Genesis knew what an orgasm was—she’d rubbed her clitoris into bliss before—she just never knew being high on natural gas fumes could put someone in that state! Wow—that was wild! She had a crazy notion Elliot had somehow been responsible—now she felt bad for thinking that about him.
She’d ‘felt’ the orgasms Charlotte had when she had sex with Mike. She even felt one Martha experienced on a night when she and Larry were sober enough to have sex. She closed off those thoughts immediately. Another string cut free in her mind.
Feelings and emotions could assault her when she didn’t have previous experience with someone. If she did have experience, such as with Martha, she could cut the invisible string between them and she no longer felt emotions from that person. Sometimes it felt she’d spent her whole life cutting strings hoping that one day the final string would be severed and she’d never again experience what someone else did.
Then there was Elliot. He didn’t feel the same. He was different. She wasn’t even sure she could describe the difference. Most of the time his emotions felt plastic, rigid, and fake, but when she touched his face then his hand, he was real and deep and scarred. How did he hide it? He was one of the few people she didn’t immediately sever. Not that she severed everyone. She left a few over the years—but only a very few. Most people though—snip! Elliot, for now, would remain on the slender life line that allowed her to ‘feel’ her way around him. At least until she figured him out—or until he did something wrong.
Buying the groceries took longer than she expected. First, there was the matter of Mister Picky at home. What do you buy for someone who doesn’t like to eat? He didn’t give her much to go on, but she did come up with an idea; she only hoped she could get him to try it. From what she’d been able to see of his clothed physique, he was well-build, but damn he was pale! Kroger’s was crowded, customers argued with cashiers, and the lines were long. Once she pulled out of their parking lot, she only traveled a block and pulled into Pherson’s meat market and bought her ‘special’ item for putting a little color into her employer.
By the time she returned to Hayden House, as the historic registry sign on the building named it, it was almost three p.m. Work inside the house seemed just as sluggish as the grocery store had been. She had a mountain of groceries to put away, and the kitchen needed at least one more cleaning before she felt it would be sanitary for cooking. It was okay, she guessed, but she had a thing about preparing food, and that thing was nothing gets cooked until the kitchen sparkles.
She stood at the stove carefully preparing one of her mother’s favorite dishes for restoring someone’s vitality. She didn’t cook a large quantity because she feared he might not eat it, and she could only handle so much of it. It was delicious, but a tad on the rich and salty side to be overindulged in.
When she finally finished, she arranged the meal tray then stepped out the backdoor for the final touch. Kentucky had abundant wild flowers, but the grounds around his house were devoid of them. She’d seen a patch of pink clover flowers when she’d watered the horses, those would have to do. She noticed three pickup trucks in the yard. One she assumed was Pete Finner’s, the other she assumed to be the new field hand, and third probably one of the interviewees for the grunt work of mucking stalls, shoveling shit, and feeding the animals. She heard male voices coming from the barn, so she quickly ripped up a patch of clover and went back to the house. She plucked eight small clover flowers and put them in the only thing that would hold such a miniature flower arrangement…a shot glass.
She felt a little awkward going back to his room unannounced. There was something about Elliot that seemed to say people came to him when he bid them to and not before. She tapped gently on the door, keeping the tray balanced in her other hand.
She found him as she’d left him, lying on his bed looking pale. “I’ve made you something to eat. I hope you’ll try it.” She watched him raise one eyebrow.
“It smells interesting. What is it?”
“Something my mother used to make. Try it.” She carefully placed the bed tray over his lap as he nudged his body up against the head board and pillows.
She saw the hesitation written all over his face. Her feelings accepted the small bruise. The presentation wasn’t the prettiest, but she’d tried to ‘beautify’ the meal by surrounding the sauce with buttered toast points, a cup of hot tea, neatly wrapped silverware, and her tiny bouquet for a splash of color. It was a rather ‘brown’ meal without any vegetables.
He slowly removed his spoon from the neat napkin. “You aren’t going to tell me what it is until I try it, are you?”
“My mother’s family was from Finland, and even though she was raised in America she usually said it in Finnish; veri kastike.”
“Ingredients?” he asked suspiciously.
“No vegetables—oh—and no garlic.”
He dipped the spoon and scooped a tiny amount of the thick, brown liquid. He inhaled the vapors. The first tiny smile appeared at the corners of his mouth. “Smells phenomenal.”
She didn’t mean to open her mouth as he opened his nor to go up onto her tiptoes as she watched the spoon disappear into his mouth, but she couldn’t help it.
His eyes closed. He seemed to be allowing the flavor to fill his mouth before swallowing. His eyes reopened. “It’s wonderful,” he said genuinely, “now tell me what it really is?”
“Maybe I should wait until after you’ve eaten it.”
The spoon was placed on the tray—the stubborn bastard wasn’t going to take another bite, whether he liked it or not, until she told him.
She wilted slightly, certain he would stop eating if she told him what it was in American. She sighed and relented, “It’s called blood gravy. Please don’t be mad at me,” she quickly inserted. “My mother always said it was the quickest way to get iron into a person—and you look so pale.”
He re-dipped the spoon, filling it this time. “Why would I be angry? I told you I like a good steak—this is better.” The spoon went into his mouth and came out clean. “But I hope you don’t mind if I skip the toast.”
“It’s really good if you dip it in the gravy,” she said, trying to encourage him to try it.
“Is there flour in the gravy?”
“No. Basically, I just slow cooked it to coagulate the blood—it thickens on its own. I wanted to put some onions in it, but I was afraid you might… Why?”
“I’m sensitive to gluten, that’s why I’m not going to eat the toast. But this,” he said, dipping for another spoonful, “is perfect—and I’m not a fan of onions. Is this swine or beef blood?”
“It’s pig blood, but specifically from a pig’s liver. I suppose you could use any blood, but Momma always said pig livers have the best blood for gravy. Sometimes she’d fry the livers and put them in the gravy, but I never really liked it that way.”
He stopped eating and she was beginning to wonder if he’d changed his mind about liking it.
“Thank you,” he said quietly.
She felt a tingle go through her as she stared at him. Damn gas fumes must still be in the house!
He laughed, leaving her to wonder if he somehow knew what she was thinking. “Well,” she said, walking completely around his bed to the window side. “The other thing to improve your color would be some sunlight.” She grabbed the curtain cord and pulled it at the same moment he told her to leave it alone.
The heavy, hunter green, floor-to-ceiling velvet drapes parted, and the room remained unchanged. She stared at the solid, painted black plywood. She’d seen his windows from outside and they weren’t plywood—they were clearly drapery.
“I like my room the way it is,” he stated as she stood there speechless. “The other side of the wood is painted to look like drapery. I like it,” he repeated, rather cut-and-dry. “I’m planning to have the entire house done this way.”
“You need some sunlight,” she stubbornly continued. “Tomorrow, I’m going to wheel you outside to see your horses.”
“No you are not.”
“Why not!” she replied, showing a stubborn side.
“I don’t like horses,” he answered with a greater degree of stubbornness.
“You don’t like horses?!” she snapped. “Then what on God’s green earth are you doing running a horse farm?!”
“This has been a horse farm for a couple centuries, you know. I’ll make money off of them!”
“Why did you buy a…” she stopped.
His head tilted in one of those easily discerned expressions that told her to rethink her rant.
Suddenly, she felt like the stupidest person on the planet. He was a Hayden. He didn’t buy this place; he inherited it. “Well—you—you could have sold it and made money.”
“Sell a family heirloom?”
She deflated and lowered her voice, “You don’t have to like them just to go outside and see them.”
“I used to like them,” he said, equalizing to her gentle tone, “until I broke my back on one.”
Her eyes immediately flooded with tears, and she couldn’t stop it. How could she have been so insensitive? That wasn’t like her at all. “I’m so sorry, Mister Hayden,” she said, turning away from him and heading for the door before he might realize she was about to bawl. “I didn’t mean to… I’ll come back for your tray later.”
She turned around trying to wipe away the heavy drops.
“It’s okay. You didn’t know.”
“I apologize. I guess I should have warned you that I cry really easy,” she said, unsuccessfully trying to dam the flow. She watched him raise his napkin and offer it to her. She felt worse instead of better, but for the sake of not sobbing all over her tee-shirt she accepted his offer. Suddenly she felt warm, really truly warm like she’d been near a campfire, and a beautiful calm came over the inner turmoil that rarely ever subsided.
“Can we talk?” he asked.
“How about you?”
She didn’t like that. “And you?” she offered.
She felt her smile return, “Imagine that,” she said giving a little choked laugh as she dried the last of the water works, “two people who don’t like to talk about themselves.”
“How about we start with the simple and go from there? How old are you?”
“Twenty, as of three months ago. And you?” she asked as she tentatively let her bottom come to rest in the wing chair by his bed.
“Really?” she said in utter surprise.
“How old did you think I was?”
“Centuries,” she laughed, breaking the tension. “Not that you look old; there is something about you that comes from another time, another era. I can hear the ‘gentleman’ in your voice—a lot.”
He suddenly gave her the most beautiful smile she’d ever seen. She felt the strange sensations filling her, but this time she refused to let it send her running off. A warm blush filled her cheeks.
“You’re very beautiful.”
That line made her uncomfortable, but, once again, she made a decision not to run away.
“I love your eyes,” she blurted, feeling the blush turn to cherry on her cheeks.
“I was thinking the same thing about yours when I first saw you. Do you get them from your mother or your father?”
“Both. My mother’s were crazy, beautiful blue and my dad’s were pale brown. Somehow I ended up with both colors, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone with gray eyes—not gray like yours anyway. Do your parents have gray eyes?”
“It’s been so long ago that I’ve honestly forgotten their eye color.”
“Oh,” she uttered, “I didn’t realize your parents weren’t alive.”
“I take it you’ve lost both of yours, too.”
“How’d you know?”
“Past tense—when you spoke about their eye color you said ‘were.’”
An awkward silence fell between them and she was thinking, other than neither of them having parents, they were from two different worlds. What could they possibly find in common to talk about?
“Tell me what you want,” Elliot began again. “Tell me about your dreams.”
She rolled her eyes and wondered if he’d even care, “I want to leave Kentucky.” Her words felt as if they tumbled from her lips and did a belly flop onto the floor. Great.
“To go to school? Are you looking at colleges?” he said sounding hopeful.
“Me? No, I barely made it out of high school,” she felt embarrassed after admitting it.
“Why? I know you’re bright.”
“They were just some tough years,” she said, getting up and grasping his dinner tray. She needed a reason to leave the room.
He put his hand on hers. It surprised her that his touch was warm this time. Perhaps her mother’s recipe had helped.
“Will you tell me about them sometime? When you’re ready.”
“I’d love to,” she lied, “but I’m afraid my Aunt’s going to want her job back in a day or two.”
“If she doesn’t, will you tell me?”
“Sure,” she lied again. “I’d better get cleaning. I only have a little time left and I have to go by the hospital on my way home tonight.”
He nodded and removed his hands from hers.
She closed his door without being asked. She didn’t want him to see her rushing around to finish the first floor, but more importantly she didn’t want him to see her crying. When he touched her this time, she felt he had love a woman very deeply. He may have only been twenty-two, but the emotions she felt coming from him were the kind that took years to form and lifetimes to never recover from.
She wanted to knock on his door and tell him goodnight as she prepared to leave, but maybe it was better this way. She didn’t want to say goodbye. She liked Elliot Hayden, more than she wanted to. She hadn’t collected her hundred dollars for the day, but she would let Aunt Martha have it—at least it would be a whole month’s rent.
It was dark by the time she pulled into the hospital parking lot. She saw a familiar man sitting on the bench under the building’s lights; he was smoking a cigarette and looking frustrated—Larry.
“Hey, you haven’t been out here all day have you?”
“They discharged me at noon. I spent the rest of the day with Martha until they chased me out a couple hours ago so they could transfer her.”
“Transfer her to where?”
“They sent her up to Glenwood.”
“Glenwood? The drug treatment place?”
“Yeah, for some crazy reason they said it’s all paid for and they’re going to try to help her kick the booze.”
Genesis couldn’t believe it! “Holy shit!”
“That’s what I said! She ain’t gonna quit drinking.”
“No, not that.”
“Whuut?” he asked with dull eyes. He apparently was still feeling the effects of his hangover.
“I have to work in the morning!”
When darkness enveloped the world, Elliot was free from his prison space. Everyone was gone—everyone with the exception of Tristan. He hoped that freak of heavenly whatever-he-was didn’t mind that he walked around in the buff. Clothes were necessary around humans, but in this seven hundred-and ninty-two acres of human-free solitude, he could roam uninhibited. And the first place he wanted to roam to would be the barn.
Before exiting the back door, he opened the fridge. There in a neat and tidy quart container was Genesis’s pig blood. “Incredible girl,” he whispered to no one. She was an empath, a clairvoyant, a telepath, and God knew what else. He paid careful attention to her thoughts when she agreed to talk with him and he knew, beyond a shadow of doubt that she did these things naturally and the majority of the time had no clue why she does what she does, nor was she aware that she was right about everything she’d made a joke about—like his age.
The meal was another perfect example. Yes, he could tell she was being honest about the blood gravy; her mother used to make it, but with flour. Genesis made her own version of the gravy for him and left the flour out. Intuitively, she knew he would only want the blood. The toast had been an idea to make the meal attractive—she knew he wasn’t going to eat the bread, but she hoped he would.
He considered uncapping the container and downing it, but she would wonder where it went, and he truly hated cold blood. He laughed as he considered that was one reason why vampires didn’t feed from each other—yuck—wrong temperature! That and the fact that vampires don’t have a circulatory system; their blood is stagnant to a point, until the body consumes it. An unfed vampire’s body will literally feed off itself, something like locking away an obese person and giving them nothing but water. The body will ‘feed’ on the fat stores until depleted.
The difference between the two is that a human’s body, once the fat is consumed will feed off muscle and organ tissue until the person dies. Vampires have no such luck. He knew of vampires who, instead of being staked, were chained, bound, casketed, and buried alive—for eternity! Eternal hunger. Hunger for blood and hunger for death. Neither of which they would be granted. A vampire’s body only consumes the blood cells, leaving them emaciated to a mummified appearance. Everything else is left in tack and functioning.
He shivered, though he felt no chill on his spine, rather a chill that came from the corners of his mind—a heinous torture that never ends.
The thoughts increased his current hunger. He was so starved he figured he could drink at least one of those horses bone-dry! He wouldn’t, of course. A dead horse in the morning would cause all sorts of troubles. Pete had stabled them all which made the approach easier. He could mind control a horse to be still, but the weird thing about animals was if one got spooked, they all spooked. He wondered if it had something to do with the ‘oneness’ business Tristan had been trying to get across. He recalled the pain when he lost his finger—a little extreme for an object lesson, but at least he was generous enough to reattached it.
He walked down the length of the barn, past the stallions toward the mares as one walking the aisle of the grocery store. He could stable fifty horses, but he didn’t plan on having that many. Yes, he could make money off the animals—and he would—but his main objective was his dinner. The cremello mare was his first choice. She was in estrus which he found made them more succulent with the added hormones.
Honestly, he was horny enough to stand on a bucket and give her what the stallions dreamed about. Nah. He wasn’t into animal sex—except for Lou. It would have been one hell of a fight, but that man—er—ah—beast was so tempting it made even a straight vampire like himself yearn for anal sex!
Elliot laughed softly as he entered the mare’s stall. She was fully calm as he took his finger and drew an imaginary line from her eye down her neck until his finger found the groove on the side of her trachea. He allowed his thumb to take the spot as his fingers cupped and gently squeezed her trach tube.
This was the place where the jugular intersected. The gentle pressure caused the jugular to fill and expand along the upper portion of her neck, standing out fat and beautiful. It wasn’t the easiest place to bite, but the reward would be an immediate, sweet flow of hot blood into his mouth. He could drink about a gallon without injuring her, but to drink more than that and he ran the risk of her collapsing. Theoretically, he should be able to drink just over two gallons without causing injury, but he’d had a horse collapse on him once—he didn’t want to do that again—a half ton is a bit much to lift off ones chest.
He felt his body warming as the hundred degree blood flowed freely, but the angle made things a bit messy. Once he consumed a safe amount, he released a single drop of venom from each fang and held his mouth in place as the venom clotted the holes. “Good girl,” he said softly has he patted her. He would need to clean what had spilled onto her coat so there wouldn’t be any obvious clues leading to the two small, crusted-over wounds.
Once he’d washed her neck, he spent a little longer comforting her. He actually did like horses; he’d lied to Genesis to make her feel bad about wanting to ‘wheel’ him outside. He also loved to ride. The great part about being a vampire and riding a horse was that he didn’t need a bridle. He mentally guided the horse where he wanted it to go. With her calm and clean, he moved to another stall. One of the liver chestnuts was his next choice. She was very friendly and curious, nuzzling and nickering softly to him. He decided he would drink from her leg. The leg was his preferred place to feed from on a horse, but he’d been so hungry that he traded comfort and convenience for a fast drink. Now, with his stomach happily processing a gallon of blood, he would take his time on the next drain. Three gallons tonight would satisfy him until tomorrow.
He chuckled as he rubbed his bare stomach, “I’ll end up with a beer belly if I do this every night.” That wasn’t true; a vampire’s weight rarely fluctuates by much. He would eternally have the physique of a 22 year-old in the prime of his life. He felt bad for the few he knew of who where changed late in life. He knew of one man who had been changed at seventy-five years of age; eternally seventy-five. The idea was not appealing.
There were times when Elliot wished he had not been turned, but for the most part the life of a vampire wasn’t as terrible as media had portrayed them over the years. If there was any true drawback, it was love. Falling in love with one who rejected being turned meant watching that person age and die. Falling in love with someone who asked to be turned, unless both partners had switched to animal blood, was difficult because feeding is a very sexual experience. Vampires are just as prone to jealousy as anyone else. After all, we were human once!
Transitioning to animals wasn’t as easy as one might think. Human blood has unique qualities that make it the perfect meal. Switching to animals was like going extreme vegan…something was missing in the diet and the body knew it, craved it, suffered for it. Elliot was grateful that he could take a taste of human blood without going on a binge. He perfectly understood the concept behind Martha’s alcoholism because it was the same for many vampires who switched to animal blood; one drink from a human and they couldn’t stop themselves from going back for more.
By the time he’d finished his dinner, he’d consumed three gallons and he was comfortably full. He spent the remainder of his freedom brushing the horses until their coats glistened, and about two hours before sunrise, he took the red stallion out for a gallop around the property. He stayed away from the road that bordered the east of the acreage in case anyone might be driving by. He knew his ghost-white skin would stand out like a beacon, but to the west of his property was state owned land with numerous caves and caverns—open space that was relatively human-free. Fortunately for him, the great state of Kentucky hadn’t decided whether to turn it into a state park and make money by running cavern tours, or to mine the land for the abundant coal reserves. Elliot would be happy if they never made up their minds.
He returned about twenty minutes before sunrise and stalled the stallion. The sun wasn’t up, but Elliot could feel the pricks on his skin as the world began to slowly illuminate—they felt like hot needles. Those needles would grow to an intensity equivalent to that of holding one over a flame until the metal turned molten orange. He had no plans to stay outdoors that long. Besides, Genesis would arrive in the next fifteen minutes or so. He could leave the bedroom and master bathroom doors open while he relaxed on his shower bench. Maybe she’d come inside and watch while he soaped his cock and…
“Don’t even think about it,” came a deep, male voice.
He actually jumped. Tristan was suddenly beside him like an annoying voice from his conscience. And he was caught, standing there in the yard with a rock-hard cock throbbing from thoughts of Genesis.
“What would it hurt to let her watch?” he asked, taunting Tristan a tad. Suddenly he felt a very uncomfortable sensation. Tristan had reached down and placed his thumb and index finger in a u-shape over the root of Elliot’s cock then, with a firm hold on the base of his genitals, he felt the grip tighten.
“I can remove this for you if it’s going to cause a problem.”
“Nope,” Elliot stated in a slightly higher note than he wanted to, “I’m good. I’ll close the door.”
“Are you sure? Eternity without your cock might be just what you need to stay a gentleman.”
He swallowed. Eternity without a cock would suck beyond belief!
Tristan laughed and released him, “Hurry up, she’ll be here in a few minutes.”
Elliot would take his morning shower, but his door would definitely be closed.
When Genesis pulled the LaBaron into the circle drive, she immediately noticed a very large, young man with long, dark auburn hair pulled back into a ponytail. He was loading a John Deere Gator up with painted white boards and fencing supplies.
The late October air had a little nip to it so it was surprising to see he was wearing a light denim shirt with the sleeves ripped off. She wasn’t one to take note of a man’s biceps, but even so his screamed out ‘look at me!’ But besides his giant appearance and bulging muscles, he was—well—weird. Genesis felt absolutely nothing from him. Nothing. It was as if she was all alone in the front yard. She didn’t even feel uneasy around him. It was as if the man was a mirage or a ghost. No, she shook her head, I’d sense him if he was a ghost.
She parked the car and exited cautiously. Surely she would feel something any moment—and if all her previous experiences in life had been indicators, she wouldn’t like it.
“Good morning, Ma’am,” he said, pausing his work and tipping his ball cap her direction.
Amazing. Nothing happened! Normally, she would have skirted past someone saying good morning by giving a simple nod and continuing on her way, but she felt oddly safe; which was something she never felt around men.
“Good morning. You must be the man hired to keep up the grounds.”
“Yes, Ma’am. I’m Tristan Anamulus.”
“Nice to meet you, Tristan. I’m Mister Hayden’s assistant,” she said offering her hand, and preparing to say her name when he drew back so that she wouldn’t touch him.
“Sorry,” he said showing his soiled palms, “dirty hands.”
That was strange. She would have sworn a moment ago his hands appeared clean. She withdrew her offered hand and laughed, “Dirty hands wouldn’t be the best way to start my morning. Anyway, I’m…”
A board on the Gator began to slide off the pile when he grabbed for it quickly. The open front of his shirt moved and revealed something amazing.
“Genesis?” she said as if she didn’t know her own name.
“You have my—my name tattooed on your…” her mind was fumbling for the word. Breast? Pecks? Body? “…chest,” she settled on.
“Oh,” he said, pulling back the fabric with his free hand, “it’s a verse from the Bible; Genesis 6:2. Your name is Genesis?”
“Yes,” she said, still unable to hide her surprise.
“That’s beautiful. You’re the first woman I’ve met with that name.”
“Thank you. It was nice to meet you, but I’d better get inside and get busy. Oh,” she said as an afterthought, “and thank you for fixing that leak yesterday.”
“The gas pipe.”
“Oh that,” he said with a knowing nod.
“I hope it holds because that stuff has some strange effects.”
“Don’t worry,” he said sincerely, “you won’t have any more problems with pipes.”
He gave her a kind smile, which she returned then headed into the house.
Elliot’s bedroom door was closed when she walked down the hallway so she continued to the kitchen. Since he’d mentioned coffee yesterday, she would brew some and see if she could coax him into eating a scrambled egg. On a whim, she decided instead of putting milk with the egg and scrambling it, she’d try using the pork blood instead. The scrambled egg certainly didn’t turn out pretty, but the smell was about the same as making steak and eggs. She fixed the bed tray, scrapped the idea of flowers, and headed down the hallway to his room. She knocked softly.
When she swung the door open, she was a little shocked to see him in his bathrobe with his hair dripping wet. The scent of steam hung heavy in the room, indicating that it hadn’t been too long ago that he was in the shower.
She felt the blush come over her skin without reason. “I’m sorry. I hope I’m not disturbing you too early.”
“No, of course not. Your timing is perfect. A few minutes sooner and I’m afraid you’d have seen my birthday suit when I transferred from the chair to the bed. I can’t seem to keep this damn robe closed when I do that.”
Several water droplets landed on his robe. God, she wondered, did he use a towel—at all?
The blush turned to goose-bumps as she considered how he might look in the nude. She had a sneaking suspicion that his body might look a lot like the muscled man she’d met in his yard. As soon as the thought entered her mind, she looked up at his face; she was met with a disturbing, penetrating stare. His stare made her weak, physically weak. She watched another drop fall.
“Are you all right?” he asked.
She was starting to feel those weird sensations again fluttering loose inside her. She was becoming uncomfortable around him once more. His hair was still dripping.
“Did someone bother you?” he continued. “Tristan?” he added with a steely edge.
“No. I mean, yes, I did meet him this morning, but he didn’t bother me. He was very nice.” She added then watched his gray orbs darken and his eyes glaze with anger—more drops fell.
“Stay away from him, Genesis. I don’t trust him completely.”
She rolled her eyes, realizing what she felt coming from him was jealousy. “He’s okay. I don’t think guys with Bible verses tattooed on their chests are the ones to worry ab—”
“Excuse me?” he interrupted, with a sharp tilt to his head which cause a mini rainfall on his robe.
She gave a small, nervous laugh, “It kind of freaked me out at first because all I saw was my name, but—”
“Excuse me?” he repeated. “He didn’t have his shirt on?”
“He had his shirt on,” she replied, watching him start to relax; the dripping nearly stopped. “It just wasn’t buttoned up very far.” She wasn’t positive but she thought she heard him growl.
“I’ll have to inform him that a certain manner of dress is expected, if he’s going to keep working here.” He took a breath and appeared to calm, “How was your aunt?”
“She was transferred to a treatment facility to get some help. Did you…” she paused. “I mean, someone paid for her to go and you’re the only person I know who might have enough money.”
“Would you be angry if I did?”
“No, not at all. It’s just so crazy to do something like that for someone you barely know.” A single drop fell from his black locks—it was becoming very distracting to watch the droplets form on the tips of his hair and land on his robe.
“She needs the help, doesn’t she?”
“She does, but she’s so stubborn. I just hope you didn’t waste your money.”
“Oh, I don’t think it will be a waste. After all, I ended up with a wonderful assistant.”
Just for a second, she wondered what it would be like to kiss him. She was watching his lips and his beautiful mouth intently. His face was moist. His mouth was wet.
He smiled and wiped his mouth.
“Well, with all you’ve spent on her I can’t see how it would be fair for me to charge you to work here. I’ll work for free.” She honestly felt that way, but it hurt to say it. She would have to put her dreams of getting out of Kentucky off for a little while longer.
“You’re crazy,” he stated.
“If you think I’m going to let you work and not be paid, you’re crazy.” Three drops fell in succession.
“But, it’s just that—”
“You didn’t ask me to help her; it was my choice. I’m glad you’re here, and I am paying you.” Two more drops.
“But that I will not put up with; it’s Elliot or your fired,” he said with a little laugh.
“Elliot, I can’t stand it anymore!”
“What?!” he asked, eyes opening wider.
“I have to dry your hair!” she practically shouted at him. She was up and moving away into his bathroom before he could respond. She returned with a towel. “You’re gonna catch freaking pneumonia! I’m sorry but just hold still.”
Once again, he only managed to get as far as opening his mouth before she had his head covered in the towel and was vigorously massaging his scalp.
She pulled the towel away and peered into his surprised face, “Do you have a blow dryer?”
She looped the towel around the back of his neck and brought it to hang down the front of his robe. “I’m afraid you are in severe need of a comb right now—my God, I thoroughly messed up your hair. You look like a crow that’s been blown off a transformer!”
She watched him smooth the wild hairdo with his fingers, and for the most part his hair cooperated. “I’ll comb it later. Better?” he asked.
She nodded, “I’m going to work on the second floor today, but if you need anything—”
“Genesis, I’ll be fine—now that you saved me from certain death by pneumonia.”
“What about lunch this afternoon? I can make you soup or—”
“I won’t need lunch.”
She frowned, “Dinner tonight?”
“Only if you eat with me.”
“If we eat together then you have to eat some type of vegetable.”
“Beets? I didn’t buy any beets yesterday. As picky as you are, I would have guessed you didn’t like them.”
“Then why did you say beets?”
“I like their color. They, like all vegetables, taste like dirt.”
“How about carrots? I bought carrots and they’re colorful.”
“A salad?” she suggested.
His expression soured, “I don’t eat green.”
“You pick your foods based on their color?”
“You said a vegetable; a salad is more than one.”
“Tomatoes are more of a garnish than a side, but I’ll come up with something. Are you going to try your egg?”
He looked down at the pitiful brown and yellow pile, “It’s not very attractive.”
“I know,” she replied despondently. “I was trying to—”
“But it smells good,” he interrupted, spearing a bite with his fork and placing it in his mouth.
She watched his face. “You don’t like it, do you?”
“It’s the egg,” he admitted. “Eggs have a funny texture when they’re cooked. I will eat them raw though.”
“People do eat raw eggs, you know.”
“I know, but I put a little of the pork blood in it when I scrambled it.”
“So?” she snapped, lifting the coffee and placing it on the table by the bed. She took the tray from his lap because it was obvious he wouldn’t be eating any more of the egg. “You can’t eat raw blood.”
“Don’t even try to tease me into believing you’d drink blood. You’re not a vampire,” she laughed as she headed for his door.
“I could be,” he said with a devious look. “I loved your blood gravy and I hate sunlight. Don’t you believe in vampires?”
She turned around, laughing at this point, “Smile, please.”
His eyebrows rose ever-so-slightly, “Why?”
“Show me your teeth.”
“There. You see—no fangs. Vampires are from fables, but if they weren’t you’d be a pretty terrible one without fangs.”
“I guess you’re right, but it’s too bad.”
Her hand was on his doorknob at this point, ready to pull it shut and give him some privacy to dress. “Why is that?”
“I was looking forward to biting you.”
She rolled her eyes, “Dinner tonight. You’re eating a vegetable, and you may not bite me.” She closed the door.
When the door closed, he allowed his fangs to descend. His tongue slipped between them and he licked his upper lip. “But I still want to, Genesis.”