Laszlo got up far earlier than Nadja for two reasons. One, he knew Colin Robinson would be up getting into mischief, and two, he really wanted to avoid getting another thorough tongue-lashing from his wife. Not the kind of tongue-lashing he normally enjoyed, obviously. The kind that involved being called a dozen different creative insults and screamed at so loudly that the glass dildo on the mantelpiece shattered.
He’d known, of course, that she’d have been cross with him about his tossing Gizmo into the coffin and staying behind on Staten Island. But this was beyond what he’d expected. It didn’t make a lick of sense to him that she’d come back, either. He understood why Guillermo had come back- he hadn’t wanted to go to England, he’d made that bloody clear by screaming and pissing himself when Laszlo had surprised him at the docks. Nadja, on the other hand, had been so thrilled about her new job, and now here she was, barely six months later, back in Staten Island with nary an explanation. She’d barged into the house, gone into a blind rage when she’d seen Laszlo, screaming and hissing and throwing things, and then shut herself in her coffin. Laszlo had tried to get some answers from Guillermo, who had very calmly informed Laszlo that he was lucky Guillermo wasn’t killing him right now, and that perhaps they’d speak later.
Speak of the devil, he ran into Guillermo in the library, being accosted by Colin Robinson.
“You’re probably wondering who the hell that is,” Laszlo said, standing in the doorway.
“I know it’s Colin Robinson,” Guillermo said.
“I told him my name,” Colin said. He had Guillermo’s telephone in his hands and was rifling through all its applications to find games. He did this to every adult he saw.
“Yeah,” Guillermo said. “Also, we knew Colin Robinson had regenerated. The Guide called us to let us know.”
“What?” Laszlo said. “How the fuck does she know?”
“You’ve been taking him all over the city. The energy vampire community noticed and reported it to the council.”
“Well, shit. That’s good to know. That’s not why you’re back, is it?” This was exactly what he’d been trying to avoid by being vague as he’d been- he did not want Nadja feeling a sense of duty to young Colin and rushing back across the pond.
“No,” Guillermo said, trying futilely to wrest his phone from Colin’s grip. “We’re actually here on, you know, actually important business. We’re patching something up with the local council.”
Laszlo narrowed his eyes. “I get the sense you’re a touch cross with me.”
“Really? What gave it away?”
“Probably the way you’re speaking to me right now. Is it because I gave you that surprise at the docks?”
“Hmm. Yeah. Could be it. Is it because you nearly killed me and fucked up my entire life for basically a month? And also Nandor’s, and Nadja’s? Yeah, could be.”
“Oh, did you get in touch with Nandor, then?”
Guillermo’s face softened slightly.
“Yeah, he’s fine,” he said. “He came with us, actually, but he’s staying at the council headquarters because he doesn’t want to see you.”
“I’m surprised the rest of you haven’t chosen that option,” Laszlo said. “It seems none of you want to see me.”
“Trust me,” Guillermo said. “I didn’t want to see you. But I had to pick up some things here at the house. And Nadja…”
“Yes?” Laszlo said eagerly.
Guillermo looked up at him, evidently giving up on the quest to retrieve his phone from Colin.
“She really loves you, you know that?” Guillermo said. “She came here because she was scared you were starving and dying without her here to take care of you. That’s- I mean, she wouldn’t admit this, so don’t tell her I told you, but I know she ordered the Guide to send wraiths here to check up on you these past six months.”
“Ohhh,” Laszlo said, understanding at last what those scurrying little shadows had been. He’d just assumed it was one of Colin’s e-boys from the phone that he talked about.
Guillermo glared at him. “Is that it? You don’t have anything to say?”
“Right,” Laszlo said. “Colin Robinson, give Gizmo back his telephone.”
Colin flipped him off.
“I meant, do you maybe want to apologize to me?”
“Why would I apologize to you?” Laszlo asked.
Guillermo threw his hands in the air. “Why do you think?”
“Well, it seems like everything worked out all right for you! I’m the one who had to get fucking yelled at yesterday-”
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Guillermo said. “Yeah, of course Nadja yelled at you- you abandoned her- oh my God- she’s been crying for months, and you’re mad that she- I can’t deal with your shit.” He got up, snatched his phone deftly out of Colin’s hands, and headed for the door.
“Hold on!” Laszlo shouted. “What the fuck? Nadja- she was crying?”
But Guillermo had already disappeared down the hallway in a huff. Typical bullshit.
“Laszloooo,” Colin whined from his spot on the floor. “I was in the middle of a game of Among Us and he took the phone. That’s not faaaair.”
Laszlo sighed. “You want to go outside and throw things at the people coming off the bus?”
Colin perked up. That was his favorite activity. And it would give Laszlo some fresh air and some time to think.
He led Colin out to the front sidewalk, where the boy immediately began running around to pick up acorns, twigs, bones, and other bits of garbage to pelt people with. Laszlo, meanwhile, leaned back against the fence and stared up at the moon, sighing.
The moon was full tonight, the way it’d been the night he’d first met Nadja. He could remember it like it was yesterday. The most beautiful vision he’d ever seen. He’d known, in that moment, that he’d do anything to protect that woman from feeling even a shred of pain or heartache. It was why he’d stayed behind, in Staten Island.
But that had backfired, hadn’t it? Apparently she had been feeling pain and heartache. And, judging on her yelling the previous day and Guillermo’s remarks today, he was the cause of it. Something had to be done. He would not allow a rakishly good-looking fiend to make his good lady wife cry. There needed to be consequences.
“Colin,” he said, tapping him on the shoulder.
“Is that your kid?” exclaimed an elderly woman at the bus stop. “Control him, please!”
Colin lobbed a pinecone at her, cackling.
“Colin, come on,” he said, gently leading the boy away from the sidewalk, and said, “I need your help with something.”
Twenty minutes later, they were in the guillotine room, setting up a rusty blade to chop off Laszlo’s head. Laszlo had lugged up the record player and put on a somber tune.
“Won’t this kill you?” Colin asked. There was the faintest trace of sorrow in his eyes, which was new, but very sweet.
“Should be OK,” Laszlo said. “I’ve never seen it done before, but vampires are immortal, so surely we should survive our heads being cut off? It’s not like the blade is made of garlic or something.”
“So, you’re gambling your life? That’s stupid.”
“I have to do something! I won’t allow anyone to make Nadja cry, even myself! That’s a good lesson for you to learn, lad- if you get a wife someday, and someone upsets her, you cut off their head. Got that?”
“Wow, pretty heteronormative of you, bud, assuming I’ll have a wife.”
“What the fuck does that mean?”
“I learned it on TikTok,” Colin said, pulling a phone out of his pocket. Where he kept getting the phones, Laszlo had no idea.
“All right, well then you can tell Tick Tock that he needs to stop teaching you new words. You’re annoying enough as it is. Is the blade ready?”
“I think,” Colin said, checking the lever.
“Excuse me, what the fuck is going on here?”
Colin dropped the blade and it went zipping toward the chopping block with a huge crash. Laszlo spun around to see Nadja in the doorway with her hands on her hips.
“Hello, love,” he said. “We’re just going to be chopping off my head.”
Nadja let out a shriek of frustration. “So this is what happens when I’m not around, is it? You are alone for five minutes with a stupid little baby demon thing, and you get yourself killed! I ought to wring your neck myself!” She swore in Greek, then turned her lethal gaze on Colin. “You, get out of here. Go bother Guillermo some more. Now!”
Laszlo had never seen Colin actually listen to directions so quickly and quietly.
“And you,” Nadja hissed, low and furious. The full force of her glare was directed at Laszlo, who got hit with a significant wave of scared and horny.
“My good Nadja,” he said, voice trembling. “Gizmo told me that I made you cry-”
“Oh, he did, did he?” Nadja said. “Well, looks like I can’t trust that little piss snake, either. But you know what, I’m glad he told you. You ought to know what you have done to me! Six months I’ve been weeping and wailing and worrying my brains out over you, and you’ve been here gallivanting about with your new best mate Colin fucking Robinson!”
“Well, it hasn’t exactly been easy!” Laszlo shouted back. “He used to be a baby, you know! The amount of shit and piss I’ve cleaned up-”
“Oh, boo fucking hoo! You lied to me! You promised you were coming, and then you broke your promise! Shame on you!”
“I didn’t realize you were so emotionally fragile,” Laszlo said. “I thought you wouldn’t-”
Nadja rushed over with vampiric speed and pinned him against the wall, hissing.
“How dare you,” she said. “Emotionally fragile? Is this what you have always thought of me? Something weak and breakable, something to protect?”
“You’re my wife,” Laszlo said. “Of course I need to protect you-”
Nadja bared her fangs, wrapped her talons around his neck, pressed hard to choke him.
“I am stronger than you, you shit-stupid man,” she hissed, her eyes cold and menacing on his. “I have always been stronger than you. I am your sire. How dare you forget that? I am the one who’s been protecting you, not the other way around!”
All the blood that Laszlo had drunk the other day was very quickly heading in one direction under the work of his terrifying, stunning wife.
“Oh, n-no, my darling,” he gasped out, wiggling his eyebrows at her. “Please don’t show me how very strong you ah-are, with your strong arms and your stamina!”
Nadja gave him a withering look, then muttered, “Oh, for fuck’s sake,” under her breath.
Then she grabbed him by the shoulders and flung him to the floor, where he shuddered out a breath and looked up at her in awe.
“You’re lucky I’m so horny for you,” she said, and pounced.
“Oh, yes, yes,” Laszlo gasped in pleasure when she tore his blouse to shreds and attached her lips to his neck, biting and sucking, leaving a bloody mess.
“Shut up,” Nadja snapped. “I don’t want to hear any words out of you unless I tell you to speak.”
Laszlo nodded frantically.
She pinned his arms above his head and lapped fervently at his neck, where her fangs had left a puncture wound leaking blood.
“Mmm,” she said. “I forgot how fucking good you taste. So many notes of pathetic little freak. You know how much I love pathetic men, don’t you, darling?”
Laszlo nodded again. His hands struggled against her grip, wanting so badly to grab at her waist, her legs, her heaving bosom, her beautiful face.
“Ah-ah,” Nadja said. “Don’t you dare. You want to see how strong I am? Feel my strength.”
In one deft movement, she flipped him around onto his stomach, so his bare chest was pressed hard against the cold floor. This was far from the first time Nadja had dominated him, but oh, it had been so long since he’d last felt her touch. He’d been convinced he’d never feel it again. He’d been repressing his desire, keeping it deep down, knowing that he needed to be strong for her, and letting go of that now sent a wave of lust through his body more powerful than it ever had been before. There was a significant chance he’d ejaculate far too soon in this process. Though he could go again.
“You’ve been a verrry bad boy,” Nadja crooned in his ear. She had one hand firmly buried in his hair and pressing his face to the floor, and another hand ripping off his trousers. “You know what happens to bad boys, right? Answer me.”
“A spanking?” Laszlo asked hopefully.
“That’s right,” Nadja said, and without warning she slapped him across the bum. He keened, his head straining against her fierce hold.
She spanked him once- twice- three times more- then flipped him over again, roughly, and looked proudly down at the mess she’d made of him. His hair was tousled, his clothes in tatters around himself, wooden grooves pressed into his face, drool dripping from his mouth, and his cock achingly hard. Meanwhile she was still fully dressed, not so much as a whiff of tit visible.
“That’s right,” Nadja sighed, pleased. The sound was music to his ears. “That’s where you belong, isn’t it? All messed up like a crumbly piece of baklava for your wife. You’re going to do what I tell you, aren’t you?”
“Good,” she said, then unceremoniously peeled herself out of her dress, leaving only her undergarments. She shimmied out of her knickers, looking more erotic than the most skilled of erotic dancers, and gave Laszlo a stunning view of her vulva. Oh, he’d have to update his topiary. It didn’t do the real thing justice.
“You want a taste, don’t you?” Nadja said, her voice soft and pitying.
He did, very much so. But he couldn’t- the sensuality of having his face buried between his Nadja’s legs would make him go feral, and he didn’t want to unleash that lustful beast on his wife’s most delicate organ. It was precious- needed protecting- like the rest of her.
“Really?” Nadja groaned, when he just looked at her. “You’re not going to-”
“Nadja,” he said. “Please. My fangs. I can’t bear to hurt you.”
She stared at him, eyes wide.
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” she said. “This is why you don’t- are you- we are vampires, you stupid piece of piss! I can handle a little bit of fangs on my pussy!”
“Well, you may think that, but it’ll hurt! You’ll bleed!”
“Hello, dipshit! We are having crazy wild lovemaking, not playing in the playground! I have done genital torture before, I thought you knew that! I don’t think your little teeth can do anything to me I haven’t fucking done before!”
To be honest, Laszlo thought she’d meant she had tortured other chaps’ cocks and balls, like she’d done with him. He pondered over the wide world of fetishes, considered that he had possibly been a huge fucking idiot, and put a hand to his forehead in frustration.
“If you don’t want to…” she said softly, pulling away.
Laszlo grabbed her thighs and yanked her back to his face.
“Please,” he murmured against her navel, nosing the soft dark hairs there. “Please let me give you this. I’ve been so stupid. Let me do this for you.”
He may not have done this for Nadja in almost a century, but he had experience with partaking of pussy-eating. But with Nadja- to do this for Nadja, without the caution he normally exercised- utterly exquisite. Her cold, soft thighs, rapidly warming now, pressed against his cheeks, and her ample but firm backside against his wanting hands. Her whiny moans, beautiful gasps- the hard growl she released when he gave in and bit down at her inner thigh and lapped at her sweet blood- the taste of her, which was better than honeyed goat’s cheese-
“Oh, oh, Laszlo,” she whined, and she hadn’t said his name this whole time. He grabbed at his cock, unable to take it anymore, jerking wildly in time with his licking and sucking and her thrusting-
She came first, legs clenching around his head over and over again, and the gorgeous sound of it spurred him on into his own orgasm.
“Oh,” Nadja breathed, shuddering, and carefully removed herself.
Laszlo lay back for a moment, needing to recover, then said, “Nadja- my love-”
A quiet sob escaped Nadja, and Laszlo shot up, looking at her. She was wiping at her eyes furiously.
“Nadja,” he repeated, and rushed over to her, bringing her into his arms. She leaned against his chest, crying.
“You stupid, stupid man,” she cried. “Do you know how much I love you? I wish I did not need you this much, when you do not need me at all.”
“What?” Laszlo said, utterly bewildered by this. “What are you talking about? You’re the one who doesn’t need me. You’re strong, and powerful, and brilliant.”
“Yeah, right,” Nadja said, pouting. “I thought I was this weak little thing you needed to protect.”
“Oh, Nadja,” Laszlo said. “Oh… You’ve misunderstood me…”
Nadja looked up at him, and he looked down at her. She looked for all the world like a wide-eyed kitten who’d just emerged out of a garbage disposal. He loved it.
“My love,” he said softly. “I was taught that the more precious a woman, the rarer a specimen she is, the more you ought to protect her. I never imagined I’d meet so rare and precious a specimen as you. I was so afraid I’d lose you to the horrors of this world, so I believed I had to protect you. But I realize now I was not protecting you. I was jealously guarding you, as though you were some sort of bejeweled treasure, because I was so unbelievably lucky to have you- I did not want my luck to run out. You deserve better than that. You deserve to do what you want, go where you wish, without me holding you back.”
Nadja’s face scrunched up, then she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him.
“You stupid little baby,” she said, running a hand through his hair. “I want you. You did not get lucky when you met me. I chose you because I saw you and I liked what I saw. I still like what I see,” she added, raking a hand down his chest.
Laszlo released a long sigh and curled closer to his wife.
“Do you forgive me for abandoning you so cruelly?” he asked.
Nadja pondered this.
“How about, from now on, if there is something big and scary happening in your life, you tell me right away,” she said. “And I get to decide what to do about it.”
“Sounds good to me.”
“But in order to forgive you, I think I’ll require a little bit of convincing first,” she said, pushing him gently back down onto the floor and looking down at him lasciviously.
“Convincing?” Laszlo said, grinning. “Of the sexual variety?”
Nadja nodded, her face splitting into a smile, and she leaned down to take him.
It was two weeks later when the most horrible, terrible thing happened. Laszlo and Guillermo had to go run an errand at some hideous shop, leaving Nadja alone to worry herself into a stupor. The only company she had was Nandor, who was also whining and crying, and Colin fucking Robinson, who insisted on showing them dances from the game of Fort Night.
Also the documentary crew was there, so luckily she had someone to complain to besides her two idiot housemates.
“Laszlo has been gone for so long,” she sniffled, clutching her dolly to her for comfort.
“It’s been, like, twenty minutes,” her doll said, rolling her eyes.
“My darling dolly baby, I don’t think you are right! It has been more like two hundred years…”
“Actually,” Colin said, from his spot sitting on top of the piano, “according to my watch, it’s been two hours and thirty-four minutes. And fifty-two, no, fifty-four seconds.”
“You see? That is far longer than it should take to go to the shops!”
“Perhaps they are in grave mortal danger,” Nandor suggested. He was sprawled out on the floor, looking forlornly at a picture of Guillermo. To the camera crew, he said, “I don’t even remember what their faces look like anymore… That is why I am studying this photograph, so I can remember Guillermo’s face in case he perishes while out shopping.”
“I don’t see why Laszlo had to go with him,” Nadja snapped. “He has become a very soft boy lately. When he was a familiar, he could go to the shops all by himself, and he didn’t need to drag my Laszlo along.”
“How dare you!” Nandor shouted, sitting up to glare at her. “Laszlo forced him to come along very cruelly! He doesn’t need Guillermo’s help shopping, he is just a big baby!”
“You’re a big baby, Nandor,” Nadja’s doll said, chuckling.
“Why are you guys so convinced they’re in danger, anyway?” Colin asked. “They’re going shopping. Laszlo used to take me to Target all the time to pick up kid shit. It’s just a fucking box store. No mortal dangers there.”
He’d taken to using swear words lately, the little shit.
“Colin, you do not understand because you do not have a husband,” Nadja said. “And can you get down from off the fucking piano, you’re going to break it!”
“I can go back to doing Fortnite dances if you guys want?”
“We are weak enough as it is!” Nandor shouted. “Do not do your intimidating war dances to sap us of more of our energy!”
Colin grinned, his eyes glowing, and hopped off the piano, gesturing to the cameras to follow him into the other room.
“I’ve been experimenting with mega-draining,” he told them, while rifling through a huge collection of toys that Laszlo had stolen for him over the past few months. “Nadja and Nandor are really easy to do it to. They’re suggestible as fuck. All I did was tell them that I heard about a spike in armed robberies at shopping malls- which, by the way, I’ve been getting really into telling people about the news lately. Just call me a news junkie. Anyway, one little sentence and they’ve been crying for the past two hours. Mm! Delicious. What a feast. I hope Laszlo and Guillermo never get back from shopping.”
Just then, the sound of the front door opening came through, and Colin grumbled, “Damn it,” before Nadja came barreling through the corridor, shortly followed by Nandor.
Laszlo and Guillermo were both holding several shopping bags.
“Finally!” Nadja exclaimed, launching herself at Laszlo, who dropped his bags to embrace his wife. Guillermo very carefully set down his own bags in the entrance area before allowing Nandor to fuss over him similarly.
“What’s going on?” he asked. “Are you guys OK? What happened when we were gone?”
Colin grinned at the camera.
“It was terrible,” Nadja cried, pulling Laszlo flush to her chest and kissing the top of his head. “You were gone for so, so long.”
“Yes, you gave us a real fright,” Nandor said, looking very seriously at Guillermo’s face. “Guillermo, you will need to procure more photographs of yourself so that I don’t forget what you look like. Nadja has many photographs of Laszlo; it’s not fair that I only have the one photograph of you.”
“Mm, I can help with that,” Laszlo said. “I’m quite skilled with the old daguerreotype myself. Though most of my subjects posed nude.”
“That’s OK, you don’t need to-” Guillermo began, as Nandor said, “Yes,” and nodded enthusiastically at Guillermo, who buried his head in his hands.
“Can we not speak about nudie photographs anymore!” Nadja shouted. “I have just gotten my Laszlo back from his long and perilous journey to the shops; he cannot handle more travails on your behalf. You three,” she said, gesturing at Nandor, Guillermo, and Colin, “can go play with your cameras and your pee-pees by yourself, and I am going to tend to my precious husband.”
She hissed at them. Guillermo, rolling his eyes, shooed Colin out of the foyer and led Nandor off somewhere else.
Nadja clutched at Laszlo again.
“Ooh, hello, darling,” Laszlo said, when she scratched at his scalp in the way he liked. “If you were feeling so horny in my absence, you know you could have perused the dildo collection.”
“It’s not that,” Nadja said. “Well, it’s not not that, but… I was worried about you.”
Laszlo looked up at her, confused.
“What do you mean?” he asked. “We were only gone a few hours. Gizmo was there to protect me, should the need arise.”
“I suppose,” Nadja said. “I just wish I had been the one protecting you. You are my squeezy little honey bear. I…”
She felt shy.
“What is it, my darkest darling?” Laszlo asked softly, lifting her chin.
“I like protecting you,” Nadja said. “I like making sure you are safe and happy. OK?” She shoved her way out of his arms, suddenly very embarrassed. “So let’s all have a laugh at Nadja, she likes to find herself pathetic darling babies to care for and she cries when they are gone on dangerous shopping trips!”
“Nadja! Nadja,” Laszlo said quickly, rushing after her as she marched away angrily. He stood in front of her when she seated herself on one of the living room’s armchairs in a huff.
“Nadja,” he repeated, kneeling before her. “No one’s laughing. I think it’s very charming that you want to protect me so.”
“Well, you’d be the first,” she said. “In my village, they used to make fun of me for bringing home sad little baby birds and rats and things to nurse to health.”
“Then I wish I’d been there to slap some sense into anyone who made fun of you. Everyone knows that you’ve got to show respect to baby birds and rats.”
“That is what I said! Thank you!”
“Nadja, darling, you’re not in Antipaxos anymore, and it’s not the whatever-the-fuck century anymore. You’re a big, strong, sexually luscious murderess and you are the protectress of my heart, believe you me. And if anyone makes you feel bad about that, I’ll cut off their head, and if I’m not around, you can rip out their hearts. Have you got that?”
Nadja smiled down at him.
“Got that,” she said, and leaned down to nuzzle at his nose.
She yanked him up on the couch and they quickly got to a very rapid spot of love-making, just barely taking off their clothes to do so. Laszlo was always so very concerned that Colin Robinson might walk in on them, so they very generously made sure to keep their clothes on in case they had to fly apart in a rush.
This time, there was no need, and they finished up with a great deal of orgasmic delight and warm laughter at each other’s climax faces.
Wrapped tightly around each other in the armchair, Nadja murmured into Laszlo’s ear, “So why did you go out to the shops anyway? What was so urgent?”
“Oh, right, I nearly forgot,” Laszlo said. “Distracted as I was by your enticing figure.” He let his hand roam over her chest and grinned.
“Well, what was it?”
“I’ll show you,” Laszlo said. “Come on.”
He led her back to the foyer, where the various shopping bags were scattered, and went over to one large case that Guillermo evidently had been carrying. It appeared to be a piece of sturdy luggage. He pulled that forward, then pulled out from the other bags a number of other items: modern cameras, hats, funny t-shirts, travel-sized lube.
“What is all this?” Nadja asked.
Laszlo stood up straight and looked at her.
“It’s my travel collection,” he said. “I told you before, I have responsibilities here taking care of young Colin. But I also have a duty to you, my wife. And you’ve got duties to the Council that could take place anywhere in the world. So I thought, I’d better be ready to get up and go at a moment’s notice, should my good lady wife need me to accompany her on a work trip. Gizmo helped me out with finding my travel necessities-”
Nadja rushed forward and swept her husband up in a dramatic, airborne kiss.
“Oh, Laszlo,” she said. “My crazy wild boy. You are a romantic softy at heart, you are.”
“Guilty as charged.”
“I ought to tell you something, too,” she said. “I have been working with Guillermo as well to come up with a little something. Apparently there is a human computer application called Zoom that works like the ether, but less shitty. It means that the Council business does not have to all be done in the one place. It can be done from anywhere. Which means I might just be able to relocate to living back here.”
Laszlo’s eyes widened.
“Really? You’d- you’d do that?”
“Well, it’s not just so I can stay with you, you know,” she said. “London is a very stupid town. And everyone on the Council is a big bore compared to the crazy idiots who live here.”
“I don’t know, Nadja,” Laszlo said, giving her a salacious smile. “Seems like you just might be a romantic softy yourself.”
“Don’t you dare,” Nadja said, pulling him closer.
He was right, though. And she didn’t mind that he was right.