It’s time to come home, darlin’, a voice whispered in Kendra’s mind. She woke from a sound sleep and shot up in bed. Her heart pounded in her ears as she scanned the room, looking for any signs of her old master.
Light crept in from the edges of the curtained windows. Kendra breathed a sigh of relief seeing it. It was daytime, and Hector would be sleeping just as she had been. “It’s just a dream,” she reasoned, and tried to lie back down to sleep.
But sleep wouldn’t come. Between thoughts of Hector and Marcus, her mind was abuzz with activity.
Hours passed in semi-silence. Kendra watched small particles of dust dance in the shafts of light streaming in through the edges of the curtains. Midday light was powerful, more intense; harsher and brighter. She endured the small tingling sting at her skin as she waved her hand in the stream of light.
“What are you doing?” Marcus’s voice startled her.
She turned to find him leaning against the doorframe, with his arms crossed and his head cocked to the side. His tee-shirt clung to his body like a second skin, outlining his pecs and six-pack abs.
“Just passing time.” Kendra sighed serenely, enjoying the view. She couldn’t believe, after all this time, she was here with him. “Shouldn’t you be sleeping?”
“I could ask you the same thing. Aren’t vamps supposed to—”
“What?” she asked with a playful smirk. “Sleep in coffins?”
“Well, maybe just sleep.” Marcus laughed.
“I don’t need as much rest as you think.”
“What are you doing in the light?”
“I like to feel the warmth sometimes.” She passed her hand through the shaft of light again and giggled. “It kind of tingles.”
“So the no sunlight thing is true?”
“For the most part, yeah.” Kendra frowned. “I can handle the dawn, with a bit of help. You know, sunglasses and all that, but midday is completely out of the question.”
“What’s it like?” Marcus looked on her with a questioning gaze, and Kendra found herself entranced, getting lost in the beautiful hazel of his eyes. They were like sparkling gems that shifted color in the light, first blue, then green, with hints of brown and yellow. Sadness crept into to her thoughts. She realized if she stayed with him, and the bond became stronger, he’d want to be turned. She might want him to turn too. If that happened the beautiful hazel would be lost, washed out and faded to the pale bluish gray all vampires shared.
“Don’t ask me what it’s like.” The playfulness left her voice. “You don’t want to know.”
Marcus took a step into the room. His ankle sagged and he stumbled. In a burst of supernatural speed, Kendra was at his side, steadying him before he hit the ground.
“Careful, you still need to rest.”
“I don’t feel so bad. A little dizzy, that’s all.” Marcus draped his arms around Kendra’s shoulder, allowing her to hold him up. His scent wafted to her nose, that tantalizing earthy masculine scent that was all him. She savored it, inhaling slowly as she helped him to the bed.
“I took a little more than I should have from you last night. You need to lie down and allow your body to recuperate.”
Marcus leaned back into the mattress, propping himself up on his elbows. “I can’t get you out of my head… Why?” He stared up at her, meeting her eyes with a look that begged for answers she couldn’t give him.
Kendra knew what he was feeling, and it went beyond the bond they shared. She’d been in his position before: the need, the want, the willingness to do anything for just one more taste… of blood. That was really all that mattered now. Blood and how to get it again.
“That’s just the bond, the addiction talking.” She sat down next to him and gently stroked his arm. “I’m so sorry, Marcus. What I did to you … It was wrong. I should have never—”
Without warning, his lips crushed hers in a demanding kiss. A rush of excited energy washed through her. She’d dreamed of this moment, never actually thinking it would really happen. His lips were silky, his mouth hungry, and before she knew what was happening, his deliciously warm hands were sneaking their way under the hem of her shirt. Goosebumps erupted across her body. She moaned and he swallowed it, deepening their kiss. He was an exquisite temptation, forbidden fruit, and as much as she knew she shouldn’t, she savored the moment.
She wanted to have him, every inch
of him, and she knew he wanted the same from her. The need radiating from him matched her own secret desire. The bond they shared intensified this connection, making it hard for her to think clearly.
It took all the strength she had to pull away. “No. We have to stop this.”
“No, we don’t,” Marcus said, breathing heavily as if he had just run a marathon. “I don’t know how I can feel it, but I know you want this too.”
“It’s not real.” Her hands trembled as she pushed herself backwards on the bed, away from Marcus. “It’s the bond. You want my blood, not me.” Kendra felt sick. Her stomach churned with regret and sadness. She wanted his affection to be real, but how could it?
Marcus cringed and clutched his stomach as if he was about to be sick. “What’s happening to me?” Marcus groaned and fell backwards on the mattress. He stared blankly up at the ceiling.
“I’ve cursed you with what I’ve done. You see? You can feel everything I feel. It’s the bond at work.”
“Look, blood bond or not, I know you, Kendra. I remember you from Enigma. You were so beautiful, so sexy. You still are. I wanted you then, but I didn’t take the opportunity. Let’s not waste that chance now.” He rolled towards her. “I want to taste your lips. Your neck, your—” He bit his lip and groaned.
“Go ahead, say it. You want my blood. Vampires are ruled by our instincts,” Kendra said matter-of-factly, repeating the words she had heard Hector say before. “We’re hedonists with a finite limit of control. Wants, needs, desires are all amplified.” She looked down at Marcus. “You see? It’s so easy to give in. To become the beast we’re known to be. I’ve cursed you to this fate. Already you’re acting on your desires. You want my blood.”
“You said I’m not a vampire though, just bonded to you.”
“You’ve tasted my blood. You may not be a vampire, but you’re different now. And no mortal drug will ever come close to the ecstasy you’ve felt. It’s only natural you want more.”
Marcus propped himself up on his elbows. “Then give me more. Share yourself with me. Or don’t you think I could handle it?”
“No. Don’t you see? The bloodlust will consume you.”
“What if I have just a little more? What then? Will I become like you?”
“I won’t let that happen.” She fought the urge to reach out to comfort him. She could feel him struggling to hide the desperation he felt. She’d been there before. She knew the pain.
“I want to be with you, to be like you. If that’s the only way, then let’s do it.”
“I wish things could be different. Marcus, I’ve wanted you for so long. I always have, but I can’t. Fate’s decided things for us. I’m a vampire. That’s not the life for you. You deserve better. Look how hard you and the band have worked. Look at all you’ve accomplished. Don’t throw it away because of bloodlust.”
Kendra took a moment to calm herself. Breathing slowly, she quieted her mind.
“It’s not just bloodlust.” Marcus stared deeply into her eyes. “I want you… all of you.”
Kendra let out a stuttered breath. Echoes of her own pleading request to Hector ran through her mind. After her first taste, she couldn’t resist. She’d been willing to say anything necessary to get another taste. And Hector used those words to trap her into this life.
“You don’t know what you’re asking,” she said, looking down at him.
“Then show me what it means to be with you.”
“It would never work between us. How could I ever know it was me you wanted and not just the drug that is my blood?”
Marcus sat up. “I remember you, Kendra.” He let out a deep sigh. “I remember your poetry. I wanted to get to know you back then, but I was so wrapped up in the band I never had time to talk to you. And then … you disappeared.”
Her breath caught in her chest.
“Why didn’t you say that before?”
“I was a little out of it last night,” he said with a smile. “I have something to show you.” He stood up and walked to a small black duffel bag against the wall, unzipped it, and extracted a dirty, tattered notebook.
Kendra recognized it immediately. Beneath the layers of dirt and grime she saw the familiar monogramed K on her old journal.
He handed it to her. “I found this sitting on the table at Enigma. I had hoped to return it to you at the next show. It gave me the perfect excuse to talk to you.” He let out an awkward chuckle. “But you never came back.”
“You’ve held onto this for ten years?” Kendra pulled off the rubber band holding it closed and flipped through the pages. Among her old writings were notes and sketches in the margins.
“Well, at first, yeah, I held it, hoping to see you again, but after a while…” He raked his fingers through his disheveled mop of sandy hair and cleared his throat. “Well, it sort of helped me to come up with our lyrics. Please don’t be mad.”
Kendra sat silent, filled with happiness and pride. The fact that Marcus had held on to her journal, that he actually remembered her and on some level sincerely wanted her was enough to wash away the doubt in her mind about how he felt about her. But genuine affection aside, she still couldn’t condemn him to her way of life.
“Please say something,” Marcus said, kneeling down in front of her.
“I don’t have the words—” Tears choked back her voice.
“We owe a lot of our success to you. Your poetry.”
“I’m glad my writing helped. I’m… honored.”
“But—” Sadness turned the corners of Marcus’s lips. “I can feel there’s a but there. You’re still not convinced. Why am I feeling this?” Frustration edged his voice.
“I’ve already told you. You can feel what I do and vice versa. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be here, to be with you right now, but I just don’t know how we could be together. I’m not human anymore, and I refuse to condemn you to my life.”
“Okay. I won’t ask you to turn me. Just give me the chance to get to know you, now that I have you here. I don’t want to miss that opportunity again.”
Kendra clenched her teeth. She knew she should say no, but she too wanted the chance to see what she had missed all those years ago.
“No promises about the future, but while I’m here, we can get to know each other.”
As if the lights had been turned on, Marcus’s eyes lit up and a wide smile stretched across his face. Through their shared bond, she felt his elation like a warm pulse of energy that matched the beat of her heart.
He jumped up, capturing her mouth, knocking her backwards into the mattress. He landed on top of her but caught himself on his hands before he crushed her. His toned body fit so perfectly between her legs. His hot breath blew across her ear as he spoke. “I’ve wanted you for so long.” Marcus’s words melted her heart. She wanted him too, and hearing the words and feeling their intensity made them all the more meaningful. A small chill, a ripple of excitement, rolled through Kendra’s body. She felt the stiffness of his erection through his jeans, but even without that physical sign, she knew his desire. It was hers too. Their bond was gaining strength by the minute. She tried to fight back the sudden urge to run her hands over his body and pull him even closer. As if Marcus had read her mind, he wrapped his arms around her, rolled over, and pulled her on top of him.
Kendra had a moment of painful clarity that shocked her back into reality. She couldn’t do this. Not now. Maybe not ever. Things were happening too fast. She needed to get a little control. She’d already made too many rash mistakes. She rolled off Marcus and sat up on the mattress. “I want you too. But… let’s take this slow, okay?”
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