Nicholas returned to the same whorehouse, accompanying other men home and hiding through the day. On the third night, one of the whores took notice of him. She had thick, black curls that bobbed as she approached. Her blue eyes sparkled in a familiar way.
“Follow me,” she said.
“I thought it my night, Sophia,” one john called.
“Not him. Choose me!”
“How did he afford her?” another asked.
“I am unable to pay,” he admitted as they left the parlor together.
“Are you alone?” she asked, fear in her voice. “Who are you? Did others come with you? How many have you killed? Have you uncovered us?”
Alone in one of the boudoirs, Nicholas got a better look at her eyes. They were like his, glittering and faceted. She was another vampire. But how did she come to be a prostitute?
“No, it is only me, Nicholas. I killed a girl almost a week ago, but none since. How do you hide here?”
Sophia, as one of the johns had named her, relaxed and smiled. “By not killing,” she answered glibly.
“How?” he asked again, frustrated.
“We drink only a little, but often. Our partners believe it a natural part of our play, a love bite. Very few think to question it. There are a trusted few to whom we reveal ourselves and drink more deeply. Always, we stop before killing. I haven't killed anyone in over a decade.”
The knowledge shook Nicholas. A decade? He had trouble going ten days without killing someone. Could he last ten years? If he could, he would. He hated the demon that drove him, the one he tried to bind away. He envied Sophia. As a whore, she could sate her hunger as well. He couldn't be a whore, however. How could he live as she did?
“A position to be envied,” he said aloud.
“There are enough men you might find here,” she told him, stepping closer to touch his cheek. Only then did he realize his despair must be written on his face.
He nodded, remembering the last few nights, the men that had invited him to his homes. “I hid in their houses,” he told her. “Staying longer than I was invited.”
Her smile was gentle and warm. “Return here instead,” she suggested. “We spend the days inside.”
“No one questions?”
“Who expects a whore to be about daily business? Also, I took ownership of Blue Moon House several years ago. The girls are all aware of my nature and loyal to me. I worry, if you go, you might inadvertently draw attention to us. Please, stay. At least try it?” She seemed to think he wasn't eager to join her.
It was such a good offer. He would happily shed his nomad ways for a constant supply of blood and lovers. Not prey, just lovers. How he would enjoy that.