Right to the Jugular


“Ahhhhhh,” was all  the sound Jesper could manage pulling his bottom lip up over his bottom teeth.

“Ok, done,” I said stepping away. I took note of the measurement and wrote it down, amazed.

“So?” he asked rather tersely, fangs still fully extended and pinching into his chin slightly.

“Six.”

“Six?” his eyes widened, almost impressed.

“Centimeters, I’m afraid.”

“Oh.” He suddenly looked deflated.

“Yeah, I know. Disappointing.” I paused to take in his suddenly sullen mood.  “It’s only a full four centimeters longer than any other vampire on record.”

He shrugged before he caught it. “Wait, just how many vampire fang measurements are on record?”

I smiled. “I’ll never tell.”

The examination had gone well with more surprises than I could swat a stake at. And he endured it all with only a mild irritation and mostly a bemused grimace. There was one more test. I rarely got comfortable enough with a vampire to do it. But it only made sense to try.

Whatever his disposition, he was quite a troubled vampire with abilities he didn’t understand. The sooner I tested his control, the better I’d be able to prescribe some remedy.

He caught my hesitation. “What now?” his arms tensing as he held the edge of the exam table. His chest wounds still showed no sign of healing however he’d showed no signs of needing to feed either. His fortitude was remarkable. On top of all the other test results I’d need to pore over later.

It needed to be done.

“Why do you suddenly look like neither one of us are going to enjoy this next test?”

I let out the breath I was holding and reached my hands out towards Jesper’s neck. He grabbed both wrists immediately, as if aware of what I intended. But the look of caution in his eyes had nothing to do with him warding me off. Well, not in the way I was used to.

He held my wrists for a few breaths more and after I didn’t struggle against him, he simply released his hold and lowered his hands back to the table. Another deep breath, this time from both of us, almost simultaneously, and I put my hands gently around his throat.

At first he froze but the blood vessels beneath my hands thumped like timpani. His eyes rolled back into his head and he collapsed off the table, on top of me, letting out a moan on the way down.

I gasped as I landed on the floor in a thud, Jesper on top of me. Somehow, I had managed to keep one hand on his throat, while the other had tried to absorb some of the fall. My hand had moved to the back of his neck, rubbing along his skin, which felt prickly. Almost sparky.

It was called the Jugular Reflex test. Much like the Patellar reflex test in humans, it showed a reflex arc of vampire sorts. Vampires of all types were very sensitive around their throats and I had developed a rough scale of a vampire’s inherit protectiveness from attempting to touch the throat of said vampire subjects. I had been killed twice administering it thus I reserved it for my most dire or perplexing cases.

As I was about to say something to him, I thought better of it, moving my fingers again, up into his hairline at the base of his skull. He moaned again and curled up into my lap. Like a cat. And his breath sounded like he was…purring.

In that moment, with his whole body curled on top of mine, my hand at the back of his neck, he was completely defenseless, either unaware or unable to protect himself.

This was a serious problem for which I had no solution.

So stunned was I that when a knock to the door came and it suddenly opened, I made no attempt to move from under Jesper. Which offered the line of observers, Lucy, Morena, and Nick behind, a rather compromising view.

“Well,” Nick quipped, after a stunned silence washed over everyone. “I guess the lovebirds are getting along just fine.”

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