“It makes no sense to be falling…you’ve got her, I’ve got him, should not even be calling…”
“It’s not a good idea for you to call me, Jonny. There’s someone else. If he finds out about you, he’ll kill you or worse.”
“Then why did you give me your number?”
“It was a mistake. I shouldn’t have done that. You should hang up now.”
“I can’t. Ever since that night, I can’t stop thinking about you.”
“You have to stop. It was a one-night stand, nothing more. You should stay with Lucy.”
“How do you know about…?”
“She’s good for you. Leave me alone. You don’t know where a relationship with me will lead but I promise, it’s no place you want to go.”
She broke the connection before he could respond.
“Jonny, what are you doing?”
He could hear Lucy calling to him from the bedroom. It was after midnight and she sounded like she could be talking in her sleep.
“I just got up to get a drink of water. Be back in a minute.”
She muttered something unintelligible and then he could hear her breathing slow, becoming regular.
He had asked Lucy to marry him three months ago. They were planning a traditional June wedding. She was everything he’d always dreamed of, beautiful, intelligent, funny, passionate in bed, she even liked his cat Smokey (and more importantly, Smokey liked her).
So how did he get into this mess? A few weeks back, his “wingman” Bobby asked to meet him at some dive bar called “Delirium.” It was hard to find, down an alley he didn’t even know existed, and Jonathan had grown up in San Francisco so he thought he knew everything the City had to offer. This one was something new, though it looked very old.
The wooden sign over the door leading down into the cellar saloon said “Delirium, est. 1907.” Jon had looked the place up on the web and found nothing, so how could it have been here for over a hundred years?
He walked in and at first thought the heating was broken. The place was freezing. He decided to keep his jacket and scarf on.
“Over here, Jonny.” He saw Bobby at the bar, two absolutely gorgeous women with him, one on either side, He had an arm around the waist of each one.
It was crowded which seemed strange for a Wednesday night. He managed to make his way through the throng of bodies, some of whom felt as cold as the bar, and finally got to his friend.
“Hi Bobby, what’s up?” He eyed both women who appeared to be fascinated at his presence.
“I wanted to introduce you to some friends. On my right is Verona and on my left is Dolengen.”
“Call me Dol.”
They were both strangely beautiful, lovely but with a touch of the eerie. The instant he made eye contact with Dol, he couldn’t stop looking at her. He’d almost completely forgotten Bobby and Verona. She had dark, nearly jet black hair but her skin was so pale and her eyes were a faint blue, like water in a shallow tidal pool, contrasting with vivid ruby red lips. Her dress was off-white, hemline to the floor, lacy, long sleeves and very sheer. Jon was still freezing and was wondering how she could stand the cold room dressed like that.
“Dol.” He said her name as if he were in a trance. Her gaze was hypnotic, narcotic, just standing this close to her was like being drunk and confused.
“Want a drink?” She touched his shoulder with her left hand. Her nails were long and sharp, painted the same shade as her eyes. He felt her frigid touch right through his jacket and shivered.
It was enough to bring him back to his senses for a moment and he turned to Bobby. Leaning in toward his ear he quietly implored, “Are you nuts? You know I’m engaged. I don’t do this anymore.”
“Oh c’mon, Jonny. Just for old time’s sake. You’ve got to admit Dol’s smoking hot.”
She was and she wasn’t. He looked back and she was staring at him the way Smokey stared out the window at a bird in a tree, hungrily, with utmost concentration born of desire.
The front of her dress dipped down revealing cleavage with the promise of twin orbs of smooth, silky flesh inside.
“Bobby…” Jonathan was pleading with his friend but all the while still looking at Dol.
“Look, Verona and I are going to…step out for a bit. Why don’t you let Dol entertain you?”
He suddenly turned but Bobby and Verona had already left the bar. It had only been a moment, but he couldn’t find them anywhere in the crowded room.
“What are you having, Jonny? I’ll buy.”
“Huh, what?” He wondered if he should order anything at all. He felt like he was already high. “Margarita’s fine.”
He looked back at the packed room. He saw men and women enter, meet up with other men and women, sometimes becoming couples, sometimes a threesome or even more. Some of the groups disappeared while others replaced them. About half of them looked dazed or disoriented. Sure, this was a bar, but it didn’t seem like they were buzzed. More like…he couldn’t find the right word…enthralled?
“Here you go.”
Jon turned back to Dol as she handed him his drink. For a second, he had the crazy thought that it might be drugged with one of those “rape drugs,” but why the hell would a woman to that to a man?
He took a sip. “Pretty good. Aren’t you drinking?” He noticed she didn’t have a glass in front of her. In fact, a lot of the people around him didn’t seem to be drinking.
“I’ll have something soon, Jonny.”
She looked into his eyes, really looked. He felt uncomfortably naked, as if she had undressed him and were appraising him the way he and Bobby used to size up women, like meat, something to use. He felt like the time he was thirteen and his sixteen year old sister walked in on him in the bathroom while he was masturbating. He felt humiliated and ashamed and yet…
He looked at the glass in his hand and it was empty. “I’d better not. I should be getting home.”
“Oh, you can stay a little while longer. I’m sure Bobby and Verona will be back soon.” Dol took the empty from his hand and replaced it with a full glass. He hadn’t heard her order or seen her pay the bartender.
He took the drink automatically, as if he didn’t have any say in the matter. This time he drained half the glass in a single gulp.
“Careful, handsome. You don’t want too much of that in your blood all at once.”
“My blood?” It was a strange expression.
Jon sensed that time had passed but he didn’t know how much. He realized that he had taken her arm and they were walking to the back of the bar toward some doors.
“Where are we going?” He felt like he was being led somewhere he didn’t want to go.
“Someplace we can be alone for a while, Jonny. You want to be alone with me, don’t you?”
He could feel himself getting an erection as he looked down her cleavage. Her nipples were hard and he could see the slightly darker areola of each breast through her top. There was something about the way she smelled. He felt like a trapped animal. They walked through a doorway into a hall. There were doors on either side. A door opened to his left and a man led a woman out. She was still buttoning her blouse. Her neck was smeared with something red. A voice inside his head told him to run, but it was too faint and in any case, his legs felt like wood.
“In here, lover.” She opened the door at the end of the hall to the right. It was dark inside with just a few candles to provide dim illumination. She gently pushed him toward the bed and then he heard the door close.
“Now we can be alone.” She was still behind him and felt cold hands reach around to unzip his jacket and then pull it off. The scarf was unwound from around his neck and then disappeared. He was in bed. They were both nude. He was on his back. It was like dreaming. None of this was real. She was more than beautiful, she was pale, ghostly seduction. The thatch of hair between her legs was as dark as her mane, but everything else was pale and gossamer, as if she were a supple porcelain doll. Crimson lips almost glowed in the shadows.
She sat on top of his erection and her moistness invited him to eagerly enter her.
There was so much passion, cold and yet he felt like he was on fire. He shoved his hips up rhythmically to meet her’s. She cried out with each thrust and he could hear his own feral growls of ecstasy. They were moving faster. He could feel himself close to coming. She lay prone on top pressing her crotch against him, rubbing herself faster and faster toward an orgasm.
They both cried out and as he felt himself letting go, ejaculating inside of her, there was something sharp, a pain, his neck.
She was biting him.
But it felt so good. He felt like he’d climaxed a second time.
Then he started to fall asleep in Dol’s cool, comforting arms. He had nowhere else to go and no one else to be with.
Jonathan finally staggered through the front door of his apartment sometime past 2:30 in the morning. His throat hurt. No, his neck hurt. Stumbling into the bathroom, he flipped on the light and saw a large band-aid on the left side of his throat. He gingerly took it off. Two half-healed puncture marks. What the devil?
“Where the fuck have you been?”
Oh yeah. Lucy was pissed. Just before he walked into the building, he saw she’d left him a dozen texts. He quickly put the bandage back on just as her eyes adjusted to the light.
“Jonny, what happened? Did you get hurt?”
He turned toward her, conjuring up a lie he hoped would sound convincing.
“Nothing serious. Met Bobby at a bar after work. Had one too many margaritas and slipped. Caught my neck on the edge of a door frame. It’s an old place and the wood was splintered.”
“Let me have a look.”
He jumped back. “No, it’s okay. One of the servers is a medical assistant during the day. Just needed some first aid.”
“From the smell of you, you must have had more than a few margaritas.”
He couldn’t remember how much he had to drink. Not too much in the blood, she said.
She. Dol. Oh God, what had he done? How could he have been that stupid?
“You look terrible, Jonny. Is anything wrong?”
He hugged her. “I missed you, Baby.”
“I missed you too, Jonny.” Then she pulled back. Fortunately, she was smiling. “Let’s get those clothes off of you and get you into bed. You have to get up in a few hours for work, that is if you feel up to it.”
At least she wasn’t feeling frisky. Jonathan was exhausted in just about every way including sexually. He’d never had a more passionate, more thrilling night of love-making than what had with Dol.
He fell into bed and drifted off into a dreamless sleep. That is except near dawn when he had visions of Dol, nude, lovely, inviting. Then she opened her mouth and he watched his blood gush out in thick, scarlet streams, contrasting against her gleaming white fangs.
Jon found a card in his wallet the next morning. He called in sick but Lucy got up and went to work as usual. It was ordinary business card stock and just had the word “Dol” and a local phone number printed on it. He called the number but there was no answer, not even voice mail.
He managed to wait a whole week before giving in to temptation again. After last time when she told him not to call her and told him about the other man, he knew she was right, but he couldn’t help himself.
This time Lucy was out with her sister. They spent two or three nights a month going shopping and “catching up” with each other. It was a good time for Jon to be alone and watch videos that Lucy would hate, movies with lots of explosions and shooting, what her sister called “toxic masculinity.”
“Dol. It’s me, Jonny. I’m sorry about calling, but I need to talk to you. I can’t get you out of my head. Please, just for a few minutes.”
“I’m busy now. I’ll call you in a couple of hours.” She hung up without another word.
He put the phone down on the kitchen counter, got a beer from the fridge and started drinking it. He began watching a movie and then stopped. He picked up a book he’d been meaning to read and then put it down. Then he paced, sat down, checked his text messages and email, started to surf some porn and then stopped. Then he paced again.
Jon was working on his third beer when his cell rang. Caller ID was blocked but he had a pretty good idea who it was. Now if Lucy would just stay out for a little while longer.
“It’s me, Jonny.”
“I called to tell you I can’t see you anymore.”
“What? Then why did you leave me your card in the first place?”
“I didn’t know you then. I didn’t know about Lucy.”
“How do you know about Lucy?”
“I found out from Bobby.”
It suddenly occurred to him that he hadn’t seen or heard from Bobby since that night.
“He told Verona. She likes to listen afterwards. She’s odd that way.”
“What are you talking…?”
“Listen, Jonny. It was fun. It was great. You are a wonderful lover and you taste…well, you taste very good. I enjoyed that part the best.”
He reached up to the left side of his neck. By the time he’d woken up the morning after being with Dol, the wounds had completely healed. He didn’t understand how…or did he?
“I told you before, I’m with someone, someone dangerous. He doesn’t mind my occasionally stepping out, in fact he expects it for reasons you wouldn’t understand. Anyway, he won’t let me see a man more than once…well, not and let him go again. I like you Jonny, so I’m giving you this warning. Don’t ever call again. Don’t try to see me. If you do, your life will be destroyed. Don’t let what happened to Bobby happen to you.”
“Bobby? What happened to…?” He didn’t finish the sentence because he was talking to dead air.
“Bobby.” Jon called him from his contacts list. It went right into voice mail.
“Bobby, it’s Jon. Hey buddy. Long time, no see. Give me a call. Really. It’s important. Day or night, call me. I need to talk to you.” He heard Lucy’s key start to unlock the door. Jon broke the connection and then plugged his phone into the charger. His third beer was still sitting half-finished on the counter.
What had Dol meant about not letting what happened to Bobby happen to him?
The next morning, he tried calling Bobby’s cell again with the same result. Then he called Bobby’s office phone and was redirected to the HR manager. She told him he was on a sabbatical and had no firm return date. Sabbatical?
That evening, he had to work late. He had intended to go home right afterward, but when he saw the sun had already set, he thought of her and of Delirium. He had to see her again, if just for a few minutes. If she could explain what had happened, why he couldn’t stop thinking about her, why he kept having dreams of sex and blood. And he was convinced she knew what had happened to Bobby.
He was standing in the alley in front of the door to Delirium. The sign said “Closed.” A month ago, it had been jumping, and that was in the middle of the week.
“I told you not to try to see me, Jonny.”
He jumped and then spun around. She was standing right behind him. How could she have walked up that close without him hearing her?
She was dressed in some sort of dark, caped jacket. The hair, the eyes,and the lips were the same, the smell was intoxicating just like it was on that night.
“I had to see you. Something won’t let me end it.”
“It’s over, Jonny. It makes no sense to be falling…you’ve got her, I’ve got him, you shouldn’t even be calling.”
“Who is he? What if we…I don’t know…run away together?”
“No, Jonny. Lucy is good for you. She’s a good woman. I know. I’ve seen her, talked with her.”
“I had to be sure because I had to convince you to be sure she’s the one, Jonny. She is. I have a sense about people. I’ll tell you the truth. I lifted her credit card from her purse when she was shopping last night, then pretended to find it and give it back. Lucy and her sister invited me to have a coffee with them. We got to talking. She loves you very much, Jonny. You belong with each other in your world. You should stay away from mine.”
Dol stepped back a few feet from him. Jon felt rooted to the spot.
“I live in a dark and dangerous realm. You have only seen the smallest portion of it and of me.”
“I’ve seen everything about you. We made love.”
“I used you, Jonny. I didn’t drink with you that night at the bar and while Lucy and Gloria were having their coffees, I let mine grow cold in front of me. There’s only one drink I crave, one food I long for, and for that one night, you shared with me what I needed. Now it’s time for both of us to move on, Jonny. You have Lucy and the sunlight, and I have only the night.”
“You don’t want what happened to Bobby to happen to you, Jonny.”
“What happened to Bobby?”
“He fell. He belongs to Verona now. Bobby’s one of us. He wouldn’t stay away from her and Verona…well, if you knew her, you’d understand. She likes to keep a few pets.”
She continued to slowly walk backward down the alley. Jon held out his arms imploringly, his empty arms. There was a shadow approaching Dol from behind, a man, tall, just a silhouette at first.
“It is time, my dear. Come.”
He had a slight accent but Jon couldn’t place it. He could see the man’s arm embrace her shoulder. She looked at his hand and then up at him as he moved into the light. His face was as pale as her’s. His thick dark hair lightly streaked with grey as was his beard.
“Go home boy, before something bad happens to you.” His voice was smooth and calm and yet laced with menace.
Then they both opened their mouths and loudly hissed like untamed and rabid beasts, fangs gleaming, saber-sharp canines, the pain he’d felt in his neck that night, the wounds, the blood.
His blood. She fed on him.
Jonathan Harker turned and ran and ran and ran. He got to his car, frantically looked back to see if they were coming after him, fumbled with his car keys, dropped them, picked them up, looked back again, managed to press the fob to unlock the door and then rushed inside. He gunned the engine and roared away from the curb, almost hitting a bicyclist. He recklessly swerved, ran a red light and kept going.
Lucy would be waiting for him when he got home. He had to work late. Yes, that’s what he’d tell her. He had to work late. But that’s all it was and that’s all it would be ever again. He had her and she had him and he would never call her again.
I wrote this for the Simply Marquessa friday fiction challenge. For #LyricalFictionFriday, the idea is to use a lyric or part of one as the inspiration for crafting a short story or other creative work. The lyric for December 7th is “It makes no sense to be falling…you’ve got her, I’ve got him, should not even be calling…” Find out more by clicking HERE.
I didn’t want to write about some typical love triangle (or rectangle in this case), so I needed to make the attraction of Jonathan to Dol more than just about romance. What if the man the woman is referencing in “I’ve got him” was more than just dangerous? What if he was a vampire?
That made me think of Googling “vampire brides” and I came up with Brides of Dracula which gave me all the character names I needed including “Jonathan Harker” and “Lucy Westenra.” Dol is named for “Countess Dolengen of Gratz” who is mentioned in the Bram Stoker short story “Dracula’s Guest.” The names “Bobby” and “Gloria” I pulled out of my imagination, but “Verona” is one of the names for a bride of Dracula from the 1994 film “Van Helsing” starring Hugh Jackman.
Thematically, this story is similar to one I wrote last week for a completely different story prompt. Some relationships are not meant to last.
To read other stories based on the prompt, go to #LyricalFictionFriday: “Just Friends” #fictionfriday #marquessachallenge.