After the Bridge

Since Henry and Vicki last fought demons there had been subtle changes in their relationship. The two vampires could not tolerate each other in close proximity over long periods of time but they could work together on Vicki's cases and share brief interludes of lovemaking that connected them in ways that could not be imagined by the human mind. All Vicki had to do was think of Henry and she was with him sharing whatever he was feeling or doing and he would be aware of her presence in his mind. Henry was as aware of her vampire as he was his own, be it hunger, anger, fear or need to protect its host. And they both knew where each other was at any given moment. Yet they couldn't talk to each other telegraphically.

Sitting behind her desk, Vicki tried to concentrate on the client's story. It was the same story she'd heard over and over again. Granted that it was the first time she'd ever seen this client but a wife suspecting her husband and wanting to know the truth before being blindsided by a demand for a divorce was a story she could quote verbatim without even having to listen. When the client finally wound down and asked Vicki if she would take the case, Vicki had to give her head a mental shake to clear the cobwebs and answer.

"I have to warn you Mrs. Alexander, what you think you want to know is not always what you need to know. Are you sure you want to do this?"

"Call me Julie and yes I need to know who he's seeing and what he's doing. I have to make plans. It's not that I want to catch him cheating or anything like that but it's what I need to do to protect myself. I had nothing before I married him and if he demands a divorce I'll left with nothing. I signed a prenuptial and there's pictures of me with someone other than my husband."

Vicki shook her head in disgust but before she could say anything Julie Alexander added, "It was taken just before I met my husband. It's of me and my old boyfriend and I'm wearing the same bikini that I've been wearing since I've been married. From the picture you can't tell if it's old or recently taken. I'm in a mess here. I love my husband, but he's not trusting type. He'll see the picture and won't listen when I try to explain."

Finally Vicki started paying real attention to Julie Alexander. "Let me get this straight. You really don't want to catch him cheating but you want to get something on him to void the prenuptial. "

"What I really want is to make the pictures go away and keep my marriage intact. I don't care if he needs another woman's attentions besides mine as long as we stay together. Some men are made that way and can't change. You understand what I mean don't you?"

Vicki thought of Henry and saw him with one of his many dining companions in bed. She closed her eyes for a brief second trying to bring her focus back to the woman sitting in front of her and said, "Yeah, I get that. Sometimes you don't have a choice but accept what they are." Taking a deep breath she added, "My fee is five hundred dollars as a retainer and five hundred dollars a day plus expenses. If I can't get you something solid within a few days I'll let you know and we can discuss how much longer you want me working on this."

Julie passed over an envelope with two thousand dollars in it and said, "This should be enough to start. I have been saving all the money Charles has given me over the past two years so your fees are not going to be a problem for a while."

"Tell me about your old boyfriend. Who took the pictures and when did they show up at your house?"

Vicki took notes as Julie talked about her life before meeting Charles. When Charles saw Julie he literally overwhelmed her with attention sweeping her off her feet and marrying her before she had a chance to catch her breath. All of her friends were upset with her for dumping them and her long time boyfriend Billy Robbins. She didn't know for sure who took the pictures on the beach the day before she met Charles and why they were being sent to her now. The only reason she kept using the same bikini was because she spent a lot of money buying it, fit perfectly and was her favorite color.

Vicki stood and so did Julie Alexander. As Vicki walked around her desk she added, "If you can think of anything else give me a call. Otherwise I'll call you with what I've found out by Friday."

Julie gave a half smile and thanked Vicki again for taking the case. Vicki felt a twinge of hunger but pushed it down to start a computer search on the names Julie Alexander had given her.

Henry felt Vicki's sadness as he finished feeding. He licked the wound on the lovely young woman's neck and mentally urged her to sleep. For once he was in a bed other than his own and it would be easy to slip away without disturbing her rest. In the morning she would wake up, find herself alone and wonder if the encounter with the fascinating fast talking artist was all a dream.

Henry checked the room to make sure there was nothing left behind to indicate that he had ever been there, nodded in satisfaction and left.

He sat behind the wheel of his car and thought about Vicki. He knew she was sitting at the computer working and felt her vampire's hunger. "Damn it Vicki, you need to feed." He started the car and drove to her office as a vampire's raging hunger pounded against the barrier between human control and monster need.

Vicki looked up from the monitor screen and smiled. "Why are you here? I'm glad to see you but I thought you were busy eating."

"I was until you thought of me and I felt your sadness."

Vicki hit 'save' on the computer and powered down before pushing away from the desk. "I didn't mean to do that. A client asked me a question."

"What was the question?"

"She said, I don't care if he needs another woman's attentions besides mine as long as we stay together. Some men are made that way and can't change. You understand what I mean don't you? and of course I thought of you."

"I'd change that if I could."

Vicki placed a hand on either side of his head and placed her forehead against his, "I know. It's what you are, what we are. I wouldn't want to change anything about you."

Henry wrapped his arms around her and placed his lips over hers kissing with all the passion he possessed and Vicki returned the kiss with a passion she never knew she had until meeting Henry Fitzroy, five hundred year old bastard son of Henry the VIII and vampire.

Sighing, Henry broke away from the kiss, "You haven't been feeding enough. Your vampire's screams of hunger are driving me nuts."

Vicki laughed and looked him in the eye, "Well that's a short trip that doesn't need much fuel."

Henry scowled at her and she made an half apology explanation, "I get distracted and by the time I think about eating dawn's coming and since Tri's magic messed up my vampire I don't always have fangs when I need them."

Henry took her by the hand and headed for the door, "Come on. You're going to feed now. I'll find your prey, make the bite but you'll have to dine on my choice."

Vicki protested, "I'm not into pretty girls."

"Then you hunt while I watch. But from now on until that vampire of yours is as full as a lone tick on a fat dog, I'm going to be supervising your meals."

"Why?"

"Between your vampire's hunger and my own needs, I can't concentrate and my work is beginning to suffer."

"So it's for your own sake that I have to feed."

"And yours. An out of control raging hungry vampire is a danger to its self and to every other vampire."

"Yes daddy."

"What's gotten into you?"

"I don't mean to intrude on your lifestyle."

"Your not. And I don't mean to tell you how to run your life."

Vicki nodded grabbed his hand and said, "Come on. Let's find me some dinner and since we're together let's spend the rest of the night loving instead of arguing."