The vampire held out her hand. "Hello." she said.

Gill shook it. He couldn't take his eyes off her. It seemed like her very presence had reached back into his brain and flipped a switch. He wanted to hold her, kiss her, make love to her...

"Hello," Simon replied. "What's your name?"

"Sharon." She freed her hand and tucked a curl behind her ear. "I saw you watching me." she said, smiling. "Can I help you with something?"

"We were just admiring you from afar." Simon replied, smiling back at her. He held out his hand, "Simon Gage. Nice to meet you."

She shook it. "Nice to meet you. I'd love to stay and chat, but I'm afraid I can't keep them waiting." She motioned with a little toss of her head at the table behind her.

"Of course."

Something about his voice broke Gil out of his trance and her turned to look at him. Simon had let go and dropped his hand on the table. That was a short handshake, Gil thought. Usually he holds on forever or keeps making little touches. The vampire looked at him, her confidence slowly turning into bewilderment. Simon looked at her, a glassy smile flat on his face. The vampire turned to Gil and gave him a dazzling smile. "See you." she said, and walked back to her table. Putting her hands on his shoulders, she bent over the young man and whispered in his ear. Her little finger caressed his cheek. He stood up, pulled out his wallet, threw some bills down on the table. Taking her hand, they rushed out.

There was a thump beside him and the table shook. Gil turned. Simon was lying face down across the table. His empty glass lay on its side next to his head.

"Are you all right?" Gil took his shoulder and shook him. There was no response. "Simon?" He asked. He put his hands on his head, to lift it.

He dropped into his chair, exhausted. Just holding his eyes open was a Herculean effort and thinking was painful. His eyes closed and he felt himself starting to fall forward...

Someone took hand and Gil woke. He blinked. He was still tired but the bone-deep exhaustion was gone.

"Sorry," Simon said, letting go of his hand.

"What happened?"

He laughed ruefully. "I've been wondering for a long time what would happen if I tried to draw from a vampire and now I have my answer." He pushed himself up, then wavered and bent over, his hands flat on the table. "Maybe I should embrace a black hole next time. It might be easier." He slowly stood up straight. "I'll be back." he said. Gil watched him walk away through the crowd. He was clumsy, tripping and falling against people. Every time he caught himself and apologized, and his hand would brush against bare skin. By the time he reached the men's room he was standing tall as he pushed open the door and went inside. Gil saw people in his wake yawning, blinking, checking their watches, and making excuses to their friends. Turning around again, he looked at the table of Young Professionals. The host was showing a new group to their seats. His mind drifted.

A hand brushed across the back of his neck and he was feeling normal again. Better than normal actually. Simon sat down.

"I'll have to report my findings to the group." he said softly, and chuckled to himself.

"What group?"

He smiled at Gil, "Just a discussion list I belong to. We talk about a lot of things. Don't worry, I don't discuss patients." He raised a hand and signaled for the waitress. "Why don't you tell me more about Mona," he said. "How often did she change jobs?"