Beatrice answered softly, “I'll want to taste you.”
“Your blood. I'll want to take blood. I already want to but I can push it down.”
“You would feed on me?”
She quickly looked up at him, with her eyes wide. It was the first time she'd looked directly at him since she awakened him. “No! A feeding is harmful. It takes out a lot of blood. I wouldn't do that to you.”
“May I ask how many times you've done it before?”
She lowered her head to stare at the floor again. “I've never tasted blood from anyone.”
“But you're a vampire...”
“And everyone thinks that means we drink blood all the time. It's a lie. Sometimes we’re starved for it. We can eat like you do but there's always something that feels empty, like an unsatisfied craving. I can eat until it hurts but I'll still feel... hungry.”
“The others in the estate, are they like you?”
“No, almost all are old enough that they've fed before. If they hunt now, Mistress won't allow them back in and this is a really safe place to be these days. I think only Adelaide, Gwendolyn and me have never done it before. The monsters that turned us, they kept us starving. When she freed us, she brought us here and we've lived by her rules. So, we've never.... Sometimes it hurts."
He sat still, looking down at her, and noticed a little dark spot appear on the carpet where a tear landed. He tried but couldn’t imagine what she must have felt. Wanting, needful, embarrassed. He swallowed hard and asked, “How much? How much must you have?”
She looked up and met his eyes again. “Only a little. Less than people donate to hospitals.”
“I've donated blood before. I know what it feels like, during and after. Take my arm again.” She obeyed. “I'm going to look away, okay? Then you do it.”
He turned his head and made a nod. She regarded his arm then lowered her head to it again, listening to his heart beats and the scent of his blood coursing with each pulse.
“I know. I'm ready.”
She opened her mouth slowly, took his wrist and drove her small fangs in quickly. The Professor winced as she pierced him and said, “I'm not.”
He'd imagined there'd be sucking noise or some sort of sound but it was very quiet. It did feel like a blood donation; the odd sensation of something shoved under the skin and he thought he could feel something leaving him but that, he decided, might have been imagination.
A minute passed and she began to make little sounds. Then she lifted her fangs from him and began licking at the wounds. Then she whispered roughly, “Take it away from me.”
He lifted his arm and pressed the heel of his other palm against the now slowly oozing spots. “It was hard to stop?”
Between shaky breaths she said, “Yes. Thank you... for permitting me. It was better than I imagined. I wanted to go on but... I had to stop. I promised.” She was looking down at the floor again.
He looked to see that the tiny holes had mostly ceased leaking and he thought that she must have taken care to not find an artery. Then he turned the chair toward her and with his other hand lifted her chin up, until her eyes looked reluctantly at his. “You are what you are, and not even by your own choice. I offered and you kept your promise to me. Don't be ashamed for yourself.”
She smiled just a little and said, “I'll try” He noticed the red on her lips.
“Good, I'm pleased. Now, go clean up your face before anyone else notices and I'll get back to what I was supposed to be doing instead of napping.”
She rose and headed for the door but she paused just before going out and said softly, without looking back, “Thank you. For everything, not just this… you know?”
He turned the chair to look at her. “Yes, I understand. And I thank you for possibly being the reason I'm alive... and for the privilege of being your first. Now, shoo. I must do something useful before you make me get leaky eyes.”
She hurried out the door with, he thought, a little bounce in her step. He wondered if it was just the blood or something he'd said.