All Things In Good Time

© Joan Ann Lansberry

Brave Spirit

Fear plagued Livia and would not let her go. How could Gwen do this? She was just meeting someone she'd been writing on the web. Livia would have gone with her last night, but she was too weary after working all day. What ever possessed her? Gwen's not a foolish person, ordinarily. ''What sort of spell did that man put on her? It HAS to be a spell.''

Livia paused before the bed, in which the two lay curled up in each other, sleeping the sleep of the innocent. The man looked small and pale. ''What charms does he have?'' Charms, or no, the way the man lay there suggested he planned on staying. Livia's heart pounded more quickly with her fevered worries. She was never good at confrontation, but she'd have to speak to Gwen about this when she woke up.

It was not until twilight that she and the strange man woke up. They were hungry, but they'd go 'out' to eat. Livia grew suspicious because Gwen did not ask her to join them. What secretive plans did they have?

Gwen felt bad, just brushing by Livia like that, and leaving to go 'out' to eat. But she couldn't explain to her, not just yet. In time, she would, she was sure of it. But for the present, there was the knotty problem of finding suitable nourishment. She looked to the experienced Michael for guidance, and was glad she did not have to learn these things on her own.

Michael knew Gwen would be hungry, and that they really needed what she had so charmingly called in her web post, a 'BIG MEAL'. But he had no wish to frighten her at the outset with the darker realities of their lives. Still, she did seem to have a good grasp of its necessity. He'd hunt for the 'big meal'. He proceeded as he'd always done. He'd sniff out the vibes, sniffing with his mental nose for the taint of evil. Sometimes the prey appeared early in the evening, and thus it was they were lucky this evening. He always made the ruse of being vulnerable, thereby putting the prey off guard.

Gwen stood from afar, willing herself to stay in the shadows. She watched wide eyed as Michael had a tussle with a heavy set drunken, red faced man. The red-faced man fell to the ground, and she saw Michael gesturing for her to come. She joined him and stared at the ugly sight of the drunken man, now knocked unconsciousness. Michael kneeled and put his head to the man's neck. She cautiously kneeled, as well. The smell of alcohol on his breath was enough to make her sick, it was so strong. But she found herself more hungry than sickened, so she pulled her hair back, and bent down low, too.

A momentary revulsion crossed her, then a more primal urge directed her. She bite into him, finding his flesh softer than she'd imagined. The warm, red liquid poured over her teeth, and tasted better than she'd hoped, as alcohol filled as it was. Then, no thoughts filled her. She just drank. She drank as innocently as a child drinking milk. She was grateful for the increasing sensation of fullness. As the prey was nearly empty, she felt sated. She looked at Michael, who was watching her, smiling. He had saved the greater portion for her.

He smiled at her, pleased with her innocent greed. It was senseless to feel guilty over what they must do. ''Does a human ever feel guilty, as they plunge their fork into the steak? Does a fox, with the hen in its mouth? No, we are all part of the 'food-chain', and we, my lady, are simply at the TOP of it!'' His words seemed supremely wise, and she didn't question them. She wasn't hungry any more, and for that, she was grateful.

They returned to the house, to find Livia rather distressed. She regarded Gwen with a worrisome air. Gwen had a new aura about her, Livia couldn't define it exactly, but it was not merely imagined, she was certain. She wouldn't leave Michael's side. They purred and cooed at each other, and it sickened Livia. The confrontation had to happen NOW!

It was Michael who seemed most aware of Livia's distress. ''I believe you two need to talk. I will go outside for awhile!'' He kissed Gwen, and then smiled at Livia, looking directly into her brown eyes with a strange piercing quality. He then slipped outside, and Livia was left to pursue her questions.

''I don't know what happened last night. You went out, and all was still normal. Then, you stay out until nearly dawn, and you bring this strange man into our house to stay. I have no idea what he's like. You just brought him home, fait accompli, and I have not had one single word of imput. Didn't we agree we'd agree before bringing someone new into our relationship?'' Livia was livid.

''I'm sorry, sweetie. It all happened so fast. Oh, I know things will work out. Michael's sweet, I know you'll like him if you give him a chance. Just give him a chance, won't you honey?'' With that, Gwen stroked Livia's warm cheek and tenderly kissed her. An overpowering pleasant human smell opened Gwen's nostrils, and it nearly took her back. But she returned to stroking and kissing Livia. ''Everything will be fine, sweetie. You wait and see,''

But Livia was not comforted. ''You've changed. I can tell you've changed!'' A low, husky laughter emanated from Gwen's lips, and she replied, still stroking Livia's cheek, ''I know, honey. But not in any way that really matters. Everything will be fine. Just give it time,'' and she kissed her once more with all the tender sensuality she possessed.

Michael returned, as if on cue, and addressed Livia, after he kissed her hand, ''I'm sorry we have not been properly introduced. Let's take some time to get to know each other.''

''Do! Let's!''Gwen added, breathlessly. But as Livia sat down in her favorite chair and faced Michael and Gwen, who sat on the sofa, she had the horrible feeling it was them against her. ''No, it's NOT 'us against you'!'' I apologize for it all happening so quickly, but we DO want you to feel a part of us.'' Gwen blurted out, forgetting she hadn't actually heard Livia say that with her mouth voice.

Livia appraised the very whiteness of Michael's skin with suspicion and feared disaster. ''Could it be? It couldn't be. Could he be?'' And she would not even say the word in her mind. They seemed to know what she was thinking, despite any guard she gave to her words. How did they do that? They read her mind. ''Oh, no! Whatever Michael is, he's made Gwen like him. I'm sure of it!'' And the horror of it nearly choked her. She couldn't stand to continue. She didn't know what to do. She felt like a caged animal, trapped with these . . .

. . . ''Bloodsuckers!'' It was Gwen who said it out loud. Michael was mostly keeping quiet. Livia could see he wasn't sure just how to act. ''But he had surely known 'how to act' earlier!''

''We will NOT do anything to you that you don't want,'' Gwen tried to assure her, feeling a painful alienation already. ''I love you, and I want you to love me. Am I really so different, now? I'm still ME! Give me a chance!'' Gwen cried, tears leaving her eyes and dripping on her cheeks. ''I'm not a freak, not a monster. Please! Give me a chance!'' And a horrible, frightening feeling overcame Gwen. She was forever 'NOT HUMAN' and they would always fear her. She could never change it. No matter how pretty she tried to make her words, she would always be the outsider. Michael's mouth opened, but no words came out of it. He merely looked very sad, as tears fell down his cheeks, as well. ''I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I never should have. What right did I have to think that I could?'' The fiercest agony rended his heart. ''I had no right to bring you this pain. No, you couldn't have imagined it. You imagined many things, but you couldn't imagine this. And I had no right to give it to you. I'm sorry!'' With that, Michael just sobbed.

Livia looked horrified. Two weeping vampires in her house, but she didn't know how to make them feel any better. Gwen had agreed to his seductions, and it couldn't be changed now.

Gwen and Michael just continued to cry, while Livia looked helplessly on them. Finally, it was Gwen who took a forceful hold of her emotions. ''This senseless grief must stop NOW. There must be a better way. All humans can not be so misunderstanding! Livia, you are an intelligent woman! Surely, you can see the sense of what I'm saying!'' With that, Gwen looked directly into Livia's brown eyes. ''Yes, I'll give you both a chance! I don't want to become like you, but I'll give you a chance.'' With that, she extended her hand to Gwen, who took it and humbly kissed it. ''Thank you! I can ask no more!'' Michael looked lovingly at Gwen, proud of her brave spirit, and then looked at Livia, and said as well, ''Thank you!''

No more could be expected.

Go to Chapter 12, Adjustments
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