Warning: Contains some frank words about the female ovulation cycle (as can be surmised by the title). Since it’s only been mentioned obliquely in a few select fanfics, I figured I’d take the next most logical step and depict it in fic, without verging on taboo or warranting an adult rating. Nonetheless, if the very idea of menstruation squicks you at all, turn away now.
Disclaimer/Legal Notice: Nicholas Knight and Natalie Lambert are the product of someone else’s imagination, not mine. I’m just borrowing them for a bit.
Acknowledgment: A shout out goes to abby82 for the conversation that started it all, and for also being an awesome beta-girl. You rock!
Summary: Natalie, staying at home to deal with “female problems”, gets an unexpected visit from her new vampire friend. Inspired by a conversation I had with abby82 on LJ.
Blood. A gathering of cells into a viscous crimson fluid, which flowed along arteries, veins and capillaries to sustain life.
Blood. The same fluid of which excess was sloughed off every 28 days by women of childbearing age.
Blood. The very thing which vampires hungered for.
Natalie groaned, both at this realization and as a new cramp seized her. There was no way she could go into work, not with Nicholas waiting for her there. Being a vampire, she suspected he would be sensitive to the presence of blood and would know of the current state of her cycle. She might as well walk into that vampire club he mentioned before — The Blackbird or something? — with a sign around her neck scribbled with the words “FREE AB- HERE!” and an arrow pointing down to her crotch.
Sometimes, being mortal truly sucked. But she wasn’t about to let on to Nicholas about that. After all, he was the one who wanted to be human. He’d figure out sooner or later that mortality wasn’t precisely the elevated state of existence he believed it to be. Actually, she had to wonder what was really so bad about being a vampire — after all, in theory the females presumably wouldn’t menstruate. It would be a waste of perfectly good blood.
Well, ok, so there was the sun issue and not being able to eat chocolate ever again. But, the mood she was in now, she’d happily sacrifice her stash of M&Ms if it meant never having to buy pantyliners again.
Even without having to work with a vampire, she still felt too miserable to go in. So, grunting as she righted herself from her half-prone position on her couch, she flung out her hand to the end table and pulled the telephone closer to her. Absently punching in the speed-dial, she waited for one of her superiors to answer.
The call had been relatively painless. She had stated she wasn’t feeling well and, when her female boss asked why, Natalie grumped “female problems”. Her boss gave an understanding, commiserating sigh and told her to stay home, and Natalie was to call tomorrow if she felt better and ready to return to work. Work had been slow today, anyway, Natalie had been informed. There would be no need for the young doctor to rush in, and Natalie never took vacation time anyway, so consider this her day off.
Natalie sighed as she put the handset back in its cradle, then slumped back into the couch again. She wanted to get her M&M stash, but that would require getting up and going into the kitchen, which she didn’t have the strength for right now. She also needed to take a shower, because she felt so grimy and icky. But that wasn’t happening either, as that also required getting up. Perhaps she should just stay on the couch until she was all bled out.
She must have fallen asleep on the couch for some while, as she was woken rather suddenly. A cold gust of wind had chilled her to the marrow, even through her beat up old sweats, and she suddenly sat up. She stifled a groan. Nicholas was leaning against the now-open french doors to the balcony, a bouquet of flowers in his hand.
“I heard you weren’t feeling well, so I thought I’d drop by and visit during lunch break,” he said, closing the gap between them. “And I got these for you on the way.” Clearing his throat, he then presented her, somewhat awkwardly, with the bouquet.
“Thank you,” she said quietly, taking the flowers and breathing in their scent. They were beautiful and smelled lovely. Her eyes popped back open and met his and, unless she imagined it, his nostrils flared. He knew, she realized, as the look in his eyes softened.
“Do you need anything, Doctor?” he queried, his comment very gentle and solicitous.
“You can start by calling me Natalie,” she said with a wry smile. “And I’d appreciate it if you grabbed some M&Ms from the kitchen for me.”
“Ahh,” Nicholas replied. And more was delivered in that utterance than a simple acknowledgment of her directions.
But he turned and went into the kitchen, she calling after him, “Second drawer on your left!”
He returned with the bag of chocolate goodness and provided her with it. “You might wish to change, by the way…” he began, stopping when her face turned as crimson as he hinted her panties were likely to be. He gave another awkward throat clearing, and adroitly turned his gaze ceilingward.
“Thank you, I’ll do that,” she replied and, with as much dignity as she could manage, got up and disappeared into the bathroom.
She spent some time in the bathroom and, at some point, would have expected him to leave. But no. When she went back out to the living room, he was still present; in the kitchen, making tea.
“Honey and ginger are more effective for the aches than chocolate,” Nicholas finally said, presenting her with a mug of the tea once she sat back down on the couch. “And a little goes a long way. A tablet of Evening Primrose will also help with the bloating and depression.”
“I didn’t realize you’d be so knowledgeable on the matter,” Natalie said, the blush that rose again to her cheeks beginning to fade. She took a sip of the tea; it was tangy, yet sweet and the heat emanating from the mug seeped comfortingly into her hands. He had never mentioned before that he was good at making tea, she realized.
“I was a doctor myself once,” he replied with a small smile.
“In the Nineteenth Century,” he added with an impish grin.
“Ah, so you know all about those so-called homeopathic remedies, I take it.”
“Only because there was little else at the time,” was his easy reply. “After all, surgery was in its infancy at the time, as well. And I’m afraid I’m not terribly up to date with modern medicine. But that’s your area of expertise.”
Natalie was the one who cleared her throat this time. “This is a little awkward for me…”
Nicholas shrugged. “I can’t help having an acute sense of smell any more than you can help being a woman.”
The tension she didn’t even realize she was feeling melted from her. “Well, that’s certainly true.” She then smiled a little bashfully at him, “So, I guess I’m the patient today and you’re the doctor. What other remedies do you recommend?”
“Well, massage can be effective in soothing aches,” he replied. “If you wouldn’t mind one.”
Natalie’s voice was small and nervous. “No,” she replied. If it helped reduce her misery, she was all for it. Her nerves were simply because… well, how many enigmatic and attractive vampires were willing to offer their massage abilities to a woman on her menses? “I wouldn’t mind,” she added, so he wouldn’t misconstrue her tone as reticent.
He perched on the coffee table and gently pulled up her sweatshirt so the bottom was tucked under her breasts. Then he pulled down the waistband of the sweatpants so they were at her hips. Quietly, she watched him as his hands — so very, very cool and soothing — gently worked into the clenching muscles. Her body seemed to turn to jelly at his touch as he drew away the pain with expert kneading. Though he may not be trying to, there was something incredibly erotic about the physical contact between them.
Amid the silence, which was wrought between them with tension of a different kind, she finally said softly, “What’s it like?”
“What’s what like?” he murmured.
“Being able to smell blood,” she said, her voice inaudible to any human but instantly picked up by him.
“It depends on the person,” he replied, his blonde eyebrows drawn in a faint frown. The expression lightened a bit, then he added, his voice sibilant as he drew in a slow breath, “You… smell of oranges and chestnut… with a touch of curry pepper. Sweet, yet tangy and spicy.”
He then became rigid, his touch removed suddenly from her. Looking into his eyes, she saw why. There were faint flecks of gold in his ocean-deep blue eyes. “I’m sorry,” he said. A line had obviously been crossed and he would step no closer to the next line before him. “I should go. I’ll be late clocking back in.”
He stood, and she too immediately followed suit. “Wait,” she ordered, turning back into the kitchen. She came out just a moment later, an extra set of keys in her hand. “So you do the human thing, and use the door next time you come and visit.”
He caught her hand just before she could drop the keys into his open palm. “As milady commands,” he replied with the barest hint of an ironic smile, and bowed his head to kiss the back of her hand in the age-old gesture of courtliness. His fingers then curled around the keys and drew them out of her hand. Then, in more human fashion, he left by the front door.
She remained there for a moment, her body still aching, not due to cramps anymore but in longing for more of his touch. The memory of his hands working along her tummy remained even long after he departed, causing tantalizingly sensual thoughts to dance in her mind as she moved to the bathroom to run a bath for herself.
Orgasms were also supposed to be effective, weren’t they? Perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to find out. For the healing properties, of course.