Lombard & Fatima

Chapter One

Fatima sat staring at the invitation in her hand, her amber eyes moving over the eloquent script to the name at the bottom. Cade Davidson, one of the richest men in the world, was hosting a benefit to raise money for the Zombie League of America. They made it possible to feed many zombies who could not afford human flesh. If they didn’t eat then they began to rot and go mad, their brains turning to Swiss cheese. They would look and act exactly like the monsters everyone saw in movies. There were only two reasons to invite her: her wealth or her work in seeking out and destroying crazed zombies that attacked innocent people. She believed the former was more likely.

“What do you think about all of this Lombard?” She asked the well dressed man standing across from her.

He moved around to her side of the desk, his aquamarine eyes moving over the piece of paper in her hand. Blonde hair that fell to his waist was pulled back in a neat ponytail, contrasting greatly with the uniform he wore. He was highly intelligent, always polite, and had served her family for generations. He was over two hundred years old, but only looked thirty. It was sometimes hard for her to believe he was a walking corpse instead of a normal butler.

“A rather noble cause, but then again I am biased.” He answered, his British accent making him sound like a high class lord in charge of a kingdom. She made sure he had plenty of human flesh to keep him the way he was. She purchased it legally from places that used dead bodies for scientific research. The family’s consent was always required ahead of time. He was her closest friend and protector. Life would be boring without him always there to put things in perspective.

Would you like to accompany me to this little event tomorrow night? You can show those rich fools what a real zombie looks and acts like. They assume all of you are mindless monsters with a blood lust. Maybe you’ll keep all of those men away from this very single young vampire.” She gave him a wink and he smiled down at her.

“I would be honored, Fatima.”

“Good, I’ll be glad to have you at my side. I don’t know what I’d do without you honestly.” The smile still stretched across Lomabrds face. “Always glad to keep your company”

“I think I’ll go grab some blood and then relax in my room for the evening. Have a good night Lombard.”

“You too.” he said as she walked past him to go to her kitchen. She walked down her beautiful halls. She hadn’t hired a decorator to make the place hers. She worked on it room by room to make the place stunning. There wasn’t a place in her home that she didn’t find beautiful. She walked into her huge marble floored kitchen. She went straight across to her granite black fridge and pulled the door open.

She grabbed a bottle then made her way to the hall where a rounded staircase lead her ro her bedroom. Lombards room was right where the staircase ended. She noticed he wasn’t in it yet and figured he went on a walk or something. Fatima walked slowly to hers on the far end and shut her door. She opened the bottle and took a long drink then sat down on her bed. She slowly nursed the rest as she thought about how the benefit would be. She hoped nobody made Lombard uncomfortable but it would take a lot to do that. He was at ease pretty much anywhere he went.

Lombard sat on the roof of the estate home. He stared up at the sky, in deep thought. This is where he spent most of his time when he should be resting. He wouldn’t tell Fatima, but he had been having trouble sleeping lately. She had enough to deal with without him adding to her growing pile of responsibilities. He sighed and stood, climbing into the window to the attic. He went quietly to his room, leaving the door cracked in case he was needed.

Fatima had so much paperwork to do that she couldn’t sleep. She grabbed her laptop and opened it to type up her report on her last kill. A young teenage girl, about seventeen, had gone mad with hunger. She had been pulling people into sewers and killing them, leaving nothing behind but blood and bone. There was no cure for the sickness that took zombies. It was a sad truth, the hardest part having to tell families. She finished the report and emailed it to the police chief. He expected one on every zombie kill to make sure she wouldn’t be accused of murder. A healthy zombie was considered a citizen. She closed her laptop and drank the rest of her blood. It wasn’t nearly as good cold, but she wasn’t one for hunting down live victims. She lay down and closed her eyes, feeling overly exhausted.

She woke to the sound of banging and sat up, looking at her clock. It was eight in the morning, it was daylight. She swung her legs over the edge of her bed and walked angrily to her bedroom door. She pulled it open and glared up at Lombard. “It’s still daytime.” She said.

“I know, but you did promise to got to Rosecrest Middle School today and read to the children. They are looking forward to your visit. Your father donated quite a bit of money to them.” He replied with a smile.

“Thank you, sorry for being so snippy. It’s been a long week. You’ll be joining me won’t you?”

“All is forgiven and if it would please you, of course.”

“Can you get my sunscreen while I shower? I wouldn’t want to go all toasty on you. Oh and wear something casual. The uniform is for work, not for entertaining children.”

“Yes ma’m.” She sighed. “I mean Fatima.”

He wasn’t used to being able to call somone he served by their name. The generations before her were strict about him only using sir or mam. There were many differences he had to get used to with Fatima. She treated him more like a friend than sombody who served her. It was a nice change of pace but one he was having truble adjusting to.

Fatima took off her clothes and turned on the water. The hot water rushing down her body helped her wake up and get some life into herself. Mornings were so difficult but she did love children. It’s why she promised to read to them. She was excited to see their curious faces as she read. Children always looked their cutest when they were interested or curious about somthing.

She heard Lombard open the door and set her sunblock down on the sink for her. “Thank you” she called. “You’re very welcome.” He shut the door again to go change into something casual. It was a very rare occasion when he wasn’t in uniform. It had been so long he forgot what else he had to wear. He pondered while he approached his room. He entered then dug through his dresser to find somthing. He wondered what Fatima would prefer but knew she’d get cross with him if he asked her to pick what he would wear. He finally decided on a black button up shirt and jeans. Lombard quickly changed and made his way back to Fatimas room to meet her.

“Well look at you. Someone does know how to let loose.” She teased as she pulled her hair up in a bun. She wore dark clothing to help keep herself from burning in the sun, a long sleeve button up blouse, a long black skirt and high heeled boots. She checked to make sure every inch of bare skin was covered with sunscreen.

“I wasn’t aware I was too serious.” He replied.

“Only since I can remember. It’s been twenty years since daddy died and you still act like I’m queen bee. You’re allowed to take a break, go on a jog, or find a girlfriend.”

“I’ve never wanted or needed another woman in my life other than you.”

“Are you gay?”

His eyes widened. “Now hold on a second. I am far from gay.” He followed her out to the car and the driver opened the door for them. She got in and scooted over and he sat next to her. “Why would you think I’m gay?”

“I’ve never seen you flirt with a woman.” She was trying very hard not to laugh.

“I could if I wanted to, I just get busy.”

“Doing what? Tending to my needs? I am an adult, fifty years old actually. I can bring me breakfast, I can oversee the house and order maids around all day. I know how to draw the curtains.”

He crossed his arms and frowned then looked out the window. “I do not order maids around all day and I am not gay.” She laughed and patted his arm.

“Breaking character, I’ve made progress.”

The driver pulled up in front of the school and quickly got out to open Lombard’s door. He got out then handed Fatima out. She smiled warmly and took his arm as they walked inside and to the office. They were directed to the gym where a bunch of excited middle schoolers fidgeted in the bleachers. There was a single chair setting in front of a microphone. The principal shook her hand and thanked her for coming before handing her The Phantom Tollbooth. She sat down in the chair and Lombard stood behind her, hands clasped behind his back.

“Hello children, it’s so nice to see you all. My name is Fatima Hicks and this is my friend Lombard Ross. Today we’re going to read The Phantom Tollbooth, one of my favorite books by the way. I hope you all enjoy it and if we don’t finish it today, I promise to come back.” She said warmly.

The children all looked very excited, none of them made a single peep. Lombard just looked down at her as she read. Semi following the story but also frustrated. She didn’t understand and he couldn’t explain. When he said that she was the only woman he wanted in his life he said it because it was true. He found her to be very beautiful and fun to be around. She made him very happy. A feeling he had known little about until Fatima came along.

Lombard knew it couldn’t happen though. As nice and friendly as she was he was just her butler. It’s all she’d ever know him as. If he tried to say anything he knew he’d be fired. It wouldn’t be a proper thing for a butler to do anyway. With all her wealth and personality he knew she could find somebody much better suited for her than he was.

He started to listen to her voice as she read. It was slightly different, sort of motherly since she was reading to small children. He liked it, he liked her voice no matter how she was talking really. The only time he hadn’t was earlier. Her calling him gay was still really upsetting him. He just didn’t understand how she could think that of him.

Fatima made it to the last chapter just as the final bell rang. All the children groaned and had that look on their faces that said please just five more minutes. “I tell you what, if your principal says it’s okay, I will come back tomorrow morning and pick one of you to read the last chapter.” She said and all the kids looked very excited.

“We would really love that.” Principal Ortega said, smiling.

“Just call me and give me the time. I don’t want to keep these little angels from their classes.”

“Yes ma’am, thank you.”

“Please call me Fatima.” She handed him the book and left the gym on Lombard’s arm. He held the front door of the school open for her and the driver opened the car door. She wanted to hurry home and find what she was going to wear. It was a benefit for the rich and famous so she had to have something elegant. She’d have Lombard help her. He had good taste. She looked at him and noticed his frown. “Hey grumpy Gus, what’re you frowning about?” She asked and he glanced at her and then went back to staring out the window.

“Why would you think I’m gay?” He asked.

“My goodness, it was a joke. I was just teasing you. I know you grew up in an age where the world was always serious and if you smiled someone would smash a stone against your testicles, but you don’t live in that time anymore. Be serious while you’re working if you must, but try to unwind and be happy on your down time.”

“I don’t have down time.”

“Everyone who works at the house gets down time, Trisha went on a week long vacation to see her sister in Baliz. Consider this the start of your down time. You get to go on a date with the boss and then afterwards she’s making you something yummy. Oh, be sure to eat what you have to before we go. I know you don’t like anyone seeing you eat human meat. I also need your help in picking out a dress.”

“Alright” he said smiling but then looking out the window again. They arrived at the house and Lombard helped Fatima out again. “You go ahead and eat somthing and I’ll narrow it down to a few dresses. I’m relying on your amazing taste to make sure I look my best tonight.”

“What would you like me to wear?”

“All your normal dress clothes look good on you. You’re so handsome it wont matter. I guess though since you’re doing me the favor of helping me with my dress I can help you decide what to wear too. We can be models for eachother.”

“I would like your help very much.”

“Alright then, go eat and meet me in my room afterwards.” They went their separate ways. Fatima walked into her huge closet of dresses. She had them separate from her other clothes. They were sorted by color. She decided a purple or red one would be best for tonight. She felt the most beautiful in those colors. She flipped through them and laid out three purples and three reds. She hoped he wouldn’t mind having to wait for her to try on and show off six dresses but she couldn’t narrow it down any further on her own.

She decided to atleast try by putting them in front of her in the mirror. She stripped down to her panties and bra then one by one held the dresses in front of her. It was no use, another time she needed Lombard. She would probably never make it to special occasions without him. Fatima didn’t bother getting dressed. Lombard had seen her in her underwear before and she was a firm believer that being in underwear was no different than being in a bikini so why feel shame.

Lombard ate quickly, hating that he liked the taste of human. It sometimes disturbed him, had for years, but he had no choice. He wasn’t willing to go mad and rot especially when he had Fatima in his life. He went to his room and brushed his teeth before going to see her. It made him feel more human, that and the fact that his heart still beat. He was told it was an incredibly strange occurrence in a zombie. Her father had said he was one of a kind. He tapped on her door and he heard her voice tell him to come in. She was sitting on the edge of her bed in her bra and panties. She jumped up, smiling happily. She had no idea how hard it was to be a gentlemen when she walked around like that. She was far too beautiful and it made him a bit jealous that other men would be throwing themselves at her.

“I’ve got some things picked out, but I just can’t decide. I’m no good with fashion.” She said and he crossed the room to look at the six dresses laying on the bed. He studied each one, picking it up and turning it over in his hands before laying it back down. He stopped at a strapless purple one. He looked it over and then handed it to her. She unzipped it then stepped into it, pulling it up and holding it to her chest.

“Can you unclip my bra please?” She asked and he cleared his throat. He reached out, his fingers brushing her bare skin. She sighed, the sound soft and sweet one of contentment. He unhooked her bra and she slipped her arms out of the straps and tossed it on the floor. “Zip me up please.” He did as she asked and she stepped in front of her full length mirror. The dress fit tight at her breasts and fell loose to just above her knees. She turned in a circle, a big smile on her face. “It’s perfect.”

“Purple suits you. It’s the color of royalty, selfless love, and individuality. It also brings out the color of your eyes.” He said a little too softly. “Lets look at your shoes.” He said quickly and walked into her closet. He picked out a pair of black heels with black lace that ruffled along the top. She slipped them on and he nodded approvingly.

“Now I just have to do my hair and makeup then we can get you dressed.” He waited patiently for her. She curled her copper hair then pulled it up with a dark ribbon. She quickly did her makeup, going subtle rather than eye catching. He doubted that would stop anyone from staring at her. She was already gorgeous. She stood and smiled brightly, taking his breath away. She grabbed his hand and pulled him out of her room and down the hall to his. She threw open his closet and started going through his clothes. “Ah ha,” she finally said and stepped out, arms full, “get undressed.”

“Excuse me?” He swallowed nervously and she dropped the clothes on his bed.

“Undress.” He shook his head and she grinned. “Are you worried about being inappropriate? You’ve seen me in my underwear many times.” He shook his head again and she crossed the room, her fingers making quick work unbuttoning his shirt. She pushed it off his shoulders and went for his jeans. He grabbed her wrists and she frowned up at him.

“Alright, I’ll get undressed.” He said and she smiled. He let her go and pulled off the rest of his clothes. He dressed in what she had picked out, a deep purple dress shirt with black slacks and a black suit jacket. “No tie?”

“Nope and this is too buttoned up.” She undid the top two buttons of his shirt. “That’s a lot better. Now get your shoes while I grab the invitation.”

She walked out, leaving Lombard to catch his breath. She made his heart race when she was unbuttoning his shirt and went for his pants. He went into his closet to find his shoes then slipped them on.  Fatima dug through her desk drawer until she found her invitation then started back to Lombards room. He heard her heels against the marble flooring. Lombard stood, ready for her. She walked in smiling then turned him around to face the mirror. Fatima slid her arm around his.

“We look good, our outfits compliment eachother. I’m so pleased.” Lombard smiled then followed her out of his room and down the stairs. They got in the car and her driver started taking them to the benefit. “I hope you enjoy yourself tonight, just because I’m your date doesn’t mean you can’t flirt with any lovely ladies you see. There will be a lot of people there so I’m sure you’ll spot a girl you find breathtaking and just have to get to know. Just don’t be loud if you bring her home.” Fatima winked and then giggled.

“As your date it would be rude if I spent the evening talking to other girls.” Fatima would be the only breath taking girl in the room anyway. She looked absolutely gorgeous in her dress. He was also still fighting off the picture of her naked. Every time he saw her like that it would take days to stop picturing it. He began to wonder what the night held for them. If there would be dancing or anything like that at this benefit. He thought it would be fun to dance with Fatima. He actually hoped there would atleast be dancing.

When the driver rolled to a stop in front of the large gallery Fatima didn’t want to get out. She hated these things and knew a lot of these people looked down on her for not acting as she should. Coming home smelling like sewage wasn’t exactly one of her best qualities. “Are you alright?” Lombard asked and she gave him a weak smile.

“I honestly don’t know what I would do without you. You make me feel so brave.” She replied as the driver opened her door and handed her out of the car. Lombard followed and she grabbed his hand.

“I have been and will always be your loyal servant.”

“You are more than the guy who brings me coffee in the morning. I don’t see you as a servant, I never have. Maybe tall, dark, handsome, and brooding but never my servant. I respect you and depend on you.” She kissed his cheek. “Lets get this over with and save some zombies.”

He walked with her up the short flight of stairs and to the front door where she showed an older gentlemen her invitation. He smiled and waved them on. The gallery was well lit with very beautiful works of art. There was a banquet hall to the left with tables already set for dinner and a large buffet. Many men stopped what they were doing to stare open mouthed at Fatima. Lombard did his best not to stare them down. He had no right to dictate her love life. One man in particular crossed the room, his deep brown eyes looking Fatima up and down.

“Ah Miss Hicks, how nice to finally meet you.” He said, holding out his hand.

“You must be Cade Davidson. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” She took his hand and he brought her knuckles to his lips.

“The pleasure is all mine.” She was trying her best not to laugh at this man who thought he was so smooth. She wondered how many times he laid that line on some young woman who didn’t know any better. She pulled her hand slowly away.

“This is my date Lombard Ross.” Cade reached out and Lombard shook his hand. “He’s a zombie.” Cade snatched his hand away, looking shocked.

“Are you serious?” He asked.

“Very serious. Isn’t he just the picture of perfection?”

Lombard loved when she complimented him. She smiled up at him warmly, that smile that she saved for him and him alone. “Yes, of course. Would you like to have a look at the artwork? It’s all for sale and the proceeds will go straight to the Zombie League.”

“I would love too, come Lombard maybe we can find something to put over the mantle where grandpa’s portrait used to be.” Cade looked a little perturbed that he wasn’t going to get her alone.

Chapter Two

As they walked Cade turned to Fatima and said “You are just as beautiful as I heard. I’m glad you could make it.” Fatima wanted to roll her eyes. His attempts at being charismatic were failing miserably. Cade was used to women reacting to his flirtations but Fatima didn’t seem interested in the slightest so he asked “Is your date your boyfriend? I heard you were single.”

“No, he’s my very good friend.”

“That’s nice to know.” Lombard found Cade got under his skin really badly. He didn’t like how Cade was being so shameless with Fatima. To him it seemed a bit rude. He kept himself collected though, he was sure it was only his jealousy and want for her himself. He still held tightly to Fatimas hand hoping she wouldn’t let go.Her hand fit so perfectly with his. They looked at every portrait admiring their beauty. They decided on buying two for Fatimas home. “Thank you Fatima.”

“They are beautiful.”

“They must be. A beauty such as yourself would only have beautiful things.” Fatima almost lost it and laughed. She held it back with a slight smile. “Finally, I was wondering if I’d ever get you to smile.” Lombard could tell that smile was to hold back laughter and smiled aswell. He felt happy she didn’t care for Cades flirting. “where’s your bathroom?” Cade pointed. “Go down that hall and up the stairs, third door on the right.”

“Thank you.”

“I have more guests to greet so I’ll see you later, do come find me. If you don’t I guess I’ll find you.”

“Ok” She walked still holding on to Lombard. When she got to the bathroom she let him go. She got in and shut the door and began to laugh. When she was done she walked out “I’m sorry Lombard, I had to get that out or I might have actually laughed at him. His lines are just too much. I can’t believe those things win any girls over.” Lombard just smiled. “don’t be sorry”

“What do you think of him?”

“I shouldn’t say”

“You’re here as my friend Lombard”

“I think he’s repulsive”

“I could tell, you don’t seem to care for all the men gawking at me too.” She said smiling warmly at him again. A light blush appeared on his check. “It’s rude to stare at a women mouth gaping like that. You deserve more respect.” She walked over and hugged him. He was a little surprised but hugged her back. He loved her hugs and wished he got them more.

“We better get back out there before they start talking.” He said and she shrugged.

“Oh how interesting that would be, Fatima Hicks sleeping with a zombie and my goodness her butler at that. Oh how would I ever go on with that making the front page of the paper?” She giggled and looked up at him. “I’d just tell them to make sure to spell your name right.” She grabbed his hand and headed back into the large group of people.

“You shouldn’t make light of your reputation being ruined.” He said in a low voice.

“If you think about it as far as these people are concerned I have already ruined my reputation. I might be beautiful, but I act nothing like a proper lady should. I know how to shoot a gun better than any of these men, but they hear that and feel immediately threatened. I may be a woman, but I am far from helpless. My grandfather always said to do what I wish and do it with all my heart.”

“Fatima is that you?” A female voice interrupted and Lombard rolled his eyes. He smiled half heartedly as Fatima’s friend Sicily Hannigan came running up, her bright red hair bouncing around her head and her breasts very nearly falling out of the very low cut dress she wore.

“Sicily, how good to see you.” Fatima said as she hugged her friend.

“Hello Lombard. You brought your butler as your date?”

“Yes, I did.”

Sicily frowned and Lombard bit back his own response. “Did you meet Cade Davidson?”

“Yes I did, he showed us around a bit.”

“Isn’t he just dreamy. He’s looking over here right now. He’s totally ogling you.” Fatima sighed, knowing what was coming next. “Lets go talk to him. Lombard can get us drinks or something.” She grabbed Fatima’s other hand and pulled her.

“I’m so sorry, but if I don’t go she’ll pull my arm off or whine the whole time.” She whispered.

“It’s alright, I understand.” He replied and brushed a quick kiss against her cheek. She smiled happily and he released her hand, watching as she was pulled through the crowd.

He hated Sicily. She was a stuck up brat. He especially hated her when she’d make ugly comments about how Fatima treated him. He knew they’d have no affect on the kind hearted Fatima but he still hated Sicily for trying to make Fatima treat him different. He had kissed her without thinking. He was slowly losing his control over how he felt for her. He worried he may go too far one day. He was dangerously close to it. His jealousy seemed to be getting out of hand aswell.

He happily thought about what Fatima said about the paper. Even though she didn’t care he greatly cared about her reputation. It’s one of the biggest things that helped him hold back his feelings. Fatima did her best to be polite and be interested in the conversation but she was already tired of this event. Fatima would’ve been glad to write a check and go home with Lombard and her paintings. If Lombard wasn’t too tired after this event and the dinner she was planning to make him she was going to invite him on a walk.

Fatima began to notice she was surrounded by single men. Sicily was loving the attention while she dreaded it. She heard one horrible line after the other. Fatima could never understand why Sicily took to it so much. Fatima got uncomfortable when Cade leaned over close to her “So it is you, I was trying to figure out which one of you that intoxicating smell was coming from.” Lombard saw Cade, and Fatimas uncomfortable look. He was almost shaking trying to control himself. His outward appearance showed nothing of the upsetness that lurked below.

“I’m not wearing perfume so it’s probably Sicily.” She took a small step back.

“Smells like roses.”

“Oh, that would be my shampoo. Lombard bought it for me for my birthday last week. I can’t get enough of it.”

“You’re a little to interested in that butler. I can tell you know. You’re far to pretty for him.” He traced his fingers over her cheek and down to her chin.

She swatted at his hand and he glared at her. “Do not presume to think you can win me over by insulting someone important to me.” She snapped and he glared at her. He grabbed her wrist, his grip vice like. “Let me go Mr. Davidson.”

“Is everything alright?” She turned to the familiar voice.

“Of course,” Cade said as he released Fatima, “we were just talking.” Fatima backed up and Lombard draped his arm protectively over her shoulders.

“It’s getting late Fatima and I remember you promising me dinner.” Lombard said politely, his smile not quite reaching his eyes as he stared down the other man.

“Could you please grab the paintings and take them to the car? I need to tell Sicily goodbye.”

“Will you be needing me to walk you out?”

“No, I’ll manage. Please meet me out front.” He nodded and walked away. Fatima shoved her way to Sicily who was flirting with anything that walked on two legs. “I’m going home.” She said and Sicily frowned.

“Why? Stay until midnight at least.” She pouted and Fatima shook her head. “You’re never any fun. You and that stupid butler you’re always taking everywhere. People are going to start thinking you’re in love with him.”

“What if I was? At least he doesn’t talk down to me like these wanna be lords of the land. They know nothing about how to rule. You keep your rich, stuck up, low lifes and I’ll keep Lombard.” She turned and walked away, leaving her friend standing their shocked. She’d show all of these people what she was capable of if they kept pushing her. She stomped out the front door and ran straight into Lombard. He grabbed her shoulders to keep her on her feet.

“Someone looks angry.” He said, concerned.

“I am, very angry in fact. Lets go home so I can cook for you before I suck that Cade Davidson dry.”

“alright” Her car came around and they got inside. As soon as they were going Fatima laid her head in Lombards lap. “I hate being around all those self absorbed snobs.” she sighed then asked “is this okay?”

“I don’t mind atall.” He said as he rested his hand on Fatimas side. “good, I need to calm down. He’s such a condescending asshole. Especially to think he’s better than you. I’m yet to meet a man who can be half the one you are.” She took a deep breath and shut her eyes. Lombard just looked down at her. “Thank you”

“For what?”

“For such kind words”

“You deserve them. Don’t let those people make you feel any less than you are.” They rode the rest of the way in silence. Lombard wondered if she had fallen asleep since she kept her eyes closed. When the car stopped she sat up showing Lombard she had been awake. He got out then helped her like always “while you’re off you don’t have to do that you know.”

“I like to.” They walked inside and Fatima went straight for the kitchen. Lombard followed “can I help?”

“No, just relax.” He watched her cook. She began to sing, he laid back against the cabinets listening to the sweet sound. His eyes closing as he got more relaxed. It wasn’t too long before she was done. He went to set the table “stop that” He smiled “sorry.” She grabbed some plates and set the table herself. Her food smelled really good. “This is so nice of you Fatima, thank you”

“You probably don’t remember, but I frequented this kitchen many times as a child and teenager. I know how to cook just about anything.”

“I remember. You were the only one besides me that the cook at the time liked in here. I used to worry that you would burn yourself. You were so dedicated to learning everything.”

She smiled, memories of him always hovering close by playing through her head. He thought he was so good at hiding how he felt, but she always knew. She could read him like an open book. “This was Rodrigo’s famous farfalle with mushroom sauce. At least he said it was famous.” She dished out the pasta and put salad and garlic bread on the side. She sat down next to him then stabbed her fork into a piece of pasta and held it up to his lips. “Try it.” He took a bite, savoring the rich creamy flavor. “Good?”

“Amazing, you are so amazing.”

She blushed and looked away. She glanced at him and he looked embarrassed. Lombard wanted to apologize, but every time he opened his mouth to speak, nothing came out. It was probably better that way. He didn’t want to make the mistake of telling her he loved her. He ate quickly, feeling more and more like a fool with every bite. He cleaned his plate then took it to the sink and rinsed it off.

“You shouldn’t be mad at yourself.” She said, sounding a little sad.

“Maybe I should quit and move out.” He said as he turned to face her.

“Please don’t.”

“Why, why do you want me here when I can barely control myself when I’m around you?” She ducked her head and he leaned over the table, tipping her chin up. “Tell me why.”

She blushed and averted her gaze. “Because you’re my closest friend. You don’t look at me like everyone else does. You treat me like a normal person. Because I…” She trailed off and looked into his eyes. She loved those eyes, so full of adoration. “I love you and I know you love me too.”

“but I’m not worthy of you.” He said letting her chin go. She grabbed his face and pulled him into a kiss. Lombard couldn’t pull away. He was weak with the feel of her lips on his. He almost couldn’t stand up he was filled with so much emotion, so much love. She pulled back only a little saying “I love you and you’re the only person I want, the only person who makes me happy. Don’t be an idiot Lombard.”

“I love you too” he said setting her on the counter. He leaned against it as he kissed her. Every ounce of love he had been holding back all these years pouring into his kiss. She started to unbutton his shirt and he got nervous and quit kissing her. Fatima smiled “why so shy?” He didn’t look at her. “I may not be very good. I can’t even remember when I was last with a woman.” She started to kiss him again and continued what she was doing before. When it was fully unbuttoned he grabbed her hands “atleast let our first time be in a proper place where noone can interrupt.” She smiled again and he carried her out of the kitchen and up the stairs. “what room would you be most comfortable in?”

“we’re already at your room so lets use yours.”

“alright” Lombard said terrified of disappointing her. When he closed the door he laid her on the bed. Fatima finished pushing his shirt off then grabbed his pants. She sat up so Lombard could unzip her dress. Her without anything on was the most breath taking thing he had ever seen. His jaw gaped open and Fatima said “come on” Pulling him completely on the bed over her. “are you sure about this?” He said in a whisper. “stop talking.” She pulled him down into a kiss. His hands began to explore her body. Everywhere he touched goosebumps soon followed. The gentle and adoring way he slid his hands over her sent tingles tickling through every inch of her skin.

He finally slid himself inside of her and pulled back from the kiss to see those eyes he loved so much. They were filled with passion and pleasure. She began to moan making his heart go even faster than it already was. Her hands pressing against his back. Fatimas writhing making her look sexier and filling him with happiness. She orgasmed and he leaned down licking her neck going inside of her a little bit harder. Soon she was orgasming a second time just as he found his own release. They both breathed hard and he laid down at her side pulling Fatima close. She wanted to tell him how amazing it was but her orgasms left her not being able to form a word. The way she looked in that moment told him she enjoyed it.

“I didn’t think there was anything that could make you be quiet.” He teased and she raised her head, trying not to smile.

“I have to talk a lot because you hardly talk at all. You’re far too good at listening. I bet there’s not a secret you don’t know.” She rested her chin on his chest and he tugged the ribbon out of her hair so it fell around her face.

“I didn’t know you loved me. That is one secret I wish I had known years ago.”

“Here’s another one. I’ve had the hots for you since I was sixteen.” She grinned and he laughed, tangling his fingers in her hair and kissing her. “I love a man in uniform.”

“I’m glad I’m the only one immuned to this little mouth of yours. You chase other men away with your blunt honesty.”

“I saw the way you looked at Cade. I should have kissed you then to make a point. You know he’ll probably call or come over tomorrow. Sicily’s not going to be happy. I hate the way she talks to you, I hate the way everyone talks to you.” She brushed her fingers over his cheek.

“It doesn’t bother me as much as you think. Your family has always been good to me, shown me respect. You have always been there to defend me even when I don’t ask for it. You remind me of someone.” He grabbed her hand and pressed a kiss into her palm.

“Who would that be?”

“Domini Hicks. You act just like her. No one could tell her what to do.”

“Great great grandma?”

“She threatened to gut a man who decided he was allowed to hit me after I accidentally spilled some wine on him. She grabbed a knife off the table and would have done it if your great great grandfather had not grabbed her and made the man leave.”

Fatima giggled and rested her head back on his chest. She listened to the steady beating of his heart. He was the most human zombie she had ever known. He was warm with a beating heart and blood flowing through his veins. He bled red unlike most zombies. If she had not heard the story of how he died she would have thought he was human. He had bite scars on his right shoulder, his left forearm, and at his ribs. The zombie disease was highly contagious if one was bitten. Multiple bites meant it spread faster. He had been attacked by three of the creatures that had gone mad from hunger. While he had managed to escape, the disease had spread through him, stopping his heart for only a moment. Her great great grandfather had found him and brought him home, believing he deserved to live. She would be forever thankful to a man she had never had the honor of meeting. Unlike her and her parents, he had been one hundred percent human.

“I’m not tired are you?” She asked.

“Not if you’re not.” She looked up at him and he smiled. “I’m exhausted.”

“Lets go to my room. There’s a TV in there. You can sleep while I watch a movie.”

“That sounds good.” They got up and he lifted her again “I thought you were tired”

“Now that I can finally have you close I want you as near as possible to me.” Lombard rubbed his nose against hers then gave Fatima a quick kiss. Fatima turned her TV on and flipped through the channels until she found somthing worth watching. When she approached the bed Lombard moved the covers as he laid on his side. Fatima got in and laid down close to him. Lombard rested his head on her chest, breathing her in and smiling again. He had fantasized and dreamed about this for so long. Finally in reality he had her.

Sleep that had been evaiding him for so long now came to him quiet easily as she stroked his hair. When he woke in the morning Fatima was gone. He heard her shower running and walked in pulling the toilets lid down so he could sit. Fatima peeked out of the shower “why don’t you come in?” She smiled warmly and he got in with her. She looked just as beautiful as always with the water rushing down her covering her whole body.

He wrapped Fatima in his arms then kissed her head. She smiled “You’re so sweet.” He smiled back “I’m so in love. I hope all my affection wont get on your nerves. Its a bit over loaded with how long I’ve been wanting you.”

“I absolutely adore it but I do need to get cleaned.” He let her go and they washed. “I’ll need a new butler now” Fatima said after getting dressed. “why?”

“You’re my boyfriend now. Your last act as butler will be to pick my new one.”

“I don’t really think you need another one” Fatima laughed at his words “You don’t want another man in this house.” Lombard looked away and she laughed more “aww it’s true”

“I just get so jealous when other men look at you. I wont do all the work any longer but you have more than enough maids. You don’t need a new butler do you?” She came over to him and put her arms around his waist “I guess I don’t my love.” Just then she heard her door. “This early? Well lets give him somthing to look at this fine morning.” She grabbed Lombards hand and pulled him downstairs. “Good morning Cade”

“Good morning. I wanted to apologize for my behaviour last night and to ask you on a date.”

“Can’t, Lombard is now my boyfriend.” Cade looked shocked and repulsed. “You’re joking.”

“Nope, not in the slightest. If you need proof here.” She pulled Lombard into a kiss. Cade made a disgusted sound and stormed out. “That was easy.” She said cheerfully leading Lombard into the kitchen so they could grab some breakfast.

“We still have to go see those kids.” Lombard said as the maid brought them breakfast.

“I lost twenty bucks because of you two.” Trisha said with a grin.

“Excuse me?” Fatima gave her a look of confusion.

“I bet Sue that you two would be nothing but friends when you came back last night, but she swore up and down that she heard you talking about making him dinner. Neither of us thought he’d get dessert too.”

Lombard laughed, the sound loud and joyful. It wasn’t something he usually did around others and it warmed Fatima’s heart. “You and Sue need to get a better hobby.” He said, still laughing. “Maybe try crochet or writing comedies.” Trisha left with a laugh of her own and he turned his attention back to Fatima. “Dessert? I would have you for breakfast, lunch and dinner if we had the time. You’re definitely more than just dessert.”

She blushed and picked up her fork, unable to form words. She had to look away from him to eat, but she could feel his eyes on her. She squirmed in her seat and he chuckled under his breath. He reached over and traced his fingers over her hand, sending goosebumps crawling up her arm. Her heart went into overdrive and she inhaled sharply. He knew exactly what he was doing. She forced herself to look at him, the proof in his eyes. He smiled and pulled his hand away, finishing breakfast.

“Hurry up Miss Hicks or some hopeful child will never get to read the last chapter of The Phantom Tollbooth.” He laced his fingers behind his head and tipped the chair back onto its back legs, watching her eat.

She finished her meal and they went back upstairs so she could change into her dark clothing. He brought her sunscreen and rubbed it over her face, neck, and hands. He examined her, making sure he hadn’t missed a spot. She smiled up at him and he kissed her softly. She tangled her fingers in his hair, holding him tightly to her. He smiled against her lips and she pulled back to look at him. “What?” She asked.

“Be good or we will never get out of here. You made a promise, you have to keep it.” He answered and rubbed his nose playfully against hers.

“I know, you’re just really hard to stop touching.”

“You’re one to talk. Now, lets go.” She grabbed her cell and they walked hand in hand out the door, smiling at the driver. Once they were settled in the car her phone rang. It was Sicily. She frowned and didn’t answer. She would talk to her later. Her phone rang again when they pulled up in front of the school, this one belonging to one of her contacts. She answered.

“Sorry to call you in the morning Fatima, but there’s been a zombie sighting around the Birchwood Cemetary. There are at least four of the buggers shambling around the graves.”

“Can it wait half an hour or is it an emergency?”

“It can wait. The gates are locked and no one is allowed inside.”

“I thought we cleared out the cemetary.”

“I did to, but they sprang up again.”

“Thirty minutes then I’ll be there.”

Chapter Three

She hung up “work to do?”

“Yes but thankfully it can wait until after I’ve read to the children.” They went inside and were greeted by lots of smiling faces again. “If I remember correctly I promised to let one of you children read the final chapter. She looked through the audience of children noticing one that looked particularly hopeful to be chosen. she gracefully walked up to the little girl. “what’s your name?”

“Tonya”

“Would you like to sit in my lap and read the final chapter”

“Yes mam!” Fatima walked hand in hand with the little girl and sat her down comfortably on her legs. The girl opened the book and read out loud. Lombard had to keep reminded himself it would be inappropriate to lean down and kiss Fatima or to rub her back. He felt happiness in every bit of his heart and soul. It was flowing in his veins making him feel better than he ever had. He doubted Fatima had the slightest clue what she did to him.

Fatima had to help Tonya with a few words but the small child finished the chapter and the students clapped. Tonya hugged Fatima “Thank you Miss Hicks”

“Maybe I’ll come back with another book sometime.”

“we’ll see what we can arrange.” The principal said cheerfully. The kids all left to go to their classes then Fatima walked out with Lombard close behind. He grabbed her hand when the children were out of sight. He kept it when they climbed in the car to go to the cemetery. When the car moved Lombard kissed Fatima, a hand on her cheek rubbing her skin. She smiled at him when he pulled back to stare into her eyes.

“You are so sweet. I wish we could just go home.” She said softly as she tucked his hair behind his ears. “You should always keep your hair down. It looks good.”

“I’ll do whatever you want me to. I love making you happy.” He replied and kissed her again. It was harder to pull back the second time. She stirred his emotions, made him want to lose himself in her and forget the rest of the world.

“Promise me you’ll always look at me like that.”

“Like what?”

“Like I am the only thing that matters in this world, like you need me to breathe.”

“I promise.”

Fatima gave the driver the cemetary name and he pulled away. She never looked away from Lombard, allowed herself to fall into the aquamarine depths of his eyes. It was like looking into a calm ocean, so serene and wonderfully warm. She could drown in those eyes, sink to the very deepest part of who he was and stay there forever. The car rolled to a stop, the slight jerking motion pulling her back into the here and now. She sighed in exasperation and he smiled knowingly. The driver let her out and she had him pop the trunk. She reached in, pulling out the custom made Smith & Wesson .500. It was made of a dark metal with beautiful gold filigrees etched into the handle. Her name was engraved in the butt of the gun. She flicked it open, making sure it was loaded. Lombard stood there, looking worried and curious all at once. He had never seen her kill a zombie and she wished he didn’t have to, but he would insist on coming.

“Lets go.” She said and walked to the front gate. There was a man standing there, shifting nervously from foot to foot. “Please unlock the gate.”

“You must be the zombie killer.” He said and she crossed her arms and tapped her foot impatiently. “Oh, sorry ma’am.” He quickly unlocked the gate.

“Lock it behind us.” She ordered as she and Lombard crossed into the cemetary. The man looked at her like he expected her to burst into flames as he closed and locked the gate. She almost laughed. She thought he must be an avid reader of vampire novels and watcher of vampire movies. She wanted to tell him that that crap about hallowed ground wasn’t all true. Only malicious vampires and evil spirits died if they stepped on holy soil. She walked quietly through the cemetary, the hammer on her gun cocked. She listened for the tell tale moaning and crying that heralded the approach of a mad zombie.

She heard one “Don’t interfere please Lombard. Even if one jumps on me i’ll be able to protect myself. I’m very strong and fast. Promise me you’ll stay away.” His heart stuttered for a second “One may jump on you?”

“There’s apparently four. I can’t shoot them all at once and as soon as they see me they’ll be trying to devour me.” He worriedly sat there not answering. “Lombard promise me.” he sighed “I promise to do my best not to” She smiled “good enough” The zombie was getting closer. She hoped to shoot the first one without standing incident. It started to run and she shot it. Clear headshot but then one came running at her side faster than she had ever seen one move. It knocked her over.

She kicked and shoved it off quickly shooting at her first chance. It tore her shirt but didn’t bite her. Lombard sat there horror struck. It had her on the ground before he even noticed the thing. He dind’t like her doing this kind of work. He didn’t like it in the slightest. He wanted to drag her back to the car right that second but knew trying may put her in more danger right this second. She shot the other one easy but couldn’t find the final one.

Unbeknownst to the two of them it was in a tree waiting to attack. It had climbed up when she shot the first one. She walked under the tree it was in and it jumped down on top of her. “Fucking damnit” Fatima cried trying to keep it from biting her. It was powerful but Lombard pulled it off throwing it even though Fatima had asked him not to interfere. She shot it quickly. “Thanks my love. I would’ve gotten him off though.” Lombard hugged her. “This is what you do all  the time?”

“Yep” she picked up her phone and dialed the number back “It’s taken care of. You’re welcome. Bye” Lombard started almost dragging her he was walking so fast. She giggled when they were in the car “they were all dead you know.” Lombard just hugged her. “How often do they actually get on you like that?”

“To spite what happened there, not often. You were distracting me. I was worried it would upset you since you’re a zombie.”

“They’ve lost their minds love. I know what you do you do because it’s needed. You don’t kill innocent zombies”

“I’m glad”

“It does upset me seeing now how dangerous it really is. I’ve known it wasn’t a safe job but that was….I just got really scared.” Fatima grabbed his hand “I love you”

“Love you too.”

The driver took them home and Lombard carried her inside and up to her room. He sat her down and she tossed her gun on the bed. He tugged at her clothes, his eyes moving over her pale skin. He noticed a small burn on her side from where her skin had been exposed after her shirt tore. Burns took longer to heal on someone like her. “Does this hurt?” He asked and she lifted her arm to look at the patch of red.

“No, not really.” He kissed the burn gently and she ran her fingers lovingly through his hair. “I’m alright, I promise.” She said, trying to reassure him.

“Take a seat.” He ordered softly and gestured to the bed. She sat down and he tugged her boots off. He pushed her gently so she lay flat and undid the button on her jeans and pulled them off. He lifted first one leg, looking over every inch of it, then the other. “Turn over.”

“Didn’t get a good enough look the first time?”

“I just want to double check.”

She smiled and turned onto her stomach. His fingers drifted over her back to her bra, unhooking it. She slipped it off and tossed it on the floor. He rubbed her back, starting at her shoulders and working his way down. He hooked his fingers in her panties and pulled them down. “See anything?” She said and turned her head to look at him.

“I see a lot of things, but no bite marks yet.” He replied as he ran his hands over her bottom.

“You could always leave a few.” His lips twitched into a smile. He leaned forward and kissed her shoulder then nibbled at her shoulder blade, making her squirm. “I’m very ticklish.”

“I know, I like when you wiggle like that.”

“Pervert.” She teased.

“Only for you.” He undressed and pulled her up by her hips and gently nudged her knees apart. He thrust into her as he pulled her back against him and she cried out, her fingers bunching in the comforter. He bent forward, biting her shoulder as he flexed his hips. She moaned loudly and he thrust harder, his name slipping passed her lips. His hands moved around to her front, cupping her breasts and tugging at her nipples. Her back arched and she turned her head so he could kiss her. She felt tears in her eyes as her orgasm moved through her with the force of a hurricane. Another followed, taking her breath away. She raised up on her knees, her fingers tangling in his hair as he finished, his moan filling her mouth. He pulled back, leaving them both breathless. She just stared into his eyes, her heart beating quickly and butterflies brushing her insides.

“I love you so much.” She whispered.

“And I love you.” They lay together on her bed, holding tightly to each other. Her cell rang, shattering the peace and quiet. She growled and leaned over the edge of the bed, digging in her pockets. It was Sicily and she answered.

“What?” She said in exasperation.

“You’re screwing your butler?”

“Let me guess Cade Davidson told everyone in his contact list that he saw me kiss someone that wasn’t him. Screw him. I don’t plan on banging him anytime soon.”

“Are you fucking insane. He’s threatening to completely ruin you. He called me and told me to tell you he wants money or you or he’s going to the press.”

“He’s getting neither. If he has a problem then he should come to me about it instead of acting like a child. Tell him to grow a pair and bring his ass over here and say that to my face.” She hung up and threw her phone, angrier when it didn’t break.

“whats wrong?” Lombard said sitting up “Cade is being a self righteous ass. He’ll be surprised to know I don’t care if he goes to the papers to have them print I’m with you. I dont care if the whole fucking world knows. I love you and you love me. All that will happen is I wont be invited to stuffy parties I dont like anyway. I’ll still have my work as a zombie slayer. I’m one of the best which is why i’m payed so well. The people who pay me to kill dont give a shit who I sleep with. I’ve in no way been living off the generations before me as you well know so it wont hurt me if he goes telling people I love you.”

Fatima was furious, Lombard got up to hug her. “shhh, don’t let him upset you. it’s funny that even I worried about your reputation so long because you really dont like all those high class people anyways. You prefer the normal people, the people who hire you when zombies get out of hand. Even the rich people who are stuck up will still want their zombies taken care of so don’t let Cades tantrum upset you.” He gently ran a hand up and down Fatimas back.

Lombard was angry but wasn’t showing it so he could calm her down. “he’s probably going to be over in a little bit once he’s told my reaction. Lets get dressed.”

“But you were burned, you need rest.” She smiled at Lombard “I told you I’m fine. I’ve been burnt worse before. One Zombie was so anxious to eat me he almost had my whole shirt gone. That was when I first started and I wasn’t so skilled so don’t worry” she added regretting telling him that. He had been away when that happened. Her father had sent him somewhere that she had already forgotten where.

“where was I?”

“I don’t know dad sent you somwhere that week”

They got out of bed and she went into the bathroom, grabbing a ponytail holder and pulling her hair up on top of her head. She switched on the shower and stepped under the hot spray. He joined her and they washed each other. He was careful when he brushed his hand over her burn. She just smiled at him, wishing he would stop worrying, but loving that he was always thinking of her. They got out of the shower and dried. He wrapped the towel around his waist and kissed her before going to his room to get dressed. She planned on having his things moved to her room if he didn’t mind. She went through her closet, pulling out a red summer dress and matching red flats.

“You look gorgeous.” She smiled at him in her mirror. He crossed the room and wrapped his arms around her waist. He kissed her cheek. “Far to gorgeous. Would you like me to do your hair?”

“I didn’t know you could do hair.”

“I had a younger sister and no mother. I became an expert at braiding and curling and all kinds of things.” He grabbed a ribbon then sat on the bed and patted the spot between his legs. She sat down and he braided the ribbon into her hair, tying it at the end and making a pretty bow. She looked at it in the mirror, loving it.

There was a light tap on the bedroom door and he answered it. It was Trisha. “A Mr. Davidson is here to see you Fatima. He doesn’t look happy.”

“Good.” She held out her hand and Lombard took it. They walked together, stopping in front of her office. She pushed the door open and stepped inside. Cade was sitting in front of her desk. He stood, looking smug and she walked right passed him, taking a seat behind her desk. Lombard took up his spot next to her, hands behind his back. She couldn’t help but notice that Cade was looking her up and down, his eyes full of both anger and lust. “Now what is this business I here about you going to the press?” She asked, leaning forward and lacing her fingers in front of her.

“You heard right. I have friends in high places and I can easily ruin you if I don’t get what I want.” He answered and she noticed he was sweating and jittery.

“I already have a bad reputation. I hunt zombies and make very good money from your friends doing so. They already don’t like that, but I tend not to care. Just like I don’t care what you have printed. Put in big bold letters ‘Highborn Zombie Hunter Fucks Butler’. It should make for a very interesting title.”

“Who do you think you’re talking to? I own this town.” He snapped and rubbed his legs.

“Wrong, my family owns this town. They were here long before you and your kind. They were held in high regard, served kings and queens. You are nothing, your power is minuscule compared to the power my family has.” She could hear him grinding his teeth. There was something going on with him. “Are you high?” She asked and he froze. She stood, leaning across the desk and inhaling his scent. “You are high. Coke? Heroin? Meth maybe? You presume to threaten me you drug addict? Get out of my house, your stink makes me want to vomit you sick little toad.” She sat back down, staring at him coldly.

He looked terrified “how do you know?”

“I have a very sharp nose and have seen the squirming of an addict before. You go to the press and then I’ll go to publish your little addiction.”

“fuck you” he said shakily. “Fuck your god damn butler all you want.” he ran out. It was good he did too because Lombard was ready to beat him himself for swearing at Fatima. “I’m glad he has such a  nasty habbit. Now there will be no drama. He wouldn’t dare go. Being an addict would ruin him more than it would ruin me I’m sleeping with you.” Lombard quickly had her in his arms, he stood there holding her. “I hate how dirty they make us sound.”

“Don’t worry about what they call it. Our love is beautiful. Their words can’t ruin it.” He kissed Fatima carrying her to her room. When his lips moved away from hers she said “we should combine our rooms. Will you move your stuff in here?”

“I was thinking the same thing as I went to get dressed.”

“Good, I’ll have it done tomorrow. I’ll ask the maids in the morning.”

“Now you cuddle in bed with me for the evening ok?”

“Sounds nice.” She responded sweetly. He laid down with Fatima. Just having her in his arms was heaven. He rubbed her stomach and chest gently. Her eyelids got heavy because of how relaxed his hands moving against her skin made her. He loved doing it but his goal was to make her sleep to help her burn heal faster. He didn’t like looking at it. He now hated her job but knew it was something she wouldn’t give up.He smiled when he eyes finally closed. He gave her a kiss then just laid still enjoying being able to hold her. He was in pure bliss. He wanted to spend all his time trying to make her as happy as he felt. He wasn’t sure it was possible but he was going to do his damnedest.

Fatima woke with Lomabard wrapped around her. She kissed him and he woke smiling. “What time is it?” He asked.

“I don’t know and I don’t care. All that matters is having you here.” She answered. “You need to eat.”

“I am.” He nibbled her lower lip and she laughed.

“You know what I mean. It would break my heart of you changed into one of those monsters. I need you healthy.”

“Maybe I don’t have to eat. I’m unique for a zombie remember.”

“Please don’t take that chance.”

He sighed and rolled her beneath him, his tongue sliding into her mouth to play over her teeth. She smiled against his lips and tangled her fingers in his hair to pull him back. “Alright I’ll go eat, just stay here okay.” She nodded and he left the room, running to the kitchen.

Fatima got up and peeked out the window. It was still dark outside so she opened the curtain and the window, letting in the fresh air. She stuck her head out, her arms resting on the sill. She loved the night, everything appearing more beautiful than before now that she had Lombard. She heard a snapping sound, like a branch breaking and something sharp hit her in the neck. She yanked it out. It was a dart. She looked down and saw someone standing in the shadows. Her vision blurred and she fell out the window, landing on her back. She couldn’t talk, couldn’t scream. A face hovered into view. It was Cade Davidson. “You should have listened to me Fatima.” He said and picked her up. She found the strength to reach into his back pocket and toss his wallet in the grass. He threw her in the trunk of his car, her vision going black.

Lombard was running as fast as his legs would carry him. The house seemed like it had grown bigger now that he had something to rush for. I what felt like a ridiculous amount of time he made it to the kitchen and got what he needed. Lombard hurried with this too, he didn’t want to be away from Fatima any longer than he absolutely must. He wished she hadn’t forced him to go eat but she was right, he shouldn’t take that chance.

They both would never die unless killed so they had forever with only few interruptions where the two of them must eat or she had to work. He got sad thinking of her work again. As he devoured his food to get back to the room Lombard decided he was going to ask Fatima if she could teach him how to shoot so he could help her. He’d feel worlds better if he could go with her and help. He hoped she wouldn’t view it as him trying to smother her or be over protective.

When he was done he rinsed his plate and wiped his mouth off. Lombards rushing made him eat very messily. He almost ran straight back for the room then sighed “He needed to brush his teeth. He couldn’t kiss her with human in his mouth.” He went to the bathroom and brushed very fast and hard. He just needed to get this done and hold her again, press her lips with his, run his hands along that beautiful skin. Lombard spit the rinsed his mouth to make sure nothing was left in his teeth. He checked them in the mirror while he checked his face for any trace of human blood or flesh.

Lombard found new speeds as he finally got to their room. He almost fell trying to stop. Lombard was confused when he glanced at the bed. He jerked the covers off hoping he just couldn’t see Fatima in the thick blankets she had. He looked in her closet and in the bathroom with no sign of her. He looked out her window and didn’t see her outside but wondered why she had left it open. He made out the wallet below, suddenly a very bad feeling was in the pit of his stomach.

Lombard quickly raced out of the house to see who it belonged to, screaming Fatimas name as he ran just incase she was somewhere around the house. No answer came but grumpy and sleepy maids. He ran out the doors and picked up the dark brown wallet. Lombard flipped it open and a rage swept through him when he saw Cades picture and name. “You fucking bastard” Swearing was something Lombard hardly did but with the rage that boiled inside him those were all the words he had.

Fatima woke when the car hit a rut in the road, bouncing her entire body off the floor of the trunk. She could still see even in the small, dark confines. She looked around. It was empty save for a crowbar. She wrapped her fingers around hit, holding it back behind her. The car turned and went up an incline before rolling to a stop. She heard the driver door open and then feet moving through gravel. The trunk popped open, the interior light blinding her for a moment. She was hauled out by her hair. She swung at Cade with the crowbar, catching him on the side of the head so he let her go and she fell in the gravel. She scrambled back to her feet, raising it to swing again. She froze when she saw the gun in her face mere inches from her nose.

“Drop it you stupid bitch.” He ordered and she tossed the crowbar on the ground, raising her hands. He pistol whipped her in the temple and she fell. Blood trickled down her face. He grabbed her hair and dragged her into his house. She pried at his fingers, scratched, but he wouldn’t let go. He was a lot stronger when in a drug fueled rage. He pulled her upstairs and into his room. “Clean the blood off your face, I want you pretty.”

“No, screw you.” She spat at him.

“I will kill you like you do those disgusting corpses. Even someone like you can’t survive without a brain. I bet that boyfriend of yours would thank me. You kill his kind every day.”

“They are not his kind. Maybe read a medical journal every now and then, it does wonders for idiots like you.” He hit again, making her vision spin.

“I didn’t want to have to do things this way.” He forced her onto his bed and tore at her clothes. She screamed, kicking out at him. He slapped her and pulled at her dress until it was torn away and she was in nothing but her panties. He moved onto the bed, gun still pointed at her. She calmed herself, waiting. He reached for her and she kicked out, catching him in the throat. He fell backwards off the bed and she ran. She heard him cursing and threw the front door open. She froze on the threshold. The sun was rising, the world already brighter. She was trapped.

Lombard drove at break neck speed, his heart racing. The driver had been more than confused when he had snatched the keys from his hand and ordered him to call the police. He made sure to put emphasis on Cade’s name so they were sent to the right house. The sun was breaking over the horizon and thoughts of her being tortured with the bright light played through his head. He wondered what Cade would do to her, becoming even more enraged. He couldn’t lose her, wouldn’t lose her. She was his everything. He hit a bump in the road, almost losing control of the car.

Chapter Four

As much as Lombard didn’t want to he knew he had to slow down. If he lost control and wrecked he wouldn’t be able to reach Fatima atall. He slowed it down to ten miles over the speed limit knowing that he could still keep full control that way. Fatima stood there panicked. This exposed the sun might kill her if she went out. Cade was now right behind her with his gun. “You can get back up those stairs, we can go play outside or I can just shoot you. What do you want you little bitch? This doesn’t have to be so damned hard.”

“I love Lombard and even if I didn’t I wouldn’t sleep with a spoiled brat like you. You aren’t even a man. Just a coke addict throwing a tantrum because he was told no.”

“I’ll show you how much of a fucking man I am.” He came at her and she ducked punching him in the gut then rolling with him trying to get the gun from his hands. She felt the urge to bite Cade and suck him dry but knew she’d go to jail. She would never get to hold Lombard again, it wasn’t worth it. He pushed her down in front of his window. The sun shining through causing her to scream out in pain. He had the gun pointing at her head. “Hold fucking still”

Lombard knew he was close to Cades home and let himself drive a little faster. He almost floored it when his driveway came into view. He sped down it then slammed on breaks when he could hear Fatimas screams of agony and cade screaming at her. He ran, finding an even faster speed than he discovered he had when he foolishly left her alone to go eat.

The skin on her arm and shoulder blistered. She kicked at him, trying to drag herself away from the window. She was in so much pain, a thousand knives stabbing her at once. Cade was suddenly jerked back, a look of shock on his face. She pushed herself into a corner, her knees drawn up so no part of her was left exposed to the sun. Lombard lifted him off the ground and jerked the gun out of his hand. She could tell he was barely managing to hold onto his self control. She was afraid he would do something stupid like bite Cade to show him a lesson. He slammed Cade against the wall, pinning him there by his throat.

“If you so much as blink, I will show you how dark a zombie can be.” Lombard’s voice was cold, unemotional. Rage boiled in the depths of his eyes, making the calm way he spoke even more terrifying. It said the only reason I don’t eat you is because she is watching.

He held Cade pinned until he heard the sound of sirens and police cars skidded to a halt in the driveway with an ambulance close behind. Officers and EMTs ran into the house. Lombard shoved Cade at the cops and went to Fatima who was still huddled in the corner, hands covering her breasts, her eyes wide with shock. The EMTs wanted to look at her, but she looked at them with such fear.

“Fatima, they need to look at your arm.” He said softly and her eyes jumped to his face.

“I want clothes, please or a blanket and to go home.” She begged and it broke his heart.

“You have to go to the hospital honey, you’re really hurt.”

“The sun, I can’t go out without my sunscreen.” He tore one of the curtains off the wall and wrapped her in it, pulling it over her head and then lifting her in his arms. He carried her out to the ambulance, climbing in back with her and holding her while one EMT looked at her arm and the other drove. She was shaking so hard, her eyes squeezed shut. He wanted this to all be over, wanted her safe at home where he could keep an eye on her. They arrived at the hospital in record time. The emergency entrance was shaded so he didn’t have to worry about her being burned again. He refused to put her down until one of the nurses lead him to a room. He unwrapped her and lay her gently down on the hospital bed then pulled the blanket over her so she wouldn’t be exposed. He held her hand as the nurse applied burn cream to her arm and shoulder. She said it would soothe the sting while Fatima’s body healed. Since she was a vampire they weren’t worried about infection. The nurse left them alone and said they would check on her in a hour.

“I’m so sorry I left you alone.” He said, feeling tears in his eyes.

She looked at him, her thumb brushing his fingers. “I knew you would come for me. I knew. I was so scared. He was going to rape me.” She replied and started crying. He pressed his forehead against hers and shushed her.

“You’re okay baby and I’m staying right here. I thought I was going to lose you. I was ready to kill him. I felt a darkness in me when I saw him on top of you.”

“I’m glad you didn’t kill him. Even though he deserves it.”

“I couldn’t do it with you there watching me. You pulled me back from that dark place.”

“Please lay with me. I need you to hold me.” He climbed slowly in next to her, pulling her gently into his arms. He kissed the top of her head. “I’m so tired and thirsty.”

“Go to sleep and I’ll ask the nurse to get you some blood for a transfusion when she come back.”

“You’re so wonderful” she said quietly. “I love you Fatima.”

“You too.” she responded trailing off into sleep. She knew in his arms she was safe, it gave her all the comfort she needed. Tears were streaming down Lombards face. He could only imagine the pain she had been in. He hated Cade for it and hoped it would be all over the papers what he had done and the fact he had been on drugs doing it. Now it wouldn’t be a question, He was going to help her fight zombies when she returned to work. She could either help him learn to help her properly or he’d just follow after her.

Lombard wasn’t going to risk anything like this again. She was too important to him, his whole world. Nothing had scared him more in his life than her not being in that bed when he got back to the room. He wasn’t even that afraid the day those zombies changed him. He hoped Fatima knew just how deeply he loved her, that he’d do anything in the world to make her happy and keep her from harm. He decided to start thinking of somthing to do for her when she got better. He wanted to do somthing amazing to try and show his love for her.

The nurse eventually came in and he requested blood for Fatima. The nurse quickly exited to get some. The nurse put the IV in her arm then tended to the burns again. Lombard looked at them with almost too much sadness to handle. The nurse saw the despair on his face “She’s not hurting much any more sir, your girlfriend or wife or whatever she is to you will be fine.”

“are you sure?”

“If she still felt it I promise you she wouldn’t be sleeping.” Lombard just looked at Fatima again, kissing her forehead. The nurse left the two of them alone. He hoped she wouldn’t have to stay in the hospital long. He wanted her home and all to himself.The next time sombody came in he planned to ask how long they were going to need to stay. Lombard was willing and wanting to just do everything for her himself.

Fatima woke feeling better. She opened her eyes and looked up at Lombard who smiled warmly at her. “You don’t look like you’ve slept.” She said and ran her fingers over his cheek. He grabbed her hand and pressed her fingers to his lips. He looked so exhausted and worried. “I’m not in pain so get that look off your face. It could have been way worse if you had not showed up.”

“I know and that’s why I am scared to look away from you. If I had not found his wallet, if I had not driven like a mad man, something far worse than death could have happened to you. I would have spent the rest of my life knowing that your last moments were filled with horror that I could have prevented if I had been a little smarter, a little faster. I was so close to losing you forever.” His words moved her to tears. She tangled her fingers in his hair and pulled his face down to kiss him.

“My last thoughts would have been of you and how happy you make me. I would have clung to the memory of us as I faded away from this world.” He swallowed, tears running down his cheeks. She wiped at them and kissed his cheek. “I mean it, Lombard. I would not have let any trauma take that from me.”

“For years all I wanted was you and only you. I would have missed your smile, your laugh, and the softness of your skin. I may hold to you to tightly now, hover constantly, and drive you crazy. I hope that’s okay.”

“Of course it is.” A nurse came in and smiled.

“How are we feeling?” She asked.

“Right as rain.” Fatima said happily.

“When can she go home?” Lombard asked.

“Impatient to get her alone are we?” She winked and they both turned red. “Just let me get the doctor, she’ll want to look at your burns.”

“Thank you.” Fatima turned her gaze back to Lombard. “I know she’s right. You just can’t resist my sexiness. Whatever shall I do? Maybe I’ll get fat.” She grinned.

“I will love you no matter what, fat, skinny, pregnant. I’ll always adore you from head to toe.” He brushed his nose playfully against hers.

“Pregnant? I didn’t know you liked kids.”

“Of course I do. I love children. We’ll talk about that later though, when you’re ready.” There was a tap on the door and an older female doctor walked in.

“I hear someone is ready to get out of here.”

‘Yes” She walked over and looked at Fatimas burns. “They have started to heal very nicely. I think you can go home. Just don’t leave the house until they are gone. I don’t care even if it is night just stay in until you’ve healed completely.”

“Yes mam, I’m sure Lombard will make me obey that” Fatima laughed as she spoke. “Good, I’ll get you discharged. Get her some clothes Lombard so she’ll have somthing to leave in.”

“Do they sell any clothes in the gift shop? I know in some they do.”

“Yes”

“Can I pay you or sombody else to go buy me some? I know Lombard really doesn’t want to leave me.” The doctor smiled “I’ll ask a nurse. I would but I have a lot of things to take care of.” A nurse came in and Lombard handed her money. She came back quickly with clothes for Fatima. Lombard carried her into the bathroom and helped her put on the new clothes. He lifted her back up sitting on the hospital bed. His foot wiggling non stop in impatience. “she’s coming Lombard.” Fatima said smiling at him. “I just know you’ll be more comfortable at home.”

She was finally discharged and sent home. Lombard realized he had left the car at Cades. He put Fatima down holding her hand then grabbing his phone with the other. He called a cab then picked her back up. “I see what you’re talking about” Fatima laughed. HIs adoring eyes looked down at Fatima making her laughter go silent. “It’s amazing the way you look at me.” She said breaking his intense gaze. “I’ve loved you for so many years. Each year my love for you has grown. All you see when I look at you is how much I need you, how much I want to spend the rest of my life making you happy. Since the day you grew into a woman I’ve thought of no other but you. Nothings ever going to hurt you again. It’ll have to kill me first.”

The cab arrived and they got in. Lombards arm around Fatima as they rode. He’d glare at the driver when he’d try to look back at Fatima in his mirror. When they were finally home Lombard quickly took her inside. The maids were all sleeping since it was night again. Lombard was glad, he didn’t want to have to stop and talk to a single person. He went straight to their room and laid her down.

“I need to ask you something very important.” He said as he pulled off his shoes and lay down next to her.

“Uh oh, that’s never a good thing. You look all serious like you did when I broke that window during archery practice.” She replied, a smile flitting across her lips.

“You shouldn’t have been shooting toward the house, you are making this a lot harder than it needs to be.”

“Sorry, sorry. Ask away.”

“Will you marry me?” She was taken back by his question. She just stared at him for the longest time, wondering if she had heard right. “If you keep your mouth hanging open like that you’re going to catch flies.” She snapped her mouth shut. She had not realized she was gaping. “So, yes or no?”

“Sorry, I’m just a little shocked. Yes, of course.” She wrapped her arms around his neck and he held her tightly too him.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m very sure.” She pulled back to look at him. “That wasn’t hesitation, it was one hundred percent shock. I want to marry you very much.”

He kissed her excitedly, running his fingers through her hair. He had been so nervous. He loved her more than anything and marrying her was a good way to express just how much he really loved her. He was committing himself with everything he was. He pulled back, leaving her breathless. “Thank you so much.”

“I really, truly love you. Planning a wedding is going to be so much fun. Can we have it wherever I want?”

“Where did you have in mind?”

“I was thinking of Romania or Transylvania. I want it to be a kind of joke for everyone who looks back and remembers that day. The vampire and the zombie getting married in Dracula country. It’ll be fun.”

He chuckled and kissed her nose. “Whatever you want my love, I’ll do.”

“Should I start practicing my accent now? Go stereotypical Dracula with the whole I want to suck your blood thing?” He kissed her, silencing her in an instant.

“Anything you want love, never forget that, anything.” She couldn’t be more happy than she was with him at that moment.

THE END

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