It was early Sunday morning, and I had been sitting in a local coffee shop reading the newspaper when Crystal came in. In the three years I had known her, we had become close friends, so I eagerly invited her to sit an chat.
Eventually, however, the conversation turned to the subject she had avoided for all three years of our friendship. "There's something I've been wondering..."
I knew what this was about, and simply got to the point. "The gloves, right?"
Crystal's eyes widened, then narrowed. "Yeah. The gloves."
"Let's just say that they're necessary."
"'Necessary?' Is that why you wear them all the time, even during the summer? Even when I saw you swimming at the lake a few weeks ago, even then you were wearing the gloves despite the record-breaking heat wave baking the entire state."
I finished the last of my latte and set the cup aside. "Trust me, it is best that I wear the gloves all the time. They only come off long enough for me to shower or wash the dishes, or change to another pair of gloves."
"Admittedly, they're somewhat stylish – you know how much I like black leather. But still, it's... it's..."
"'Strange?' 'Peculiar?' 'Different?' I've heard all those words before – and quite a few others – to describe it. I'm used to it." I shrugged. "The gloves are very much a part of me, as does what they conceal."
"So what do the gloves conceal?" she challenged. "Are your hands disfigured? Are you suffering from some sort of disease?"
"They're definitely not disfigured," I assured my friend, "but I'm not sure if 'disease' is an appropriate word..."
Crystal leaned back in her chair, frustrated. She did not care much for mysteries, which was partly why she was such a good police detective: She would stay on a case until it was solved, leaving no molecule uninvestigated. Since she had joined the police department, the percentage of unresolved cases had dropped nearly in half.
That also meant, however, that now that Crystal had turned her attention to my always-gloved hands, I was essentially forced to show her why my hands were always covered with black leather.
"I'm more than willing to show you," I acknowledged, "but this is definitely not the right place to do that. We definitely need someplace private." She seemed a little skeptical, but I was not surprised – in her position, I would be skeptical as well. "Unless you have other plans, why don't you drop by my place sometime this afternoon. Just come on in – you have the key."
Crystal would look after my fish when I was traveling on business, so I had no qualms about her coming and going, and she knew that. "Okay," she finally agreed. "My niece's birthday party should end around 4PM, so I'll be there afterward."
"Sounds good." I smiled, trying to reassure her, but I do not believe that it worked.
Crystal wasted no time when she arrived. "Okay, I'm here. Show me."
Her straightforwardness was not entirely surprising, but I was still taken aback somewhat. Nonetheless, I had her sit at the dining room table, and I stood beside her, purposely taking off the gloves.
I knew that Crystal was deathly afraid of tornadoes. She had grown up in Oklahoma, and twice the family home was severely damaged by tornadoes, and her father had lost his auto repair shop due to yet another tornado. Just the mere mention of the word "tornado" would have her visibly shaking with fear unmistakable in her eyes.
Tornadoes were thus the perfect way to show her why my hands were always covered when I was around other people.
Compared to the rest of my summer-tanned body, my hands were incredibly pale in comparison. I suppose one could say I had the hands of a vampire. My friend gasped aloud at the striking contrast between hands and arms.
"This is what happens when wearing gloves 24/7 for almost one's entire life," I explained.
The look in Crystal's eyes was a mixture of disbelief and pity. She clearly had not considered how a prolonged lack of sunlight would affect the hands – none of the few people who had seen my hands had ever considered it beforehand.
"Now," I said, then paused to take a deep breath before continuing. "Now, I want you to think about something. Tornadoes." As expected, she shuddered visibly, trembling with fear, her eyes widening with such prevalent, negative memories from her time living in Oklahoma.
"Mint chocolate chip ice cream," I said, and she almost instantly calmed and stilled, a slight smile upon her face at hearing the name of her favorite flavor of ice cream.
"Just sit still..." I instructed her, and Crystal looked up at me a little nervously as my too-pale hands approached her. In retrospect, I suppose that it looked like I was doing a mind meld like what has been shown on Star Trek, but at that moment, I was focused solely on what I was about to do to a good friend.
My fingertips pressed to her forehead and down her cheeks, I thought to Crystal: You will never be afraid of tornadoes again. In fact, when you hear anything about tornadoes, especially really large powerful tornadoes in the EF4 or EF5 range, you will actually smile slightly, for now you love tornadoes and you think they're beautiful.
After a few moments, I withdrew my hands, and as my friend watched, I donned the gloves anew.
"What did you just do?" she asked. "I didn't feel or sense anything."
"Okay..." I removed the gloves again, repositioned my hands upon her face, and thought: From now on, whenever you come to my place, you will dress provocatively, and will always be ready for sexual activities.
After a moment, I withdrew my hands again and put the gloves back on.
"I still didn't feel anything. Are you kidding me? Is this some sort of game?"
"Tornado," I said flatly, and her lips curled slightly upward. "That is what I did," I replied.
"I don't understand," Crystal lamented.
"Tell me what you think of tornadoes," I prompted her.
"Well... They're a powerful force of nature, beautiful in a rather freaky way. The larger and stronger they are, the better – at least in my opinion."
"And the damage to your family home when you were younger and the loss of your father's business?"
"An inherent risk in living in Tornado Alley," she replied, her tone positive, her lips still slightly upturned. "That's what insurance is for. But just think of the power of a tornado – just imagine if we could harness that power somehow and make use of it..."
"Think back to last Thanksgiving," I said. "We were having a small dinner, just the two of us, over at your place, and you started talking about the tornadoes when you were living in Oklahoma. How did you react then as you were telling me about it?"
Crystal thought for a moment, remembered. "I was... scared, shaking. I remember I started crying. You came and hugged me as I cried into your chest. I felt so embarrassed, but just simply remembering the fear was almost like being there for those three tornadoes..."
My friend's eyes widened again, and an expression of understanding filled her face. "That's why you wear the gloves all the time," she whispered, almost in disbelief at the power I had within me.
"That's why," I agreed. "It's just too dangerous to not wear the gloves when I'm around other people. If I touch someone, a single stray thought could completely change the person I'm touching. You and I could be wishing we had a lot of money, joking about robbing a bank, but if I had the gloves off and I touched you, suddenly you would want nothing but to rob a bank so that you and I could have a lot of money. It's just too damn dangerous."
Crystal clearly understood, but she was also clearly troubled by my power. She stood, collected her purse, and headed toward the door. "I'm glad you let me know," she told me, "but it's just... Wow. I need to really sit and think about this."
"I know," I acknowledged. "I've been thinking about this for far longer than I'd care to admit."
I know that I would see Crystal again. When she closed the door behind her, it almost had a sound of promise.
A few days later, as I was driving home from work, my cell phone rang. I pressed the button on the Bluetooth headset. "Hello?"
"Hi, it's Crystal." She sounded quite positive, happy, radiant.
"Hey. You sound like you're in a good mood."
"Well... I've been thinking..."
I hesitated as I had to change lanes on the highway. "About what?"
"About... Well, can I come over for dinner tonight?"
"Absolutely. In fact, I even bought steaks yesterday – we can do steaks on the grill."
"That sounds good. I'll be there in... about an hour?"
"That works for me."
Barely an hour later, she rounded the corner of the house, finding me on the back patio with the grill. Crystal had never come over before wearing such a short skirt or such a tight-fitting top with such a low neckline. She grinned wickedly at my reaction, barely suppressing a giggle when I could not divert my eyes.
"How do I look?" she asked, as if she already knew the answer.
I tried to think of the most diplomatic response I could give, but my mind was filled with one thing: Success again.
"Very fuckable," I finally said as flatly as I could. I had known that this would be the result of the second thought I had implanted in my friend's mind, and over the three years I had known her, I had definitely considered what sex might be like with her. But still, to see how she was dressed, to see how her make-up truly accented her lips and her eyes, to see how tall she looked in her heels, it was stunning – not quite the opposite of how Crystal usually dressed when she was off-duty, but definitely an in-your-face beauty and sensuality which one simply could not miss.
As we grilled the steaks and later as we ate, I was amazed at how close Crystal was to me, how often she touched me. As my arousal grew more and more prominent, she kept making comments about wanting to feel me inside her.
I knew where all this was going, and I definitely wanted the eventual result, but I also wanted to watch this play out, to determine just how well the second thought had been implanted within her, to see how it may have germinated over the past three days.
Crystal was definitely coming on to me. She was definitely flirting, definitely making it clear that she wanted to bed me. It was definitely having its desired effect, for by nightfall, when we were in the living room sipping wine in a highly-charged silence, my erection was almost painful.
I could wait no longer. I took her wine glass from her and set both glasses upon the coffee table, then stood and took her hands in mine, helping her to stand before me. With my hand upon a breast, I kissed my friend for the first time.
Things escalated quickly from there. By the time we made it to my bedroom, we were both fully naked, pausing long enough for me to admire the small butterfly tattoo on the lower left side of her left breast.
I learned firsthand the power of Crystal's shapely legs as they threatened to crush my skull as I ate her. She learned firsthand that I love to spank when taking a woman from behind. I learned that her lungs are quite healthy... as did the neighbors. She learned that my teeth can draw blood during orgasm.
...and as we lay upon the bed, clutching each other in post-orgasmic bliss, shudders of happiness still wracking us both, I realized what a mistake I had made, for in our lust, I had allowed her to remove the gloves.
...and I could no longer be certain what my friend's true feelings were for me. I thought I loved her, but was not certain – yet, whether I loved her or not, simply thinking I loved her while touching her with my bare vampirc hands may have inadvertently caused her to believe she loved me, whether or not that was what was truly in her heart.
Never again have I allowed my gloves to be removed in Crystal's presence, no matter what she tried to do in her sexual frenzy. Yet while the sex has indeed been pleasurable, it was never again truly been good because of that question nagging in the back of my mind. The seed has germinated into a beanstalk, and I do not have the tools to dismantle the gigantic issue.