"Okay, first question: how old are you?" I asked eagerly.
"35," he said quickly, almost as if he was used to saying it.
"You know that's not what I meant," I admonished softly.
He sighed. "In vampire years, I am 511 years old. I was born in 1501.
Wow. He was older than I expected.
"Alright," I said, letting that tidbit of information soak in before I continued. "How were you..... made? Created? Changed? I don't know what to call it."
"I don't think it really matters," he chuckled. He was obviously stalling, but the sharp look I gave him made the story speed up.
"Like I said, I was born in 1501. My mother died in childbirth and I was raised by my father and stepmother. I had a great life. A fulfilling life. My family was aristocratic, I had plenty of food and clothing, a good education, and I was being groomed for the future title of Duke of Norfolk upon my father's death."
"As a rite of passage, my father took me to court to pay homage to Henry VIII. I fell in love with coyrt life; the glamour, the splendor, the extravagance. Henry Tudor may have been a questionable king, but he was damn sure fashionable. Before I knew it, Henry and I became fast friends and I steadily gained more importance at court. I had already left my life in the country behind, deciding that court was more suited to my style. You can't imagine the clothing we wore in those times; women glided gracefully by in trailing gowns with fur sleeves and jeweled French hoods, but the stately and dignified Queen Catherine of Aragon wore the more somber Spanish gable hood. The men wore jeweled doublets over silk hose and intricately embroidered leather boots. It was heaven."
I pulled my knees up to my chest and settled my head on my knees, enraptured my his historical descriptions.
"But all good things come to an end. Before long, the King became engrossed in his 'Great Matter' that centered around the whore Anne Boleyn. In their opinion, Henry and Catherine had never been legally married because Catherine had been previously married to Henry's late brother Arthur. In order to keep the Spanish-English allaince, Henry hastily married Catherine when he was proclaimed king.'
"Since Catherine could not give him a son, he sought an heir elsewhere, and he ran straight to the Boleyn creature. Little did she know that a horrible fate awaited her when she finally became Queen," he said bitterly.
He stopped suddenly, fixing dazed eyes on the window that overlooked Fifth Avenue.
"Keep going," I whispered.
He gave me a soft smile that was so beautiful it made my stomach hurt before continuing. "Long story short, Henry banished Catherine from court and procliamed Anne Queen of England. I,refusing to recognize the whore as queen because I was a staunch supporter of Catherine and the Catholic Church, was abruptly thrown in the Tower to await my execution for treason."
"The night before I was to be beheaded, a starnge guard came to the door of my cell. He was very plae, with bright blue eyes and the most beautiful face I had ever seen on a mortal. He broke the lock off the door, came in my cell, and knelt in front of me, studying my face intently. I, entranced by this perfect being, sat still in front of him."
"Before I could react, he had latched onto my neck, his teeth easliy tearing the skin, allowing my bolld to flow. I screamed and screamed, but I was quickly silenced by the blackness creeping into my vivision. Soon I fell into a dark abyss."
"When I awoke, I was a new being. My vision was perfect and my strength was superhuman. I broke free of my prison, killing anyone in my path to sate my constant thirst. Imlived in the strrets of London for the next three years until I heard of "Queen" Anne's fall from favor, her arrest, and her imminent execution. Not being able to resist seeing her demise, I watched from the Tower battlements. After that, I just wandered for many, many years."
He looked expectantly at me, probably waiting for me to finally run. But I wasn't running; I was fascinated. "Who did you.....drink from during those years? Who do you drink from now?" I asked.
He hesitated. "I mainly feed from criminals and degenerates. The lowest of the low in society. I try not to be a monster."
"You're not a monster at all," I reassured him.
He gave me a disbelieveing look. "Anything who drinks blood, lives forever, and is virtually indesrtuctable is obviously a monster."
My chest tightened in pain to hear him talk of himself that way, but I had more questions. "That brings me to my next question: how are you made up?"
"As in 'made up' you mean anatomically?"
"Well, I am esentially made the same as you are, but with slight differences. I have blood in my veins and I have a heartbeat, but my pulse is not nearly as fast as yours. And my skin is very hard. It can be pierced by weapons like knives, sowrds, and bullets, but I heal immediately, meaning that I am virtually indestructible."
"Can you be killed by anything?" I asked.
"Normally, I wouldn't reveal this to a human, but I trust you," he said, his gray eyes blazing and boring into mine. "I can be killed only if my heart is stopped and all of my blood is drained from my body."
"You're not a stereotypical vampire, are you?" I asked quizically.
"Not even close," he chuckled darkly.
We sat in silence for a while, just looking at each other.
"This is a lot to take in, Henry," I said with a sigh.
He hung his head. "I know. I won't blame you if want to go."
I got up from my chair and walked over to him, pushing him back against the couch cushions and climbing into his lap.
"I'm not going anywhere," I replied softly, tucking myself into his cold, hard arms and nuzzling my face in his neck.
He seemed hesitant to hold me like this, but his rigid posture gradually relaxed and he wound his arms tightly around me, pressing his cold lips against my hair.
Don't ask me what I was thinking when I climbed onto his lap becuse I don't even know. It just happened. I was obviously attracted to him, but, as far as I knew, we were still just friends. I told myself that I was comforting him to ease my
His body temperature quickly raised chills on my arms and I shivered.
"Let me get you a blanket. You're cold," he said, shifting me to the side.
"No. I'm ok, really. I'm just getting used to it," I said quickly, wrapping my arms around his neck to keep him from pushing me away.
He sighed in acquiescence and held me in his arms again. I was quickly becoimng accustomed to his wintry skin, and I was beginning to get sleepy. It had been a very long day. Not to mention a mentally exhausting one.
"You still have to answer some of my questions, Jacob," he said softly, pressing his lips to my forhead,sending a jolt of the electricity through me that was present in the elevator.
"I know. We'll get to that eventually," I mumbled, my eyes heavy with exhaustion.
I felt a chuckle rumble deep in his chest, "Okay, sleepyhead," he said.
He waited a moment before adding, " I still can't believe you trust me enough to let me hold you like this," he whispered, tightening his arms around me.
"Hmmm," I sighed, snuggling closer to him.
Comfortable, satisfied, and completely at ease, I fell asleep in the arms of my beautiful, melancholy vampire.
To be continued.....