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Holidays Are For Suckers

Not every first date goes smoothly

By Lisa VanGalenPublished 6 months ago 4 min read
Holidays Are For Suckers
Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Brushing the thick damask curtains aside, Rosalie slid into the elegantly decorated bar. She paused in the entrance, her ruby-red dress catching candlelight like tiny fireflies. A lock of ebony hair tickled her nose and she nervously tucked it behind one ear. She still wasn't sure she should be here tonight.

Spotting an empty table in a dimly lit corner, Rosalie wended her way through the crowd. An edgy undercurrent raised a tingle as she settled in, a tension she had not encountered here before. Perhaps it was nothing more than nerves. Across the room, the bartender deftly uncorked bottles for his customers. Aged vintages, artfully collected prior to the last nuclear war, offered memories of times past and the tantalizing promise of life yet to be lived. With humanity nearing extinction, uncontaminated collections were hard to come by.

The alluring scent of moonflowers drifted in through the open door. All heads turned to stare at the newcomer and his bouquet of delicate blooms. That someone dared bring a controlled substance into Carpathia's Hollow said much about their intentions for the evening.

A collective sigh rose from the females in the room, the intoxicating pollen heightening their pheromones. Their dates were not so accepting. The daggers shooting from their eyes were not the only sharp objects they exposed. Rosalie's breath caught as she locked eyes with the Viking warrior. If this was her blind date, the risk might be worth the reward.

Damien stood behind the bar, wiping glasses and nodding to the security team. With no room to maneuver, there was a real chance for a bloodbath -- should any of the customers spill their glass. Battles between immortals were more apt to cause injury than true death. But on this New Year's Eve, it would be best to keep emotions in check. Contrary to myths and legends, vampires were highly sensitive individuals. And bringing a passion-inducing flower to a crowd of desperate hunters may well end in disaster.

Like Moses parting the Red Sea, tall, blond, and striking strode through the masses as though Rosalie were the only woman in the room. His eyes, grey as snow-laden clouds, never wavered as he approached.

"I sincerely hope you are the Lady Rosalie, whom I am destined to meet here this evening," the man said, his voice rolling with a timbre and grace more at home in medieval castles and distant lands.

Unable to speak, Rosalie nodded. What have I gotten myself into? she thought as her companion settled himself down at the table.

"Beautiful flowers for a beautiful lady," he continued, proferring the bouquet. Rosalie's back pricked with the sensation of a hundred eyes focused upon her. It was only then that she realized the crowd had fallen silent.

Rosalie swallowed. "I thank you, kind sir, for your gift and your presence." That sounded corny even to me. You'd think it had been a decade to two since my last date.

To hide her embarrassment, she bent to inhale the delicate perfume from the moonflowers. Around them, the room returned to its previous revelry, the newcomer's disruption discarded, though many of the men continued to glare in their direction. A surge of endorphins raced to her cheeks and she flushed with barely-restrained passion. Needing a moment to regain her composure, she fussed with the blossoms before laying them on the table.

"Would the gentleman care to choose a beverage?"

Rosalie jumped as Damien spoke at her elbow. Engrossed in her visceral response, the bartender had arrived to take their order and she hadn't sensed him at all. Narrowing her eyes, she pondered his lack of energetic presence. Only ancient beings, long past redemption, possessed the skill to hide so well. The old master met her gaze head-on, and without wavering, dismissed her intrigue as though she were of no importance. Despite their equal standing in the new Carpathia, gender bias remained as firmly entrenched as if it were 1792.

"Could I recommend a 2029 white, bold, with a hint of ginger? It was an excellent year for harvesting. One of the last." Damien waited until the Viking nodded before gliding back to the bar.

Her date, leaning closer, brought her hand to his lips. Fangs grazed the tender skin, sending shivers down her spine. "It would be proper for me to introduce myself. My friends know me as Gabriel. It is my pleasure to meet you."

"The pleasure is all mine," Rosalie replied, her voice husky and laden with promise. "I was most reluctant to come out tonight, times being as perilous as they are. The rewards have been worth it so far."

A subtle cough broke the moment and Gabriel sat back to allow Damien to pour their drinks. Thick and syrupy, the treasured burgundy liquid slid into the goblet as though still alive. "Would the gentleman care to sample the vintage?"

An age-old ritual. The swirl, the sniff, the tiniest lick from the rim. Gabriel's eyes widened as the owner's essence interacted with his own. Hunger flared and the Viking's stoic facade cracked, revealing his immense power. The barkeep scurried away as Gabriel stood to his full height. Consuming the remaining blood, he then crushed the goblet before reaching for Rosalie. He tossed the flowers into the crowd, igniting a frenzy as the pollen fell amongst the partiers.

As the security team swept past them, fear tickled deep in her brain, an old emotion, one that hinted at the possibility of death. Her lust-filled eyes grazing over his well-sculpted body told her he had other plans for the evening. The clock struck midnight. Rosalie grabbed up her goblet and swallowed its contents. Combined with the effect of the moonflowers, Gabriel would stand no chance. Pulling him close, she curled up against her Viking warrior.

"What do you say we find somewhere quiet to spend the next hundred years?"

Short StoryHoliday

About the Creator

Lisa VanGalen

I am a panster by nature, discovering my characters as they reveal themselves. To date, my novel writing has involved the paranormal or magick within a more familiar setting, blending it with mysteries, police procedurals, or thrillers.

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Comments (1)

  • Flamance @ lit.2 months ago

    Great story nice I like it

Lisa VanGalenWritten by Lisa VanGalen

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