Halfway to the Grave

Page 71

Bones stared at me and his eyes were tinged pink. Vampire tears. So absolutely foreign from the clear streaks of saline zigzagging down my cheeks. I slid down until I sat on the floor and held him. He was the only thing that was constant and solid. Everything else around me was crumbling.

"I will never stop loving you. No one can change that. No matter what happens later, I'll still love you."

My illusions about tonight only went so far. We would be walking right into a trap, and in all likelihood, we wouldn't walk out. Right now my mother was terrified, if she was even still alive, and there was nothing I could do but wait until later. This could be the last time Bones and I held each other. Life was too short to waste even moments of it.

"Bones. Make love to me. I need to feel you inside me."

He pulled back until he could look in my eyes as he stripped the shirt over his head. Mine followed suit and was thrown to the ground. He undid the belt around my waist, untied the knives and guns, and tugged off my boots with their stake accompaniments. The spandex around my legs was stiff from dried blood, but I pushed the image of my grandparents' crumpled forms out of my mind. They wouldn't go far. I would see them in my nightmares the rest of my life. If I ever lived to dream again.

"I know what you're thinking and you're wrong. This isn't goodbye, Kitten. I didn't survive over two hundred years to find you only to lose you within five months. I want you, but I'm not saying goodbye to you, because we will get through this."

Bones traced his hands over me with such delicacy, I could have been made of glass threads and not shattered. His mouth followed everywhere his hands did, and I tried to absorb the feel of him beneath my fingers. Not for a minute did I believe that this wasn't goodbye. Still, I had loved and been loved in return, and there was nothing greater than that. It far outweighed the alienation of all the previous years. Bones thought five months was too short; I was amazed I'd been granted joy for so long.

"I love you," he moaned, or maybe I said it. I couldn't tell the difference anymore. The lines had dissolved between us.

I refused to wash the blood off, wanting it to stain my skin. Later-if I lived-I would wash it off after it was covered by the blood of those who'd done this. Finally I understood why Bones's long-dead Indian friend had painted his skin before going off to battle. It was a symbol for all to see of the depth of his resolve, and my family's blood was mine. Before we were done tonight, many things on me would be painted. My mouth was one of them.

Bones raised the issue, and for once I accepted without hesitation. His blood would make me stronger-temporarily, that was true-but then that's all that was needed. On the extra plus side, it would also help heal any injuries I was no doubt going to incur. The quicker I healed, the quicker I could kill.

First he topped off like a car getting gas. In this neighborhood, it took only minutes for him to find someone spoiling for trouble. The unlucky victims were four men thinking they were going to score a wallet. They scored some iron deficiency instead. Not bothering to waste the power in his eyes, he simply knocked them out with a single swirling punch that connected with their jaws in one graceful blur of a semicircle. If the situation weren't so dire, I would have laughed at how they fell in a row without a blink among them. Maybe this would drive home that crime didn't pay.

Bones took from each of them, and his face was positively flushed when he glided back to me on feet that didn't touch the ground. With a shake of my head, I started back toward the hotel.

"You are going to wash your mouth out. If you kiss me, I don't want a face full of hepatitis."

My shield of sarcasm was on with full armor backup. Any emotions deeper than the surface would have to wait to crawl out of the cage I'd locked them in.

Obediently he swished water around his mouth when we were back in our room. Needless to say, none of us had packed toothpaste.

"Don't fret, luv. With your lineage, you couldn't catch it if you tried. No germs or viruses can survive in vampire blood. You've never been sick a day in your life, were you?"

"Actually...no. But germs aside, it's gross."

I marveled at the point he'd brought up. No one appreciates their health until they're sick, so I'd never stopped to wonder at the flawless record of mine. We'd see if I lived long enough to catch a cold.

"Come here."

Bones was seated on the bed and he patted his lap. Like a child visiting Santa at the mall, I sat on it. Unlike a child, I curled my arms around him and prepared to drink his blood for all I was worth. "You'll tell me when to stop?"

Anxiousness clouded my voice. This wouldn't turn me, but it was taking a short trip down a road I'd never wanted to travel.


The single word calmed me. He'd never lied to me.

"Tell me again why we aren't doing your wrist?" That seemed somehow less...icky.

Bones tightened his arms around me.

"Because then I couldn't hold you. Quit stalling. You know what to do."

I pressed my mouth to his neck where his jugular would be. Since his heart didn't beat, there wouldn't be a rush of arterial spray. No, this would take suction. You know what they say, I thought darkly as I bit down hard enough for my square teeth to pierce his skin. Life sucks and then you die.

The first warm splash made my stomach recoil, but I forced myself to swallow. A normal person can only drink a pint of blood before the body naturally regurgitated it. My normality had never been an issue before and it wasn't now. I bit him again when the wound started to close, and Bones held the back of my head and pressed me closer.

"Harder." The word was clipped, and he let out a small gasp. Pain or pleasure, I wasn't sure, and didn't want to ask.


This when I attempted to pull away. The harsh copper taste of his blood curled in my mouth. In this volume, it was miles away from the drops I'd taken over the last few months. I drank deeper, ignoring the urge to spit it out.

Something started to happen inside me. Strength grew, unfurling its tentacles and branching out to slither through me. Everything seemed at once sharper. His skin under me had a scent far stronger than I'd ever noticed. The room was perfumed with the earlier sweat from my body, and the bodies of those before us. Background noise of the people in the units around us increased in volume, as did the sounds from outside. My vision crystallized into a clarity it had never experienced. The darkness lightened shade by shade.

The feel of his skin splitting beneath my teeth became almost sensual. I bit him harder, suddenly enjoying the spill of his blood into my mouth. I yanked his head back, biting him again, and it felt so good. Like something I'd waited my whole life to do. I started to feel warm. My legs curled around his waist as I pressed against him, yanking his head back farther still, and all at once his blood tasted...delicious.

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