That Choice Again
Copyright © 2013 by Michael Litzky
Lavinia’s song just got more powerful. Sally felt like she couldn’t get enough oxygen.
“My wife, my Lavinia,” she said, a tremor in her voice. “Hear me.” I have to be the leader, the responsible one. “I need us to start down now.” Heart hammering, she waited for Lavinia to acknowledge her.
And she did. Breathing very hard, she gasped, “Okay, baby.”
Sally melted with relief. “I love you, I love you, I love you,” she gushed. The coastal hills now spread in a green carpet north and south, rising in the east to crests which were still higher than the two of them. The gleaming calm sea lapped the long thin line of beach. Her breath was loud in her ears.
They suddenly dropped ten feet, making her stomach lurch into her throat. Lavinia’s face was pained with concentration around the spasming of her body.
Sally stopped herself from screaming, don’t you know how to get down!? She focused on breathing, longing for sand between her toes. Lavinia gasped and they bounced a few feet back up. “Baby, I, I…” She was clearly fighting the ecstasy. “I don’t know how to stop it.”
Sally’s mouth was as dry as paper but she pushed the fear away as best she could, wrestling it aside like that sagging green curtain in their camper, and said “Baby. Never mind. Fly us higher. You need to fly. Just … keep me warm as much as you can.” Lavinia’s skin was radiant with heat.
That was all Lavinia needed to hear. She stopped struggling and gushed upward like a fountain of molten copper. Her eyes asked forgiveness but she couldn’t speak. New arias of love burst from her mouth.
She was meant to fly this high, and higher, Sally thought. I hope I was meant to go with her. Her front was deliciously sweaty. As they reached a new height, Lavinia turned them so the sun began to warm Sally’s back. The sky was a magnificent cerulean robe and she could imagine it wrapping her in a glimmering blanket. They were almost as high as the tallest coastal hill now. To the west, the sharp rocks of the Farrallones broke the clear sea.
It wasn’t icy cold; she must have been more terrified than she thought. They were only as high as the coastal hills. Airplanes flew a lot higher. And they weren’t going any higher; that made it easier to relax and drink it in. She thought back on how she’d pushed the terror aside (at least, enough to operate rationally) and was proud of herself.
With the sun on less of her body, Lavinia was able to talk. “Jeez, kid,” she started.
“I love you, shut up,” Sally panted. Their voices sounded small in the tremendous gulf.
Lavinia stroked her back gently, soothingly, ripples still passing through her. “Fuckin’ incredible, huh?”
“It’s a miracle.”
A miracle. Tonight cities, towns, fields and farms would be crawling with vampires. Right now vampires infested the slopes of Mount Everest, stood vigil outside the Kremlin, glided along the Great Wall, haunted the temple at Angkor Wat.
And every one of them was a potential angel.
Tears came to her eyes. For five years she had accepted the palpable presence of supernatural evil. What did it say about her that what was happening now seemed unbelievable?
Lavinia’s hands stroked her tenderly. They drifted in a light breeze, but Lavinia somehow kept them turned so that the sun was on Sally. Sally’s curiosity bubbled up and she tried a question, hoping Lavinia would be able to talk coherently.
She could but it was liked talking to someone who was stoned. “How’m I doing it? Fuck if I know. Aaahhhh, mmmmm,” she rippled into a long moan of pleasure. “Like, I arch my back to come? But, aw man, mmmmm.” Sally almost gave up on getting an answer, but then Lavinia managed, “Does it happen for you, when you’re drifting off to sleep you kinda spin and twirl and float?” Sally nodded, her cheek against Lavinia’s. “Well, each wave of oomph feels like that, ‘cept the spin and twirl and float is real.”
Sally thought. “But you can control it, sort of. You’re keeping the sun on me instead of letting us spin. So you’re not just nullifying gravity, because with no net force and no net torque on us, we’d just keep—”
Lavinia was laughing gently. “Not up for a Four Dicker, baby. We’ll do the physics another time, mmm?”
Sally guffawed. Holding each other in the old camper in some state park a month ago, Lavinia had realized that they had in fact discussed Richard Feynman, Richard Wagner, Richard III and Richard Nixon in one conversation. She’d joked, “Fuck, that’s a lot of Dicks for a pair of dykes!” Despite Sally’s laughing protests that she was actually a monogamous bisexual, Lavinia had called their intense intellectual conversations Four Dick Dialogues ever since. It hadn’t made Sally laugh for a while: food tastes better out of doors and old jokes sound funnier when you’re naked two thousand feet in midair.
Sally realized that she was hungry too. They did seem to be floating a little lower but at this rate they wouldn’t land until nightfall. “Babe, I really hate to ask, but can you try and get us down again?”
Lavinia’s eyes had drifted shut as she moaned. They popped open again, full of dazed concern. “Fuck, I’m sorry, let me try again.” She furrowed her brow in painful concentration.
“Does it hurt you to try?” Sally asked.
Lavinia relaxed for a moment. “Yeah. Fighting it’s like, hah, the best way to describe it is when you got the running shits and you have to hold it for 20 blocks until you get home.”
“Ugh,” Sally winced. “There has to be another way.”
I could take her up on her offer.
She held her breath. Lavinia had risen as a vampire less than five minutes after she’d been killed. Five minutes from now, they could be flying hand in hand. She craved it now far more fiercely than when Lavinia had offered last night.
But Lavinia seemed no more eager to drink her blood now than she had in the night. Sally couldn’t resist asking, “Aren’t you thirsty for my blood?”
“Mmmm?” Lavinia looked confused. “Uh uh, no. Solar powered, that’s me.” She squeezed her eyes shut and they bounced joltingly down about ten feet.
Sally actually found herself annoyed with Lavinia’s lack of comprehension, let alone eagerness. “You could make me a vampire, you stubborn thing, you!”
Lavinia’s eyes flew open. She looked distressed. “No, not, uh uh. Don’t want you making such a big decision fast just because I’m – aahhh, aaaaaahhhhh! – too chicken to feel some spiritual cramps for a while to get us down.”
Sally reluctantly realized that Lavinia was right. Besides, three billion evil soulless fiends stalking the night and only one of them a happy sun worshipper who could fly? They didn’t know enough about vampires yet. She had to stay human. For now.
Lavinia saw her realize that, nodded, then said, “Okay, now shut up and let me do this. And hang on tight.” Sally started to protest that she could stay up longer but Lavinia silenced her with a kiss. “You’re shaking, baby. This is on me, I gotta know how to do this. When I was seventeen I drove stoned for ten miles looking for a bathroom. I can do this.”
Sally realized that she was indeed trembling. Well, she refused give in to weakness. “Make love to me again first,” she demanded, not realizing that her lower lip stuck out as she said it. Lavinia, barely controlling the waves of desire, still tried to say, “Don’t be such a fucking—”
Sally wriggled and managed to turn them so that more sun fell on Lavinia’s body. They surged upward as Lavinia moaned and arched, pulling Sally’s hips against hers. Sally quivered, not really aroused but determined to conquer her fear. Remembering what looking in Lavinia’s eyes had done before, she looked straight into those violet beacons.
She saw blind passion there. Then she saw dawning concern. She saw a fierce inner struggle, like sun burning at smoky fog.
And suddenly, Lavinia was pulling her towards earth.
Instead of pushing them higher with each roll of her hips forward, she was pulling them earthward with each swing of her hips back. As her chest arched into Sally’s they hovered instead of surging. As she exhaled a deep rush into Sally’s mouth she pulled Sally’s breast to hers and sank deeper into the embrace of gravity.
Sally felt a waterfall of gratitude. Lavinia had found the way and was taking her home. From the joy in Lavinia’s eyes, she saw that Lavinia knew she’d done well. As the lovely, soft, beautiful ground drew nearer, as the amphitheater opened out around them and took them in, Sally realized how near collapse from overwhelm she must have been. The horizon stopped tilting and tilting and only then did she realize that it had been tilting and tilting. With a whoosh of wings, a white gull circled them three times and flew away.
With one final breath, Lavinia pulled them down so their feet touched warm, supporting sand, only a few feet from where they’d taken off. She carried Sally into the shade, laid her gently down and sat beside her. Sally instantly crawled back onto her lap and glued trembling lips to Lavinia’s. They made love in exuberant heat and when they were able to breathe calmly afterwards, Sally declared once more: “Whatever we eventually get some piece of paper to say, you are my wife.”
Lavinia, running her fingers through Sally’s black hair, was silent. “Yeah,” she said finally, “I’ll take care of you.”
Sally tilted her head so their eyes met. “Even when I’m being an asshole, mmmm?” She knew she’d been a stubborn idiot and she blushed but felt too much in love to berate herself.
Lavinia had come through for her. As a miserable cold creature condemned to hell, she had resisted hurting Sally. Now as a superhuman of some sort, she had broken through waves of mind-clouding euphoria to take care of her. “My hero,” Sally said simply.
“Aaah, you fuckin’ idiot.” Lavinia knuckled her hair with affection, looking like she was going to cry.
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