“I love you.”
The water was warm but it stung my open wounds, and from the way Brendon winced I could tell it was hurting him too. Our eyes met and he laughed, “I never expected you to willingly shower with me. You’re even naked. I kind of expected you to come in fully clothed.”
I rolled my eyes as a smile lightly touched my lips, “You’d be surprised what happens when I’m not being forced to do what you want. The two things might actually not be all that different.”
Brendon’s eyes widened in surprise and he nodded, “You know there are certain things that I would never force you to do, right?”
He looked away and I laughed, “Oh no way! I’ve approached a subject that makes even you uncomfortable? I’m going there. Tell me.” I pushed his answer, wanting to know.
Brendon gazed down at me and I noticed that his eyes were darkening. “I would never force you to make love to me.”
My mouth went dry as I swallowed in surprise, “Have you ever- ever thought about it?”
“I have.” Brendon answered, “I actually… Well, when you tried to kill me- I thought it might be fun to just keep you around for sex and stuff but then my thoughts about you changed.”
“There are certain things that I can’t forgive Brendon and if you- if you ever did that to me… That’s something I wouldn’t forgive, ever.”
“I know.” Brendon nodded, “That’s why I wouldn’t do it.”
I just turned away from him, letting the warm water fall down on to my face. I closed my eyes to keep the water from temporarily blinding me.
I felt Brendon’s hands on my back and then he was washing me, gently running his soapy hands up and down my back, and over my sides. His hands moved to my arms and then my stomach, and then up… I didn’t pull away as he casually ran his fingers across my nipples. “I’m just washing you.” He whispered in to my ear, and I trembled as lust ran through my body.
I moved my head to the side and Brendon’s mouth laid kisses along the skin covering my neck. He gently nibbled, not breaking skin. I was gasping, fighting for air. His touches felt nice. They didn’t feel bad, and they didn’t feel evil. They just felt good.
Brendon’s body was pressed against mine and I could feel him begin to shake as he continued kissing my neck. “It will hurt.” Brendon whispered, voice distorted by passion. He was giving me the chance to pull away and deny him but I was too far gone with the unknown emotions that threatened to drown me to even care about pain, or morals.
I was afraid but I had to admit that ever since I truly accepted what Brendon was I’d been curious about how it would feel to be bitten by a vampire. He was hurt and he needed me. I couldn’t save him from being hurt, but I could help him… I could help him feel a little better. “I know.” I finally replied, finding Brendon’s hand and squeezing it tightly.
Brendon squeezed back, just as his teeth sank in to the tender flesh protecting my neck.
I cried out in pain as Brendon’s teeth cut in to me. Blood poured out in to his open mouth, down his chin and to the floor of the bath tub. With my free hand I blindly reached out, grabbing on to the shower curtain. I made a fist as I grabbed on to the curtain and without meaning to I pulled it down, ripping it free. Brendon held on to my hand with one of his hands, the other hand holding me tightly to him.
I lost my footing and fell, bringing Brendon down with me. My side hit the edge of the bath tub and I cried out in pain again, as Brendon’s teeth stayed in my neck. I could see stars dancing around in my head as I slipped from consciousness. “Brendon!” I could barely cry out his name as the pain forced me to stay conscious.
I was forced to feel every single sharp pain his teeth brought to my body as he slowly drank from my somewhat willing body, the smell of blood lingering in the air. It was oddly metallic, something I’d never gotten used to despite how many times I’d caused the smell.
I heard the sharp knocks on Brendon’s door and I tried to focus on that, instead of on the act that Brendon was committing. “Brendon! Madeline! Is everything okay?” Ryan sounded worried, “I smell blood. Madeline, are you hurt?”
Brendon moaned against my neck and the realization of what was happening hit me, along with my feelings for Brendon… and the fact of what Brendon was.
“Stop.” I cried out, the pain of my realizations echoing through my tone.
With force Brendon pulled his body away the instant the word left my mouth, his teeth slipping from my flesh. I heard the bedroom door slam open. Ryan’s footsteps were loud and angry as he pushed the bathroom door open.
I couldn’t look at either of them as I openly cried, but I wasn’t crying for the reason that they assumed I was crying for.
“You bit her!” Ryan yelled the words, his anger clear.
I couldn’t hear whatever Brendon was saying but I knew he wasn’t defending himself. Right before he left the bathroom he looked dead inside, as if he’d crossed his own line and wanted nothing else to do with himself.
“Why don’t you just go?” Ryan snapped.
I sat up, pushing Brendon’s blankets away from me. My neck was still bleeding and it still hurt but that wasn’t why I cried. That wasn’t why I didn’t want Brendon to leave.
I cared about him in a way that I couldn’t understand.
The realization that I truly cared about him shocked me to my core. It shook the very foundation of who I was.
I struggled to my feet and pushed Brendon’s bedroom door open as I barged out in to the hallway wearing very little. I didn’t care. They’d seen all that they could see.
Ryan looked at me but Brendon looked away.
“You can’t leave.” My voice cracked on the words.
“It will just be for a little while.” Brendon answered softly, “We just need to figure things out.”
“You can’t leave.” I repeated.
Brendon turned to me and as he spoke I noticed that he was trembling, “It’s not safe for me to stay. It’s not safe for you and it’s not safe for me.”
“If you leave then I won’t stay.” I spit out.
“Ryan will make sure you stay.” Brendon replied.
“Ryan can’t constantly watch me.” I threatened.
Brendon’s eyes narrowed, “I told you-“
“You told me that dying wouldn’t keep you away from me.” I answered for him, “But it seems that living is forcing you away from me.”
Ryan listened but said nothing.
“Why do you want me to stay after I-“ Brendon closed his eyes, “I could have really hurt you Madeline. I did really hurt you. You’re still bleeding.”
I wasn’t ready to say it so I said something else instead. “An entire type of… things, werewolves or whatever… they want me dead Brendon. I don’t feel safe with you being somewhere else.”
Brendon frowned, “No one is going to hurt you here.”
“We were twenty feet away, what about that distance makes it safe here?” I challenged.
Brendon sighed, “I’ll be in the guest bedroom then. I won’t leave the house if you don’t feel safe with me elsewhere.”
I couldn’t think of anything to say to that. I wasn’t ready to explain to him just why I had freaked out. I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to explain it.
Ryan stepped closer just as I started sobbing and as his arms wrapped around me I fell against him, losing myself to my own misery.
Ryan sat on the edge of Brendon’s bed as I pulled the blankets tightly to me once again. I had finally stopped crying and the tears were drying against my skin. Ryan had bandaged my neck and I had to fight the urge to mess with it. “Did Brendon attack you?” Ryan finally asked.
“Then…” Ryan sighed.
“Then it was consensual?” Ryan asked before clearing his throat, “I’m asking if it was consensual blood play Madeline. I need to know if you consented to him biting you.” The explanation came after my blank look of confusion.
“I did.” I whispered, “I consented.” It felt weird saying it.
Ryan nodded, “It’s a dangerous practice. I know it can give you a rush but… if Brendon wasn’t able to stop himself- and your body can only stand to lose so much blood.”
“I feel fine.” I snapped.
“That’s because Brendon stopped.” Ryan snapped in return.
“He didn’t do anything wrong.” I whispered, tears filling my eyes again.
Ryan shook his head, “You should both know better.” Then he stood up but I didn’t look at him, “I’ll check on you tomorrow night. Get some sleep. If you need food then tell me and I will cook something for you.”
I just nodded.
Then Ryan left the room, closing the door behind him.
I couldn’t sleep though.
I stared at the other side of the bed, the place where Brendon should be.
What was going on with me?
I couldn’t have feelings for the enemy. He was holding me captive for godssake!
… try as I might, I couldn’t make that matter at all.
I quickly walked to the guest bedroom that Brendon was staying in but once I reached it I stopped, unsure as to what I really expected to do. If I walked in then he’d want answers. I had the answers now but I still wasn’t ready to say them out loud. I wasn’t ready to tell him.
I took a few more steps towards the door but stopped when it opened and I came face to face with Brendon. “Uh, hi.” I choked out, “Where are you going?”
“I was going to grab something to eat downstairs.” Brendon replied.
“Oh.” I blushed, “I wasn’t enough?” The words were pathetic but the emotion portrayed was honest.
Brendon cringed, “You were more than enough.”
I didn’t say anything and so Brendon continued, “It’s not for sustenance. I was just throwing my own pity party and decided to pig out a little.”
I noticed Brendon wasn’t limping and his chest… there wasn’t a single scratch. I reached out and tentatively touched him, “How?”
Brendon gazed at me, “You.”
“Vampires heal quickly.” Brendon explained, “But we need blood to heal quickly… fresh human blood works best.”
“Are you okay?” Brendon brushed my hair away from my neck and gazed at the bandage, “I’m sorry that I didn’t stop … before you had to tell me to stop.” He sounded ashamed.
I fought the urge to run away and instead met his gaze, “Are you in love with me?” I was finding the question pressing down all around me, and without knowing the answer I knew I’d never sleep.
Brendon blinked a few times, “I wasn’t expecting that question.”
“I wasn’t expecting to ask it but I was kind of hoping for an answer… one of the honest types.”
“Yes.” Brendon answered, sounding confident.
“Don’t you have to think about it?”
“I’ve already thought about it. I’ve even tried to fight it.” Brendon chuckled, “There are things about love that not even I understand, with all of my years of experience in this world.”
“Can I come in?” I looked behind him.
The guest bed looked inviting.
“I don’t think so.” Brendon answered.
I looked down towards the ground, “I can’t sleep.”
“Want me to get you a book?” Brendon suggested, “I hear that reading helps.”
“I want to come in Brendon.” I was being pushy but I wasn’t going to bed alone tonight.
Brendon shook his head but as I looked up at him I saw that he was smiling. He turned and walked in to the room, leaving the door open. I followed after him, shutting the door behind me.
“What else do you want Madeline?” Brendon asked, watching me carefully. “I won’t make you cry again tonight.”
“It wasn’t the pain that made me cry.” I replied.
Brendon’s eyes widened in surprise, “It wasn’t?”
“Brendon, sometimes girls just have to cry… I think I still need to.” I glanced around the bland room, “Can you hold me?”
Brendon nodded but didn’t say anything.
I didn’t need him to.
I crawled in to the large bed, burrowing under the blankets. Brendon did the same and as I turned away from him he pulled my back against his stomach and wrapped his arms around me, holding me tightly.
Tears bit at my eyelids and I let them free, tasting the salty disaster that was our future. We didn’t have a lot of good roads to travel down and now that I knew leaving wasn’t an option even if Brendon let me leave… I felt more trapped.
Brendon brushed the tears away with his fingers but more kept coming and eventually he gave up and just held me instead.
Somewhere between the bitter thoughts and the salty tears I fell asleep.
I think it was right about when Brendon whispered, “I love you.”