“I don’t love you.” The words seemed to fall out of his mouth only to land inside of Amalia’s heart and slice it open from the inside out.
She stood there, mouth slightly agape, her wide brown eyes filling with tears that refused to fall. Leaning against the brick wall of the outside of one of the shops downtown, Amalia felt frozen in time as the night winds blew past her. She pulled the sleeves of her purple hooded sweatshirt around her hands.
James continued, running a hand through his short ginger hair. “I’m sorry I let this go on as long as I did. I should have said something sooner.”
Amalia lost her breath, but stood firm in front of him outside the small coffee shop where no one could hear them speaking.
“Say something,” his blue-gray eyes pleaded with hers, sending her mixed messages.
She wanted to kick him as hard as she could. “There’s nothing to say,” her lip quivered a little until she bit down on it and closed her mouth before she said anything else that she may regret later.
“You’ve never been at a loss for words, Molly.” He stared down on her, bringing his hand towards her face to grab a few strands of her dark hair and rub them between his fingers before dropping them back down again and taking in a deep breath. “We can still be friends.”
That was the final kick to the invisible blade that he’d stuck into her chest. After two years he wants to be friends? Was he kidding her? How could he! She wanted to argue with him that they would never be friends after he took her heart and tossed it aside with little explanation, but she figured it was better off left alone. If he didn’t want her or love her anymore, she would step aside and make room for whatever would come next in his life.
The clear pools of water forming over her deep brown eyes began to drain down her face as she turned and walked away to leave him there by himself. James called after her a time or two, but she couldn’t turn around to let him see her cry.
Licking the last remnants of fresh blood from his lips, Bennett closed his eyes and exhaled the breath that he’d been holding and took in the girl’s scent as she fled the storefront and darted into the small crowds of people who were swarming the streets in hopes of being seen or possibly returning movie rentals and ordering disgusting pizzas and things for their destructive consumption. Once the ginger haired man had gone from where he stood in search of his car in the lot down the street, Bennett began the short trek down the sidewalk to follow the young woman from a safe distance.
Along the way, she dawdled around outside of a small bookshop to peer inside the window and stare at the dusty old titles that were stacked in rows for patrons to see. Large leather bound volumes of classics and hart to find books were stacked together in no particular order or method of sorting, but though she sniffed back tears that kept falling, she seemed to enjoy staring at them, which brought Bennett’s curiosity about her to a new peak.
Her smell already suggested that she was an old soul, but perhaps there was more to her than met the eye (or nose, in Bennett’s case). Molly was what the young man had called her. Molly smelled incredible. Of course, the scent of a heart breaking always lured Bennett in. Those with a weakness were easy pickings. Those with a weakness such as a hole in their very souls were a challenge and Bennett adored a challenge.
Once Bennett saw Molly reluctantly leave the front walk of the bookshop whilst wiping away a few more tears with the sleeve of her sweatshirt, he emerged from the shadows of the alley once more to see where, if anywhere, she would stop next. Still keeping a safe distance from her, he watched her carefully.
He couldn’t help but think of how fun it would be to catch her in his grip, wrap his strong hands around her throat and toy with her a bit before he took the blood from her veins and left her body to reflect its soul- an empty, broken, drained shell. Would this brokenhearted Molly struggle and fight him off once she realized that he was what he was or would she invite his cold advances even though she would quickly realize that he fully intended to leave her either dead or dying?
Bennett would wrap his fist into the mess of dark brown hair that hung down her back first and pull her head back into the direction that he needed it to go. Then, he would snake his other hand along the voluptuous curves of her body until he found a soft piece of flesh somewhere (Her stomach, perhaps?) to tease as she struggled to free her hair. While Bennett whispered dark nothings into her ear, she would plead for him to either release her or be done with it and leave her alone. But, he wouldn’t leave her alone.
He would slowly trace a cut down the side of her neck with his fangs until he heard her moan from the small amount of pain that it would cause. Small, of course, when compared to the pain that would shoot through her body from the first deep bite that he would take.
With the thoughts of how good Molly would taste and how sweet the hunt was going to be, Bennett followed her around a curve and watched her walk through a small door and up a short flight of stairs that led to a small row of low rent apartments that sat above an old hardware store.
Bennett stopped following her there, but lurked around the outside of the building in the dark until he was sure that she’d gone to sleep. He could hear her breathing patterns change after about an hour and when he did, he bid her a good night and stalked off through the streets to find something else to occupy his hunger until the next night, when he would find her once again.
This hunt was just beginning.
The very next night, Bennett had stalked around outside of her front door, just enough to hear her speaking on a telephone to the very same man she’d been dumped by the previous night. Bennett’s hearing was quite a bit better than a human’s hearing, and he could hear her voice tremble as she weakly said, “Please, just leave it be. You don’t have to explain things any further to me, James.”
Intrigued, Bennett pressed his ear even harder against her front door so that he could hear a small pause between her sentences before she spoke through sobs into the receiver again. “James, just leave it alone!”
He couldn’t help but wonder what sort of a man would break a woman’s heart and then call her twenty-four hours later to pour salt into the open wounds, but then he quickly remembered himself. What did it matter?
Night after night for the next three weeks, Bennett stalked Molly, learning that her true first name was Amalia and her last name was Thomas. She had been in a relationship that had gone sour for one reason or another and would sob into her pillow nearly every single night before she finally drifted to sleep, her soul descending deeper and deeper into a depression with each passing day. Unlike most broken hearts, hers was not healing with time.
Bennett had also learned that she kept a key to her apartment under the doormat, a grave mistake, and that she worked a regular nine to five in the mailroom at a local magazine. When she went out in the evenings to gather groceries or pay bills, he would slip silently and unseen into her apartment using her hidden key to unlock her door. He was good at this. She never once suspected that someone had been in her house while she was away and if she did, she didn’t speak of it when her father called her to check and see if she was alright or when her scrawny whelp of a best friend, Claudine, came to check on her and force feed her chocolate and wine while they watched movies together on the sofa.
Claudine, Bennett had once decided, may not be so great for his plight to stalk Amalia and eventually take her blood from her. Claudine seemed to be the best medicine Amalia could take because she was constantly lending Amalia her shoulder to cry on and Amalia truly opened up to her. For a bit, Bennett was worried that Amalia may lose that special sadness that he loved so much about her, but soon he realized that not even a happy go lucky best friend with perfect blond hair and a sunny disposition on the entire world could mend Amalia’s spirit. Amalia was doomed.
One night while Claudine was missing in action and Amalia was inside her apartment being watched by Bennett without her knowledge, the unthinkable happened.
Amalia slit her wrists in her kitchen floor and he didn’t know that she’d done it until it was damn near too late. This was not a good thing, not by any means. If she killed herself, he couldn’t do it later and that would ruin his fun. He’d spent too much time and invested too much of himself with the thrill of the hunt to allow her to die now, before he would have the chance to kill her himself.
Without much hesitation Bennett burst through her locked door and rushed to Amalia’s side in her kitchen floor.
She was crumpled on her the wheat colored linoleum in her underwear and a tank top, her hair in a messy pony tail and her slashed wrist lying cold on the floor in a pool of wet, silken blood, but she was still breathing.
Pain hit Bennett from the sight and smell of her so severely that he groaned as his fangs descended, stretching his gums in the process. He struggled to run through the list of options that he had as quickly as possible, but the options were bleak.
He could allow her to die there in a pool of her own blood and just disappear into the night to find another woman to stalk, but any other woman wouldn’t make him hunger for her as Amalia did. He could call an ambulance for her, but the idiot drivers would be slow and wouldn’t make it to the hospital on time with her.
Or he could fix her himself with skills he’d acquired over the years in the military and otherwise. Mostly otherwise.
He dropped to his knees and felt her warm blood soak through the leg of his black jeans as he knelt down to her level, picking up her arm and flipping it about to painstakingly look over her self inflicted wounds. She’d slashed up and down her arm with a box cutter that he quickly kicked out of the way once he found it lying next to her body.
He glanced in her direction for a split second and held her deep brown teary pools for eyes with his own ice cold blue ones. Why, in his entire history of being, did he choose to do that, he wondered. Now he’d made a slight human connection with her and would have to work extra hard to break that tiny little bond.
“Hold still.” He hissed while he pulled a small vial from his front pocket.
Instead of shrieking shyly away from the monster in front of her and his fangs, she batted her eyelashes and rolled her head to the side, simply choosing to turn away from him. She didn’t even try to speak and protest.
The vial of clear blue liquid had been a gift from a young witch during the eighteenth century. She’d given it to him knowing that he wouldn’t need it for himself, but had said that one day he might want to save a life rather than take one. At the time he had laughed at her, but now he was realizing that she was annoyingly right.
He popped the tiny cork in the vial and spilled the content over Amalia’s wrists, watching it immediately soak into her skin rather than mixing with the blood that still fell from there. It turned her wrist blue, actually.
Just when he was beginning to think that he’d made the wrong decision and his prize was dying in the floor in front of him, the wounds began to come closer together, though not completely sealing shut again.
Color began to return to her face and she turned her head around again to look up at him. Through a strained and weak voice, she uttered, “Who are you?” Moments later, as he watched the last of her wounds close, she mumbled, “Just let me die here.”
Grumbling under his breath, Bennett picked her up and carried her into her bedroom, placing her gently down on her bed and pulling the covers up to her hips. He dialed Claudine’s phone number and then hung up before she answered so that at least he knew that being the good friend that she was, she’d come check on Amalia’s well being.
A very weak and sick Amalia looked up at Bennett once more and studied him momentarily before making the rather astute assumption in a statement rather than a scared exclamation, “You’re a vampire,” and then blinked her lids shut and drifted off to sleep.