Dante climbed out of the black taxicab that brought him home. His home was a comfortable three storey townhouse in the middle of a row of similar such houses. He had paid little attention to it over the years he’d owned it. The front door was impeccably painted with black gloss and the brass fittings were polished. He pushed the door open and stepped inside, his footsteps silent on the black and white checked tiled floor. Still the kitchen door opened and his butler Jarvis appeared like magic.
“Good Evening Sir,” Jarvis greeted him with his impeccable English accent, clipped vowels and dropped ‘aiches. A far cry from the way the other man had spoken when Dante had found him over sixty years ago.
“Evening Jarvis,” he murmured in response.
“Would Sir like a nightcap?”
“A bottle of red.” Dante called out walking into his study. He found the fire lit and burning brightly and was drawn to the dancing flames. Sitting quietly he starred at them before looking up as Jarvis walked into the room. He moved over to him placing a bottle of red liquid and a glass on the table beside him.
“Will that be all, Sir?” Jarvis asked.
“I believe so,” Dante said looking in the ruby depths of the bottle.
“Sir?” Jarvis stopped mid turn and looked back at the other man.
“Jarvis.” Dante began.
“Yes Sir,” Jarvis said.
“Sit.” Dante ordered. “Please,” he added.
Jarvis lowered the tray to his side and moved to the chair opposite, where he sat down with some trepidation.
“How,” Dante paused, his eyes going to the bottle beside him. He could smell the contents and hear it calling to him. Not wine, but blood, to be precise oxen blood, served at room temperature. He drank from the bottle, much to the disgust of his butler, and not the crystal goblet that Jarvis brought out to him each night.
“Sir,” Jarvis prompted.
“How is it possible that someone could resist me Jarvis?” Dante asked him.
“That resist.” Dante murmured with deep amusement in his voice.
“Ah Sir, perhaps they are of …”
“No.” Dante interrupted him. “She was not …”
Jarvis let loose a small snort of humour before resuming his normal implacable posture and careful expression.
“A Woman?” he questioned when Dante turned his gaze to him.
“Yes, Jarvis, a woman, a beautiful woman with blue eyes and caramel hair and the kind of lips that needed kissing.” Dante said feeling the words leaving him almost involuntarily. He grimaced when he heard Jarvis laughing at him knowing that his response was out of character.
“Forgive me sir, no I know of no reason why anyone would be able to resist your powers of persuasion.” He murmured quietly. “Unless,” he paused and tilted his head to one side as though he were trying to use the momentum of the movement to drag the information out of his head.
“Jarvis?” Dante asked with a hint of amusement in his voice.
Reaching out for the bottle he brought it to his lips and took a long drink, feeling the warm liquid coat his tongue. He tasted the slight metallic twang to the blood and savoured the way it slipped easily down his throat. His heart beat a rapid tattoo as he fed and he kept a tight control on the blood lust that could overtake him. His thoughts drifted back to the woman tonight and how he was ready to bite her. He hadn’t bitten another human in a long time. Not out of lust or even hunger, he thought with a touch of haughty pride.
“I doubt it’s possible.” Jarvis said slowly, his voice breaking through Dante’s thoughts.
“What Jarvis?” Dante asked.
“Was she a..” Jarvis paused. “In the research I have done on your kind sir, the only people who could resist telepathic control are ‘pure’,” Jarvis’ eyes lit up as he saw two identical flashes of colour lining Dante’s normally pale cheeks.
“A virgin?” Dante gasped out, surprised by his reaction.
Jarvis coughed, lifting his hand to cover his mouth.
“Yes Sir.” He said finally.
Discarding the bottle Dante stood from his chair and moved over to the long bookcases that lined the far wall. He walked along them before stopping and taking out a large antique volume. Placing the book on his desk he turned pages until he found what he was looking for.
“This?” he asked.
Jarvis stood and walked over to his side. He glanced down at the page, a woodcut of a particularly ravishing looking peasant girl next to a representation of a monstrous looking vampire. Sliding his finger along the text on the page next to it he read out the words aloud.
“He who is tainted shall be cured of his sins with the innocence of purity.”
“There are other texts that say similar, Sir.” Jarvis pointed out after a moment.
“So I will be cured?” Dante scoffed. “Cleansed?”
Jarvis heard the derisive note in his voice and flinched from it. Over sixty years ago now nearer to seventy, the other man had found him and cared for him, bringing him back from the brink of death and rescuing him from the Nazi death camps. Dante had provided him with a home and education asking for nothing in return, not even his loyalty. But there was more than just gratitude between them; there was a deep friendship that Jarvis would forever be grateful for.
“Perhaps you should visit the Bookkeeper.” Jarvis suggested referring to one of the ancient ones, a vampire that resided in a secluded area of the Lake District, amongst the largest collection of vampire literature available. He had reviewed hundreds if not thousands of books on the subject.
“Perhaps,” Dante murmured. “However, I’m not sure that I will be seeing this woman again.”
Jarvis nodded before taking a discreet step back. He watched the other man for a matter of moments before walking back over to the chair he’d vacated. Collecting the tray he turned back to Dante.
“If that will be all Sir?” he said formally.
“Yes,” Dante said distractedly. “Go to bed Jarvis.”
Dante shook his head.
“I told her who I was.” The admittance seemed torn out of him, giving a feeling of relief for saying the words aloud.
He was not this person. This person who spoke of feelings and acted like this, so damn uncontrollable and even unpredictable. Everything he’d done in the last three hours was so not him, he strived on inner control it was the only thing that kept him from giving into his blood lust.
“Sir?” Jarvis questioned.
Dante lifted his blue eyes and looked over at his faithful servant and confidant.
“I told her I was a vampire.” He admitted.
“Is there any chance she believed you?” Jarvis asked quickly.
“Oh yes.” Dante confirmed thinking of the times his fangs were displayed.
“Sir, perhaps you should consider it time that we moved.” He said slowly.
“Perhaps.” Dante said.
He left the book on his desk before going back to his chair by the fire. Looking back at the bottle he sighed before picking it up and taking another drink. The liquid was cool and congealing, the metallic taste that was so appealing to him before now repulsed him and he frowned at the conflicting emotions going through him. Swallowing the liquid he glanced into the dancing hypnotic flames before casting his mind back to what had happened when he was in the presence of the mystery woman. He didn’t even turn his head as Jarvis slipped out of the room in the subtle way of his. Her hair was a mixture of blonde and brown and long, falling down over her shoulders. Round shoulders with freckles on them and those delicate collarbones leading his gaze to her neck. That throbbing pulse point in her neck sang to him, luring him in. Never, not even when he was in full blood lust had he reacted like that to any one. Then her lips, her eyes, he could drown in her eyes, deep pools of turquoise that lured him in. He sat up straight as he thought about her lips and kissing her. Pale pink lips that needed his kisses, he should go back to her now, and talk his way into her house.
Pulling himself together he glanced at the small gild clock above the mantel. Discarding the bottle with its half drunk contents he stood and made his way to his bedroom, a large room on the first floor. He saw the wooden shutters already closed shut at the tall windows along with the heavy blackout curtains. He smiled at how efficient Jarvis was as he discarded his clothes and donned the bottoms only of the black silk pyjamas before climbing tiredly into the four-poster bed. His last action was to pull the red velvet drapes shut behind him before he sank down under the covers. He folded his arms across his chest and closed his eyes. It took seconds before he was asleep and for the first time in three hundred years he began to dream.