This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
By Leigh Christine Carpenter
Part One: Journey
Chapter One: The Request Chapter Two: The Date Chapter Three: Alone, At last Chapter Four: Keela Chapter Five: Phillip Chapter Six: Keela, Vampire Mistress Extraordinaire Chapter Seven: Nathaniel's Story Chapter Eight: Keela, New Life Chapter Nine: Phillip's Plan Chapter Ten: Nathaniel's Chance Chapter Eleven: Keela's Choice Chapter Twelve: Calm Before The Storm
Chapter One. "The Request"
Keela O'Rourke sat at her computer, in her cubical at work. Silently reviewing all she had accomplished, making note, after mental note of all the things she had forced herself to remember. Staring off into space, going over all the details she had struggled to recall and making sure she had crossed them all off her mental list before completing her work. The monitor snapped off, bringing her back into the present. She shifted the mouse, bringing the monitor back to life and pulled up an empty email to write a memo to her boss that she was finished, early as usual, and thinking about taking off for the rest of the day. Finishing a project always made her anxious. Not anxious about her work, anxious about the next project she would receive. A new project meant nothing else would distract her for days, not food, not sleep, not even the pleasures of a long, hot shower. The thought wouldn't even occur to her to dress appropriately for work. Usually throwing on the first thing she came to in the morning in her haste to get back to work and keep working. At night, she would lay there for hours making mental lists of things to go through, to fix. Checking and re-checking the lists as she went. She was relentless, tidy, and even more thorough when it came to her work. It couldn't be any more opposite when it came to her non-working life. Keela was a twenty-five year old train wreck. The only personal life she had, outside of work, was a cat named Peanut Brittle, that she struggled to remember to feed. Life for her revolved around projects. Keela was an Editor for a small, but respectable publishing firm called Ideas Abound which was located in San Francisco, California. Besides herself, there were five other editors, a handful of office assistants, two accountants, a few agents, and one owner. The Owner, Nathaniel York, was her boss. Nathaniel was very driven about his work. Keela always assumed he came from money and was struggling to make his own business venture successful. She had started with this company at it's beginning three years ago, and fresh from college. She was still amazed that she had even been given this opportunity. She remembered the interview and blushed. She had stammered the whole time, hardly confident in her feeble attempt to win over Nathaniel, who was more handsome than words. She had assumed that the owner of a publishing company wouldn't stoop as low as to interview his own people, and that if she were to meet said owner, he would be old, chubby, and quite possibly bald. The turning point of the interview had been when he asked her why she was so nervous and she had paused long enough to gain the courage to form complete sentences to this beautiful, dream-like man. "I realize that I am ruining this whole process for myself, but in my defense, this is, technically, my first interview for any job not counting the campus food court where I worked through college. It would also help if you didn't have to be so handsome. Or maybe you could just try to be ugly for the rest of this interview, so I could concentrate on your questions instead of pinching myself repeatedly and trying to wake up from this dream. You can't possibly be real. You're too handsome. Like a movie star." To her surprise, he had burst out laughing. And then, as suddenly as he started, he puckered up his face in the most adorable way. "Does this help?" he had asked. Which had caused them both to start laughing. She was surprisingly able to keep my calm afterwards and answered more of his questions with little to none of the shuddering She had done previously. And he had hired her on the spot. Convincing him that she possessed a sense of humor, as he had told her later, was the key to landing Keela the position. They had carried on a normal work relationship since. She had eventually grown used to being in the presence of beauty because each time they had a meeting, or each time she completed another project and had to go to the big office, she found she had begun stuttering less and less. The problem with working for Nathaniel had been that Keela was madly
in love with him. There were times when she deluded herself into thinking of them as friends. He was always very polite to everyone in the office. Twice in the last three years, he had invited her to dinner with prospective clients. It was more business than anything, and she had been expected to pitch the exact way she would go about editing the client's book. She was the best editor he had, and he was never hesitant to lavish her with endless flattery about her work. But never about her, she reminded herself. It was all in the way she handled the whole business. All the clients she had worked with were never dissatisfied with how she went about editing their work. Some of them said it was as if she were making changes based on how they, themselves, would make changes. And indeed that was her whole approach. Read, re-read, put yourself into their shoes, analyze their thoughts as they were writing, and edit based on what they would approve of themselves. It was an easy business, almost thoughtless for her. The real reward was getting paid to read all this new material. It was her motivation. She loved to read. To get lost in any story. And then to help correct that story and make it worth selling. Even better was when her work showed up in a store window. She would always celebrate with a pint of Ben & Jerry's and a novel that could be read for leisure. She pulled herself away from her thoughts as a message popped up on her computer. It was from Nathaniel, so she quickly opened it hoping he would approve her time off. "Keela. Please see me in my office in ten minutes. Nathaniel." Confused, she responded with a short reply stating she would see him in ten minutes and hurried off to the restroom to make sure she was presentable. Once there she went over her appearance. She hadn't paid a thought to what she was wearing this morning when she threw the first thing she saw in the closet on. Grey suit, black undershirt, black shoes. Decent, but very unattractive. Her hair, which was a dull dark auburn was wild as usual. She wore no make-up, and her eyebrows needed tweezed. She immediately ran some water to wash her face with, using the excess to attempt to smooth her hair down, and looked back at her reflection in the mirror. Her oval face looked a little more refreshed, but she definitely still looked like she wasn't sleeping at night. Dark circles stood out under her eyes against her extremely pale skin. In contrast with her hair, she looked like she should be wearing pig tales and singing Irish hymns very badly. The only good luck, she thought, about her looks was that she didn't have freckles. She made another casual over view of herself and walked out of the bathroom. As she passed by her cubicle, she hastily grabbed her glasses. She didn't really need them outside of reading a book or using a computer, but any help she could get to hide the fact that she had bad insomnia she would take. She had been promising herself a trip to the salon to get her hair done and have a facial for about two of the three years she had been working for Nathaniel. It just never seemed to fit into her scheduling. She always had a project to keep her busy, and on the rare occasion she didn't have a project to work on, she would spend that time catching up her emails, phone calls, and sometimes doctors appointments. Sometimes spending a full day dreaming about Nathaniel. Which was why her eyebrows were in desperate need of waxing and her hair was more red than she usually allowed it to be. She hurried past all the other cubicals, back toward the big office. She stopped by Annette, an older severe looking secretary, and cleared her throat. Annette looked up, smiled, and waved her by. As she took a deep breath and mentally prepared herself to enter her boss's office. "Keela, come in, please." Right, he always knew when she was standing outside his door. She'd even once tried to look for a surveillance camera to see if he just got a kick out of watching the office work. She entered the big office, looking around to see if anything had changed while she had her head buried in the last project.
Nothing had, in fact everything was as it always was. Except for Nathaniel. He was wearing his navy blue suit today with a cornflower blue undershirt. He always looked good in blue. He always looked good. He looked up at her and she felt as if she might get lost in his blue eyes. It had to be because of the contrasting blues. It made his blue eyes seem deeper. He blinked and she found herself blushing. "So... What is it that you wanted to see me about?" Keela broke the silence by asking. "Oh, right... I have a favor to ask of you." He said. "What kind of favor? Because if it's business related, you really don't have to ask. You are my boss and all." She reminded him. "Well, no. It's a little more personal.." he let his voice trail off. She was instantly hopeful, but then she reminded herself that with her luck he would probably want her to do his dry cleaning. Men just never asked her out. Or the ones who did express interest, she ignored completely because they just were not Nathaniel York. "Well, you see, I am supposed to meet with a prospective client this evening. I made the plans last week for it and my brother, Phillip, called a few hours ago to let me know that he was flying in. I had completely forgotten about it, and I really don't want to have him sitting in a hotel room waiting on me. So I was hoping you could keep him company for a few hours, you know... Just in case the meeting runs late." He explained. "Oh," She was completely taken off guard by his request. He was asking her to go on a blind date with his brother. Deep despair threatened to overtake her. Why couldn't he just ask her out? Of course he wouldn't. She was too plain. He was too beautiful. "It's on me, of course. If you could just pick him up at the airport and take him to a nice, low-key restaurant. It would be helping me out a lot and I'd be willing to give you three days off in exchange before I hand you a new project. I was hoping to tie all of this together and hand you a manuscript from this new client. He's very well known and looking to change publishers. So you see why it's very important for me not to cancel this meeting." He explained. "Well, I'd be more than happy to keep your brother company, especially for three days off. I've been meaning to do something about the mess of my house, and my poor cat never gets any attention. I'm just very surprised that you asked me." she said. When she paused to think about it, there had to be a catch. Maybe his brother was not as beautiful as he seemed to be, what if he was fat? What if he was one of those annoyingly loud people? As the what ifs... threatened to consume her, Nathaniel pressed on. Seemingly happy to have her agree to his plan, he continued. "Well, his plane is scheduled to land at five. If you could meet me back here at about four-thirty, I'll have my driver take you to the airport to meet him. Don't worry about finding him, the driver will meet him in the terminal, you can wait in the car or go with him. I'll make reservations and give the driver instructions. I promise that my brother will be forewarned and on his best behavior." It sounded to Keela like Nathaniel had already thought this through. It made her a little more apprehensive. She would only have a few short hours to get ready for this. Good thing visa was handy.
She would have to buy something to wear and get her hair and make-up done in a short time. She didn't live close enough to the city to afford the time to go home and wear something she was comfortable in. "Alright, then. Four-thirty it is. Do I need to know anything else?" She was hopeful that maybe she might get a physical description, or maybe have some light shed on a flaw she could expect. There had to be some explanation for why he'd asked her. "No, I'll see you at four-thirty." He picked up the phone, she assumed, to call his brother. She took this as a sign that she needed to make her exit. Nathaniel York watched Keela leave his office. He was glad she'd agreed to keep his brother occupied. This would give him his chance to repay her with dinner. Then they could begin dating in earnest. They could be married this time next year. She was going to be his. He would love her forever.
Chapter Two: "The Date"
Four-thirty arrived very quickly for Keela, as she had rushed from clothing store to hair appointment, barely making it on time back to the office. She hadn't had much choice, and had had to settle for a simple black dress that she had tried on and purchased within 20 minutes of entering the clothing store. Visa was still going to love her next month as she hadn't thought to check the price of the dress before she'd bought it. She got some consolation by reminding herself that by buying a black dress she wouldn't have to buy shoes. Hair and make-up at Vanity's Salon had given her enough time to worry over more possible flaws this brother could possess, and to start getting anxious over her first date in years. Since she couldn't afford the proper time it would take to make her hair presentable down, she had chosen to go with a swept back style that kept her long hair back and out of her face. She never usually allowed her hair to be bound because it usually gave her a headache. She reasoned that she would have three days off, plus the weekend giving her a total of five whole days, to worry about the consequences. Already she was excited and expectant about her little vacation. She had made an appointment with her usual stylist to have her hair worked over a little more on her time off. She was seriously considering toning down the red in her hair. She was also excited about the possibility of a spa day, followed up by spending the weekend cleaning and airing out her apartment. She'd even gone as far as to fantasize about lighting some scented candles and spending a few hours soaking in the tub. Only as a reward for doing so much housework. It was early September, so she couldn't call her plans spring cleaning, but more along the lines of readying for winter. Nathaniel was talking on his cell phone when she walked up to the front of the office building where Ideas Abound was located. He hadn't changed at all and she had to clear her throat before he noticed her. He glanced her direction and dismissed her, only to snap his head back around and stare at her open-mouthed. She smiled at him, pleased that he noticed she had made an effort, if only to distract his brother from his absence. He ended his conversation swiftly, and was still gaping at her while he closed his cell phone. "Wow, Keela. You really do clean up very nicely." he said. "Not that you don't usually look nice, you just look... very nice tonight." He amended. His eyes were hungry. Maybe he would ask her out after tonight. "Thank you, Nathaniel. I was going for a miracle on short notice, but all I could find in a hurry was black. I hope it's not too much, but I was thinking if I were going out to dinner with an absolute stranger I really didn't want him to think of me as the sloppy spinster I usually show up as to work." Oh, god... she thought. Insert foot into mouth. "Oh, I didn't mean to imply-" "No, it's alright! I was only joking." Not really, she thought, but tried to place the blame back on herself. She didn't want to stand here offending her excessively handsome boss' chivalrous nature. Especially after he had looked at her that way. "Well, shall we be going?" he asked. "Yes, I think I'm ready... Did you check to make sure his flight wasn't delayed or early? I'd hate to think of him having to wait on us." she said. "Oh, yes. I'll be riding with you to pick him up, my meeting got pushed back a little.” Nathaniel didn't
add that he'd pushed it back. “Darrin, my driver, will drop me off at my restaurant and continue on with you. Ladies first," he said as he opened the door for her. She realized the whole evening was going to be a nightmarish affair as she climbed into the back seat of the car. The dress she wore revealed much more than she had thought when she'd tried it on. She was surprised to find that more of her legs than she wished to show off were visible as she sat in the seat. She was self-conscious, and immediately started trying to pull the dress down more to cover what was exposed. As she sat there, very uncomfortable, waiting for Nathaniel to join her, she worried anxiously over how much more of a fool she might appear to be in front of his brother for the remainder of the night. She had never been much of a clumsy person before she had met Nathaniel. In fact, she was proud that she had looked half-ways co-ordinated in her high school gym class. It just seemed that in front of a very handsome man she tended to trip over her own feet constantly and drop things she would otherwise have no difficulty holding onto. For the past three years she had been trying to tell herself that Nathaniel was probably used to women making fools of themselves over him. She could only pray that he didn't secretly laugh at her. She was surprised when the car stopped, sooner than expected, in front of the airport. She hadn't been that deep in thought, had she? She hadn't even tried to make small talk with Nathaniel. "Would you like to come in with me to meet my brother or wait here?" He asked as the driver opened his door to let him out. She decided to join him because sitting alone in the car would only make her worry more about the imposed date. They headed inside the crowded airport and made their way to baggage claims. Nathaniel soon stopped walking, deciding to wait out of the way, and explaining that he always met him at baggage claims so he never had to venture too far into the crowds. The airport was very noisy as people started gathering around one of the conveyors that would eventually produce luggage for the expectant crowd. Keela used this time to watch the people chatter. There was a mother holding a very young toddler and trying to keep an older child at bay as they waited, obviously, for a stroller. There couldn't possibly be a way to carry a baby and hold a child's hands, while dragging luggage behind her. With nothing else to do, Keela decided to see how this brave woman possibly managed. Too quickly, though, Phillip arrived. He was just as handsome as his brother, making Keela's stomach turn into a vast butterfly field. They almost looked like twins, except the subtle differences in the way in which they wore their hair. Astonished, Keela blurted out "Oh my God! You are TWINS!" she flushed. Then flushed even darker as she realized that her mouth was still hanging open in shock and both men were eying her, full attention. Nathaniel broke the ice by introducing them. "Keela, this is my brother Phillip. We aren't twins, really. But we're only a year and a few months apart in age. Our mother loved me so much, she thought she might be able to double her luck. But then HE was born and we all gave up that idea." he said playfully shoving his brother. She'd never seen him look so young, and instantly had to stop herself from ogling at him. "So, this is my date for tonight, eh?" Phillip said as he checked her out from head to toe, obviously liking what he saw. " My horrid brother didn't tell me how stunning you were on the phone when he called to tell me he was setting us up for the evening." If Nathaniel had daggers in his eyes, they would be stabbing Phillip right now. Phillip had taken her hand and was now brushing his lips over it. Keela felt like she might
swoon. He let her hand go, never taking his eyes away from hers. She blushed deeper than she had when she'd realized she'd shouted at them. She mumbled something along the lines of a thank you as she dropped her eyes away from him. "Yes." Nathaniel said slowly, obviously not missing the display of appreciation his brother had bestowed upon her. "I forgot to warn you that my brother is an impossible womanizer, Keela. Maybe this wasn't the best idea..." "Oh please, Nathaniel. No need to go and get territorial on me. I promise to be on my best behavior all evening. I won't leave her anything less than satisfied that I am indeed a gentleman." Phillip promised. "I'm sure her satisfaction is your most important thought at the moment," Nathaniel responded, narrowing his eyes. "Well, I think we had all better get going, " Keela said, trying to break the tension between the two brothers. "You don't want to keep a prospective client waiting, and I'm sure Phillip is hungry after his flight." "Yes," Nathaniel added, almost reluctantly. "Business before pleasure." It seemed to Keela that maybe that last part was directed just to her. Keela had remained as quiet as possible during the ten minute drive to drop Nathaniel off at the restaurant where he was meeting with the client. She didn't want to interrupt the brother's reunion. She ignored them as they caught up with each other's recent life events. Instead, she wondered if her night had taken a turn for the better, since maybe... just maybe she had two men's attentions. For now, anyway. She had better savor the flattery before she went back to the next project obsession and forgot that she was even a woman at all. The pressure on the seats changed abruptly, as she realized that Nathaniel was getting out of the car. She must of zoned out, because she hadn't even realized the car had stopped moving. Nathaniel was saying his farewells, and had added something to the effect of a warning to be careful, but to have fun. He was a little reluctant to leave, but was also in a hurry as he was sure the client was now waiting on him. He must have mistaken his brother's flattery for real interest, she mused. Then it happened. She was alone with Nathaniel's equally handsome brother. With nothing to say, she tried to keep her eyes downcast and avoid staring at him. It was a difficult task. "So, you work with my brother?" Phillip asked casually, breaking the silence. "Yes, he is the boss. I am one of his editors. I've been working there since the company started." she tried to sound confident, but it seemed to her that she sounded like a scatter-brain, answering his question vaguely. The rest of the way to the restaurant was uncomfortably silent, and when they arrived, and were seated, they both stared off into space, each trying to think of something to say. "Are you usually this quiet when you are out on a date with a stranger." Phillip asked, teasingly. "I don't usually go out on dates with strangers. Or at all." She supplied. "Not at all? Not even with my brother?" He asked, interested as if she were so intriguing. Something
had to be wrong with Nathaniel not to notice this angel, he thought to himself. "Not at all, and not even your brother. He has never asked me. As a matter of fact, this would be the first time we have seen each other outside of work. Except for two dinners I've come along for, but I view that as work. We were discussing editing with clients." She explained to him. "That would explain why you look so uncomfortable." Obviously, if Nathaniel didn't want her, she was up for grabs. "I'm not. Uncomfortable. Just out of practice. Very out of practice. I think my last real date was in college." "You can relax, you know. I won't bite, unless that's what you're into." He smiled seductively. She flushed, "Oh." "You start with music, books, and other light subjects and then work your way towards more intimate things. I like to work backwards. You're so tense, I've found myself wondering when was the last time you were with a man at all? In the biblical sense." He said. She choked on her wine. "I... uh...d-don't..." Flushing deeper than she thought was possible as her mind went blank. He started chuckling. "I wasn't being serious, I was just getting your attention." "Then I don't have to answer that question?" "Not if you don't want to" he said, still chuckling. "Good. So, what kind of music do you prefer?" She tried to change the subject quickly. "All kinds." He said and then launched into an account of his latest favorites. He had been trying to get a rise out of her, to get her thinking about sex with him. She'd managed to change the subject, using his own suggestion to do so. He might have to resort to dirty tricks. He wanted this one. Dinner passed by quickly that way. They talked about all the topics he had brought up eventually. She found herself relaxing in his company, and enjoying it. Before long, the meal was over and they both kept talking, waiting for the check. Their waiter approached and explained that the check was already covered and asked if they wanted more wine. Since they were getting along pretty well and it wasn't very late, yet, they both excepted and kept talking. Phillip, despite being sinfully good looking, enjoyed being outdoors and camped for weeks at a time in Washington. Keela enjoyed his descriptions of the beautiful mountains he had seen and the places he had spent time in. Before long, she had consumed too much wine and the meal wasn't preventing her from feeling it's effects any longer. They both got up and waited for the driver to appear, still discussing scenery of various different places they had been. Keela felt like she wasn't contributing much, since she hadn't been to as many places as Phillip had. So she silently absorbed all of what he said, developing mental pictures of the places he described and soaked up as much of the cool night air as she could in an attempt to clear the effects of the wine from her head. They got into the car together and began heading towards Phillip's hotel. The silence had
descended upon them once again, as if being in motion at suddenly swept them both into deep thought. As they pulled up to their destination, Keela noticed that Phillip looked as if there was something he wanted to say. "Would you like to come up for a drink?" Phillip asked, hesitantly. "Well, alright, just one drink." Keela responded. She realized that she just didn't want this night to end. Maybe it was the dress, the company, or the wine, but she hadn't felt this confident in a while and she didn't want to spoil it. Keela didn't spare much time for personal experiences, and she thought maybe she could have just a bit more fun with Phillip before she went back home and back into the boring, normal experiences. She would wait for Nathaniel to join them. The night was full of possibilities. When the driver opened the door to allow Phillip out, he reached back and grabbed Keela's hand. Holding it as he led her into the massive hotel doors. Keela couldn't help but absorb the giddy emotion that threatened to overwhelm her at his touch. It wasn't right, she realized. She might have made a mistake going up to his room with him. She just couldn't stop herself, now. She was sexually charged. She hoped Nathaniel would join them soon, before she did something stupid with his brother. She was no fool. She knew that accompanying a date to a private location after the date was over meant that sex might become involved. She was twenty-five years old, though. Well past a fully capable adult and she had still never experienced sex. Being a virgin at twenty-five was just plain ridiculous to her and unacceptable. Maybe she would just take that next step tonight. Plenty of women had one night stands, and she could, too. She just wanted it to be with Nathaniel. She shook her head. She didn't know why she was thinking like this. She was in love with Nathaniel. She would just go with him to wait for Nathaniel. She wanted to see him tonight before she left.
Chapter Three "Alone, at last"
The anticipation for Keela had become nearly overwhelming. She followed Phillip into the room feeling as if maybe her head was separated from her body. Then she reminded herself to look around the room, and gasped. The room was varying shades of gold with beautiful artistic pieces covering the walls and expensive-looking furniture laid out in a practical form, but in no way diminishing the size the room had. The size of this room alone was at least her apartment, plus half of her neighbor's apartment. There was a bar to her right that appeared to also function as a small kitchen, with a microwave and a tiny refrigerator. To the left, the living area opened up into another room, in which she could see a massive, beautiful canopy bed where once again the color gold was applied in varying shades. This room must be expensive, she thought to herself and then remembered that she didn't know much about Phillip at all. "Phillip, I forgot to ask what exactly you do for a living. This room is amazing and must have cost a fortune." Keela said, letting her curiosity rule her. "Well, at the moment I consider myself an adventurer." He said with a non-chalet shrug. "Nathaniel and I come from a wealthy family, and our parents passed away when we were quite young, leaving us with enough money to support ourselves comfortably for the rest of our lives. Nathaniel founded that company because he was bored. Now he's merely determined to see it become very successful. He'll probably eventually sell it and move on to his next interest. Books seem to be his forte, so it may well be along those lines. Ideas Abound seems to be doing pretty well, now. He may get bored soon without much challenge left in it." He explained further. "I had no idea about your parents, I'm truly sorry. Nathaniel and I have really never spoken much about ourselves to each other. He's very professional. I had assumed he came from a comfortable background, but I never had the nerve to ask." She admitted. "Well, it was a very long time ago." he dismissed the subject. "Shall we have a drink?" He asked, walking towards the bar. "What is your poison?" "I'll have whatever you're having." Keela said, hoping he wouldn't choose something too potent, but expecting it at the same time. The giddy feeling still hadn't left her, and she could still almost feel the electric feeling his hand had left behind on hers. Adonis could, in no way, compare with either Nathaniel or Phillip York. Phillip handed her a glass filled with amber-colored liquid, as she sat down on the only piece of furniture that didn't look as delicate and breakable as the others. She sniffed it suspiciously, and took a small sip coughing and choking on the fiery flavor of it as Phillip chuckled. "I do apologize. I am a rather big fan of Brandy. It must come from my English genetics. Would you like something else?" he asked. "No, thank you, I was just surprised. I don't think I've ever had brandy." she admitted. She took another drink, successfully avoiding choking. And then another. "See, just takes some getting used to. It's actually quite good once it stops burning your insides." she said. Phillip laughed out loud at this. "I still occasionally have the same problem. Especially if the brandy is rather young. Just out of curiosity..." he said as he leaned toward her on the love seat they shared. Her heart immediately began fluttering and the room dropped away. Eyes half closed in anticipation of a kiss, she realized that he had merely been reaching for her one piece of jewelry. The small, delicate piece looked even more fragile between his large hands as he examined it. She shouldn't let him be so close. She wanted Nathaniel, and she kept having to shout that at herself to keep from jumping onto his brother. "Oh, it was my mother's. Sort of a family heirloom, actually. My grandmother immigrated here from Ireland during the famine. This was her most valuable possession, and although she was half-starved
when she arrived, she refused to sell it. It's not a grand piece, but it would have saved her life. Instead, my grandfather rescued her by buying her a meal when he found her passed out on the harbor." she explained the piece, feeling as if she might be suppling too much. She seemed to be prone to nervous chatter around strikingly handsome men. "That is rather romantic. I assume they fell in love and were married immediately..." "No, not quite," she cut him off. "They had a brief affair as he helped her find employment, and he left her shortly afterward. She was heartbroken and died giving birth to my mother. My mother was adopted by a middle-class family who lost everything during the depression. She never finished school and worked odd jobs and traveled a lot until she met my father. He left when I was very young, but supplied her with enough to live from and sent money for me to go to school. I only met him a few times that I can remember, but he stayed until I was almost three. My mother died while I was in college of breast cancer. She was only forty-eight years old." Keela kept her eyes lowered so he couldn't see the pain talking about her mother caused. She was confused as to why she had told him anything at all. She never talked about her mother to anyone. She still missed her terribly. "Are you okay? You look like you're about to cry." Phillip stated. "Oh, no, I'm so sorry. It was years ago." Keela said, forcing her thoughts away from her mother. Maybe this was why she was still a virgin. She couldn't help saying too much sometimes. She hoped she hadn't ruined the mood. She smiled slightly. "Keela, I have a confession to make" Phillip said after a short pause. "I haven't been able to think of much else but kissing you since we first met at the airport." Keela felt as if all the air had left the room and all the blood had rushed to her face. "You see, you're so beautiful-" her heart started fluttering, and she incredulously tried to grasp that last sentence. But Phillip interrupted her thoughts by pulling her into his lap and meeting his lips with her own. Keela was stunned and after a few moments realized she was holding her breath. She sighed against his mouth as he deepened the kiss. The room seemed to fall away around her as the kiss went on. She seemed to have lost control of her senses, as she pressed herself closer to him, still needing to be closer, yet. The electric tingling she had felt earlier seemed to be coming from everywhere that their skin met and collecting to warm her insides. The tightening of her womb intensified her need and she realized that every part of her body cried out for something. Needed something. Nathaniel! She tried to keep herself focused. It didn't work. Phillip was only just beginning as he lifted her into a new position. She didn't feel the movement at all, just his hands as they glided up her back, lifting her effortlessly and re-positioning her to straddle him on the small love seat. She felt her hands tangle in his hair as she tried to press herself into him once more. Nothing seemed like it was enough as the kiss dragged on. She vaguely heard a noise as he ended their kiss and realized that she had made it. In protest. She didn't want him to stop kissing her, wanted the feel of his lips against hers to last forever. Phillip had another idea in mind as he reached behind her and began unzipping her dress. His hands were warm on her shoulders as he slid the straps down her arms, leaving a tingling feeling in their wake. Her head had dropped back almost lazily, her eyes half-closed. And then his mouth was on her again. Kissing her neck, nibbling as he worked his way down to her breast. She had never done this before, never imagined. Her hips were moving slowly of their own accord and as he captured the nipple of her left breast in his mouth, she might have moaned. She wasn't sure. All she could do was feel. Then she realized she was moving. Being carried like a child to the bed. She hadn't even realized they had gotten up, this was happening so quickly. Maybe it was the alcohol making her braver than usual. Maybe it was just the right time for this to be happening. She didn't want to think about it. And he was kissing her mouth again as he set her down on his bed, making all her thoughts flee instantly. His clothes were gone and she hadn't even realized he was removing them. Her dress, too, was missing. She could feel all of his satiny skin against hers as he settled in on top of her. She didn't want to think about it, so she began running her hands over his body as their kiss continued. Lost
in the sensation of something building deep within her. She felt his shoulders, wide and strong and the muscles on his back, thrilling at how very hard they seemed to be. He was kneading her breast, stopping occasionally to tease her nipples as she moved her hands lower, still. She could feel his erection against her thigh, and began moving her hands toward it with purpose. It was a curious thing for her to explore, and she knew she couldn't stop herself from reaching for it. Her finger traced the length of him and he tensed slightly at the tease. Breathing heavily into her ear, he made a strangled sound as she closed her hand over him. She gasped at the size, wondering... "Keela, my god! I have to have you right now, or I may die!" He said, as he removed her hand and positioned himself above her. "Phillip... I haven't..." she attempted to tell him, but he was no longer paying attention. He kissed her deeply at the same time as he thrust into her, causing her to gasp and tense immediately. He paused over her mouth and she feared that he may stop now at the surprise of finding her a virgin. She moved involuntarily, and he lifted himself to look into her eyes as he withdrew and thrust into her once again. Desire pooled back into her eyes as she felt the fullness of him leaving and then returning once again very swiftly. Again, he pulled back and thrust into her, looking into her eyes. His eyes seemed to turn black all at once and she thought maybe they looked hungry. She didn't care, he had built up a fiery tempo the she was attempting to match as their lovemaking went on. She felt his mouth against her neck again as the tension built inside her even more, to the point that it was almost painful, but more pleasurable than she had even imagined. And as she rode the wave of the pleasure up to it's highest peak, she felt his teeth on her neck as she let go, experiencing wave, after wave of pleasure that was making her breathing jagged with the force of it. And before she could stop to catch her breath, he increased the speed of his thrusts, sending her reeling into another orgasm as her body arched under him and her scream filled the room around them. He must have followed her over the top because as soon as her head became clear, she realized that they were tangled together, breathing rapidly, both still trying to catch their breath. She had never known, never realized. She had no idea what she had been missing out on all these years. She just lay there breathing, marveling at the sheer wonder of such a thing. Allowing herself to slowly sink back into her body from the wondrous flight she had just had. Nathaniel's face swarmed back into her consciousness. She had ruined it, she had slept with his brother. Maybe there was a way for him to never know... "How old are you?" Phillip broke into her thoughts by asking. "Twenty-five" she responded simply, a little disappointed that he had broken the silence of her epiphany. "Are you alright? Did I hurt you or anything? I didn't even consider that you were... inexperienced. I've never been with a virgin before." "I'm fine. It was... I shouldn't have let this..." she searched her brain to try to find the words. "It was for me, too. Can I get you anything?" He abruptly lifted himself from her and she shivered at the cold left behind without his body. She tried to follow him with her eyes as he strode, naked, away from her. He was almost running towards the bathroom and she could hear running water as soon as he was out of her view. He didn't understand her. She hadn't been complimenting him, she had been about to tell him she'd made a mistake. He appeared a few seconds later with a wash cloth and strode towards her purposefully. She had no idea what it could be for except- Oh, no. She had completely forgotten that virgins bleed. Her face turned a dark shade of red. She attempted to sit up, but he put a slight pressure on the middle of her chest to stop her. "I'll take care of you, just sit back and relax." She allowed him to open her legs as she was sitting half way up, resting on her elbows. She watched his eyes widen as he surveyed the damage, then turn black again. She felt a little stab of fear, as if this should somehow be wrong, but his mouth was there. His hot breath on her still sensitized flesh made her gasp and sit straight up. He was parting her, not even
caring that she had moved and his tongue slipped out to run over her most sensitive spot. Her back arched immediately of it's own accord and she fell back onto the bed as his tongue started to dance over her. The cloth had been forgotten, everything had been forgotten as he worked over her, bringing her up to another climax, the force of which made her scream as she went over once again. And he wasn't done. He was on top of her next, entering her more easily this time. Setting the tempo, and heightening it as he drove her over peak after peak. Sometime later, they lay together. Snuggled up in the bed, the covers over them. Both still awake, but neither talking when a phone rang. Phillip let it go a few times and then turned her head towards him to kiss her before getting up to answer it. She stayed there in his bed, daring not to think of all that had happened. She would have plenty of time to think later. She could hear him talking on the phone in the next room, but couldn't make out any words. She looked at the clock beside the bed and acknowledged that it was after midnight. Maybe she would just stay here and then take a taxi to her car in the morning. She closed her eyes and started to let herself drift of too sleep. That's when it happened. White hot pain started to build in her stomach and spread slowly outward toward her limbs. As the first wave brought her back to the room she was in, she realized the second wave was just beginning. She gasped in pain and sat up while she threw back the covers. The cool air in the room didn't seem to help much with the pain and she could feel herself starting to break out in sweat. She tried to regulate her breathing as the third and fourth wave struck her. The fifth wave sent her running for the bathroom and screaming Phillip's name as she ran. She made it just in time to throw up into the porcelain toilet. Her stomach was still heaving when Phillip appeared in the doorway, she looked up at him expectantly as another wave of pain struck her. “Get Nathaniel!” She shouted as she passed out naked on the cold bathroom floor.
Chapter Four "Keela"
The pain was intense enough to wake me as another wave overtook her body. She realized that Phillip had picked her up and was cradling her in his lap. She knew she was probably looking particularly pathetic. She was naked and covered in vomit. He would have to help me dress to get me to the hospital. This must be some kind of food poisoning. He had pulled a towel down on me to cover most of my body. It was uncomfortable, but I didn't trust myself to move without screaming. The pain was constant now. There were no few seconds in between for me to even ask for him to get the vomit off of me. It was all I could smell and it was overpowering. I coughed so hard, little specks of light danced in my vision. My heart was working overtime, reinforcing my suspicion that this was some kind of infection I'd picked up from our earlier meal. I am going to write a very nasty letter to that restaurant. Phillip had his cell phone in hand and was waiting for someone to answer. "Who?" I asked. It was all I could manage. It would be dreadfully embarrassing if he were calling 911 to haul me out of the hotel. I would prefer to try to walk to a taxi and be driven to the nearest emergency room. "Nathaniel, we have a problem." He said into the phone. I wasn't sure if I'd been as able as I'd thought to speak aloud. Or if he was just ignoring me. Maybe he was expecting Nathaniel to come and take me to the hospital. He was speaking so quickly, I couldn't concentrate to keep up. I eventually gave up trying. After a few minutes when it seemed like he was done with his conversation, I lifted my head using all the strength I had within me to meet his eyes expectantly. "He's on his way." And that was all he supplied as he picked me up, and carried me into the next room to lay me on the bed. My mind couldn't think of whether to be embarrassed by my nudity, and I came to the conclusion that I was too far gone to care. Besides, this man had just given me glorious sex an hour ago. I tried to ask him, instead. "Clothes?" I was sure this time that I'd made audible noise. "You will definitely not want to be wearing clothes, but I am going to cover you up with a sheet. Don't want my brother getting too much of an eyeful." He said as he draped the sheet over me. "Doctor?" I tried to convey my confusion. "I'm sorry, we can't take you to a doctor. Nathaniel wants to explain what's going on. He should be here very soon." He left the room after that. I could tell he felt guilty, but I was in serious pain. Of course I had to see a doctor. What if I died of food poisoning? They could get into some serious trouble. I had to go after him. I had to try to explain that I needed to see a health care professional of some kind. All I needed was an anti-biotic. I kicked my legs around with all the force I could muster. They made it about three inches. This was going to be a little more difficult than I had thought. Instead I attempted to roll. It didn't seem to be doing any good, either. My body just wasn't responding to me anymore. I knew I wasn't paralyzed, I could still feel everything. The pain running through my arms and legs was just as intense as it was everywhere else. If I concentrated, I could feel my big toe throb. I tried to lift my arms, but they felt like dead weights. As if my body had gone to sleep while my brain was still awake. Except that everything hurt as well as feeling like dead weight. I had managed to make some progress, though. The sheet had fallen off the top part of my body when I had tried to move my arms. Quite a bit of my breasts were showing already. I could only hope that Phillip returned before his brother arrived. Otherwise I would never be able to look him in the eye at work without becoming embarrassed. I resigned myself to waiting. I began counting to ten over and over in my head. I had tried going to one hundred, but I had lost count at about thirty. I couldn't seem to concentrate very well because my arms and legs had started twitching. Part of me wanted to scream to get Phillip back into
the room. I might be having a seizure, for all I knew. Then I went over what little first aid I remembered and came to the conclusion that people who had seizures weren't aware when they were having them. The twitching seemed to be getting stronger and my arms had joined in on the misery. I could feel muscles in my back that I'd never paid attention to before start jumping as if in the same frenzy the rest of my body was experiencing. I heard voices in the living area of the suite and began to feel a little mental relief. Nathaniel had arrived. He could probably be persuaded to take me to the hospital. "Keela," Nathaniel said as he appeared by my side. "I'm going to need you to focus as best as you can as I explain what's happening. Can you do that for me?" I groaned in response. As long as he was talking, I would listen. This was the man I loved. "You're going through what we call a conversion. Phillip says he bit you twice, and we can only guess that the unprotected sex caused enough of the virus to be transfered into your system for the change to start." He explained. My thoughts were a panic. He said virus? Conversion? Phillip bit me? Why wasn't I aware of that? I got it from having unsafe sex with him, so was this like an STD? That was so unfair! It had only been my first time. I could see myself giving a speech to high school students on the dangers of unprotected sex. What kind of virus was this? "You see, Keela, Phillip and I aren't really human. We are what you would refer to as vampire." He said. My thoughts were once again screaming at me. "We don't kill people, we just need blood to survive. It's not so bad. We are more handsome than average people, we don't grow old or die, we have many gifts that humans don't have, and we're generally good, and decent." Phillip had decided to appear on my other side, still looking like the guilty party. I turned my head to glare at him. It was slowly becoming easier to move. "I'm sorry, Keela. Truly. I wasn't expecting you to be a virgin and when there's blood involved in anything I can't control myself. That being said, I shouldn't have bitten you the second time, but in my defense, I wasn't aware that I would infect you through sexual contact. It has never happened to me before." I nodded my head to him and decided to try to speak. "I think I'm starting to feel a little-" I cut off. There was fire in my chest all of a sudden. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't move. My back arched up off the table as if I was being lifted my an unseen force. I was aware of a loud screeching noise, but I realized that I was making it. It sounded foreign and far away. The last thing I remember before I lost consciousness was my body slamming back down onto the bed. They were going to be very sorry when I woke up.
Chapter Five "Phillip"
Phillip couldn't believe himself. What was it about this girl that had made him forget the necessary precautions? It could just be that he hadn't made love to a woman in over fifty years. She had been a virgin! What kind of woman stays a virgin until she's twenty-five and then gives it up so easily on a first date with a man she hadn't previously met? Never mind that, he thought guiltily, I may have pushed her to accept me. Phillip couldn't help but silently rage at himself anyway. All of this was his fault. He'd even had to call Nathaniel in to make matters worse because he wasn't sure how to care for someone going through the conversion. "What do we do, now?" He asked his brother. "We wait. She will sleep a little time more. Do you have any blood here?" Nathaniel asked. "Yes. I always bring a supply when I'm in the city, you know that." He said, annoyed that there was nothing to do but wait. There were so many more options for the modern-day vampire. If you knew the right undead, you could be just as civilized as a normal human. Things had changed so dramatically in the last century. There was a vampire named Thorn who was currently located in Canada who owned a blood bank. The need to take from a human was unnecessary, but still a pleasure many vampires still enjoyed on occasion. The blood arrived as it would to a hospital, cold and in a flimsy plastic pouch. You had to keep it cold to preserve it, so in times of need you had to drink it cold. Fresh from a human vein, blood flowed warm and seemed to taste better. Phillip hadn't been able to stop himself from taking Keela's blood during their lovemaking. He had instantly smelled blood as he had breached her hymen. It had been impossible to resist, and he had gained enough control over the years to be better able to not kill her when he fed. Indeed, he had thought only to taste enough to hold the beast at bay. He had even been successful, but then when he attempted to help clean her up, the sight of the blood on her legs and the small pool underneath her had, once again, been too overwhelming to resist. He had taken her a second time after that and hadn't taken the necessary precautions. And indeed, he had bitten her again during that round of lovemaking. He couldn't think of why he had done it, it had been almost like an instinct. Thinking of all that had passed between them was making Phillip distinctly uncomfortable and triggered another wave of guilt. She was lying there in the sleep stages of the conversion, and he was hard with wanting her again. He may be going mad. Phillip reached over and pulled the sheet up to re-cover her breasts. It had fallen down all the way when her body had arched up during the heart conversion stage. The sight was making it equally as difficult to keep his thoughts directed on the present. Nathaniel had noticed, too. Phillip found he didn't like the idea of Nathaniel having seen her unclothed body. And why should he? She had given herself to him, and she was his. Until he tired of her anyway. "Phillip, I have to ask what your plans are. You know, for when she awakes?" Nathaniel asked interrupting Phillip's thoughts. "She will come with me. We should be married to satisfy the paperwork and maintain appearances. When she is ready to be on her own, she will be welcome to leave. This is my fault, I will take responsibility for her." Phillip said, conscious that he didn't like the idea of such a breach in his solitude. "Do you think she will really allow that? She works for me, she would have to leave her job to live with you in Seattle. You do know that she's the best I have, right? My company will suffer without her and a few of my clients will be disappointed. I will be disappointed..." He let his voice trail away. "You will make due. You were getting bored, anyway. This presents a new challenge for you." Phillip
tried to reassure him. He may have just been trying to reassure himself that he could keep her. This possessiveness was just not like him. Outside of his brother, he really preferred little to no human contact. He could see all of that changing as he watched Keela change. It wasn't her, but he was aware of his need for someone. Someone he had not seen in a long time. Her skin was becoming paler, her hair was becoming more red. It had come loose when they were making love and then he had tried to hold it back when she was vomiting. It was turning into very tight curls. Slowly she was becoming more perfect. The changes were subtle, but if you watched for a time, you could see the differences taking place. She was beginning to look more like a life-sized porcelain doll. Perfect hair, perfect skin, just perfect. Phillip continued to watch until her heart fluttered and stopped. At that point, she stirred and awoke.
Chapter Six "Keela, Vampire Mistress Extraordinare"
I opened my eyes and looked around me. I didn't hurt anymore. I felt good, actually. Really good. Like I'd never been sick at all. I could hear Phillip and Nathaniel breathing next to me. I heard a knock at a door. It wasn't close enough to be our door. It was a hotel employee bringing a tray to someone down the hall. I could hear the employee clear his throat and the swish of the money being counted out as the guest paid him. He must enjoy working the top floors. He had made a $15 tip for his trouble. Looking around the room, I could see that much was the same as it was yesterday, but if I focused enough I could see the tiny intricate patterns I hadn't noticed before. The lights gave off rainbows of color not normally seen and I spent a full minute in awe. I still hadn't moved my body, but when I thought to sit up, I was instantly up. I didn't feel the normal struggle of my muscles against my body weight. It was as if I were weightless, because the movement was just so... easy. I looked at Phillip, then. He was still just as beautiful as he had been the night before. I knew Nathaniel was here as well, but he must not have realized I was awake. They both still had a lot of explaining to do, but I couldn't dispute the evidence that I was very much a different person than the night before. I would have to rethink my entire world later when I had the time to go to pieces over what I'd lost. I took a breath in an attempt to speak, and I stopped. I could smell EVERYTHING. The detergent smell of the fabric I'd been wrapped up in. The lingering smell of sex, the vomit on the floor of the bathroom that obviously hadn't been cleaned up, and something very, very good. I sniffed the air curiously. It was Phillip. I was off the bed and on my feet in less than a second. It was very fast and I realized how fun that was, but I didn't have time to think about it further. I grabbed his hand and lifted it to my nose. I inhaled, it was so delicious. He broke my absorbent by chuckling. "I had thought you would be furious with me, but obviously I smell good enough to keep your anger at bay." he said, still amused. I glared at him, having been reminded why I should be upset. "You boys have a lot of explaining to do. I want some answers, and I'd better get them. Now." I said, just so they would have no question as to the seriousness of the matter. "Keela, why don't you put some clothes on and we'll meet you in the main room. I hope you don't mind, but Nathaniel's driver picked up something based on your size. It's simple, but I can drive you back to your home later to pick up some of your things. You'll be more comfortable in your own clothes." I hadn't noticed that I was still naked at all. What happened to the draftiness of the room I'd experienced earlier? Maybe I couldn't feel temperature changes anymore. Maybe I should hurry up and dress so I could get all my questions answered. I went into the bathroom with the sheet wrapped around my body. I knew I hadn't had the energy to care much when Nathaniel was there, but I didn't want him seeing more than he already had. I needed to look in a mirror. Just to make sure I hadn't turned into a hideous monster. Vampires were supposed to be ugly, weren't they? They were just beautiful when they were tricking your mind to suck your blood. I looked into the mirror. I still had a reflection, so that was a plus. On myth down, many, many more to go. I looked pretty much the same. My hair was awful. This is what my hair would look like if I didn't dye it darker or have it relaxed every once in a while. It was going to be unmanageable. She'd just leave it how it was. It didn't even have any product in it and it seemed to be holding it's own. Everything looked much the same. My skin was now very pale, but it had a strange perfection about it that it'd never had before. Almost like it was pearly or iridescent. Beautiful, definitely. My eyes- Oh! My eyes are violet! This can't be right. My eyes hadn't been this way since I was a young
child. They'd faded to a light blue by the time I was five. I didn't even believe the stories my mother had told me about them being violet. I've never even seen this shade in any other person before. It was nice, but it just wasn't what I was used to seeing in the mirror. I would have to find out if this was normal or not. I drew the simple, light pink cotton sun dress over my head and pulled it down to smooth it over myself. I hadn't worn a bra with the black dress I'd come in and I couldn't count on a man to remember underwear. He would probably have been too embarrassed. In this day and age people would think nothing of it, but it would probably offend his manhood. I would have to go commando, because I wouldn't be putting that uncomfortable thong back on again. It was also black, so a bad idea all around as it would show through this dress. I walked back out of the bathroom and towards the main room. I could hear Phillip and Nathaniel arguing while I was examining myself and dressing, but I was to busy to pay attention. I smiled to myself, realizing that I could have been eavesdropping very easily. It sounded like they had forgotten that fact. I was through wasting time. I didn't know all the details of what had happened to me, but I knew that my life had just changed dramatically without my permission and very, very unexpectedly. I wanted to know a few things before I made the decision about what I was going to do. I rounded the corner and decided to try out this fast thing like I'd done getting up from the bed. I was in the chair before in an instant. To normal humans, it would have probably seemed like I'd appeared out of thin air. It was brilliant, and very exhilarating to feel the rush forward as I moved. I wondered how fast I could go. Could I break the sound barrier? That would be interesting. I'd edited a memoir once written by a pilot. He described it as uncomfortable and the first time he'd done it he'd been sick. I wondered if I would get sick. If I could get sick. I'd chosen this place to sit because I could see a cup full of liquid and it smelled too good to resist. No one was sitting here, so I had to assume they'd placed it for me. I was rather parched, I realized. I hadn't noticed until I'd smelled it. I knew what it probably contained, but I wasn't going to be squeamish until I had to bite someone. That thought wasn't sounding pleasant to me. I would probably have to be picky and demand only nice-looking, clean people to eat. My mouth wasn't going anywhere near a smelly homeless person if I could help it. Nathaniel and Phillip had stopped talking and were looking at me when I looked up. I was going to have to quiet my thoughts and pay attention. It was just so easy to be distracted by the ramblings of my brain. Calculating and recalculating movement in a way I hadn't been able to do before. Summarizing many different possibilities all at once. It was easy to get lost in all the thoughts going on. I brought the cup up to my mouth. The taste was unlike any other I'd ever experienced. Sure, I'd put a bleeding finger into my mouth to stop the blood a few times when I'd given myself a paper cut. It was no big deal, blood didn't bother me. I am a woman. I'm used to blood. This, though, was different. It was bliss. It was like I could feel every part of my body absorbing it as I drank. Like a human would, after wandering the desert for days and finally finding a fresh water source, I downed the whole cup quickly. I set it back down and faced my former- maybe?- boss. "So, you two were going to explain everything you know to me?" I said casually. It was obvious that I'd figured out I was very different. What with the blood drinking and the quick movement and the way my brain was functioning far better than it had the night before. What I wanted to know were the specifics. How I was supposed to live from now on, the full list of abilities and limitations, and especially what business Phillip had biting me in the first place. How could I possibly feel so happy when I looked at Nathaniel? I was like him, now. Did that improve my chances with him? Would he forgive his brother and I for what had happened?
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