“Yes. I fear three of us might be more noticeable. However, if you go around town feeding, that would be even worse.”
“You and one other?” His brain was turning over the possibility of hiding safely, of never giving in to the demon again, but he was able to keep track of her words.
Sophia smiled. “Lynn joined me before we took over the house. Before I met her, I was like you, moving from town to town, trying to escape the attention that had brought fire on the others.”
Nicholas remembered fire. He remembered his kind locked in a stone building and the thatch lit. If he hadn't gone to meet a farm girl that night, he would be lost like the others. Instead, he was alone. Rather than find more of his kind, he'd found horrible tales of their destruction: stakes thrust through their chests to prevent their escape until the sun burned them to death. Others were burned at stakes.
Sophia touched his face again, bringing him out of his nightmares. “I've seen some, heard of others. Our only hope is to hide.” She paced, watching him. “Please, don't uncover us.”
He blinked. “Why would I do that? I'd burn with you. How do you do it?” he asked again, still trying to fathom how he might defeat the demon.
She smiled again, stopping her pacing. “Once you're sated, it is easy to sip, to sample. You said it has been a week?”
“A little less, five days.”
Sophia nodded. “In the morning, I will send one of the girls to you. You can drink without fear and learn to stop. It isn't easy. Your instinct will be to drink heavily, but you can learn.”
“And the other?” he asked again. Who was the other vampire in this house?
Sophia wrung her hands before her, drawing his attention to the filmy shift she wore, a garment to be discarded. “I was very lonely, one among many whores. I was managing to only feed a little on each customer, but it was difficult. I needed more. Lynn was my friend, my partner. She helped me further sate my hunger and drink deeply. It was easier to only sip from johns. I wanted to keep her, despite the risks necessary to do so. I explained to her what she had to do.”
Nicholas sucked breath through is teeth. He dimly remembered his own transformation, fighting with a strange woman before tearing her throat out with his teeth. If he hadn't drank enough, he would have died. The vampire, as he later discovered she was, did die. Yet Sophia had survived. Very dangerous.
“I need to go,” Sophia said, moving to the door. “You can go or stay here. I'll make sure the girls know about you.”
“Thank you.” He had a lot to think about and appreciated the hiding place. He was still sitting there when a woman with long dark brown hair came in.
“Sophia sent me.” She came near and tipped her head to the side, exposing her neck.
Nicholas shunned the offering, drawing her into his lap instead. “And you are?” he asked, nuzzling her ear and stroking her hip. She smelled of men and woman. He could smell sex on her and wanted more for himself.
Her voice became raspy. “Cordelia. Please, sir.”
She said nothing more, so he asked, “Please, what?” His hands continued to explore. He'd foolishly thought four nights of encounters would dull the urge.
Sophia's words came back to him, telling him what he should do, how he could keep the demon from rising as his hunger did. He nibbled the whore's ear, making her jump.
Her blood was rich and thick. Only a few drops coated his tongue, but it was enough to awake his thirst.
“Please, keep touching me,” Cordelia begged, her fingers opening his shirt. He continued to suck her lobe, the wound closed now. He tried to focus on not opening another, not biting into her neck.
She twisted, sliding her legs around his hips and rubbing herself on him. He opened his pants and lifted her skirt, needing the same contact she sought. Once they had it, she pulled his head to her breast.
“Drink, sir. Make me burn for you.”
Hunger and thirst grew together. He sucked at a new bite over her breast, swallowing while his hips thrust.
“Yes, yes!” Her toes curled, gripping his back as she squeezed around him. He kept thrusting, kept drinking, until she shouted at him, “Stop! Enough!” The second word was quieter and she went limp in his arms.