by Lewayne L. White
Vincent blew out a lungful of smoke, flipped back his long black hair, and said, “I can't believe we're having this conversation.”
“Why not?” Lucinda asked. “It's seems sort of inevitable. We're clearly from two different worlds, and clearly incompatible.”
Vincent reached across the cafe table and stroked her hand. “But it's been fun, right?”
Lucinda glanced at the long pale fingers resting atop her tanned slender hand. She remembered how Vincent's fingers felt on her skin, playing every nerve like...
Lucinda withdrew her hand. “That's part of the problem.”
“How can having fun be a problem?”
“Oh, I don't know,” she sighed. “How about that time with you and the stripper?”
Vincent blew out more smoke. “That again? You said you'd try sharing once.”
“And I did,” Lucinda snapped. “I figured I loved you enough to try it once. But you didn't share. You hogged her, and completely ignored my needs. The way things were going, when you were finished with her, there'd have been nothing left for me.”
Vincent smiled wickedly. “Your needs and mine are different. If you hadn't thrown a hissy and left, you'd have gotten what you wanted.”
“What I wanted was you, Vincent. I wanted us to be together forever.”
Vincent snorted. “That's a very long time, Lucy. Especially for people like us.”
Lucinda saw his eyes glance over her shoulder. She followed their movements until a slim blonde in a miniskirt strolled past.
“And you have a wandering eye.”
Vincent refocused on Lucinda again. “Two, in fact.”
“What is it with you and blondes?”
“You're a redhead.”
“Would it make a difference if I was blonde?”
Vincent shrugged. “It's the 21st century, Lucy. Anything goes now. Stop living in the past.”
“Maybe you should act your age,” she replied. “You can't be a playboy forever.”
Vincent raised an eyebrow. “Why not?”
“Everybody dies sometime.”
“Sure, but not any time soon.”
Lucinda looked at him over the rim of her teacup. “You don't have any plans for the future? Any goals?”
“That depends,” Vincent said, eyes shifting again. “If we're breaking up, I think she might be a goal for the future.”
He nodded toward a college age girl with brunette pigtails. As the girl passed them, Vincent gave her a smile.
“This is what I mean,” Lucinda said. “You can't focus on us for even five minutes at a time.”
Vincent refocused again, and said, “Sure I can. You were talking about goals.”
“So what do you want, Lucy? You want to get married? Have a nice church wedding with a priest, a ton of guests, and a matching set of engraved gold wedding rings?”
Vincent paused, then said, “Well it would have to be gold, wouldn't it? You don't do silver.”
He flicked the cigarette, sending ash into the wind.
“Then what? A house in the suburbs? Maybe raise a litter we can tote around in a minivan?”
He took a drag on his cigarette, blew out the smoke, and said, “No way I'm going into a church. My family's lived in that manor forever, and I'm not driving anything with more than two doors. Furthermore, whom would we invite to the wedding? I have no living relatives, and that pack that you run with has never accepted me.”
He crushed out the cigarette. “Besides, I'm always on the hunt for fresh blood. I can't help it; I've got a sweet tooth. You know I like the ladies.”
“You like the guys, too.”
Vincent shrugged. “Only in a pinch. Or, if I'm the mood...”
“So this,” Lucinda said, gesturing back and forth between them. “This was just another fling for you.”
Vincent shrugged. “We both know there's something I need that you never dared give me.”
“You know it's too risky, Vincent.”
“Without it, you'd never truly be mine.”
Lucinda folded her arms. “Is that the problem? You can't own me, so you don't want me?”
Vincent shrugged again.
“I won't be anyone's pet, Vincent.”
“Of course not, Lucy. And, as strange as it seems, I couldn't stand to see you caged.”
Lucinda raised an eyebrow.
“No, really,” Vincent replied. “In the time we've been together, I've come to appreciate the freedom you have. You roam the world. You travel across oceans, you climb mountains.”
Vincent shivered. “You've even crossed sun-baked deserts, and cavorted on sparkling beaches.”
He lit another cigarette, and added, “It's simply amazing to someone like me, who's tied to the family land. I don't fly. I don't swim. I've never been to a beach.”
He paused, watching a perky blonde woman walk by.
“Sure, I have an enviable, hedonistic, lifestyle. I'm drowning in a sea of willing partners. But, after spending time with you, listening to you talk about all the places you've been, I realized I've never really lived.”
“Sure you have.”
“Well, yes, technically,” Vincent replied. “But it was so long ago, and things were different. It was practically the dark ages.”
“It was not,” Lucinda said. “It was the Victorian age.”
“Look, Vincent. This isn't getting us anywhere. I asked to meet you to decide, without the distraction of your tongue in my ear, whether this relationship was worth pursuing.”
Vincent smiled. “I bet you're thinking about my tongue right now.”
“No.” Lucinda blushed. “Well, maybe a little. But, I want more in a relationship than just your tongue.”
Vincent opened his mouth to speak.
“Not a word,” Lucinda said, raising a finger. “I need someone warm and caring. Someone who wants to spend the day with me, not just the night.”
Vincent sighed. “You knew what I was like when you met me. You didn't really think you could change that.”
Lucinda shrugged. “I've seen some things that suggest there might be a-”
“What? A cure for my condition?”
“Something like that.”
Vincent snorted. “I like what I am.”
When she didn't say anything, he added, “Or did you want to change me into someone like you.”
She cocked her head. “And what's that supposed to mean?”
“You know exactly what I mean. Someone who's warm and fuzzy one minute, and a vicious bitch the next.”
“That's uncalled for,” Lucinda growled.
“You're right,” Vincent said. “I'm sorry. Look, you're right. We're clearly from two different worlds.”
Vincent rose and withdrew his wallet.
“You don't have to-”
Vincent shrugged. “What good's a family fortune, if you don't spend it?”
He dropped some bills on the table, and said, “Well, I guess this is goodbye.”
Lucinda stood, and hugged him. She breathed in his scent, a mixture of expensive cologne and damp earth.
As they stood together, Vincent stroked her hair, brushing that one spot behind her ear.
“Mmmmmm,” she sighed.
Vincent smiled, lamplight glinting off one fang. “One last tummy rub? Maybe a scratch behind the ear to remember forever.”
“It's that time of the month,” Lucinda whispered.
“Like I'm going to mind a little blood.”
“You know what I mean.”
Vincent glanced over her shoulder at the rising moon.
“Happy hunting,” he whispered into her already shifting ear.
“You, too,” she said, and kissed his icy cheek.
Copyright © 2008 by Lewayne L. White