When I set out to do something for the House of Manlove’s, Valentine blog hop, I thought of using characters from one of the novel length stories I’ve been working on, in particular a m/m shifter romance. But then this little piece of fic wormed its way into my brain and wouldn’t leave. So I give you David, head servant and vampyre familiar, and the love of his life Andreas. I hope you enjoy:
Dancing at the Vampyre Ball.
David stared around the room. The heavy, wrought iron chandeliers glowed with the flickering lights of their candles. Table after table lay before him, resplendent with silverware and crystal. He checked his watch. Five minutes or so before the first guests would arrive. His master hosted the vampyre ball every year, and trusted David to oversee the particulars as the head of the army of employees it took to organize the event.
“Shall I open the doors, sir?” A young servant asked.
“Yes. Open the doors and ready the staff for greeting and coat duty.”
David wanted to stay, to stand in the hallway and wait for a glimpse of Andreas. That dangerous yearning was the very thing that carried him away and into the stairs leading to the kitchens. As a member of the Council of Elders, alongside David’s master, Andreas would arrive soon and be seated first.
Most of the staff didn’t have a clue who, or rather what, their employer really was. As that rare breed – a vampyre familiar – David kept his master’s secrets well. He kept his own even better.
The noise and heat of the kitchen slammed into him. The scents of roasting food assailed his nostrils and made his mouth water. He busied himself for a while, until a loud gong sounded from the ballroom above. The Council of Elders, leaders of the Vampyre Nation, were about to take their seats at the celebrated ball.
David rushed through the corridors to the majestic dining room, heart beating a rapid tango against his ribcage. Any moment now he’d see Andreas, the man he lived and breathed for. The man he’d never see again, once he left his current employer to start a new life.
As the men passed by, David struggled to contain his building anxiety. Every year he waited for the moment he’d lock eyes with Andreas and finally see revulsion there. For, as Andreas stayed the same, David aged.
Instead of youthful vigor, his middle-aged body bore the signs of wear and tear. His hair no longer gleamed blue-black in the candlelight but shone with strands of grey. Around his mouth bracket lines were worn into well-trodden grooves and crows feet had settled around his eyes.
Andreas though? He remained forever young. Blond. Vital. Beautiful.
Their love had been the defining event of David’s life. Yet it often came hurried, furtive. A kiss in a hallway, fumble in an empty room – and once – a moonlit dance in the grounds whilst the ball raged inside.
Vampyre society frowned upon sexual relations with humans. Their love remained a secret, not for two males pairing, but for breaking the ultimate taboo of vampyre-human bonding.
Ten men stood at the table and only two seats remained. He turned, expecting to see Andreas. David’s heart stuttered – the two men bringing up the rear were strangers.
He glanced all about the room but saw no sign of his beloved. And because they were a dirty little secret, David wouldn’t know if anything had happened.
Nausea swirled in his belly, low and acidic, and he wiped a clammy hand on his trousers. The rest of the meal passed in a blur, as David worked on autopilot. After an eternity, the eating finished, and the servants began the clear up. The Council of Elders stood and led the way into the ballroom. The males and females from other tables followed them into the opulent space, where an orchestra began a slow waltz. David watched, stiff and formal, as his heart broke into a million tiny pieces. He wouldn’t even get to say goodbye.
“May I have this dance?”
He jumped and turned around to look into familiar, and much loved, blue eyes.
“Andreas!” He nearly threw his arms around the man but remembered his place. David dropped his arms to his side and lowered his voice. “I thought something terrible happened. When you weren’t with the council, I thought….”
“I resigned my post.” Andreas worried at his lip. “As you know, an Elder cannot be in a serious relationship.”
David’s breath came in harsh huffs. So this was it. Andreas had finally come to tell him he’d found love with one of his own kind.
He knew one day he’d lose the interest of the beautiful creature stood in front of him. As he aged, and Andreas stayed the same, it only served to highlight the chasm between them – and the reason for the disapproval heaped on relationships between the two species.
“I’m happy for you.” He managed to blurt out.
“So am I. For us. And your master knows I have come for you, now your service to him is complete. If…if you wish it.” Andreas stared at him, eyes shadowed.
For a moment, David couldn’t speak, didn’t quite understand what was going on. Did Andreas expect David to work for him? Could he be so callous as to believe David could serve him and his new lover?
But then he was a vampyre, and they didn’t live by the same rules as humans, did they?
“I’m not sure I’d be best placed to serve you, Sir”
“What?” Andreas grabbed his arm, ignoring the looks thrown their way. He pulled David to the side of the room. “I don’t want you to serve me. I want to be with you. I want you to come and live with me, be my lover, life partner, whatever you humans call it.”
He sighed and scrubbed a hand through his hair. “I wanted to do this before now but there were things I had to do, duties to adhere to. These last few years, as you’ve aged, all I’ve been able to think about is how finite our time together is. I don’t want to waste another minute.”
David’s heart slammed into his ribs as Andreas meaning sank in. “You want us to be together? As lovers?”
“Yes, yes, yes.” Andreas dropped his forehead to David’s and let it rest there for a beat.
“But…I’ll get older, age even more, you’ll stay the same…it won’t work.”
“Firstly, I love you. You are as beautiful to me now as you’ve ever been. Secondly, if you’re mine, truly mine, I can feed you my blood. That will slow the ageing process. You won’t be immortal but it will buy us a lot of time. I want every moment.”
David swayed a little on his feet. Andreas reached out strong arms to steady him.
“Dance with me?” Andreas grinned down at him.
“What? No. We can’t, we’ll cause a scandal. A human and a vampyre!”
“I don’t care. Dance with me.” Andreas pulled him into the throng of couples moving with grace around the room.
The candlelight flickered and the music soared.
David let go of his worry, his training, his years of propriety, and moved around the floor with his beautiful companion. His eyes drifted half closed as he leant in towards Andreas and let his scent envelop him. The music echoed around them as the two moved as one.
Dancing at the vampyre ball.
Thanks for reading 🙂
Don’t forget to check out today’s other two stories and the previous offerings from earlier in the week!
Photo Credits: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/mharrsch/9215448269/”>mharrsch</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a