Danni was just finishing up her cool-down stretches in the living room when her phone pinged. She got a lot of messages these days, so it didn't bother her too much, but she had gotten into the habit of checking them, right away. She saw the message was from her childhood friend, Lyn, who lived a few blocks away. Lyn, who lived a few blocks away. They hadn’t hung out too often since university started but had been inseparable since the start of high school. Definitely a priority text, in Danni’s opinion.
Danni, could you come to Roasted soon? I need to talk to you about something important.
Raising an eyebrow, Danni fired back a message. It wasn't like Lyn to be so forthcoming with her problems, so it had to be as important as she claimed.
Sure thing, Lyn. I'll be there around four. Save us a seat?
A few minutes later Lyn sent back a message consisting entirely of a thumbs up emoji. Danni shook her tired arms and headed for the shower. It was getting harder to keep up with her reps lately, but that just meant she was doing something right. Right? Regardless, she wasn't going to show up for afternoon tea in sweaty spandex. Not again, anyway. She needed to freshen up.
Danni sat at the coffee table with a warm mug of tea in both hands. "So what did you want to talk about, Lyn?"
Her best friend sat across the table, looking extremely uncomfortable. Danni was briefly concerned she wasn't feeling well. "Um..."
"You haven't touched your coffee?"
Lyn shook her head and held her cup in one hand, the cafe was busy but no one was loud enough to bother them, though that only made this harder. "Okay... Danni, you promise not to laugh?"
"I promise," Danni responded in all seriousness.
Lyn took a deep breath. "I think your roommate's a vampire."
Danni snorted and spilled some of her tea on the table, barely cutting off a laugh. Both girls looked around the cafe with a blush, but no one seemed to have noticed. "Are you serious, Lyn?"
"Yes!" Lyn fidgeted with her bangs like she always did when she was embarrassed. "Look, I know it's ridiculous, but there are so many... signs…," she trailed off. It really did sound ludicrous.
"I think you've been reading too many ghost stories again," Danni teased, taking a sip of her tea. "Why would you think Ember's a vampire?"
"Where to begin," Lyn muttered. "Her dress sense, for a start."
"What? Dark reds and blacks? Plenty of girls wear that. They're called goths.," Danni smiled.
"But she wears it all the time. Even in summer. Full black, heavy dresses and hats that keep her in the shade. She never seems to get hot, but she's always rugged up."
"She doesn't like the sun, it doesn't mean she's a vampire," Danni chuckled. "She's just photosensitive. That's why she's so pale."
"Sure," Lyn frowned. "And why are you so pale these days?"
"For one, we keep the apartment curtains closed when she's at home because, as I said, photosensitivity. For another, I've been giving a lot of blood."
Lyn sat up in her chair and opened her mouth. Danni held up a hand to stall her response.
"Blood donations, Lyn, not bloodsucking. Don't be silly."
"Sure," Lyn sulked, staring at her coffee as Danni fussed with her phone. A few minutes went by before Lyn took her first sip.
"Ember's actually very kind. She makes plenty of steak for me after she takes my blood."
Lyn choked on her coffee and put her cup down. "Ember takes your blood!" She hissed at her friend. Danni giggled.
"She's a nurse in training who works at the donation centre? Why is that weird?"
"Usually you go to a donation centre to give blood," Lyn deadpanned, "not your own bed in your own apartment.
Danni shrugged and took another sip. "Yeah, well, if you've got the equipment and the training why not do it in the comfort of your own home?"
"Can I see your arms?" Lyn asked suddenly. Danni quirked and eyebrow and held both arms out. Lyn inspected them carefully before crossing her own. "No needle marks."
"Of course not," Danni chuckled. "She doesn't take blood from my arms."
"That's the standard spot for blood donations, Danni."
"Yeah, but the arteries in the neck give more faster," Danni pointed out, gesturing to the twin marks on her neck. "I suppose you're going to tell me these are teeth marks, though."
"Of course I am!" Lyn hissed again. "Think about it! This girl moves in, what, a week ago?"
"A month and a half."
"Sure, whatever. And she happens to be a nurse, happens to work at a blood clinic, happens to have," Lyn made air quotes, "'the equipment', and uniquely takes your blood from the neck, leaving two needle marks."
"And then makes an awesome steak."
"To keep your blood iron high."
"Of course," Danni smiled. Lyn sighed.
"And none of this fazes you at all."
"I'm sorry, Lyn, it's just ridiculous. I'd know if I was living with a vampire, trust me."
"Of course," Lyn grumbled. "So she doesn't bite your neck, then."
"Of course not," Danni shook her head. "Where do you come up with these ideas?"
Lyn shrugged and began to take another sip of her cooling coffee.
"The closest she even gets is when she kisses my neck."
"After the donating, she kisses the wound," Danni pointed at her neck again. "It's really very cute."
"Cute!" Lyn cried in exasperation.
"Mmm," Danni smiled dreamily. "And now and then she kisses it just to show her gratitude. Honestly, I think I'm kinda crushing on her. It feels really good when she does it. Lyn, are you alright?"
Lyn had her head on the table and her hands in her hair, about ready to tear it out. "I'm fine. My best friend is enthralled by a vampire and doesn't realise it, and I can't get through to her, why wouldn't I be fine?"
"What about garlic?"
"What do you mean," Danni asked suspiciously.
"Does garlic repel her?"
"If you must know, she has an allergy -"
"Of COURSE she does!"
"A food allergy, Lyn. She gets sick if she eats it, so naturally she finds the smell off-putting too."
"Have you ever seen her reflection?"
"Of course not."
"Of - what?"
Danni giggled again. "It's not that weird. We don't have any mirrors in the apartment."
"You don't -" Lyn found herself almost shouting. Blushing, she lowered her voice to a harsh whisper. "You don't have any fucking mirrors?"
"Danni, that is not normal! That's the definition of weird!"
"Ember's just from a weird niche religion. She was raised to think mirrors steal your soul or something, so she asked me to get rid of the mirrors when she moved in." Danni shrugged, satisfied with her explanation. Lyn was anything but.
Lyn was opening her mouth to respond angrily when a hand landed on her right shoulder, long fingers gently curling around to pinch her. While her attention was still on Danni, Lyn felt a presence over her left shoulder, too.
Danni beamed. "Ember, hi!"
Lyn's blood ran cold. "You messaged her?" She whispered. A smooth voice purred inches from her ear, but directed toward her friend.
"Danni, darling. I got your message and came here as quick as I could. Who’s this sweetheart?" Lyn felt the presence turn to look directly at her and caught a glimpse of black hair with a flash of red in it.
"This is Lyn. She's an old friend," Danni answered. "She was curious about you. Apparently she thinks you're a vampire," she finished with a giggle.
Ember laughed melodically, a mirthful tone that nevertheless made Lyn shiver. "A vampire? That's the silliest thing I've ever heard. Look at me, Lyn, doll."
Lyn shook her head, whimpering. How was she going to get out of this situation? Fingers topped with shiny black nails caught her chin and gently but firmly forced her head to turn left. Lyn first saw the unnaturally pale skin that made the painted red lips stand out all the more, quirked into a confident, commanding yet sympathetic smile. Instinctively her eyes shot up higher, and there they froze.
Ember's eyes were... red. The pupils were black, as was normal and expected, but her irises looked like the deepest rubies she could imagine. Every speck was simply another shade of red, and the eyes twinkled with mirth, sharpened with intelligence, seemed to shimmer with understanding. They were... mesmerising was the only word for it.
"Poor girl. I think you should accompany us to the apartment. Don't you?"
"A... Accompany..." Lyn whispered. Ember slowly returned to her full height, pulling Lyn out of her chair with nothing more than a finger under the chin. Lyn didn't want to lose sight olf her gorgeous eyes.
"Danni, be a dear and get the bill, won't you? You can catch up."
"Of course, Ember!" Danni left the table and went to the counter as Ember fluidly took up a position next to Lyn, wrapped her arms around Lyn's own left arm and slowly walked with her out of the cafe and down the street. Lyn would normally have wanted to watch where she was going, but every instinct was telling her to continue to stare into Ember's gaze.
She was dimly aware of Danni catching up a few minutes later, but tuned her friend's babbling out. It wasn't important. She didn't even hear whatever Ember said in response; that wasn't important either. She just had to stare at her eyes, that was all. Nothing more, nothing less.
Ember would take care of where to walk.
Either five minutes or an hour later, Lyn was standing in the living room of Danni's apartment, curtains closed. This was a chance to get some evidence to support her theory to Danni, but she couldn't tear her eyes free of Ember’s gaze to explore.
But Ember said it was a ridiculous theory anyway, part of her memory reminded her.
Ember guided Danni to stand in front of Lyn, then slinked behind the other girl, always maintaining eye contact with Lyn. With a throaty chuckle, Ember moved her head in close to Danni's. The blonde cocked her head in the opposite direction, baring her neck. Ember's red lips brushed Danni's skin and the girl moaned.
"Ready for another donation, my sweet?," Ember whispered in a way that felt like it echoed in Lyn's ears.
"Yessss…," Danni quivered, eyes already unfocusing by the time Ember opened her mouth wider, revealing a white pair of fangs which she gently used to bite into Danny's neck. Even as Danni moaned, squirmed and gasped, and even as Ember drank her fill, the red eyes never left Lyn's own, always staring into her soul.
After a full minute Ember gently removed her fangs and kissed Danni's neck the wound quickly healed over, but Lyn's friend continued to whimper as Ember's hands roamed her body.
"Your friend Lyn is quite a looker, isn't she?"
"Quite a looker…," Danni sighed, trying to focus her eyes on Lyn. For her part, Lyn felt what must have been the tenth glob of drool drip from her chin into her cleavage, but she couldn't even string two thoughts together. She could only stare into those eyes and listen.
"Lyn is very attractive. You are attracted to her.," Ember smiled.
"Lyn's very attractive... I'm attracted to her," Danni repeated. There was no doubt in her voice, just pure trust and belief.
"You want to date her... You want her to move in."
"Want to d-date her... Want Lyn to move in," she moaned in response.
"Of course you do, pet. Who wouldn't? She's so hot," Ember cooed, kissed Danni's neck again, and the blonde gasped in absolute bliss as her glazed eyes hungrily drank in Lyn's prone docile body.
Given Ember had not broken eye contact since the cafe, it would have been inaccurate to say she turned to gaze atto Lyn, but something in that gaze shifted and Lyn knew she had Ember's total focus. The strength of that stare drowned her in a sea of red, warmth and trust.
"It's entirely up to you if you want to move in, Lyn. I won't push you one way or another."
"Entirely up to me," Lyn whispered weakly. What did that mean? How could anything be up to her?
"I will say one thing. For you to have come to your friend with such concern, to tell her such a silly theory, showed a great depth of care for Danni. A great deal of love."
"Looove…," Lyn's thighs clenched and her spine melted. Ember was right, of course. Lyn loved Danni. It was why she was so worried about her, she didn't want any danger to come to the one she loved.
"But love includes trust. You trust Danni."
"I trust Danni..."
"And Danni trusts me."
"Danni trusts... you..."
"Danni would never lead you astray, wouldn't she?"
"Nooo…," Lyn whimpered, hips bucking gently.
"Danni says I'm not a vampire. What does that mean?"
"That -" Lyn licked her lips. Everything was so confusing, so murky. She clung to the two truths in her life: Ember's eyes, and her utmost trust in Danni. "That you aren't a vampire."
Ember approached. "Bare your neck," she commanded in that echoing whisper. Lyn's head was cocking to the side before she knew it.
Ember brushed hair out of the way and licked her fangs, biting into the skin of Lyn's neck. Her entire bloodstream on fire, pure ecstasy, Lyn cried out weakly, almost falling to the floor but for her all consuming need to remain standing until Ember was finished with her. She could feel the blood flow from her body into Ember's mouth, could feel her limbs weaken and her mind cloud.
It was bliss.
An eternity of pleasure later, Ember removed her fangs and kissed Lyn's neck. The hot, pleasurable ache faded instantly and Lyn shuddered on her weak knees.
"What did I just do?"
"You..." Lyn struggled to piece her shirt term memory together. Before meeting Ember she would have said she sucked her blood, but Ember wasn't a vampire. The mere thought was ridiculous. What had Danni told her? "You took... my blood and... kissed me better..."
Ember smiled, and this time Lyn couldn't stay on her feet. She crumpled to the floor, staring up at the tall, dark woman. "Very good girl. I hope you do decide to move in. Now, I should head to bed. Danni here has some... revelations to share with her dear friend.
Ember walked out of the room with that melodic laughter. Lyn barely had time to wonder at her meaning before Danni crawled over her, pinning her to the ground with her hands and knees, staring at her with a look of absolute lust.
"Lyn," she whimpered, gyrating her hips inches from Lyn's lap. "You're so hot... I need you... Will you... go out with me?"
The plea in her voice nearly broke Lyn's heart. How could she refuse such a plaintive request, even if she didn't already feel the way she did? Lyn licked her lips. "I love you, Danni," she whispered.
The girls kissed.