Epilogue to a vampire love story

Annie had felt that tingling in her spine all day long.

The sensation was more phantom now that she was older, but she could still recognize its power. She could still understand what it meant when the hairs on the back of her neck stood firm across her skin; when her fingertips ached as though she had just been jolted with a buzz of electricity. And although the feeling came and went as she carried on with her day – occupied one minute, then something would snap and she would realize she was experiencing it again, suddenly, that long ago numbed pull would tug at her bones.

When she saw him, she did not at first realize it. The shift at the call center had ended; her coworkers filing out hastily into the blooming night. The full moon making them antsy and edgy as it always did to everyone even if they didn't notice it – that was something he had taught her. Annie walked down the aisles of computers, shutting down monitors, tidying cubicals, flipping light switches as she needed to. Her last stop was in the cafeteria, where the light had already been switched off, and in the dark she closed the blinds at the windows and through the corner of her eye checked to see that the coffee maker was turned off. It was then that she noticed him. Deep in her mind's eye she had sensed his presence there for some minutes, and later she realized that she had slowed her pace in anticipation, part of her wanting to avoid him. The other part still drawn to his energy, peeling away at her soul like he always did.

Initially she looked past him, not able to make out his shape clearly in the darkness, but when she turned she heard his voice: "Love?" He called out, that voice so gentle, so soft on the air, hitting her like a ribbon untied from her hair flush with her check. Annie did not at first turn to look at him – she had never forgotten her memory of him, she did not need to physically see him.

"Is it you?" She knew it was, though she had no idea what to say to him.

"Is it really you?" He teased. Suddenly she became very aware of her age. Aware that she no longer fit easily beside the image of him that she had stored deep inside her heart.

"Lucien…" She stopped herself, there were so many things that she wanted to tell him – explain everything that had happened in the years that had elapsed since she'd last spoken to him. There were so many things that she wanted him to know.

"I shouldn't have come." He began: "It isn't the same."

She was shocked by this, not understanding why he had come back to her, or what he had expected to find: "Then why did you come?"

"I wanted to see you."

"Why?" He voice raised sharper then she had meant it to. "Why here? Why now?"

She waited for his response but nothing came. After a while she thought he might have gone, left her as suddenly as a moon eclipsing the night. She wondered if he had even been there at all, or if she had merely re-imagined him so near her in a life that he no longer belonged in.

She had convinced herself of this and took a step to leave the dark and lonely room when the specter of the man she had fallen in love with reached for her. He encircled the back of her arm with his milky white palm, immediately sending fire and energy through her body. She was no longer accustomed to it. The power of it nearly knocked her off her feet.

"Why did you come?" She asked, he stood behind her and she rested her whole body against his for support. She felt him lean into her as well.

"I had to see you…"

"Why?"

"Because I'm dying."

At this she turned to face him, his features slightly obscured by the darkness of the room: "But you're a..."

"I know."

"Then why?"

"It's a long story… and, I can't tell you all of it."

"Why?" She reached her hand up to smooth the flesh of his cheek, his bones were sharp and angled as they always were. He didn't answer her. Instead he folded both his arms around her, pulling his head down to her shoulder and kissing the fabric of her shirt. "Tell me…" she soothed. "Lucien, please."

He pulled away from her, releasing her with a piercing sigh – a sound she knew he took in frustration. "I shouldn't have…" he racked his hands through his hair. "I never should have… It's not something I can change…" He wasn't making any sense now, she took a step toward him, but he double backed. Before she knew it he was on the other side of the room. He began again after another strange pause: "I wanted to tell you that I love you, so much, love! Do you understand?"

She shook her head in understanding.

"I love you," he continued: "But I wish it had never happened. That we had never happened. If I could go back and change it all, I would."

She had so many strong memories of him. Of both of them together. Of clutching her windbreaker close to her body in the night when she crept from her window into the street to find the strange boy who leaned against the lamp posts and smoked sweetly smelling cigarettes. The boy who never appeared during the day. The boy who would not tell her his name for months, yet every night, like a figment from a forgotten dream, he reappeared to her. He was the boy who had brought her bushels of lilacs in the winter, and eventually stolen inside her own bedroom to be with her; easing the breath out of her with every kiss. He was the boy who told her to call him 'Lucien' even though it wasn't his real name. "I like the way you say it," he had told her, "I want you to call me that." And in those last few months of nights before she left for college she would linger before sleep to be with him. Making love quietly, their low moans calling the crane flies to the window screens, as his own voice could often caress the moon behind an unseen cluster of clouds. They knew it had to end. They knew there was no hope for it, yet each night they clung to each other ever tighter. In the end the break was sudden and gave her a pain that would never truly dull for her.

"I know," she answered him. Had she the choice she would have spared herself so much pain of knowing him, of loving him, and of losing him.

"Good," he stammered, moving toward her slowly and evenly, a deliberately slow pace for him. She got the sense that he was taking her in for the last time. "You grew up," he mused when he was close enough to touch her again. "I like it," she laughed, pulling him close to her again.

"Let me… Just once?"

"Love?" He kissed her once, soft then hungrily, giving himself over to her completely before she found herself crumpled and slightly disoriented on the floor of the cafeteria. He had gone again, as suddenly as he had reappeared. 'Love.' His endearment for her vibrated off the walls, and clung to the back of her throat like a dry sob. She knew she would never see him again.


a/n: written for the november wcc