I highly appreciate all of the wonderful feedback and compliments that I have gotten from you all on the last two chapters. Thank you so very much! I'll try to uphold the same standard in the future! I hope you guys like this chapter as much! It is almost cut in HALF from all of the stuff that was supposed to happen, with a lot taken out. But hey, now chapter four won't take so long. :) Enjoy! And please let me know if you liked it or not at comicality@webtv.net
Now...embrace the darkness!!!

"Gone From Daylight"
Hunting Grounds

I watched silently that night, as did the others, while the dirty deed took place. Was I the only one holding my breath? I was nervous as hell. However, I must admit that I somehow never doubted his abilities for a second. After all the things I had heard about how good he was at it, I guess I was just excited to see him in action for the first time. Dion, Max, Taryn, Trevor, and Jenna stood with me outside on North Michigan Avenue, watching the rich citizens and happy-go-lucky tourists strolling by. Happy, confident...unsuspecting. The tourists were the ones he targeted first. And they were so easy to spot too. With their Chicago memorabilia and out of place attire. Carrying a map and constantly looking upwards as though they had never seen a building with more than three floors to it before. The Kid, dead silent as always, was about to engage in an activity that he did better than anyone else in our little dysfunctional family, and this would be my first time seeing his 'performance'. I was anxious, to say the least. I watched him closely. His hands, his face, his movements...but I still couldn't see a thing. Not a single movement outside of a little bump against one of the people as they passed us. He was so damn fast! Whenever a tourist walked by, their eyes lifted skywards at all of the 'pretty buildings', the Kid would make a quick motion with his skillful hands and before they knew what hit them, he'd have their wallet in his possession. He was standing in front of a garbage can, dumping the now empty wallets one by one, dropping the evidence after relieving it of its contents. Then, with a quick shove into the pocket of his baggy jeans, his hands would be free again to snatch another one. He must have been a pro at this for some time. That kind of skill only comes from lots of practice.

"He's good." I whispered to Dion. And he smiled.

"Yeah, isn't he though? One of the best. That's pretty much how we found the little brat in the first place. He grabbed some loose cash off of Max one night, and he had to chase the little imp all over town to get it back. Hehehe...you've never seen a 10 year old move so fast." Dion laughed at the memory. "Those two are the LAST people on Earth I ever expected to end up as friends. They're quite a pair."

Soon, after accumalating what must have been damn near a hundred bucks, the Kid crossed the street to greet the rest of us in the park. A very slight smile breezed swiftly across his boyish face, showing a short glimpse of childish joy. And then, it was gone, and replaced with a look that was begging for approval. He walked passed the rest of us as if we weren't even there and handed the stash directly to Max. It was strange. Max had spent the entire time that I have been with them yelling at the poor kid. Throwing things at him, threatening him, pushing him around. And yet, the Kid would do anything to make him happy. That boy adored Max to the point where everyone else was just...unimportant in comparison. They had a weird bond, those two. And whether Max admitted it or not, I think he really loved having his 'little soldier' by his side at all times. I had no doubt in my mind that Max would happily rip apart anyone who had the balls to do the kid any harm, but he didn't want US to know that. That's too much like being sensitive.

Max took the money the Kid handed to him, and counted it out. One hundred twenty dollars, an awesome night's take. Max looked up, and with a grin, playfully ruffled the Kid's hair in appreciation. As soon as he recognized that he had 'done good', the Kid perked up immediately, the biggest smile decorating his adorable face. His eyes sparkled and he breathed outloud in a silent laugh that tossed his soft brown locks into his eyes.

"Good work, kiddo." Max said, and tickled him a little on his sides, making the whispered laugh burst forth from his slightly dimpled cheeks. It was almost like he was...I don't know....HAPPY. I hadn't seen him 'laugh' once in weeks. And only Max had the power to bring it out of him. He had little to no contact with anyone else. Except for Bryson maybe, and he seemed to not want the Kid around. Almost like he was afraid of him, as though the young child represented some kind of taboo. Some kind of young boogey man. I had been with them for maybe two months now, trying to learn my way around, trying to blend in. But many of them were so incredibly hard to figure out. Even Taryn admitted to not knowing them as well as he would like to have after a decade of being together. They all had their secrets, and they just didn't talk about them. Ever.

I couldn't understand the relationship between Max and the Kid, I couldn't figure out why Dylan was so shy, I couldn't figure out why Rain spent most of her nights alone....crying in some dark corner. I also couldn't understand why Bryson was so insistant on keeping a strict sense of order among us. But I guess we needed a father figure in our lives, some form of limitation to keep us from running wild, and he was the most obvious choice. A 32 year old man in the body of a 16 year old boy. He was older than the rest of us, but you couldn't really tell by looks alone. He watched over us, gave us chores, taught us about who we are and what goals we should have, and helped to ease our minds when we were troubled. The others gave themselves over to his leadership willingly, and I was now learning to imitate that same level of faith in his abilities. However....while I was beginning to accept my new identity in this world of eternal night, I still didn't feel I belonged there. There were so many pieces still missing. Taryn was the only person that made me feel complete, and Dion was my only friend. Doc, Jenna, Jun, and a few others were really nice to me, but they had their secrets as well, huge ones. And for some reason that kept a distance between us that couldn't be crossed until some of that tension was out in the open. If only they could talk to me.

What made things worse though, was the fact that I still had secrets from myself. Things I wanted to know. NEEDED to know. About my crossover and my extra and everything. But out of all the people around me, they either didn't know what was going on, or refused to tell me. When I'm back at the lot, I can feel them watching me sometimes, as though I'm some stranger to them that they can't trust. Someone who could snap and flip out at any minute. Even Bryson seemed to be wary of me lately. I didn't want to be a freak or an outsider, I just wanted to be one of them. That's all. But the more I tried to find out about myself, the more they held back. Especially when asking questions about this 'Comicality' person. It was almost as if it was blasphemy to even mention his name aloud in the presence of company. It had been maybe a week since my attempt at trying to chase Chad down in that alley. I was so close, so sure that I had found my path leading to Comicality. But I wasn't fast enough. I wasn't smart enough. I wasn't able to keep up with him, no matter how hard I ran, no matter how much I believed I could. Lesson learned. The next time, I will have to push harder. Next time, 'chosen one' or not, Chad won't be getting away so easily.

I was becoming more comfortable with this new body of mine though. It was beginning to feel like it was MINE again. Dion had been 'running' me for the last two or three days. Training my muscles little by little, giving them the power to handle the great amount of stress I was putting on them. It was incredible! I was running for miles without breaking a sweat, then...without even losing my breath. And by the third day of training, Dion had increased my speed to almost 25 miles an hour easy. My leg cramps were becoming less and less severe, and I assumed would soon be nonexistant if I kept it up. My limbs began to itch and spasm with their newfound strength, occassionally tightening themselves up at random. I could feel my body changing all by itself, growing faster physically than I could keep up with mentally. I could do things that I hadn't even considered trying yet. I could jump a distance of fifteen feet without even trying. I could see in pitch black darkness. I could hear voices from three city blocks away if I concentrated hard enough. I didn't know whether to be confident or terrified.

"So, how are we gonna split this up tonight folks?" Max asked, holding the Kid's earnings up high for all of us to see.

"We've got a store or two that'll be open until nine o'clock, so we've got about 45 minutes left." Trevor said. It was one of the first times he had spoken all night. He was being especially quiet for some reason. I didn't like that. Trevor, while an okay guy most of the time, was the kind of person that you wanted to keep an eye on. The idea that he was quiet, and thinking, worried me.

Dion was the next to speak up. "Let's hit the Water Tower Place mall and grab some stuff. All I need is enough for a cd or two and I'm happy. Oh, and Napolean needs a new collar."

"C'mon Dion, that's a waste! The dog is DEAD, alright? What's he need a new collar for?" Max said.

Dion gave him a little slug in the shoulder, and although he put up a fuss, Max handed him about 30 dollars. Jenna asked for a few fashion magazines and a new shirt, Max wanted some tools for fixing up the trailor, Trevor just asked for a little cash to go with, he'd figure out what to get when he saw it, and Bryson instructed us to bring back some selected books and a newspaper. That was pretty much all of it. Taryn declined on getting anything this time around, and I wasn't sure I was even entitled to any of our 'winnings'. But Max made sure to give us 20 bucks to take the Kid to the toy store and get him whatever he wanted. Sounded good to me. We started to split up and head towards the mall, when all of the sudden I felt a slight burning sensation in both of my eyes. It began as a soft heated blur...creeping up on me without warning. Then it began to intensify more and more by the second. I tried to ignore it and just keep walking, but it increased, making my eyes water slightly. It went away for a few moments, but came back even stronger the second time around. Now it was beginning to sting a little bit, and soon my vision became extra bright. It was flashing on and off, like staring repeatedly into the sun. I rubbed my eyes, trying to get myself to see straight, but that only made them burn worse, and suddenly, I was seeing everything in technicolor. I had to stop walking, and Taryn noticed that something was wrong.

"Justin? Are you alright? What's the matter?"

"I...I don't know. I think I've got some dust or some kind of chemical in my eye or something. Ahhh...shit...it burns." I lifted my head and widened both eyes for them briefly so that maybe they could get it out for me. "Do you guys see anyhing?"

"OH...oh my God...dude! Shut your eyes! Shut 'em!" Taryn said. I heard him grinning a little bit, but I wasn't quite sure why. I peeked out of one eye to see what was going on, and everyone was looking around to see who was watching. Taryn caught me looking and ran over to cover my eyes with his hand. "Hehehehe! SHUT 'em! You're gonna get us spotted man!"

"Well...what's going on? Why can't I open them?" I asked, now lost in darkness.

"We've got to get him inside. C'mon, let's go. This way." Dion said.

Taryn began to move me forward, his hand still over my eyes and a playful giggle in his voice. "This may be a really bad time, but I guess when it happens, it just happens. Can't control nature."

"WHAT already?"

Taryn leaned into my ear and whispered, "Your eyes. They've just gotten their glow." Their glow? What glow?

"And what a glow, Justin. I think they're beautiful." Jenna added.

I thought about it for a second or two, and then remembered the first night Taryn and I met. Navy Pier, the anchor, the dark, and Taryn looking up at me unshielded for the first time. That wonderful, miraculous, golden glow. They were so alluring. Wow...were MINE glowing like that? Were they?

"They're glowing? Really? Aww...dude! I wanna see! Get me to a mirror! Let me see!" I said excitedly. I couldn't even imagine what my eyes would look like illuminated with a golden aura. I was so psyched to see it that I had all but forgotten about the burning sensation altogether.

"No no no...we've got to get you inside first and get you some protection." Taryn said, and he slowly took his hand away from my eyes. "Ok, promise me you'll keep them shut until we get you some glasses."

"I will! I will!" I wanted to see...arrrrgh! I miss out on ALL the good stuff.

"I mean it, you'll get us busted sparkling like that." And then Taryn took me gently by the hand to guide me, his touch exciting me all the more. I had to keep my eyes closed the entire time, but feeling the softness of Taryn's hand clasped delicately, yet firmly, around mine, was an arousing experience. I trusted him completely. Not only was he physically guiding me blind, but also emotionally and spiritually. He has been leading me since the day I met him. I began to tent out the front of my pants as we walked forward, having my six inches tighten and swell beyond my control. Ever try to walk forward with your eyes closed while attempting to hide an erection? It's NOT easy! Funny how even the most subtle touches from Taryn excited me.

"Um...Taryn...hehehe....uhhh...slow down a bit, k?" I said, and I think he noticed my obvious problem, because he laughed out loud when he turned around.

"What now?" Dion asked.

"Nothing!" Taryn and I replied simultaneously. And we giggled gleefully to ourselves.

Trevor gagged on the two of us being happy, and just muttered, "Great, just great. Why don't we just change ALL of our plans now?" But Taryn and I just ignored him. He didn't say much else, but he was angry...I could 'feel' it.

"Um...ok, here. Walk right behind me." And Taryn moved in front of me, pressing his soft, bubbled cheeks against the front of my pants and taking both of my arms over each shoulder. It made it easier to hide the erection but now I was EXTRA horny from the contact! To everyone else, it might have looked like we were just playing around as we walked forward, but my mind and my heart were racing. We tried to synchronize our steps, marching ahead while grinning to ourselves. Every once in a while, his round globes would brush against the front of my pants, and a huge surge of sexual energy would shoot through me. I sighed uncontrollably and hugged him tightly, praying it would happen again. I leaned forward, and inhaled the wonderful scent of Taryn's reddish brown hair. God he smelled good. He ALWAYS smelled good! Like a clean teenage boy, just out of the shower. A fragrance that acted as the most powerful aphrodisiac on Earth as far as I was concerned. I inhaled again, deeply, never wanting to release the breath and let his pefumed aroma escape me. I was compelled to kiss him lovingly on the back of the neck, and I heard him sigh outloud, a childish whimper quietly escaping his lips. He knew what I was feeling, and I was worried that at any moment, HE'D have to walk behind someone too. I couldn't wait to get him home tonight.

We made our way to some slightly out of the way convenience shop and went in. Walking that far with your eyes closed is really a disorienting experience. It almost made me dizzy. We all walked in, single file, and Max was mumbling something about me 'dipping into their stash' for sunglasses.

"Say what, Max?" Taryn asked, trying to shut him up.

"Nothing. Just keep it cheap, 'Glow Worm'! We've got better things to spend our money on." He said, and then grumpily mumbled his way to the back of the store with the Kid directly in tow behind him.

"Give him a break already. It's not like he could help it." Taryn said in my defense, but Max was already in his usual funk. Taryn walked me over to the rack, and slapped the first pair of dark sunglasses on me that he could find. "Okaaaay....and voila. What do you think?" He said.

I timidly opened my eyes, and looked at myself in the tiny mirror. The sunglasses didn't look too bad on me, but it was what lied behind the sunglasses that I was interested in seeing. I could see just a faint glow behind the lenses and marveled at it. They were glowing! Actually GLOWING! I HAD to see more. I lowered the glasses a little bit down on the bridge of my nose and saw a quick flash of my new eyes before Taryn caught me peeking.

"Hey! We'll have none of that! Hehehehe! When we get back to the lot, you can look all you want. Until then, these glasses will have to do to keep them covered. We'll work on getting you some contacts later. Cool? Same color, I'd miss the blue in your eyes." His hand was on my shoulder, and I felt it slide down to my side, where it rubbed me just above the belt line. His touch became more gentle, more loving, and I could feel the emotion in his delicate contact. "You're really beautiful, Justin...you know that?"

"No, actually. You won't let me look!" I laughed.

"FIFTEEN DOLLARS???" Max shouted! "For sunglasses??? Are you nuts??? Can't you get something cheaper...like...like 'these' for instance?" Max picked up the ugliest, most childish, most ridiculous looking pair of kiddie sunglasses he could find. And they had these dorky fairies on the side of them.

I looked at it and said, "Dude...you're kidding me, right?"

"I think they suit you just fine." Trevor added slyly.

"I think I liked you better when you were quiet, Trevor." Dion said.

"Whatever. Who cares anyway? Just get them and let's go." Trevor walked to the back of the store and Max gave up his crusade to keep from spending money. He practically tossed me a twenty dollar bill and then walked away in a huff. Problem solved.

"I'm gonna look around for a few minutes, I'll be back, okay?" Taryn gave me a quick kiss on the cheek and I walked up to the register, wearing my new specs.

"Slow night?" I asked the guy behind the counter. But he didn't answer, just gave me a cold look. I guess it wasn't his day to be social. Could it be me kissing my boyfriend in a public place that's got him feeling defensive all of the sudden? Who knows? Better yet, who cares?

He told me the price of the glasses, and I handed him the twenty. But when he took it, I saw something that intrigued me. A deep cut on one of his fingers. The index. Evidently a fresh one because it still looked a bit 'wet'. I looked away, not paying that much attention to it, but my eyes went right back to it as soon as he opened the register. I looked elsewhere, and saw a bloody napkin in the garbage can behind the counter. Just decorated with a few dabs here and there, bright red in color, and drying rapidly. But it captivated me nonetheless. And my eyes, again, went right back to the cut on his hand. I watched as he counted out my change, and my mind seemed to...alter itself somehow. As though it was automatically switching over to some new set of rules. A new level of instincts. And as I focused intensely on the cut on his finger...my throat instantly went dry. Without a warning of any kind, it just felt as though I had completely dehydrated myself in a matter of seconds. I cleared my throat, trying to work up some saliva to wet it again, but that only made it worse. The saliva stuck to the sides of my throat, and it was hard to swallow. He handed me my change, and I swear...I could smell the blood on him. I could taste it. I could feel its thick texture on the tip of my tongue, the salty tang of it on my tastebuds. My eyes were fixated on it, unable to pry themselves away from its alluring color. It was so tantalizing, so beautiful. To think of even a single drop of blood rising to the surface of that gash was almost erotic in the way it enticed me. I pictured the wound bleeding again, the bright red liquid...slowly sliding off of his finger...seducing me with the small river that it left behind. Then I pictured that single drop falling from his fingertip, and onto the tip of my tongue. The idea of it...was almost orgasmic.

Trevor walked up behind me and was obviously ready to go. The others were still milling around in the back of the store, involved in their own activities. I tried to get my focus back, to shake the feelings growing inside of me. This was way too weird. I needed to get away from this place. But I couldn't leave. I just stared at the man behind the counter, thinking about what he would taste like if I were to drain him dry. My teeth began to itch, as though I needed to grind them together to keep my gums from aching. I needed to bite down on something...something soft...and warm...and that's when visions of murder entered my mind. For the first time...I wanted it. I....I wasn't myself. I looked away again, but this time, I think Trevor saw me. And he KNEW.

He slowly walked closer, an evil smirk appearing on his face for the first time since we left the lot. And he said, "Ahhhhh...you're 'blossoming' right about now...aren't ya rookie?"

"Justin? Justin what's wrong?" Jenna asked, concerned.

"Nothing. Nothing's wrong. You guys ready?" I lied. I worked up a fake smile and attempted to pretend that everything was okay. But it was pretty damn far from okay, and I felt every inch of my body screaming for just a taste. Just a taste of that warm liquid flavor. I needed some fresh air to clear my head. The roof of my mouth was so dry that my tongue was sticking to it. My body began to feel empty, and that gentle rumbling came back to me in full force. I was hungry again! No...not now! Don't do this now!

"Go ahead, pal..." Trevor said, a wicked gaze staring right through me. "...do it."

"Trevor..." Jenna said, but he was determined.

"Shhhhh....no no, princess. Justin is going to have to learn this sooner or later. And I think he's shooting for sooner." He whispered it when he said it, but he didn't really care if the guy behind the counter heard him or not. I just think he didn't want Taryn to know what was happening. I wanted to call out to him, to have him take me out of here and get me back to normal. But Trevor egged me on, whispering seductively in my ear, almost daring me to do it. "Go ahead. Do it. You know you want to. Quench the thirst."

"Trevor...stop..." Jenna tried to defend me a bit, but Trevor kept going, telling me how good it would taste, and how exciting it would be.

"Jenna, watch the door." He said, trying to subtley put an end to her intrusion. "Go ahead kid! Come on, show me what you've got."

I began to tremble with both the excitement and the horror of the thought. I felt that it was wrong, so wrong. But I WANTED it. I wanted to bite down on him, any part of him, and drink to my heart's content. The thirst was unbearable, my throat was sore, my hands were shaking, and my teeth began to chatter. I felt my fingers go numb as my hands turned ice cold, and I concentrated my focus on the bloody napkin in the trash. It had me hypnotized. I couldn't even speak.

"Trevor, we can't do this. There are people outside." Jenna was still on my side, but I don't think she would stop me if I did it. Something inside just told me that she would let it happen if I decided to go through with it. They all would. In their minds, it was simply a way of life. The next step of evolution into one of them. The one step I had yet to take.

"People outside? Well...invite them all in! I'm hungry for a little snack myself. We'll put up the 'closed' sign and have ourselves a late night picnic." Trevor was really beginning to enjoy this. "Go ahead Justin. What are you waiting for? He's right there. No consequence, no guilt. Do it. Do it. Come on....do it. I know you've got it in ya! Do it!" He was getting louder now, and his chanting was rationalizing every aspect of the horrible act in my mind for me. I could do it. I could get away with it and never once look back. I would never even think about it again after tonight. I didn't know this man. Hell, for all I know he could be a wife beating, drug using, homophobe. Yeah, that's it. He deserved to die. Deserved it. "Thatta boy...you know it's right. Do it, Justin. Do it."

I closed my eyes as the world began to spin around me. My sunglasses almost felt like a burden on me at that moment. I wanted to take them off. I wanted him to see the eyes of the boy who was about to take his life. My breathing began to quicken, my fists clenched up, and my eyes were changing color. I couldn't see it...I could 'feel' it. No doubt they were becoming that deep shade of crimson that Taryn's did the night he bit me. I wanted this, with every piece of my being. I needed his blood. The taste...the bitter sweet taste. I could hear his heart beating from over the counter, supplying me with all the luscious juice I would need to survive. God...I wanted to do it...sooooo bad. I felt my legs shift and my feet dig into the floor on their own. Almost like an animal assuming a striking stance on instinct. I could easily hop that counter and tear a gaping hole in his throat before he even knew what hit him. I could do it. I could. The blood would gush all over me, and the flow would force it into my mouth in giant gulps. I would drink until I was full. Not a cold, re-heated sack of dead blood. No...this would be different. It would be fresh...warm...almost hot...full of life...full of mouthwatering flavor. This blood was 'alive', it would move on its own, it would fill my veins and explode into life giving energy!

I was on the edge, the VERY edge. And tears began to fall from my eyes. I couldn't control it, it was winning. The thirst was beating me. My stomach rumbled with an angry jitter and just as I was about to do it...just as I was about to sell my soul and become the animal they wanted me to be...I stopped. I felt sick, dizzy with a lustful need to kill an innocent man. It was like waking out of a deep sleep after a nightmare. My body didn't even feel like it was under my control. I got scared and, trembling, stepped back from the counter. My heart was beating so hard that it hurt, and my breath was spilling out of me in loud puffs and gasps. I was terrified! I took off, running out of the store at top speed, almost ripping the door from its hinges on my way out. As I ran around the corner, I could faintly hear Trevor laughing at me hysterically. LAUGHING!

Taryn ran up to the front counter. "What the hell did you do?!?!" He pushed Trevor out of the way and ran out into the streets after me. I almost did it. I almost committed murder. And I WANTED it. I planned it, I considered it, and I wanted it to happen. I stopped a half block later and leaned up against a brick wall in an alley. I slid down to the ground as Taryn approached me, wishing that he could take the pain away. I cried into my folded arms. Why? Why is this happening to me? "Justin? Justin...what happened? Please...talk to me."

When he didn't get an answer, Taryn sat down beside me, and threw an arm over my shoulder to comfort me. I sobbed uncontrollably. "I can't believe...'sob'...I almost...I almost..." And I began to wail pitifully on his shoulder. We just sat there on the street for a few moments in silence, while Taryn calmed my nerves with his embrace. This life was going to be much harder than I had ever dreamed. Even with the unconditional love of this lovely angel on my side. "I craved it, lusted for it. I was going to sink my teeth in and...and..."

"It's ok. You'll learn, babe. You'll learn. In your own time." Taryn said.

"I wanted it...oh God...I wanted it so badly. And I couldn't do it!"

"Hey hey...shhhh." Taryn lifted my head from his shoulder so he could look me in the eye. "It's not an easy thing to do. It SHOULDN'T be. You care about human life. That's NOT a bad thing! Don't let them get to you. You have heart, Justin, that's why I love you."

"I'm...I'm going to have to do it...sooner or later. Aren't I?" I asked with teary eyes.

Taryn's response tried to remain honest, while still avoiding the question. "No rush dude. Now just isn't the time." And I knew that was a definite yes. "You'll be fine when the time comes. Don't hurry into it until you're sure. Ok?"

I lifted my head, looked my boyfriend in the eyes, and repeated one of the most important lessons I had ever learned in life. "Never act on any impulse that requires hesitation...right?" I sniffled.

Taryn looked over at me, and a sly smile broke out on his face through teary eyes. "...Right. Heh...absolutely right."

He got up first and helped me to my feet, then gave me the sweetest hug. Then he broke out in a big grin. "What?" I asked.

"I'm sorry, but those sunglasses look so stupid on you right now!" And he laughed outloud as I took a playful slug at his shoulder.

"Quit making fun of me, ya jerk! YOU picked them out!" But that didn't seem to make him giggle any less. We walked back out onto the street, and I saw the others standing outside in front of the store.

"Justin! Are you ok?" Jenna ran up and wrapped her arms around my neck tightly. "Oh babe...you don't have to do ANYTHING you don't wanna do! Not ever! We're going to look out for you! I promise! Oh Justin..."

She rambled on for a bit longer, her emotions almost spinning out of control. "....Hehehehe....Jenna...darling...I can't breathe." I grinned. She let go and I smiled at her. "I'm fine. Really. Thanks." That seemed to be enough, and she walked beside me as I joined the rest of the group. As I passed Trevor, he smiled at me, knowing that I was going to succumb eventually. To him, he had already won. And he took pleasure in my misery.

"Better luck next time, loverboy." He sneered, but I ignored it. I wouldn't give him the satisfaction.

The rest of the night went on as usual, with us basically wandering around town and chatting about whatever came up. We later split up into smaller groups, as always, me and Taryn heading out towards the lake. It had become our spot, our place to talk, and dream...and a good place to make out if nobody was watching. We sat on the very edge of the platform with our feet dangling off the side, only inches above the water. There were boats out that night, and the moon was casting it's bright reflection on the waves as they bubbled and churned endlessly. It really was a beautiful sight. I was beginning to long for it on a nightly basis, almost as much as Taryn did. Somehow, the lake always seemed to do something to him. He would always gaze at it dreamily while we spoke, and there would be moments where he just watched it in complete silence. It spoke to him, and he listened to every word. I often wondered what was going through his mind when he stared out in the darkness like that. But no matter how many times I asked him, he always just smiled and said he was spacing out. Tonight was no different.

"You know, you don't always have to sit out here with me. I know I can be a bit weird about this whole lake thing." Taryn said after another one of his long silences.

"I don't think it's weird. It's nice out here."

He smiled and placed a kiss on my cheek. "Sigh...you are too good to be true sometimes. Anybody else would have taken the first opportunity to run away from the lake screaming and head towards the nearest rave."

"You trying to get rid of me?" I teased.

"Nah...I'm stuck with you for the next thousand years or so. Might as well make the best of it."

I waited a few minutes, and after looking out at the lake a bit more, a distant memory came to my mind. A long time ago, when I was only ten years old or so, I remember walking along this same lake with my mom. I remember seeing a dead fish floating on top of the water, and I wanted to take it home because it was so big. Hahaha! I asked my mom, and she must have thought I was some kind of nutcase. If only I could have reached it without falling in. Oh man, how I wanted to try. I could hear echoes of her laughter in the back of my mind as she tried to figure out the logic behind taking a dead fish home. Hehehe, at the time, it made perfect sense to me. Wow...that seemed like it was so long ago. Everything was so bright, so colorful. The area was so full of people, of laughter. I think that might have been the first time that I had ever really missed the sun at all. I hadn't felt its warmth in months. Night time was just...different. Cold, colorless, quiet. Not that it didn't have its own sense of beauty too, it was just a different kind of beauty. One I still wasn't used to.

"I miss it sometimes, you know?" I said.

"Miss what?"

"My life. I wonder if they miss me. I wonder what those assholes in school thought about when they found out I was missing. If only I could see the looks on their faces if they were find out I'm a vampire. I wish I could meet them in a dark alley somewhere and scare the shit out of them!" I laughed.

"Yeah. It would be nice. But after a while...you let it go. All of it. I hardly remember what it was like to be alive anymore. Or what a double gut buster cheeseburger tasted like. Or...how bright the sun...used to be." There it was again. That saddened mood that fell over Taryn whenever he mentioned the sun. It must really bother him sometimes.

I hugged up close to him and did what I could to let him know that I understood his pain. Even if I couldn't do anything about it. And we stayed that way, in complete silence, for over an hour. Occassionally we exchanged some sweet angel kisses and soft caresses, but mostly, we just enjoyed the subtle harmonies of the lake's waves running into one another. It really was moments like this that I was thankful to have someone to share my life with. I just closed my eyes, and let my soul bury itself in Taryn's arms. God, how I loved him.

We didn't leave the lake until about 4 am, and decided to head back to the lot. We walked down into the subway and figured we could take the train for a change. Besides, we wanted to get home in time to have a little fun before dawn and the big sleep. I could almost taste him now. We got down to the train platform and it seemed like we were the only ones there. Unable to wait another second, I grabbed Taryn by his slim hips and pulled him into me for a kiss. He was a bit startled at first, but he got into it so quickly, I knew that he was just as hungry for it as I was. His tongue entered my mouth, twisting slowly around mine, and our heads were spinning. Lost in the clouds as our lips connected in the most intimate way they possibly could. Our gentle smacking and sucking noises echoed off of the subway walls, and it turned us on even more. That's when we heard some footsteps, and decided to stop. I grinned at my lover, his reddish brown locks slightly frazzled from having my fingers comb through them over and over again, and we rubbed noses before stepping out of our embrace. No need to get any unnecessary attention from any onlookers down here. It was almost like Taryn didn't want to let me go, and I was magnitized to him for another long hug. We could never stop touching one another in some way. His smile was so gorgeous, his green eyes giving me a smile of their own. Looking at him made me want to kiss him again and again without end, but I held back. I just kept a sensuous eye contact with him, and we smiled bashfully at one another while we waited for the train to come.

About five minutes had passed, and we heard another set of footsteps again. I looked to see where they were coming from, but I didn't see anyone. Taryn gently grabbed my hand and smiled at me again, turning me to mush right in front of his eyes. And he gave me a quick kiss on the lips, which turned into a few more pecks here and there. He was so sweet to the taste. Then again we heard footsteps. But this time, it sounded like more than one person. It was more like three or four. Taryn and I both looked this time, and still didn't see a soul. It was probably nothing to be worried about, but I looked down the tunnel anxiously to see if the train was coming anyway. I'd feel better if I was actually ON it.

When we heard the steps a fourth time, Taryn looked a bit worried. He gripped my hand a bit tighter, and pulled me closer to him. Something wasn't right, and the steps were closer now. We moved out a bit to actually look for someone to be standing there, but we saw nothing. Then we turned around....and there they were. Four of them.

They looked to be in their late teens, some wearing jean jackets, one in black leather. The vibe that I got from them was different than the one I get from normal people. These guys, whoever they were, weren't human. They were one of us. I could tell. Their scent was different, their movements, their 'aura'. They stood completely quiet, before one of them spoke up. "Good evening gentlemen." But it wasn't polite, it had the edge of danger in its tone.

Taryn and I kept silent, and I saw one of them sniff the air as if the aroma of fresh apple pie had suddenly flooded the darkened subway. He closed his eyes and smiled. "Mmmmm...one of these two boys is FRESH! Just crossed over from the smell of it. He's still got some of his original cells left." He said, his maniacal voice scattering throughout the hollow tunnel.

"What do you want?" I asked. Taryn pulled my hand back secretly, as though he was telling me not to say anything. This wasn't good. I've been on the other end of a bully's fist for a great deal of my life, and I know trouble when I see it. This didn't look like it was going to rate as a 'happy' experience in my book.