Author's Note: Well, hello. This is a short story I started awhile ago and finally finished today. It's similar and different to those I have written in the past. Either way, I like the story. Anne, I think you will enjoy it too. Momo, thank you for patiently waiting while I edited. For those who are waiting for Tears of Blood to be posted up… sometime this week or next week, I promise. I have had a nice three week vacation from writing and ready to get back on it. I think. Anyhow, read, review and enjoy!

A Vampire's Kiss

Summary: She was innocence, but knew she shouldn't have challenged him. He would claim a forfeit. He was cloaked in darkness and shadows and there was a dangerous, enigmatic air about him. He was corruption with fangs.

            The worn dirt path wound through the trees in the park. The moon was out with its pale luster and with the aid of the brilliant stars, it lit up the night. The looming trees blocked out most of the light, but the faint breeze would rustle through the leaves, causing the branches to sway and the moonlight would filter through to dance along the path. Occasional drifting cloud would conceal the moonlight at whim.

            I did not need the light to help me along my way. I could walk along this path blindfolded. It was my shortcut home from the café where I worked. I lived three blocks away from the café, but chose to walk through the park every night and tonight was no exception.

            The only difference tonight was that I was not wearing the uniform that consisted of black dress pants and a white t-shirt with the café logo on the breast. No, tonight I had on a white silk summer dress that fell to just above my knees; my long, waist-length, hair had tumbled out of the elegant up-do it had been in earlier tonight to fall down my back in waves, and I was walking barefoot, carrying the white, strappy heels I had been wearing in my hands.

            I had come back from a party. Rudyard and Gwen Willis, my bosses, were an elderly couple who had opened up the café a year ago tonight. They decided to celebrate their success with all their employees. They were a sweet, old pair who played the part of a parent to me more than my real parents did. I smiled, remembering their concern that I was walking home alone at night. It had taken some cajoling to assure them I was perfectly content walking.

            They were worried because I had been drinking. I wasn't overly drunk or anything that one should really be concerned about. I wouldn't deny that I was feeling a bit lightheaded and gleefully happy. I wasn't about to complain about it either.

            Either way, this park was safe to walk in at night. I had been doing so for the last year and a half and nothing close to dangerous or even threatening had happened. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been made to feel a bit uncomfortable on few occasions. I would run into some people who were rather unsavory, but other than leering, whistling or letting out cat calls, nothing had been done.

            I felt a prickle of unease at the base of my neck. A furtive glance around me once more convinced me that I was truly alone. With a laugh at my groundless uneasiness, I spun around in a joyful circle.

            Stepping off the path, I decided I wished to go see the lake. At midnight, as it was now, I sometimes walked through the path for the sole reason of looking at the lake. In the moonlight, surrounded by darkness, it looked like rippling, liquid silver. It was almost like an enchanted place, I decided wistfully. Here, you could believe in mermaids and dragons and the notion wouldn't seem as foolish as it would have in the sunlight.

            I began walking around the lake and from across the lake, I could see the top of my house. I stood in a moonlit clearing by the lake swaying with the breeze causing both my hair and my dress to float and flutter behind me. I imagined that if anyone who looked out their window, they could easily believe they were looking at a ghost or some other ethereal spirit.

            Something rustled behind me and I whirled around to greet the noise. Out from the shadows caused by the trees, stepped a man. In the moonlight, his face looked especially pale in contrast to his all dark clothes. He stepped closer and I studied he who dared to shatter my dreamlike retreat by introducing reality. There were no dragons or mermaids and I was no ethereal spirit, no matter how much I may have looked like one from afar. No, I was a woman and he was a man and we were completely alone standing by a lake that reflected the silver moonlight.

            Staring back at me were midnight, unfathomable eyes framed by dark eyelashes. His jet black hair was loose and tousled and inexplicitly my hands were itching to run through it. He had a tall, lean, muscular body garbed in black jeans, a t-shirt and a black leather jacket. His hands were tucked in the pockets of his jacket as he studied me.

            I was very aware of the opposites we represented. I was garbed in all white, my hair was open, I was barefoot, and standing in the moonlight. I was innocence. He was clothed in all black, was cloaked in darkness and shadows, and there was an enigmatic air about him. He was corruption. A small shudder wracked my body.

            My uneasiness returned and although he stood on the other side of the clearing, I took a small, telling step backward. He saw it and a slow smile dawned on his features. It didn't soften his features, but it possessed a disarming quality. I wasn't at all disarmed. I wanted to stay. I felt safe, but my instincts told me that I wasn't. It was due to this inner turmoil that I took another step back.

            "Scared?" he questioned. His voice was faintly accented, but I couldn't place the accent. It was smooth, like velvet, as it drifted through the clearing and wrapped around me. He was entrancing. I imagined that he was like a flame and others flocked around him like moths. I remained worried. The moths were burned by the same flame that lured them.

            Still, I had my pride. "Is there a reason I should be?" I queried, trying to maintain an appearance of nonchalance. He didn't look fooled, but he looked amused.

            "Yes," he replied without hesitation. "The night can be a dangerous place for little girls to be out walking alone."

            "No more dangerous than day," I stubbornly insisted. "The night reveals things that remain hidden in the shadows during the day."

            He raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. After a moment of drawn out silence, I turned and began walking away from him. It would have been quicker to go back the way I came from, but I wanted to be far away from him and yet, closer to him at the same time. In the end, moving far away from him seemed to win as I walked away.

            "I wouldn't go that way if I were you," he stated mildly.

            I chose to ignore him. Of course, he would advise me to come closer to him. He probably wanted me close enough to grasp me and drag me back into the shadows with him where he would have his wicked way with me, so to speak. I continued to walk away and felt his eyes on me as I left him alone in the clearing.

            The moon cowered behind passing clouds and the wind seemed to picking up. It was no longer a refreshing breeze, but a cool, brisk wind. The night no longer seemed to be magical or enchanting. Once again, reality had intruded. I hated when creepy guys bothered me, but I had never been so… disturbed by an encounter either.

            He wasn't creepy or even sinister, but even my instincts seemed to be muddled around the blasted man. They automatically told me to draw back away from him and told me to get close enough to touch him too. It was completely understandable for me to feel uncomfortable around a man my senses could not make sense of.

            I tried to resist the temptation to look back, but I couldn't help it. I glanced over my shoulder and saw nothing. It was just an empty clearing. I stopped in my tracks and looked at the clearing. Had I imagined it all? It looked harmless. Thinking back, the encounter had been harmless as well. He had probably found me amusing because he thought me paranoid.

            I turned back and continued on my way home. I just wanted to get back onto the main path and go home. I had had enough of the lake, the park and all the disturbing creatures that came with it. I still felt the prickle at the base of my neck. It was obvious that I had a bit more to drink than I had first thought. My nerves were completely shot.

            As I neared another clearing, I slowed down as I heard hushed voices. I made my way to the edge of the clearing and halted. Five or six men had formed a circle around another. The one in the middle was shaking, sweating profusely and, I understood when I saw the gleam of a blade at his throat, begging for his life.

            I couldn't help the man, but my conscience wouldn't allow me to leave his fate in the hands of these men. Filled with indecision, I finally decided it would be better to go back and call for help. I took a step back to do so when one of the men turned his head and his beady, pig-like eyes settled on me. I froze to watch in mild horror as the others looked up and caught sight of me as well.

            The one with the blade pushed away the other man and drawled, "Well, look what we got here, boys," as he unhurriedly came toward me.

            I broke whatever hold had kept me frozen in my spot and turned to run. I turned and ran into another man. I automatically recoiled and turned to run in another direction, but his hand shot out to grab my arm. I looked up to see the same man from the clearing.

            He ignored the man with the knife and stared down at me with resignation clearly depicted in his eyes. "I warned you not to come this way," he said softly. "Didn't I tell you it wasn't safe for little girls like you?"

            I swallowed. I thought he had been warning me of himself. Another thought struck. Was he working with the other bullies? Was he supposed to watched out and make sure others didn't wander onto the scene as I had?

            He read the emotions that played across my face as one might read a book. He chuckled. "Not so trusting, are you? What if I rescued you from the danger you walked into yourself? Would you still look up at me with wide-eyed horror as if I were the devil himself?"

            Wasn't he the devil himself? However, I held my tongue. I needed rescuing, but it was simply impossible for him to take on the bullies without assistance. I forgot to be afraid. I became skeptical. Sure, he seemed to have an agile and able body, but most of the bullies looked as if they ate steroids for breakfast. "Don't be ridiculous. You'll get yourself killed."

            He laughed outright at that. "I bet you I can get rid of them all easily."

            "You can't," I said with a shake of my head.

            "Why, darling, that sounds like a challenge," he remarked, immensely pleased. "Are you prepared to give up a forfeit if I win?"

            "Are you prepared to give up your life for a silly challenge, darling?" I retorted.

            He replied by taking off his jacket and tossing it over to me. He leisurely sauntered into the clearing before the other man. The man with the knife laughed at this challenge, the rest of the bullies laughed with him.

            The bully charged at my defender with the knife ready in his hand. It was completely unfair. The idiotic man was facing five bigger, tougher men who were armed with a weapon. The man whom they had been threatening took the golden opportunity and fled.

            The men now formed a loose ring around the two men who were fighting. Currently my defender was evading the sharp tip of the dagger the bully was swiping in front of him. It occurred to me that he was taunting my defender. They were so sure of victory and why wouldn't they be? If I had any sense, I would run now while I still could, but my conscience would allow me to leave the man, stranger that he was, to face these men all by himself. He had gotten into this fight for me, after all.

            As if growing weary of having a knife waved in front of his face, my defender's hand lashed out and fastened on the wrist of the hand wielding the dagger. The man tried to yank his hand out of my defender's grip, but failed to. His eyes widened slightly as if recognizing he had underestimated his enemy and then narrowed his eyes at the new challenge. I am convinced the entire male species is made up of idiots.

            He curled his pudgy hand into a fist and aimed for the head of my defender. My defender stepped back and twisted the bully's arms behind him efficiently immobilizing him. He tightened his hand around the man's wrist and a sickening snap rang out into the clearing. The bully cried out in pain as he fell to his knees clutching his now broken wrist.

            I stared, no gaped at the man who had come to my rescue. He had exerted the same amount of effort as one does when swatting away a fly and he had crushed the bones in the other man's wrist. The knife fell to the ground forgotten and my defender turned around to wink at me. With a perturbed quiver in my stomach, I realized he was having fun.

            He could take care of himself, a little voice in my head pointed out. Run while you still can!

            I was tempted to, but my conscience would eat away at me. So the guy merciless won victory over one man. There were still four more men and who was to say that my defender could rid of them so easily? Who was to say that these men would fight fairly and face my defender one by one instead of all at once? No, as tempted as I was, I couldn't leave.

            It wasn't only my conscience that was keeping me there. I had never ever in my life witnessed a brawl. Sure, I had seen such things on television shows and movies, but not in real life. I felt that faint, primal thrill females felt when males fought over them. That was what was happening in a way in front of me.

            Two other bullies attacked my defender at the same time. He evaded their attacks and the two ended up hitting one another. They rolled away while another man distracted my defender. I didn't notice what was going on at first, but then I saw the two that rolled away sneaking to the sides while the man with the broken wrist picked up the disregarded knife. They were going to stab him from behind.

            I cried out. "Hey, wait!" I had no idea what his name was. Frustrated, I shouted out, "Hey you! Behind you, he has the knife again!"

            My defender whirled around to look at me. The blasted man was looking at me instead of the slowly advancing, knife wielding man. "Are you shouting at me?" he queried in the same town one might ask about the weather.

            "Yes!" I yelled. "Do you not see the man with the knife?"

            One of the men, who had been advancing to grab the defender's arms while the guy with the broken wrist would stab him, turned around swiftly and lashed out at me. I stumbled backward, fell down and branched raked across my arm in the process. Crimson blood welled up in the scratches started trailing down my arms. When I sat back up, the man who pushed me was lying motionlessly on the other side of the clearing and the men still standing were looking at my defender with new wariness.

            As for my defender, he was crouched down next to me. His eyes were focused intently on my wounded arm. I shifted away from him, uneasily. He looked up at my face, saw my reaction and grinned. "The name is Malachi. Just thought I'd let you know in case you wish to scream my name out again. Stay here while I finish them off."

            To the men, my defender, Malachi said, "Okay boys, enough fooling around."

            What happened next stunned me. I couldn't quite believe what happened. One of the men ran towards Malachi and Malachi swatted him away with a flick of the wrist. The man tumbled backwards falling back even harder than I had and I had been knocked down by the full force of a man twice my size. My gaze went back to the man lying motionless on the ground. Was he… was he dead?

            My instincts began screaming again and alarms in my head began to wail. They had been doing so all along, but I had been ignoring them. As I continued to watch Malachi fight, the more convinced I was that this simply was not possible. No one could pick up a man twice his weight and throw him into another man. This was wrong. It was inhuman. No man could have this much strength. I took a small step back and then another.

            It couldn't be happening, yet it was happening right before my eyes. I took another step back, still clutching the jacket to my chest, almost trying to hide in its folds. It was impossible. My eyes widened as I saw Malachi pick up a dead log and use it as a bat against one of the remaining men. That was it.

            I didn't care if this man was trying to save me. He wasn't a man. I had no idea what he was, but it wasn't human. I confronted the fear of the unknown as any other sane person would. I whirled around and fled the scene. My stubborn conscience once more made a futile effort to stop me. It was still two against one. However, I knew if those two men had any sense at all, they would run away just like I was.

            My instincts were weeping with relief. They were cheering me on as I ran through the forest with blind fear. Fear was what I felt, the fear that any prey feels when they come across an unexpected confrontation with a deadly predator. Hadn't I thought he was dangerous in the clearing? Why couldn't I listen to my instincts? I would always listen to them for the remainder of my life. I was never going to walk through this park alone at night again. No wait, I was never going to walk through this park alone, day or night. Or better yet, I was never going to walk through this forest, period.

            Eventually I was forced to stop running. I stood there in a small dark clearing just a few feet away from the forest's edge. My house was closer. I could see it. In five minutes, I would be there. I was so relieved that at first, I didn't notice.

            I stood there leaning against a tree, gasping for air when it struck me. Beyond the noise of my breathing, the forest was utterly silent. Nothing moved, nothing made a sound. It was unnaturally silent. Then, I felt it. I felt that small prickle of unease I had felt in the very beginning.

            My instincts were no longer weeping with relief or cheering in joy. They were cowering as the dread became overwhelming. "Oh no, oh no," I whimpered as I started backing out of the forest. I was facing the way I came from figuring if he did come after me, he would have followed me.

            I bumped into something a screamed as I whirled around to face… a tree. I shook my head and laughed a little. "Evangeline, you really must get a grip on yourself," I scolded myself.

            "Evangeline," a familiar accented voice repeated. I let out a little shriek and turned around to find him right behind me. I was trapped between the tree and him. He smiled down at me as if he thought I was cute, but just a little silly. His eyes ran over my body. "It suits you. I like that name."

            "You like it? You can have it," I declared as I ducked under his arm and tried to run.

            He caught me before I could take more than once step and he hauled me back to him. He wasn't brutal. In fact, he was almost gentle, but it was not a hold I could break and no matter how hard I struggled, I couldn't escape him. I eventually subsided.

            "You stole my jacket," he teased.

            I had run away while still holding it. Even now, I was clutching it as if it were my only hope or my last connection to reality. This wasn't reality. I had obviously had had too much to drink. Rudyard and Gwen were right; I should have never wandered around drunk.

            "Evangeline, look at me," he ordered.

            My instincts told me to shut my eyes so I did. He tilted my face upward so that had my eyes been open, I would have been force to look at him. I heard him chuckle as he took in my closed eyes. "Are we back to being kids? Do you believe if you cannot see me, then maybe I am not really here?"

            I felt his lips bestow soft, fluttering kisses on my closed eyelids. His lips brushed softly against my lips and his tongue ventured out to trace the line of my sealed lips. My eyes flew open and instantly, I was trapped in his midnight gaze. Those midnight eyes alone captivated me, spellbound me, seduced me. Under the power of his eyes, I felt myself relaxing. I truly felt safe with him even if my instincts were telling me to trust him was as good as damning myself.

            "Much better," he murmured as he moved to nibble on my ear.

            I clutched the jacket which reminded me that I still had it and why he took it off and then of the fight. "What are you?" I whispered.

            He pulled back a little to look at me. Again, I became engrossed in his eyes. They were so dark, so deep, so hypnotic. I could drown in his eyes. He smiled, but it was little more than baring of teeth. His tongue ran along the upper teeth and then I saw them, elongated canine teeth. Fangs. My heart began to pound and I fancied that he could hear it. "Vampire," I breathed. My fear began rising to the surface.

            He pulled me closer and held me in his embrace for a few moments. He murmured comfortingly into my hair, "Shh… you know I won't hurt you."

            "I know," I sighed. Perplexing as it was, I was seriously certain that he wouldn't hurt me.

            When I was relaxed and pliant in his arms, he drawled, "I won the challenge." I could hear the male sense of triumph in his voice. "I won and now I get to claim a forfeit."

            Wariness returned and I tensed. "What do you want?"

            His head dropped down and his mouth lowered to my neck. His lips brushed against my neck and then he suckled. The blood rushed to meet his lips and came up against the barrier of my soft, tender flesh. I gasped at the amount of pleasure I felt by the simple action.

            My body pressed against him, not only because he held me, but by my own volition. I felt hot and the craving and need for him to bite me was something I had never experienced this. This carnal desire could not be resisted. One hand held the jacket while the other threaded through his hair keeping his lips at my neck. I wanted to be crushed against him.

            As if hearing my thoughts, he pushed me back so my body was pinned between the tree and his hard body. I moaned at the delicious contact and pressed closer still. His teeth lightly raked across my skin and though the action brought on another wave of pleasure, I tensed. His words repeated in my mind. You know what I want.

            His lips moved away from my neck and merged with my own lips. Under the pressure, my lips parted and his tongue plunged into my mouth. I moaned again and I responded to his fiery kiss. My bones seemed to melt and I clung to him for support. I murmured a protest when he pulled away. "Is that what you wanted? A kiss?"

            He chuckled. "A vampire's kiss."

            Damn him, but I was more relaxed. His hands traveled up and down my body igniting small flames as they went. When his lips wandered back to my throat and this time, I leaned my head back to give him more room. He wouldn't hurt me. He would take probably a pint of my blood. "No more than I occasionally donate to the Canadian Blood Services," I told him.

            He looked down at me, clearly amused and quoted, "Blood, it's in you to give."

            I shook my head and corrected him. "No, blood, it's mine and I need it to live."

            "But do you want to live?" he murmured as his teeth finally sank into my skin. I felt slight pain when his teeth pierced my skin, but it faded away as waves of pleasure crashed down upon me. My heart was pounding, I was breathless and my nails dug into his shoulders. Though we weren't, our hips began swaying in a primitive, mating dance. It was more erotic than just sex. The pleasure heating my body began building and every pore of my body was tingling with anticipation.

            He stopped and began pulling away. "No," I moaned.

            "Evangeline, I have to… you told me to…" he trailed as I pulled him back. The bloodlust was shining bright in his eyes. The scent of my blood, the sight of the crimson rivulets sliding across my petal-soft skin, it was too much for him to resist, but he tried anyway.

            "Please, Malachi. Don't stop. I'll die if you leave me like this. Oh God, please don't stop," I plead. It was his undoing. He caved in and went back to my neck. "Yes," I sighed.

            The pleasure built until I was drowning in it. My incoherent screams of pleasure rang out in the forest. Yes, I did scream his name out. I steadily grew lightheaded until I finally exploded in the most powerful, intense orgasm I had ever experienced. It was earth-shattering. I knew that for as long as I lived, nothing could ever bring me more pleasure.

            I fell limply against him and he lifted me up into his arms. It was a good thing, too. I didn't think I could walk on my own. He walked through the forest and I held on to him as I slowly drifted off into sleep. "It didn't hurt," I murmured.

            There was a tender look in his eyes as he placed a gentle kiss on my lips. He carried me back to the clearing by the lake where we met just an hour ago. When he lay me down on the ground, my eyes fluttered open. The moon had come out again. In the moonlight, surrounded by darkness, the lake looked like rippling, liquid silver. It was almost like an enchanted place where it wasn't foolish to believe in mermaids or dragons or vampires.

            He leaned down for one final kiss and my eyes fluttered closed again. I did not have the strength to open them again. "I told you the night was a dangerous place for little girls like you. Go to sleep," Malachi whispered. I drifted off with his hand in mine. At some point, I was aware he left. My last conscious thought was that it was the most pleasurable thing in the world, but it was a shame that a vampire's kiss was lethal.

** See, same old… intense feelings, but different ending. Nope, she's not waking up, but if you like it better pretending she is waking up then I give you permission to do so. I hoped you liked this little fiction of mine. I had the biggest obsession with vampires awhile back. While I didn't do the gothic bit, I still love them. Anyhow, please review if you liked it and the same if you didn't. Goodnight, Flawless Storm. **