura to reciprocate, and her fangs never once made an appearance. Odd for sure, but she was willing to chalk it up to worry. Until it happened again. That was when Laura learned firsthand that Carmilla was a master of avoidance. Going so far as to simply disappear for entire nights whenever Laura seemed especially adamant to talk.

Her nerves were frayed, and Laura hated to admit it, but she was also afraid. Because, right now she and Carm were about to have the same conversation they’d had several times over the past few weeks and she didn’t see how it could have a different ending than the others. Wasn’t this the definition of insanity?

“I think you’re dodging the subject.” Laura said. She carefully stepped around the various piles of clothing and debris, and sat down in a shredded arm chair next to their bed. Her arms were crossed for effect, and it might have worked, except a busted spring was poking into her butt cheek. The chair was the cleanest surface in the entire room though.

“Your observational skills continue to astonish, cupcake.” Carmilla replied, face hidden behind a book propped upon her chest. She followed the statement with a long drawn out sigh, an unmistakable indication that the conversation was unwelcome. Her body lay sprawled across their bed – the one Laura hadn’t been sleeping in lately – apparently unconcerned by its shredded state or the fact that her boots were still on. Ew. “Shouldn’t you be gophering for my sister right now?”

“I’m going in later. Answer the question.”

Carmilla hummed. Turned a page. “I don’t recall hearing a question.”

“Carm…”

“I’m not avoiding anything, Laura. I just don’t see a point in rehashing something that you already know the answer to,” Carmilla muttered. She continued reading, somehow miles away when they were only feet apart.

Before the silence between them became an insurmountable gulf, Laura tried again. “I don’t understand why you won’t talk to me.”

Carmilla finally set her book down on top of Laura’s pillow and turned on her side so that they were facing one another. “That chair has to be really uncomfortable. The only thing that should be poking you in the ass is me.” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively. Cute, but it was just another diversion tactic.

“Yeah, not falling for that one again.”

They’d been butting heads for a few weeks. Laura wanted to talk about what happened, while Carmilla steadfastly refused to. Well, specifically, Laura wanted to talk about the information she’d learned from Lilita. About how they were bonded. And, especially, about how Carmilla refused to drink her blood. But, the definition of obstinate in vampire form, kept finding creative ways to divert Laura’s attention. Admittedly, she wasn’t exactly upset about that one time with the whipped cream.

Carmilla tossed the sheet that covered her thighs to the side and swung her legs over the bed. She stomped out of the room, hardly sparing Laura a glance as she left the room. Huh. It seemed like today was a pants optional day. Combat boots and no undies. Interesting fashion choice.

One thing Laura had learned about her girlfriend was that the more exasperated Carmilla got with a situation, the more immature she acted. Lately, her overall attitude and extreme levels of snark made Laura grit her teeth. But it was the vampire’s unique ability to turn any room into a cesspit, that really irked. Each day had a way of turning into an argument between them. Which meant that there were empty mugs of blood all over the apartment. Dirty clothes strewn about, and the whole place gave off a scent that was reminiscent of a boy’s locker room.

This wasn’t even taking into account Carmilla’s panther rampage during the time Laura had been kidnapped by Lilita. Mattie had locked her sister in once they’d found out about Laura’s abduction, and Carmilla had taken the opportunity to destroy everything. The toaster had been used as a chew toy. The couches seemingly made excellent scratching posts. Oh, and somehow there were claw marks on the ceiling. Do panthers fly?

Laura’s clothing had been pulled out of the drawers and closet and tossed into a pile on the floor. On closer examination, she discovered that everything was covered in cat hair. Which meant that a certain panther had turned her clothing into a pet bed.

Finding out Carmilla moonlighted as an overgrown kitten, had been eye opening, and explained so many of her quirks. She was moody, solitary, and shed all over the furniture and bathroom. Then there was her tendency to bite. Well, she used to have a tendency to bite. Which was the crux of the problem.

“Explain to me again, why,” Laura said, “you’re insisting on being so pig-headed about this.”

Carmilla had the refrigerator door open, peering at the contents as if it actually held more than a few blood bags. She tossed a glare over her shoulder. “Pig-headed? Really? I see we’ve to progressed to insults.”

“What? No, look, I’m sorry. This is just frustrating and I can’t help but think that you’re trying to push me out.” Laura stepped close, placing her hand on Carmilla’s back, but grimaced at the flinch this caused. “I miss you. I miss where we were heading before that stupid coma. Ever since then, it’s like we’re going in two different directions. Please talk to me.”

The refrigerator door slammed shut and Carmilla put some distance between their bodies as she stalked across the room. The blood bag she carried was ripped open, and she guzzled the entirety of it in a few messy gulps. Streaks of blood stained her chin and shirt, giving her a grisly appearance.

Looking around at the piles of clutter – actually no, clutter was too nice of a word – at the piles of trash, Laura sighed, and said, “I think I’ll stick to 307 until you're ready to talk about this. I’m affected too, Carm. Also, this place is a pigsty.”

“Have it your way,” Carmilla said, yawning.  

“Ugh. Stupid stubborn vampire. Will you stop? Please?” Laura asked, pinching the bridge of her nose. She didn’t speak again until she felt calmer, but still, when she did, her voice cracked. “The biting, it’s part of who you are, a part of you that I accept with open arms. I mean, have you ever seen me complain? And now, I see you’re tired all the time, and I’ve got to wonder if it’s because of this. On top of that, you refuse to give me a single good reason why you won’t do this thing that will make us closer and give us so many years together. Your mother said it could be a thousand years. Or more! Who knows? I really can’t even begin to comprehend a thousand years. Heck, you can’t comprehend a thousand years. Even Mattie is just barely there. Why is this so bad? I thought that, I don’t know, I thought that you wanted me. But ever since Mattie brought me back, you’ve been acting like I’m a bother. Like you don’t want me.”

Carmilla was grinding her teeth loud enough to be heard from across the room, and irritation radiated off of her in waves. “You actually think I don’t want you?” She growled and rolled her eyes. “I told you, that I want you to come back. I’ll get this place livable again, but drinking from you is off the table. Why don’t you see yourself out? Since you don’t want to fuck, I’m gonna need some alone time.” She wiggled her fingers suggestively, leaving very little doubt about what she meant by ‘alone time’.

Laura watched Carmilla walk back to the bedroom and considered her options. There still hadn’t been a single reason given that made sense for this extreme reaction. At first, Carmilla smiled and sought to distract her inquiries with kisses and pleasure, but those methods had now progressed to sarcasm and barely concealed anger. Perhaps they needed space. Not really an appealing option. However, it might give Carmilla a chance to come to her. Laura knew she had a habit battering away at things, while usually, Carmilla preferred to quietly reflect before she was ready to talk. Unless she was angry. Then Carm lashed out.

She turned to leave, but hesitated at the doorway. Another night, another argument seemed to define her life as of late. She didn’t want to end it like this, heading to her room for another lonely night when there was a perfectly good girlfriend here. She wouldn’t bring it back up. When she crossed the threshold of the bedroom, intent on suggesting they wave their white flags, Carmilla glared. And suddenly, Laura felt so tired. She was exhausted from the constant arguments, the frostiness, and really, she just longed to curl up in the sanctuary of Carmilla’s arms. The issue was too important to abandon, but for tonight she hoped they could find comfort in the other.

“Carm, listen, I-”

“Enough.” Carmilla snapped. “I’m done, Laura. I’m done with this conversation. I’m not drinking from you and that’s final. Begging for it isn’t going to help your case. Or is that what you want? To beg?” she sneered. In a flash, she stood in Laura’s space. Pushed her against the wall and held her hands on either side of Laura’s body, blocking any escape. Carmilla’s mouth curved into a suggestive smile, and her eyes lingered on Laura’s breasts. Her hips. The next words that left her mouth were weapons intended to wound. “If that’s the case, then I’m sure we can find some other way to satisfy your needs. Is that why you won’t drop this, cupcake? You like the pain, hmm? Maybe you’re worried I’m going to cut you off? Well, no need to concern yourself with that. I’ll always be here to give you a good fuck. Leave you sore, and aching, and screaming my name. Is that what you’re looking for, sweetheart? No completion unless you’re feeling the razor edge of pain?”

This wasn’t bedroom talk. These words weren’t said playfully.

Laura’s perception of time slowed, and for a few moments, she forgot how to breathe. This wasn’t her Carmilla. Carmilla who grumbled, but still let herself be dragged into six hours of a Firefly binge. Carmilla who placed small silly presents around her apartment in spots where Laura might find them by random chance. Open the pantry only to discover a Cosima Pop Vinyl, or maybe a new Gryffindor scarf hanging over her coat when she left for school. Cookies on the nightstand. Carmilla found a multitude of ways to be thoughtful, and she would never ever be inconsiderate of Laura’s feelings.

A burning sensation sat heavy in Laura’s stomach. She didn’t try to say anything, too worried that her voice would crack, that she’d seem weak. Or, worse, that she really would beg. Not for biting, but for the affection which had so suddenly been ripped away. Instead, Laura ducked under Carmilla's arms and rushed out the door.

No hurried footsteps followed in Laura’s wake, not frantic pleas for her to return. No voice calling out her name. Nothing.

Laura waited until she reached her room before allowing the first tears to fall. She closed the door to her suite, taking care not to slam it shut. Being upset wasn’t an excuse for rudeness towards her neighbors. Truthfully, the more she thought about Carmilla, the angrier she got. She’d given up her life for this stupid impossible extra stupid vampire. Things with her friends felt awkward on the best of days. She’d given up her tiny apartment for a hotel room with a ton of amenities. Okay, maybe that wasn’t the worst, but the mandatory check-ins with her dad twice a day due to her “misguided insistence on maintaining relations with a natural predator” were.

She shrugged being put in thrall, a coma, and the kidnapping by the crazy unhinged future mother-in-law. Oh and Ell was still hanging around, only slightly less creepy than before.

Carmilla still wanted her, no doubt. And Laura felt pretty confident that Carm also wanted her blood. Which is why none of this made any sense.

A quick shower washed away most of her anxiety. Laura knew she was running out of options, and that she should talk to Mattie. Carmilla’s sister always offered excellent advice to go along with insults and thinly veiled death threats. But, Laura didn’t want to have to go running to her every time she and Carm had some kind of relationship problem. They needed to work their own problems out. Which meant, she needed a plan. Something ingenious. Unfortunately, the only idea she had was finding a way to tie Carm up, then starve her until they started communicating. Maybe show her proper sharing techniques with the use of hand puppets.

Although, if they were going to try bondage, then Laura would prefer it be under more consensual circumstances. Being tied to a bed sounded…intriguing. Normally when she got an idea like this she’d text Carm about it. Knowing her girlfriend, she’d likely tease and mock Laura for days. But it would be fun. It would also lead to hours of naughty texting and later, hours of naughty other stuff.

Except she couldn’t send that message. She wondered if Carm would respond if she did.

Laura settled herself with a few deep calming breaths and proceeded to get ready for work. Lately, due to her class schedule and Mattie being a vampire, Laura waited until after sunset to go in. She’d spent time in Mattie’s office every day for the last week, and knew her boss was bound to notice. But, it was either that, or stay in her room moping over the craptastic state of her relationship.

When Laura opened the office door, Mattie said, “You're the worst assistant I’ve ever had. Absolute rubbish.”

Laura delivered a steaming mug of coffee mixed with O Neg to Mattie’s desk. “Oh, are we going to play ‘who sucks more?’ because I’m pretty sure you’d win that game. Besides, I’m the assistant who just brought you a ‘Bloodee’ without being asked.” She was aware that she sounded grumpier than usual and wished she’d stayed in.

“I thought I told you not to call it that,” Mattie said. She lifted the mug to her lips, and murmured her appreciation after taking a sip. “Your attitude is getting out of hand. Perhaps it’s time I drop you into a wood chipper and use your remains as a dessert topping.”

“Ew, gross. Creative, but gross.” Laura wrinkled her nose at Mattie before settling in at her own desk. She did her best to hide behind her monitor, but could feel a pair of eyes following her every movement.

“Somebody is acting suspicious,” Mattie said in a sing-song tone. “Don’t think I haven’t noticed you moping about for the last week. Why don’t you go ahead and confess what’s on your mind? Or should we play the game where I torture the information out of you?”

Laura chewed on the inside of her cheek and considered how to respond. “I can work out my own problems.”

“Is that so?” Mattie tilted her head to the side. “I’m curious, poodle, if you really believe that would stop me from finding out what I want to know? I mean, really, do you truly have so little respect for me?” She held a hand over her heart in mock outrage.

“Mattie…”

“Don’t you ‘Mattie’ me, munchkin. You’ve been useless to me ever since I rescued you from mother. I didn’t go through all that effort only to have you suck the life out of every room. Are you and my sister suffering from lesbian death bed already? Honestly, I’m shocked. I thought with the way she’s been diving at your crotch every five minutes, that you must be especially delicious during your cycle.”

“M-my cycle? What?” Laura said in a high-pitched squeak. “Oh god, no. No more talking.”

Mattie rolled her eyes and twirled her finger in the air. “You act like it’s taboo. Surely Carm has sampled you? She’s a lesbian and a vampire. It’ only natural that they would both lead to the moon flow,” she reasoned. “It’s a once a month holiday for vampires.”

Given the chance, Laura would have paid a week’s salary for a rock to hide under. Or a typhoon to hit the building.

This conversation eerily reminded her of that time her dad tried explaining that women would want to worship at her temple. A full twenty minutes passed before Laura realized that temple was a euphemism for her body, and worship meant sex. Not even the bribery ice cream afterward could erase the mortification from her mind.

“What would it take for you to never mention anything about my moon flow again?” Laura asked. She closed her eyes and silently prayed for mercy.

“Oh stop acting like you’re hoping for an asteroid to hit the planet. I’ll leave it be. For the moment,” Mattie huffed.

True to her word, the room fell into a silence. A blessing, except this gave Laura free rein to think about her problems with Carm. That desperate urge from earlier, the vast overwhelming need for connection, returned. Laura was sick of trying to act normal when nothing was normal about this separation. She was sick of worrying about whether or not she and Carm had a tomorrow. And tired of sleeping alone in a bed that didn’t have Carm in it. She didn’t understand why they were fighting, but the issue seemed too important to just let go. Not the biting, but the complete lack of communication.

Laura tried to concentrate on her homework. On sending out emails for Mattie. Even her go-to cat videos on YouTube failed to offer any real distraction. The little black adorable kittens all reminded her of a bigger grumpier cat. Her fingers grazed the cool monitor screen as if she could somehow receive comfort from the playful animals.

“Carm doesn’t want to bite me anymore.” Oops. The admission blurted from Laura’s mouth, and she followed it with an affirming shrug.

Mattie narrowed her eyes, and said, “Explain.”

“It’s been awhile, a few weeks since the last time. But, really, I think it may have started before that,” Laura replied, shrugging again and chewing on her lower lip while she considered how to explain. “I didn’t notice for a while. At first, she bit me almost every time we, uh, you know, did stuff. Until the coma that is. That was when she started...hesitating I guess might be the best word. Sometimes it was like her fangs would just graze my skin. I think she wanted to, but resisted. Other times, maybe she’d bite, but wouldn’t really drink.”

“Why didn’t you speak with me sooner?” Mattie asked. She sipped at her mug while waiting.

“Because I don’t want to be a problem that you have to solve. And, Carm and I should be able to work our own issues out.”

“That’s remarkably mature of you…”

“Thank you,” Laura said, unable to squash her proud smile.

“…even if you are a ridiculous little fool,” Mattie finished. When Laura stuck her tongue out, her lips curved into a broad smiled that was indication she’d gotten the reaction she was after.

“You suck at giving compliments. You are literally the worst compliment giver ever,” Laura said.

“You don’t need someone to fluff your ego, you need a friend. And that is what you’re always implying isn’t it? That we are friends?” Mattie stood up and leaned against the front of her desk.

Laura wondered if any moment could possibly be more surreal than having a thousand-year-old vampire ask for confirmation of friendship.  “We are. We’re totally friends. Besties. BFFs. Hoes before bros. Sisters from another mister-”

“If you say another word, I’ll rip your tongue out.” She waited for another interruption. Which, of course, didn’t come. “Good. Now please, contain your tendency to babble on endlessly and listen for a moment. Your life has been turned upside down since walking through the doors of my hotel. I realize this, but I shouldn’t care. Not really. After all, you’re a child and even with a prolonged lifespan you’ll barely end up a footnote in what will be a millennia of loneliness. And yet, I cannot deny that in a very short time you’ve become…essential. Perhaps it’s that you remind me of someone I knew in another lifetime. Your friendship is important to me, and I’d like to keep you around as long as I’m able.” Mattie sighed, and held her hand to cut off any response. “And, because you are essential, then you’ll take my advice on how to fix this situation. If not, then I’ll decapitate you and put your head on a spike outside the hotel as a warning to future idiots who would dare annoy me. Do you understand?”

Grinning, Laura said, “You say the sweetest things, bestie o’ mine. Two threats in less than a minute. You really must care. But, I don’t see what this has to do with Carm?”

“You terrify her. With each bite, the bond between you will strengthen. When she drinks your blood she will be will be extending your life and laying the roots down for an eternity together. It’s all disgustingly sentimental.”

“Terrify? I don’t…” Laura began, then paused. She furrowed her brow and asked, “Eternity? Your mother said that I would still die, but that Carm and I would have more time. Potentially much more time.”

Mattie shrugged. “There’s really no telling. You got your information from a vampire whose homicidal urges make me look like a Care Bear. Maman doesn’t know how to play nice with her toys. They might be more durable, because of the bond, but they are after all, only human.”

“Mattie, I love her. Whether it’s for a thousand years, or only ten, I just want us to be happy.”

Mattie strolled close and cupped Laura’s cheek with one hand. “Of course you do. Mircalla von Karnstein has lived a tragic life for well over three hundred years. She doesn’t know anything else except horrors, mothers, lost loves, and misfortune. She simply can’t comprehend a different ending than one made of doom and gloom. Perhaps it’s time you help change that, hmmm?”

“Mattie, I’ve tried,” Laura sputtered. “I so don’t want her to be tragic. But whenever I bring this up she pushes me away. Seriously, even the Chinese would be impressed with the wall she’s built to keep me out.”

“Negotiations are only a compromise if you allow it. Which means, don’t compromise. I can’t believe I’m being forced to say this, but perhaps you shouldn’t let her top in all aspects of your relationship. Your relationship only has room for one idiot, so would you please get your head out of your posterior and fix the situation?”

It sounded so simple when said like that. Just go and give Carmilla a piece of her mind. Impose her will. Laura smiled. “Just to be clear, you’re saying I should go now?”

Mattie turned away, but not before gracing Laura with and exaggerated roll of her eyes. “When you come back I expect you to look like a pin cushion and be short approximately five liters of blood.”

Laura laughed. “Mattie, I’d be dead.” She wrapped her arms around the vampire’s waist. It took a moment, but a hand awkwardly patted her shoulder.

“Excellent.”

On the way to Carmilla’s apartment, Laura attempted to come up with a plan. Sure, Mattie made it seem easy, but it’s wasn’t like Laura could force Carmilla to talk when her heels were dug in as they were. When she reached the door, she considered knocking, but instead used her key card. And, it appeared that some redecorating had happened since she’d last been here. The living room was in even more shambles than earlier that afternoon. The couch, torn in half; a large section of it had been thrown across the room and now blocked the patio door.

When she walked into the bedroom, Carmilla was curled around Laura’s pillow, fast asleep.

“I need to tell you something,” Laura began.

Carmilla’s head popped up, and she focused bleary red-rimmed eyes on Laura. She’d been crying. “You came back. I wasn’t sure you would come back.”

“Yeah, I think the couch you threw across the room is a pretty good indicator of that. But why wouldn’t I come back? I was pretty mad when I left before, but I’m not giving up. This is exhausting though. I mean, isn’t it exhausting?”

“Laura, you don’t underst-”

Laura cut her off, frustration clouding her tone. “I don’t understand? You’re right about that Carm, because I don’t understand why you’ve been such a raging butthead. And really, I’m tired of being nice about it. You were awful earlier. Just awful. You said things to deliberately hurt me. But it’s not going to work. Do you understand that? I’m not leaving, so now we’re going to do things my way. You can’t take this away from us. I get that you have insecurities, but you can’t make the important decisions about us without consulting me. From now on, when you are feeling like things are too much, you are going to talk to me about it.”

Laughing bitterly, Carmilla said, “Tell me what happens when you grow tired of me Laura? When fifty or a hundred years from now when you realize that you’ve tied yourself to a vampire? When you realize that you’ve given up a normal life for an unnatural one? Do you think you’ll be so devoted then? There won’t be any turning back though.”

There it was. It made so much more sense now. “That’s not going to happen.”

“Yeah, well, you haven’t lived long enough to have those kind of regrets. I don’t think I could handle it if you were to realize that this life isn’t the one you dreamt of.”

Laura picked up a shredded pillow off of the floor and threw it at Carmilla’s head. “So, your answer to the fact that there might be something painful down the road, is to not try at all? No. I don’t agree with that.” She braced herself against the doorjamb and kicked her shoes off. Then she began unbuttoning her shirt.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m getting undressed so we can have make-up sex. I really like this shirt, and don’t want you ripping it off of me,” Laura replied as she shimmied out of her pants. “Also, I need to tell you something.”

Carmilla was now staring at Laura’s panty clad hips. “Oh?”

Maybe she should have left her clothes on for this next part. “Carm, I love you. And I need you to love me back. Not just love, but the all-consuming kind that makes you a little crazy. Do you understand? You talk about the things I’ll lose by being with you, but those things? All of the trappings of a normal life? Those are childhood ideals that can’t even compare to the way you make me feel. They aren’t real, but this thing we have is. I didn’t know a vampire would be everything I ever needed, but you are. And, I just need you to stop being an idiot already.”

“Idiot?” Carmilla asked, frowning.

“Mattie’s word.”

Laura strode forward until she stood next to the bed. “We’re going to need new furniture. But maybe without the gory paintings. Children everywhere would be impressed by your temper tantrums.”

“Are you done insulting me?” Carmilla asked, reaching out.

“Maybe, for now. But Carm, if we are going to do this, then we are going to do it all the way. Every little bit. The biting. I’m talking about the biting. With fangs. And blood drinking. You drinking blood, not me.”

“So, your plan was to come in here, take your clothes off, toss out an ‘I love you’, then dictate your terms?”

“Did it work? I kind of just winged it.”

Carmilla growled and grabbed ahold of Laura’s waist and pulled her closer. She swung their bodies around so that Laura landed lightly against the mattress. Hovering, she asked, “Why is this so important? I don’t need your blood to love you.”

“Twenty-two thousand.”

“What?”

With an affirming nod, Laura repeated herself. “Twenty-two thousand days is just over sixty years of life. And it’s not enough. Not even close. I’m selfish when it comes to you, Carm. With you, there is no halfway. I want it all. Don’t you want that too? Everything?” Laura smiled and wiped at her watery eyes. “Because twenty-two thousand tomorrows are just a beginning. I don’t want to spend the next fifty or sixty years growing old while my young lover is mistaken for my daughter, then my granddaughter. Why have fifty years with you when I can have five hundred? A thousand?”

Carmilla expelled a sound somewhere between laughter and a sob. “I want you to have the world.”

“What if you’re my world, Carm? Shouldn’t I have that?”

“Okay.”

“Okay? Really?” Laura wrapped her hands around Carmilla’s neck and dragged her close. “Don’t think that I didn’t notice when you said it back, by the way.”

“Hmmm, you noticed that, did you? I missed you,” Carmilla said softly, between gentle nips along Laura's neck.

“Carm, I really need to come.”

Laughter burst from Carmilla’s mouth. “Cupcake, we just started. You can’t be that bad off yet.”

“Are you kidding? It’s been ages and I was too depressed to masturbate. Hurry up.” She frowned when Carmilla resisted being pushed lower. “Carm?”

“Buckle up, creampuff. You’re going on top.” She flipped them over, chuckling when Laura squealed and planted her hands on the wall for balance. Carmilla now on her back, with Laura straddling her face. “I suggest you take your pleasure.”

Laura looked down and released a contented sigh at Carmilla who was admiring the view. “Making up is so great. Stick your tongue out.”

“Aren’t you the bossy one?”

“You put me through two weeks of hell. You can have a turn after you’ve made up for that.”

“Sounds fascinating. I best get to work then.”

Carmilla did as asked, sticking her firm tongue out in an invitation that made Laura laugh at the silly visual. She pushed her knees further apart, sinking closer to Carm’s waiting mouth. The first touch of tongue to labia felt like coming home. Laura braced her hands against the wall and jogged her hips in a practiced motion.

Half of Carmilla’s face was hidden from view, but her dark hungry eyes watched the tightening of Laura’s abs and the bouncing of her breasts even as her tongue delved inside, tasting. One hand slapped her ass, causing a sting to ripple outwards. Almost immediately the sharp ache was soothed away, only for another blow to be landed on the opposite cheek. It went on like this, pain and tenderness melding together. Heat spread across her abused flesh, a burning that escalated into molten pleasure that threatened to consume her whole. And all the while, Carmilla tasted and explored. Her tongue, swirling and teasing. Worshiping.

Laura’s fingers crept into Carmilla’s hairline, fingernails digging into her scalp as she tried to find purchase, stability where there was none. She tugged at Carmilla’s hair, wrapped her fingers in it. Nothing she did gave her the desired result though.

Every push of her hips was met with equal fervor by Carmilla whose sucked and nipped at Laura’s labia. Occasionally, her tongue would be a fluid muscle offering relief to Laura through languid caresses. But then there were the times when it would be rock that pounded out a rhythm against her clit. However, in spite of her best efforts, Laura couldn’t get Carmilla to consistently be where she needed the most relief. Always, she slipped away just as Laura thought she’d found a tempo that would bring make her come. Perhaps, the sweetest of torments.

“Carm,” Laura gasped, her words coming out in breathy pants. “It’s going to be huge. Like Galactus huge.” The ensuing laughter vibrated and felt wonderful as it vibrated against her slick heated flesh. She struggled to keep her eyes open, but when Laura finally managed to look down again, Carmilla was staring back at her, completely present. Crimson had washed over her normally warm brown eyes, but Laura saw her. Saw her vulnerability. Saw her raw desire and fierce devotion. Saw forever. One hand strayed from Laura’s ass to travel lower, between her legs. Carmilla seemed content to take her time, her fingers acting in unison with her tongue.

“More. Carm, please. I need it.”

Two fingers entered her, stroking at an unhurried pace. She seemed content to take her time all the while doing everything in her power to make Laura’s nerve endings sing.

“More.” Had she just said that? Laura couldn’t remember. She just knew that she needed some kind of relief. Carmilla’s skin against her own felt cool, but somehow her touch scalded.

Laura gripped Carmilla’s hair and pulled her head up so that she could grind and pump her hips and coat that beautiful face with her wetness. Every time her clit hit Carmilla’s nose, Laura’s entire body shuddered. When five shortened nails painted red lines down her back – likely in protest at Laura having taken over – she hissed and thrust harder. It was too much. Or not enough. An ebb and flow that showed no signs of ending. Just as she was on the verge of suggesting anything from threesome with Mattie to a Mariachi band Carmilla’s iron grip held her in place. Two lips wrapped firmly around her clit and sucked. Carm’s tongue lashed the bundle of nerves over and over until Laura exhaled, all breath leaving her body.

She tumbled. Crashed over a perilous edge. Powerful waves shook her to the core. She felt like she were in an endless loop of rapture. Not with Carmilla’s fingers pounding her from behind and her mouth showing no signs of letting up. She came again. Weaker this time, but no less fulfilling.

Laura thought she might fall over, but two strong arms held her up.

“I got you.”

Her body went limp, inherently trusting Carmilla to steady her. Soon Laura was reclining on her back, and as before, Carmilla hovered over her. The dark strands of her hair provided a curtain that seemed to shield them from the world. They shared a tiny smile, almost shy before their mouths came together in a lingering and sensual kiss. Laura could taste herself on Carm’s lips, and she sighed in contentment. This was missed. She’d missed every single moment of this.

When she found herself able to speak again, Laura said, “Carm. I want it all. Everything.”

“You’ll never let this go, will you?”

Laura shook her head. “No, never. I just know that whatever we are granted will never be enough, so why settle for less when I can have more? I don’t want to settle, so please, trust me.” She pushed a ribbon of Carmilla’s hair behind her ear.

“Laura…”

“Trust me,” she repeated, and added a kiss to Carmilla’s lips for good measure.

Carmilla was silent for a moment, but then she sat up and offered a hand to Laura, who took it. When they were both kneeling, Carm moved so that her back was leaning against the headboard. She still held Laura’s hand and jerked her forward so that she fell off balance into Carmilla’s lap.

“Carm?”

Chuckling, Carmilla said, “Trust me.”

With the aid of some vampire strength Laura was lifted and once again she straddled Carmilla, this time with legs on either side of her pale thighs. She slid forward a few inches when Carm bent her knees, and now they sat face to face, breast to breast.

“This is the best idea you’ve ever had,” Laura said, smiling, as she brought their mouths together.

“Oh, I dunno. Are you forgetting about the two times I said yes?”

Carmilla’s hands were cupping her breasts, weighing them. The corners of her mouth turned upward and she raised a brow. “That’s a little insulting, cupcake. Those were major events for me, and I’m honestly a little offended you don’t remember.”

Sure, Laura could tell that she was teasing, but that didn’t change the fact that she couldn’t recall what events Carmilla was referring to. “Tell me,” she said.

Sighing dramatically, Carmilla said, “No? Can’t remember? Well, I suppose I’ll have to clue you in. Maybe you should get me off first though. You know, to make up for the slight.”

Laura grinned. She was down for a challenge. “Deal.” She lifted her index finger up to Carm’s mouth and said, “Open.” There they were, her fangs. Laura wanted to cry, which was ridiculous, but they were beautiful – and for her alone.

She pressed her finger to one of them, and with a quick flick, sliced her finger open. A small cut, but enough to allow blood to flow from the wound. Drop after drop to coated the tongue beneath it. Carmilla’s growled and her lips closed around Laura’s finger, sucking at the wound feverishly. Swirling and massaging. Laura felt a hot surge travel from the finger in her lover’s mouth, southward to her throbbing clit; the sensation of the soft and slick tongue stroking her finger all too heavenly. Throughout all this, Carmilla’s smoldering eyes held Laura captive. With careful determination Laura slid her hand down Carmilla’s body to the trimmed curls of her moist sex.

Laura pulled the bloodied finger from Carmilla’s mouth, and smiled at the whimper this caused. At the way Carm tried to follow it.

“You were going to tell me about the first time you said yes, right?” She slowly spread Carmilla’s arousal around, to ease her entrance. She kept it slow, enjoying the feel of Carm’s cool slickness enveloping her.

Carmilla’s gaze was focused on her finger. On the drop of blood that expanded and seemed to be on the verge of losing its battle with gravity. “I’ve had two great ideas in recent memory,” she said, husky need coloring her tone. “The first was the night we met. I thought you’d be nothing more than a prissy uptight little do-gooder, but I followed my instincts, and instead, said yes.”

Tiny tears prickled at the edges of Laura vision and she tried to blink them away. “And the second time?”

Rather than answer Carmilla’s mouth darted out and captured Laura’s finger again. She smiled around it, and winked. Moaning and sighing in contentment, she continued to suck tiny drops of life from Laura’s finger.

Below, Laura pushed three fingers into Carm, and moaned loudly when the same was done to her moments later. “Oh god.” She tried to concentrate on fucking Carmilla. On fucking her mouth. In and out. When she worried that the flow of blood might stop she nicked her finger again, deeper this time. She grimaced, but the reaction she got from this made the slight sting worth it. Carmilla went wild. Nearly feral in her need. The hungry expression on Carm’s face as she hollowed her cheeks and relished in the tiny drops of life, forced a needy whimper to escape Laura’s mouth. So erotic and beautiful.

Carmilla growled, deep and guttural, and proceeded to thrust harder into Laura’s own tiring body. It seemed they were racing to see who came first. And like any challenge, Laura was determined not to let it be her. She let her thumb circle Carmilla’s clit in tight circles, occasionally crossing over it. An action that made a certain vampire’s hips jolt whenever it happened.

Laura leaned in, bit Carm’s ear, and pulled the lobe away from her body. After releasing it, she said, “I want you to come.”

Goosebumps spread across Carmilla’s chest, and her body started to quake. She released Laura’s finger and raggedly asked, “Say it again. Laura, Please.”

“I love you. And I’ll say it anytime you need to hear it, for as long as it takes for you to never worry that I’ll stop. Even if it’s twenty-two thousand years.” It was a nonsensical statement, and she was babbling, but Laura was about to come again and she was feeling pretty emotional. Excuses had to be made.

As her shudders faded, Carmilla leaned forward and pressed their lips together. Just a light peck, but filled with affection. “The second great idea I had happened less than an hour ago. Incredible really.”

Laura clutched at Carm’s shoulders and tried to concentrate on the conversation. The fingers inside curled, and knowingly sought that her most sensitive spots. She was so close. Muscles tightened and electric shocks pulsed throughout her body. “Wha-”

“I chose you. I don’t think I ever stood a chance.”

 Her lip quivered in relief, and with a watery smile she tilted her head. Carmilla brushed the hair from Laura’s neck and pressed her lips reverently there, against the spot of the first bite. That had been a rough passion filled encounter. This one, by comparison was bursting with adoration. And love.

There was but a breath and then those fangs pierced Laura’s flesh, and finally, Carmilla came home to her.

 

Chapter Text

Carmilla stood in the open doorway of the beach house she shared with Laura. Ten minutes earlier, she awoke to find herself alone. The sheets on Laura’s side of the bed were cool and untouched which meant that her girlfriend hadn’t come to bed that morning. It was slightly concerning, but not entirely unusual. Laura tried to keep to Carmilla’s nocturnal schedule, but there were days she couldn’t help but be drawn to the sun. Her own tolerance for sunlight had improved, but in typical catlike fashion she preferred the extra sleep.

In the distance, she observed Mattie and Laura reclining side by side in two loungers. A large beach umbrella protected had been erected to protect Mattie from the sun. Carmilla assumed that her sister had arrived on the island earlier that morning.

The last rays of the setting sun highlighted the gentle ocean waves with a reddish-orange hue. It looked to be a beautiful cloudless night, although a touch warmer than usual. For Carmilla, this wasn’t a problem. The cat part of her longed to stretch out in the still hot granules of sand. But that might lead to rolling around. Or frolicking. She learned her lesson in that regard the hard way.

That was nearly two decades ago, but Laura still dragged that damn video out at least once a year. Watching a home movie of her panther-self playing in the sand was embarrassing, but her complaints were always half-hearted because Laura loved it. And she loved Laura. Submitting to the occasional mortification was a small price to pay for one of Laura’s smiles. Besides, she only barely resisted reciting foolishly sentimental poetry or decorating their bedsheets with rose petals.

Carmilla watched Mattie take Laura’s hand in her own and place a kiss against her girlfriend’s knuckles. On paper, Mattie and Laura’s friendship shouldn’t work. And perhaps in another life they might’ve been at one another’s throats. But in this one they’d been confidants and sisters. They had a bond that operated outside of the relationship of sister or lover they shared with Carmilla. These women were her family. Not the one she’d been born into, but the one she made of her own choosing.

Deciding that she’d procrastinated enough, Carmilla shrugged into a silk robe that fell just past midthigh and padded across the beach to join them. Their conversation trailed off. She squeezed Mattie’s shoulder before turning to her girlfriend. Laura’s eyes were hidden behind dark sunglasses and she wore a sarong covered indigo bikini and the tiny smile she reserved for Carmilla alone.

“Hey,” Carmilla said and let her eyes roam over Laura’s body. The bikini didn’t leave much to the imagination.

Laura reached out and took ahold of Carmilla’s hand and pulled her down for a kiss. “Hey. I missed you.”

“Hmmmm. And yet you never came to bed. So,” Carmilla murmured against her mouth. “I might need some convincing.”

“My beloved sister hasn’t seen me in months and I’m ignored for a strumpet. How rude,” Mattie said, with false indignation.

“Strumpet? Really?” Laura blurted.

The exasperation coloring Laura’s tone made Carmilla want to smile. Also, the fact that she was glaring daggers at Mattie. Carmilla waggled her eyebrows at Laura, and without breaking eye contact, said, “Mattie, if Laura and I promise to attend your party tonight, would you leave? Immediately?”

Mattie sniffed. “So much disrespect. Especially after I’ve been kind enough to allow you to use my island as a litterbox. You’re lucky I don’t have you staked, kitty cat. But fine, I’ll go. Make sure you see to her needs. The poor thing has spent the entire night crying on my shoulder.”

“Stop exaggerating,” Laura said. “I absolutely did not cry on your shoulder. Or, you know, at all.”

“Yes, well, I could tell that you wanted to. The party starts at midnight, and I expect you both to show up. It’s the grand opening.” Mattie stood up and brushed non-existent sand from the white beach dress with gauzy sheer layers that she wore. Her expression softened as she turned to gaze down at Laura. “Little sister. It’s hard to imagine this now, but your heart will mend. What people say about time healing wounds isn’t complete nonsense.” She leaned over and tucked a few strands of Laura’s hair behind her ear before cupping her cheek. “I’ll see you later this evening. And don’t you dare let bedroom eyes over there distract you from coming.”

With a small nod, Laura leaned into Mattie’s caress and said, “Thanks Mattie, we’ll see you tonight.”

Before she left, Mattie pulled Carmilla into a tight hug. “I’m happy to see you. We need to spend an evening together before I have to go back, just us.”

“Paint the town red?” Carmilla asked, brow raised. She was, of course, joking. Those days were long in the past.

“Please, as if. You’re too domesticated for that, little monster. But perhaps we can share a glass of blood and reconnect.” Mattie slapped Carmilla’s arm lightly. “I’ve missed you. And I absolutely forbid any more of these extended separations.”                  

Carmilla watched her sister walk along the shoreline with the ocean waves rolling and lapping at her feet. Mattie had a particular fascination with the ocean, and while she strongly preferred the city, she made a point of visiting a few times a year. It had been five years since Mattie decided to purchase an island in the Mediterranean with the intention of turning it into a resort experience for vacationers who wished to mingle with vampires. Half of island was sectioned off for personal use—her own mansion and Carmilla and Laura’s cottage. The surrounding area was overgrown with trees and vegetation and had enough animal life for those times when Carmilla felt like stretching her paws and hunting.

They’d lived here for the past few years with Laura’s elderly father, Sherman. That is, until he passed away six months prior. Initially inconsolable, Laura suddenly became prone to long bouts of silence. It was disquieting and Carmilla swore never again to crave a moment’s peace. Only recently had Laura’s laughter and smiles begun to reappear in greater frequency.

She refreshed Laura’s wine from a nearby cooler. “Are you comfortable where you are or would you like to share?”

Rather than answer, Laura grinned and scooted forward to allow Carmilla to climb in behind her. “Are you naked underneath that robe?”

Carmilla wrapped her arms around Laura’s waist and nuzzled her neck. Held her tight. She hummed and murmured, “Perhaps I am. What’s the point of living on a private beach if you can’t take advantage of the perks?”

“I’ll never get used to how much of an exhibitionist you are.”

“Says that girl who keeps recording images of me walking around nude.”

Laura laughed. A beautiful sound. “I think it’s necessary to document these incidents. You know, for posterity.”

“And the library of videos detailing every moment we’ve spent fucking?”

“Those are also for posterity. Future generations of lesbians might one day need to reference them for educational purposes. I’m pretty sure we do this better than it has ever been done. They’ll be instructional videos.”

“Right. Instructional videos otherwise known as pornography.” Carmilla nipped at Laura’s neck. She smelled of honeysuckle and the ocean breeze. Being this close, she could also smell the blood that pulsed through Laura’s veins. It was intoxicating. “Your hair smells nice. Although, I didn’t hear you come in to shower.”

Laura continued to gaze out at the surf and didn’t immediately respond. Whenever she was feeling contemplative she watched the water. At some point during the day a yacht had anchored itself a mile or so off the coast.

“You were asleep. I didn’t want to disturb you.”

Sighing, Carmilla said, “Cupcake.” She hated that Laura ever hesitated to share her burdens.

Laura placed her hands over Carmilla’s which still hugged her waist. “I know. I wasn’t avoiding you. I promise. Mattie called earlier and I ran inside to shower before she came over. That’s all.”

“You talked about dad?” Sherman had insisted that Carmilla call him dad. It started out strange, but he was the only parent she’d ever loved.

“Yes. And no.” Laura’s shoulders lifted in a half shrug. “I hadn’t seen her since the funeral, so we talked about it some. Mattie was telling me about when she was human and,” she hesitated, “her son. The one she lost when Lilita turned her.”

Laura never bothered to hide her disdain when she spoke Mother’s name. Over the years there had been no love lost between the two. Although, if anything, Maman seemed fascinated by the fact that Laura never weakened, never grew tired the way her own bonded did. If anything, she grew stronger. Her strength and endurance would never match a vampires, but her health far outshone an average human’s. Carmilla didn’t want to draw conclusions from this, refused to ever say it aloud. But her traitorous heart hoped this was a sign that that they’d have an eternity together.

“Ah, so she told you about growing up along the Congo?” It wasn’t a secret, but Mattie rarely mentioned the family she had before Mother. It spoke volumes that she’d share this information with Laura.

“She said when she was barely a teenager her father traded her to a man for some livestock.” Laura sounded offended that feminism didn’t exist in ancient times. “But apparently, he treated her well and they started a family.” Her voice cracked when she continued, “And then Lilita happened. Mattie was torn away from her family because your mother thought her beautiful and exotic. Like she was something to collect.”

Carmilla pressed a kiss to Laura’s ear. “She saw him again before he died. He was an adult by then, and didn’t remember her.  But it brought her closure to see that her son lived and had his own family. Sometimes I wish I were as strong as Mattie.”

Laura squeezed her hand and said, “No Carm, you’re stronger. You both had terrible things done to you, but you are the one who was brave enough to love again. To try again. Especially after what happened with Ell. You Carm, you. You’re the strongest person I’ve ever met, never doubt that.”

“I think you’re biased, sweetheart.” Her tone was light, but she appreciated Laura’s unwavering loyalty.

“Maybe so,” Laura admitted. “But I refuse to apologize when I know I’m right.” In mature fashion, she blew a raspberry.

“So, are you ready to talk about it?” Carmilla asked, changing the subject. She kept her tone soft, soothing. Her hands rubbed and kneaded at Laura’s muscles in an effort to relax her. She loved touching Laura. The way her skin felt against her own. She smiled at the goosebumps left in the wake of her fingers.

Laura shivered and sighed. “That feels nice.” She remained silent for another minute before finally saying, “Do you realize that I’m sixty years old?”

“And yet, you don’t look a day over twenty.”

“Ha, you’re so funny.” Laura leaned her head back until it rested on Carmilla’s shoulder. “I guess with my dad and everything it’s struck me that I’m standing still while everyone else I know is…dying.”

Carmilla leaned her head back and took a moment to search for the right words. In her darker moments, she sometimes wondered if Laura would ever come to regret this life where attachments to people were fleeting. “My family wasn’t one filled with warmth, so I can’t really say that I felt anything at all when my relatives met their respective ends. But, there was a point around my hundredth year or so when I realized that everyone I had ever known was dead. It was…unsettling. If the Karnstein descendants remembered me at all, it would only be as the idiot girl who got herself murdered at a ball. Forgotten, barely a footnote in the family history books.” She took a deep breath and continued, “But sweetheart, you won’t share that fate. Yes, you’re going to leave people behind, but they’ll all be better for having known you.”

Laura twisted her head around as much as she was able. Her lips quirked up and she said, “Hmmm, now who’s sounding biased?”

Carmilla scoffed. “I’m always objective.”

“Uh huh.”                                      

They fell into a comfortable silence. Many nights were spent out here under the clear night sky where Carmilla felt so at peace. Laura always kept her company. Usually with a glass of wine while she detailed her day overseeing the construction of Mattie’s new hotel. But then there were times like tonight when they simply wanted to lie in the comfort of one another’s arms and enjoy the quiet solitude. Carmilla never loved her sister so much as the night Mattie requested that Carmilla and Laura move to the island with Laura’s father. Mattie affirmed that only her apprentice, Laura, could be trusted enough to supervise the creation of the newest Succombez á Moi hotel. There might have been some truth to that, but mostly this was a move that allowed them to get far away from Mother. And Ell, who despite Carmilla’s repeated threats of bodily harm and decapitation, hadn’t dimmed in her obsession with Laura.

At least living here on the island, they had a modicum of freedom from her family and their dramas. She squeezed Laura tight as if her arms could provide adequate protection the dangers that seemed to linger around every corner.

“You’re thinking too hard back there. Are you brooding about your mother again?” Laura asked through a yawn. “You know she hates it here ever since those birds kept following her around and pooping in her hair. I know you said Mattie wasn’t involved in that, but the whole thing was way too weird to be a coincidence.”

Carmilla smiled warmly in remembrance of her mother’s indignation. “I’m fine. Minimal brooding.”

This non-answer obviously didn’t sit well with Laura as she twisted around until she straddled Carmilla’s thighs. Her nose crinkled as she said, “‘I’m fine’ is what people say when they aren’t fine at all.” Laura expelled an overly exaggerated sigh and said, “I suppose I’m just going to have to tickle it out of you.” Her hands made threatening motions at Carmilla’s middle.

“Tickle it out of me?” Carmilla asked, eyebrow raised. “If memory serves that didn’t go so well for you last time.”

Laura’s lips curved upwards into a radiant smile. “I’ll have to disagree with you there, Carm. I remember that day very well, and I think it went great for me.” Her eyes fell to where Carmilla’s robe had fallen open and partially exposed her breasts. “You know, I realize I give you a hard time about traipsing around the island half naked, but please never listen to me. You should wear nothing but your birthday suit all the time.”

Carmilla exhaled at the simple pleasure of Laura’s touch. Forty years and their mutual desire for one another hadn’t diminished. She lusted after Laura every bit as much as she had at their first meeting so long ago. The sex had always been explosive, but it was the love and trust that Carmilla valued the most. And the mutual trust she had in Laura to love her back. It was laughable that on their first meeting she’d tried to send Laura away. Thankfully her body instinctually understood what her mind could not.

Enthusiastic hands were pushing Carmilla’s robe away from her breasts, and then Laura’s mouth was there sucking at her nipple. She started soft, alternating between firm strokes and quick flicks of her tongue that were meant to arouse. Not that she needed much help. Sometimes Laura doing the most innocent of tasks was enough to turn her on. There was nothing innocuous about her actions right now though. The fine edges of Laura’s teeth bit into her puckered nipple and stretch it away from her body. It ached, sharp in one moment, then settling into a dull throb the next. Her breath hitched and she could feel the monster that lived in the red tinged shadow of her soul stirring, clawing its way out of slumber. It was intrigued and hungered for its mate. It longed for her touch. Her taste. It wanted Carmilla to take control, to bury her fangs and her fingers in the warm willing body that was pressed so enticingly against her own. But for now, she’d hold it at bay because there was pleasure to be had in compliance too.

Laura’s lips pulled away from the tender flesh with a loud wet pop and now she hovered bare inches above Carmilla’s breast with a sinful smile that plainly spoke of her intentions. Her tongue darted out, transferring its attentions over Carmilla’s other breast. Decades of encouragement and shared intimacy had made Laura into a confident lover. And on her, it was a magnificent thing to observe.

She wanted that hot wet mouth on her body. This was Laura’s show, but she had no intentions of making it easy. Carmilla snaked her hands around Laura’s hips until they cupped her girlfriend’s ass. Her fingertips kneaded the cheeks. Almost unconsciously, Laura’s hips started grinding against her stomach.

Good. But before she could press any advantage, Laura took ahold of her wrists and pushed them against the chair on either side of Carmilla’s head.

“Oh no you don’t. You stay still or maybe I’ll get up and go to Mattie’s party instead.”

It was an empty threat, but Laura’s expression was serious. Carmilla laughed out loud. “Sorry cupcake, but I know you too well. If we went to that party now you’d be dragging me into some hideaway within a half an hour begging me to fuck you.”

Laura huffed and said, “Or maybe you’d be begging me to fuck you.”

Winking, Carmilla said, “Schematics. Just as long as someone is getting fucked. Also, have I ever said how sexy your dirty talk is?” She leaned forward to capture Laura’s mouth in a slow measured kiss. Laura’s hands tightened around her wrists and held them in place as the kiss grew more heated. Another kiss was placed against the side of her mouth, then Laura was nipping her bottom lip. Hard enough that the monster began to make insistent demands. Take her. Take her. Drink from her. Make her yours. Instead, she relaxed against the chair and grinned. “Someone is feeling frisky tonight.”

“You bet I fucking am,” Laura replied, emphasis on the profanity. “Keep your hands there. Don’t move them or you’ll have to wait till later when we’re in public.”

“Control looks good on you sweetheart.” The monster thought so too and perhaps a tiny growl escaped Carmilla’s lips at seeing Laura in her element like this. She gripped the hard metal slats of the chair and watched her girlfriend’s attentions wander over her body. Laura’s hands were cupping the undersides of her breasts then pushing them together creating an illusion that they were fuller than they really were. Laura’s mouth resumed its attentions on her breast while maintaining eye contact. It was one of the sexiest things she’d ever seen. But Laura Hollis, ever tightly-wound, couldn’t keep her entire body under such strict control. Her knees had a bruising grip on Carmilla’s sides.

There was no mistaking the scent of Laura’s arousal. Sweet and tangy. The monster smelled something else entirely. Laura’s blood was poetic in its effect on her. Always there, tingling at the edge of her senses. Teasing and beckoning and promising to sate her hunger. And it always did, if only for a short while.

Without warning, Laura sat up and reached behind her back to pull the strap that was holding her bikini top in place. It started to float away from her body, but was quickly held in place by her arms which snapped tight to her ribs.

“You know,” Laura began, a sly smile gracing her lips. “I will only drop this if you agree to give me whatever I want.”

“Yes, okay. I’ll do it.”

Taken aback by Carmilla’s immediate acquiescence, Laura burst out laughing and managed to accidentally drop her top anyway. The thin material fell and caressed Carmilla’s stomach with a feather-like touch as it landed. Their eyes met and after a few seconds, Laura’s mirth faded until only a sinful smile remained. Carmilla’s eyed Laura’s breasts. They were lovely and she wanted to use her mouth to map out the beauty marks that in her opinion resembled stars and constellations. A map of the only universe she ever felt like she belonged in. She’d kissed each one a million times. She had a strong desire to get started on the next million.

Instead, she watched as Laura’s head lowered until her soft lips pressed a kiss to Carmilla’s neck. Each and every time Laura touched her it felt like love and acceptance. This gentler version of Carmilla’s own bite had become a ritual between them over the years. When she bit Laura, drank from her, Carmilla tried to pour every ounce of devotion she possessed into an act that by its very nature was violent and painful. She thought that perhaps this was Laura’s unspoken way of saying that she’d succeeded.

Soon Laura was scooting down her body, nearly as eager as Carmilla for the night’s first orgasm. Laura’s impulsive nature almost always guaranteed that one of them was coming within the first ten minutes. And if the way her legs were being spread wide was any indication, then she was minutes from relief.

Laura paused to briefly to taste and suck at the tender flesh of Carmilla’s inner thigh. The workings of a vampire’s body had been a source of constant frustration to her girlfriend over the years. No matter how she tried, Laura could never leave a possessive mark on Carmilla’s fair skin. Her heart would never pump blood through her veins again. If she was cut only the barest trickles of blood would flow from the wound. Once, early in their relationship, Laura spent an entire evening suckling at a single spot on Carmilla’s neck only to have the fruits of her efforts, a barely visible mark, disappear within ten minutes.

Laura Hollis often didn’t know when to quit, but in this case, wisely chose to move on. She nipped one final time at Carmilla’s leg before moving on to nuzzle the fine trimmed hairs at the apex of her thighs. As she drew away, Laura used her teeth to lightly tug on some of those hairs before descending to spread Carmilla’s lips with the tip of her tongue.

It was always difficult for her to relax in these situations. The monster demanded dominance and truthfully, Carmilla usually didn’t see much point in denying it’s desires. They were a part of her. But the contentment she now knew had also fostered change. Trusting another person enough to be vulnerable with them hadn’t come easy, but then Laura was nothing if not persistent.

She closed her eyes and forced her body to melt into Laura’s touch. Her tongue was pushing determinedly between Carmilla’s labia, delving deeper and deeper only to pull away before she fostered too much pleasure. Hissing, Carmilla snapped her eyes open and glared.

With a not so innocent smile, Laura retreated an inch. “Watch me.” She followed this statement by blowing cool air on Carmilla’s sex which did the exact opposite of cooling her off.

And this wasn’t exactly a new request, nor one she had any issues obeying. Laura had a thing for being watched. Carmilla drew her mouth into a smirk and through a deliberate growl that she knew made Laura hot, said, “Someone seems to be embracing her role. Just wait till it’s my turn.”

Laura smiled, clearly excited for that as well. “Can’t wait.” Her brown eyes regarded Carmilla warmly and held some emotion that she couldn’t quite decipher. Love yes. Lust definitely. But something else too…possibly anxiety. She wasn’t able to think much more on it, though, because Laura did that swirl thing with her tongue that drove Carmilla crazy. She insisted on calling it the Hollis Maneuver which also drove Carmilla crazy. Could she be any more silly? Or adorable?

And sexy. Sexy because the look Laura was giving her now was the very definition of sexy. Shit. She might come, except Carmilla refused to come this quickly. She was a centuries old vampire, not a prepubescent boy who thought the finish line was two pumps and four seconds in. However, Laura must’ve recognized the signs because she doubled down on the swirl thing and Carmilla was lost. Her body clenched, shuddered. Distantly, she could feel the sensation of Laura’s tongue continuing to flit through her folds, fucking her with supreme skill. When the orgasm passed and she could think again, Carmilla reached a hand out and said, “Come here cupcake. Give me a minute and I’ll return the favor.”

Laura gave a tiny shake of her head and continued lapping at Carmilla’s folds, managing to avoid any overly sensitive areas. After a few minutes, she must’ve determined that Carmilla had enough of a cool down period and returned to her task with gusto. Where she’d been soft before, she was now wild. One moment she was sucking Carmilla’s labia into her mouth, then the next one of her teeth gently scraped across the hood of her clit.

The entire time they watched one another. Laura’s eyes were penetrating as they read her every reaction. Carmilla’s days of holding things back were long gone and now she felt comfortable letting go and giving Laura everything she wanted. Which often included multiple orgasms. Laura’s fingers were probing at her entrance, each offering promises of fulfillment and rapture.

The monster, still present, rumbled its contentment in the back of her mind. Yes. Give. Give. Give.

Laura was rocking Carmilla’s body with each push of her strong arms, and her lips had latched onto Carmilla’s clit with a singular focus. Each time they penetrated her body, those fingers were knowing and determined to seek out those spots that would make her scream. Carmilla wanted to hold those fingers close, make them cede to her will. She rolled her hips in time with Laura’s thrusts and soon enough she was coming again.

Only when her body slackened, weak from pleasure and overstimulation, did Laura pull away. This time she accepted the invitation and crawled up the lounger until she straddled Carmilla’s hips. Along the way, she’d managed to lose her sarong and bikini bottoms.

“You’re brimming with enthusiasm tonight,” Carmilla said, with a lazy smile.

Laura pecked her on the mouth and said, “Are you saying I’m usually lacking in enthusiasm?” Her eyes glinted and the corners of her mouth were upturned in amusement.

Carmilla snorted. “Hardly. I think you’re normally dialed in at a ten. But…” She trailed off and considered Laura’s face for a moment. The way her eyes were crinkled and the nervous energy that surrounded her. Like she had a secret she could barely hold inside. She recognized this look, but wasn’t sure what the cause of it was. Perhaps Mattie’s arrival? “You seem like you’re up to something.”

Leaning forward to press another kiss to Carmilla’s mouth, Laura murmured, “There might be…something.”

“Mmmm. Mattie’s been on the island all of a few hours and she’s got you involved in some scheme,” Carmilla said, largely unconcerned. Her attention was needed elsewhere. Like Laura’s sweat slickened body and the way it glided against her own. She ran her hands between their bodies to cup Laura’s breasts. Squeezing them and enjoyed the way Laura’s hard nipples were rocks against her palms. She kissed her again, and again. Their lips moved together effortlessly, a languid exploration. They’d made love thousands of times, but Carmilla never got enough. The between them bond ensured that she would always crave Laura’s blood far more than others, but the emotional connection had been unexpected. She needed Laura’s blood, but not nearly as much as she needed her love. Love insisted she do ridiculous things like buy nerdy gifts she knew Laura wanted and present them for no reason other than she could. Or do appalling things like pick up her dirty clothes and clean the dishes.

Speaking of the need for blood. The monster was fully awake now. Awake and wanting. Her fangs were pushing through the front of her gum line while her human incisors receded. It was always an uncomfortable process—replacing one tooth with a sharper and infinitely more lethal one.

“You’re hungry aren’t you, Carm?” Laura asked. She was grinding and painting a wet streak down Carmilla’s abdomen. And her hands were everywhere. Caressing her face and shoulders before finding purchase in her hair. She wasn’t gentle about it. “I think you need to feed.” It was stating the obvious, but Laura made it sound suggestive. Like feeding also meant fucking. And for them it did. Sex and blood had long shared symbiotic existence in their lives.

Carmilla released a rumbling assent that reverberated through her chest. She lowered one hand between their bodies until her fingers could tease at Laura’s sex. So wet. The hunger was consuming her senses. Almost unconsciously, her mouth moved to hover over Laura’s neck. She kissed the skin there, licked it. Sucked at it as if she could somehow get to the blood without surrendering to her violent nature.

Laura held her head in place, fingers threaded through Carmilla’s unruly hair. “Carm, please give me more. I need you.”

Permission given, she scraped her fangs across that fragile skin and her senses exploded as they absorbed the twin droplets of blood that formed. There were times when passion led her to strike quickly, and drink her fill, but given a choice Carmilla greatly preferred to savor and relish Laura’s blood. The droplets welled from the miniscule cuts and she sucked at them, encouraging the blood to flow despite the shallowness of the wounds. It was too soon to fully give in.

She thumbed Laura’s clit while her index finger caressed the silky folds that awaited her. Laura was pressing herself into Carmilla’s hand and it seemed that gentle lovemaking would have to wait. She wanted to tease, to make her beg, but that would mean removing her mouth—and fangs—from Laura’s throat. Instead she gave in and inserted a single finger inside. It wouldn’t be enough and she smiled without breaking the suction hold her mouth had when a gasp of outrage emerged from Laura’s lips.

Rather than continue with complaints, Laura made use of what was given. Her hips rose smoothly only to sink back down until she rested on Carmilla’s knuckles. Over and over, Laura pleasured and filled her body while Carmilla held her tight. She blazed with a fire that felt like it could scorch and consume.

The monster snarled in its fervor for more and Carmilla could only see through its red tinged gaze now. The world in all of its infinite colors had transformed into one made only in shades of red. Her fangs broke the skin of Laura’s neck even as she added another finger. The blood trickled freely into her mouth. Not enough to sate her hunger, but an appetizer nonetheless.

Laura’s knees clenched around her hips as she feverishly rode Carmilla’s fingers—nearly as desperate in her need as Carmilla was in her hunger. She was speaking in nonsensical ramblings as she sought her release. “Carm…I love…please make me…I need more…don’t sto…oh god yes…”

Carmilla could feel the muscles of Laura’s pussy fluttering around her fingers. She responded by adding a third then rapidly swiping her thumb over Laura’s clit. Instinct took over and she used the hand that still grasped Laura’s breast to pinch and twist her nipple.

“Carm,” Laura said, breathless. “Now, do it now.”

She struck and buried her fangs as deep as she could into Laura’s neck. It took exactly three seconds before Laura cried out, her body shuddering with orgasm. Only then did Carmilla retract her fangs and drink.

Blood, thick and sweet in a way that was wholly Laura flowed down her throat. Carmilla swallowed it in huge gulps and was vaguely aware that some of it was spilling from the sides of her mouth. She really never had mastered the art of a clean bite. The red haze that muted her vision faded and Carmilla could feel the monster returning to its slumber. It was then that she became aware of Laura pulling her hand away from her center.

“Don’t stop, Carm. Just hold me.”

Carmilla wrapped both arms around Laura’s waist and held her tight as she swallowed her fill. She rubbed and caressed the muscles of Laura’s back to let her know without words that she was loved and cherished. This feeling of intimacy would forever stand as one of the most satisfying she’d ever known. All too soon she could feel Laura’s body going slack and knew it was time to stop. A few swipes of her tongue and the blood slowed to a trickle. Laura’s healing would take care of the rest.

“Sleep. I’ll wake you before it’s time to go,” Carmilla said. She smiled when Laura babbled something about being ready for round two. Carefully, she stood up with Laura cradled in her arms. Seconds later they were inside and she was lowering her onto their bed. A few feet away, their tabby cat, Minerva McGonagall, stared at them with a judgmental eye. Carmilla hissed, but the cat was clearly not impressed.

After checking to make sure that Laura’s pulse was strong—they kept blood on hand for an emergency that had yet to occur—she went into the bathroom to retrieve a damp washcloth. They would bathe before the party, but Carmilla wanted to take care of her. She wiped the worst of it away and was relieved to see that the puncture wounds had nearly healed over. In another hour, there would be no evidence they’d ever existed.

Minerva was picked up and deposited on the floor. Curling her body around Laura’s would’ve been impossible otherwise. The stupid cat got the last laugh by immediately jumping back on the bed walking across her face to then slink under Laura’s arm and fall asleep. They were in a constant battle for Laura’s attention. A battle she was pleased to say she consistently won. What a ridiculous trio they made.

A half an hour or so passed before Laura stirred. “Carm,” she said, drowsy but with a smile in her tone. “Please tell me we didn’t miss the party. Mattie would kill us.”

Carmilla kissed her ear and said, “No. We still have time. Are you ready to shower?”

“In a minute.” Laura interlaced her fingers with Carmilla’s and held them to her belly. “Can I ask you a question?” She paused to allow Carmilla time to murmur her acquiescence. Do you ever think about the future?”

Sensing that there was hidden meaning behind this question, Carmilla didn’t immediately answer. “No, not really,” she said, finally. But Laura stiffened imperceptibly before relaxing and Carmilla knew she messed up. Even now, decades later, communication wasn’t a simple thing. Sighing, she expanded on her train of thought. “For me the future has always been a long lonely road. Barren of life or a destination. It’s one I’ve traveled for centuries. And then there was…you. Cupcake, the only tomorrows I dream about are the ones that have you in them.”

Several seconds passed and then Laura turned in her arms, wearing a beaming smile and a single tear that slipped down her cheek. She kissed Carmilla’s cheek and said, “I love you so, so much. You know that right?”

She did and said as much. Carmilla watched as Laura scooted Minerva off the bed and then padded her way to the bathroom. A second later the shower turned on. Something was off today and she couldn’t put a finger on it. She wondered if Mattie had managed to talk Laura into doing something ridiculous again. Like the time her sister—drunk on blood—nearly convinced Laura—drunk on alcohol—that a panther would make a sexy lower back tattoo.

“Are you coming, Carm?”

She decided the mystery of Laura’s strange mood could wait. There was a party they needed to prepare for. As soon as she was close, Laura giggled and pulled her into the shower. The hot spray washed down upon her from multiple angles. Smiling, Laura leaned against one of the walls, seemingly lighter than Carmilla had seen her in months.

“You look happy.”

“I am. We are.”

Yes, they were happy. Carmilla sometimes couldn’t believe this gift that was her life. She moved forward until their wet bodies were pressed together. A perfect fit. She didn’t have to ask if Laura wanted to make love again. They moved together as one. Their touches gentle and reverent.

Later, Carmilla dressed in her usual leather pants and a loose gray top. The outfit would annoy Mattie so that was a plus. Laura on the other hand apparently wanted to impress someone. She wore a pale blue sun dress decorated with little yellow flowers. Each one resembled a small burst of sun. The dress hugged her breasts, but otherwise hung loose around her hips in delicate waves. And around her neck, the diamond necklace Carmilla had gifted to her twenty years ago.

“You are lovely,” Carmilla said, caressing the side of Laura’s neck. No evidence of the bite remained, but Laura shivered and blew out a slow breath at the contact. She was tempted drag them back to bed and would’ve done so if the threat of Mattie’s inevitable revenge didn’t loom large.

Laura must have read her mind because she said, “Oh no you don’t. Tonight is too important.”

With a raised eyebrow, she replied, “Alright, let’s go. Although I have a feeling this is just the beginning. Give her another century and Mattie will have the world will be littered with vampire hotels.”

Laughing, Laura said, “I’m not sure I’d have it any other way.” She accepted Carmilla’s hand and winked.

They walked barefoot and hand and hand along the beach. Laura swung their arms back and forth which in many ways was comforting. When Laura was content she showed it in small, sometimes silly ways. As they drew close to the lights and overall merriment that Carmilla would undoubtedly be annoyed with, Laura stopped and tugged on her arm. Mattie stood, perhaps fifty feet away, and smirking at her. She was definitely up to something.

“Cupcake?” Carmilla asked as she turned to Laura who suddenly seemed nerve-wracked. She frowned trying to figure out what had suddenly changed. “Hey, what’s up?”

Laura drew in and released several deep breaths that didn’t seem to calm her at all. She wrinkled her nose before steeling her shoulders and finally blurting, “Okay, so I was going to do this later, but I don’t think I can go into that party and be Mattie’s hostess without going for it. The anticipation alone would make the night unbearable. Well you could say no and that would make the entire night worse than unbearable. But why would you say no? We’ve been together for decades. We have so much sex that we are singlehandedly driving the average for couples up. We adopted a cat! We’ve been living together for forty years. Who dates for forty years without getting married? My father loved you like a daughter. I should have done this before he died, but I think maybe he is still with us. He’d be happy for us. Oh god, I’m babbling.”

“Yes, you are.” Carmilla stared at Laura, confused. What was happening? Then her eyes widened in understanding. Oh. “Was there a question in all of that, Laura?”

“Carm, I love you. I think I’ve always loved you.” Laura held up a small inscribed ring. “It’s not a diamond, but I hope you'll think it's appropriate.” She squeezed her eyes shut and asked, “Will you marry me?”

Carmilla stared at the ring with its familiar Elvish inscription. Of course, Laura would go with a perfect replica of The One Ring. She smiled. The stars shined bright and perhaps that long road had a destination after all.