“The Metro.” I rolled my eyes at Alaric, huddling closer to him. It was cold. Not just damn cold, but fucking cold. After the snowstorm ended, you’d think it would be starting to warm up, but it had been getting gradually colder into nightfall. I breathed out, watching as my breath turned the air white. Seeing Alaric’s breath, I decided it was sexy.
Standing in line for The Metro in the cold—surrounded by smokers–wasn’t my idea of a great night. Especially not tonight. But we’d won free passes—which translated to cheap booze—so here we were. “I’d rather be at The Warehouse,” I muttered into his faux fur collar. If I’d been less cold, I would have been mad at him for getting a jacket fuzzier than mine. There had been plenty of long-haired muppets sacrificed for it, after all. Instead, I was busy nestling into his warmth and the smell of incense that clung to him even as the people waiting in line around us lit up cigarettes. Ugh.
“I know, baby.” He grinned at me, his false vampire teeth glinting in the light.
I giggled. Couldn’t help it. They’d started out as a bet one day when I’d been in high school and we’d been wandering through Spencer’s. Tris, Ves and Merce had been with us. When I made a sarcastic comment on the little coffin box they were sold in, Tristan had declared that no one in the group could possibly pull it off without looking like a complete retard.
Mercy, on a rarely stubborn day, had declared she could pull it off with both sex and class. Somehow this ended with us all buying a pair and daring each other to last a week wearing them every day. Whoever folded first would buy the booze for the next month’s worth of party nights. Whoever folded last got to skip the bill for the rest of the year.
Tristan ended up buying and kept up the habit whenever he wasn’t in jail. We never asked where he got the money. Alaric won hands down and he’d still take them out of the box for such glaringly off occasions as this: hanging out at a top-twenty club. I could appreciate the irony and the balls-out snark of it.
Besides, kissing him when he had the teeth in was a kind of unexpected turn on. They were just pointed tips that fitted over his top canines, but feeling them run over my tongue… Well, there were some things that shattered my inhibitions into little tiny pieces and the teeth were among the runners-up.
“If you ever do become a vampire,” I repeated for the hundred millionth time since meeting him, “you’ve gotta turn me while we’re having sex. No other time is permissible.” It was a game of ours, initiated when I was 16 and we were still only flirting. I’d had the bad habit of reading way too much Anne Rice back then, mostly for the man-on-man vamp porn. I mean, H.P. Lovecraft is epic and all, but I was in the throes of puberty at the time.
“Sweet, don’t talk about sex when we still have a whole night ahead of us before we’re back in bed.”
“Maybe we can screw on the dance floor.” I flashed a grin to almost equal his, if marginally less toothy. “Show ‘em how it’s really done.”
“Only if you want to be caught having sex to whatever’s playing on the latest hip-hop station.”
I buried my face into Alaric’s coat so I wouldn’t say something I’d regret. I wondered if Madonna’s Human Nature would pass inspection by the DJ and at least make one song of the night bearable. It wasn’t really my thing, but it was about as full of acerbic bitchiness as you were going to find on the radio. Too bad it was probably too old for this scene.
I squealed and pulled back suddenly, trying to escape his tickling fingers. Of course, the options were to run into the hostile strangers who surrounded me or get attacked by my utterly evil boyfriend.
“You’re vile,” I screamed in a pinched voice as I was gasping for air. He grinned his vampire’s grin and left me alone, for which I paid him back by punching him. Hard. “Prick,” I muttered.
“Love you too, light of my life.”
“And I, too, cherish every moment with you.”
“Closet rap fan!”
Alaric gasped, throwing his hand up to his mouth. Then he shrugged and reminded me about the time when he found my old collection of New Kids on the Block tapes. That left me fuming, looking anywhere but at him and furiously grinding the heel of my boot into the ground. I finally got out the words: “I was a kid, dickless,” and he asked me what I was so good at sucking if he didn’t have a dick.
The line around us had moved farther ahead, behind, and to the sides. No one seemed to be in the mood to play with the strange children in black standing in their midst. I liked that just fine. I slumped back into Alaric, sighing as he wrapped his faux-fur-clad arms around me. I squeaked as he wrapped tighter, then he laughed and let go.
“You can’t just love me like a normal human being, can you?” I forced my body back into his again, hopefully hitting him a little too hard for comfort in the crotch, but he just smiled down at me.
“Love you viciously,” he told me.
I grinned. “Only way to be, I suppose.” Then I manually placed his arms back around me only to have them slide loose when I let go. I kicked his shin and tried again. This time, his arms stayed.
I called Alaric a brat, and he called me a bitch. Then the bouncer asked for our IDs, so there was no time to make out in the lineup.
Once inside, Alaric led me across the dance floor. I was cringing away from anorexic blondes giving guys lap dances to Missy Elliot’s music as I held onto Alaric for dear life. His fuzzy coat had stayed behind at the coat check—as had mine—so I had my fingers tangled up in his bondage bracelet. There was nothing else left to hold onto. “Alaric,” I hissed and couldn’t even hear myself. The music was that bloody loud. I threw my arms around him and squeezed viciously. “Dude, I need a drink, let’s sit,” I yelled in his ear.
He moved smoothly over to a booth where a bunch of people were making out. He just stood there until someone noticed him. Then he said, as loudly as he could, that there was a cheap motel a couple of blocks down that gave out free condoms with a night’s stay. That got them cleared out quickly.
Alaric ran off for drinks before joining me in the booth, where he caught me swaying to Eminem’s song off the 8 Mile soundtrack. Yeah, shut up. He just gave me a look, and I yelped out “sorry” as loud as I could before grabbing a drink from his hands and downing it.
What the fuck?
I ended up choking and sputtering and asking what the hell he was poisoning me with.
“It’s hundred proof,” he told me, smiling sweetly, his vampire teeth catching a rampant spotlight for a moment.
“It’s fucking cinnamon, is what it is.”
“My cinnamon girl.” He smiled adoringly at me, waving his own drink in front of my face. Due in no small part to spite, that got it snatched out of his hand and drained into my mouth quick enough.
“Kiss me, you fool,” I demanded. He considered then shook his head, begging for the life of his lipstick. It was another throw-back from my high school days, when he’d manned the counters of more or less every counter culture store in the entire city and had helped arrange goth nights at local clubs. Like the teeth, it only tended to happen when he was going to be stepping on the toes of societal norms.
“I’m dating a pansy,” I muttered.
“But you love it.”
“Do not. Unfortunately, I love you.”
“Hold that thought.” He stood up. “I want to actually get buzzed if I’m going to spend money on alcohol.”
“Then don’t wave it under my nose,” I called after him. Only logical, after all. He’d known since I was way less than legal that I could drink like a trucker. So I sat with my hands under my chin, waiting for Alaric to return with more booze that I could steal.
“Enough with the drinks.” Alaric took the empty glass that I was still sucking away at. I looked up at him, hurt, the straw hanging between my lips. I called him a prick, but then let the straw fall onto the table.
“I need something in my mouth,” I moaned. The room was maybe spinning a little bit. Drunk-trucker skills or no, I’d lost count a very long time ago.
“This after you mention my prick?”
“Fucker.” I wrinkled my nose. “Yes. If I promise I’m not really as drunk as you think I must be, can I give you head in public?”
“No, sweet. But you can accept a gift from me.”
I looked at him warily. “You bought me something?” Sure, I was fine with us being all over each other in public and more so behind closed doors, but the giving of gifts seemed a little bit too awkwardly intimate.
“After all this booze, I’m broke, Tammy baby. My gift is more a question and a symbol than anything else.
“So now you’re a cheapskate.”
He smiled, but I could feel the hurt radiating off of him. “If you want to use that word, maybe you don’t want what I’ve got to give.”
“N-n-n-no.” I shook my head vigorously. K, maybe that was a bad plan. I ignored the alarming tilt of the room and barrelled on. “I always want what you’ve got to give, bratty lover boy. So just quit being a dreary dickhead, and get with the gift giving.”
He grinned this time. “You’re beautiful when you insult me.”
“I’m beautiful regardless.” I tossed my hair then blinked, trying to reorient where the ceiling was in relation to the floor. “’Specially whilst drunk.”
“No, sweet. Always.” He smiled tenderly at me, reaching into the inner pocket of his black blazer. After a moment’s thought, he pulled out something very small and put it into my hand.
As I was beyond the questionable point of being drunk, it took me a moment to understand what I was seeing. My eyes focused on the braided hair and the golden beads, but it took me a while to absently slip it onto one of my fingers and realize it was a ring. I giggled, then actually laughed, then looked up at him and grinned like a kid. “You made me a ring!”
“You put it on the wrong finger.” His voice was soft. His hand moved over to touch mine. His fingers glided electric over mine.
“You made me a ring,” I heard myself saying, trying to climb my way back into reasoning again, “with your hair, and I didn’t even know you could braid.”
He worked the ring off the pointer finger of my right hand, slipping it onto the ring finger of my left hand. It fit perfectly. Oh. I tried to speak, but in my condition I didn’t know what to say. Tears were making my eyes wet. In any other situation, that would just piss me off.
“Tam.” He closed my hand and wrapped his around it. “Tamara Cecilia Wrightworth. I know you have totally given up on hoping I would remember, but believe me that I know that we’ve been together for three years as of tonight. And the only reason we’re here instead of The Warehouse is because I didn’t want any of our friends to come over and pester us and get in the way. This is very important to me, and it’s something I’ve been building up the guts to do for a long time.”
I stared at him, entranced, things like reasoning and understanding slowly creeping back into my mind.
“I’ve loved you since I first saw you; a little high school girl in black reading Lovecraft and listening to Christian Death a little too loud on her headphones. You struck me as being innocent and raw. There was a wildness about you, something predatory, even… From that first moment, I was caught, and since then we’ve shared our lives. I almost feel like we’re the same person. And Tam…”
I bit my bottom lip, tears falling from my eyes now. I leaned forward.
“I want to share all the rest of my nights with you. And days. And afternoons. Dawns. Evenings. Dusks.”
“Eternity,” I murmured, my mouth parting. I was leaning closer in.
“Tam…” He took a breath. “Will you marry me?”
All my tears burst out in one giant sob, then I laughed and held his hand as though it was the only real thing in the world. “Alaric, baby… You prick!” I put my free hand up to my mouth before swiping at the tears running down my cheeks. “I do.”
He was almost crying as well, though he did his best to hide it. He’d play the stoic in public. “Silly bunny.” His smile wavered as he fought his own emotions. “Sweet girl. You’re supposed to say ‘I will’. Or ‘I accept’. Or something else like that.”
“But I have to practice!” I managed to gasp between sobs and laughter. “It has to be perfect. I do.” I kissed his hand before tasting the words again. “I do. I do, I do, I do!”
He leaned across the table and kissed the tear trails running down my cheeks, leaving behind black lipstick marks. “If I were a vampire,” he swore, “I would turn you on our wedding night. In front of the entire hall full of guests. That would be my vow. I’d promise you forever, sealed in blood.”
“I thought you were going to turn me while we were having sex,” I reminded him. My lips quirked a little; I couldn’t help it.
“Then it’ll be really public sex.” He showed his vampire teeth and leaned in close again for a kiss.
“I feel like we’re being watched,” I giggled into Alaric’s ear as we swayed across the dance floor to a rhythm of our own creation.
“Everyone’s watching us, sweet. Everyone’s jealous.” He bent down and kissed my neck. I groaned and held him tighter.
“More,” I whispered.
“Then more people will be watching us.” He let his tongue just barely touch my neck before pulling back. “Let’s go. We should celebrate our engagement with a night of Type O Negative and hardcore bedroom activities.”
“Will you be my servant and light my cigarette?”
“You don’t smoke.”
I wrinkled my nose. “Then find me a sexy Type O song to refer to that doesn’t involve smoking.”
Alaric kissed my forehead. “I’ll have to get back to you on that.”
I shoved him away, still drunk enough to find it funny when he stumbled. “I,” I announced, “am going to piss.”
“How very ladylike of you.”
I flipped him off, turning to stumble through the crowd. Of course, I had to find my way into the men’s washroom first. The guys there stared at my makeout-smeared-makeup, and a few made inappropriate suggestions as to what sort of things we could be doing behind closed stall doors. Get fucking real. I growled and glared at them, content that no one else would proposition me. I continued my quest to find the right bathroom.
Once I’d gotten my system cleared out a bit, I started to feel more grounded. Wiping at the black smears all over my face with a paper towel, I succeeded in dissipating the waxy trails a bit. Before I had time to wet down another paper towel, though, there was a hand clamped over my mouth.
The vampire was making no attempts to hide his identity from the throngs of people dancing at The Metro that Friday night. And I was the only one not too blind to see. His greedy eyes shone like a predator’s at the girl sitting across from him. His teeth were exposed in a vicious smile as he leaned forward and passed the girl a small package that made her eyes widen in terror.
She looked up at him, crying and laughing, obviously fighting back hysterics. I can only imagine what the monster had passed to her; something that made her already pale skin lose shades of colour, and that seemed to let the colour rise in his cheeks in return. Already, he was feeding off her, and he hadn’t yet touched her.
I narrowed my eyes at them. It was difficult to see in this light and impossible to hear through the music, but I would not let him take the girl tonight. You don’t spend years slaying vampires without regrets, and my mission now was to stop the creation of another.
She was obviously already under his sway and only had a few more nights before she was completely lost to his will. Her garb was already entirely black, with only a red ribbon around her neck—the colour of blood—to offset it. He didn’t even have that, but of course, the only blood that would ever flow through his veins was that of his victims.
He was leaning forward now, kissing her tears off her cheeks. He left behind dark marks—blood? lipstick?—before withdrawing. She grimaced and ducked her head; if she was lucky, she would break the spell and run now, leaving behind whatever vile gift he had handed her.
The vampire had come in with his half-turned slut only about an hour before. I had known what he was immediately, because the good people in the crowd around him had kept as far away as possible. A full booth of laughing, happy young adults had emptied out when he arrived, and no one had approached since he sat there with his poor victim.
The girl would from time to time move to the music playing, but stop upon a sharp look from her companion. Once, I was able to hear her sob out “I’m sorry,” and this was far before he had even made her cry.
He would leave her at their booth alone from time to time, returning back with drinks. I never saw him finish one; in fact, he seemed to offer almost all of them to her. She made faces and tried to reject what he offered, but his will was too strong.
Many times when he left, I considered going up to her and offering my assistance, but I knew that she was too far under his spell to even want my help.
From time to time, watching him tormenting her and forcing her into intoxication, I let my hand slip down to the leg of my pants, under which I had a wooden stake strapped.
I had known he would arrive tonight; it was my destiny. The second Friday of every month had brought a vampire to me. I would not let my God down.
The girl still had tears in her eyes as she played with the vampire’s gift that had found its way around one of her fingers. Her surprised horror seemed to be fading, and her devotion to the creature across from her returned. She leaned across to meet his lips in a kiss that no two people should have shared in public.
I averted my eyes.
When I looked back, his mouth was on her neck, and she was utterly lost to him. My hand twitched, moving to the weight of the stake again.
Vampire and victim danced, and the entire time her hand kept straying back to the vampire’s ring. I had to wonder what sort of vile promise he had made her swear to? Would the poor girl really become Satan’s bride?
Both of them had an obvious distaste for the music, and I could only surmise that they were trying to fool those around them into believing them normal. I wondered if I was the only one who could see just how much was wrong with them.
The time would be soon, I knew. They were getting restless and wouldn’t stay here much longer. Either I had to get the girl away from him in here, or I had to follow them out and take care of him in the street.
My fingers brushed the stake.
I saw the girl break away from him and stumble in the direction of the bathroom. Knowing I would get no other chance like this, I rose to my feet and followed.
The girl had to still be months away from being fully turned—I had been wrong. She didn’t even see me approaching in the mirror and seemed truly surprised when I grabbed her. She didn’t try to fight or scream, though; her eyes just met mine in the reflective glass.
A bit disappointed, I let her go but stood behind her so she couldn’t get away. The stake was out and in my hand, just in case she was suffering enough of his influence.
“Hello,” she said, not at all worried. “I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Tam—”
“I don’t need to know the name of the devil’s concubine.”
Her eyes flared. “Whoah.” She giggled. “I thought we hadn’t met.”
I repositioned the stake so it was poking her right under the ribs. She squirmed a bit, seeming more uncomfortable than scared, and narrowed her eyes at my image. “You look like a girl, but your rod’s stuck in my back. Care to reposition?”
I pushed hard enough that I knew it would cause her pain but no permanent damage. “I know what you were out there with.”
“Are you sure? Lots of people think he’s a girl, and I know a few religious zealots really don’t like that idea, but I assure you he’s just as male as anyone in the bathroom I mistakenly walked into.” Her voice was babbling and slurred, still holding the influence of the alcohol, but her eyes hadn’t left mine.
“If you leave with him tonight, I’ll be forced to kill you both. You still have a chance for redemption.”
“Look, lady.” The girl put her hand to her forehead. “I don’t know what you think my fiancé is, but really, he’s no more harmful than any other amazingly stupid human male.”
“You’re still blind to his ways.” I moved the stake around so she could see it in the mirror if she bothered to look at me. “He’s been making you one of them, and you don’t even see.”
The girl’s eyes flicked down to the stake and I saw the first predatory gleam before she twisted around and slammed my hand against the sink, causing the stake to fall to the floor.
“Considering I’m too pissed off to laugh at you, I’ll just swear.” She sneered. “You fucking fucked up bitch.”
I stared at her blazing eyes, wondering how I could have gotten it wrong.
“My fiancé? A vampire? I love him to death, but he’d never be able to live that life. So I let him fantasize and make believe, and I’ll feed his fantasies and help him believe, but he’s an innocent. He really is.” The girl—the real vampire—kicked the stake away, and it skittered under a stall.
I shuddered, feeling utterly repulsed by this creature holding onto me. “So you twisted his mind and made him that confused thing out there? Are you going to feed off him until there’s only a shell left?”
“Bloody stupid bitch! Fucking whore! Fuck!” The vampire shook me hard enough to send the world reeling. She quieted a bit. “He was like that before he found me. A mutual friend practically threw him my way even though I was just looking to keep to myself. And I have never, would never, use him for food. He is my lover. He is my mate. He’s the one I’ll grow old and die with.”
“Your kind don’t die, not without my kind intervening.”
The vampire dropped me and shook her head. “You know nothing. Your pointy sticks won’t kill me. They’re just an overused metaphor for masculine power, so I don’t even know why you’re busy waving one around. Your precious sun and almighty god won’t kill me because, believe it or not, my kind are a natural part of this world.” She sighed. “We are strong and beautiful and stay looking deceptively young longer than the luckiest human, but we do age, and we do outgrow this life.” She turned to walk away.
I scrambled to my feet, trying to see which stall the stake had fallen under. “But your kind have died by my hands! I have felt their hearts stop, seen the blood flow!”
She stopped walking, her entire posture falling. She turned around slowly, something like pity in her eyes. “My kind cannot be killed by human violence or illness. The only things that end our lives are time and choice; I could choose to die and drift away on the wind like the myth we embody.” She closed her eyes. “You have felt the blood of your own.” Then she walked out of the washroom, leaving me staring after her.
My gaze drifted to my hands. I was sure I could see blood.
I threw my arms around Alaric, surprising him. “Boo,” I managed through my laughter.
He put his hands over mine. “You scared me. I thought you’d fallen in.”
“Let’s go make wild, animalistic love.” I turned Alaric around so I could steal a quick kiss. “Some will-of-God chick stopped me in the bathroom, and I feel I have to cleanse my soul with a good and hearty fuck.”
He gladly let himself be led off the dance floor. “Your wish is my command, mistress of the night.”
I shivered and giggled. “I’m too drunk to be in command. Though maybe you’ll let me borrow your teeth?”
Alaric paused at the coat check to pick up our fuzzy jackets and he made rude faces at me. Once we were headed for the door again, he said: “No. I’m the vampire.”
I grinned. “Can’t I be, just for one night?”
“Be patient; I’ll turn you some day.”
He nodded. “While having sex on an altar at our wedding.”
“Mm, it gets more and more ritualistic every time you bring it up. Tell me more.”
I glanced back over my shoulder once or twice, keeping one ear on Alaric and the other on the empty street behind us. I brought my left hand up to my mouth and kissed Alaric’s promise ring, swearing to myself that I’d never let anyone hurt him.
 Type O Negative. “Love You to Death.” October Rust. Roadrunner Records, 1996.