“I knew you’d come,” she said from her bed.
“How could I not” he said stepping into the moonlight cast through the window.She chuckled softly to herself.
“I remember the last time you snuck into my room, do you?”
“Of course,” he crossed the room and sat on the side of her bed. She sat up as best she could.
“Clap for me,” she said.
“Just do it” she said kindly.He clapped twice and a small lamp illuminated the room with a warm glow.
“You always did love your clappers,” he laughed softly.
She put on her glasses “Oh Jack, you’ve barely aged a day,” she smiled upon seeing him properly.
He flinched at the name. “No one’s called me that for a long time.”
She caressed his soft youthful face with her time worn hand. “No matter what you’ve become, where you’ve gone...what you’ve done, you’ll always be Jack to me.”
Taking her hands in his he kissed their tips like he had done so many years before. “I always thought of you, there’s never been a time when you were far from me.”
“It has been the same for me,” she said looking into his eyes. “I take it back,” she almost gasped, “Your eyes are old; I see it every day in this place.”
Looking down he sighed. “I’m tired Lex, like a river running dry. I’ve already lived a lifetime, I don’t know if I can face another.” He looked back up and was surprised to find her smiling. “What is it?”
“No one’s called me that in a long time.” There was a pause, and then they laughed. Hers still rang with that same magic, that warm delight in her that held his heart.“
I brought a present for you,” he said reaching into his overcoat. This time she did gasp when he produced a photograph. She took it with trembling hands.
“Thank you,” she sobbed softly, “Thank you!” She flung her arms around him and cried into his chest, “Oh you kept hold of it all these years.” The picture that was now pined tightly between their chests was old and slightly faded. It displayed two teenagers, they were sat on a blanket, arms round each other in a joyous embrace. Their faces beamed out of the picture, which must have been taken on a summer’s day for jewelled rays of light shone down upon them. “It was always yours you know,” she said parting from their hug to blow her nose.
“My heart, it was always yours.”
“And mine yours.” The gazed knowingly into each other eyes. “Lex I’m so sorry,” he choked.
“Don’t apologise. You handled things the best way you could. Never blame yourself for what was thrust upon you. I will always be grateful to you. I’ve led a good life, I have a good husband and I have beautiful children...and grandchildren! You said long ago that none of that would be possible for us. For a while I despised you for it but after a while I knew you were right.” Tears tumbled down her cheeks now, “That only made me love you more though.” Jack blinked tears from his eyes all he could see out of them was a watery blur. They held each other again, “Drink from me,” she whispered.
“What did you just say?” he said, even though with his hearing it was hard to miss a pin drop.“Drink from me,” she repeated with conviction. “Isn’t that what you came here to do?”
“I came...” he faltered now, was that really what drew him here.
Seeing his uncertainty she said, “You once told me if you take someone’s essence part of them, part of their soul stays with you forever.”
“It does, but Lex...”“But nothing, I am an old woman now. My life is almost spent, I feel it, every moment, every breath brings me closer. Jack, we were robbed of sharing a lifetime, please don’t deny me this. Let me share my soul with you, as we would have done if things had been different.”
He looked at her resolved now. With the palm of his hand he wiped away his tears. “You were always better at arguing than me,” he smiled lovingly.
With a laughing sob she said, “I know.” Then wiping away her own tears then his fresh ones, “how do we do it then?”
“You don’t do anything, just relax.” Drawing her into one last embrace he put his hand on her heart.
“Will it hurt?” she shook slightly with nervous anticipation.
“No. Are you ready?”
“For longer than you know.”
Then together they whispered “I love you.”
Reaching out he connected with her essence immediately. To him she was brighter than anyone he'd ever drank from. She blossomed forth for him and burned even brighter than the sun. Suddenly the dark of his inner conciseness was a light. Images, memories, smells, thoughts, feelings flashed before him. Lex’s first day at school, the day she’d broken her wrist, the first time they had met. That image lingered longer and then was replaced by others. While this happened he did something he had never done with anyone he’d fed from. He opened himself to her so she could see him as he was now seeing her. When he did his mind burned as just for a moment they became one. One mind, one heart, one soul. The images became more sporadic in a confused collection now, they didn’t know who’s were who’s. A wedding day, Lex beautiful in a handsome dress. Young Jack playing with a fire engine. The two of them at the summer ball. Lex giving birth. Jack learning his Vampiric heritage. Lex sobbing over Jack saying they could never be. Jack lamenting the same. Lex meeting Charles, he made her laugh. Jack atop a mountain gazing across a blanket of clouds. They kept going like this, on and on. All the while there was a constant sense of longing in these memories, these feelings. It was only truly then that that they basked in the fullness of their love. They wanted to wallow in it forever. Finally the last memory came to rest on the photograph had been taken. They fell into it, like a waking daydream. They felt their arms around each other, the bunching of their muscles as they smiled, drunk with happiness. They could even smell the freshly cut grass. Then it was snatched away, Jack felt himself fall down a black abyss. He opened his eyes. Looking at the clock on the side table he could see barely a second had passed. He’d never drunk or bound with anyone so perfectly, with such ease. He felt Lex’s body limp in his arms. Laying her down gently he saw she had a smile that denied her years. Kissing her on the forehead he muttered “Good bye my love.” He clapped his hands, the light went out and he vanished into the shadows.
The sun shone through the window the next morning. Birds could be heard outside. The nurse came in with her usual hearty greeting. “Good morning Mrs Cooper, how are you today. Ready for your bath?” And when she heard no reply, “Mrs Cooper?” Dread crept through her. She went over to the bed and immediately felt for a pulse. When she found her to be cold and without one she sighed. “Oh Mrs Cooper.” It was then she noticed her peaceful smile and the photo in her hand. Looking down at the picture and then back at her face she said aloud, “Well Mrs Cooper whatever you were dreaming, it must have been good.”