By: Emma Stone on July 19, 2012 0 comments 0 Likes 189 Views Category: Short Stories > Love & Longing Tags: vampire story
Alex doesn’t know, of course.
And it will stay that way.
As usual, they go out drinking on Friday. Murray reckons there isn’t a bar in Bath they’ve not explored by now, but that doesn’t stop Alex from dragging him around the city for hours trying to find a new one. It’s like this every time—Alex seems incapable of drinking in the same place twice. Eventually they end up outside a dark little door with the words “The Vampire Lounge” printed in gold on the front.
The drinks are all vampire-themed and Murray orders a huge orange-coloured one. It’s tangy and freezing cold and he finishes it before they’ve even left the bar. His next one is a green minty drink and he sips it slower, but it’s just as good.
The bar is pretty full, although they did arrive quite late thanks to Alex. There are no free seats, so Alex leads Murray across the crowded bar. People always seem to move for Alex; Murray is hopeless at pushing people out of the way. He knows it’s partly because Alex is physically bigger than him, but Alex has this presence that Murray doesn’t, the bastard.
They are half way across the room when Murray notices something odd. There’s a man standing at the bar and he’s got fangs.
Murray stops dead and stares. The man appears to be having some difficulty in drinking his martini as the fangs keep getting in the way. They are not very big but the little light from behind the bar makes them gleam. The man seems to give up on his drink, putting the glass back on the bar counter, and then he looks right at Murray. His head lifts slightly, almost like he’s trying to smell him, and Murray feels a sharp jerk on his arm that makes him look away.
Alex is in front of him, pulling him harder and Murray lets himself be led over to the wall. He’s a bit on edge after the man sat the bar, which is stupid, he knows. The man was just dressing up for the night, but still, Murray would feel better if there was a bit more light in the place. And the smelling thing was just weird.
He sets his green drink on a small table nearby and looks at Alex, surprised and pleased to find him looking right back. Alex takes a long sip of his own fancy drink—chocolate something—and gives Murray a sly smile when he’s done.
“You have a secret,” Alex says, his voice low and steady.
Murray hopes the darkness of the bar conceals his blush.
“Er, what do you mean?”
He tries to think back over the last few days—has he done or said something to give himself away? He can’t think of anything, but he’s panicking anyway. If Alex knows how he feels then he’ll be revolted, angry, and a hundred other emotions that’ll end up with Murray losing him as a friend.
“I know how you feel about me,” Alex says, leaning in to whisper into Murray’s ear.
He can’t help the slight shiver through his shoulders at the closeness. He wants to deny it, but his head won’t move.
Alex grabs his arm, fingers pinching his skin.
“I have a secret, too, Murray,” Alex says again, the warm air rushing around Murray’s ear and down his neck as he speaks. “And I’ve wanted to tell you for ages.”
Murray manages to nod. The hand around his arm is really starting to hurt now, but Alex doesn’t let go.
“I need to tell you.”
Alex moves forward until his body is pressed against Murray’s. He’s slightly taller and more muscular—something that has annoyed Murray for years—but his body fits snugly around Murray.
Murray gets a strong smell of aftershave and something sweet from the drink and the smell that is just Alex. He notices he’s shaking and tries to keep control of his body.
“Please,” Alex whispers, but his tone is more desperate now. “I need to…”
“It’s okay,” Murray hears himself say.
The words get muffled by Alex’s hair and Murray isn’t sure whether he heard them. He tries to stand a bit taller, to reach Alex’s ear, and he realizes suddenly that he’s not the one shaking. He brings his arms around Alex’s waist, Alex’s hand on his arm dropping away uselessly, and holds him tightly.
He’s panicking again now, but not because he thinks he’s been found out. He has, he knows, but whatever is bothering Alex is worse. Murray has never heard his friend sound so pitiful, and they haven’t even had much to drink yet. Whatever is going on, Murray is scared.
“It’s okay,” he says again. “You can tell me anything. I promise.”
Alex doesn’t say anything, doesn’t move. They stand there for a long time and Murray lets his eyes wander over the bar again, trying to think of what to say. He sees a couple on a nearby sofa and as he watches the woman calmly offers her neck to her companion. Murray is just about to roll his eyes at the dramatics when he catches sight of the man’s teeth. They are normal except for the two pointed ones at the edges.
He wants to scream, he wants to run and get out of there, but Alex’s weight is heavy against his chest and so he just watches as the man bites the woman’s neck. Murray can’t really see what’s happening now but there is something oozing down her arm and it looks very, very much like blood.
He opens his mouth to say something, to warn Alex, when he notices that Alex’s head is now buried into his shoulder. He can feel the tip of his nose and some stubble pressed against his neck. And then Alex’s head is shifting slightly and his mouth touches his collarbone, lips opening slowly. Murray gasps as he feels two sharp points scrape along the skin just above the bone, resting at the fleshy part of his shoulder.
And now he understands.
He waits for something, for Alex to bite him perhaps, or for him body to catch up with his brain and to run away, or at least call for help.
But none of that happens, and they just stand there. Alex, it seems, it waiting for something, too.
Murray takes a few deep breaths. He supposes he has a choice—that he could say no to this—but it’s Alex, so there was never really any doubt. He wonders vaguely whether it will hurt.
“Okay,” Murray says.
The answer to that is a resounding yes and he manages to choke down his shout of pain the moment Alex bites. The pain clears quickly though and Murray is left with a very weird suction feeling as he is slowly drained of blood. His medical training kicks in and he mentally tries to estimate the volume of blood loss he’ll suffer as well as any possible infections from Alex’s teeth.
He is just starting to feel a bit woozy when Alex’s teeth pull out of his shoulder. It feels cold and tingly where his teeth were and the surrounding skin start to throb, but Alex is licking him and the soothing sensation is instantaneous. He can feel a few drops of hot liquid moving slowly down his shoulder but Alex licks those, too.
Then Alex pulls away, his head down and hair covering his face.
Murray tries to reach for him, but Alex steps away.
“I’m sorry,” is all that Murray catches before he darts away.
Murray doesn’t stand a chance at following him. He’s still feeling light-headed and he doesn’t think he’ll be able to remain standing for long. He manages to lean back against the wall, taking some of the weight off of his legs.
He closes his eyes for a few minutes, or it might be longer, and when he opens them again Alex is leaning against the wall beside him.
What are you? he wants to ask, but he has always been polite—something Alex teased him for mercilessly when they met—and he’s not going to stop now. It’s pretty obvious, anyway.
“Why didn’t you say?”
Alex looks at him incredulously, before staring straight ahead again.
“Yeah? How would that conversation have started?” he asks.
Murray nods his head. True, that would have been weird. And Murray would not have believed it.
“So, you’re probably terrified of me now,” Alex says and, despite everything, Murray hates the sadness in his voice.
He tries to think rationally. He’s still alive, which means he’s probably safe. It’ll be a good idea to check that with Alex, though, he knows, but better leave it for when they get home. Then they’ll have a long chat about what is going on here, but, looking at Alex’s profile, now is not the time.
And that’s the thing, isn’t it, Murray thinks: he is still Alex. Just with a strange drinking habit. Murray smiles; it is still Alex, the man he has loved for years.
“Not terrified, exactly,” Murray says. “You’ve always had strange tastes.”
Alex gives him a weak smile.
“And I have always wanted to give blood,” Murray says.
Alex snorts this time, but doesn’t reply. Murray decides to try the truth over his attempts at humour.
“Look, I’m not really sure what’s going on, but we seem to have spent a lot of time hiding things from each other.”
Alex looks up at him now and Murray is annoyed to feel his cheeks heat up. But he isn’t the one who has just revealed he’s not even human so he is not going to be embarrassed about his feelings.
“You know how I feel,” he says, “and, er, are you okay with that?”
“Yes. And you know about me,” Alex replies. “Are you okay with that?”
And Murray really is.
They don’t go out on Friday nights again. It always amuses Murray when their mates moan that they don’t come out drinking anymore. Because only half of that statement is untrue.
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