Authors note: - I actually started this story many years ago, but it got lost when my first computer crashed and simply forgot about it until I found it one day. So I cleaned it up and finished it. I think it's pretty good and I like Bella, she's a bitch.

Update: Typo's are evil.

The Tainted Angel

            I have terrible luck with women. I somehow managed to always say or do the wrong things. Every time I tried to impress a woman, I ended up pissing her off or making an ass of myself. It was frustrating. Even when I was a kid, I had a habit of getting in trouble with girls. The few women I managed to get to go out with me turned out to be crazy or longed for my death by the end of the night.

            Tonight was turning out to be worse than any of my other disastrous dates. I had met her at a bar. She actually talked to me, which should have been the first sign of a problem. Her name was Kimi. She was a dark exotic-looking woman with smooth skin the color of mocha and lips so red they seemed blood-stained. The hair that graced her delicate shoulders was a dark burnt-gold color and just long enough to touch the middle of her svelte back. When I first met her gaze I couldn't say anything; it was as if the twin pools of amber that were her eyes sucked me in and held me in a trance. After I had recovered enough to speak, she gave me her number and told me to call her some time. Before I could say more to her than my name, she was gone.

            I don't know what was wrong with me. Maybe I should just give up and become a monk. Then I wouldn't have to deal with women.

            "You're so much fun, Andrew, not like all the other men." I heard her as if she was right beside me. I could almost feel her breath across my skin.

            "I bet you taste real good too…" Her voice was a soft croon in my ear. It only made me run faster.

            Trees whipped past me and plants clawed at my body. The wind was sharp and cold against my bare skin. I was running from my date; Kimi, the lovely petite woman of my dreams. Why? Well it's best I start from the beginning.

            A few days after meeting her in the bar I couldn't get her out of my head. Every time I closed my eyes I could see her, smiling at me seductively; promising so much with just her lips and eyes. At times it was as if I could smell her; it was intoxicating. When I went to sleep at night she was there in my dreams. Doing things to me no other woman had done before. The more time I waited to see her, the more it seemed she was there in my mind.

            So I finally got the nerve up to call her. Unfortunately I got her answering machine. I left a message and never expected her to call me back, but she did. The first thing she said to me when I picked up the phone and said hi was: "So, you want to go out on a date with me? I would guess that is why you called." She then laughed, even other the phone I could feel her voice flowing along my body, it felt like silk being lightly dragged across my skin.

            I did ask her out and she accepted. For the next two days before the date I was in a daze, up until the point I picker her up from her apartment. I was wearing the best clothes I owned and was feeling pretty sharp in my black dress pants and matching red shirt with a nice, fancy but plain tie. That was until I saw her.

            The dress she wore was barely legal. It was black and hung nearly to the ground, but had slits up the side that stopped just below her ribs. A tiny silver chain kept the two sides of the dress together at her hips. She was wearing black silk stockings with a garter belt, and no underwear. The dress had a v-neck that went far enough down you could see her navel, again more little silver chains held the dress together. It was backless so I suspected she wasn't wearing a bra either. Then again, women had all sorts of odd things to make them appear more decent. Looking at her face and playfully seductive eyes, I forgot about all things decent.

            By the time I recovered and helped her into the car, it was already late. The sun had been down for an hour by then. I started to drive to the fancy restaurant that I hoped I could afford to pay for when she suggested we skip dinner and go for a drive. She mentioned a spot in the woods that was beautiful and very romantic.

            How could I argue with her? Like a fool, I followed her directions into the woods. When we arrived in the spot she spoke of, I realized I had no idea where we were. The moon was full overhead and since the city was far away we could see the stars clearly. It was very romantic; the smell of night-blooming flowers was in the air. Insects chirped and buzzed in the forest but the night was mostly quiet.

            Before I could start to say anything to her she slid into my lap. I just stared at her in shock and tried to make my voice work. My mouth was open but nothing came out. Then she kissed me. Sadly enough, I could count on one hand how many times I'd been kissed. Half of them were dares. Her lips were surprisingly cold and she kissed with more passion than I though anyone could have.

            Kimi didn't care much for taking things slow, as I quickly found out. After only a few moments of kissing, she suddenly ripped my shirt off as if it were tissue paper. I started to jerk back, to say something, but she only kissed me harder. As I struggled for breath, I cut myself on her tooth. The sudden sharp pain in my mouth made me wrench away hard enough to make her let go.

            I stared at her in shock and put a hand to my lip. When I pulled it back it was spotted with blood. Kimi grinned at me and inquired playfully, "What? You don't like it rough?" She immediately leaned in to kiss me again. I quickly pushed her off my lap and back into her seat. She pouted her full red lips at me.

            "This is a little too much, too fast, Kimi!" I shook my head and climbed out of the car into the cool night trying to clear my head. She got out on her side.

            "What's wrong Andrew? Am I not good enough for you?" Her smile was playful but somehow pouty at the same time.

            I looked across the car at her. "It's not that... I... just... I'm not used to this." I shook my head and turned away from her; if I kept staring into her eyes I might not ever look away.

            The sound of something landing on top of my car made me turn around. Kimi was crouched on the roof looking feral and gorgeous. She slowly smiled at me, revealing long, fang-like canines. That explained what I cut myself on. She leaned over to me and purred in a dark seductive voice.

            "Don't worry Andrew, I wont hurt you much." She threw her head back and laughed. I backed away from her and the car.

            "What the hell is going on..." I gave her a confused look. "Don't tell me you're a crazy vampire wannabe."

            She dropped off the car more gracefully than any woman I'd ever seen and stalked towards me. No one should be able to move that well in stiletto heels.

            "I am hardly a wannabe. I'm the real thing. But don't worry, Andrew... You'll enjoy it. Some say my bite is better than sex." Kimi smiled more and was suddenly beside me. I never saw her moving, but somehow she was suddenly there.

            "I'll give you a sporting chance. If you can get away I'll leave you alone... but if I catch you, you're mine... forever." She laughed softly in my ear and licked my neck slowly.

            I don't know why, but at that moment she scared me more than anything else had in my whole life. Like a terrified rabbit I bolted, her laughter chasing after me as I ran into the woods.

            So there I was, running for my life, from a vampire. It didn't really surprise me; with my luck it made sense that I would run into such a creature and ask her out on a date. Like I said, I have terrible luck with women.

            I don't know how long I'd been running but she remained hot on my heels, her voice constantly teasing me as I tried in vain to get away. Distantly I knew that I didn't stand a chance, but that didn't mean I was going to roll over and give up.

            The woods in front of me suddenly opened up. I was running too fast to stop and ended up falling into a river that cut through the woods. It didn't slow me down much; I quickly recovered and swam to the other side. When I climbed out onto the bank something hit me in the back. I fell face first into the muddy ground. Terrified, I rolled onto my back and looked up into Kimi's face from barely an inch away.

            Kimi giggled and kissed me on the nose. "Come on Andrew, you can do better than that!"

            I screamed and scrambled back away from her and jumped to my feet. In an instant I was back to running through the woods. Now I was soaking wet and the pleasantly chilly air was now bitterly cold.

            Up ahead I saw a light. I quickly redoubled my efforts and ran faster. I burst out of the woods and saw the source of the light. Right in front of me was an old log cabin that had seen better days. The light was coming from its windows, most likely from the fireplace since smoke was coming out of the chimney stack.

            "No one can save you Andrew, so why try?" Kimi's voice came from all around me. I didn't let it get to me and ran for the door of the cabin.

            "Help! Please!" I ran into the door and tried to open it but found it looked. "Shit! Come on, please open up!"

            I felt a hand run along my naked back and heard Kimi's laugh, when I turned around no one was there. Suddenly the door I was leaning against opened up and I fell onto my back.

            When I looked up I saw an unusual sight. A white haired young woman was looking down at me with the bluest eyes I've ever seen.

            "I opened up. Now what do you want me to do?" Her voice was gruff but oddly enough pleasant.

            I stumbled to my feet and found myself eye level with the odd woman. It surprised me because I was six foot one.

            "If I told you, you'd think I was insane..." I was shivering badly from the cold and fear.

            The strange woman looked me over carefully then met my eyes. "Just looking at you makes me think you're insane. Anything you say couldn't make it worse."

            Her eyes shifted from me to looking over my shoulder. I moaned not wanting to turn around and see what she was looking at, knowing already what it was. But I did so anyway.

            Kimi was standing there, smiling. "Come on Andrew. It's getting late. Time we headed home." She held out one of her small delicate hands out to me and I was compelled to go to her.

            A strong hand grabbed my shoulder and I was suddenly lifted off my feet and thrown into the cabin. I landed on a rug and skidded to a stop just a foot away from the fireplace. When I got to my feet and looked over at the open door the tall woman was stalking out towards Kimi who looked startled.

            "Crazy boy isn't going anywhere with you." Her voice was near growling. "He's staying right here with me. And you are going to die."

            Kimi took a step back startled but quickly regained her composure. She laughed. "Oh, really!? So your going to try to kill me!?"

            I walked over to the doorway and stood inside it. The taller woman reached under her coat and pulled out a sword. Both Kimi and I gawked at it.

            "I'm not going to try to kill you. I will kill you. There is no question about it. Your death was assured the instant you came here." She held up the sword in one hand, the full moon glinted off the sharp blade. I realized after a second it was emitting its own light. Strange blood red symbols that seemed to be moving were etched along the center of the blade. It hurt my eyes to stare too long at them.

            Kimi lost all her arrogance and said softly. "So... you are the one who has been doing the killing around here."

            The other woman nodded. "Yes, I am. Your brood is terribly stupid. I bet most of them will be lost without their master. Oh, well. It's not as if I care what happens to a bunch of vampires."

            Kimi looked around at the woods, obviously considering her options. She squared her narrow shoulders and glared at the white haired woman. "Very well. I will kill you for what you have done. I am not as weak as the others you have faced."

            "I agree. You are hardly as weak as the others I have slaughtered." The woman laughed harshly and smoothly slipped into fighting stance. "So, let's stop the pointless banter and get on to business."

            "A very serious vampire hunter. I'm not surprised. Not a single one of you has a sense of humor. It's terrible, really." Kimi smirked and vanished. At least to my eyes she did. She reappeared behind the apparent vampire hunter with an arrogant laugh.

            "Now you die!" She held back her hand and started to strike at the woman. The hunter surprised us both by casually side stepping the attack and standing only inches away from her attacker.

            "That's what you all say." She made a movement too fast for me to see and the blade suddenly burst out of Kimi's back. Her body spasmed and a look of utter shock spread across her face. The tall woman just stared at her with the most cold, dead expression I had ever seen in my life. With a casual movement she wrenched the blade sideways from Kimi's body and took a step back. Kimi started to turn, tried to run, but the sword swung too fast. I watched in horror as it easily severed her head from her neck. Her body slowly slumped to the ground and fell forward. Kimi's head landed a few feet from her body.

            The woman turned around and looked at me callously. "Try not to vomit near the door. Go around back."

            When she said that, I felt the bile rise in my throat. I ran around the cabin and puked into some bushes. Even after I had vomited up all that was in my stomach, I couldn't stop dry heaving for a while. Eventually my body calmed. I was afraid to go back around to the front of the cabin, but when I arrived the body was gone. There was only a small bit of blood on the ground to show that anything had happened.

            I walked inside slowly my hand resting on my belly, still feeling ill. When I looked up I saw the strange woman from a few feet away. This time I had the chance to get a good look at her.

            She had long white hair that seemed perfectly natural; her skin was almost as pale. Her features were feral and eldrich, though her full soft pink lips softened the almost too harsh appearance of her face. Kimi had been the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. At least until I met this one. She wore no makeup, and probably never had, but she didn't need to. Her beauty was natural and pure, but it was dimmed by the ruthless look in her eyes.

            Her clothes were simple and ragged. Numerous holes dotted the jeans she wore and her shirt at one time must have been a nice silk dress top but now it was dingy and various shades of blue. Over it all she wore a black leather trench coat that looked decades old. To top it all off she had a pair of knee-high buckled up leather black boots. Over all she looked mean, tough and didn't seem to give a crap about anything.

            I smiled at her as best I could and said softly. "Hi... my name's Andrew. Who are you?"

            She looked me over and sighed. "I'm BellaDonna. You can call me Bella or BellaDonna. Call me Donna and I'll feed you your liver." Her voice was tired and hoarse. She seemed exhausted.

            "Nice to meet you Bella. Thanks for saving me." I walked towards her slowly, my body sore for all the running. The only reaction she gave me was a shrug. I stopped near the fire and slowly sat down with a sigh; it felt nice and warm and I quickly relaxed.

            "Before you get too comfortable, I would suggest you go wash up in the river. I don't want you getting mud and dirt all over the place." Bella walked over to me and squatted down beside me throwing a log onto the fire. She looked at me and said sharply. "That means now, not later."

I nodded. "Sorry, sorry... I'm going." I got up with a groan and did as she told me.

After rinsing off in the cold river I walked back in dripping wet. Just as I stepped in the door, a towel was shoved in my face.

            "Don't track water everywhere, either. Now get undressed before you get pneumonia." She walked back to the fire and sat down, not giving me another look. Amusingly enough she didn't sound concerned about this possibility, only irritated by it.

            "You don't have many friends, do you?" I asked, watching her as I undressed. Thankfully, she kept her back to me as she talked.

            "No I do not. I'm a vampire hunter. We aren't meant to make many friends. It's bad for business and can get people killed. Besides, I travel a lot. So I don't have time for friends." She slid off her jacket and tossed it onto a chair. "You can wear that if you're the modest type."

            "Um, where do I put my wet clothes?" I looked around for a spot to put them and didn't find anything helpful.

            "The table is fine." Bella motioned to the table between the two of us. I dropped my pile of clothes onto the ancient table and put on her coat. It was still warm from being wrapped in her body and smelled faintly of herbs.

I watched her for a few moments. She was sitting very still with her legs crossed and facing the fireplace. Her hair had a gentle wave to it and looked recently brushed. I could see her chest expand and contract as she breathed; her shirt was just a little too tight. Then I realized something was under it.

Before I could stop myself I blurted out, "Are you wearing a bullet-proof vest?"

She shifted slightly and regarded me with a bland expression. "Yes. I'm also wearing more body armor. You think I would go head to head with monsters unprotected?"

"Oh…" I walked over to her side and sat down carefully, not wanting the coat to suddenly come open and share my nakedness with the world.

"So you're a vampire hunter?" I moved a little so I could partially face her and the fire at once.

"No, I'm a potato picker." Bella glared at me. "Weren't you paying any attention to the fight that just happened or the fact I carry around a big fucking sword?"

I dipped by head slightly in embarrassment. "I was just trying to start a conversation."

"Are you hurt at all?" Her voice seemed softer this time, almost like she felt bad about snapping at me.

"Not really, just a few scratches and bruises." She looked me over as I spoke and nodded slightly.

"Good, wouldn't want to have to stitch you up or something. I'm not very good at it." A vague smirk crossed her lips. "I bet you wouldn't be able to handle it."

"What? Getting stitched up with nothing to dull the pain?" I shook my head laughing. "Who could?"

"My father for one, but it would be unkind of me to compare you with him. Let alone impossible." She chuckled darkly and got to her feet walking into the only other room in the cabin. A few moments later she came out with some clothes. "Here, put these on."

She dumped them in my lap and returned to the bedroom. I didn't argue and quickly got dressed. It was a little surprising that she had included a pair of boxers with the pants and shirt. Why a woman was carrying them around was beyond me.

When she walked back out she had a bag slung over her right shoulder. She moved to the chair that I had thrown her coat on and proceeded to don it.

"Come on, I'm taking you home." Bella said and walked to the door, not waiting for me to say anything.

I rushed out the door and quickly fell instep beside her. "I forgot to say this earlier but… thanks for saving my life."

Bella shrugged. "It's what I do. Protect humans from the monsters. Though it's not often I do so directly."

"How… and why did you become a hunter?" I watched her face closely, dieing to know what had made this lovely young woman into a ruthless hunter. Numerous scenarios flashed through my mind, most involved her or her family being wronged by vampires.

"Well, my father had trained me to fight since I was old enough to hold a sword. So the 'how' part is easy to explain. But the 'why', you may not be very impressed with." She gave me a look that suggested she knew exactly what I was thinking. "No one in my family was ever killed by the undead. Both my parents are alive and well and I have numerous sisters that rarely have a negative encounter with vamps. When they do have a bad run-in, it's normally something boring like they were an ass to them."

Bella stopped walking and poked me in the chest. "And no, I'm not from a long line of hunters." She began to walk again and continued talking. "Though my father would make a great hunter. The fact of the matter is, I know how they work and the majority of them don't deserve the life they have. Besides, my mother was raped by one."

I stumbled slightly at this revelation. "I'm… sorry."

She looked at me and sneered. "What? Sorry that I was born? Because if he hadn't done so, I wouldn't be here. Besides, it wasn't like he did so physically. It was more so magical. In fact, she doesn't even really remember what happened."

"So you're half vampire? Is that even possible? I thought they were dead!" I stared at her in shock.

"Yes, I'm half vampire, and yes, it's possible. They're just as fertile as you and they are only undead, not fully dead. If they were fully dead they'd be zombies. And trust me, those are two very different things." She stopped talking when we reached the river and then headed to the right, moving up stream.

We walked in silence for a long time. I was deep in thought over the recent events. My entire life, I had put vampire in the same category as witches, ghosts, dragons and the Easter bunny. It was strange to have this little belief of mine crushed in one fell swoop. It made me wonder what else was real.

"So… are other creatures from legend real? Like werewolves?" I asked while stepping onto a bridge that spanned the river we had been walking beside. By then we had been walking for at least a half hour.

"Of course. Why wouldn't they be?" She snorted slightly and kept her eyes on the small path we were on.

"Ghosts, fairies, dragons…and what about magic? Is that real, too?" By then I was actually getting excited by the notion of all the things I'd read about since I was a child being real. It was as if a whole new world had opened up in front of me, and I for one wasn't going to shy away from the possibilities it brought with it.

"Yes, yes, most are dead and last time I checked magic and mages were thoroughly real. Unless I've been imagining my sister to be real this whole time." She laughed dryly. "I swear humans are so strange; some would be terrified to know that they had been lied to most of their lives and that the monsters of the night are real. You, on the other hand, seem happy to hear so."

"Well, it's kind of nice to validate my childhood fantasies," I said with a little laugh. "Besides, now that I know about such things, I'll be better equipped to handle them. So if you are a vampire hunter, why don't you have any stakes?"

She looked at me sharply. "Because it would be pointless. If I were to stake a vampire, I would have accomplished nothing but to piss it off and even though I'm a hunter, I'd rather not deal with a pissed-off vampire."

"Oh, so is garlic harming them a myth too?" I glanced at her curiously.

"Yes, and holy water and crosses. The only time they are affected by the latter two is if they think that it will. Since I don't want to bank on it, I don't bother to have any with me. Besides, I'm not Christian or Catholic." She sounded annoyed to be telling me this, as if it personally offended her that people believed such things.

 "So how do you kill them?" I asked with a little more caution than my last two questions.

"Like you kill most things, cut off their heads. Very few things can live after they lose their head. In fact, off the top of my head I can't think of a one." She made a vague motion with her hand as she spoke. "So it's just better to have a sword than a gun in this business. A gun might not hurt everything, but a sword will hurt most things."

I went back to being silent for the rest of the walk. She didn't seem to really want to talk about it anyway. Then again, I would be irritated to have to answer a lot of stupid questions about my job so I didn't blame her. Eventually we arrived back at the clearing where it all started. My car sat there silently, undisturbed. It reminded me about how quickly things had happened. I looked at my watch and discovered it was only midnight. What had seemed like ages only lasted a few hours.

"I'm sure you can get home from here," she said, not making a move towards my car, but keeping to the edge of the woods.

"I'll just follow the road till I find civilization." I walked to the diver's side door and opened it.

"Be more careful…and try not to run into any more vampires," Bella said with her usual amount of passion.

"Trust me, I'll be a lot more careful about the women I date." I turned around laughing and saw she was gone. Not a trace marked the path we had exited the woods from, and all I had to show for the night was a new pair of clothes and some minor wounds.

*                      *                      *

Two days later, a knock sounded on my door. When I opened it, no one was to be seen, but sitting on my doormat was a small package with a note taped to it. I leaned over, picked up the parcel and read the note. It simply said: 'Take better care of yourself. It's unhealthy to date crazy women.' I laughed and opened the package. Inside, I found my clothes, with a dagger and sheath on top.