The moonlight showed an outline of a body, crouching by her window so still it might have been thought as never moving shadow. The eyes, greener than fresh grass, peered through the window, shimmering like a cat's, fixated on the sleeping figure that moaned turned away from the window, her brows furrowed as the gaze strengthened. The gaze penetrated her skin and fixed on the blood inside her veins. He could feel the bloodline- darker than her human blood- pulsating through her veins. She was a direct descendant, he could tell and he felt her power pulsating. She moaned again and his gaze went to her face. The lips pursed, the brow furrowed- she could feel him. When her eyes opened straight to the window he was gone- leaving no trace of his presence. He crouched on her roof, looking down as her head stuck out the window looking around for the source of her discomfort. His lips twitched with a small smile when she scratched the sleep-disheveled black hair and slid back into her room- this time she didn't close her window. His hands curled on the edge of the roof as a sharp pain stabbed through him, and his lips pulled back in a feral snarl- he was dying. He lay on her roof and licked his fangs.

He'd have to take her soon.

In A Heartbeat

By: Cirque du Damne

1

"You know, you are the most dysfunctional sleeper I've ever met."

The voice belonged to Jessica, among the three of my closest friends, I could say she was the loudest of us. The school bell rang behind us, and we all glanced at the pretty wood clock on the far wall. Judging by the time it was eighth period and none of us were in school. It was normal; so neither of us glanced at the clock again. I was supposed to be in my United States history class; but after nine years of studying the same damn thing I wasn't going to sit through another lecture on the Industrial Revolution. Not if I could help it, at least.

Jessica's comment brought grins and knowing glances from the others. Cheri looked at me over her burger at me and rolled her eyes. I wasn't the least offended, I'd actually been expecting it. I've been talking about my paranoia fort he past five years, I'm sure they're tired of hearing it.

"Its not paranoia, Ria." Sarah said through a mouthful of my fries, "I think you need medication. Or a good bang. Or a great bang from Richard."

This time, I grinned and blushed and shook my side-swept bangs from my eye. Two months ago I'd cut my hair 'emo' style and I got used to it.

"I'd love that." Jessica said and grinned at me. "I'm not stealing your man, Ria, but he's -"

"More yummy than-" Sarah continued, a grin spreading across her face as she swallowed.

"Tiramisu-" I put in.

"With strawberries-" Cheri added with a grin of her own.

"In Hell." Jessica finished.

My blush deepened and we all burst into girlish giggles and immediately looked to the window, as if we'd been caught.

And sighed resignedly as we saw the two the Dean of Students gazing at us, holding detention papers.

"Dammit." Jesse and I cursed.

2

"Do you four, like, not get it? If we catch you one more time ditching you're gone. Not suspended. Gone. Outta here. " Ms. Byrne emphasized, and waved her arm out the door as she said it. She was a fair woman. Got along with everyone just fine. She was a screaming hellcat to the assholes who were regulars in the office and fairly nice and forgiving to the ones that were rarely in there. We had been escorted to the office after finishing our burgers and Mr. Grosch surveyed us while Ms. Byrne looked into her computer.

"I'm going to call you guy's house, and this means all of you get two BICs." Ms. Byrne typed as she said it and filled out the intimidating pink slips and handed our freshly printed punishments to us.

We looked at her until she sighed and looked deflated, "You're smart girls, you don't want to be expelled, especially when its almost end of the year. Of your last year."

I wasn't about to argue that point, but she continued.

"Why is it always eighth period? What's wrong with eighth period?" She asked leaning back and glared at us.

"US History." I said, and shrugged, "Its been the same thing since 4th grade." Sarah and Cheri nodded, both of them were in my class.

"AP Stats." Jesse added. "I can't stand numbers."

Ms. Byrne shook her head but the other smiled. The other Dean had been a regular at his school's office, or so he claimed.

"You can leave. But if you ditch one more time..." she left it at that and nodded to the ugly orange expulsion papers. We apologized and once we were out in the halls we looked at our BIC slips.

"Are we going?" Sarah asked, and I raised my eyebrow.

"Of course not." Jessica said and stuffed all ours in my purse. We slid into the bathroom before Ms. Byrne decided to patrol the hallways again.

"I can't believe they still do BICs." Sarah said as she adjusted her gray Volcom top.

I leaned against the mirror, "Seriously. Its not like half the kids that get BICs forge the signature from the Behavioral Improoovement Center." I said and rolled my eyes.

Jessica snorted and sat on one of the sinks while Cheri looked over Sarah's shoulder at the mirror. "You are such a mirror whore, get out of the way." Cheri laughed and shoved Sarah at me. Sarah wiggled her eyebrows at me and grinned, making her light amber eyes sparkle. The light made Sarah's hair look more reddish, than her natural brown with tints of red. I glanced back at Cheri who peered at her hair through her glasses. Her pale blue eyes were studied the strands of bleach blonde that stood out from the rest of her dark brown hair. It was cut short at the back, spiked with the gel she borrowed from me and long in the front with bangs that she shook out of her eyes. She wore a simple white top and dark blue pants with a studded belt and her brother's Vans.

Jessica's normal attire were dark torn jeans, that looked familiar, and black wife-beaters along with variations of silver jewelry. Her hair was pulled back into low pig tails, and her bangs went into her eyes. I recognized my dragon amethyst pendant I had let her borrow Freshman year. I glanced to my right and saw the full length mirror, and studied my reflection. My leather pants had gotten a bit too short so I turned them into spiffy capris. My camouflage wife-beater only showed a bit of skin from the top of my pants so my studded belt was visible as well.
I wore the black and cyan Etnies I bought a couple of days ago. The silver bracelets gleamed and I turned back to Jessica, and found her looking through my iPod, my purse in her lap. I just noticed that those were my pants she wore.

I smiled and shook my head. Jessica and I were perfect size nines, and shared clothing like sisters. We were both dark-skinned, Jessica took after the coloring of her dad who is of Mexican decent. She looked nothing like her mother who was a redhead with blue eyes and pale skin. She had black hair and brown eyes as did I, only hers were a bit amber, mine were solid brown. Sarah was also of Mexican decent through her father, but she had light skin and reddish brown hair. If you looked hard enough you could find a couple of blonde hairs. Cheri was the palest of us. She had creamy white skin, and pale blue eyes. If you looked at her from the back, you'd say blonde hair, but from the front she had brown hair.

the bell rang for ninth period and we both all sighed. We always ditched eighth period but stayed for the rest. Ninth was my first favorite class. It was Creative Writing, and I shared that class with Cheri. Jessica went to Ceramics and Sarah went to Advanced Art. We walked into the hallway and followed the crowd.

"Richard." Jessica said and wagged her eyebrows at me looking ahead of me to my left. I stuck my tongue out at her but looked anyway. Curly black hair that managed to look shaggy, midnight blue eyes and tanned skin. He had scruff and a Patrician nose and a wide mouth currently fixed in a crooked grin. I knew he did swimming and boxing, and we had gym class once last year and I managed to not embarrass myself by staring. Too much. It was Sarah and Jessica's hysterical laughter that made me look away, embarrased.

I tried my best to not blush, and look his way so I turned back to Jessica who was grinning maniacally at me. The same grin was on Sarah's and Cheri's faces.

"Shut. Up." I growled, and kept moving. Straight ahead, Ria, look straight ahead. God, he should wear red some more.

I shook my hair in front of my eyes and turned to the landing that seemed to be alive with people going up and down the stairs, talking laughing and being high school students. The people thinned out and we knew our five minutes was almost up. Since we were almost late nearly every day, I didn't really mind.

"Any one else here think he should wear red some more?" Sarah said, and Cheri rolled her eyes, smiled and shook her head. I looked over Cheri's shoulder at Richard. He was still there, leaning against the wall talking to his closest friend, John. I watched as John punched him in the arm and left. I was still watching when his gaze settled on me, and when his mouth curled into an almost crooked smile. I blinked and offered my own crooked smile and turned back to Cheri, not waiting for what he would do.

I let Cheri grab my arm so we can go to second floor to Writing and Jessica and Sarah went to the basemen to the Art rooms.

It was still kind of early for us to be going to class, but I knew better to argue. Lately, Cheri's been going earlier and earlier to class. I think I knew why, but with Cheri, you had to get her to tell you and not ask specific questions. It was the way her mind worked.

"Cheri." I said her name low. We were almost near the class and I could see our teacher, Mr. Callahan waiting at the door. Cheri stopped dragging me down the hallway and she turned to look at me.

"Is it that obvious?" She asked, her voice dropping so only I could hear. There were still students in the hallway.

"Not really. I had to think for about ten minutes." I grinned at her when I noticed a it of panic and worry on her face. "So. Hots for a teacher, huh?"

The color rushed to her face and she grinned sheepishly, and nodded. I threw my arm around her shoulder and we walked slow to his class.

"Aw, man. That's really cute." I spoke in a singsong voice and made her laugh and I could almost feel the tension drain away from her. Mr. Callahan was worth a crush or two. We had stayed after enough times to learn that he was twenty-six years old, and that he had an Atari gaming system, and alot of those old games like Pong and old-school Asteroid in his back room. He was an attractive man, I had to admit. His black hair had gray hairs, he's always had them he told us, and big, bright blue eyes.

He curtsied to us, old French style when we arrived and I felt Cheri tremble.

"Hey, Callahan." I grinned. He was pretty much the best teacher I've ever had.

"It's MISTER Callahan, you monsters, I did not spend six years getting my Masters to be called Callahan!" He was loud and both Cheri and I gave him identical grins.

"Okay, Callahan." We answered, and he shook his head. We went inside and go to our seats. It was pretty predictable, Cheri and I sat together, me behind her. He hadn't given us a seating chart. I remember the first day he had told us to shut up and leave if we didn't have any imagination. While the rest of the class stared with their mouths open, I remember Cheri and I had laughed until tears fell from our eyes.

He waltzed in, his blue dress shirt rolled to the elbows, black pants holding the very illegal on school grounds cell phone and a pen. His pencil was tucked behind his ear and he plucked it out, and sung while he took attendance.

"You're beautifuuul." his eyes flicked back to us as he went down the list. "You're beauuutiful." He paused. "You're ugly!" he suddenly yelled and cackled while Cheri and several others tried not to snort their drinks. He always did something like this. He pulled a folder from his podium and leaned on it.

"I want to read you a story. It was written by someone in this class, and - you remember when I put that painting on the over head and asked you look at it and write something? A description, a story something that you can picture in your head? I never got around to reading those until last night, and this one I picked out because the talent, and words and unique." He pulled out a sheet of paper from the folder Writing was on the front and a name on the right corner from what I could see.

When he read the first two words, my mouth dropped open and my eyes widened. Cheri looked at me and sighed. She was listening to his voice while I recognized my own three paragraphs of story. He read I looked out the window, his tone rising and falling exactly with the story.

He began to pace and waved my paper about, like he always did. It was something about having my writings read that blossomed a flower of pride in my stomach. When he was done, he paused, and curtsied again.

"A dramatic short story by Queen of the Leather Pants: Ria Blake." his voice was pleased. I bet I got a ten out of ten for that. I smiled shyly when everyone looked at me. We had been a class together for so long we were all good friends.

"Nice job," it was Shelly who sat behind me like Morticia herself, her black lipstick looked sharp somehow. She was known for her heavy, bloody poetry. And of course the black skirts and bright red dyed hair.

"Thanks," I replied softly.

"Alright! Everyone! I have an assignment for you. I want a short story. Minimum five pages, single-spaced. I want you to show a feeling. If you want to show sadness I want you bring me to tears. If you want to portray happiness, I want to laugh my ass off. No, that doesn't mean put seven in-law jokes 'cause you'll never be as funny as I am. But I want it to be good. As good as Miss Blake's story if you can, but I want it to be good. Fifty points- no, seventy five. Got it?"

There was a chorus of 'yeah's and Callahan went on with class. I was too busy searching my head for stories.

3

"That was a good piece of writing, Ria." Cheri walked next to me and I smiled.

"Thanks. I'm surprised he didn't read yours."

"It wasn't as good as yours."

"Maybe, but from what you told me it was good." I glanced at her, and saw a smirk forming.

"Maybe he sleeps with it under his pillow." Cheri snorted.

I laughed while Cheri giggled. Sarah and Jessica met us the same landing and this time we all headed outside.

We had one more class left, but oh hell. We looked around for security guards and moved to the doors. I felt midnight blue eyes on me again and I looked up to see Richard watching while I disappeared outside.

"Step two." Sarah said and we ran. We ran across the parking lot, holding onto each other's hands, threading through the buses until we were on the street. We ran across and didn't stop until we were almost on top of my car. I was the one leading this time and felt my own momentum carry me forward. I made that girly squeak and I rolled across the roof of my car, and yelled.

"Jesus H. Christ!" It was like being tossed on a frying pan. My car had been out in the sun since seven thirty and it was nearly two.

"Drop and roll, Ria." Sarah smiled as she studied my shoulder, which stung. Maybe from the shoulder roll or simply from the fact that we could probably fry an egg in under two minutes on the hood of my car.

Sarah took out her keys to her own car, which was parked next to mine. Hers was a black Camaro, a giant black boat compared to my cherry red Thunderbird. Our parents had bought the cars for us, since we were the epitome of the successful American family, we deserved cars, that's what they thought. I was just glad I didn't have to walk around in the heat anymore.

"Its like an oven in here. Damn." Cheri groaned as she slid into the passenger seat of my car, and I held the door open and pulled back the roof. Sarah was already in her own car, the air blasting freezing air. I hardly saw the point of having the air on my car since I pulled back the roof and now the slightly cooler air was hitting my car.

I slid into the seat honked the horn and made Jessica jump before I turned the ignition and I leaned back.

"If we get caught, we're dead." I commented.

"That's great. I don't care." Cheri quipped and I laughed. I pulled out first and drove to the gate. There was no one guarding it, so we drove through, and I gunned it. The squealing tires mirrored Sarah's and she roared past, yelling that we were a bunch of pansies. She stopped ahead and I swerved around a green Mazda to get to her side. I heard Cheri yell that we'd cause car accidents when the hood of the green Mazda's car seemed to implode inward.

I felt Cheri jerk around and her mouth gaped open. I turned around and felt my own mouth gape and my eyes widen. My hands gripped the steering wheel, and a death grip and I fought the urge to step on the gas.

The green Mazda looked as if someone dropped an anvil on the hood, but instead of an anvil it was person. He wore a black trench coat, the jeans, boots with a silver buckle, and a black silk shirt. He was milk white, chestnut hair cut so it spiked without gel.

The color of his eyes made me draw a breath and I locked my eyes with his. The moment I did something rushed over me. A tingling of energy that I fought with whatever I had inside. It was like he was trying to bespell me and I fought it, my eyes locked on his gaze, yet he still did not have a hold on me. I barely noticed when he began to crawl over the wrecked car and on mine. I barely noticed anything he did, until his face was an inch from mine. His yes were brighter, like a green fire and I still fought his gaze. His red lips twitched as if he was trying not to smile.

"Do not forget to breathe." he whispered, and I let out the breath I'd been holding since he dropped on the other car. Time seemed to have stopped for me. The only thing I knew existed were this eyes. I felt my fight weakening, but he turned his gaze and I was aware of everything. Of Jessica and Sarah yelling at me to run, of Cheri's eyes going blank under whatever, whoever it was's spell.

"Get out of the car, and join your friends." His voice was as smooth as silk and it traveled down my skin like the softest caress making me shiver. He would win the award for best orgasmic phone sex if there was one. He was addressing Cheri, who got out, turned and walked into Sarah's car.

"Ria! What the fuck, run!!"

I heard Sarah's voice distantly, but my focus was on the his eyes as he slid down the vacant seat next to me.

"Who the fuck are you?" My voice came out aggressive, angry and I was glad. I didn't want him knowing the power of voice.

"Drive." He said and I almost pushed gas until I heard Sarah's voice again.

"Get out of my car." I snarled. I was getting pissed, the power his eyes had on me was receding. I felt something inside of me. A power growing and without knowing how, I shot it at him. He jerked as if he'd been slapped, and his hold on me was gone. I prepared for an attack but before my muscles twitched I was staring into the barrel of a gun.

"Drive." He said again, and his voice wavered. I had hurt him, and I had no idea how. I stared at him over the barrel. A psychotic Photography classmate showed me a picture of his guns. If I remember correctly, he was holding a Browning, and it was pointed at my face.

I turned, and bared my teeth at the road. It congested, what appeared to be an accident ahead and I gunned it, cursing the air blue, and full of the smell of burning rubber.

"Where?" I was pissed, and I seldom was. The last time I was this angry Jessica called me the Wicked Bitch of the South.

"Left." He said and the gun never wavered. I saw the car flipped ahead and I went on the opposite lane and slammed my foot on the gas. Went past the red light, ignoring the honks and curses. All I knew is that I was angry, I had a guy wearing enough black he could pass for a shadow and I had a gun pointed at the side of my head. When he said left, I jerked the wheel and he was thrown against the door, yet his gun never wavered.

I drove faster, barely missing cars that honked and barely swerved out of my way. All I could hear was the roaring in my ears.

"Left." He said again and I jerked the wheel again, he this time held on to the dashboard.

I was driving down the highway and my adrenaline was fading. The adrenaline that made me jerk the wheel at the right time to avoid a fatal collision was wearing off. I slowed to the right speed and sighed.

"Are you going to try to fight me again?" His voice came and I nodded, despite myself. I didn't think I had the energy to fight him. Whatever he was, he could probably break me in half and not even break a sweat. I felt tired all of the sudden and my cell phone was going off, and the sun was setting.

"Are you all right?" he asked, his voice was soft, and it had the same feeling on my skin. I clenched my jaw tried not to shiver and reach out to touch his face.

Mind tricks.

"I'm fine." I said, my voice harsh.

He sighed and it tingled.

"Stop it." I breathed.

"Stop what?" The son-of-a-bitch was doing it on purpose. His expression said he knew what I was talking about, but his tone made a small cry come from my lips.

"That voice thing, whatever it is." I said and scooted farther from him.

"You're not enjoying it?" This time, I caught an accent. French. Go figure.

"Its nice- I mean. Just stop it!" my knuckles were turning white and I tried to keep my face from betraying what my body was doing. Or feeling. Hormones are traitorous little bastards.

"As you wish." He said and his voice sounded normal. I relaxed and the frowned. We'd been driving for close to four hours.

"Where are we going?" I asked and turned to look at him for the first time. His face looked ethereal in the light of dusk. Was it just me or did he look thinner?

I looked away frowning. He wasn't talking.

It was silent for the better part of ten minutes until he drew in a sharp breath. I looked over and his eyes were closed.

"Are you- ?" I jumped when he screamed and doubled over. He was clutching his stomach and was whimpering while I drove, looking from the road to him. My pulse sped up when he convulsed again and jerked violently, a sound coming from his throat.

"Jesus, you better not be dying on me." I said and jumped when a strangled laugh came from his throat. He sat back up and gazed at me, his eyes glowing. I drew in a breath and let it out slowly.

"The nearest exit. Take it." He managed to say. I searched and saw one up a head. A hand was curled into his over his stomach, and his head was resting against the headrest. I pulled into the nearest exit and slid into the nearest empty parking spot of a Jewel.

I turned to look at him. His eyes were still closed and my hand was still curled on his abdomen.

"Alright. What's wrong? I'm pretty sure you're not constipated." I said and he grinned weakly. He grinned so I could see his pearly white teeth, and his gleaming fangs. "Damn." I spoke softly. His eyes were glowing again, a bright vivid green that was such a contrast to his pale skin that I failed to see his hand drop the gun and reach toward me. It didn't take much else to tell me he was dying. An honest to god vampire was dying in my car.

I was staring into his eyes, and I let whatever was keeping him from going in my mind go. He rolled into my mind and my eyes went half-shut. I leaned into his hand when it cupped my neck, and breathed in the leather scent when he was close enough. His was so close to mine, our noses grazed and my mind was hazy. I smiled when he moved from my face to my neck and he breathed out. I knew even if he wasn't holding my mind I wouldn't have stopped him. This felt just right.

His breath tickled my skin and he rested in my lap for a second, his cheek against mine then without any hesitation I felt the tip of his fangs graze my skin, and finally sink in. I could have sworn I stopped breathing when I felt my blood leaving my body. My heart sped up and my entire body went numb, partly from lack of blood and the rest from the sensations he was creating. My vision began to gray as he started to draw the last few drops of blood from my body and my heart was slowing, beat by beat it was slowing and my vision was darker. I whimpered and tried to move any part of my body but I was like a dead weight. My mind ws hazy, I couldn't think, only feel, and he tensed. He was waiting for the moment my heart would stop and I would step over to the brink of death.

The moment it did and I stopped breathing and he forced his blood into my body. It rushed through my veins, my heart scrambled and I screamed. Every inch of my body hurt, so my body convulsed under his, and I was whimpering. My eyes were shut and all i could feel was my heart pounding in my chest so hard it felt like I should have died, or like someone was beating me from the inside with a sledgehammer.

The second the last drop of his blood went into my body, the roaring in my ears stopped and my heart went back to beating as it was supposed to. My skin tingled and I opened my eyes and nearly screamed. It was pitch black the last time I had my eyes open and that was before he bit me, but now it was like seeing things at full noon, with only the black/blue hue to the sky to suggest that it was night.

The first thing that went through my mind was: Wow.

My ears were picking up every noise of the night and I strained my hearing until he coughed into my hair. He pushed off my lap and sat on the opposite end of the car, his breathing was labored and I was still picking up noises that I didn't even know existed. I turned my eyes on his and saw every detail of his face, until his hand scrambled for the door handle, opened the door and fell away from the car. His breathing became erratic and I crawled to him, stepping out of the door he left open.

He was flat on his back, and I could hear his heart pounding, and his blood rushing like a raging rapid. I thought about asking if he was okay but it was obvious he wasn't. He coughed and I fell to my knees next to him. I peered into his eyes which were slowly fading to a dark green. I felt the flutters of panic and forced my self to draw a deep breath.

"Wha-?" I began, but he spoke, his voice harsh, this time like little razor blades dancing over my body.

"The mansion is up ahead. My brother is coming for you, wait for him. Tell- Tell him I died." he looked at me, and managed a weak smile. "My name is Jonah."

"Jonah." I rolled the name off my tongue and smiled. I looked down and gasped. His eyes were closed and his chest no longer rose or fell.

I was still staring when he seemed to dissolve into pure white ashes.

I was still kneeling on the ground beside the remains of my Maker, his ashes blown into the wind when I felt a touch on my shoulder, and I looked up to see midnight blue eyes.