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Safeword: Storm Clouds(2)

By´╝ÜCandace Blevins

As she walked back into TBR, she thought of how many Jakes there were in the world, and wondered how many of them she was going to have to go through before she found someone she'd like to groom as a human companion. She was better than that at picking men, but still, even with her good judge of character, and her ability to smell a lie, there was still no guarantee that she wouldn't find someone who seemed perfect and then learn that they had some serious personality flaw somewhere down the line. But, it was a risk she'd have to take, because sometimes the benefits outweighed the risks.

Before blood banks, most vampires had taken on a human companion – someone that they cared for and kept around as a food source. In this particular territory the human companions were never hostages, they stayed of their own free will. That was the way Kendra preferred it, but it also meant it took a good bit of effort to keep a human companion happy enough to stay around in the relationship. But in recent decades it had become possible to buy bagged blood, and most vampires had enjoyed the freedom of not having to deal with a human companion. Some of the women vampires were starting to go back to the old practice though. They were finding that after a few decades of bagged blood, they were still hungry even after feeding – something was missing from the bagged blood. When you drink from a human companion that you care for you don't just take on their blood, you take on some of their life force as well. When you drink bagged blood, you only get the blood. Nourishing, but unfulfilling. Kendra had loved the freedom of not needing to be dependent upon a human companion, but now she was looking forward to the intimacy and the extra oomph a relationship could provide if you found the right person. She wanted that sense of feeling alive again, and she wanted to find a man who enjoyed life to the fullest who could give her that feeling.

So tonight Kendra was on her way to the security room of TBR to look at the camera feeds and see if there was someone who caught her fancy. TBR was a large multi-room nightclub owned by her friend Abbot, who just happened to be the Master Vampire over most of the southeastern United States. Abbot and Kendra had been friends for millennia, and Kendra was currently his third in charge. Abbot owned a number of clubs, but only a few had special secret rooms for vampires complete with bartenders who could dispense blood cocktails. TBR was one of them, though of course the humans had no idea.

Kendra stepped into the camera room and one of the human employees looked up. “Good job with him, I don't know how you do it. No one ever even knows there is a problem when you're the bouncer. It's like you've got a magic touch with people or something. Maybe it's the difference in a girl and a guy doing it, but I've never been able to walk someone out so casually that no one else in the room realized someone was being escorted out."

"Thanks, but I'm not actually working tonight, I just saw a problem and dealt with it since I was close. I'd like to look through the feeds, and then I'll get out of your hair."

He nodded and stepped back so she had access to the controls and she stepped forward and looked across the monitors, flipping for different views here and there, hoping someone would catch her eye. As Abbot's third in command Kendra had access to go anywhere in any of his clubs, and could make most any decision in his name when he wasn't around to do so. When one of the club managers was out she was sometimes called in to fill in for them, but tonight she wasn't there to work. Kendra spent a few more minutes looking back through the feeds and no one really jumped out at her on the black and white video feed. She'd gone to several of Abbot's other clubs over the past couple of weeks, half way looking for a companion, but now that she'd gotten serious about looking she realized TBR seemed a more likely place to actually find someone she might like. She didn't especially want someone who was going out to a bar to try to meet people, and she noted that men seemed to come here to just hang out with their friends. Specifically, they avoided the party billiard room, and the dance room, and headed to the laid-back billiard room when they were here with their guy friends just to hang out. So that is where she headed.

As she walked past the billiard tables towards the bar in the quiet billiard room, almost every man in the room noticed her. Kendra hadn't been a particularly attractive human – when she'd been born several thousand years ago she'd been tall and lanky. In an age when the tallest men were likely to be five feet ten inches tall and most were a good bit shorter, she was five feet seven inches tall. When the social customs said that fat was sexy and that skinny meant you were too poor to be able to afford food, she'd been skinny no matter how much she had eaten. Even as recently as one hundred years ago she hadn't been considered attractive by the standards of the day. So she was more than pleased that she happened to fit the current ideal of what was beautiful –she was tall and she wore a size three. And the tanned look seemed to finally be out of fashion as well, so even her pale skin was considered attractive now. She usually dressed in stylishly classic and flowing clothes, and she was more likely to wear pastel colors than black. She had long dirty blond hair and vibrant blue eyes, and her makeup was done tastefully. She used a hair stylist who made regular trips to California to stay up on the latest hair styles, and she made an appointment every spring and fall with a make-up artist to make sure she didn't get stuck in an old fashioned way to put her make up on.