From their very first date Hillary had been wondering if there was something Bill wasn’t telling her.
They’d met in early 1971 when they were both studying law at Yale, she had been reading in the library and had spied him looking at her from across the room, had pursued him and been pursued by him, and soon they had found themselves on that fated first date, ending up at the Yale Art Gallery. They browsed the various exhibits and pieces and then sat together for a while in the garden outside. Bill had even laid his head on her shoulder, which Hillary found quite romantic, but then she noticed his skin was getting a bit red. Bill assured her that it was nothing to be worried about, that his skin was just overly sensitive to the sun, but when the two of them finally rose to leave the garden he seemed weaker somehow, as if a sudden weariness had overcome his body. When Hillary had asked if he was alright he had said he was fine, that he was just fatigued from all of his late night cramming for exams, and she didn’t ask him any further questions then, though she didn’t entirely believe him. Something was off, she just wasn’t sure what.
The following weekend something else peculiar occurred. Hillary had been feeling ill with a fever, so Bill stopped by her residence with chicken soup and orange juice for her. He’d walked by her bedroom mirror as he was leaving, and Hillary could swear that when he passed in front of it she hadn’t seen his reflection, although she couldn’t be entirely certain. She was groggy and hazy and utterly out of it from her illness, for all she knew it could just be the fever playing tricks on her mind, so she didn’t question Bill about it.
Another incident happened when Bill visited her while she was making dinner for herself one evening. It was nothing fancy, just a simple pasta with a garlic pesto. She’d offered him a bite and he had gladly accepted it, but he then immediately spit it into a napkin and ran off to the bathroom to violently throw up. It was then that she learned he had what he described as a severe garlic allergy.
They’d been dating for some time now, and Hillary was quite happy in her relationship with Bill-he was gorgeous and engaging and smart and funny and she felt as if they could discuss anything with each other-but in spite of this she couldn’t shake the feeling that he was keeping something from her.
Growing curious, Hillary began to spend some of her free time researching medical conditions in the Yale library. She figured that what was most likely going on was that the garlic allergy and sensitivity to the sun were symptoms of some chronic illness that Bill was suffering from and that he wasn’t telling her about it because he didn’t want her to worry about him. Despite his efforts she was worried nonetheless, and she yearned to know more about what he was going through so she could properly provide him with love and support. Hillary browsed through book after book on allergies, fatigue, and skin conditions, but despite her extensive research she was getting nowhere, none of the symptoms added up into any one disease, disorder, or syndrome that fit what her boyfriend was exhibiting. One day, however, she stumbled across a book she’d never seen before. It was shoved all the way towards the back of the highest shelf in the section on medical literature, and she’d found it completely by chance when her hand bumped against it as she reached to place another book on allergies back. Intrigued by the texture of the cover, which felt strangely soft, she grabbed the book and brought it out into the light. She adjusted her glasses and examined it, marveling at how positively ancient it looked. The cover was a faded burgundy velvet, coated in a thin layer of dust. Hillary took the book back to the desk she’d been sitting at and brushed the dust away with her palm, revealing the title, spelled out in inky black calligraphy: Vampire Anatomy and Behavior. The author was someone named Monte Stefani, a name that was unfamiliar to her, though judging by the title Hillary guessed that he was a writer of vampire fiction.
“Vampires aren’t real,” She scoffed to herself, rolling her eyes, “Someone must have put this back in the medical section by mistake.” She had half a mind to waltz over to the horror section and file the book back correctly, but something about it piqued her curiosity. After hours and hours of pouring through medical texts it might be nice to take a break and just read something for fun to clear her head. She opened the book and examined its table of contents, printed on crackly, weathered beige paper. The book was divided into six sections: Vampire Anatomy, Vampire Behavior, Vampire Weaknesses, Vampire Abilities, Bloodlust, and Human-Vampire Hybrids. Before the first section was a short prologue by the author. Hillary turned the page and began to silently read it.
I dedicate this tome to my beloved Scarlatta, the light of my life, my closest confidant and my greatest inspiration. With this publication I aim to illuminate the public about the beauty of your kind and to dispel any myths and misconceptions. I love you, my dear, and every moment at your side is like a dream.
This sappy declaration of love was followed by a rather fancy looking, difficult to read signature with the author’s name printed beneath it. Hillary looked to the next page, coming to the first of the book’s sections.
Anatomically, vampires are almost completely analogous to humans, with a few marked differences. Their digestive track is not as complex, capable only of drawing nutrients from blood, and ingesting the normal food groups will cause the vampire to experience anything from minor indigestion to violent vomiting. Because of this, vampires exhibit an innate aversion to human food, with most avoiding its consumption at all costs. Imbibing alcohol will not cause them to become inebriated, however, if they drink the blood of a human who is inebriated they will experience effects similar to inebriation. Vampires possess a venom gland located near the salivary glands, which allows them to transform humans into fledgling vampires, as will be elaborated upon in VAMPIRE ABILITIES. Due to differences in their blood composition vampires will not gain any nutrients from drinking the blood of other vampires and must drink either from humans or animals. Additionally, they do not flush like humans do when experiencing intense emotions but can temporarily take on a more flushed appearance after drinking a sufficient quantity of blood. While they cannot flush they can experience “burns” following extended sun exposure, with the overexposed skin becoming red, inflamed, and painful. All pureblood vampires possess eyes of varying shades of red, ranging from a light rosy pink to a dark maroon. They present with the same number of teeth as humans, although instead of blunted canines they bear sharp fangs, ranging on average from one to two centimeters in length. Unlike humans, vampires do not grow a set of milk teeth followed by permanent adult teeth. Infant vampires are born with the set of teeth that they will have for the rest of their lives. These traits can be concealed by the vampire, and the concealment process will be explained in VAMPIRE ABILITIES.
There was a set of drawings below the text on the last page of the section, beautifully penned sketches of fangs, the venom gland in situ, and a gradient of vampire eye colors. Hillary marveled at them, intrigued by their designs and by the detailed descriptions the author had created to build his fictional vampire world, but one bit of information stuck out to her. The sentence about vampires being burned by the sun reminded her quite a lot of what had happened to Bill on their first date. But Bill obviously wasn’t a vampire, because vampires weren’t even real, and Hillary chuckled softly to herself as a ridiculous image of Bill skulking around in a cape like Bela Lugosi’s Dracula flitted through her mind. She flipped the page and began the next section.
This section will be brief, as vampire behavior is generally almost indistinguishable from human behavior. Some vampires decide to live in isolated covens among their own kind, while others dwell among humans, either solitarily or in covens. They blend into human society, enjoy human hobbies, get married and raise families, attend the same institutions as humans, hold mundane professions, and most humans remain oblivious to their true nature. Vampires who live among humans will tend to maintain friendly relations with around five to ten human cohorts who are willing to offer their blood and will call upon any one of them when their bloodlust begins to arise, alternating between each human over a roughly three month period so any one human in their inner circle is not drained of too much blood at once. More reclusive vampires tend to drink animal blood due to animals being in greater abundance where they reside, and the recluses are generally either peaceful towards any humans they encounter. There is a small minority of reclusive vampire covens that are hostile towards mankind, and these covens will occasionally hunt humans down and drink from them against their wills, but this behavior is not normal and is condemned by the majority of vampires. Overall, vampires pose no more a threat to humans than humans pose to each other.
As stated before, vampires are negatively affected by sunlight. While it cannot kill them extended exposure causes general weakness and irritates the skin, so most vampires will tend to avoid staying in sunlight for more than two hours at a time unless they are sufficiently shielded. Additionally, garlic is poisonous to vampires. Contrary to popular belief, exposure to garlic is not normally fatal for the vampire, but instead causes an unpleasant allergic reaction. Inhaling its scent will result in dizziness and may send the vampire into a coughing or sneezing fit. Ingesting garlic will result in nausea, vomiting, fever, and a rash around or inside of the mouth. Exposure to garlic can in rare cases be fatal if a large quantity in high concentration is ingested or inhaled.
Reading about the effects of garlic upon vampires left Hillary questioning if this really was fiction or not, as again her thoughts drifted to Bill. She’d spent hours and hours looking for information about allergies to garlic and had come up empty-handed, none of the literature matching Bill’s symptoms. But the symptoms being described here fit him exactly, and so did the earlier description of sensitivity to the sun. Could it just be a coincidence? It had to be, right? Feeling slightly unsettled now, Hillary turned the page once more and continued reading.
Vampires are capable of several superhuman feats. The most notable one they possess is immense physical strength; they are able to lift objects and people much heavier than themselves and have a vicelike grip akin to the force in the jaw of many predatory animals. They cannot transform into bats or mist to travel as some works of fiction would have them do, although they can levitate themselves at will in order to fly. They also have the ability to see in the dark, to sense heat, and to detect the scent of blood from open wounds. They are not immortal, and their lifespan is roughly equal to the human lifespan, although the vampire lifespan is slightly longer due to vampires experiencing immunity to human blood-borne diseases from their different blood composition. Vampires do not have a reflection, although the mechanisms behind the lack of reflection are not completely clear, even to vampires themselves. Scarlatta suspects that it has something to do with the ‘mask’. Vampires possess the ability to create what is essentially a ‘mask’, a sort of projection to shroud their eye color and fangs from humans. While it is undetectable to humans other vampires and dhampirs are able to sense when a vampire is using this mask. It is not a precise sensation, however, and while a vampire can detect the presence of a mask they cannot see through it and it is difficult to single out who exactly is using it. From birth until around the age of two years infant vampires and dhampirs will possess a protective mask reflex that prevents them from being detected by humans. The infant’s human mask will constantly be up, and it will only reflexively lower when triggered by the presence of other vampires. Human presence will never trigger the reflex, even if, in the case of dhampirs, the human is closely related kin. When the infant is sufficiently mature they will be able to raise and lower their mask at will just as an adult vampire or dhampir can. Aside from procreating with each other or with humans, as described under VAMPIRE-HUMAN HYBRIDS, vampires can also increase their numbers by injecting humans with their venom in the midst of biting to transform them into fledgling vampires. Common biting locations are the wrist and neck, and when drinking from a human the vampire will consume on average about four hundred and seventy milliliters of blood at a time. The bite is painful to the human, I would describe it from my own experience as being similar to the feeling of being pierced by a needle, but the pain begins to subside as the vampire starts to drink. If the vampire has injected the human with venom it will take roughly three days for the transformation to be completed. On the first day the human will experience nausea and will no longer have an appetite for human cuisine. Their eyes will begin the process of turning red and their fangs will begin to grow. On the second day they will start feeling weakened by sunlight and their powers will begin to manifest in a muted form. On the third day the powers are in full form, the fangs are fully grown, and the eyes have completely changed. The fledgling vampire will be able to use their mask now.
The detail about the lack of reflection and the explanation of the human mask began to convince Hillary that this book was fact rather than fiction. There were too many parallels between what was being described and the very things she had witnessed with her own boyfriend. Bill lacking red eyes and fangs had been enough to convince her initially that it was all made up, but knowing now that he could conceal that from her if he so desired combined with all of his strange symptoms left her feeling like there was some truth to it after all. Rattled by this realization, she kept reading.
Every vampire has a natural instinct to consume blood, their bloodlust. If a vampire goes too long without drinking blood it will trigger their natural bloodlust to overtake them, and they will begin to behave erratically as they search for sustenance. On average vampires can go up to two weeks without consuming any blood before the bloodlust starts to awaken, but the duration varies from vampire to vampire. A vampire suffering from unsated bloodlust will look more pale and fatigued than usual and may find difficulty maintaining their human mask. The longer they go without drinking blood the more desperate and impulsive they become. Going too long may lead to aggression and forcible drinking from unwilling humans, which may expose a vampire attempting to keep their identity secret and leave them vulnerable to prosecution and violence. Because of the consequences of unsated bloodlust it is recommended that vampires always have a steady, reliable supply of blood at their disposal.
If Bill truly was a vampire, where and who was he drinking from? Did he even drink from humans? Did he chow down on woodland creatures instead? Did he want to drink from her? So many questions were swimming in her head, and she had absolutely zero answers. She flipped to the final section.
Vampires and humans are reproductively compatible and can interbreed with each other. The children of these unions, known as dhampirs, never exhibit the natural thirst for blood that their vampire parent possesses and will instead sustain themselves on regular food like their human parent. In rare cases they will inherit all of the powers of their vampire parent, but more typically they will have a randomly inherited fraction of those powers. For example, a dhampir child born to a human mother and vampire father may inherit the father’s ability to fly but not his strength. All dhampirs have fangs, and some have red eyes, although this is less likely to be inherited. Dhampirs are generally accepted by pureblood vampires, although some of the more extreme covens look down upon them for creating impurities in their bloodlines. Unlike animal hybrids such as mules dhampirs are not infertile and can go on to have their own children without issue.
There was a brief epilogue containing another declaration of love for the mysterious Scarlatta mentioned at the beginning, and then that was it. Hillary quietly shut the book, unsure of what her next move should be. She felt somewhat crazy for suspecting that Bill was a vampire, but she’d found no other explanation for his strange symptoms and behavior in all of her research, and as insane as it was everything she’d read seemed to fall in line with what she had seen. She wasn’t afraid of anything that she’d learned from the book-honestly, she was relieved that she now knew what Bill was keeping from her, and she was curious too, wanting to learn more-but she was aware that since he’d kept it from her for so long he most likely wouldn’t be willing to talk if she asked. Hillary eventually decided that she would conduct a covert experiment to confirm if she was correct about him or not. Over the course of the next couple weeks she spent as much time as she could in Bill’s company, observing him closely whenever they were together, noticing that he grew paler and more sickly looking as more time passed. She figured that if he was a vampire his bloodlust would be emerging soon, and she would use that to her advantage. That Friday evening they were sitting together in her room, on the edge of her bed, looking over some cases for one their classes. Bill was so engrossed in his work he wasn’t paying her any mind, and Hillary decided that now was the perfect moment to put her plan into motion. She grabbed one of her papers and intentionally cut her index finger on the edge. Bill immediately tensed up and lifted his head from his work. He turned to face her, his gaze going directly to her hand, where a thin red line was starting to well up on her finger. She grinned. Her trap had worked-he could smell her blood, indisputable proof that he was indeed a vampire. Bill looked up from her hand, meeting her gaze, seeing that triumphant grin she was sporting. For a moment Hillary could see panic flash through his eyes-he must have realized then that she knew his secret-but he quickly recomposed himself, trying his best to act nonchalant.
“Hillary, I’m sorry, but I just remembered that I promised a friend that I’d let him borrow my notes tonight,” He lied, “I need to leave now so I can give them to him.” He attempted to rise from the bed, but she grabbed hold of his arm, keeping him in place at her side.
“I want to talk to you about something first,” She told him, “I promise it won’t take very long.”
“Hillary, I really need to leave,” He replied, more desperate this time, “Whatever it is, it can wait until tomorrow.” He pulled his arm from her grasp, but Hillary wasn’t going to let him get away that easily. Before he could get up from the bed she threw herself into his lap, pushing on his chest and knocking him back among the pillows. She straddled one of his legs, placing her hands on either side of his shoulders as she loomed over him, pinning him beneath her. She was gambling on him not struggling-if he did, he could easily knock her off of him with his inhuman strength-and just as she had bet, he didn’t resist.
“I did this on purpose,” She revealed, holding her index finger level with his eyes, letting him see the cut up close, “You could explain away the sun sensitivity and garlic allergy, and I thought you not having a reflection was just a fever dream, but you can’t explain away being able to smell my blood. I know you’re a vampire, Bill. You yourself just proved it to me, so stop lying about it.” Bill gave a defeated frown, knowing that he was backed into a corner.
“Your cleverness is one of the many reasons I love you, Hillary, but god damn it I was hoping it would be longer before you found out,” He sighed wistfully, “I know what this talk is about. I’ve had it with every other human woman I’ve dated. You’re afraid of me, and you’re breaking up with me.”
“Bill, if I was afraid of you I wouldn’t have pounced on you to keep you here,” Hillary chuckled, “I’m not the least bit afraid, I’m just curious. I want to know more about vampires, and more about your life as one. I don’t care that you drink blood. I don’t care that you can smell it, that you have heightened senses meant to help you detect it. Your strength, your ability to fly, your fangs-I read an entire book about vampire anatomy and behavior a couple weeks ago, it talked about all of this in it and while it did surprise me a little bit absolutely none of it scared me.” Bill seemed to perk up when she mentioned the book.
“Oh! Was it one of Monte Stefani’s tomes?” He suddenly asked her.
“Yes, I think that’s who the author was,” She confirmed, “He’s written more than one?” Bill nodded.
“Stefani was a human writer and scholar who lived in nineteenth century Italy and devoted his life to studying vampires and publishing informative literature about them,” Bill explained, “As a young man he befriended the Zanna coven of vampires, the largest Italian vampire family, after he saved the life of its leader, Rosso Zanna. His close relationship with them allowed him to observe and document vampire behavior firsthand in his writings. Where did you find the tome?”
“I found it in the medical section in the library,” She told him, “Before I found it I thought that all of your vampire weaknesses were symptoms of some chronic condition you weren’t telling me about, so I started researching medical literature in my free time to see if I could find anything that matched up. Eventually I came across the tome, and at first I thought it was vampire fiction that somebody had misplaced, but as I kept reading it I realized that everything it was describing matched everything I’d seen from you. Was the Zanna coven okay with Stefani publishing his observations of them?”
“They were more than okay with it; they helped him publish it!” Bill replied. “Rosso had two son, Cremisi and Vermiglio, and a daughter, Scarlatta, who were all in the printing business. The three of them helped Stefani publish his writings through their printing company in an effort to educate the public and dispel their fears, and Scarlatta, who would later become Stefani’s wife, collaborated with him on his tomes. Unfortunately, even though he made a decent living from his writings, most humans either interpreted his work as a form of vampire fiction since vampire fiction was starting to become popular around that time with works like Dracula, and those who did believe it scoffed at him for his claims that vampires were no threat to humans. Almost every vampire knows, admires, and owns copies of Stefani’s work, but among humans he’s generally regarded as an obscure fiction author. I’m surprised the Yale library has his tomes and that they’re correctly filed in the medical section.”
“Well, I’m glad that it has them, glad that I found one, and glad that I was able to figure out that you were a vampire,” She said, “I love you, I want to be with you, and I want to get to know this part of you. I have some questions that the book didn’t answer, about you and about vampires in general.” She reached down to stroke his cheek; he clasped her hand and brought it to his lips to kiss it. He seemed more relaxed now that he knew she wasn’t breaking up with him.
“I’ll do my best to answer them,” He agreed, “What would you like to know?”
“Have you ever turned anyone into a vampire?”
“I haven’t, but I know other vampires who have,” He explained, “If someone asked me to and I was good enough friends with them I would do it, but I prefer to just drink from people without turning them.”
“Have you always been a vampire?” Hillary asked next. “Were you born as one or did somebody turn you?”
“I was born one,” Bill told her, “My mother is a vampire and so was my father, and both of them were born vampires as well, although my stepfather was a human and my brother is a dhampir. My mother’s family has vampires going back generations.”
“The tome said vampires dislike human food and don’t gain any nutrition from eating it, but I’ve seen you eat entire meals on our dates and enjoy them, and you like my cooking-as long as it doesn’t have garlic in it,” Hillary pointed out, “How can you stomach that? Doesn’t it make you feel sick?” Bill started chuckling at this.
“It’s true that a lot of vampires are repulsed by human food, but some of us do like to eat it every now and then,” He clarified, “It doesn’t taste like much to me and sometimes it gives me heartburn, but I like the smells and the textures a lot.”
“Where do you get the blood that you drink?”
“I have a few human friends who know about me and who let me drink from them. Every couple of weeks I’ll go to one of them and they’ll let me bite their wrists.”
“I think that just about covers all of my questions for the time being,” Hillary decided. “I just have one more-can I see you without your mask up?” Bill hesitated a moment, not expecting her to request that of him. He suddenly felt very self-conscious about his true appearance. She had read the first Stefani tome, had undoubtedly seen the passage explaining what vampires looked like without their masks and the accompanying drawings and wasn’t bothered by any of it, but there was something about being asked to show that part of himself to her that gave him reservations. He usually only lowered his mask in the presence of other vampires, his family, or around the friends that he drank from, and he had never before lowered it for a human woman. He and Hillary had been growing closer, something that both titillated and frightened him, and he knew that if he showed her something so intimate there would be no going back.
“Do you really want to see me like that?” He pressed. “I’ve never shown it to any of the human women I’ve dated in the past. They figured out what I was, but they didn’t want to see it.”
“I want to,” She assured him, “I bet you look really cute with red eyes.” He grinned at this; the playful flirting made him feel more comfortable, made him feel that he could trust her.
“Okay, I’ll show you,” He conceded, “Here it goes.” Bill shut his eyes and concentrated upon dispelling his human façade. He opened them again a moment later, soft blue irises replaced by deep scarlet ones. Hillary stared down at him, taking in this new sight. His true color was striking, standing out like none she had ever seen in a human man’s eyes, and she was completely entranced by its unique beauty.
“Oh wow,” She gasped softly, “Your eyes are gorgeous.” Bill flashed her a smile, revealing a pair of pointed fangs, the final change to his appearance, and she became transfixed upon his mouth.
“Do your fangs ever get in the way when you kiss someone?” She asked him.
“No.” She leaned in and gave him a gentle peck on the lips.
“Good.” Hillary kissed him again, and Bill drew his arms around her waist, keeping her close against his body even as she lifted her head to gaze into his eyes once more. She brought one hand up and ran her fingers through his wavy brown hair, caressing him tenderly, faces mere centimeters apart. Even though he didn’t look all that different with his mask down Hillary was still deeply touched that he loved and trusted her enough to show his true self to her, and knowing that she had made him feel handsome and desired in this form had her feeling quite proud. She kept kissing him, he kissed her back, and the kisses became longer, more heated, more sensual. Hillary was still straddling Bill, her leg brushing against his crotch, his leg providing a teasing pressure against her own each time she shifted to meet his lips. She ran her hands down his chest, nothing but the cottony fabric of his t-shirt separating her palms from his skin, and his hands shifted from her waist to rest upon her ass. Bill kissed her forehead, her nose, her lips, her cheeks, knocking her glasses askew as he loved every inch of her face. He kissed along her jawline, going down further and further until he got to her neck. He kissed her there too, feeling the pulse of her blood beneath his lips as he trailed kisses across her jugular vein. The paper cut she had given herself had stopped bleeding, so he could no longer smell the scent of her blood in the air, but the memory of it taunted him, and every kiss he pressed to her skin brought his fangs tantalizingly close to it. He paused for a moment, eyeing her neck, deliciously exposed to him in the low cut tank top she was wearing. All that it would take to reach that delectable blood of hers was one quick little bite. His bloodlust was growing ever stronger, that animalistic part of him was beginning to stir, urging him to forgo the kisses and sink his teeth into her. But he couldn’t do it. He turned his face away from her, feeling ashamed that he was even thinking about biting her, that he was even considering hurting her like that.
“I need to leave right now, for your safety,” He informed her, “I’ve smelled your blood, and it’s been too long since I’ve had a drink. If I don’t leave my bloodlust will overpower my self-control and I’ll bite you.”
“Maybe I want you to bite me.” Hillary smirked suggestively. “You’re lusting for me and lusting for my blood, and I want you to have both tonight.” Though they’d been dating for some time now nothing had progressed past kissing and heavy petting, as their courses had been so demanding, their schedules so hectic that they just hadn’t had enough time or energy for anything beyond that, and the moment hadn’t felt right for it. But this moment felt absolutely perfect to Hillary. Bill had shared an intimate secret with her, and she wanted to share an intimate encounter with him. She seemed to have taken Bill by surprise with her offer; those beautiful scarlet eyes of his had gone wide, staring back at her with astonishment, astonishment that quickly morphed into longing. He wanted her, he wanted her blood, and he wanted them badly. He nuzzled against her neck, holding her snug against him, letting her know without words how much he loved her, how thrilled he was that their relationship was entering new territory.
“Are you nervous at all?” He asked her.
“About having sex? Bill, I’ve done that before!” She giggled. “Not with vampires, but with human men.”
“About being bitten,” He clarified, “I know you read about it in the tome, but reading about it and actually experiencing it are two different things. It’s going to hurt at first. The pain won’t last for very long, but it’ll hurt when I first bite down.”
“I can handle a little pain. I’m not some delicate wilting flower.”
“I know, but I wanna make it as painless for you as possible,” He told her, “So I won’t tell you when and where I’m gonna bite you. I’ll make love to you, I’ll make you feel good, I’ll get you so distracted by pleasure that any pain will hardly be noticeable, and then I’ll sink my fangs into you.” Hillary was touched that he was so worried about how she would feel, that he’d go through all that effort to romance and delight her first instead of biting her outright. She gave a coquettish grin, looking forward to what was in store for them.
“Well then, come distract me.” She invited him. And he did.
Hillary set her glasses down on the bathroom counter and looked herself over in the mirror above the sink, naked and flushed and feeling pleasantly dazed from their tryst. She brushed her fingertips against her neck, trembling as they ghosted over the bite mark Bill’s fangs had left, a tangible reminder of their lovemaking. It was still as if his mouth was on her, bringing delightfully searing heat to her skin, still as if his arms were holding her tight-and then she realized that they were. Though she saw only herself reflected in the mirror, she felt strong arms around her waist, a hand roaming down to caress her bare thigh, and soft lips on the nape of her neck.
“Are you coming back to bed?” She heard Bill’s voice drawl against her ear.
“Oh!” She gasped, glancing back over her shoulder to meet his gaze. “Bill! You scared me. I forgot that you don’t have a reflection.”
“Sorry,” He apologized, “I just missed having you in my arms.” She smiled sweetly at him, a blush coming to her cheeks. He was utterly besotted with her, as she was with him.
“Come on,” She said, taking his hand, “Let’s go and cuddle.” They climbed into her bed, Hillary laying down first with Bill then sidling up to her and drawing his arms around her, pulling her close so they were resting chest to chest. He kissed her forehead, stroked that beautiful long blonde hair of hers, marveled at those bright blue eyes no longer obscured behind thick glasses. He was in awe of her, he felt so lucky to have her, so lucky that she had given him her body and her blood. He had been afraid to show this side of himself to her, afraid that it would scare her and drive her away, but she had met it with nothing but love, and it had only brought them closer. He brushed her hair away from her neck, pressing his lips to the bite mark, and she leaned down to rest her cheek atop his head, the two of them quietly enjoying each other’s embrace. They didn’t know that night in 1971 what the future had in store for them, that they would eventually marry, that they would have a child together, that they would experience love and joy and heartbreak and forgiveness and defeat and triumph and go on to be perhaps the most renowned political couple in America. All Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham knew that night was that they were a vampire and a human in love, and that was good enough for them.