Chapter 2: Encounter

Jump him.

That was the first thought that trickled into his mind as Lucan saw the dripping wet, half-naked boy standing in front of him. He could claim his body in less than three seconds, and no one would ever know.

However, before his ecstatic thoughts became a reality, a tiny annoying voice at the back of his mind told him: No. The second part of the deal was not met. He would have the boy's body (and his blood, don't forget), but not his heart.

Heart… what a troublesome thing. It's a good thing vampires don't have one...

Lucan nodded to himself and realized that he was smiling and nodding for no reason at all. The boy in front of him threw him a look of mild recognition and adjusted the towel around his neck.

"You're that new transfer student, right?

A small pause followed, during which Lucan scrutinized the so-called "soul mate". He had been shocked at first that it was a boy. During the time he spent in the clan, he had never heard of any vampire having a male human partner – they had all been young, fair maidens. But the sickly sweet, overwhelming scent of the boy's blood was no mistake. The heat from the shower apparently made the scent even more powerful. Lucan could almost taste it; only a thin layer of smooth peachy skin stopped him from reaching his goal.

The boy's looks were ordinary and nothing striking, yet his slim waist and flat but firm stomach were something worth inspecting. At least, Lucan thought so. His watery gaze took in the smooth curve of the boy's jaw and how his warm brown eyes reminded him of a raccoon, for some strange reason.

The boy's eyebrows knitted together as his friendly expression was replaced by one of suspicion.

"Aren't you going to come in?"

Snapping out of his reverie, Lucan gave a start and realized he was still standing in the hallway. He flashed a smile automatically (he was good at that) and let himself in the spacious dorm room. Once the door closed, the boy launched into an introduction.

"I'm Espen Loire," the boy stuck out one hand, the other busy toweling his mahogany coloured hair.

It wasn't just "soul mate" anymore, he had a name! Espen! Espen Loire! Finely shaped hand, trim nails, delicate wrist, smooth flawless flesh, and oh, even a trace of a vein…

"I'm Lucan Emilian Montclair," Lucan beamed and grasped Espen's hand. It was a bad idea. Just a simple touch seemed to awaken Lucan's hunger completely. Somehow his finger inched forwards by itself and he felt Espen's strong pulse of blood, pumping in sync with the pounding in his head. This is bad, Lucan thought.

"I'm very pleased to meet you." He felt tremors snaking down his hand and his smiled faltered. Taking a deep breath and closing his eyes, he yanked his hand away from Espen's with difficulty, as if their hands had been glued together.

"Yeah, nice to meet you too," Espen replied, eyeing his new roommate warily. He blinked at his rejected hand. "'Something wrong?"

"No, nothing," Lucan said in an even voice. Espen was so close, yet, it seemed to him that there was another long journey in front of him, one that didn't involve traveling by foot. In his mind, for the billionth time he threw less than kind remarks at his dead brother. Of all vampire clans that were hidden in the area, Emile had to lure out an old one where it was tradition to find a human "soul mate". Successfully doing so would raise one's status within the clan. Another reason why this was done was to strengthen the clan's pact with humans and create "peace". He'd never heard of anything like it.

Ultimately, the vampire-human couples would bring forth immensely powerful half-breeds, called dhampirs. Vampire Slayers – a vampire's ultimate enemy - were nothing but dhampirs. It seemed to Lucan that all this clan was doing was making sure they themselves didn't get wiped out by building a small army of their own to counter the Slayers. So much for the thing called "peace", he thought bitterly.

Odd as it seemed though; the clan had turned Lucan into a vampire and saved him from turning into the "bad" kind, as Tain, the clan leader, had jokingly told him. "Bad vampires" feed on humans, and have the ability to turn them into vampires; where as Tain's clan fed only on animal blood and could not turn humans by biting them. How he himself got bitten, Lucan didn't know to this day, and none of the Elders would tell him.

Being quite a young vampire (just a bit over ten decades old), Lucan found it difficult to restrain himself when surrounded by hundreds of humans when he was thirsty. Blood was blood, after all. It gets even worse when you're face to face with your supposed "soul mate", whose blood is supposed to smell the sweetest. Lucan found it ironic that feeding on humans was deemed as low, but the clan was entirely content with the idea of feeding on your human mate.

Nevertheless, Lucan's insides were screaming for Espen, and the thought that he might finally have a chance to taste human blood excited him. But at this point, Lucan was unsure of what to do. Espen's appearance had taken him by surprise. He let his gaze linger on Espen's exposed upper half a moment too long. That flat abdomen and those thin hips were just-

Espen stopped toweling his hair (which, Lucan noted, was exactly the shade of smooth milk chocolate, maybe a bit darker with a hint of crimson), and stared at Lucan. He had no reason to feel self-conscious around his new roommate, but he sensed something hidden in that icy gaze that sent shivers down his spine. He decided to settle on some small talk to disperse the unwanted attention.

"Did you already get a tour of the school?" Espen asked Lucan, who was now admiring the walls and furnishings of the room. Clad in the school's uniform of black and white adorned with gold, Lucan looked like an actor out of frame. Espen sensed an air of maturity to him, but the curiousness in his vivid stare and smoothness of his features gave him a slightly boyish look.

"Oh yes," Lucan smiled again. "The school's very magnificent."

Every time he smiled, it looked like it came straight out of a magazine ad, Espen thought.

"Well, I'm sorry I couldn't give you a tour myself, since I am your new room mate and all, but I had an appointment today."

"It wasn't a problem. Headmaster Loire gave me a tour personally." Lucan thought about what he just said. "Are you by any chance related to the Headmaster?"

"Yeah, he's my uncle. My last name actually used to be Morris… but, that's a long story."

Sensing a hint of reluctance, Lucan decided not to pursue that matter for now, though a faint memory did prickle ever so slightly at the back of his mind. MorrisI've heard that name somewhere before.

"You'd better get your stuff unpacked," Espen said, indicating the suitcases by Lucan's side of the room that were delivered this morning. "Light's out at ten, but they're more lenient with seniors like us. Still," he trailed off heading back into the steamy bathroom, "you wouldn't want to break the rules around here, trust me."

"And why's that?" Lucan grinned, admiring Espen's slender limbs discreetly as the boy pulled his dark red pajama top on.

Espen flicked off the bathroom light and flopped himself down on the large bed, facing Lucan with a faint smile. Oh, what a cute smile…

"You have no idea how strict they are here about pointless things. I have a friend who just loves to break the rules. I'll introduce you to him tomorrow."

"Sounds good." Lucan said, beaming.

Espen suddenly got up and stared at Lucan's side of the room. His clothes were all neatly put away in the closet, his school things placed in an orderly fashion on his desk and his school uniform was draped over the bed frame, waiting to be worn again tomorrow. Lucan himself was in nothing but a pair of light gray gym shorts. Espen's eyes couldn't help but linger on his slightly toned torso – it looked like it was chiseled out of solid white marble. He immediately thought of his own flat stomach, hidden by his seemingly childish pajamas, and averted his gaze.

"How'd you unpack and undress so fast? I didn't even hear you move." Espen concentrated on the old fashioned suit cases, careful to avoid Lucan's piercingly clear eyes. Panic momentarily seized Lucan, but was replaced by relief soon enough as Espen changed the subject as if he too had sensed danger in the situation. "Where're you from, anyway?"

As he launched into his perfectly laid-out and made up family history, a part of him inside deflated a bit. Lucan felt his lips move, but his brain didn't register the movement. His mind was now on something else, the dark bubbling pit of worry churning and rising in him. If he was going to get this boy in front of him to fall in love with him, he'd have to learn to control himself first. Then afterwards came the more complicated part. This definitely wasn't going to be an easy semester.