Sweeter Than Sex and Wine

By Cindy Rosenthal



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And then a substance sweeter than sex and wine and vented rage splattered across the roof of my mouth
--Jesse Heindl, "Ten Miles Out of Bozeman, Six Feet Down"


"Sam? What happened? Are you ok?"

"Everything's fine, I just broke a picture frame."

How is that fine?

Aurelian went back to his letter.

"Ow! Oh crap, oh crap, that hurts...."

"Sam...?" In ten seconds Aurelian was in the den, where Sam stood with his left hand wrapped around his right, making faces and hopping from foot to foot in frustrated pain. Tiny shards of glass glittered among larger pieces on the rug; the broken picture frame lay on the sideboard. "What happened?"

"Glass... cut my hand open... big, sharp piece.... Holy crap, I'm gonna need stitches...."

"Let me see." Aurelian took Sam's hands, tried to pry them apart. "Sam. Open your hand. Let me see. Stop hopping and let me look at it."

Sam managed to calm down enough to gingerly open his fist and show Aurelian the bloody stripe across his palm. It didn't look deep, but...


...it was bleeding... and it was fresh.

Aurelian swallowed reflexively. He'd never bitten Sam, he'd never asked, Sam had never offered. But sometimes, at night, he'd pressed his face in the boy's hair, breathed in his humanity, smelled the rushing of his blood and the beating of his heart, and he'd thought about it. Thought about asking.

"I don't want stitches, oh please god tell me it's not deep, I can't look.... And - ow - that hurts...."

A vampire's saliva could close a wound. Sam wouldn't even need a bandage. And all Aurelian had to do was say something. I can close that for you, just let me lick it....

More intimate than sex, that exchange, and more precious than breath. Aurelian remembered what it was like to cut himself for his lovers, his lovers cutting themselves for him. But they'd all been vampires - the only times he indulged in blood play with a human had ended in... in....

"Sam." His voice was hoarse. "I'll get the gauze." And he folded Sam's hand over the cut, and he left the room.


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