“You – you want me to have your baby?!”
Crissy couldn’t believe her luck. A real, live, vampire! Tall and pale as death, with long black hair that snaked down his back. His eyes looked brown until the light hit them just right, then there was that gleam of hellfire red. And the teeth. Good God, the teeth.
And he wanted her! Just like in the stories!
“I require you to bring life to my heir,” Valdis told the wide-eyed girl.
“This is so awesome! Of course!” She gushed, staring up at the vampire. “And I’ll be a vampire, too? Or do you need me to stay human to have the baby?!”
Valdis paused for a moment, reflecting on how ridiculously easy this was. Time was he had to woo and flirt and court to get a woman to come with him. Now all it took were a few simple words.
“I will require you to stay human for the moment,” Valdis purred. “Your blood is essential to the process.”
“I wasn’t even sure vampires could have babies!”
“Oh, it’s a very, very rare thing,” Valdis confirmed, putting his arm around the girl’s shoulders. He steered her out into the darkened street. “Only possible when there are drastically few vampires left in the world.”
“So I’ll be helping save the species?”
“Yes. A pregnant vampire is a very delicate creature. She must be kept warm and away from all daylight – and of course she must feed daily.”
They made their way to the nearest subway entrance. Crissy never questioned Valdis on where they were headed; she was about to start a new life as an immortal! She had to trust her immortal beloved.
“Feed . . . like blood?”
“ . . . Yes. Vampires feed on blood,” Valdis said carefully, as though speaking to a very stupid child.
“But do you have to?”
“Yes. Pregnant vampires cannot take the risk of getting experimental with their diet,” Valdis said sharply. “They are very delicate.”
“Oh. Yeah, I guess I can understand – we’re leaving the subway?” The girl eyed the decrepit tunnel leading off of the train tube. “Oh! No daylight; right. Sorry.”
“Exactly,” Valdis said, taking her hand. “I had a lovely old castle with a natural cave beneath . . . that would have made a perfect nursery. But the population centers shifted and it was too far away from good hunting grounds.”
Crissy went quiet. She allowed Valdis to lead her off into the access tunnels. Then further down into old catacombs and sewer tunnels. This was a far cry from romantic castles and elegant hotels. But . . . hot, sexy vampire . . .
“I – I don’t know how I feel about feeding on blood,” she said. “But I understand that the baby’s important. I have to stay down here for nine whole months?”
“Actually, vampires are pregnant for seven years,” Valdis said, opening a steel-bound door.
“Seven years?!” The young woman reeled back from the blast of heat that wafted out of the room. “Oh! It’s like a sauna!”
“Ninety-eight point six degrees exactly,” Valdis confirmed, shoving the girl through. He slammed and locked the door behind them, then reached for a thermometer sitting on a nearby shelf. “Ninety-eight point seven?! No, no, no, this is all wrong!”
Valdis flew to a large bed that dominated the room and wrenched the covers back. There was a tiny woman sleeping in it. She was very small and delicate – pale as death, with long black hair that cascaded across the white sheets and spilled off the sides of the mattress like rivers of ink. She only wore a thin nightdress, but was sporting a conspicuous baby bump. She whined petulantly when Valdis tore her covers away.
“Klaudia, it is all right,” he crooned, suddenly all tenderness. “You are too warm, darling.”
Klaudia rolled away and hid her face in the pillows. Valdis stroked and kissed her bare neck and shoulders, murmuring sweet nothings about taking the cold from his skin. Klaudia swatted at him irritably, but there was no force behind it. In a moment she was turning back towards Valdis, pulling his head over so she could kiss his lips.
“It’s hot,” she announced.
“I know, love, I have turned down the furnace.”
Crissy watched this silently, confused and puzzled. Valdis said a pregnant vampire was a very rare thing. But he already had one! Why did he bring her here?!
Klaudia kissed him again, turning towards him fully, pulling the male vampire down to lie over her body. They kissed for a few long, leisurely minutes.
“I’m hungry,” Klaudia whispered against his lips. “The baby is hungry.”
“Not to worry, my love,” Valdis murmured. His blood red gaze landed on Crissy, who was still standing by the door. “I’ve brought you something to eat.”
In the next breath, he had the human woman by the throat. He flung her onto the bed. Klaudia pounced on the offering, showing off her gleaming fangs. Crissy realized far too late that Valdis had never specifically stated that she would be the one bearing the child. The human woman’s scream was cut off as Klaudia sank her fangs into Crissy’s neck.
Valdis fussed with the environmental controls as the human’s cries trailed off. This system was supposed to be correct to the tenth of a degree. But obviously it wasn’t! Valdis wondered how he could take it back while still maintaining the temperature. There was one, final gurgle from the human girl he had dragged down. Klaudia was still latched onto her neck, pulling out the woman’s life blood. It would take her a bit to drain the human dry; Klaudia was small eight hundred years ago. Modern humans were getting larger and larger; sometimes she had trouble finishing one. Well, before her pregnancy she had trouble. Now she wouldn’t spill a drop.
Eventually, Klaudia sat up and shoved the desiccated corpse off of the bed. She wiped her mouth delicately and beamed at Valdis. The soon-to-be father of her child gathered up the husk and put it down a chute. The body would rot away in a forgotten cistern, never to be discovered. He turned back to the bed.
“You are even more beautiful now than when we met,” Valdis announced.
“I was a hot mess the day we met!” Klaudia protested.
“You were the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen.”
“I was dressed in rags, starving to death, and covered with bites!” Klaudia stroked her neck, fingering scars long since vanished. “You were so imperious and commanding . . .”
“Your beauty robbed me of anything more than one word responses,” Valdis corrected, sitting on the edge of the bed.
Klaudia snorted, but leaned her head against his chest.
“You stole my heart when even I didn’t know where it lay,” Klaudia murmured, her mind drifting back.