A frown marred Leila’s face as she tried to explain over the phone to Nikoli, the note she had received. She had been sitting there for what seemed like hours studying the handwriting and trying to figure out who it could’ve been from. She wasn’t sure if she should be talking to him about it, but she definitely knew that she couldn’t talk to Elaine about all the strange stuff she was experiencing. Elaine would probably think she’s a freak or something.
“What does that even mean? Do you know who it’s from?” Nikoli’s voice was questioning.
“No, I don’t recognize the handwriting. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I mean, who would write such a vague note to me and how did they know where I worked?”
“Yeah, I’m not sure either, Leila.” Although, Nikoli suspected Jessa had a hand in this, but he also didn’t know what the words that were written meant. He didn’t want to scare Leila by accusing Jessa if he wasn’t certain it was her.
“Do you...do you think it could have been your ex?”
He raised his eyebrows at that, surprised. She had basically read his mind, even though that was an impossibility.
“Honestly? It was my first thought when you told me, but I really don’t know what she could have meant by that, if it was her.” He ran his fingers through his hair, a nervous habit, while he contemplated the meaning of the note.
“Yeah. I don’t know either.”
“Look, let’s postpone our date. I don’t want you to have to worry about this all night.”
“No! I’ve been wanting to know what you look like! It’s been a week, I can’t even really remember what you looked like in the mask. It’s driving me crazy...a little.”
Leila’s enthusiasm made Nikoli smile into the phone even though he knew she couldn’t see him. The truth was that he was a little more than anxious to see what she looked like too. Everything about her had been haunting him since that night at the club. He couldn’t shake her smile, her guarded eyes, her smell or her voice. Even the dreams about the mysterious girl had been replaced with ones of Leila. There it was again, that Deja vu feeling. What could he say?
“Me, too. Not that looks are important, but I am curious if you are as beautiful as I imagine.” Truth be told, he had imagined it lots of times, but never seemed to make the right connection with her features. It was like he was missing the most important puzzle piece and he couldn’t figure it out. He prided himself on being smart, but not being able to connect the dots tore at him. When he met her at the club, it was like there was some sort of shield up preventing him from piecing things together that would have normally been very easy for someone like him. He once had dreams of becoming a top-notch scientist who was famous for creating a cure for something and saving lives, but he was now immortal. Some days he longed to be human, but he knew that it was just an impossibility of epic proportions.
“So it’s settled then. I’ll see you at Antonio’s at 9. Do you have the directions to get there?”
“Are you sure?” The last thing he wanted to do was to make her feel pressured into a date, especially after that obscure note she had received.
“Yes. I’m sure. I’m not going miss this. So, not happening.” Leila chuckled, making Nikoli laugh in return.
“Alright, well...I will talk to you in just a couple of hours then.”
“Wow! Is it already 7? I need to get home and get ready!”
“You’re still at work?”
“Yeah. My boss offered me a great position and I wanted to get a head start on some of the files.”
“Congratulations, I’m happy for you.”
“Thank you! I’m really excited about it. See you soon okay? I really need to go get ready.”
“You’re welcome and alright then. See you soon.”
When the phone line clicked, indicating the call was over, Nikoli put the phone back on his bedside table. He took another look at his watching, noting the time matched up with what Leila had said it was. After he hunted and fed, he’d head over to the restaurant for his date. Truthfully, he knew that he probably shouldn’t be going on a date with a human. If the Elders found out, there could be dire consequences. He wasn’t too worried about them finding out though, if they even truly existed to begin with. He wondered sometimes if it wasn’t just a myth or Urban Legend told to new vampires to scare them into behaving.
Nikoli’s stomach was beginning to ache. He knew that if he didn’t feed before his rendezvous with Leila, that he would be unable to resist her blood. As the piercing sun completed its descent below the horizon, Nikoli all but flew downstairs and out the door, just in time to witness the last trickle of light retreat into the shadows. He half wished that vampires could turn into bats like the movies, it would certainly be much faster. Hopping on his motorcycle, he roared away from his house, suddenly overwhelmed with uncertainty.
How did one complex human make him want to throw caution to the wind and embrace the chaos? He had spent his whole existence as a vampire trying to hide, trying to be careful, and trying to be invisible. His most logical voice won the battle raging on in his mind. He didn’t have time to get to know anyone before he fed, which was his usual preference. While his bike rumbled its way down the road, he tuned into the sound of a nearby wild animal in the woods, which when he followed the smell turned out to be a young deer.
The wild, gamey scent of the deer would usually not entice him, but at the moment he was starved. He stalked the creature quietly, for a little ways down the path, waiting for an opening to attack, with calculated movements. Like the predator that his kind was, he attacked swiftly. He used his hypnotically suggestive eyes to put the deer in a trance, so it would not panic.
Sinking his teeth into the deer, Nikoli had to fight the urge to pull away as he heard it’s thoughts and felt what it felt.. Memories flashed in the creature’s mind, more like pictures than a movie as it were with humans. The images were mostly nice, though there were a few that bothered him. This poor creature had witnessed his mother’s death. He was devastated and confused, not at all the way you would think an animal would act. Surprisingly, animals also mourned the loss of the dead. Nikoli had not known this until now.
His kind usually didn’t feed on animals, because their blood didn’t sustain them as long as human blood did. Unlike humans, though, animal blood made vampires swifter, more lethal, more alert. Animals had a quicker fight or flight response than humans. Nikoli stopped his feeding lest he leave the young deer too weak to fight back if something attacked.
Upon pulling away from the deer, he knew he was now strong enough to face Leila. He had to wonder though if animals got caught up in emotions like humans did or if they simply acted on impulse. With animals, their thoughts automatically became actions. They didn’t sit around and ponder things over and over again like humans did. Yet, they still felt things much in the same way humans did, just differently. Nikoli had blocked the memory of the deer so he wouldn’t remember what had just transpired. Shaking his head in an effort to get rid of the after-blood buzz, he stood up slowly. Watching the deer scamper off, alert but unaware of the danger that could have befallen him, he smiled. In that moment, Nikoli envied the deer. It operated on pure survival instincts.