To Pass The Time

Part 7 of Night's Longing

As the two of us wait outside the restaurant for the valet to bring her car around, Carmen produces a small case from inside her jacket. She removes a cigarette, hand-rolled by the looks of it, and extends her arm to offer me the option of taking one.

I decline. “Need to keep these lungs in good shape for a while yet,” I say, though my date doesn’t seem the type to expect a justification. She shrugs, puts the unlit cigarette in her mouth, and pockets the case, but before she can retrieve a lighter I stop her.

“Allow me.” I hope I’m not too buzzed to perform my little party trick. I whisper the invocation and twist my fingers into the sign of igniculus, press my lips to them, and tilt my head forward to kiss a tiny flame of theurgy onto the tip of her cigarette.

With an amused quirk of her lips, my date takes a drag, turning her head to politely exhale away from me. “You are impossibly cute, do you know that?” She holds her cigarette between two fingers, staring at me with a crooked grin as if waiting for something. “If you want a kiss, Hanna, you do not need to contrive an excuse to bring your mouth close to mine. You need only a—”

That’s as much an invitation as I need to interrupt by pressing my mouth to hers. She pulls me into her embrace and kisses me back, tasting like fire and ash and smoke, and the first thing I think is that, if I must burn in hell someday, I hope the flames down there taste just like Carmen.

Later in the night, I find myself on my back in Carmen’s bed, the alcohol I’ve consumed making me feel warm and fuzzy and beautiful in my date’s palatial penthouse way up at the top of the high-rise condos downtown. I’m already topless and touching myself to the sight of a handsome woman stripping for me.

The butch striptease is agonizingly slow—a suit like hers isn’t designed to be removed quickly, after all, and the vampire has learned a great deal more patience in her long life than I have—which just makes me squirm all the more in anticipation. First setting aside the jacket, then unbuttoning the vest in front of me, untying her tie, removing her belt, and now, with movements that tease and torment with their languid pace, her hands move to the buttons of her dress shirt.

From the way she talks, the way she dresses, and her whole aura of dapper, well-bred etiquette, I was surprised to see my date reveal a body even more heavily tattooed than mine. A patchwork of smaller, monochromatic pieces frame and cozy around several larger designs that wrap around her torso and curl around her breasts and drip down her thick, well-muscled arms. The dragon motif is a prominent one, but I have little time to admire all the details before Carmen climbs atop me and crushes my mouth with hers.

Once again she leaves me with the impression that her gaze pierces the thin membrane of my skin to lay my mind bare before her. She uses me roughly, but exactly as roughly as I like, her hands squeezing my tits hard enough to make me cry out, hard enough to leave bruises, and then pushing no further.

With her teeth, she marks my skin, she breaks it, she laps my little drops of blood, but she controls her urges and does not drain me so that I remain as lucid as the wine allows. I bleed in countless tiny spots down my neck and shoulders and arms and breasts and thighs, and oh! To enjoy the pierce of her fangs again and again and again leaves me squirming like never before.

In an act of vampiric sorcery or merely prestidigitation aided by my alcohol-influenced inattention, she has at some point conjured a strap with which to split me down the middle, at once too large and just right in size so that it inspires panic, it hurts, and still my hands curl into claws to grab her ass and pull her deeper inside me.

I’m in tears again, overwhelmed by the intensity of it, and I’m thankful that Carmen chooses to pay more attention to the way my lips make the shape of the word “more” with every thrust of her hips. I kiss her hungrily, offering wordless gratitude for the way she fucks me hard enough to make me forget all my anger and bitterness and fill me up with her instead. I kiss her hungrily, trying to show her how she makes me feel. I kiss her hungrily, trying to drink her in more intimately than even blood.

She kisses me back, tasting like the sweetest poison, dangerous and thrilling, only safe in doses smaller than I thirst for. Her hands are strong and unyielding, moving and grasping and holding and rubbing me, finding and kneading every sensitive nerve in an unrelenting attack as her body bears down on mine with suffocating pressure.

Every incredible sensation builds inside me until I reach my climax, wrapping my arms and legs around her and convulsing uncontrollably while she, slick with my sweat, returns the embrace.

She dismounts. Gasping, panting, it takes me time to recover my voice, and when I do, all I manage at first is to say, “wow…”

Carmen, propping herself up on an elbow next to me, checks in. “Doing alright?”

“Better than alright, fuck.” I smile back at her. “My sisters do a great job treating me like a hot piece of meat, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt tenderized before. You’ve had practice.”

“Some years of it, I admit.” She grins with an expression I’d call terribly smug if it weren’t wholly earned confidence.

“Maybe I can’t compete with you.” I turn my body toward her, reaching out to touch Carmen’s skin, tracing a cerulean line of ink along the side of her body until my hand reaches the harness at her hips. “But I bet I have enough experience of my own to compare favorably with all the repressed Victorian girls you no doubt bedded a hundred years ago.”

The lift of her eyebrows suggests some surprise, as if taking my own initiative with her were unexpected, as if she assumed me to be some passive pillow princess content to have a hot butch get her off and call it done. Was that what most of her sex partners were like? Surely not. What kind of self-respecting lesbian would let someone fuck her to pieces without reciprocation? What kind of dyke could restrain herself with Carmen of all people?

“No matter the era, there are women who surprise you,” she says, lifting her ass to let me pull the harness off, and I’m not sure whether she means the repressed Victorian girls or me.

I’m even more unsure of how many other smitten ladies over the past 400 years I’m competing with, but ultimately it doesn’t matter. I have plenty of experience of my own, a lifelong oral fixation, and a deep internal well of queer lust to draw from as I kiss my way down her belly and between her legs.

The way her breath hitches as my lips descend on her, the way all her composure and that perfectly untouchable air of hers slowly melt away to soak into the sheets, the way she shudders and sighs from my efforts, it all does wonders to help me regain my confidence. Her soft vocalizations and writhing hips guide my tongue and my hands to learn exactly how to make her feel best.

My technique and enthusiasm turn out to be enough to leave the desired impression, and my jaw isn’t even tired yet when she shivers and groans and clamps her thighs around my face for the first time.

I slow down for the space of a breath, maybe three, allowing the current moment to sprawl and linger in breathy near-silence, the time stretching like a ribbon of hot, sticky-sweet taffy clinging to us both, and then I redouble my effort. Before long she cums again, soaking my face and letting out a husky groan of release.

“That is enough. Please. And thank you.”

I relent, crawling up the bed to give Carmen a soft kiss on the lips. I stroke her hair and wait for her to catch her breath before asking the same question she asked me earlier. “Doing alright?”

“Better than alright. I suspect you have had practice yourself.”

I lay my head upon her chest. “Hell yeah. Glad to have earned this second chance to impress you.”

“Well, I must admit,” Carmen says with a wry grin, “when it comes to violent women with a taste for the macabre, I have always been something of a sucker.

I snicker, even if that particular vampire pun deserved a groan more than anything. Well, it might be awful, but I’m glad to have thoroughly broken past her mask of aloofness. “Alright. That makes up for my shitty pick-up line when we first met.”

“I will call us even, then.”

It takes little effort for Carmen to convince me not to return to the safehouse, to instead spend the rest of the night lounging naked in her company, studying her tattoos as an excuse to enjoy her body and studying her body as an excuse to enjoy her tattoos.

Many of these pieces are old enough that the art practically belongs in a museum. The winged dragon across her back looks like a medieval design, but the greens remain vibrant and the lines are as perfectly clean as if the ink had just finished healing. That’s another advantage of being undead, I suppose. Your tattoos stay fresh forever.

Most of the other pieces are abstract, single-color linework not unlike the hunter tattoos I wear. Some are sigils I recognize, most notably the mark of Clan Sarthe below her collarbone, but that’s not the only vampire clan marking on her. There’s Clan Ecsedi’s loop and teeth with additional lines radiating from it to branch and intertwine with Clan Carrara’s wheel nestled alongside. The more of Carmen’s skin I explore, the more familiar symbols I find arranged in ways that are highly suggestive of relationships between the clans, relationships that I am wholly unable to parse.

I know it’s a huge taboo to join multiple vampire clans or, similarly, to signal that one is a member of multiple, but there’s no way a vampire lives quite so long as Carmen while antagonizing every major clan out there, right? Were the rules different once upon a time, or are there circumstances that grant some leniency?

I am so engrossed in my examination of her body that I fail to notice Carmen doing the same with me until she asks me about my own ink. “I do not parse the significance in the stretch of lilies here. They seem symbolic in their arrangement, but these are painted in a chaotic collection of colors I would associate with a variety of contradictory occasions. Would you be willing to tell me about them?”

Huh, I’m not sure what she means by that description. “Oh, uh, I’d just call this queer flagging, I guess. That’s the colors of the lesbian flag, and the lily is kind of the unofficial lesbian flower.”

Why does it feel so awkward to try to explain “yuri” and “pride flags” to her? I mean, she’s only an ancient immortal vampire older than gay pride parades and this whole country and it’s frankly a miracle that she knows how to use texting apps in the first place even if she writes like she’s composing a formal letter to be sealed with wax and delivered by messenger bat or something. Where do I even start? With explaining anime? Do I need to tell her about the concept of cartoons first? Would it be easier to tell her about Stonewall and the history of queer liberation here first? Should I explain why I like this flag instead of the one with the cool axe on it?

Suddenly I feel so self-conscious about how insipid my culture must seem to someone who’s been a lesbian since back when it was illegal for a woman to show her ankles. I feel my face heating up while I stammer and grope for the right words to bring Carmen up to speed on modern queer culture.

“Lesbian flag? I had no idea you were from Greece.”

“No, no, no!” Oh shit, that catches me off guard. I need to catch her up even more than I thought. “Uh, well, um. So, uh, there was this poet Sappho who lived…” When was that? Sappho was even before Carmen’s time, right? Surely she knows all about ancient Greek stuff. Although she didn’t grow up with Wikipedia or gay online communities on social media that can share this kind of cultural trivia, so maybe this sort of historical knowledge isn’t something I can take for granted. Fuck, finish the sentence, Hanna. “Her name is Sappho and she lived in ancient Greek times, and she wrote a bunch of poetry—”

Why is Carmen laughing?

“I am sorry, Hanna. That one was a joke.”

Her smile is playful, without a hint of mockery, but still I cover my face in embarrassment. “I feel so dumb right now. Of course you already know all that stuff.”

“I know a great deal. I have not been living in a cave for the last few centuries, dearest Hanna.” She pulls one of my hands away from my face. “But I do find the best way to stay current on the shifting landscape of cultural symbolism is to hear about it from an enthusiastic participant. I would be honored to have you teach me more about your own floral language, your flags, and also those novel rituals of communication your generation has adopted.”

“You… want me to teach you how to text like a girl who was home-schooled as a kid and grew up with almost no social life except for scrolling though apps and sliding into the DMs of older women when I was a teenager?” My mind boggles. “I don’t know where to start. I mean, you’re not even caught up on contractions, and I have no idea when those were invented.”

I’m glad to see that she laughs at that too instead of taking offense.

“Y’know, I’m not so out-of-date as you’d guess at first.” Her speech completely changes, dropping her accent and her formality entirely and sounding perfectly normal. “I gotta concentrate harder, yeah, but I can talk in a way that blends in fine.”

“Holy shit, your accent just vanished!” I’m impressed. I don’t know that I’ve ever met a vampire who could just turn off talking like someone of their own era.

Carmen relaxes and reverts to her accustomed speaking style. “My manner of speech is a matter of preference and habit rather than my best effort at imitating the dialect of any one place and time. It is something I develop with intentionality to appeal to my own aesthetic sensibilities.” She licks her lips as if relishing the taste of the words she just spoke. With an amused expression as if confessing a private joke, she adds, “you should hear how I speak Russian. I have become perhaps more artistic with the language than is reasonable to inflict on others.”

Honestly it’s kind of a relief to hear that she’s not planning to try talking and texting like a “kids these days.” At this point it would just feel jarring coming from her.

“Yeah, okay, I can probably swallow my embarrassment enough to get you caught up. However!” I point a finger at Carmen with a mock-serious glare. “I want to learn more about you too. Stuff like… what was it like to live without indoor plumbing? What’s your favorite new discovery or invention during your lifetime? Is there anything you miss from the old days? Is Carmen your real name? Where are you from originally? What do your tattoos mean?”

Without missing a beat, she rattles off answers. “Inconvenient. Tobacco. Capes, and I hope they come back into fashion. ‘Real’ names are a fiction, and this is far from the first one I have worn. A place that no longer meaningfully exists, and toward the land it once occupied, I no longer feel a connection. Many things, of which I am willing to say a little if you are willing to continue indulging my curiosity about yours.”

We pass the time chatting until dawn and sleep away the day with one another. The next evening, Carmen offers to let me continue staying with her while I wait for my opportunity to hit Ylio. The siren song of her in-unit washing machine calls to me, and I would be lying if I denied that this huge, luxury bathroom—and the opportunity to indulge in it with Carmen—weren’t part of the reason I eagerly accepted.

With the aid of an extra pair of hands and a car, it proves much easier to move all my hunting gear from the safehouse than it was moving into it.

While we’re there, the elder vampire shows a great deal of curiosity about the contents of the place, asking me for the grand tour. She glances through the titles on the bookshelf, idly skims the primer on practical theurgy, and with a snort of derision tosses Professor Van Helsing’s book of drivel on the floor. The encoded logbook holds her attention longer, at least until I tell her that there isn’t much of value in there, but I’d be happy to teach her the secret to decoding hunters’ messages to one another.

The curl of her lips is more venomous than any expression I’ve seen from her, but her response directs none of that spite toward me. “Your ancestors would spin in their graves. I accept your offer with gratitude.”

When we unload all my worldly possessions into Carmen’s penthouse, it suddenly hits me, and I can’t help laughing at myself. “One date, and I’m already doing the U-Haul thing, huh?”

It’s not a reference I expect Carmen to understand, but she wraps her arms around me from behind and murmurs in my ear, “that sounds quite a lot like you are casting me in the role of your girlfriend.” Her voice carries a playful lilt in response to my presumption.

“You let me know if that’s just wishful thinking, and I’ll back off.”

“Back off?” She turns me around to face her and cups my cheek, her piercing eyes gripping me with unyielding beauty. “I would not say we are quite so close as ‘girlfriends,’ but if you back off, how will we ever get there?”

I blush again, as always, unable to control myself around her. My impulse is to bashfully look away, but I cannot break eye contact. I don’t want to break eye contact. I want to kiss her and kiss her and kiss her and forget the outside world and everything at all except how good it feels to be right here in her arms.

Lowering her face to mine, she grants my wish.