Eternal Kiss

Chapter One

Raya Dubel was no ordinary human girl; Evan knew that. He was a vampire, but a relatively young and weak one. He had only been dead about twenty years. What drew him to Raya was her intense and immediate hatred for him. She refused to call him by his name, and instead called him Eb. Although the other students didn't notice, he recognized the difference from the usual "Ev" immediately. Eb was the nickname his blood-mother had given him. She had named him Eben when she changed him. The name was Hebrew for rock. She liked metaphors.

Eben was not really muscular, but he was strong as a human and his death made him stronger. He had neat dark blond hair and the usual violet vampire eyes. His were nearly gray, though. Most of these humans didn't realize his oddity, instead thinking of them as blue, as they had been before. No one really got close enough to see that they were a lavender gray. He was not excessively attractive, unlike most of his kind. He preferred it that way, not being one for attention.

Eben was not prone to romantic emotions. So he dismissed his fascination with Raya as curiosity. Anyway, her looks were pretty mediocre. She had straight, usually messy dark hair that fell a little past her shoulders. Her eyes were a dark pine green from what Eben had been able to see. They might have been brownish green or almost black. Her body was pretty standard too. Her legs were skinny like her arms and she had small feet to match her size of five-foot-two.

But Eben was not interested in Raya's looks anyway. He was not interested in anyone's looks. He killed humans for their blood, and never cared what they really looked like. The only reason he was here was to attempt to trace a hunter that had been haunting the area, but the vampire still found himself paying most of his attention to her. It didn't matter, he told himself. There was no sign of vampire hunters in this stupid little suburb. But he couldn't push the truth out of his mind. He would be in so much trouble if Tyrus found out. Tyrus was his blood-mother, and she expected him to act like her son and respect any order she gave him.

Just as that thought struck Eben, the bell for the start of first period rung. He was already in his seat when the new student walked confidently through the door. Eben groaned in his mind. Tyrus must have sent her to help him, or perhaps to watch to make sure he was doing his job. The girl was Inya, an exotic-looking girl that was drop-dead gorgeous. Her hair was a dark plum color and her eyes were a sparkling celery-green. The contrast between her dark hair, bright eyes, and lightly tanned skin was enough to attract the attention of everybody in the room, student and teacher, male and female alike.

She looked around and smiled, showing shiny white teeth, but not enough to reveal her fangs, which would give her charade away if someone were to break through her slight mental influence. Eben knew this to be her trademark smile that she usually reserved for her prey, only with the fangs showing. The only known exception to this was Eben. She always gave that seductive smile to him. He hated it. Her outfit – dark green tube top and ultra-low denim shorts – was violating the school dress code in about seven different places but the teacher, Mr. Terrence, didn't seem to notice.

"Um, I'm Ingrid Steil. The schedule from the nice lady in the office says this is my homeroom. I guess you're Mr. Terrence?" she said, putting on her favorite innocent, flirty act. She walked silently to the empty seat that Mr. Terrence directed her to. It happened to be the last seat in Eben's row, all the way in the back and directly behind him. He figured this was because Mr. Terrence was married with children and didn't want her right up in front. Or maybe because Inya was using the same last name as Eben.

"Hi, sweetie," she said quietly after settling in her seat. The teacher had already started today's lesson. Her green eyes did not fool Eben. She was as much a vampire as he was. But she had a habit of doing favors for Tyrus in exchange for rewards, such as a rare gift of colored contact lenses in her human eye color. The extraordinary qualities of vampire eyes caused them to steer clear of optometrists and this caused most to be stuck with their new gray or purple eyes.

"Inya, leave me alone. I already told you I'm not interested."

"Oh, but I thought you enjoyed it that night," she teased. Eben would have blushed brightly if he weren't dead.

"You drugged me, Inya. You drugged me and you know it," he said. It was partly true. He had known they were drugs. What had happened between them was the result of her lust and his stupidity. He had heard the rumors of a powerful drug that effected vampires. But he ignored them and the fact that his drink had looked tampered with. He regretted that immensely.

"Listen Eb, Tyrus told me that we're supposed to be married humans." She slipped a gold wedding band onto his desk. She already wore one and an engagement ring. Although they would have had meaning to a human Eben, the rings held little value to him only twenty years later. "We can at least pretend. Maybe you'll come to like it," she said. He sighed and slipped the ring on.

"We're posing as sixteen, Inya. How will we explain this to these people?"

"Since when did they matter, Eb? Besides, you already put it on."

Eben sighed again. He decided to stop the conversation before the other students started to notice. He was not in love with Inya and had never been. Now he was being forced into acting like he was. He would have to talk with Tyrus about this. He looked over at Raya, pretending to pay attention to the history lesson he had learned when he was a human in high school while wondering about the mysterious human girl.

Eben had to admit that he must have some instinctive attraction to Inya. She had been hugging him and sneaking kisses all day. At lunch she had doted on him and his enjoyment of any form of acting held up their perfect image of true lovers. By the end of the day, most of the school had heard that they were married. And some members of the student body devoutly disbelieved the statement, including Eric Polch.

"C'mon, Ingrid! You can't be married; you're only sixteen! Won't you go to that dance with me on Wednesday?" he pleaded.

Eben, who was searching though his locker in the same hallway, found it amusing that Eric, who was in their homeroom, hadn't realized they were using the same name.

"Look, Eric. I guess you don't know, but my last name is Steil. Yes, the same as Ingrid's, which makes sense since I married her. And she's going to the dance with me. Because we are married. We got married because our parents let us. Okay, Eric? So stop asking out my wife."

Eric looked completely petrified. He was tall, but still shorter than Eben's 6'2". He was easily intimidated by Eben's muscular frame, and so he quickly scurried away. Just for show, Eben kissed Inya's forehead lightly before taking her hand and walking out of the building with her. She held his hand tightly and smiled that special smile. When they got to the apartment he was living in, he noticed a pile of suitcases inside.

"Yours?" he asked Inya.


"Great, the extra room is the unpainted door. Go ahead and move your stuff in."

"But we're supposed to be married. Shouldn't we share a room?" Inya said with an innocent look on her face and a suggestive one in her eyes.

"Nobody ever stays the night here. They'll never know about it, Inya. So just move your stuff and leave me alone. I'm off to find dinner," Eben replied firmly.

"No, don't go! Wait for me to get settled. Then we can head out together," she insisted.

"Inya," Eben sighed in frustration, "let me go. Now. Or I'll make you my dinner instead."

She stepped meekly out of the way and snatched up her bags, heading to the door he'd pointed out. He knew she understood the double meaning of his words but would choose to pretend she hadn't. He stalked out the front door of the apartment, having no intention of feeding himself just yet.

Eben's first stop of the night was his own house in the vampire district. He drove for nearly an hour before pulling into a camping area and parking. The sky was near dusk and he felt noticeably more comfortable and confident than he had in the months he'd been gone.

He got out of the car and walked along a path in the woods for a long time before reaching his destination. It was a small clearing with an ancient stump in the middle. He knelt on the huge stump and danced his fingers across the rings, jumping them back and forth in a seemingly random order. Soon, there was a low humming noise and then a sharp crack like a gunshot as he disappeared. The noise repeated itself as he appeared above a manhole in an old road that had never been paved and had no obvious need for a manhole.

Eben walked quickly along the side of the road, and soon a bus pulled up beside him. He got on and took a seat, not bothering to tell the driver where he lived. He was good friends with Chino and Tygr, the operators of the shuttle-bus system.

Chino drove while his wife served her own drink, Tigrilyst, to passengers. The mix of high-potency alcohol and blood was exotic and most of the vampire kind enjoyed it. The alcohol was strong enough for them to feel its effects. Young vampires were commonly served a mixture of blood and milk, which made it sweet and similar to human drinks. Weak vampires typically got pure blood, because they needed it. Nobody really knew where all the blood came from, but Ty was a resourceful woman and just about everyone trusted her.

Eben gladly accepted a glass of Tigrilyst from Ty and told her to send his greetings to Chino. She smiled, but he was confused when she turned down the aisle the wrong way, heading to her little kitchen in back, right behind the stairs that led to the second level of the bus, which was where she and Chino lived most of the time. She fussed a bit in the kitchen and returned with a small bundle. She brought it to him with a huge smile on her face.

"Hey Eb, you've been gone so long you never knew I was with child. This is Kajai, our little boy. We haven't really had time to get the word out yet; he was born just two days ago."

"He looks like Chino. I'm sure he's pleased that Kajai didn't get your blue hair."

Ty frowned, shaking her head. Her blue hair was nearly down the floor in a long, neat braid. On either side of the braid was a small braided bun pinned tightly to her head. Legend said she had been reborn with blue hair because she had simply wanted it so badly. Many just believed she'd done somebody a favor in return for the dye job. "I should think Lenikki, however strange, will be most pleased."

"Chino's sister? Yes, I have to agree. Well, let's not wake him. You should put him back to bed."

"Yes, you're right. Nice to see you Eben, but I think I'll rest a bit myself. Give Tyrus my regards. And Ailis, Inya, and Lysao as well, of course," she said with a tired smile. "And your brother's ridiculous wives too, I suppose," she added affectionately. She liked the women, but found Lysao's way of life quite amusing. "Blessings, Eben."

"Blessings to you and your family, Ty."