He was just going to kiss her.
That's what Francis kept telling himself, as he crawled forward towards her on his hands and knees, the sound of his own staggered breaths, his rapid heartbeat throbbing in his ears like a drum. He could feel his tongue, thick, heavy, and dry with his thirst, lying in his mouth like an sock, only considerably heavier. Although he swallowed, he could not shake from his thoughts what it might be like for one drop, just one single drop of the moisture spilling from her so freely, to land on his tongue, to spread the bittersweet sensation of her fading life force over his taste buds.
Her name was Sam, he knew. She was older than he was, probably around the twins' age. He knew that she had been pretty, once, curvy and tall, blonde and confident in her demeanor, with a smile that could be sweet or seductive, as she chose to display it. But Francis had never seen her in this capacity. Francis had only seen her weakened and helpless, at the mercy of his family, awaiting inevitable doom.
At the mercy of himself.
She lay on her back with her eyes half open, her matted hair spreading out across the filthy dirt floor, forming a creasy semi-shroud about her paling face. Francis could see her chest rising and falling, each breath slower in coming than the last, could hear an odd rattling in her lungs, as though she were drowning. When she spoke to him, her voice was hoarse and weak, emerging through lips so cracked that they too were beginning to bleed.
"Francis…please. We have to…get help. We have to…call police…"
He knew she was right. If he was going to help her…if he was going to keep her safe…that was exactly what he should do. He should leave her. He should run from her, flee the sight of her bleary eyes and weakened limbs, limbs that could not fight back, should anyone mean her harm. Above all he should flee the sight of the blood trickling down her arm, trapped in the crevices of her lower lip, the coppery scent of it that seemed to fill every space within his senses.
At the very least, he should stay away.
But he found himself drawing closer, his hands and knees staining with the dirt beneath him as he drew up beside her, near enough to touch. One trembling hand reached out to stroke the edge of her cheek, and as her eyes shifted in his direction, locking on his, the hazy film over them told him that although Sam was looking at him, she could hardly see him at all. A soft noise he recognized as a sob escaped his lips, and his hand against her cool skin shook so badly then that Francis drew it back, closing his own eyes so tightly he saw flecks of light burst beneath his lids.
When he opened his eyes again, he could see her pulse beating in her throat, was certain he could hear it, a low murmur in compliment to his own. As he leaned forward, unable to resist any longer, he told himself as his lips pressed against hers that it was a kiss. A kiss, nothing more. A kiss, to comfort her, to comfort him. A kiss, to take her mind off her suffering. A kiss-
But the moment the first small bead of blood made contact with his skin, and Francis felt its slight moisture on his own lip, it was impossible for him not to flick out his tongue, to allow it a taste. And as the tantalizing flavor, not enough, not nearly enough to satisfy, spread over the tip of his tongue, and the long-suppressed urgency of his hunger, his need to have more, much more, flared through him like a fire within, scorching through any self-control or rationale he might have been able to maintain.
Francis bit her lips. He could hear the soft, pained cry she made, could feel her slowly jerking movements beneath him, but one hand on her chest easily held her down. He could feel her heartbeat beneath his palm, was aware of each of its slowing beats, and even after he felt it stop entirely, he continued to drink from her, even as he wept, his tears further smearing the blood now streaking over his lips, cheeks, and chin.
He never asked David or the twins, but he did wonder later, when the shock had died down and the first tentative stages of his acceptance had begun, if for their kind, their first kiss always coincided with their first kill.