Thomas Ainsworth rubbed his chin as he stood at the wide window in his office, staring at the city of Halifax below him. Most of the city looked small from up here, except the few other skyscrapers nearby. He always enjoyed the feeling of power it gave him, the reminder that he was up here, in his big office with his well-paid job that many would envy him for.
His brow creased as his thoughts strayed to the one topic that had been upsetting his emotional equilibrium lately – Ann. Ever since the ‘incident’ a few days ago where a rude woman had answered her phone and had not only wasted his time but insulted him, he’d often found himself in a sour mood when the topic returned to his attention.
He would ignore it, shake it off and forget about this insignificant woman if only Ann would react to his messages. Generally, that wasn’t unusual – Ann often didn’t respond to his messages, clearly being coy and making herself more interesting this way.
Thomas had chosen the vampire hunter profession for a reason; he enjoyed the thrill of the hunt, and it was no different with women. But in this case he had to be honest and admit to himself that he kind of expected some sort of response, an apology for whatever her strange friend had insinuated on the phone.
But nothing. He’d tried calling her once too, but Ann had seemed distracted on the phone when he tried to make conversation and while she usually took his dinner invitations if he was persistent enough, she’d declined hesitantly, telling him she had work.
Worry wormed into his mind that perhaps whoever this new friend of hers was had filled her mind with nonsense and – who knows – even whispered lies in her ear about him to pull her away from him and have her all to herself.
But who was he to accept this? With only 37 years, he had already made a successful career with the vampire hunters that even some more senior members dreamed of. He knew how to get what he wanted.
He reached for the phone on his desk, dialling the number of his secretary and telling her what he wanted. Shortly after, there was a knock on his door.
The man in the typical dark vampire hunter uniform entered, standing still and nodding at Thomas from across the spacious room as he awaited instructions.
“I want you to take one or two of your men – however many you see fit – and observe Ann Walker. Discreetly. As you know, she’s been bitten recently and I am concerned for her safety.”
He paced up and down his room, hands behind his back.
“Keep an eye on her home. And,” he said, stopping in his tracks to look at his man, “take pictures of anyone she leaves the house with.”
His subordinate gave him a bit of a puzzled look, but they knew better than to question him.
The man nodded. “Yes, sir.”
“Then you are dismissed. Get to work.”
The door closed and Thomas sat at his large oak desk. He was aware this wasn’t exactly protocol, but if he’d learned one thing during his time with the vampire hunters, it’s that sometimes you couldn’t achieve your goals if you only did things by the book.
His men knew to keep quiet about it if they ever wanted a chance of climbing up the ranks, so there was no reason to worry. Besides – it was for the greater good, the last thing he wanted was for this woman to distract Ann and potentially lead her on ways that would not be in her best interest.
Anne looked in the mirror, checking her appearance for what had to be the 10th time or so. She tightened her black tie again, noticing the shake in her hands as she did so. Her nerves had been running crazy ever since she woke, and even a long hot shower and a few supportive messages from Ann hadn’t helped much to calm them.
It was all or nothing tonight, but Anne wasn’t sure if she was ready for it. She’d spent years thinking about her family, watching them when she could and feeling the sting in her chest never quite lessen no matter how much time passed without them. How could it when Anne loved them with all her heart, never quite getting used to the loneliness her existence had plunged her into?
She had Tib, but as much as she loved her friend, she didn’t replace her family. Ann had come into her life making it that much brighter, but even she could not fill the gap in her heart. Anne wasn’t religious, but she silently hoped that if there was a God, they’d help her tonight.
Taking her coat, she took a deep breath. Maybe going in an all-black coat wasn’t the ideal choice, but she didn’t own anything else. The freezing wind enveloped her as she stepped on her balcony and shapeshifted to fly to the graveyard.
Anne didn’t know how long she’d already been hanging from this tree, but it must’ve been at least a few minutes. The wind had calmed a little, but every now and then a cold breeze shook the little bat as she hung from the tree. She kept staring in the direction of her grave, waiting. Hopefully Marian would even show up, she thought.
Just a few moments later, her head snapped as she saw someone approach. Marian. Anne’s heart leapt as she saw her sister approach her grave in a thick brown coat, bouquet of flowers in one hand. Her hair was tied in a loose bun, mostly greyed by now.
She kneeled at the grave, placing the flowers in front of it before standing, folding her hands in front of herself. Marian had never been particularly religious, so Anne assumed she wasn’t praying as she stood silent before the stone.
Anne flew down from the tree, shapeshifting in the shadows to not be noticed as she watched in silence for now. Marian reached inside her purse and brought out a tissue, bringing it up to wipe her eyes. The scene made Anne’s heart seize as she realised she hadn’t considered how much it’d hurt to see her mourn her, to see the result of what her actions had caused with her own eyes.
It was all her own fault, Anne thought as guilt weighed heavily on her shoulders – it should’ve never come to this, she could’ve prevented all this pain she caused her family if she’d just driven safely that night.
Ann appeared on her mind with that sweet smile on her lips, telling her that she still had the chance to make up for all of that by showing them that she wasn’t dead, that they could have her back in their lives. Anne felt a little lighter – this was probably something Ann would tell her if she were here.
She took a step forward, slowly approaching Marian and stopping a few metres behind her. For a few moments, Anne hesitated as she tried to think of what to say. She’d imagined this moment so often over the past few days, but actually standing here was even harder.
“It never gets any easier, does it?”
Marian twitched where she was standing, turning around. The moment they made eye contact she froze, a gasp escaping and her still watery eyes wide as she took Anne in in her black coat standing there.
“I- I must be seeing things,” she said with a tremble in her voice. “This isn’t real, it-it can’t be.”
The unsteadiness in her voice, the way eyes took her in as if she was some sort of spirit that her own imagination had created to torment her on a graveyard of all places – it broke Anne’s heart a little, though she understood. Would she believe it if she were the one visiting her sister’s grave and she appeared out of nowhere after 12 years? Surely not.
Anne was also aware that as soon as Marian saw her fangs, she’d realise she wasn’t some sort of spirit – for better or for worse. She took a careful step towards her, an uncertain smile on her face.
“I promise you I’m real. I didn’t die that night,” she started, a lump forming in her throat as she tried to keep her voice steady to say what had been burning a hole in her for over a decade.
Marian looked at her in shock, the tissue in her hand dropping to the floor as her mouth hung open.
“This… this is what I am now, and-” Anne swallowed, her eyes misting over, “and I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner.”
A deadly silence followed, and under any other circumstances, Anne might’ve appreciated how fitting it was for the comforting darkness of the evening on a graveyard. Her sister seemed to be taking in the information, and Anne could not blame her for needing a moment to process this mess, this huge fucking mess that she’d created-
Marian shook her head, clutching her purse tightly to herself as a fearful frown appeared on her face. “No.”
Anne’s brow creased in confusion. Marian shook her head again as if nothing made sense to her, as if she couldn’t believe what was going on.
“No, this is not- this is not happening!” Her voice had a sharpness to it that felt like a thousand daggers to Anne’s heart, followed by another barrage when she saw the same expression in her eyes.
“Marian-“ Anne took a step towards her, but Marian’s eyes widened as she tried to go backwards while evading her grave, nearly falling.
“Stay away from me! You’re not- whatever you are, you’re not my sister.” She moved a little to the side, looking for a way to get out of here quickly.
“My sister died that night, foolish as she was driving recklessly,” Marian said, a tremble in her voice as tears ran down her face. “She was a fool, but I would never believe she’d be one of them- a heartless killer!”
“Our Anne was a good person.”
The finality of those words burned itself into every cell of Anne’s being, the blow that gave her the rest as she stood there and could only watch Marian leave as fast as she could until Anne could not see her anymore.
For a few moments, a forlorn quiet took a hold of her until all her sister’s words, the disbelieving, disapproving looks hit her all at once, tears rolling down her cheeks until a loud sob filled the lonely silence of the graveyard and she fell on her knees in front of her own grave.
She didn’t know how much time had passed when she looked up at her withered gravestone, feeling drained and empty. Marian was right; she had died that day.
Ann had been sitting in front of the tv for the past hour, but she wasn’t really paying attention to the programme, her thoughts constantly straying as she wondered how it was going for Anne with her sister.
She hoped for the best but a bit of worry was with her regardless. Ann could only try her best to focus on a positive outcome, hoping Anne would be with her soon with a broad smile and good news. Then they could celebrate – she’d even bought a bottle of champagne which Anne would hopefully appreciate.
The moment she heard a familiar knock from the balcony, her heart leapt in excitement and she muted the tv, jumped off the sofa and made her way over.
Nothing could have prepared her for the sight when she opened the door. No words were necessary to explain what had happened as she looked into the familiar brown eyes that were bloodshot and filled with so much pain Ann’s heart constricted.
She closed the door and wrapped her arms around her, feeling Anne pull her closer as she buried her head in her neck. Ann rubbed soothing circles along her back, her own eyes becoming moist as she sensed the pain Anne was in and wished she could make it better but knew she could only do so much. The skin at Ann’s neck became wet with Anne’s tears, accompanied by quiet sniffles.
They stood in silence for a bit until Anne pulled away a little, their gazes meeting. Ann nearly gasped at how broken she looked – she’d never seen her like this. She cupped her cheek.
“I’m so sorry, Anne.”
Anne smiled, but it was a smile devoid of happiness.
“I should’ve died in that car crash,” she whispered as a lone tear ran down her cheek.
Ann wiped it away with her thumb, her brow creasing with sadness at those words.
“But then we would’ve never met. My life wouldn’t have been the same without you.”
Despite the agony that was filling every fibre of her being and the emptiness she felt in her heart, the darkness around Anne was kept at bay in that moment by the light Ann shone at her with those words and the sincere blue eyes underlining that she meant it.
Her existence and the encounter with her sister had plunged Anne into darkness, but Ann was there for her as a guiding light to ignite a spark of hope despite it all, extending her hand to keep her going. And Anne gratefully took it.
Overwhelmed by her feelings and gratefulness for this wonderful woman who supported her right now, she wrapped her arms tightly around her and pressed her lips to hers. She hoped to express her feelings without words as their lips moved together slowly but no less passionately.
Ann pressed against her, wanting to signal that she wasn’t alone in this. However briefly they’d known each other, Ann already felt a strong bond forming between them and hoped Anne felt the same. If the trust she placed in her by coming here despite what happened and showing herself to her at her most vulnerable was an indication, she did.
They kissed for a few more moments before parting, staying close. Anne brought up her hand, cradling Ann’s cheek. She brushed her thumb across her soft lips, her gaze wandering up to meet hers.
“Will you come back to my place tonight?”
I don’t want to be alone right now, she thought but didn’t say.
Ann saw the pleading gaze directed at her, understanding she was needed. She had work tomorrow, but nothing could stop her from being there for Anne – besides, she could just go to work straight from her place.
She nodded. “I will. Let me quickly get changed and pack a bag. Then we can go, okay?”
Anne patiently waited for her in the living room and they left after. It was a little way to Anne’s and since she couldn’t just fly with Ann with her and hadn’t brought her car, they called a taxi and Anne stayed quiet to not reveal herself and scare the driver. Not long after they arrived at her place, the fact that she had Ann by her side calming her and taking the edge off the tightness in her chest.
They took off their coats and shoes before Anne stepped close, taking Ann’s hand in hers. “Thank you.”
Ann only shook her head as if it wasn’t worth mentioning, smiling as she placed a kiss to her lips. “No need to thank me.”
Tonight had been a disaster, and Anne’s heart bled with the impact of Marian’s words and their implications. But in this moment she felt a little warmer as she wondered how she got lucky enough to have Ann.
She brought her hand up to her lips and kissed the back of it before wrapping an arm around Ann and capturing her lips with hers. Ann hummed contentedly, enjoying the feel of Anne’s lips against hers as she ran her hands over her strong back, feeling the muscle underneath her touch even through her shirt.
Anne opened her mouth, letting her tongue dip out to ask for entry which Ann granted, both moaning as they deepened the kiss and Anne’s hands found Ann’s hips and held her close.
They took their time, the rushed urgency of their last encounters replaced with a slow deliberate pace, the want for tender intimacy taking the place of raging desire.
Their gazes met, and the deep affection Anne saw in Ann’s eyes nearly made her tear up again on the spot – as long as she had Ann, she could do it, somehow. Ann, who accepted her despite who she was. A soothing warmth took a hold of her, but with it also came an ice-cold wave of fear to lose her that Anne tried to push to the side as she focused on the here and now.
She took Ann’s hand, guiding her the short way to the bedroom. The golden glow of the bedside lamp gave the dimly lit room a soft atmosphere as they found each other again, Ann’s hands slowly undoing the buttons of her dress shirt and her tie, smiling up at her.
“You look so handsome in this,” she commented softly, and Anne had to smile despite the painful reminder why she’d made such an effort today in particular.
They discarded her dress shirt and tie, and Ann pulled her own t-shirt over her head as Anne already fumbled with her belt. Once both their pants had joined the pile on the floor, they lay on the bed, and Anne’s eyes took in the soft curves of Ann’s body only covered by her pink underwear.
Ever since their last encounter, she’d been eager to feel her skin against hers as she lay naked and wanting underneath her, had been dreaming of the next time they’d find themselves in bed so she could run her hands over her body and take her time to claim every bit of her.
She was drawn out of her thoughts when Ann pulled her close and on top of her, opening her legs so Anne could slide her thigh in between. Both sighed when their lips connected and Anne pressed her leg against Ann’s core, feeling the warmth radiating through her underwear as they kissed and Ann’s hips urgently pressed forward into her.
Her hand travelled down her body, from the shoulder to her clavicle and her chest, cupping a breast through her bra. Anne groaned when Ann’s fingernails gently scraped against her back, making her skin tingle with the sensation as a fresh rush of wetness soaked her boxers and she rolled her hips forward.
Anne kissed along her neck, enjoying the little hums and gasps Ann let out as she found her sensitive spots and licked and sucked. She halted all movement when she felt her bra come loose, looking up to find dilated pupils already seeking hers.
Clearly, Ann wanted her out of her underwear sooner rather than later, and Anne had no complaints as she pulled back and removed the bra and Ann sat up so she could unclasp hers as well. Only one last piece of fabric was covering each of them, a wave of impatience taking a hold of Ann as she took in Anne’s muscular frame, her abs and her chest and every part of her body that she wanted to feel against her own.
She shifted closer to where Anne was kneeling before her and kissed her with fervour, her hands tugging at the waistband of her boxers as Anne’s hands squeezed her behind before wandering up her back with featherlight touches that made her shiver.
“I need you,” Ann panted as she pulled the boxers down.
Anne needed her too, both her heart and body craving her in equal measures. She lay Ann back down on the bed, hooking her fingers under her waistband as they kept eye contact. The moment the underwear was removed, she found herself staring, Ann’s beauty taking her breath away and making her mouth water. Whatever she’d imagined, it didn’t compare.
Looking up, she found Ann staring at her in the same manner, the desire in her eyes making Anne question herself how she wasn’t on top of her already.
She rectified that and took her spot on top of her, both sighing when their naked bodies connected at last, their breasts pressing together. In that moment, as Anne looked into vivid blue eyes and her heart swelled, she felt at peace. Like she had found a home, someone she could be herself with and nothing else mattered.
She realised in that moment, as she trailed her hand over smooth skin, as hips rocked upwards into hers, that she was starting to fall for her. It was soon, fears whispering in her ear that she was naïve and foolish, that she’d just get hurt again, but they couldn’t drown out the warmth filling every fibre of her being as just being in Ann’s presence was already enough to make her feel like a better person and make the pain of losing her family for good bearable where it would otherwise tear her apart.
There were so many things Ann wanted to say right now as she saw the mixture of pain and affection for her shining back at her from Anne’s beautiful eyes. She wanted to tell her it would be okay, she wanted to let her know she would be here for her no matter what. There was something else, something she’d thought of on their way here, but now was not the time for words.
If actions spoke louder than words, then Ann was committed to showing Anne in every imaginable way that she cared for her, more deeply than she was ready to admit. She wrapped her arms around her tightly, pulling her down to kiss her as she rolled her hips up into her and they soon found a steady rhythm as they ground into one another.
Anne soon shifted so she could worship Ann’s body as she’d planned to, letting her hands and mouth explore her from top to bottom, enjoying the way Ann squirmed beneath her as she kissed her way to her chest and took a nipple in her mouth, letting her teeth – and fangs – tease the sensitive bud which resulted in a sharp gasp from below.
She was already on her way lower, was just nipping at the skin around her belly when Ann gently tugged at her hair to get her attention.
“Come back up here.”
Anne raised her eyebrows at the softly spoken command but did as told, smiling when Ann pulled her close and purposefully trailed her hand down her front. A pleasant shiver rippled through her body as she let her fingers brush over her chest before going lower.
Not one to be outdone, Anne let her hand wander lower as well until she reached the trimmed patch of hair. Both women moaned as their hands found their destination almost in sync.
Anne steadied herself with one arm while coating her fingers in the plentiful wetness awaiting her, breathing heavily as Ann rubbed slow precise circles over her clit and her hips rolled forward into her perfect touch.
The moment she brushed her fingers over Ann’s clit, a soft moan escaped, music to Anne’s ears. Ann’s hand lost focus briefly, slipping before finding herself again.
They stayed close, keeping eye contact and kissing as they touched one another, the sounds of their lovemaking echoing in the room as they steadily neared their peaks together. When had Ann ever felt so connected to someone else? She wished this moment would never end, that she’d never have to stop looking into Anne’s eyes, hearing her moans when her fingers found that spot, and feeling the softness of her lips as she kissed her passionately while her skilful touch was steadily bringing Ann closer to her climax.
“I’m so close…” Anne gasped, shaking as the first wave hit her and nearly threw her off her pace as she touched Ann. She kept it up, wanting nothing more than to come undone together.
Ann moaned, holding her tighter with her free arm as her hips bucked into her hand. “Me too.”
There was a moment’s calm before Anne reached her climax, shuddering as she fell forward with a long moan. Ann followed a second after, the intensity of her peak taking her by surprise as heat spread from her core throughout her body. She clung tightly onto Anne until they both came down from their highs, lying limply as their breathing and rapidly beating hearts recovered.
Ann smiled, a sense of contentment spreading from deeply within her. She turned her head to place a soft kiss to Anne’s forehead, her smile widening as she opened her eyes and looked at her.
Anne shifted to lie next to her, cuddling close and kissing her lips. “I’m glad you’re here.”
Ann held her close, feeling the vulnerability in the softly spoken words as she nodded. “Of course.”
They hadn’t really spoken about what had happened with Anne’s sister yet, and while Ann wanted to know how it had gone so wrong, she felt it was not the right moment to ask. That she needed to give Anne her space and let her come forward with it when she was ready.
So they spent a few long minutes in a comfortable silence, their bodies pressed together as each was in her own thoughts snuggled close to the other.
“Do you want to know what happened?”
Ann turned her head, finding Anne looking at her with an unreadable expression. She slowly nodded, gently rubbing along her back. Anne described the scene that had unfolded tonight, her sister’s words and how it had torn her apart from the inside to hear them.
Ann hurt with her. She could only imagine what it was like to go and seek her sister out after years of uncertainty and loneliness, hopeful to reunite with her family. Only to be rejected in the end. She couldn’t say she didn’t understand Marian’s reaction to an extent – the general image society had of vampires was not a positive one, and Ann could see how some might refuse to acknowledge their loved one had turned into what they thought was a bloodthirsty, remorseless killer.
She held Anne in a tight hug, doing her best to soothe her as sorrow overtook her once more. Ann wished she could do more, wished she could help-
When she remembered. She gently pulled away just enough to look at Anne’s tear-streaked face.
“I had an idea… if- if you’d like to hear it.”
Anne frowned with confusion but nodded. Whatever Ann had to say, she wanted to know.
“I… I thought, what if I go and speak to them? For you.”
Ann swallowed, her mouth dry as nervousness took over. She wasn’t sure if she was overstepping suggesting this – they hadn’t known each other for all that long, would Anne feel offended by her idea? Would she find it stupid?
The confusion on her face only intensified as she seemed to take a moment to think about it. “My family…?”
Ann nodded. “Yes. I’d- well, I’d just go there and explain the situation.” And that you’re kind and lovely, she added in thought. “That you’re still you. Still human inside.”
Anne took a moment to process the information. A rush of emotions overtook her, from affection for Ann for having thought about this and wanting to help, to uncertainty and doubt. Was it a good idea? She didn’t know. Her family was generally friendly though, she knew that much, so chances are they’d lend a sweet person like Ann an ear. If it was going to be successful though, she didn’t know. Her thoughts were in complete disarray about it.
“This is… unexpected.”
Ann bit her lip, looking away. “That’s okay. Maybe it’s a silly idea, I… I didn’t mean to overstep.”
But then Anne’s gentle touch as she cupped her cheek made her look back at her. Their gazes met, Anne’s still glistening eyes full of kindness.
“I’m speechless that you’d want to do this for me,” she said softly before her smile turned sad. “I just don’t know if there’s any hope.”
Ann placed the softest of kisses to her lips. Here she’d worried Anne would hate the idea, that she’d perhaps feel intruded upon by the suggestion. But that wasn’t it at all. Frankly, Ann didn’t know if there was hope, if she could convince them. But she knew one thing.
“We can’t know if we don’t try, right? What is there to lose?”
Anne could think of a few things, Ann’s limited time wasted for her, for one. But the beautiful blonde didn’t seem to care, only wanted to help Anne in any way she could. And she was right: Anne had nothing to lose.
So they spoke it through and made a plan that Ann would visit Anne’s family tomorrow after work. They spent the rest of the evening naked in bed chatting about their families, exchanging childhood memories, embarrassing moments and the like. It was bittersweet to relive some of these memories that she usually kept closely guarded in her heart with Ann, but their shared laughs at the sillier ones and mutual sad silence at the not so nice ones took some of the heaviness off her shoulders at the comforting realisation that she could share her most precious memories with Ann and not be worried.
Ann also shared memories of her family, the parents that Anne already knew had died when she was still young, some eye-roll-worthy moments with her kind but sometimes overbearing cousins – except for Catherine, of course; she was wonderful, as Ann emphasised – and other things.
Before long, it was time for Ann to go to sleep so she could make it to work in time, and Anne spent a little while cuddled close to her until she knew she was asleep. They’d spoken it through but she still left her a little note in case she woke up before getting dressed to meet Tib and head over to the shooting range.