IF LIVING IS WITHOUT YOU
Once Thomas had gotten his
dinner and started eating, the rest of the party seemed to relax. They started
talking amongst themselves. Thomas, who was sitting between Roddy and Rose,
focused on his dinner. He was truly starving, since he’d been so anxious about
this night that he hadn’t managed to get a single bite down all day. Rose had
slung her arm around his shoulder, and that caught Roddy’s attention. He leaned
in close to Thomas.
‘Where’s your necklace?’
‘My…? Oh, I decided not to
wear it tonight.’
‘It didn’t go with the
Roddy gave him a deadpan look.
‘It’s okay, Roderick, I
promise. Look, Sikes mentioned that we were going somewhere that we could all
get drinks, which I assume is some kind of vampire bar, or whatever. I figured
maybe it would be rude to wear silver to such an establishment.’
‘It would, but that doesn’t
mean you shouldn’t.’
‘I don’t follow.’
‘This is a bleeder bar we’re
going to. As in, humans that know about vampires and want to get bitten by them.
If you go into one of these unprotected…’
‘I’m setting myself up for
getting bitten,’ Thomas ended Roderick’s sentence. ‘Alright, I’ll put it on,
then. It’s in my pocket, anyway.’
Roddy breathed a sigh of
‘Good. Make sure you wear it.’
‘Yeah, I promise.’
Thomas continued with his
food. He was a little miffed about Roderick forcing him to wear his necklace.
He had been hoping for one night, just one, where he could actually touch his
friends, like he was with Rose now. He cherished her arm around his shoulders
in that lazy, relaxed way of hers. It made him feel like he belonged. He’d
gotten the idea that maybe Rose didn’t take too easily to men, either, so he
felt kind of special to have earned her friendship like this.
Once he was done with his dinner,
they all walked a short distance through town and into another one of their
shady alleys. What was it with vampires and shady alleys, anyway? Sikes was
holding Thomas’ hand now, since Rose had left his side to go get tattoo-girl,
Sarah, who had promised to join them for the remainder of the evening. She had
asked Thomas for permission before inviting her, and Thomas had said that of
course she could come, she was Rose’s almost girlfriend now. Besides, for the
brief moment he had spent with her, he liked her, too.
Dominic was walking on his
other side, but without touching him. Once they got to the bar, he walked up to
the bouncer and talked with him for a little while, all while indicating their
company. The guard fist-bumped him, then waved them all inside. In the last
second, Rose came walking with Sarah on her arm, and they, too, were ushered
‘You know the guard?’ Thomas
asked Dominic as Roderick deposited their outerwear.
‘Yes. You sound surprised?’
‘I didn’t really think this
would be your scene?’
Dominic looked around, as if
he saw the place for the first time.
‘It… isn’t. We had business
together in the mortal world, before we were both turned. I was kind of
surprised when he contacted me, because he had heard from his sire that I was
recently turned, too. We’ve kept in touch, that’s all there is to it.’
Dominic leaned in close to
Thomas and whispered:
‘Oh, I have more layers than
Thomas, a little frazzled by
how close they were standing, blushed.
‘Uhm… I bet…’ was all he
managed. At that moment Roddy came back and they headed inside.
Dominic and Sikes led Thomas
between them to the bar. As Sikes ordered for them, Dominic stood with his back
against the bar, scanning the room.
‘You look like you’re looking
for trouble, my dear brother,’ Sikes commented breezily. Dominic turned to look
‘Maybe I am.’
Sikes smiled sweetly at him.
‘Oh, come on… don’t be like
that, not tonight, darling. Please. We’re out here, trying to have a good
Dominic snorted and went back
to gazing out over the room.
‘What’s he doing?’ Thomas
‘Dominic has a habit of
getting into fights when we’re out like this,’ Sikes explained.
‘Only because you’re too
stupid to defend yourself,’ Dominic growled.
‘Be that as it may, I have
other things to worry about than bar brawls,’ Sikes said.
‘Fucking, mostly,’ Dominic
agreed. Thomas blushed crimson.
‘Aww, is the mention of sex
bothering you, Tom-Pom?’ Sikes pulled Thomas close against his rock-hard chest.
He wasn’t wearing any shirt under the waist length faux fur jacket. Thomas
looked up at the vampire.
‘A little, yeah,’ he admitted,
still blushing like crazy. He heard Dominic letting out a huff behind him, then
the vampire pried Sikes’ arm loose from around Thomas’ waist at the same time
as the bartender put their drinks out. Two glasses of what had to be blood, and
one champagne for Thomas. Thomas supposed he was getting a little jaded (or
drunk, maybe both) because he didn’t even care that they were having blood.
Dominic handed Thomas his glass, and then he clinked it with his own.
‘Happy birthday,’ he said.
‘I… I have something for you.
A birthday present, if you don’t mind?’
Thomas put his glass down on
‘Not at all. Thank you.’
‘Don’t thank me yet, you
haven’t seen it.’
‘Alright, show me, then.’
Dominic reached into the
pocked of his suit jacket and produced a blue velvet box, similar to the one
Thomas kept his silver crucifix in, you know, the one he still hadn’t put on.
Dominic handed Thomas the box and he actually looked a little nervous about it.
He wouldn’t have needed to.
‘Dom, this is beautiful. Thank
‘Do you like it?’
‘Yes, I like it! can I put it
‘Sikes will probably bitch
about that it’s clashing horribly with his aesthetic for tonight’s outfit, but
yeah, as far as I’m concerned you can put it on.’
Thomas picked up the silver
tiepin shaped like a pencil and tried to put it on, but his clumsy fingers
fumbled with it and he dropped it. Dominic, having great vampire reflexes, caught
it in the fall. When Thomas stared horrified at him, he simply smiled.
‘It’s not silver, it’s
‘Oh. Clever man,’ Thomas said.
‘I have my moments. Here, let
me help you?’
‘Sure. I don’t know what’s
wrong with my fingers, I’ve been fumbling all day.’
Dominic fastened the tiepin on
Thomas’ tie and then took a half step back to admire his handiwork.
‘It looks just as good on you
as I imagined.’
Thomas looked down.
‘Thank you, again.’
Dominic smiled faintly, then
he held his hand out for Thomas.
‘Do you dance?’
‘I do, if you can follow. I’m
not very good at that, I’m afraid.’
Dominic let out a soft
‘Your mother sure raised you
to be a cis-het, Thomas.’
‘She did.’ Thomas held his
hand out and Dominic took it. He looked puzzled.
‘Where’s your necklace?’
Thomas thought about it for a
moment. How much was he going to tell Dominic? He decided not to let this ruin
the other man’s night, so he gave a non-committal shrug.
‘I decided it was time to stop
wearing it. Don’t worry, it’ll be fine.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Something’s up with you, and
I’m asking what it is.’
‘Nothing’s up with me. Look,
Dom, I’ve been with you guys for a long time now. It’s alright. Besides, this is
a bleeder bar, is it not? It would be awfully rude of me to wear silver to one,
or so I imagine. Now, let’s dance. That’s what you asked me to do, right?’
Dominic narrowed his eyes at
Thomas for a moment but then he let it go. He took Thomas by the hand and
allowed himself to be led to the dancefloor.
Dominic grabbed Thomas’ hands
as he started swaying them gently. The music shifted and Dominic made a face.
‘You don’t like the song?’
‘No, it’s fine. Let’s just
Thomas swirled Dominic, and
then pulled him close so they were chest to chest just as Mariah burst out: I
can’t liiiiiiiiiiiiiive…! Something in Dominic’s eyes flipped a switch
‘This was yours and Anton’s
song, wasn’t it?’ he whispered.
Dominic swirled him this time,
and Thomas couldn’t help but think that it was to give himself a couple extra
seconds to think. Dominic’s hand slid from Thomas’ waist to the small of his
back so he could press Thomas a little closer, then he mumbled in his ear:
‘What if it was?’
‘We can wait for the next
song,’ Thomas said as he leaned his head on Dominic’s shoulder.
Dominic led him slowly across
the dancefloor now, as if he was contemplating taking Thomas up on his offer,
but then he mumbled:
‘Nah. I need to get this out
of my system.’
He pushed Thomas off him and
swirled him again, and the writer didn’t even think about the fact that Dominic
was leading now. The way he did it felt so natural. Thomas caught a glance of
Sikes and Annaise over at the bar. Sikes was telling her something which made
her laugh. When she noticed Thomas watching her, she caught his eye and smirked
as she raised her glass of blood towards him in a toast. Dominic’s firm grip
brought Thomas back chest to chest with the man.
‘Will you ever tell me about him?’
‘Not if I can help it,’
Dominic stated firmly.
‘It’s not healthy to bottle
emotions up like that,’ Thomas said as he leaned his head back onto Dominic’s
‘I’m a vampire, I don’t have a
‘You have a mental
health. I’m your friend, you can talk to me.’
‘Maybe. Maybe not. Are you
going to ruin our perfectly good evening with Anton?’
‘Nope. I won’t mention him
‘Good.’ They swayed pressed
close together for a little while before Dominic whispered: ‘Thank you.’
‘For not mentioning him or
giving you new memories to this song?’