Blood Lust Ch. 1

I turned up my coat collar as I left the bar, although the night was neither dark nor stormy. In fact, it was another in a series of crisp, clear, beautifully mild early summer nights by the ocean. Southern California sometimes lacks moody atmospherics. I had spent only an hour in the place, a waningly popular downtown place called Sabbat, before I had to leave. Thinking back on my hour, I was forced to smile: those kids were playing with fire, and didn't even know it. But it was fun to watch...

Everyone always says, "It all started when...," but they're lying. I have replayed it a hundred times in my head, and I can't pin down when this all started. Maybe it was when I caught Miriam locking eyes with a brunette I'd never seen before as she passed us on the street. Maybe it was when I first fell in love with Miriam. Maybe it was when she met Chryseis. Maybe it was when Chryseis first joined us in bed. I still don't know. I do know that everything seemed fine at the time, strange sometimes, but always exciting, and always so damned sexy and unpredictable, like my own personal erotic adventure, that the strangeness didn't seem to matter, until it was too late to go back.

It was an unseasonably warm and humid evening, and Miriam wanted to go dancing. It was a night in late March, and our college didn't have Spring Break until Mid-April. We, like most of the other students, were getting stir-crazy. She said we needed to blow off some steam if we were going to get through finals. I said I had a bio-chem test. She said she would go alone if she had to, and came out of the bathroom in a slinky black dress with a red flame running along the deep slit up the left side. I had bought her the dress for the previous Halloween, when we went to a friend's party as the Devil and his favorite Succubus, and it was incredibly flattering--and way more daring than her unofficial student uniform of jeans and pullovers. I decided that bio-chem would wait another evening.

"How you doin'?" I asked her, looking her up and down. This was a joke we ran constantly, imitating a then-popular sitcom actor's trademark line. We used it whenever we were feeling flirtatious and silly.

"So, Sexy, where do you want to go?" I asked her as I continued to look at her.

It was straight out of a bored-housewife's schlock romance novel, but it worked. I wrapped my arms tightly around her waist, pulling her close. When we kissed, I lost all desire to leave the room. But when my hands began to wander over her body, sliding down from her waist to stroke her long legs and firm ass, she pulled away. "Why..don't we...save this..for later?" she managed to ask between breathless kisses. "I promise, the wait will be worth it."

We headed to my ancient Honda Civic and left for downtown. On the twenty minute drive, we decided to head for a fantasy club called eXotica, a converted warehouse space in the shipping district. Once a meat packing plant, it had been changed to a club in the mid-90's by a group of overly eager and strung out ravers who let their techno enterprise fail quickly. The new owners decided to keep the odd neon lighting and smoke machines, but took down the false walling, and let the metal siding show through. The darkness and eery atmospheric lighting contributed to the impression of a cavernous post-modern dungeon. We had only been there once before. The music was danceable, if equally forgettable, and the people were quite content to stay out of each other's way. Less of a singles meat market than other clubs, it had a strangely charged energy--couples of all types came there to dance, and there was no feeling of judgement, no struggle to determine what kind of place this would be and what kind of people would be welcome.

Her eyes caught Miriam's gaze and held it; the moment lasted only seconds, but continues to reverberate in my mind. The message was more than the simple appraisals, expressions of desire, and encodings of lust that I had seen pass between strangers on other occasions. This was eye contact more intimate than sex but less tender than love, or even desire. The leather-clad dominatrix devoured her with that stare, telling us both that my lovely Miriam would be hers. I couldn't see Miriam's eyes, as she was sitting next to me and was too transfixed by the dom to look away. The redhead's green eyes seemed to grow brighter and more clear until they were nearly iridescent, burning with the cold flame of hunger.

The two women began to dance as the music changed to a slow and bass heavy club mix of Concrete Blonde's "Bloodletting". I watched them, aroused, curious and afraid, until they were absorbed into the crush of dancers and were lost to my view. Too overwhelmed to analyze the situation, I caught the bartender as he walked by and ordered a double shot of Jack Daniels to steady my nerves, and my trembling hands. There were many things I didn't know at that moment, but I was certain that I was not going to let either woman know how I was feeling. It was the first time I had ever hidden my feelings from Miriam, and I did it without thinking about what it might mean. I knew only that there was no other choice.

I never set out to hunt vampires. Who does? It ranks somewhere around "unicorn trainer" on the childhood list of future jobs--or it did before "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". In my childhood, vampires were make-believe, stories we made up and passed around to scare ourselves and each other. I didn't get immersed in Anne Rice novels and become convinced that I held special powers, or that I was destined to die for a noble but misunderstood power of perception like a modern male Cassandra. I was a normal college kid once; going to classes, drinking on the weekends, working my shitty job. I'm not a religious head-case and I'm not a crusader. I am a man possessed by revenge, and this is my story.

Miriam was my college sweetheart. She was the girl you'd take home to your parents, and who wouldn't be a bitch to you in the car all the way there and back. Add to this her sweetness, warmth, and natural, unaffected beauty and you might begin to understand why I loved her. We dated for nearly a year before we slept together, and when we did it felt almost as new to me as it was to her: it was the first time I had ever made love--I'd had plenty of sex, but this was so much different. We kissed for an hour, closing our eyes and really exploring each other's mouths until our lips were bruised. The time just passed, we didn't notice. I ran my hands through her hair, pulling her close. She wrapped her arms around me and gripped my shoulders, massaging and stroking my skin. I loved her so much that I still can't tell that story. But all that love and tenderness changed without warning when Chryseis entered our lives.

Getting into the spirit of things, I smirkingly asked her if she was feeling devilish. She smiled at me and literally let her hair down, forgoing the usual ponytail. Shaking out her mane of sun-streaked hair, she just licked her lips and smiled again. I decided that, whatever the reason, this was clearly a night to play. I went off to change, and came back dressed for dancing. While I was gone, Miriam had added high black heels and red lipstick. She didn't wear face makeup; didn't like it, and didn't need it. She looked unbelievably beautiful: impishly tiny, sweetly perfect, and potentially lethal. If I had only known. My heart aches thinking about it now, but at the time it was primarily my groin giving me discomfort.

"No, babe. Like this: How you do-in'?" She responded with her own impersonation. Her mimicry was dead-on; she conveyed all the swagger and desperate appeal of the soon-to-be has-been actor. Her look, sizing me up in a predatory and provocative leer, made my cock stir and yet made me slightly uncomfortable. I felt naked, vulnerable, scrutinized, and judged worth possessing. I could see why the actor was so popular with women. It was a heady mix, and deeply erotic.

"You keep looking at me like that, and we aren't going to get anywhere." She slinked to me and wrapped her arms up around my neck. "Or was that what you had in mind all along, you bad boy?"

I didn't want to stop, but I knew that when Miriam was in a playful mood, all bets were off. If she said the night was going to bring rewards, all I could do was believe her and follow her lead. There is nothing more irresistible than a supposedly sweet-and-innocent with a dirty mind, and I had always known that I would be a fool to refuse her when she wanted to play.

The air of acceptance drew exhibitionists, to be sure. When we entered, headed straight for the bar, we passed corseted and blindfolded women chained to their masters, drag queens in six inch platforms chatting up Navy He-Men in full uniform, post-teen Goth chicks in layers of black lace and bright red patent leather, and beach bunnies of both sexes with stoned faces and tanned bodies grinding together on the dance floor. On a raised platform behind the bar, a man in a leather hood was strapped face-down to a horizontal wrought iron cross, receiving his discipline from an auburn-haired beauty in studded leather hot pants and over the knee bitch- boots. With every lash, he cried out for more. His mistress walked around the edges of the table, caressing him between strokes of the whip, appearing to talk to him in a voice which couldn't be heard over the bass beat of the music. In the midst of this spectacle, she paused and looked in our direction.

She left the bound man as he was, dropped her lash, and stepped down from the stage. She walked right up to us, looked me in the eye, and asked Miriam to dance without looking at her. Miriam looked to me, and I could feel her eyes on me as I broke the stare in which I was being held. I looked to Miriam, and tipped my head in a near nod, too surprised and confused by what I was witnessing to offer any protest. Her eyes were shining, as though she were going to burst into tears or laughter--I don't know which was more accurate. The redhead relaxed slightly and offered me her hand. "My name is Chryseis. Good to meet you...Mark." Then she took Miriam's hand and led her to the dance floor. It wasn't until much later that I realized she had known my name without asking. Somehow, it didn't surprise me at the time.

When the song ended, Miriam appeared at my side. I hadn't seen her approach, as I was consciously avoiding looking for her like the jealous boyfriend that I was. She touched my back hesitantly, and I turned to her. She was pale, shaken, and nervous. Suddenly she was a fresh mystery to me; beautiful, exotic, and unknowable. She looked at me and broke into a jittery giggle. "Are you mad at me? I didn't know what to say." At that moment, all I cared about was that she had returned to me. If she had a previously unrecognized dimension to her sexuality, if she needed things I couldn't offer, we were still together. Everything else could be figured out later; but we had to leave that club. Neither of us knew what to say, but I knew that I had never wanted her more, had never been so afraid of losing her in an instant. The night was abruptly alive with portent and mystery, and all I wanted at that moment was to take her home and make fierce, passionate and cleansing love.