A Bloodsucker's Holiday: Part 4
Published Jan 13, 2011

Written By



Page 1 / 59

You cut me open
... and I keep bleeding love.

You cut me open
... and I keep bleeding love.
The bike was recovered by mid-afternoon. Renee found this out by way of a text. She turned her phone off again and stared off into space, unaware of her surroundings or how long she'd been there, until Reuben passed by for the fifth time and loudly mentioned that the salad was good, but that was no reason to sit around hovering over the plate all evening. Irritated with both him and herself, and unable to say anything for fear that the tremor in her voice would give her away, she got up and went up to the attic apartment. They had rented that apartment from the previous owner of the house when they first got married; Renee banged out her stories on the ancient computer, and Reuben made her laugh by reciting his lines in falsetto. And they had cooked their scanty meals over the hot plate, and tumbled together on the lumpy mattress, and watched the sun rise from the picture window, the sole luxury in the unit.

And then Renee got her first real break--her first major scandal coverage--and along came fame and success and that coveted corner office, and a bigger paycheck that bought the house ... but somehow, it never became a home.
She could hear Reuben on the phone. She already knew who he was talking to.

Strange, how easy it was to get used to things being so completely wrong.

She went over to the computer and began typing. Navigating the chaotic minefield that was investigative reporting relaxed her. That was a large part of the reason that she had succeeded in her career when so many others had failed; she had a head for the business. And a mean streak as wide as your average six-lane highway.
A window suddenly opened on her screen. An instant chat.

-- Hey there. Why are you still awake?

She stared. She closed it. A few seconds later it opened again.

-- I wouldn't have to do this if your phone was on.

Oh. Him.

-- Sorry. Weird day.

She thought for a few seconds.

-- Why are YOU still awake, don't you have class in the morning?
-- Yeah, but what student doesn't skip class once in a while? Besides, I gotta clean up. Party got crazy! My whole place is a wreck!

-- Party?

-- Yup, big catfight at the end, four chicks found out they were all dating the same dude. Hot mess! They broke a bunch of my liquor bottles, I had to kick 'em all out. If you can't respect the alcohol, out you go.

She snorted.

-- So hey, if you're not working in the morning, pass by the park. I'm doing a morning clinic there, it'd be great to get some lunch with you afterwards.
-- Are you asking me on a date?

-- Do you not go on dates?

-- I'm married, Matthew.

-- You're married AND you don't go on dates? That's a lousy deal. Dirty Diner? Noon?

She got up and walked away, shaking her head. This was getting too deep. This wasn't smart. Slow breaths. Slow breaths.

Behind her, new messages continued to pop up.
She finally just turned the machine off and crawled into bed, where she stared at the wall with tired eyes. Knock knock.

"Mmpfh?" Renee said, rather indistinctly.

"You going in today?" Reuben called from outside the door. "It's almost 10 and you're not even up."

"I'm not going to be in the office," she answered.

There, that wasn't quite a lie.
For the first time in years, she didn't drive her car. She took a cab across town. When the cabbie claimed to recognize her, she mumbled, "I get that a lot," and kept staring out of the window.

What was wrong with her?

What was wrong with her for even having to ask that? Idiot.

She was starved for attention. Having a limelight shining on her head wasn't even close to the same thing as seeing someone's eyes light up as she came into the room. And that light hadn't been in Reuben's eyes for a very, very long time.
What had Emmy said? ... guys like Matthew made the first move in relationships?

... so this was his move?

She could still feel his lips on hers.

Slow breaths. Slow breaths ....

"Yes," she said quickly. The diner was flashing in the noon sun.

She gave the driver a §50. "No change."

Matthew was already there, sitting on the scarred bench, book in hand. He was only pretending to read. His eyes weren't moving. As soon as she walked up, those eyes turned to her.
"I'm not hungry," he announced. "Let's take a walk." "So ..."

She was almost trotting behind him. He walked entirely too fast, and the roads on the dock side of town weren't exactly well-maintained.

"I need to tell you something."

She tried not to predict what was about to come out of his mouth.

"... I'm being recalled."


"To my corporate office. My vacation's being cut short."
She looked at him. He was looking over the greasy water in the bay.

"When will you have to leave?"

"Don't have an actual itinerary, but it'll be soon. A natural disaster is wiping out a city that I used to live in. Whenever that sort of thing happens, I have to rewrite that city's history. My secretaries are doing my job for me, but sooner or later I'll have to go back and take over--"

"Secretaries? You have more than one?"

"I was just gonna hire one, but she begged and cried so much that I hired her sister too." He opened his wallet and showed her a photo.
"This is my blackmail photo of them from an office party. Fred Collina, Barb Ohinyan. Fred's in the hat and the ... err, milkmaid costume. I pull it out whenever they ask for a raise."

He laughed and shoved the photo into a hidden flap.
"Anyway, that's neither here nor there. The real issue is that I'm leaving, and I want you to come with me."

"So you want to take me to your world."

"It would be your world too. There are no humans there. Only vampires, simbots, ghosts, the occasional mummy."
She took a tottering step backwards.

"You want me to become a vampire!"

"I want you to come with me," he said. "I want you to be my life."

"No!" she whispered, horrified. "No! NO!"

She ran. She didn't know where she was running to. Her heels nearly sent her to the asphalt more than once.
Finally she just stopped. He hadn't moved.


She couldn't say anything for several seconds. She tried to catch her breath as he walked up to her.
When she spoke, there was a hitch in her voice. "I can't do that, Matthew. I'm sorry. Please, don't ever ask again."

"Can you at least tell me why not?"

"One day," she promised.
They continued to meet.

Their conversations were perfectly reasonable ... except when they weren't. Despite his promise, Matthew continued to ask her what the hell her problem was, and despite her promise, Renee wouldn't talk.
And despite the ticking of the clock, they couldn't keep their hands off each other. Every kiss made the inevitable "goodbye" hurt more. They couldn't stop. "I don't understand," he said one morning after he brought her coffee.

"Hmm?" she mumbled. Although she was standing in front of the window, she was still sluggish. She could feel his arm slide around her waist, pulling her close. Then his finger, tracing a line in her neck. She woke up instantly.

"Calm down."

"Don't you dare. Stop touching my neck. You know I don't like that."
"Calm down, I said." He moved after her, trapping her between the bedside table and the wall. There was nowhere left to run. "How could you marry him when you hate vampires?"

"I ... it's complicated."

"Then you'd better simplify it, because you're not leaving until you talk to me."
"Fine, fine. Reuben wasn't always a vampire. He was getting older, and he was still getting walk-on parts, occasional commercials, but nothing even remotely substantial. He thought ..." She paused before continuing. "He thought that maybe if he became a vampire, he'd be perfect for the theatre, since he'd never be tired at night. He thought it'd give him an edge. Y'know, the way actresses get 'a little work done.'" She laughed tiredly. "He was wrong. He was very wrong. He was never going to be an actor. The best acting he does is to convince his constituents that their problems are very important to him." She shivered. "Could you please stop touching my neck? I hate it."

"You hate your neck?"

She rolled her eyes at him.
"Something's been bothering me about you for a while now. I think I know what it is."

He touched her neck again, ran his fingers up to the tip of her chin, down to her delicate collarbones.

"Any human in love with a vampire would have pin scars somewhere on their neck. After all, we can't help but give love bites. And yet, after years and years of marriage, you have absolutely none. How do you do it, Renee? How do you justify rejecting a man who loves you for one who doesn't?"
She slapped him. Hard.

He turned his head back towards her, undeterred. "Of course you hate vampires. You've invested half your life into one who doesn't love you. And you can't deal, can you? It's easier to live in denial than to admit you made a bad call, huh?"
"This has all been one big mistake. I'm leaving. I'm not coming back."

"Fine. Go on back to your empty house. He's not waiting for you. Fool yourself out of that."
They didn't see each other for days, weeks, after this. Matthew continued on with his med school studies even though there was no point.

He finally called the academic department and requested permission to take the doctor's examinations at the end of the semester. The board put the petition before a committee, where it could be dragged out as long as possible, preferably until it was too late to honor the request.
Emmy reported all of this to Renee during cocktail hour at Banzai. Renee wasn't listening, as usual.

"Have you ever been to the head office for vampires?"

"Huh? ... oh, yeah, once. It's boring. Why?"

"Can people really not survive there?"

"I didn't see any people, but I wasn't looking for any. I was just there on a tour. You know, the 'we're here if you ever need us' tours you get of City Hall? Same thing. Why? Does Reuben need to go there or something?"
"Yeah ..." Renee said, absently. Emmy looked at her sharply, but finally shrugged.

"If I recall correctly, they tell humans to eat before arrival. I do remember that there was no food around. Plenty of plasma fruit and plasma cocktails, but no normal stuff like veggies or sandwiches. Maybe that's all. Since there aren't any people, there's no food, and because there's no food, there's no people. Hell, I dunno."
And meanwhile, Matthew worked. And threw parties. And talked to lots of pretty girls. And every night he went to bed with his face in the second pillow, trying to convince himself that it still smelled like Renee's hair. He could lie to himself too.

Why her, of all people? Someone so hard that she had become brittle. A woman so scornful of emotion but so desperate for contact that she would offer to skinny dip with a near stranger. Why couldn't he just once have an uncomplicated woman, without bruises, without issues, without baggage? Just a nice lady?

Oh, right. What nice lady was to going to build her life with a guy who would walk away one night and never come back?
He looked at the framed photo again while dialing a familiar number.


"Hi, Mom."

"Matthew? ... well, it's about time you called! Your father has been worried sick!"

"Is that so?"

"That's so! I knew that letting you go to that awful city was a terrible idea! Do you need money? You're a father, aren't you? I knew it, why else would you call home? What's the girl's name? Why haven't we met her?"

"You are, aren't you? Shame on you, Matthew! You're a doctor! You know how babies are made!"

... god, this was such a mistake. Fortunately he could still send texts while being chewed out. He turned his mother's shrill voice onto speakerphone and began to type out a message while she scolded him. What an ungrateful boy ...

-- I really need to see you. Please. Meet me at the butterfly preserve at ten tonight, in the tunnel.

Less than a minute after he pressed "send," he had a response.
-- okay

Something wasn't quite right there. Renee was a stickler for capitalization and punctuation, even in one-word responses.

He frowned at the phone before finally deciding that she had been in a rush. Probably texting while driving, on her way to ruin someone's career again.
He was in the park early, watching the gossamer creatures flutter through the darkness.

A few minutes before ten he went down into the underground tunnel that connected the interior preserve to the exterior facilities and waited. And waited. It was quarter past the hour now.

Where was she?
A shadow moved in the distance.

"Renee?" he called.

The shadow moved closer, became clearer. Wrong height, shape, features. Wrong everything.
It was Reuben Littler. For a long, terrible minute, the two men stared at each other. Finally, Reuben said, "... I can't believe it. You really ARE a vampire, aren't you?"

Matthew nodded.

Reuben laughed harshly. "After all these years of her hating me for being a vampire, she cheats on me with one. Somehow I'm not surprised." He looked at Matthew with his glowing eyes. "Hmm. You don't look quite how I'd expected."

"Unfortunately, you look JUST how I'd expected."

"And how's that?" Reuben demanded.

Reuben looked surprised. "Well ... I suppose I am, a little. Wait, why the hell am I answering to YOU? You're the one sleeping with my wife!" "Does that make you feel better, saying it out loud? You can read minds. You already know that's not true."

"An emotional affair--"

"--is less culpable than the actual affair you're having?"

"Excuse me!?"
"Nighthawk, three weeks back. The Culpepper Project was rocking out, music was smooth, air was thick. You were having a good time. You had a better time once you took her to the corner booth next to the bar." "You ... you couldn't possibly--" Reuben looked around, panic turning him positively pale. "Who are you? Who the hell are you? Are you from the paper?"

"No, you idiot, I'm a vampire who happens to like talking to your wife because she needs someone to talk to, and you dropped that ball long ago. That's why it's so annoying to know that she's still trying to turn things around with you, and to have you here in my face pretending to be shocked and upset. What'd you come here for, anyway? You don't love her. I haven't smelled you on her since she and I met five years back."

Reuben looked utterly stunned. "You ... you ..."
"Tell me something."

"What, damn it?"

"Are you in love with that woman?"

There was an uncomfortable pause before Reuben squirmed and nodded.
They stared at each other one last time. Reuben's eyes dropped first. He swallowed hard and vanished around the corner. Matthew watched his silhouette go and stood there until the sound of footsteps faded away completely.

Either Renee hadn't gotten the message, or didn't care, and in the heat of the confrontation he hadn't bothered to find out. But he had to find her, somehow. The sinkhole was spreading. His departure had been fast-tracked from nine months to three weeks.
"Mrs. Littler."

"Yes, Dana."

"Line One for you. The gentleman's very insistent, he's been holding for nearly fifteen minutes."

"Too bad. I'm about to go into a meeting. He can leave a message."

"Ah, Mrs. Littler ... he says to look out of your office window."
Renee looked, cursed, and threw her briefcase on the ground. "Call security. How the hell did he get into the parking lot? It's supposed to be guarded! Postpone the meeting. Tell the staff I had an emergency or something."

"Right away," the receptionist shouted after her fleeing form.
Renee stormed over to her car. Matthew watched her approach with a grim smile on his face.

"What the hell do you think you're doing!?"

"In the car. Now. And tell security to open that gate. You and I are going to have a talk."
The security guards immediately reached for their intercoms as soon as they saw the little convertible, but Renee waved them down. "Just open the gate. I'll be back in a few."

"... right away, Mrs. Littler."
"This is blackmail," she hissed as the building vanished behind them. "And kidnapping! Have you lost your mind?"

"Your absolute favorite topic of discussion! I'll get you back in time for your meeting. This is an easy question. I just don't want any company around when I ask it, that's all."

He navigated the afternoon traffic with admirable dexterity and took her to Waylon's. The spot where all of this nonsense had begun, five years ago.
He ordered electric lemonades for them both and slammed his drink back in a single gulp. She didn't touch hers.

"I hope you realize that cops all over the city are looking for that car."

"Doesn't matter. They can build the jail on top of me. No cell's gonna keep me here. This time next month I'm gone."

He looked at her, and she saw that light in his eyes, burning. The desire she had lusted after for year after painful year with Reuben now blazed forth from another man's eyes. And the only way to touch it and be consumed by it--to have something even remotely resembling happiness--was to become something that she had always hated utterly, had dedicated years of her career to eradicating from the city.
"I'm only going to ask one more time. Are you coming with me?"

Before her lips could move, he went on.

"If you're trying to tell yourself that you've got more time to make up your mind, you don't. Even if I chose to come back here again, you'd be long gone by the time I returned. I'd be meeting your generation's grandchildren."
How could she explain? How could she possibly go to a world of vampires when she had been a member of a group that had tried to destroy them? Repeatedly?

She did the only thing she could do--she attacked.

"Why are you bothering? I was just a goof for you, I'm sure. I'll bet you had a good laugh with all of your med school buddies about me. Just some old lady you were bedding in your spare time when you weren't playing super-doctor and acing medical exams for breakfast. Why are you embarrassing yourself and me? Why are you being like this?"
"Like this?" he shouted. "Like what? Actually telling you the truth instead of what you want to hear, something none of your so-called friends are gonna ever bother to do? I guess that all that gets through when you're constantly surrounded by yes-men who fear you, huh? You don't like it when someone's actually passionate about you? Easier to just have heartless one-night stands than actually look for something real? You know why I'm being like this? Because I give a damn. Because I feel something intense for you. I'm bleeding, Renee. And despite everything I learned in medical school, I can't stop it."

He threw her keys on the bar top and walked out.
Renee didn't go back to work. Not that afternoon, not the next day, not for several days.

She was ill.

Reuben didn't go to work either. He went to the doctor's office with her and listened carefully to the initial diagnosis. He took care of her, made sure she took her medications, lay next to her while she rested. But their bed was sterile, devoid of the love that rightfully belonged there. He never touched her; he was her nurse, after all, not her lover.
"I'm dying, aren't I," she asked one day. He was silent for some time.

"The outlook isn't great," he finally confirmed.

She sighed.

"Don't give up, Renee. You have good insurance, and the treatment has a good success rate--"

"--but I'll be an invalid afterwards. Tell me something I don't know."
She softened. "I'm sorry. You're trying to help."

He said nothing. She heard the bed creak as he got up.

He went into the bathroom and began to run a hot bath, one of the few pleasures she could still enjoy. She fumbled for her phone and dialed a number she knew by heart, hoping with all of her fading strength that he might answer this time. But the message was still the same.
"I'm sorry, you have reached a number that has been disconnected. Please check the number and try your call again."

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25 Comment(s) so far

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#16mogan44Jan 17, 2011

I always enjoy Matthew's humour.  I hope this isn't the last chapter 8(  Ps Rene's pajamas are so cute!

#17Jan 17, 2011

I just love these stories thank you...more more!

#18AnnaleighRoseJan 18, 2011

AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I can't wait for the next installment! You left a great cliff-hanger! :] \:rah\:

#19narcissisticadaJan 19, 2011

I like this story! I can't wait for the next chapter \:P I'm sorry for Renee.. she lives a miserable life with her bloodsucking husband. \:puke\: I hope that she'll break up with him and marry Matthew \:\) \:D 

#20MangioJan 22, 2011

Sorry for being so slow... congrats on having it featured \:rah\: Poor Renee... i hope she still has a chance of seeing Mathew... they sure need each other.. glad they finally woke up to themselves. The Fred & Bard idea was hilarious \:P Can't wait for more \:wub\:

#21silvertoraFeb 15, 2011

Very good - thanks \:\)

#22DropDeadUserMar 24, 2011


#23Wannabee16Mar 25, 2011

\:D Your GOOD, I'm loving this story!\:wub\:  

#24FlatterApr 28, 2011

An emotionally deep storyline, well told. I'm impressed with the ease with which you breath life and feelings into your characters. \:rah\:

#25ShelleyBJun 21, 2011

\:D Howdy stranger!! Just catching up on some reading; there is so much I have to do!! Poor Matthew; stupid cow Renee. Oh well, even good relationships have obstacles, and I'm seriously hoping there is a future for M & R together. By the way: loved the blackmail shot of the "secretaries"! Wonder where you got the inspiration for that.....

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