In Fond Memory
Shrieks rose from the jostling crowd, lit by the multicolored glow from a dozen boardwalk rides.
A tall Asian boy with purple eyeshadow and a leather duster knocked into him, then regained his balance and disappeared into his laughing group of friends.
"What?" He turned around. "Oh. It's you." Funny how easy it was to forget old girlfriends--current girlfriends, technically--once you'd had your eyes opened for real.
Jen's own pale eyes widened. "That's all you've got to say for yourself? I've been worrying myself to death this past week wondering what happened to you, if you were okay. No one's seen you in ages. I tried calling your house, but no one answered the phone, and--"
"I've been sick," he interrupted. "Spent a couple nights puking and everything. Sorry."
"Oh, God." Her face crumpled into pity. "No, I'm sorry, David. I should have figured it was something like that instead of jumping to conclusions. I'm so stupid."
He shrugged. "No sweat. I'm fine now. Lucky for me...my parents are still a bit under the weather."
"Okay..." She tilted her head to one side. "Are you busy right now? Or did you maybe want to come home with me and, you know, recuperate a little?"
David grinned. "Sounds cool."
They pulled each other's clothes off almost before Jen's bedroom door was closed, quick and methodical in the dark. David picked Jen up and tossed her lightly onto the bed, and she let out a short, breathless giggle before he covered her body with his own.
She pulled him down into a kiss, their bodies moving against each other, her skin hot and damp beneath him, shuddering with each breath and throbbing with each heartbeat.
David shifted his weight to his elbows, and Jen arched up against him. Her hard nipples brushed against his chest, drawing a shiver from the base of his spine, and her breasts quivered in time with her pulse.
"What's wrong, baby?" she murmured, pulling back slightly.
David shook his head. Raw power thrummed joyfully through him, and he fought back an exultant grin. "What are you talking about?"
"Um..." She blushed and cupped a hesitant hand over his cock--which, he noticed only now, was soft and unresponsive.
He stared down at it in bemusement. "Huh. Weird."
"It's not a problem," she said in a rush. "I don't...it's fine. Do you think maybe you're just still sick? You feel awfully cold."
David shook his head. "I feel awesome."
"Oh," Jen said, sounding taken aback.
There was a long pause.
"Are you...is it me?"
"Jen," David said, a slow grin spreading across his face, "I am really, really glad that you're here with me tonight."
She smiled, mollified, and he bent to kiss her neck. Jen tilted her head to the side, sighing. Her pulse beat a rapid welcome against his lips.
And then the kiss grew fangs and she shrieked, struck him once on the back with the heel of her hand. The movement only impaled David deeper into her. He shuddered and pressed harder against her, the taste of blood hot and ripe in his mouth.
Jen twitched beneath him; the sweet pulses of blood down his throat stilled.
David rolled off of her limp body and fell to the mattress at her side. He lay quietly for a moment, licking his teeth, then turned to look at Jen. "Hey, baby, was it good for you, too?"
Her eyes stared glassily back at him and David grinned, feeling that lazy, smug satisfaction spread over him.
It hadn't exactly been a normal night with his girlfriend, though, incredible as it had turned out in the end. He squinted at his cock and prodded it gently--still nothing.
Maybe it was finally time for that father-son bonding session that Max was always pushing him for.
The area couple reported missing on Tuesday has still not been--
David slipped into Max's house and clicked the radio off.
"David," Max said. "What an unexpected surprise. Have you eaten?"
The teenaged boy tied to Max's kitchen chair gave David a terrified, pleading look, and David stifled a laugh.
"Living dangerously, Max? So to speak."
Max frowned reprovingly at him. "Not at all. He's perfectly safe. A runaway, from...Texas, I believe?" This to the boy, who seemed too frightened to answer.
"Whatever," David said. "I already ate. Anyway, I had a question for you."
"Oh? Should we take this into the living room?...I'll be right back," Max added to the boy.
David watched the boy's wrists tense involuntarily against his rope bindings.
"Thorn," Max called, and the huge dog ambled into the kitchen and sank to its haunches beside the boy. "Incredibly loyal creatures, dogs. Now, don't go anywhere," he chided. Thorn punctuated the warning with a low growl, and the boy flinched.
"Now, then. What can I do for you, David?" he asked once they'd made their way across the hall and he'd closed the living room door behind them.
"Tonight, I tried...I went to bed with this girl, right? Only I didn't get hard."
"I see. As it turns out, there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for that." Max reached out and took David's wrist with gentle fingers, turning his palm upwards, and tapped the blue veins beneath the skin. "No pulse, no bloodflow, no...ahem...service."
"So, what, you're saying that I'm never going to have sex again?"
"No, what I'm saying is that you're never again going to have an erection--or an orgasm, for that matter. Alcohol won't affect you, either."
"Of course, you needn't only consider what you've lost. What have you gained, David? Can it have been worth the sacrifice?"
"Duh," he said automatically, and Max nodded, half-smiling at him.
"There you go."
A thought struck David then. "I cut my last tie to my old life tonight."
"Did you?" Max asked, politely interested.
"I ran into Jen on the pier." Max raised his eyebrows. "Uh...ex-girlfriend."
"In both senses of the word, I take it."
David nodded, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. Old guys shouldn't even try to be funny. "Yeah. Too bad I can't go to the funeral. That would be a trip."
"And why shouldn't you go?"
"Churches? Crucifixes? Any of this ringing a bell?"
"Just don't go dabbling your fingers in the holy water. There's nothing else that can harm you there."
"What, so I can go?"
"Oh, David, David. You're my boy, now. You can do anything you want to."
David grinned wolfishly. "Anything except fuck, get wasted, or work on my suntan." His head snapped back with the force of Max's backhanded slap, and he shook his head clear.
"That's for your language," Max said, his voice dry as ever. "Now, if you'll excuse me, my supper's waiting in the kitchen."
Jen's parents inconsiderately scheduled the funeral for the afternoon, so David slipped into the church shortly after sunset to check out the remnants of the day's events. A deacon sweeping the steps out front gave him a strange look, but let him pass without comment, and David resisted what felt like the constant need to lean in and rip the man's hot flesh, to let all that sweet blood out.
Inside the air was tinged faintly with the scent of gardenias, and the cathedral was half-lit by the dimmed sconces and a few guttering candles among the sea of candlesticks erected for petitioners.
David shrugged his coat off as he strode across the nave to the candles, his heels clicking on the hardwood floor with each step. He glanced down the main aisle that led to the altar. Jesus hung there in oversized effigy, all ribs and straggly hair and benevolent expression. Sucker.
The donation box by the candlestand only had a couple of quarters in it. Either the church cleaned it out regularly, or Santa Clara had lost its faith. David snickered and jammed all of the change from his pocket into the box. He had enough faith for all of them. Vampires and demons and things that went bump in the night...he'd believed, and now he was at the top of the food chain.
He scraped a match alight and set it to one of the candle's wicks, and then another, and another, until he'd left his mark on the entire first row.
One of the wilting bouquets from Jen's funeral caught his eye, and he nodded upwards at the ceiling, and then to the candles and donation box. "That's for you, baby," he called. "Thanks for the good time."
His voice echoed dimly in the eaves, and then the church fell silent. David pulled his coat on again. He was feeling a bit hungry. Time for a midnight snack.