I giggled. “Something tells me you would shag him given half the chance.”

“Am I that easy to read?”

Together we ventured up the soft regal-blue carpeted staircase until we came to the eighth level. We walked along a beige-painted corridor, passing two or three black doors until we finally stopped at a door that sported the sign ‘Commander Samantha Parker’.

Earlier I’d pictured myself dashing inside that apartment content as a pig in shit. Call me odd, I know I would, but I now found myself procrastinating. I’d spent the past three years sharing a flat with Victor and having him and his guards spying on my every move. Now I would not only have privacy, I’d have things that were mine and just mine. That title on the door was mine. This apartment was mine. The new job I had and the wages that would come from it would all be mine. What’s more, I didn’t belong to anyone now except myself. There was a lot that my slow brain needed to absorb, so many changes so quickly.

“You’re gonna love this, I just know it,” said Fletcher excitedly as I finally unlocked the door with my key card. “The walls are even vampire sound-proof. How great’s that!”

Noiselessly the door swung open and presented me with my new home. Wow. It was much more stylish than what I’d been expecting. I walked along the soft luxury beige carpet of my living area. The walls were brilliant white, as were the window frames, the curtains, and the balcony doors.

“Oh yes I have a balcony,” I drawled, passing a crescent-mooned shaped three-seated sofa in the centre of the living area that was angled toward a wide screen T.V. – at least thirty-two inches – that was hanging on the wall. Ooh nice. In between the two was an oval pine coffee table that was positioned comfortably on a white fur (fake fur, I could tell) mat. In one corner was a large dish lamp while in the other was a C.D. player and a collection of C.D.s. As I swerved back to flash a delighted smile at Fletcher I noticed that my duffel bag had been placed near the sofa.

“Come see your kitchen,” urged Fletcher.

The carpet ended at a small glossy-cream kitchenette which was tiled the same glossy-cream. Although it was miniature it was all there: cupboards, oven, hob, sink, refrigerator, microwave, kettle, washing machine, and tumble dryer. Fletcher did a Vogue-worthy pose against the fridge before opening it and doing a viola sound. “In here they’ve stocked you a load of NSTs -”

“NSTs?”

“Sounds like a sexually transmitted disease, doesn’t it? No, luv, I mean Nutritive Supplemental Tonics. They’ve got blood in them and a load of other funky vitamins. Antonio has them made so we don’t have to move thousands of humans into The Hollow to feed on.” He took one of the glass bottles out and sniffed. “They’re not bad, actually. And they get to your thirst quick enough and they give you a good boost. This one’s supposed to have a vanilla flavour to it but I wouldn’t know if it does, I’ve never tried it. I think these ones are the best.” He pulled out another of the glass bottles. “Honey flavoured. Go on, have a sip.”

Mainly because I knew Fletcher wouldn’t shut up until I tried some, I took the Honey flavoured NST and removed the cap. The aroma that escaped the bottle was alluring and hypnotic, drawing you to the liquid. It was the kind of smell that would make you feel hungry even if you originally weren’t. But I was hungry – well, thirsty – so I aggressively chugged it down. I probably looked like an animal but I couldn’t have cared even if you paid me to. “That’s alright that.”

“Good Lord, you must’ve been parched. Why didn’t you say something?”

The feeling that came from devouring the drink was strange. I felt relaxed the way I did after a mug of Hot Chocolate, but I also felt giddy and hypo the way I did after a can of Red Bull. There was such a silky feel to the liquid that it soothed my throat and made me feel refreshed rather than groggy. But although it got to work on the thirst pretty quick like Fletcher had said, it at the same time had left me wanting more. Nothing quenches the thirst other than pure blood itself.

Fletcher tugged on my arm. “Come on, come see the bedroom suite.”

The beige fluffy carpet began again after the kitchenette, leading into a gorgeous bedroom where there was a Queen-sized bed adorned with rosy-pink satin bed sheets. Fletcher and I exchanged a knowing look and then simultaneously we both dived on the bed.

“My word, this is comfy,” he purred. “I think you’ll struggle to get out of this bed in the evenings. I know I’d never leave it if it was mine.”

“And it’s all mine!”

“You’re not getting yourself a consort?”

The word always gave me a chill. I’d been Vince’s consort against my will for the past three years. Having sex with someone you despised had a way of making you feel ill inside. I had to question whether sex itself had ever really been that thrilling. “Not a chance in hell. Do you have one?”

“Better. I have a boyf. Norm. We’ve been together ’bout a year now. But maybe you should think about getting a consort just for a little. Pardon my saying this but it looks to me like you could do with a good shag. I mean it might help with the aggressiveness and then maybe you wouldn’t get so hot around Jared all the time.”

Completely taken aback by the comment and the way Fletcher had said it so casually, I guffawed. “What?”

“Oh don’t muck about, it’s obvious you want him, and him you. You might have decked him at the tryout but those red irises tell me he’s gotten over it quick enough. I’ve heard he’s well hung if that helps.”

“I do not get hot around him.”

“That’s a little thing called denial.” He waved a hand. “Anyway, if you’re not going to get a consort at least get yourself a vessel, luv.” A vessel being a human readily available to only you for biting anytime. “There’re plenty of NSTs but nothing compares to the act of biting and drinking blood, does it? Maybe you could have a little nibble on Jared’s -”

“Right, that’s it.” I reluctantly rose from the bed. “If you persist on mentioning that sod I’m continuing my look of the apartment without you.”

Fletcher gasped. “You can’t do that, I’m your tour guide.”

On either side of the bed were fitted, white triple wardrobes that had long mirrors on the doors. I was now looking forward to going shopping just so I could fill them. God it would feel good to go shopping and pick my own things as opposed to having Victor picking everything for me.


Tags: Suzanne Wright Deep In Your Veins Vampires
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