Drained: Chapter 8
After work the next day, Amelia asked me to stay and do a couple of loads of laundry for her. Once I’d showered and put the first load in the washer, I asked where I could go to make some photocopies.
“Just use my printer,” she said. “It has a copy mode.”
I ran off the eighteen copies I needed of the letter and pulled my envelopes out of the bag to finish addressing them. I was surprised to find that they’d already been addressed in what I assumed was Eric’s handwriting. I pictured him working on them by candlelight while I slept and it gave me a little shiver. I found it sweet, even though I was certain Eric was generally not described as sweet.
I folded the letters and put them into the envelopes and sealed each one.
As soon as my first load of laundry was in the dryer, I walked up to the post office and bought stamps. Back at Amelia’s, once the letters were all ready to go, I went back to Amelia’s room and sat on her bed with her to watch TV while the clothes dried.
We just watched an old Oprah re-run, and then saw a little news as I folded her clothes and put them away. I hadn’t seen any news of the outside world for days, and had a moment of hope that I’d see a story about the True Blood mess. But that didn’t happen.
Once I’d finished Amelia’s laundry and said good night, I drove to a gas station and filled the car. Then I began driving north. I wanted to avoid getting on the main roads or the interstate in case someone was looking for my car.
I didn’t want a Louisiana postmark on the letters, so as soon as I crossed the Arkansas line, I began to look for a post office or mail box. I found a post office in a town called Wilmot and dropped my handful of letters in the box in the parking lot before beginning my drive back down to Magnolia Grove.
It was dark when I got back to town, so I stopped at the pay phone outside Target and called the palace in New Orleans again. This time a man answered and said that both Rasul and Andre were unavailable.
When I got home, Eric wasn’t in the house, so I sat on the porch steps and waited for him. I thought he might have gone for a walk again. I had a sudden thought—what if he had been discovered and staked? He was so vulnerable here all day without me.
But just as I was beginning to panic, I saw him walking towards me from the direction of the creek and he was quite naked. All coherent thought left my mind. His pale, wet skin glistened in the moonlight and I tried not to stare at how perfectly he was built.
As he neared me, he smiled and said a soft, “Hi,” as if he addressed me every day in his birthday suit.
“Hi,” was all I could say.
He nonchalantly reached for the porch rail and retrieved his clothes that I hadn’t noticed. He pulled on his dark-colored boxers and then his jeans as he asked, “How was your day?”
He sat on the steps below me with his back to me and brushed off the bottoms of his feet before he replaced his socks and shoes.
I took the brush from my purse and began to work on untangling his wet hair. He leaned back a little between my legs and sighed with what seemed like contentment while I worked.
“I drove up to Arkansas and mailed the letters,” I said.
“That’s good. Now it’s out of our hands.”
“And I couldn’t get Rasul or Andre on the phone.”
“That’s bad. I need to get down there and find out what’s going on.”
I didn’t want him to leave, which was ridiculous and irrational. We couldn’t stay here forever.
“When will you leave?” I asked.
“When I’m strong enough to fight.”
There was a moment of silence while I continued brushing his hair.
“I’m sorry this place is so uncomfortable for you—no running water or electricity,” he said.
“It’s okay. I’m just glad we found a light tight room for you.”
“I have safe houses we can go to, but only when I’m stronger. I can’t defend myself yet. Moving now would be taking a risk.”
“You’ll be a prisoner inside all day—no trips to Target. I’ll buy your food at night …. Anyway, it doesn’t matter now. I’m not strong enough yet.”
“I’m fine here, Eric. Really, don’t worry about it.”
“This is risky enough, but at least here no one knows you and the fact that it’s such a small town is helpful.
“I can’t even get money for you. Even if I had my wallet, ATM transactions can be tracked. And I know you’d prefer that I not take money from other humans. I feel worthless to you, and I’m sorry.”
“You didn’t seem worthless when you pulled Arlen off of me. Or when you addressed my envelopes last night. Or when you let me sleep on top of you.”
I smiled to myself at that last one. I finished combing through his tangles and put my brush back into my purse.
Eric turned around and lifted my t-shirt above my bra and gently bit into my breast just above the lace. I closed my eyes and held his head to me. Eric’s right hand was holding my t-shirt up and his left one caressed my other breast over my bra. I unconsciously let a little moan escape me.
I felt him lick the wound and lower my t-shirt again. He nuzzled my neck and spoke into my ear, “Are you taking iron supplements?”
I still had my eyes closed. “No.”
“You should. I’m sorry I didn’t mention it sooner. I guess I assumed … you know … because of Bill.”
The mention of Bill snapped me out of my lustful haze and I opened my eyes. “I did know about the iron, but I guess I just forgot. Bill had stopped taking blood from me there at the end. We thought what was making him sick might be contagious. I’ll get some tomorrow.”
Eric sat back a little and looked me in the eye. “Would you prefer I find someone else to feed from? I’m strong enough to glamor now.”
“No.” I felt a pang of jealousy. “You don’t have to. I’m fine.”
“There’s no need for you to feel drained. You work so hard all day and then I sap your strength every night.”
“I’m fine, really. I don’t want us to take any risks, so I don’t think you should be biting anybody else around here. It’s bad enough that that guy Arlen was out here.”
“As you wish.”
Eric scooted up to the top step and leaned back against the rail and pulled me to him. I rested my back against his chest and stretched my legs out in front of me between his legs.
He wrapped his arms around me and said, “Tell me about your day.”
We sat like that for hours. I talked about Amelia’s and he told me the story of his human family that was a thousand years old.
I started to feel tired and both of my legs were asleep when I told him I needed to get ready for bed.
He helped me stand and I went inside to change into my dress. I washed my clothes out in the creek and brushed my teeth. Eric was waiting for me on the sofa and when I was settled on top of him, he asked for a story about my family. I told him about Gran and Jason until I became too sleepy to make sense. Then I closed my eyes and fell asleep as he stroked my hair.