Samuel lay in bed. His brow was soaked with sweat; his eyes were sunken deep into his skull. His skin had darkened and drawn tight against his frame as if it were made of leather. His hair was thin to the point of translucence and his lips had curled in on themselves revealing gums so far receded that the root division of his teeth was visible.
He reached up, his arm thin and frail, while the joints of his fingers were swollen and twisted from arthritis; the nails were long and yellowed from age. He reached for the mug which rested on the table beside his bed, but had not the strength to reach it.
He took breaths in shallow rasping gulps, irregularly and often with immense pain.
The door opened and the gentle night breeze flowed through the small room.
"Samuel, I have been looking all over for you. Why are you doing this to yourself?" The woman asked, walking over to the bed and taking hold of the old man's wrist as if checking his pulse.
"Leave me." He whispered, his voice cracked and strained.
"Never, remember." She answered, bending down and kissing him gently on the forehead.
"Why do you look after me Jasmine? You have wasted enough time on me, go, walk away before it is too late and enjoy what time you have left." His voice grew slightly stronger, although it left him gasping for breath like a fish ripped from the water and left to flounder on the ground.
"Because I love you; the very first day we met I knew I would spend the rest of my life with you." She straightened her dress and sat down on the edge of the bed.
"I don't deserve your love. I killed them both, you know that, so just let me be." The old man tried to roll onto his side, away from the women he had spent the last 25 years with, but he just couldn't manage it.
"I know you did, but don't worry, it will all be ok. We can move, leave this city behind us. Maybe go abroad. Just move around." Jasmine suggested. She was 43 years old and had been living in the same place nearly all her life; apart from 3 years of college which itself was only just classed as being out of town.
"I won't ask you to leave your live behind. I can't go through that again." He moaned. "I won't watch another woman died because of me." He was crying now, or at least would have been had he had any moisture left in his body.
"Now, I won't hear any more of this nonsense Samuel Folly. Not a word. I knew what I was getting in for, I knew damned well, so you don't have the right to walk away, to push me away and run. Do you hear me; you don't have the god damned right. Not after all we've been through. I love you, and I won't let you do this." Jasmine was crying too now, her face smeared by her mascara.
The small wooden cabin Samuel had found to house him seven weeks before groaned and creaked as the wind increased. Jasmine took his hand in one of hers, and place her other against his withered cheek.
"You just need to eat something, get your strength up and you will be feeling better in no time." She smiled at him.
He pulled away, this time summoning up the strength to do so.
"No, I won't. Not ever." He began to protest. "I told you that. It's not what you deserve."
Jasmine pressed her index finger against his lips and hushed him gently, like a mother soothing a crying infant.
"Shush now. It's fine. I have an idea." She smiled wryly and rose from the bed.
"What are you doing? No. I beg you Jasmine, don't do this." Samuel began to protest, but his strength was failing, and he knew that Jasmine was a stubborn women. She had to be to put up with him all those years. She reminded him a lot of someone else.
Jasmine kicked off her does and climbed up onto the bed, straddling the man of her dreams before rising up her feet. The bed was old, and the springs rusted away to nothing and so it took a while for her to find her balance and muster the strength to move.
Several careful steps later, Jasmine was standing at the head of the bed, holding herself steady by keeping both hands against the wooden walls of the cabin. She could see the moonlight reflecting on the lake through the gaps between the planks, and it calmed her. She had spent weeks searching for Samuel before realizing there was really only one place he would have been. Sure enough, here he was.
"Jasmine…" He began once again, but before he had time to protest further, or even muster up just a portion of his strength she squatted down, pulling up her summer dress as she fell, smothering his face, she sank to her knees, pushing them into the old mattress trapping Samuel’s face between her thighs. She ignored the pain of the springs digging into her flesh and held herself in place. Beneath her Samuel struggled weakly, and then stronger, and finally his struggles stopped and he became still.
"Yes, that's it Sammy my love." She whispered, staring out into the night.
After a few minutes; although to Jasmine it had felt like an age, she relaxed and rolled off the bed. She was breathing hard, and felt a powerful rush of arousal swarm through her body. She resisted the urge to climb back and allow herself to give into the orgasmic tide that was crashing against her. She closed her eyes, and willed her thundering heart to reduce its pace.
When she opened them, the bed was empty. Before she could react she was grabbed by strong, muscular arms and thrown onto the bed. She turned and was immediately pinned down. Samuel; his body rejuvenated, his youth restored, kissed her passionately, his mouth still stained with her blood, which she had surrendered to him, to save him. She kissed him back and they made love and for the first time in their relationship Jasmine felt aware of her own mortality, and she begged him from within the silent world of her mind to turn her too; to feed from her and make her one of his kind. Yet she said nothing, she knew he would refuse.
He loved her, as he had loved others in the past but he would not turn her for the very same reason. She deserved the chance to both live and die, to complete her life unlike him. She loved him in return and instead of saying anything, she kissed him once more and allowed a tear to roll down her cheek.