The omnipresent smell of Thai spices nauseated me as I suffered through another night of waiting tables. It really got old after a while; the constant nagging by disrespectful customers, and the annoying ass sound of that stupid decorative gong going off every ten minutes. The only thing that made this job bearable was the fact that I was working with my best and only friend Lindsey.

She was the first person I met when I moved to the city, back when I was still a scared kid. She was actually the one who gave me this job, and I'm not sure whether it was a blessing or a curse. But I digress. Anyway, I was leaning my elbows in the counter amd doodling on a napkin when I saw Lindsey's face light up.

"Hold up, hold up, tall, pale, and handsome at twelve o'clock," She said in her Jersey girl accent.

"Have at him," I grumbled, absorbed by my drawing.

She smiled at me as she strode off, straightening her ponytail and pushing her breasts up.

I was almost positive that she would bag whatever guy she had set her eyes on. She always did. But it's no surprise because men practically fall at her feet. Her perfect body, long, golden hair, and green eyes pretty much ensnare any man that looks her way. I've always wondered why she didn't model.

"Hmph," Lindsey sniffed as she sat down next to me, petulantly flipping her hair.

"He didn't take the bait?" I asked with an amused smile.

"No. The bastard didn't even act interested. Maybe he's gay. That must be it," she said.

"Your ego is so fragile," I laughed.

"Hey, bagging men is one of my few talents," sje replied proudly.

We lapsed into silence and I went back to my doodling.

"Damn. The fucker's coming over here. What does he want?" She asked, annoyance creeping into her voice.

"That's quite a work of art," a smooth, slightly raspy voice whispered in my ear. I felt a cold arm slide around my waist and I knew exaclty who it was.

Sighing, I slid off the stool and out of Henry's arm, turning to look Lindsey straight in the eye. Her face was a mask of shock and confusion.

"Lindsey, this is my friend Henry. Henry, this is Lindsey," I said awkwardly.

"Oh, we've met," Lindsye said, the acid in her vioice let me know that she had recpvered from her moment of shock.

Henry's eyebrows shot up at her tone,"She came on to me, and Itold her very politely that I wasnt interested," he shrugged, illiciting a glare from Lindsey.

"Whatever," she spat and walked off.

"Well, that was.....yeah," I said, mometarily losing my train of thought when I looked at hwenry's face.

"It's good to see you, Jacob," he said happily, pulling me in for a light hug.

"It's good to see you too. I'm sorry I missed your call; I was working."

"Oh, it's alright," he replied.

"Speaking of, how did you know where I worked?" I asked. Maybe he was following me around. Vampires had a reputation for doing that. Definite possibility.

His blond brows pulled together and he stared at his feet, "Is it okay if you leave now? Or will you get in trouble?" he asked.

"I think it's ok....." I said, looking around for Lindsey. She gave me the thumbs up from behing the counter.

"Yeah, I'm good," I smiled, relievd that I'd made it through another day of work.

"Great. Would you like to go for a walk?" Henry asked.

"Sure. Even though it's a little cold outside," I said naticing the little flurries of snow outside.

"Well, I don't get cold like you do, so we'll just walk to my place. It's not far.

"Alright, Mr. Clairmont. Lead the way," I gestered toward the door.

He took my hand when we got outside. "Jeez your hand is cold," I shivered.

"Oh, sorry," he said, rubbing my hand to create heat from the friction.

As we walked, we exchanged pleasantries, chatted about the weather, and finally lapsed into silence. I knew I had to tell Henry what was bothering me, but I wasn't sure if now was the best time.

My thoughts were interrupted by a woman's scream in the distance. Henry froze, his whole body tense, and his nostrils flared.

"Wait right here," he ordered as he rounded the corner and went down an alley.

I don't knwow what possessed me, but I followed him down the alley. It was pitch black, until the moon broke throught the clouds, and I was able to see. I saw Henry, quickly scaling the brick exterior of an apartment building, his lean muscles coiling with each burst of power that porpelled him upward. As fascinated as I was, I couldn;t help but gasp and cover my mouth. uit's not every day that you see this kind of thing hasppen. Henry immediately froze, his head whipping toward me, shock and horror displayed on his beautiful face.

He quickly jumped from the building, landing as gracefully as a cat and walking slowly toward me with his palms out.

"Jacob, please, let me explain," he said slowly.

"There's nothing to explain," I said simply.

He just stared at my with frightened eyes.

"I just have one question. Well, that's a lie. I have a lot of questions, but this one is the most pressing..... Are you a vampire, Henry?" I asked.

He looked at me for a moment before he exhaled and his body relaxed. "Yes," he said softly.

"Ok. Give me a scond to process this," I said, rubbing my temples. I had pretty much known all along that he was a vampire, but it was a completely different matter when he was admitting it. Proof that my imagination wasn't running wild.

"Wait, you're not afraid of me?" he asked in confusion.

"Why would I be? If you wanted to hurt or kill me, you would've done it by now," I said with a shrug.

A pained look came across his face as I said this. he ran his hand through his hair a few times until it was standing straight up. It almost made him look like a little boy. A lost little boy.

"Hey, what's wrong?" I asked walking up to him and rubbing his arm.

He quickly came back to me. "Nothing. I'm just relieved that you're not running away screaming." he said in disbelief.

"I'm not going anywhere, big guy. I like you too much," I saiod jokingly.

As quick as a striking snake, Henry closed the gap between us and hugged me tightly, pressing his cheek against my hair.

"This is going to take some getting used to," I said, running my hand over the soft cashmere of his gray sweater.

"I know. It will be difficult, but I don't want to lose you, Jacob."

"You won't. Like I said, I like you too much to run away, I said, patting his rock hard shoulder. That's another thing that I had recently noticed, how hard he was. He was hard with muscle as well as having hard skin that I assumed came along wiht the territory of being a vampire. I just assumed that they were indestructible. I really neede to ask him these questions.

"Okay, can we go back to your place or something? It's really cold out here," I said, shivering from the gusting wind and the feel of his cold arms around me.

"Yes, let's go. But there is somethign I want to sow you first," he said with a mischevious grin.

"Should I be nervous?" I asked.

"Not unless you are affected by motion sickness."

"Then I should be good," I replied.

"Ok, here we go," Henry said, scooping me up in his arms and sprinting at full speed down the back alleys. We were moving so fast that I couldn't discern shapes, I just saw smears of light from streetlamps and the occasional passing car. At one point it became too much and I gripped tightly to handfulls of his sweater and buried my face in his neck.

I heard a chuckle rumble deep in his chest as he kicked his speed up. Suddenly, we stopped outside his lavish apartment building. He set me down and tried his best to smooth my windblown hair.

"Eh, don't worry about it," I said.

I looked up at him, noticing the flush of excitement in his cheeks and his bright eyes. "You enjoy doing that, don't you?" I asked.

"I do. It gives me an opportunity to unleash pent up energy," he said brightly as we walked throught the lobby to the elevator.

The same feeling of electricity came over me as soon as the doors closed. I gasped and looked up at Henry. He was obviously feeling it too.

"What's going on? Why does this happen?" I asked, although I already knew. I wanted him.

"I don't know," he said, but I knew that he knew the answer.

The elevator doors opened suddenly and Henry steered me to the door of his apartment. Looking around, I noticed that his was the only apartment on the floor. It must've been the penthouse. it made sense.

I was struck once again by the enormity of the space when we walked into the ornately paneled and richly furnihsed great room.

"Are you ready for the inquisition that I am about to unleash on your vampiric ass?" I asked with a challenging smile.

"As ready as I'll ever be. It won't be the forst time I've been questioned by a sharp-minded inquisitor," he said dryly.

"Ok, I really want to know what that statement meant, but I'll get to it later."

"But there has to be a compromise. You must answer my questions in exchange for me answering yours," he said with an amused smile.

I didn't really want to tell him about my sordid past, but I resolved myself to cross that bridge when I got there. "Fair enough," I conceded. "Can I start askign questions now?!" I asked impatiently.

He smiled at me indulgently, "Fire away, baby."

To be continued.....



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