Dark Frontier, 2

Again, she was both awed and intrigued by not only Barnabas’ charm but his indefinable air of mystery, as if he were hiding many secrets. With any luck, maybe she could learn a few of them tonight. She cut the connection and prepared herself for her unexpected but most welcome date–particularly if it happened to shake up a certain Vulcan, even a little!

Christine was pleased to note that Barnabas arrived promptly at 1900 hours–and again, impeccably dressed. He smiled and looked her over; she wore a long, Empire-waisted dress with long fitted sleeves, which ended in points on her slender hands. The top of the dress dipped low enough to show some cleavage, leaving her creamy neck and shoulders bare below the IDIC earrings she wore in her pierced ears.

She held a white shawl, along with her silver and gold glittery evening purse, which contained some Vulcan/ Rigellian perfume which was a mixture of rose and honeysuckle scent, a comb, some hairpins, her medikit and even a debit card for fifty credits…”mad money”, as it were, just in case of necessity. Her dark hair was piled on top of her head, a gold and pearl headband assisting the hairpins in holding it in place.

At the sight of her, especially the lines of her beautiful neck and shapely, feminine body, Barnabas was warmed with both desire for her and hunger for her warm blood. Still, the latter desire was tempered by his innate decency and strong desire not to harm her, whatever the cost to himself or anyone else who might come in contact with him…up to and including any other member of the Enterprise landing party. He had seen a lot of beautiful women in his long sojourn on Earth, but none quite like her. If only for that reason, he had to control himself and show her the best time he possibly could on their date.

“Lani, come on,” Christine called over her shoulder. “Barnabas is here and we’re getting ready to go!”

“Be right there,” the other, smaller woman called back. She appeared a few moments later, clad in a smart yet functional–and form-fitting–pantsuit of royal blue with gold trim on the pant legs and jacket, a gold turtleneck sweater underneath it and regulation boots. Christine didn’t see a phaser or communicator anywhere, but was sure they were concealed somewhere on Lani’s person, since it was SOP for a Star Fleet Security officer to carry a communicator and weapon on every mission, if not a tricorder as well.

When she joined them, Christine again introduced them. Barnabas smiled at Lani and said, “I am pleased to meet you, Miss Davidson, and feel most fortunate indeed to have two such lovely ladies to accompany me tonight. Shall we go?”

Lani still seemed wary, but Christine sensed that, like herself, the younger woman was slowly but surely being won over. Even at that, she still had a job to do, and was very serious about her work. Each woman then took an arm of her escort and left for the evening.

They went to the inn’s restaurant for dinner; the fare was simple but very good. Each woman ordered a meat dish, but Barnabas stuck to tomato soup and ice water. When Christine questioned him, he explained that he had to follow a special diet because of a food allergy and had to stick to liquids as much as possible.

It seemed plausible enough on the surface, but at the same time, something about it just didn’t ring true–something which continually eluded her, no matter how hard she tried to put her finger on it. She didn’t want to believe it, but was half-convinced that Barnabas was lying to her for some reason, was hiding something from her…but what?

Meanwhile, they finished their meal and headed for the theater. They took their seats about halfway down, Christine on the right, Lani on the left. They soon became engrossed in the film, but at one point, Christine became aware that Barnabas was holding her hand. She looked up at him, but he was staring straight ahead. Again, his hand seemed unnaturally cool to her, but otherwise strong and firm, yet gentle. At a later point, she felt him brush her hair away from one ear and gently kiss it.

“Christine…” he whispered, his voice soft and husky.

“Yes?”

“I would very much like to kiss you. May I do so?” She touched his cheek and smiled assent; a moment later his lips met hers. They were cool at first, but soon warmed up as the kiss deepened, his arms tightening around her and vice versa. They were somewhat reminiscent of the one time Spock had kissed her, albeit under duress, on Platonius…but this encounter was consensual.

Christine checked out of the corner of her eye to make sure that Lani’s attention was on the film before giving herself up to the sensations her escort’s kiss was evoking in her before stroking the back of his neck, prompting a soft moan from him as he continued to kiss her. At the same time, part of her was wishing that it could have been Spock.

After a time, she moved her head to bare her neck and throat to his lips, as yet unaware of the chance she was taking by allowing him access to it–and only by the barest thread did Barnabas manage to keep from biting her. Instead, he merely kissed the warm, scented and silky bare skin she presented to him.

“Christine, I can scarcely resist you,” he murmured into her fragrant hair before returning to her lips. “I would like so very much to…make love to you. Do you think that would be possible?”

The question was sudden but not entirely unexpected; even at that, she scarcely knew what to say. She could not deny her strong attraction to Barnabas, but was it strong enough to also deny her feelings for Spock and give herself to another man?

“It’s possible,” she found herself whispering back in the heat of the moment.

His arms felt every bit as strong as Spock’s, although she knew he couldn’t possibly be, being Human (or at least looking it).

“When?” he whispered against her ear. “I do not know how long I can wait.”

“I would have to contact you again; I can’t say for sure right now.”

“If not your room, could you come to my cousin’s home?” he asked. “I have my own room there, and he respects my privacy, so he would not disturb us.”

“Oh, Barnabas, you tempt me–you surely do tempt me…” Christine’s voice was as husky as his.

“Ah-hum!” Lani’s impatient voice broke in. “Time to go, lovebirds!”

Christine broke the embrace, blushing furiously. She had not felt such strong desire for a man since Psi 2000 or Platonius… Despite that, however, her heart and mind still belonged to Spock, though it was still doubtful as to when or if he would claim her.

“Sorry, Lani,” she made herself say. “We just got carried away.”

“Obviously,” came the dry retort. “I was beginning to feel like a voyeur, the way you two were going at it.”

They left the theater a short time later, Christine noting on the town clock that it was 2215 hours. “We’d better get back to the Inn,” she told her date. “I’ll contact you if I’m able to figure a time for us to get together again,” she promised.

Barnabas kept an arm around her as they walked, Lani on his other arm. “Please don’t forget,” he entreated. “I need you.” He lowered his voice just so Christine could hear it.

“I won’t,” she assured him as they headed back to the Inn.

By 2230, they had arrived back there; Barnabas insisted on seeing Christine to the door of her room. She told Lani to go inside and wait for her; she would be in in a few minutes. The girl seemed reluctant at first, then after a stern look at her companion, shrugged and went inside…though Christine was sure she was listening at the door.

Barnabas drew Christine into his arms again and resumed kissing her passionately, but made sure to stay away from her neck, because he didn’t think he could resist the temptation again. “Sleep well, Christine,” he finally said after reluctantly releasing her, raising her hand to his lips one final time. “Think of me.”

“I will,” she replied, her head still spinning from Barnabas’ intoxicating kisses and passionate caresses. She hadn’t felt like this since Platonius… The only thing which would have made it perfect was if it had been Spock.

Damn it, why can’t I stop thinking of him for even a moment? Christine berated herself. Oh hell, I forgot to ask Barnabas about his family! Now I’ll have to see him again, if only for that reason…

Once Barnabas was gone, Christine went inside to find Lani waiting impatiently, arms crossed and tapping her foot. “Well! I thought you’d decided to go home with him, the way he was all over you at the theater.”

“I’ll excuse that on the grounds that you’re only trying to protect me. Otherwise I’d put you on report for insubordination to a superior officer,” Christine told her subordinate, bodyguard and roommate. “As for the rest, that’s my business, not yours.”

“Okay,” Lani shrugged. “But you know that you’re supposed to be here to do a job, not have a romantic rendezvous, especially not with a man you barely know.”

“Don’t push it, Lani. I appreciate your concern, but I’m a big girl,” Christine warned. “Now let’s go to bed.”

Within half an hour, all was silent in the darkened room except for the soft breathing of the two sleeping women. Around half past midnight, however, Elaine woke to a soft squeaking sound that seemed to be coming from the window, something only her trained ears could pick up. She felt around in her jacket pocket for her hand phaser, setting it on heavy stun before carefully making her way to the window, where she was sure she’d seen movement as well as heard the squeaking sound again.

She opened the window and looked out, but saw nothing. However, just as she was getting ready to close and lock the window, she heard the strange squeaking noise again. Her head turned in the direction of the sound, her phaser raised and her finger on the trigger, but before she could move to fire it, a bat flew in and attached itself to her neck.

She screamed and struggled desperately to get it off her, but after it bit her, she stopped struggling and collapsed to the floor as the thing fed on her for several minutes, drawing at least a pint of blood before withdrawing, leaving two ragged, bleeding punctures behind.

After the bat flew out the second-story window of the Collinsport Inn, it headed for a nearby apartment building, where there was another open window on the tenth floor. A moment later, it changed into Barnabas Collins, who then entered a secret compartment behind one wall of his room and got into the empty casket waiting there. He was now satisfied for the night and wanted some private time to think about Christine.

Christine awakened to a horrifying sight. The window was open and Lani was lying on the floor, unconscious, her neck bleeding from two ragged holes. She forced back a scream at how deathly pale the young woman looked as she knelt down to examine her after grabbing her medikit.

In the course of her examination, she learned that Lani had lost almost a pint of blood. Something had attacked her, something which could fly, something which had obviously come through the open window…but what? These were the same kind of marks found on the necks of the other victims–and they were now dead. Or were they?

But she couldn’t think about that now; Lani had to be taken care of. She got the younger woman onto her bed and stabilized her condition, treating her neck wounds, but she was still going to need a transfusion. Christine then went for the com-unit and called the suite across the hall.

Spock answered, raising an eyebrow upon seeing Christine still in her nightgown. She was too distraught to notice that he was only in a robe himself.

“Spock here. What is wrong, Miss Chapel?”

“Is Dr. McCoy awake? I must speak with him!” she exclaimed.

Before the Vulcan could reply, however, McCoy came into view, still in PJs with his hair tousled and still yawning deeply. “Chris, what the hell’s wrong? I heard you yell clear into the bedroom,” the Doctor groused sleepily.

“Ensign Davidson has been attacked. I woke up to find her on the floor, unconscious, with two bleeding, ragged holes in her neck…and the window open. She’s also lost at least a pint of blood and is going to need a transfusion!”

There was stunned silence for a while, then McCoy said, “Oh my God…it’s true!” A moment later he looked up at Spock. “Get Jim in here. I think we’re about to start earning our pay!”

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