The red eyes at my window belonged to Count Dracula himself. Some weird light reflection thing made them red.
I went to check it out, and there was Vlad, in full on dragon mode, clinging to my windowsill by his feet, and pulling a peeping Tom act. I opened the window and asked him, “What the heck are you doing?”
“Admiring your beauty, my treasure. May I come in?”
“No, you can’t come in, Vlad. What are you thinking? It’s 3 AM, and you’re staring in my window. I don’t know what they called that 700 years ago, but nowadays it’s called stalking, and I could have you arrested for it.”
He looked all crestfallen, so I took pity on him. “All right, go to the balcony and I’ll meet you there. Just don’t let anyone see you. And don’t wake up my mother.”
I had to admit he looked pretty awesome in dragon mode. Just like Fafnir, he wore nothing but a pair of belted pants that rode low on his hips to make room for exceptionally large wings. His scales were all black, no other color, and he didn’t have any of the spikes like Fafnir had, and he wasn’t so massive. He was about twice the size of an ordinary man, about Andre the Giant size, but sleeker and more gracefully built, like an Olympic gymnast.
He stood there, wings folded, on my balcony in between Ma’s potted tomatoes and strawberries, and looked like some sexy demon, or a piece of the night sky come to life with stars glittering where the moonlight reflected off his scales. What do you know, vampires do sparkle, sort of.
“Damson,” he said softly, with that unusual accent that made my name sound exotic.
I really wanted to touch those shiny black scales, feel the smooth, cool texture of them over the perfectly formed muscles. My hand actually started to go toward him before I realized what I was doing, and reached up to scratch my head to try to cover it. “What’s up, Vlad? Why are you here? Did Fafnir send you?”
“In a way, I suppose he did. He told me that you are the only female dragon he has encountered on this continent. You and I seemed to get along well at our initial meeting. I decided it was time to …” He tried to put his arms around me and I planted a hand firmly in the middle of his chest and locked my arm out straight.
“Back off, bat boy. I’m not that kind of girl. And I already have a boyfriend anyway. You’re barking up the wrong tree.”
“Barking? Tree?” he said, and looked pretty puzzled. “I do not understand. You and I are the only dragons of our generation within thousands of miles. It is clear that we were meant to be mates.”
He kind of had a point. If I were going to date another dragon, it was either him or Fafnir, and Fafnir was like a wise old granduncle to me, not someone I would think about dating. “Jack is my boyfriend.”
Vlad nodded. “I understand that the young dragon lord was your only option before. But the dragon blood in his line is so diluted that he may as well be human.” He made a face when he said human, like you would if you were talking about somebody considering sleeping with a sheep.
“My dad was a dragon, but Ma is human. I don’t pick who I date by their species.”
He got this compassionate look, like I’d admitted to having a serious handicap. “I understand that your father turned to a human woman. It is hard to be alone for so long. You are beautiful, regardless of your mixed blood.” He put a hand on my shoulder, the scaly one, and his huge hand felt warm and somehow right through the thin fabric of my favorite blue sleepy T with the kittens on the front. I wondered what it would feel like without the fabric, scales sliding against scales.
“Um, thanks for that, I guess.” I took a step back, feeling acutely uncomfortable. My body was having all kinds of reactions to the close presence of an interested drake, while my mind was having entirely opposite reactions to Vlad himself. The guy was one very hot dragon, but I was beginning to wonder if maybe he was a bit of a jerk.
He bowed slightly as I backed away. “I can see that I am rushing you. Please, accept my apology.” He turned away and looked out at the view. It’s a great view. We could see the UT tower. “I fear I have lost the knack of wooing a mate. I lost my wife nearly 500 years ago. That is a long time to be alone.”
Then, I felt like a jerk. “What happened?”
“The Order of St. George was formed in my homeland. My wife and sons were among the first of our kind to die at their hands. My boys were a miracle, twins, which almost never happens among dragons. They were strong healthy sons, only seven years old, with their mother’s beauty. The Georgians slaughtered them, along with every man, woman, and child in the village, since many of them were of mixed blood. I was away at war. By the time I returned, they had been dead for weeks.”
“I’m so sorry,” I said, and put my hand on his arm. Nice arm, I have to say, and I could feel the muscles ripple under the scales when he shrugged.
“It is an old wound, long scarred over.”
“Georgians killed my dad a long time ago, too, but that doesn’t seem to make it any better.”
“It is a curse of dragons, that we have long memories.” He put his arm around me, and I didn’t push him away.
“I suppose that could be a blessing if the memories were better ones.”
“I would like to make some good memories with you, Damson.” He bent down and kissed me, very gently. It felt strange, but nice. And then he ruined it. “You are the closest to a female dragon of full blood that I have encountered in a century.”
“Well, that really makes a girl feel special.” I suppose he meant that as a good thing. But, I’d like to be desired for a bit more than the fact that I have scales and wings. “Look, Vlad, you’re a nice guy, and attractive and all, but I’ve already got a boyfriend.” I stepped back. “I think it’s time for you to go.”
“I understand. I shall have to earn the right to your affections. I will return when I can show you that I am worthy.”
“Um, right. You do that.”
He hopped up on the balcony railing gripping it with his bare feet, and spread his wings.
“Oh, and Vlad?”
“Yes, my love?”
“Don’t stare in my window anymore. It’s creepy.”
“As you wish,” he said, and bowed his head slightly. Then flew away.
He did sort of look like a giant bat when he was flying. I get where Bram Stoker got that concept now.