A Lesson Learned

by Heather L. Markle

Archived November 2003

Warning: This story is rated R. If you are under 
18 years then  please do not read any further

        Natalie was somewhat surprised when she realized where she was. The
Raven. Why was she here? No matter, she sighed. It would serve the drink
that she so badly needed at this moment. Looking in her rear-view,  she
scrubbed at the tear trails on her cheeks and adjusted the scarf around her
neck. Then she exited her car and entered the bar.
        Ignoring the loud noise poured from the stage, she headed straight
for the bar. "Scotch, a double," she ordered. She tried to sound like she
knew what she was doing, but the truth was she had never ordered a double
anything in her life. Tonight was turning into a collection of firsts.
        Natalie gagged slightly as the amber liquid slipped down her
throat. It burned on the way down, but soon began to numb her in a pleasant
way. She wanted, needed to be numbed from the gaping black hole that used
to be her heart.
        Natalie focused on her drinking, completely unaware of anyone
observing her. At the moment, she really could have cared less if anyone
was interested in her.
        LaCroix, on the other hand, was most interested in her and her
actions. Her appearance alone answered a number of questions he had.  He
knew Nicholas was extremely upset. Their connection was throbbing so
strongly of pain, hurt and anger he had almost gone to him.
        The doctor's presence told him volumes about his son's state of
mind,  but certainly there was more to be known. Casually he strolled to
the bar.
        "Doctor Lambert, what a pleasure to have you join us tonight." he
used a tone that was a combination of suave mixed with a hint of concern.
He had found it was very effected with women in distress. "You are alone?"
        "Yes, Lacroix," Natalie didn't even look at him, "and I'd like to
stay that way, thank you."
        LaCroix suppressed a grin "Of course,  forgive me." he stepped away
from the bar, taking his glass with him. Natalie finished her drink in a
gulp, grimaced and ordered another. Sitting there she realized she was
lonely and needed to talk to someone. Ignoring her better judgement, she
picked up her glass and began moving through the club.
        She found him sitting at a private table, that was surprisingly
quiet. She dropped into the empty chair across from him and look at him a
moment.  The silence had just began to become uncomfortable when she said
"LaCroix, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap." She dropped her head on to her
hand, "I'm just a little upset right now."
        "No problem, Doctor. Is there something I can do..." he let his
voice trail off.
        She snorted derisively "Not unless you can explain men or vampires
to me." She took another sip.
        Lacroix arched his eyebrow."I can try, dear doctor. But I suspect
you ask the impossible."
        Natalie paused for a moment, studying her drink, then looked at
LaCroix squarely for the first time since entering. She realized that he
knew Nick as well, if not better, than anyone else. She also knew that she
had no one else to talk to. No one else would understand.
        "It's Nick. We...we've been getting closer lately." She paused
awkwardly, unsure if she should continue.
        "Closer as in more than just platonic friends?"  he asked.
        Natalie smiled, relieved that he understood and she would have to
explain everything. "Yes. We've been through so much lately, I guess its
just normal that we would be drawn to each other." She took a deep breath
and blow it out. "Anyway, we've been getting closer and then tonight... I
don't know" she looked away.
        LaCroix reached out and pulled her scarf away from her neck
slightly. He saw a messy wound that looked several days old. He knew,
however, that it was fresh. Frowning slightly he replaced the scarf and
looked into her eyes.
        Tension, fear, pain, anger and loneliness combined to form an
expression of devastation on her face. Gently taking her hands in his, he
spoke in his most reassuring tone. "Natalie, what has happened?"


        Natalie found herself pacing in the huge freight elevator as it
carried her up. "Stop that!" she ordered. She tried for the hundredth time
that evening to convince herself that this was just another, regular
evening with Nick. But she knew that lately none of her time with him had
been regular or average. She remembered the fiery kiss goodnight he had
given her when he left the morgue this morning, and the way her stomach had
flipped over at the sound of his voice when he had called her earlier.
        She was powerfully in love with Nick Knight. She knew it and she
believed he knew it too.  Did he love her? That was the question. It was
hard to know. Nick always felt unworthy of love, and he deeply feared
hurting her.
        But lately... her mind drifted to the way his touches had been
different, the way he looked at her had been different. It was a subtle
change, but they had both felt it.
        The elevator stopped, snapping her out of her thoughts. The door
opened before Natalie could even grasp the handle and there was Nick.
        The loft was lit by firelight. There were hundreds of candles
glowing everywhere and as he lead her to the couch, Natalie saw the roaring
        "Nick!" she gasped. "What is all this?" she was surprised and
        "It's for you," he grinned, pleased at her reaction. "Do you like
it?" he wrapped his long arms around her and held her close.
        Natalie smiled at him. "Its lovely."  She leaned forward on tiptoes
and kissed him. "What's the occasion?"
        "Being with you is always an occasion," he whispered and kissed her
back. They kissed again and again, reveling in the feel of each others
bodies, in the rightness of it all.  After a moment they stopped. Natalie
was glad she had Nick's strong arms to help support her. Her knees were
rather weak and her breathing was quick and heavy.
        "Umm, ah, hungry?" Nick was clearly as flustered as she was. A fact
that oddly comforted and pleased Natalie.
        "Yes. Quite, really. You said something about dinner on the phone,
        Nick grinned sheepishly. "Right this way, my dear." He lead her to
a table that was set beautifully. Flowers scented the room as the silver
and crystal sparkled in the candlelight.
        Natalie was impressed. She was glad she had a moment of intuition
that caused her to wear something nicer than her usual sweats.  Nick pulled
out her chair and seated her,  then served her an elegant dinner.
        "Nick? Where did this come from?"
        "Oh, I have a few connections." he grinned. It delighted him to see
her so clearly pleased. He wanted everything to be special for her.
        Over dinner they chatted about their pasts, sharing stories. Every
now and then, Nick would grow silent, watching her, his face unreadable.
        "What?" she laughed, after the third time it happened, "Don't tell
me you are having another one of your flashbacks!"
        "No" he smiled.  "I'm just noticing how beautiful you are.
Candlelight becomes you." He rose from his chair and knelt beside her. "I
don't think you have any idea how lovely you are. You're like the most
beautiful painting I've ever seen. I cherish you so much, Natalie."
        Natalie was speechless. She placed her hand on his face and kissed
him, letting her heart open to him. "Nick, oh Nick. I love you," she
whispered into his dark blue eyes. She lifted her arms around his neck and
fell into his embrace.
        Nick lifted her up and carried her to the couch, losing himself in
her kisses.  Deeper and deeper they kissed. Nick's mouth slipped to her
throat as Natalie lifted her chin, her long hair streaming down her back,
giving him full access to her. His lips, his hard body against her, his
hands rubbing and caressing her, all nourishing the spark of her desire to
a blazing flame. His lips and tongue were everywhere, kissing her, tasting,
sucking, probing, teasing her.  She became aware of a growing need, to be
with him, to feel him everywhere. It was a need that couldn't be denied. He
was hers and she would have him! Now!

       "And then?" he prompted. "Did you make love?" His voice was totally
        Natalie looked down, embarrassment coloring her face. "We tried, I
guess. I don't know, really. Everything was wonderful at that moment. It
was like a romance novel."
        "Everything you had dreamt of?"
        "Yeah, at first. It was like a dream, and then, something changed.
I don't know. I wanted him and he wanted me, but he was ..."she searched
for the word, "clumsy. "


        They explored each other's body, both wanting and needed more.
Their clothing lay in messy piles around them, a testament to their burning
hunger. Nick's hands cupped her breasts, stroking, pinching her nipples.
        "Owwww!" she gasped.
        Nick looked startled. "Too rough?"
        Natalie nodded.
        "I'm so sorry, let me kiss them better?"
        Natalie smiled, reassured by his response. Nick leaned down and
took a pink nipple in his mouth while his hand stroked the other. It was
heavenly to be kissing her like this,  he thought. He sucked on the sweet
tit,  feeling it harden against his tongue.
        Then he switched to its match, while his hand stroked her inner
thighs. With a soft moan, Natalie opened herself to him, urging  him on.
His fingers moved up to her soft folds and began exploring them. She was so
soft, like the petals of the most delicate rose. Gently he parted those
delicate lips and probed deeper.
        Natalie's hips moved against his hand. His fingers found  her moist
core and gently began thrusting into her. Natalie groaned slightly,
twisting herself to find better angle for him. His thrusts became deeper
and faster.
        As she moved against him, Natalie was unable to find the right
position to satisfy herself. She began to feel frustrated. She tried to
slow Nick down a little, but he misread her signals. Natalie's body was
becoming more tense, almost painfully so. She needed release, but Nick
seemed unable to find the right rhythm to let her. Her heighten state of
arousal turned on her, and made it difficult to control herself.
        "Please Nick!" she begged. "Please!"
        Nick struggled to please her, pressing more firmly on her clit as
he bit the nipple in his mouth.
        "Arrggggg!!" Natalie roared pushing away from him. She sat on the
floor, panting heavily.
        She could hear the pain and distress in his voice. "Its okay,
Nick." She smiled weakly, "I think we are just going to have to practice
        She pulled herself together, then guided him to the couch and sat
in floor between his legs. She kissed his knee, licking and nipping lightly
as she moved up his smooth inner thigh.
        Nick threw his head back, his hand gripping the edge of the couch.
He purred deep in his chest as Natalie reached his velvety sack. Sucking
lightly, she took one of his balls into mouth and caressed it with her
tongue. Releasing it, she captured it's mate and gave it similar treatment.

        Nick clenched his jaw, his knuckles turning white where they
gripped the couch. Natalie grinned to herself at his response and turned
her attention to his cock.
        She was pleased with its size, long and thick, rising out of its
nest of blond curls. She slowly ran her tongue up its front, till she
reached its thick head.  She used one hand to ease his foreskin down, while
the other massaged his balls. Her tongue circled  his tip, lapping up the
drop of pre-come that had formed there. She blew lightly on it, then
quickly sucked his length into her mouth.
        Nick gasped, and moaned as he felt her hot mouth enclosing him. it
was so wet, so warm. He had forgotten how good this could feel. His free
hand grabbed her head and stopped its stroking.
        "Nat! Please! You have to stop! Please! Not like this!"
        Natalie understood and immediately released him. Nick sat still a
moment, his eyes closed. Natalie became aware for the first time that his
eyes had changed. That stilled her heart a moment.
        Nick lifted his head and opened his eyes to smile at her. His eyes
had returned to their normal blue.
        Natalie smiled, reassured, and kissed his cool lips. Nick took her
into his arms and lay down on the floor with her, on the rug before the
fire. The firelight played across her features. He rolled to his back and
gently guided Natalie to straddle him.
        Natalie felt her desire flare up, demanding satisfaction as she
eased herself onto him. His hands began kneading her breasts, causing her
to moan as Nick's cool hardness filled her. Natalie closed her eyes,
letting the sensations of their joining wash over her. She leaned down and
kissed his full lips, as her hips began long and slow strokes against him.
Their tongues flickered over and against each other's and their stroking
became faster and more desperate. Soft moans came unbeckened out of their
mouths as they surged together towards the release they sought.
        Suddenly Natalie heard an odd growling noise, so loud it startled
her. Her eyes snapped open as she felt Nick's teeth tearing at her throat.
        "NO!" she screamed.
        Next thing she knew, she was hitting the floor, half way across the
loft from where she was. Her neck throbbed painfully. She heard Nick at the
refrigerator and saw the empty bottle being thrown, one after the other
against the wall.
        And then just as suddenly, it was over. Natalie lay on the floor
whimpering and trying to collect herself. Nick was no where to be seen. She
was alone.

       "That's when you came here?"
        "Yes," she was exhausted from telling her experience. "I threw on
my clothes and got out. I just drove, and I found myself here. I have no
idea why." She took another swallow. "I guess I'm just feeling  a little
self-destructive right now." She gave him a sad smile, as a tear escaped
from her eye.
        LaCroix looked at her for a long moment, considering what she had
said. "Well, my dear. I think you made out quite well, all things
        Natalie looked like her hand had been slapped. "How dare you!" she
hissed and tried to raise. LaCroix's hand closed on her wrist like a vice
        "If you are smart, you will stay and listen to what I have to say.
At this point, I would say you have nothing to lose!"
        LaCroix's voice was soft and deep. His words cut though her like
like a razor. Surrendering, she sat down across from him and looked up at
him. Her face was tight as she spoke, "I'm listening."
        "Good," he quipped. "Now as I see it, you feel like Nicholas
betrayed you and doesn't care about you. You feel devastated that your
'lovemaking' went so poorly and at this point, you feel like you have
nothing left. Correct?" he tilted his head as he looked at her.
        Natalie nodded.
        "Well, First let me assure you that Nicholas is equally upset."
        Natalie's face was incredulous.
        "Oh yes, because of our unique relationship, Nicholas and I share a
special bond. I can sense extreme emotions on his part. I was going to
check on him when you came in and provided an explanation for what had
        LaCroix sipped from his glass. "It's hardly fair to expect Nicholas
to be an expert lover. He's had so little experience in mortal love."
        "Our kind are sensuous beings, the taking of blood is an intensely
powerful experience. But we have different erogenous zones. The lips and
neck are our main sources of pleasure. The parts of body used by mortals
are no longer our main interest.'
        Natalie was shocked. "But surely Nick and Janette! All the time
they were together they must have-"
        "Of course now and then, they probably did." he cut her off. "But I
assure you, our kind focuses on pleasure above the neck."
        Natalie was dumbfounded.
        "Really Doctor, I thought you were smarter than this. The Demon
reawakened Nick's need for blood. Right now he has all the control of a
creature half his years.
        "Natalie, did you really think the force that has kept Nicholas
alive for 800 years would just disappear because you wished hard enough?"
His voice was filled with scorn.
        "Now, as to that nasty scratch on your neck, it is clear that
Nicholas loves you. If he did not we would not be having this little chat."
        Natalie stroked her neck absently as she tried to understand his words.
        "I know it's a shock, but that is a surer sign of love than any
jewel you will ever wear on your finger. I assure you."
        Natalie looked away, tears welling up in her eyes. "Oh God! Poor
Nick! I didn't realize...!" The she gasped as a realization came upon her.
"Nick! He probably feels guilty! I've got to get to him!"
        She stood up. "Lacroix, where is he?"
        Lacroix eyes became unfocused a moment."He's at the loft, but I
would hurry, if you hope to catch him."
        Natalie fought back the panic that closed in on her heart and ran
out the door. As she raced across the city, she cursed herself for what had
happened. "Oh Nick! I'm so sorry! Please don't leave!" she prayed.
        As she flew up the stairs, she heard Nick's fury. He was howling
like an enraged animal and the loft was filled with the sounds of objects
        "Nick!" She screamed, willing him to hear her.
        He stopped and ran to her. "Natalie! Are you okay! I feared the
worst!" He took her into his arms, a look of relief overcoming his face. He
was paler than usual, wearing only his jeans. His expression was haunted.
There were trails of blood tears down his checks and more trails from the
corners of his mouth.
        He held her closed, rubbing her back and burying his face in her
hair, trying to convince himself that she was really there. Then he noticed
the scarf around her neck. Slowly, as if in a trance he removed it. Horror
filled his face, then he turned his back to her.
        "Leave!" he ordered.
        "No, Nick, no! Stop this! It's not your fault!"
        He whipped back around and grabbed her arms "It's not? Is it? Then
whose fault is it!?" His eyes were red with rage."I almost killed you!
Can't you see that! Leave now before I finish it!" He flung her away from
        Tears poured down her checks as Nat cried out "But you didn't!
Nick! Don't you see? We were both wrong to think we could just ignore the
vampire! But you didn't!" She got up and walked to him. "As someone pointed
out to me, this is the surest sign of love that you could give me!" She put
her hand on his arm. "I know you're trying to spare me pain, but you've
taste my blood. You know how much I love you. I can't walk away from you."
She took his face in her hands and looked in his now blue eyes. "I don't
know how, or when, but I know I am bound to you. My soul to yours, my life
to yours, my fate to yours. I know this is true, Nick and so do you."
        They fell into each others arm's sobbing and clutching the other
for dear life. They whispered and comforted each other, like small
        "Nat, when I realized what had happened I wanted to die.  I'm so
sorry, I was a fool. Will you forgive me?
        "Yes, yes. I'm so sorry. I was a fool to think we could..." Her
mouth was silenced with a kiss. Together they found the solace they needed.

        After a few moments they stopped. "We need to talk," she said. She
directed him to the couch while she grabbed two bottles from the fridge.
Sitting next to him, she handled him the bottles. "Here, I think you will
need these."
        Nick looked at the bottles, then sighing, opened and drank one.
"What are we going to do, Nat?"
        "Well, I think we need to stop acting like a bunch of brain-dead
teenagers." she smiled, softening her words. "We need to accept that you
are a vampire, and that hoping won't make it go away.
        "I misunderstood you, Nick. I'm sorry, I expected you to be able to
make love, to relax and enjoy but at the same time to be able to control
the vampire. I'll never make that mistake again."
        "So, is there any hope?" he asked, stroking her hair.   "There is
always hope Nick. If we can't find the cure now," she swallowed, "I will be
happy  to join you in the darkness, until we can find one. All I ask is
that you never leave."
        Nick took her into his arms, "Never, I could never leave you."
Gently he kissed her lips.
        "Then in the mean time, until we are ready to make love, I think we
need to be honest about our feelings and our needs. "
        Nick smiled and took her hand and held it to his heart, "I am
Nicholas de Brabant. I am 800 years old. I love you Natalie Lambert, and I
know you love me more than any other man in the world. My life is to be
with you, forever."
        Tears threatened Natalie's eyes again, as she took Nick's cold hand
in hers. She held it to her heart and said "I am Natalie Lambert. The man I
love is a vampire and loves me more than any other woman in the world. My
life is to be with you, forever.

        From the skylight, LaCroix looked down at the scene below. A look
of  satisfaction crossed his face. He had been concerned that Nicholas
might do something rash, but now he saw that, thanks to his intervention,
all was well. Nicholas would hopefully be happier with himself and if he
gained a daughter in the process, that would be a welcome, if unexpected
        Silently he flew into the darkness of the night.

The End