Blood Therapy

By: Lynda Hilburn

Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist Book #2

Chapter 1

“But she’s fat, Dr. Knight!” The lithe vampire was wringing his hands compulsively in his lap as he whined, “You know fat women remind me of my mother—”

“Yes, Nicky. I know.” I took a deep breath and struggled to keep my expression neutral. He’d repeated this story several times in earlier therapy sessions. “It’s very unfair that you were turned by a... large female vampire and that she insists you share her coffin — and other things.”

Even vampires think it’s okay to denigrate people of size — well, why not? They used to be human.

He leaped off the couch and paced the lush blue carpet in the space between us. “Just so you know, it ain’t that I’ve got anything against my mother. She was a nice lady. She did the best she could. I guess it wasn’t her fault she had a disease or condition that made her blimp up to three hundred pounds.” He strode to the window and stood staring out silently for a few seconds, his hands clasped behind his back. “She didn’t mean for all the kids in the neighborhood to make fun of me for having a hippo mom. I’m not blaming her. I tried not to be disgusted by her.” His voice softened. “I was sorry when she died.”

Setting my notepad and pen on the table next to my chair, I rose and joined him at the window. Sometimes just being with a client is the best I can do. We stood together, watching the lights of Denver glitter from our lofty vantage point.

Maybe I should change my title to Dr. Kismet Knight, Vampire Whisperer.

I studied his frowning reflection in the glass. He was an attractive young man, closer to pretty than handsome — the word “winsome” came to mind. His dancer’s body and long, silky light-brown hair gave him a decidedly androgynous appearance. He looked to be in his early twenties, but I knew he’d been a vampire for fifty years.

Good thing new vampires couldn’t read minds for decades — sometimes centuries — or I’d go crazy trying to censor myself around clients like Nicky.

“Last week you said that you were going to tell Wanda why you have strong negative reactions when she tries to have sex with you or wants to keep you in the coffin all night. Did you talk to her?”

He gasped, and his gaze shot to mine, his deep-green eyes wide. He looked as horrified as if I’d come at him with a sharp stake. “N— No, no! I could never talk to her about those things. I could never disobey my moth— I mean, Wanda.” Glazed eyes now transfixed on the window again, he hugged himself tightly for a moment, then raised a slender wrist to his mouth and began gnawing furiously.

“Nicky!” I jumped aside as blood spurted from the holes he’d made in his arm, splashing onto the window, fouling my black pantsuit, and oozing into the carpet. “What are you doing? Please stop!” What the hell? He’d never done anything like that before.

He stopped chewing on himself long enough to speak. He turned to me, blood dripping from his fangs, and said, “It makes me feel better, Dr. Knight. I saw this TV show about a girl who cuts herself with razor blades. She said it relieved her anxiety. I tried cutting, but the wounds healed too fast — but this works for me. I’ve been doing it for a while. It really takes my mind off whatever I’m worried about. You said I should learn different ways to cope, didn’t you?”

Holy crap. Be careful what you ask for...

“Hurting yourself wasn’t what I had in mind, Nicky. Please stop.” My heart was still racing and my breath came in shallow bursts. I was sure I looked shocked as I surveyed the red stains on the wall and carpet and examined my soiled slacks. I was definitely going to have to start wearing blood-repelling leather clothing.

He reluctantly lowered his arm, which had already stopped bleeding. The holes disappeared as I watched. Still sniffling, he covered his face with his hands, then mumbled, “I’m sorry, Dr. Knight. I didn’t mean to be bad. If you tell Wanda, she’ll punish me.”

Does he think that’s a good thing or bad? Knowing Nicky, it could go either way.

“We don’t have to tell Wanda anything about what happens in our sessions, Nicky.” I recognized the familiar pattern: progress gained in one hour usually evaporated in the next. Every time I met with Nicky I felt like we’d stumbled into an old X-Files episode. We were stuck in an endlessly repeating time loop, although he didn’t appear to notice. Apparently he’d been cycling through this approach-avoidance pattern with his maker for the last five decades. I didn’t know enough about the bond between a vampire and his creator to make even an educated guess about what would help him. Hell, I’d been officially counseling vampires for only a few weeks. It was less than three months since I’d blundered into the bloodsucker underworld. I was lucky I hadn’t become an unwilling evening snack or coffin-toy yet.