Branko returned to his apartment tired. He had decided to order Chinese food and relax with a cold beer. All that changed as he arrived at his apartment. He noticed the security system was disarmed. His vampire senses shifted to high alert. As he entered his apartment, he left the lights off to allow his night vision to adjust to the dark. If his intruder was human, he would have the advantage in the dark apartment. He stood still and inhaled deeply. He could smell perfume floating down the hall toward his bedroom. He thought he knew it. It wasn’t the everyday work variety but more like the Saturday-night date-night variety. His mind began to mask the stronger odors: the smell of the carpets, the furniture polish, the garbage in the kitchen needs to be emptied. He began to detect more sinister odors like gun oil and black powder. Branko drew his weapon.
Vampires have a strong sense of hearing. Branko stood still and listened. Once again, his mind began to mask the non-threatening sounds: the refrigerator, the air conditioning, his own heartbeat. He tried to detect the tell-tale signs of an intruder – breathing and a heartbeat. He heard something but couldn’t pin point it.
Branko remained still as his eyes adjusted to the dark. During the day, he always wore red-tinted sunglasses. His helmet that he wore outside had a red-tinted visor, protecting his night vision. Vampires have 200% more rod cells in their eyes than humans to enable them to see well in the dark. Even with that advantage, he knew it would normally take fifteen to twenty minutes for his eyes to fully adapt to the dark. In the years he spent hunting and fighting at night, he had learned techniques to improve his night vision. He pressed the palms of his hands against his eyes to apply slight pressure. He off set his vision when he looked at an object to engage more rods cells. So far, he saw nothing.
Branko decided it was time to find his intruder. He smiled. He knew the air flow in his apartment would spread the odors. He decided to follow the perfume trail down the hall. He removed his shoes and began to tip toe down the hallway. He froze when he felt the barrel end of a pistol at the back of his head. It was not the first time someone held a gun to his head. It was a classic amateur mistake -- never put your weapon within reach of your prisoner. His mind raced as he thought about his next move. He could raise his hands, then quickly spin around to disarm his intruder. He decided to wait.
A woman’s voice whispered, “Freeze or you’re a dead man.” He froze. “Now toss your weapon onto the couch. Branko did as he was told. “Now remove your clothes – all of them.” He stripped down and stood naked. He felt two erect nipples against his back, so he realized his adductor was also naked. She reached around and felt his erection. “Good. Now go into the bedroom and lay down on the bed. Again, he did as he was told. No sooner had he lay down, and she was on top of him. Foreplay was over.
Several minutes later, Branko smiled and sat up on one elbow. “I did not know you were coming over.”
She laughed. “I needed you tonight – stressful day. Besides, I wanted to surprise you -- to get the drop on you.”
Branko laid back down. “Zoe, was your gun loaded?”
Zoe laughed. “Of course. I thought you might resist. Was yours?”
“Of course. I was not sure if it was you.”
Zoe rolled over to face Branko. “You liar. You knew it was me, didn’t you? I didn’t take you by surprise.”
“Yeah, I knew it was you. First, you did not reset zhe security system. And I could smell you.”
Zoe sat up. “No way. I took a shower when I got here.” She laid back down. “That damn nose of yours. Okay, take a whiff and tell me what you smell.”
Branko inhaled deeply. He paused for a moment. “I smelled your perfume when I came in. I thought I smelled it in zhe hall too. You left your scent trial all zhe way to zhe bedroom. I also smelled gun oil and gun powder residue. Now I can smell your deodorant, shampoo, tooth paste, and… and garlic.”
Zoe laughed. “I had target practice today and cleaned my pistol. I also had pasta for lunch.” They both laughed.
Branko got up and stepped over to the dresser. Out of the top drawer, he removed a black pouch that contained a syringe and a small vial of hemin panhematin -- an enzyme inhibitor derived from processed red blood cells.
Zoe sat up in bed. “Why don’t you take a sip of my blood?”
“I told you before, we aren’t that kind of couple.”
Zoe shook her head. “I have friends who date vamps, and they share blood.”
Branko turned around to face Zoe. “It’s an act of submission – not love.”
“Maybe in Romania, but here it’s just another body fluid that lovers share. You’re just old fashion.”
“Maybe… but whether it is love or submission, zhe wounds will not heal quickly and may leave a scar. Your next lover might not approve.”
“You might be right,” Zoe said. “I’ll ask him tomorrow night.”