One Night Stand

Ray leans back in his chair and smiles blearily at the woman on the stage. She meets his gaze, and echoes his smile. As she finishes the song staring deep into his eyes, he gestures to his glass, inviting her to come for a drink. The others in the nightclub havenít noticed, their eyes on the blonde beauty who now takes her bow Ė to the same ovation she has received three nights before Ė and leaves the stage. His throat, inexplicably dry, Ray raises his glass, and then realises that tonight it would be unwise to be drunk. Flicking a few drops across his collar for the scent of alcohol, he tips the rest into the potted plant behind him, reflecting that were it not plastic, the plant would be long dead. He leans back, trying to hide his anticipation. Maybe tonight...
       ďMay I join you?Ē The voice is not as soft as it was on the stage, but he doesnít care. Finally the bait has been taken. Mentally chastising himself that she was able to get this close without him hearing her, Ray stands and pulls a chair out for her.
       "Of course." Once she is seated he resumes his seat, assuming that beneath the paint she is one who will appreciate old-fashioned courtesy. Her smile, as she gazes across the table into his eyes, is breathtaking. "Can I get you a drink?"
       "Bacardi, if you donít mind." He didnít miss the quick assessing dart of her eyes across him, gauging his worth, nor her slight lean forward to draw his attention to the low cut of her dress. He plays along, and orders drinks, making the required small talk while they arrive. He takes a small sip of his, enough to wet his throat, but not to cloud his senses and watches her rolls the stem of the glass between her fingers. He finishes his, grateful for his arrangement with the barman to receive watered drinks. If they wait for her to finish her drink they will be here all night. Neither of them want that. She suggests her place. He accepts, knowing that on three previous nights, three different men have been there. As he helps her into her coat, his brotherís taunt that he couldnít pick up in a nightclub slides across his mind. As if she is reading his thoughts a small smile plays quickly across her lips.
       "Well, are we going?"
       "Of course. Arenít you worried, picking up strange men?"
       "Not really. The doorman knows where I live, and the guys at the bar saw me leave with you. And since you paid by credit card, if anything happens to me, you can be tracked." There is no warning in the words, just a statement of fact, its edge dulled purposefully by her display of her figure. He knows too well that there are other reasons she is not afraid. They walk in silence, each with their own thoughts. He sees the clear streets around him. At this time of night, no one is around. Grabbing her arm he pulls her towards an alley, to find himself being shoved into it simultaneously. He rolls expertly, coming up to a fighting crouch. Across the alley, she has landed on her feet, as he had expected. They face each other. A single scream would end this now, but both know that they wonít cry out. She steps towards him, and he begins to step back. His retreat turns into a blur of motion as he pulls the gun from its holster and fires. The silencer begins to give on the third and he releases the trigger. At the end of the alley, she is frozen in the act of advancing, one hand clenched before her breast, weight on the points of her feet, like a dancer. As he watches she opens her eyes and looks up, smiling that same breathtaking smile from the club. A small line of blood begins to run from the seemingly unmarked skin on one shoulder, and beneath her breast. The hand before her heart opens, and she drops something small. It bounces across the tarmac with a wooden sound before it comes to rest in the gutter. The tension hangs between them, in air thick enough to cut. He cannot fire again, for the noise would draw attention, but slides the stake from his sleeve into his hand. She does not relax but remains poised, waiting. Meeting his eyes, still smiling she speaks.
       "Getting shot wasnít one of my plans for this evening."
       "What was? Another murder?" He speaks to distract her, hoping for an opening.
       "I have killed no one." He knows that is a lie, but lets it pass.
       "You will."
       "Perhaps." The thought seems to amuse her.
       "You have no right to." He waits for the justification. The victims are willing, they are cleaning up humanity's scum, a vampireís right to live, he has heard them all. She pauses, and frowns slightly.
       "I know." For a moment, the fierce hope awakes within him, that this one will accept the stake. Sometimes they did, those still human enough to know there lives were hell.
       "How can you face yourself in the mirror ever day, and know you are a killer?" He tries to keep the emotion from his voice, displaying compassion, not condemnation. Too much and she will rebel against it, too little and she will think he doesnít care. She says nothing, lost in her own thoughts, but the regret on her face speaks for her. He turly pities her as he speaks. "I am a hunter. I can end this hell for you."
She laughs and jumps him, breaking his arm playfully.
       "Iím sorry, but I like what I am. I donít know what type of vampire you usually hunt, but Iím not going to roll over and beg for the stake." He struggles against her grip, trying to grasp the stake with his good arm. She reaches down and removes it, throwing it in the gutter with his bullet. Picking him up one handed and pinning him easily against the wall, she looks at him, he turns his head from her gazes, trying to block any mental control, but he cannot close his ears.
       "Look at it my way. Iím stronger than you, faster, more resilient and I could live for centuries if I donít do anything stupid. What on earth do I have to be unhappy about?" Her tone is conversational, and he has frozen, stunned. Usually the vampires he hunts do wish for the stake, do crave an end to the hell. How corrupt this woman is, he does not know, but he struggles to ignore the small voice in his head that says that what she says makes sense. "If I let you go, your going to try and kill me arenít you?" Her voice conveys excitement, almost pleasure at the prospect.
       "I donít know." He chokes out, knowing only that he needs time to think. She tips his head round and kisses him, before she releases him and spins away, showing a flash of well-toned leg. She knows the effect her body has, and it is another weapon in her arsenal, but her obvious delight in it shocks him.
       "If I wanted you dead I should kill you now." She blurs back in and he retreats confused down the alley, amid a storm of blows, none of which do more than touch. He backs abruptly into the wall at the end of the alley, and she stops, laughing delightly.
       "I donít really want to die you see. Can you understand why now?" She tilts her head from one side to the other, examining him, and sighs. "You donít understand, do you? Anyway, since you offered me dinner, Iíll take you up on it, and decide what to do later.Ē He jerks against her reflexively, but it is futile. Abruptly all business she turns his head sideways and bites. When she has finished, she looks deep into his eyes. ďNow Ray, youíre going to tell me all about those interesting friends of yours. ĒHe speaks for an hour, maybe more, before he has finished. She stands, worrying at a nail like a nervous child, before she makes her decision. They know that she is here, so she will have to move on anyway, but a few false leads never hurt.

The next night Ray is in his usual place, arm strapped inside his coat, watching as she finishes the last verses of the song. With him are a few of his friends, and she makes sure that each gets a special smile before she has finished her number. Bowing to the club, and to them, she walks off. Her hearing has no trouble focusing on the conversation across the club.
       "Youíre quite sure this time then?" His brother says as he leans back, relaxing. Ray sighs.
"Yes. Iím sorry for wasting the resources, but I couldnít decide." His brother smiles and nods.
"They can be hard to spot canít they. I can see why you were deceived. Anyway, its been a pleasant enough evening if nothing else. Actually Iím rather glad she isnít. Be a shame to stake a singer like that."

Off stage, the girl smiles and goes to collect her coat. The clubs will be open for a few more hours, and she doesnít want to pick anyone up here tonight, in front of him, in case it jogs his memory. After all, it was only a one night stand.
 
 
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