New Views and Reflections

By Viola

“Here I’ll open the shades, it has that view you wanted.”

She walks slowly through the apartment dragging her hand along the plush furnishings, eyes drifting from mirror to mirror, so many mirrors along the walls. Standing near the window waiting for her, watching her is Lindsey. She sees the way he is watching her, with a mixture of trepidation and desire. She is used to seeing desire in a man’s eye, and well usually the fear didn’t appear until it was too late, not until she was sinking her fangs into the tender of their neck. This look was new for her, since he wasn’t afraid of her, but for her.

The window reflects her image back to her, the night sky but a backdrop to her approach. It startles her for a moment to realize she is seeing what he sees. Outside of a few photographs and paintings, it’s been over 400 years since she had seen her reflection. The blonde she sees reflected distorted by the moonlight is a stranger to her. She knew Lindsey had selected her clothes; was this how he wanted to see her? The clothes fit but felt … not her. Before she died, before her Boy had killed her, wait that would have been her second death, she had adopted a school girl’s uniform for years while waiting on the Master. She had always used her wardrobe as bait, always the finest available fashions, the finest materials. She could remember silks, wools, lace, all in red. Blood red. Now she was in cotton and blue.

“Darla? Are you alright? If you don’t like this place, I can find another one. Not tonight, but tomorrow. “He approached her cautiously, noting that her eyes stared past him out the window. There was no reaction as he touched her arm. Feeling braver, he then reached forward to push the stray hair behind her ear. Still no reaction from her until he stepped in front of her, then she pulled away. “Darla?”

This Blonde, was that really her? It was hard to recognize herself in that image with stars and lights, now with Lindsey standing beside her reflected in that same window. She saw the concern in his eyes there, when was the last time someone looked at her with concern? “No, Lindsey, I like this view. This will do.” He steps behind her, looking over her shoulder towards the window and their reflection. She can feel his hesitation, sense the hand not quite visible in the window with which he wants to touch her. In her old life she realized she would probably be able to smell his arousal, smell the salt of the sweat brought on by his nervousness. She would have been able to hear his heart beating a little faster, the blood circulating; hear the sounds of his desire and her sustenance. Now, there was nothing. She stepped forward, away from him and up to the window.

“I already put some more clothes for you in the closet, and some toiletries in the bathroom, but we can go shopping for anything else you need.”

This close to the window she could no longer see her reflection, just the sky and the city line. Los Angeles. This city with all its millions, its buildings and lights, despite the modern accoutrements, didn’t feel all that different than the hundreds of cities before. Paris, London, Koala Lumpur, Moscow, Bangkok, Athens, New York City. They all looked alike in the dark. And it was always in the dark she saw them. She couldn’t remember ever feeling comfortable in the daylight, ever wanting that much brightness. Even now, early today it had felt harsh, exposed. How did people live in that much light, that much heat? Without shadows, and not the shadows brought on by the sun, but the shadows within the dark.

“Darla, why don’t you let me show you the rest of the apartment?”

Lindsey’s reflection now loomed in front of her, and she realized he was suddenly directly behind her again. She turned to him, bewildered that he could have gotten so close to her without her aware of it. But there it was in his eyes, that emotion she knew how to handle, desire. With her hand she reached out, resting it on his chest over his heart. She could feel the heart beat she couldn’t hear, the fast patter brought on by emotion, by his attraction to her. She stared in near fascination, startled to realize she *did* hear a heart beat, an echo of the one beating under her hand. It was hers. She pulled her hand away abruptly, but he caught it with his good hand.

“Let me show you.”

“What is it you want to show me, Lindsey? This apartment? The clothes you bought me, the things you want to give me? The bedroom? Is that what you want to show me? “She knew she had hit a nerve, as the open emotion in his eyes started to shield itself. “Do you know how many times I’ve heard that line? How many men I let lead me into bedrooms, alleys, hallways even, where they wanted to get me alone? How many men led me where I wanted them to go, so I could feed on their lust-fueled blood? Their desire for me, for my body made my survival easy, it made me powerful. It kept me alive for nearly 400 years.” That night in Sunnydale flashed through her head, the night she never could have imagined when Her Darling Boy had killed her. The laugh escaped through her lips and she pulled her hand away from Lindsey. “Ironic, that in the end, it was Angelus’ desire for another that killed me. I made him, gave him eternal life, and then gave him the gypsy girl that resulted in his soul. So, truly I made him into the man or vampire he is today, and in return he plunges a stake in my heart over a 15-year old girl.”

“He was a fool, he is a fool.”

“That may be true, but what about you, Lindsey? Are you a fool? Are you leading me, or are you taking me where I want to go in order to survive?”

“I don’t want to take you anywhere, I just want to be here with you and help you do just that, survive. I can help you, if you let me.”

His eyes were so earnest, she recognized that he meant it. He wanted to help her, but she wasn’t this woman he saw in cotton and blue. She wasn’t a woman who needed saving. Not since…, not since the Master saved her from her death bed, giving her first death than life. Now with this new heart beating in this new body, wait, was it new? She had died, she knew that, which meant she had turned to dust. Was this the same body she had used to seduce, to kill? The same body Angelus used to worship? Or was this body that felt warm and loud and demanding, new like that heartbeat pounding in her ears?

“There should be some food in the kitchen, why don’t you let me make you something to eat. You didn’t eat anything earlier. What are you hungry for? I had my secretary pick up some basic stuff, since I didn’t know what you liked. Could make you a sandwich, or maybe an omelet?”

“What do I like? I used to eat politicians, maids, business men, secretaries, even lawyers like you, Lindsey for dinner. For breakfast I would look for virgins or babies, loving how sweet and pure their blood felt going down my throat. That wouldn’t nourish me now though, would it? This body needs something else, and I don’t know what that is or how to get it.” She saw him standing in the kitchen, still with his suit jacket on, a dark tie still tightly around his neck. He had pulled items from the refrigerator to the counter, and continued to look through cupboards. She walked up to him and started to loosen his tie. “Or maybe I do. Maybe getting sustenance for this body isn’t all that different. Are you able to feed this body, Lindsey? Do you know what it needs?” With the tie now loosened, she pushed the jacket back off over his shoulders, slowly down his arms. She felt and heard his breath catch, as she walked behind him keeping one arm pulling downward on the jacket. Pressed up against his back, she finally let his hands pull out of the sleeves. “What is it you can give this body, Lindsey? Can you show me what it needs? Show me what I need?”

He turned suddenly in her arms and pushed her back against the counter. One hand tangling into her hair, while the other hand reached around her waist pressing her forward into his body, even as his hips pressed her into the hard surface behind. His eyes were darker than before, his breath uneven and coming in gusts, his heart racing, and she could feel his arousal flush against her. This was all familiar, his reactions predictable even. Didn’t matter the country, the city, the era, the gender didn’t even matter; this she still knew how to do in this body. She watched his lips part, his eyes move from her own eyes to her lips. There was a perceptible pause, but she knew what would come next. Her lips suddenly felt dry, and by reflex her tongue slide out. This small gesture shocked her, and she pushed Lindsey away and slid away from his grasp.

Her body felt suddenly alien to her. Her body was warm, her lips dry, her heart was racing, and her breath had been uneven. She had always had control of her body, and now it was acting on its own. It was responding to Lindsey’s arousal, instead of controlling him. That wasn’t right, that wasn’t how it worked, wasn’t how Her body worked. This wasn’t her body anymore. It was broken.

“You can go now, Lindsey. I don’t need any food.”

“Are you sure? I can stay if you want.”

“No, you should go home, Lindsey. I’ll be alright. Thank you for finding this place, this view for me.”

In the reflection of the window, she watched him pick his jacket up from the kitchen floor. He paused near the door, staring back at her. “I’ll be back by in the morning. If you need anything or if there’s a problem my phone number is programmed into the phone, just dial 1.”

She didn’t turn around, instead responding to his reflection. “I will see you in the morning then. Take care, Lindsey. Have sweet dreams.” After seeing the door shut, she backed away from the window until her reflection became clear again. Turning away from the reflection, she was confronted with a clearer image of this self she now was in the mirrors. There were multiple images of this breathing, heart-beating betraying body everywhere she turned. Grasping a small vase from the table, she threw it shattering the image most directly in front of her.