Anything For Love

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic


It is the night of the masquerade ball. For Giles Wolworth, it is his opportunity to finally reveal his affections for the woman who has captured his heart, Ms. Margaret Derzinger. But what will he
discover about her when a mysterious man makes an appearance? A man who knows Margaret's secrets.

Submitted: November 26, 2017

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Submitted: November 26, 2017

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Tonight is to be a glorious night!  Tonight is the night of the grand masquerade ball at the Crossworn Palace, the residence of the Lord and Lady Sallinger.  It is to be a magical occasion as all who have previously attended the annual event have attested.  I am in delight.  My costume has been hanging off my wardrobe for the past three weeks, my invitation stored in my personals box atop my dresser.  I have spent the past seven weeks discovering the attendees, and it ignites my heart with pleasure to know that the one guest whom I’d hoped to come shall be in attendance this night.

Ms. Margaret Derzinger is merely an acquaintance of mine presently, though I feel I have come to know her quite intimately.  Our paths have crossed at more than one social occasion; she always a vision of elegance, and though she possesses a graceful quality, it is without practice, and at times presents her in a more common light.  Where with many men of the upper echelon, they would see this trait practiced until it is custom so she may stand as a true lady at their side; the commonness a bug that must be stamped out.  I, however, find it a charming quality that draws me to her more strongly.  It brings me ease of mind when we trade our innocent flirtations, for I have known a more common existence for a time, and do tire of the dull, somewhat mechanical workings of the aristocracy and in quiet moments yearn for the simplicity of a common life again.  I yet a bachelor, to find a lady who is not a slave to appearance when in a private setting and who on occasion yet retains an informal disposition whilst in a public forum would be a marvelous thing.  And for these reasons, my heart beckons for Ms. Derzinger’s affection.

So it will be at the ball tonight, when amidst the many false facades and elaborate costumes that I shall reveal my true feelings for her in simple words so that there can be no doubt of my intentions.  Then we shall see Ms. Derzinger’s reaction and I shall leave either a happy man or a sad one.

So now, I shall dress and make ready to leave.

 

***

 

Ah, the Crossworn Palace is a magnificent place!  A grand estate, indeed, providing grander spectacles for its guests.  The drive is two miles long and lined with the carriages of the party’s attendees: Lords and Ladies, governors, mayors, philanthropists, tycoons and new blood to the fortunes of influential families, famous travellers and other notable figures, ambassadors from other countries, and rumour has it, agents of Her Majesty’s global intelligence service.  Much excitement on the grounds tonight.

I am later to the party than I had wished, for it was a thirty-five minute stroll along a concrete walk from my carriage to the palace; the lawn ornaments and shrubbery and gardens a marvelous sight along the way.  What’s more, it proved another ten minutes in a line before at last presenting my invitation and gaining admittance.  I am without the importance of most other guests attending, and therefore receive smaller considerations.  Likewise, my reputation is quiet and consequently, I must obey every formality to gain entry to such a place, unlike the many distinguished individuals in attendance tonight who are spoken of on every tongue in England.  This fact neither wounds nor fazes me; I keep to the shadows within the prestigious society, picking my moments of when to make an appearance.  I have chosen to live with a high degree of anonymity, striving for that common life.

I easily come to be acquainted with those whom I meet, such as the Lord and Lady Sallinger, for it is said that I have a magnetic personality.  It is a flattering compliment.  One that often humbles me.  But I am grateful for my magnetism, especially on this night and all other nights that have afforded me the opportunity to associate with the lovely Ms. Derzinger.

Within the palace now, a glass of champagne in hand and my joyous heart leading me on, I step from the white marble floor of the extravagant foyer to the chic red carpet of the grand ballroom to search for that beautiful woman.  What a room the ballroom is, extending to a length that would enclose ten common homes, the expanse from the floor to the ceiling proving such a comparison to be accurate; its white walls and fluted supports climb for more than one-hundred feet up.  A golden chandelier colossal in size and of excessive extravagance hangs over the middle of the ballroom; massive gold chains drape from the fluted base of the chandelier and fasten to the walls.  Atop the chandelier’s twelve branching arms, a series of large diamonds sit.  Dozens of smaller diamonds twinkle along its base and around its head.  Several rows of candles sit atop golden rod frames and encircle the chandelier’s polished golden body, causing the showy piece to radiate with a heavenly glow over the esteemed guests of the Lord and Lady Sallinger.  Candelabras are mounted in each corner of the ballroom, extending the glow of the chandelier.  The candelabras’ tapers glow brightly, black trails of smoke dancing from their calm flames towards the ceiling.

The grand room is teeming with bodies, and somewhere within this sea of bodies, she roams.  Taking pause to scan the area, I feel daunted by the task I have undertaken upon noting the variations of masks.  So many shapes, colours and designs.  Furthermore, so many elegantly dressed women; finely woven fabrics, ruffled skirts, sultry as well as outrageous hues, and a myriad of other particulars defining each costume as its own.  What’s more, many of these women are of a trim figure and dark of hair as Ms. Derzinger herself.  Truly, the task of finding one desired woman shan’t be easy, but I am determined to do so.

I find my way into the chaotic mass of partygoers, brushing past many fine-dressed gentlemen and stepping past lovely-looking ladies.  It is a tricky thing, passing one without grazing their figure.  For the size of the grandiose ballroom, it is hardly of a size to hold the assembly of guests.  We are truly rubbing elbows with one another.  As I make my way, I nod to some whom I recognize, shaking hands and well-wishing those I favour, smiling all-the-while whilst my eyes scour for her.

Will I be so difficult for her to recognize?  I should think not.  My costume is rather plain when compared to the many other fine disguises occupying the ballroom.  Admittedly, I put little thought into my costume - my thoughts towards the ball never far from Ms. Derzinger.  I am attired in a black tuxedo, finely tailored to perfectly fit my frame; the inlay is deep red silk.  I wear a cape that falls to my waist, the material light and flowy, to whirl behind me in dramatic fashion when I walk, its collar high standing, obscuring my jawline to those beside me.  The finishing touch is my mask, a green opera mask with an arching brow line and an expression blank of emotion, save for the emotion of my eyes.  That is where the enchantment lies.

I deftly manoeuvre through the crowd, hoping if I cannot place eyes on Ms. Derzinger that she places eyes on me and distinguishes me beneath my disguise.

 A hand falls on my shoulder and the jolly voice of one Dalton McCrane ignites the air, “Mr. Wolworth!  Good to see you, man!  I was asking the missus if we would see you here, and here you are!”

Dalton’s champagne glass is nearly empty, accounting for the small slur in his speech, as well as his eccentric jovial manner and his rosy cheeks.  He is clutching me for support it would seem as he wavers forwards and backwards.

His costume is catching, a rather fiery one.  A crushed red velvet jacket with ruffled sleeves, embroidered with golden ribbon; purple thigh-length socks over crushed red velvet breeches; a purple cravat; a black chaperon; and a purple mask with golden thread highlights concealing his eyes.  Plus, a smart new pair of shoes adorned with big shiny buckles, with more polish to them than the foyer’s marble floor.

“I am amazed you recognized me what with my mask,” I say in amusement, watching the man attempt to blink away his inebriation.

“Yes, but there is only one man with your gait, Mr. Wolworth.”

That explains it, then.

I smile beneath my mask, graciously bowing.  “You are an astute observer, Dalton.  Never a detail missed with you.”

Dalton McCrane salutes me with his glass, his cheeks bloating before the champagne's sharp scent rushes past his lips, “There is little to get past me, son.  Bank on it.”

“There’s plenty that finds its way past you,” Dalton’s wife, Wendy McCrane, teases.  She closes her arm around her husband’s to aid in his balancing act, maintaining a practiced smile to hide her irritation towards her husband's present state.  “How are you, Mr. Wolworth?” she addresses me with an honest smile.

“I’m well, thank you,” I bow.  “And you, ma’am?  That is a fine dress you wear this evening.”

Indeed, it is.  A dazzling spectacle.  Red, gold, streaks of orange, dashes of yellow, spits of green, and a touch of deep blue; gold piping for the trim, frilly lace along the bodice with gold inter-lacing down the front, and a wide ruffled skirt.  She resembles a colour-arrayed flower.  Most beautiful.  Her mask, however, is rather plain; its shape does not suit her rounder face.

Mrs. McCrane gleams with practiced flattery, raising her delicate fingers to her mouth as she falsely blushes.  “Always a man who should be with a wife, I say.  Whatever are you doing, indulging in meaningless pursuits when you should be with an honest woman?” she asks.

I am stunned, nearly to speechlessness.  “Why, ma’am, I don’t know what you mean.  I am not one to frolic with a pretty face, I assure you.  I mean to find me a wife.  But I mean for our love to be true.”

“Spoken like a man who knows what he wants,” slurs Mr. McCrane.

“Yes, sir.”

“Spoken like a man who spends his time dreaming,” comes a voice.

It is a beautiful voice, full of life and confidence.  Its tone rings with familiarity; a playful melody with a sultry fade.  Beneath my mask, my visage is brimming with a smile whilst I turn to confront the bearer of the voice.  Whilst I turn to greet Ms. Margaret Derzinger.

“Ms. Derzinger, so lovely to see you,” I bow whilst my eyes wander over her costume and her attractive figure.

It is less of a costume and more akin to her elegant finery.  She, such as myself, chose a classic look rather than dressing in something gaudy or grotesque that shan’t be worn beyond tonight.  She wears a maroon dress complete with a plain corset, a ruffled skirt and fluted shoulders, and lace trim at the arms.  Each wrist is wrapped in dark lace.  Quite alluring.  Complimenting her simple yet elegant dress, she wears a black colombina stella, leaving her slender nose and perfectly small pair of lips unconcealed; a temptation to any man.  Her pale skin is the perfect canvas to ignite the flare of her red lips. The rouge to her cheeks is a lovely touch, as well, distracting from the paleness of her skin.  But I notice it all and appreciate it all.  She appears as though she is ten years younger than when last we met.

Ms. Derzinger curtsies, her small lips granting me a small smile.  “Mr. Wolworth,” she says, “always a delight to see you, even if you are hidden behind an appalling mask.”

I slip the mask off, revealing my bright expression.  “My apologies.  Perhaps this is too frightening a thing to wear in public,” I say whilst I inspect the mask in my hand.

“How ever do you expect to find your future wife when you look like a nefarious troll?” she jests, trying not to laugh.

I wish I could jest with her, but looking at her, the tenderness beating in my chest reveals itself in my eyes.  “I suppose I shall have to search my dreams,” I reply in a soft coo.  “Or has my dream become real?”

Ms. Derzinger is speechless, clearly taken aback by my words.  A poetic expression of my feelings.

Mr. McCrane slaps me on the back, his drunken manner giving way to words spoken louder than they should, “That is how you state yourself, son.  I can see you already have a wife in mind.  Good on you, son.  Good on you.  All you need is to close the deal.”

Mrs. McCrane pulls him away, hints of embarrassment in her shifting eyes and clenched jaw.  “All right now, sir, it is time you calmed yourself and sobered up,” she sternly speaks in her husband’s ear.  “Good night, Giles.  Margaret.”  Mrs. McCrane has both arms locked around her husband’s, easily leading him through the crowd.  “The nerve of you,” she hisses in his ear as they depart.

I turn back to Margaret, bearing a sheepish grin.  She, too, is grinning, though whether from flattery or unease I cannot tell.  My heart flutters with concern.

“My apologies,” I say to her, raking back my hair to bear a more gentlemanly quality.  “He is a man who enjoys his drink at parties.”

Margaret’s grin turns into a smile.  “Yes, I’ve witnessed several occasions where Mrs. McCrane carried him off in a greater fluster than tonight.”

I chuckle, unsurprised.  Margaret joins me in the amusement.

When next my eyes meet hers, I am unable to hide my longing.  Her gaze dazzles me.  I have nothing of a witty nature to say to her at this time; what I want is to open up to her, reveal my feelings for her and ask if she feels the same.

I believe she can sense my desire, for her eyes express a longing equal to my own.  But beneath that desire, I also see trepidation.  What could it be she fears?  Is it commitment?  I surely hope not.

“Margaret,” I begin, and that is where I end for the time being, for then a new voice cuts in.

“Margaret, my dear.  What a joy it is to see you again, love.  My, how the time has taken flight between us.”

This voice is rough, like one that fancies the smoking of cigars to excess.  Its harsh sound scratches at my throat and I clear it to ease the irritation.

The owner of the voice joins us before I have time to turn to greet his approach.  His movement is precise, almost lethal, like a jungle cat stalking prey.  He is a slender man with raven black hair pulled back in a ponytail that is clipped, not wrapped, in place.  His eyes are dark, like the night sky in the absence of the moon.  Yet in the catch of the ballroom’s light, they glow opaque such as a wolf’s.  It is a disturbing phenomenon.  His countenance is bold, held with a firm square jaw, completed by a dark scruff of hair on his chin and a long, tapering mustache.  He is broad shouldered and broad chested, though he lacks the traditional burliness of such a form.  But as he stands here, hands clasped behind his back, chest puffed out, he gives a burly appearance.

I do not recognize this man.  I have neither seen nor heard of him from previous functions.  I am not sure I care much for him, either.  He wears no costume, merely a simple tuxedo.  Nor does he bother to wear a mask.  An elitist, perhaps, who feels his position grants him the right to flaunt the rules.  Surely, I am merely analyzing what I see presented, but I do not believe my evaluation to be far off.  Noting Margaret’s unease by the man’s presence, I dislike him more so, yet I hold my tongue.

“Drake,” says Margaret with a small curtsey.  Her eyes do not stop shifting, yet they do not stray far from his stare.

The man bows to an extravagant degree, his stare never leaving Ms. Derzinger’s jittery eyes.  A grin affixes to his unsettling countenance.  It is a menacing expression.

“Giles, may I introduce Mr. Drake Falcone.”  Margaret’s voice trembles as she introduces us.

Mr. Falcone reluctantly peels his eyes from Ms. Derzinger.  He firmly takes my hand, turning his menacing grin on me.  His gaze flashes with equal menace.  He pumps my hand once before releasing.  “A pleasure to meet you,” he says.

“Likewise,” I reply, my wariness apparent in my tone.  But he is unbothered and returns his attention to Ms. Derzinger.

“I’ve missed you, darling,” he says, his menacing grin immovable from his visage.  Though he attempts to use a jovial tone, it is unconvincing.  “It has been too long since last we spoke or even spent time together.  The games we used to play . . .” he reminisces.

Margaret’s eyes bow with distress; fear running in her stare as she meets the man’s gaze.  “I chose to move away, find some place more agreeable to me to call home.”

“Indeed, you have,” says Mr. Falcone, a hint of resentment in his tone.  “You do seem more at home in these surroundings.”

Margaret flinches.  Perhaps there’s more to her past than I’d suspected.

“How do you find London?” he asks.

“I find it well,” Margaret replies, taking a breath as if to say something further, but thinks better of it.

“It is a more regal place,” Mr. Falcone admits, prying his eyes from Ms. Derzinger long enough to take in the ballroom’s opulence.  “You have certainly found yourself to a better environment.  Though, I am not sure if to better company.”

Margaret meekly nods, her eyes darting between the partygoers, concern rising in her stare as though she fears for their safety.

“Please do not interpret my meaning as condemnation against you, sir,” Mr. Falcone addresses me, apparently having forgotten of my presence already.

I dismiss it.  “Worry not, sir.  I am unbothered by one’s fleeting attention.  Many men forget themselves when in a place of such grand distinction to which they are unaccustomed.”  A small jab to reveal my dislike for him, if he can grasp such subtlety.

But Mr. Falcone chuckles sinisterly, his eyes narrowing to gleeful slits.  He is a most unsettling figure now.  “My apologies.  I am unaccustomed to people with fragile sensibilities.  The delicate world of the mighty is not one I care to venture into often.”

A well-spoken jab on his part.  Not surprising he can throw insults with such ease.

“It is surprising to find you here,” Margaret’s trembling voice speaks.

He smiles at her, his perfectly clean teeth an unsettling display.  Mr. Falcone is symbolic of a predator now, nearly atop his prey.

“Does it displease you?” his tone is threatening.

Margaret faintly recoils from the man as though expecting a rod or lash to raise in his hand.  Her voice takes a quieter pitch, “I simply mean that I would not have expected to see you in this setting.”

“Nor would you see me in such a place were it not for my discovering you to be in attendance this night.  And when I learned of it,” he leans forward in a most intimidating way; Margaret visibly shrinks before him, “I made sure to come and seek you out so that we might catch up.  Speak of the old days.”

Despair finds itself to Margaret’s countenance then, apparent so, even with her mask hiding part of her face.  What memories they share be of the unpleasant kind and yet leave their mark on Ms. Derziner.  Tears swim in her eyes, her body showing sign of approaching collapse.

I step forward, protectively taking hold of Margaret’s arm.  “Well, you have sought her out, sir, and I believe you have said all that’s worth saying from you.  She is in no mood for your company, clearly, and I have had enough of you as well,” I state with a hot tongue.  I am at a hair’s length from throwing my fist at him.  “Kindly take your leave, sir.”

The man looks at me, feigning surprise.  “’Kindly take my leave’?”  He mockingly casts an indignant expression.  “Sir, I believe you have said enough for the pair of you.”  He looks to Margaret expectantly, but receives no reaction from her.  His dark, haunting eyes return to me.  “Very well.  It would seem my presence is no longer suitable.”

“It was never suitable,” I hostilely state.  Ordinarily, I am a diplomatic man, but not at this time.

My tough posturing genuinely amuses Mr. Falcone.  He steps forward, trouble glinting in his stare, his bearing evermore predatory, and lethal, as though a breath away from pouncing on his prey.  Are we to scrap?

“Leave us,” Margaret demands, coming forward and nudging Mr. Falcone away.  He is surprised yet remains amused.

Without further prompt, he bows graciously to Ms. Derzinger.  “Good night, Margaret.”  He tips his head to me.  “Sir.  Be well.”

I do not know what to make of his words.  A threat?  A warning?  Are they genuine well wishes?  Surely not!

Much to my surprise, the man suddenly addresses Ms. Derzinger in a foreign tongue.  It sounds like Latin.  He speaks swiftly and with a threatening edge to which Margaret replies in the foreign tongue as adeptly as he.  Her expression crumbles with vulnerability.  I can only stand aside and witness the altercation.

With the exchange of a few more words, Mr. Falcone takes his leave, seemingly pleased with himself.

I take Margaret’s hand and hold it to my breast.  “My dear, my deepest apologies for his slights.  His manner was most inappropriate.  The gall of that man!”  My temper rises, but I let it fall from mind, my concern for Margaret.  “Might there be a way to cheer you up, milady?”

Margaret is discreetly wiping tears from her eyes as she attempts to hide her wretched expression from public sight.  I hand her my handkerchief.  “Thank you,” she manages to say.

I place my arms around her and press myself to her in a protective manner.  “Shall we retreat to some place private for your sake?”

“Yes, please,” she whimpers.

I take her through the sea of partygoers, moving casually to avoid attracting the attentions of the drunk and jolly attendees.  Many of them are oblivious to our passing, joshing their mates and bantering with their wives.  I shield Margaret from those who take notice of her, my body protecting her from their hushed criticisms.  We move more quickly as my discomfort rises - the number of eyes falling on Ms. Derzinger increasing.  I guide us towards the back of the room, a trying task with Ms. Derzinger in her current state - holding back her tears and sobs as best she can whilst I hurry us to privacy.

We near the wall and at last, we come to a door.  It is closed – one of the few that are in the grand ballroom.  I try the handle and to our luck, the door is unlocked.  I guide Margaret in, swiftly closing the door behind us.  We find ourselves in a servant’s hall; a place where the help may scurry through to easier reach another part of the palace.  As of this time, however, the hall lays empty, save for the wrecked soul before me and myself.

It is with fortune that the hall is ours, for once the door is closed Margaret bursts into manic sobs.  She falls into me, her hands clenched into fists that she presses against my chest.  I wrap my arms around her in tender embrace.  This poor woman.

“It’s all right now,” I hush in her ear.  “You’re all right.”

“No.  No, Giles, I’m not,” she cries.  “It is not all right and I don’t believe it shall ever be again.  My life can never be what it once was, and because of this I do not desire it so, for to continue wishing for such a thing would be torture.”

I do not fully understand.  Her words carry a greater depth of agony than I can fathom.  My words of comfort may prove wanting because of this.  All I can do is hold her and be here for her.

“Margaret, I am here for you, and I shall be forever here for you if you should want it so.”

Margaret pauses amidst her chorus of sobs.  “Forever?”

“Yes, my darling.  I have felt strongly for you for some time now.  I care deeply for you and would have you by my side until our twilight years wane and we are but souls drifting through the ether.”

Margaret looks up at me then.  Her eyes, to my surprise, do not shine with joy but carry clouds of sadness.

“If only it could be so,” she whispers with longing.

“It can, my darling,” I assure her.  “I offer you my love, and though I’m not a perfect man, my love for you shall last through eternity.  I vow this.”

“It would.”  I do not know if this is a question or a statement, her voice speaks strangely.

I hold her close, my love and desire for her illuminating my visage.  It calms her.  Her sobs cease, her mournful tears end their flow, her fluttering chest falls to deathly stillness.  The trace of a grin borne of solace creases the corner of her mouth.  In the glow of her serene presence, I find myself immersed in her dazzling gaze; my body feels as though it is a part of her body, my thoughts joining her thoughts, my breath stolen to her lips.  Lost to each other’s comforting stares, we are one in this moment.  I now know I am truly in love with this woman and would do anything for her.  Then she blinks and the spell cast by our gazes is broken.

I wipe the tears resting on her chin.  “Now tell me, my dear, what atrocities has that vile man enacted upon you?  I would see them set right.”

Margaret’s serene comportment shatters and her tears flow again amidst pained cries borne of past transgressions.  The pain I see in her stirs pain in my own heart, as well as resentment for the despicable Drake Falcone.

“I assure you, I shall deal with him for your honour.”  My conviction bears no false word spoken.  I truly believe I am capable of being her avenger.

Margaret shakes her head, regaining control of herself.  “There is nothing you can do to him.  There is no resolution that can be claimed for his act.”

I cannot believe such a thing.  There is always a means of retribution.  If I could only know how it is he’s harmed her.

“Please, darling.  Please!  What is it he has done to you that cannot be righted?”

Margaret slowly shakes her head, leaning away from me as she resists giving an answer.

My grip tightens around her shoulders, desperate for a response.  “Please!”

“What difference will it make?”

“All the difference in the world.  Please, I wish to share everything with you, including your pain.  Open up to me.”

My expression grows more desperate.  Tears well in my eyes.  Yet still she refuses an answer.

“Margaret, please!”  I shake her; her reluctance to confide in me as heartrending as the thoughts placing in my mind of what Drake Falcone might have done to her.

My desperation shocks her, causing her greater pain, for I do not believe she wishes to hide the truth from me; she merely wishes to protect me from it.  An act of love in its own way.  But I do not wish for her protection from her pain; I wish to share it for her sake.

I summon my strength to pry an answer from her, an answer I may not wish to hear.  It is the only thing so terrible I can imagine he may have done that has inflicted such an emotional wound upon her.  “Did he force himself upon you?”  My voice quivers in the asking of it.  “Is he as much a monster as he appears to be?  Please, Margaret.  Have trust in me.”

She can see how afraid I am.  I am afraid for her, as well as afraid of what she has suffered.  But I wish to be here for her through everything, and for that, I must know.  She knows my love for her will not stop me from discovering the truth, and because of this, her expression relents and I can see she is ready to answer me.

“You truly love me?” she asks through a tear-shimmering gaze.

“Yes, darling.  I truly love you and wish to share everything I have with you.  I ask for the same in return.”  I affectionately rub her arms.  My hands slip down to take hers in a gentle grip.  My expression softens.  I blink away fresh tears.  “Please, share with me your pain.”

Margaret’s lip quivers.  More tears trail down her cheeks.

“Did he force himself upon you?”

She wraps her arms around me and buries her face in my neck, softly weeping.  I hold her and silently weep for the pain I feel rippling through her.

At last, Margaret lifts her head and says, “He is a monster, my love.  A terrible monster.  He has caused me great pain, but I cannot in good conscience lead you to believe he is the monster as you see him.  He is far worse.”

My heart sinks lower.  What offense could he commit that could be worse?

Margaret summons a breath of courage.  “The wounds he has inflicted on me travel deep into my soul.  They are wounds that cannot heal and can never be undone.”  She draws close to me, her lips on my ear.  “But they are not wounds borne from a lust for flesh.”

“What is it then, darling?”

Her nose grazes my neck.  She gently plants a kiss.  “They are borne from lust for blood.”

“Pardon?”

I feel it then, so sudden and unexpected.  The sharp pain as my skin is penetrated, my vein punctured; a burning sensation that intensifies as my blood drains.  I can feel Margaret’s lips upon me, enclosing the burning pain, gently sucking on my neck.  Dear God.  My body weakens, my vision blurs, my pulse battles to retain its vigour.  My knees begin to buckle, yet I remain standing, wrapped in Margaret’s arms.  She embraces me so tenderly.

The sensation lasts less a minute before the sharp pain retreats.  Margaret slowly releases me, leaving me to stand on my own.  My head is swimming, my body on the verge of collapse.  I rest against the door whilst I steady myself.  My body already begins to recover its strength slowly.  My mind is a jumble; I struggle to conjure a sensical thought.  My eyes fall this way and that, drifting to every corner of my periphery as though they are no longer mine to control.  They fall on Margaret.  Her lips are painted, not with the bright fire of her lip rouge but crimson with blood.  Her tongue sweeps over her lips, cleaning the blood from them.  I look into her eyes.  They are dark.  As abysmal as a pit.  As black as a night sky in the absence of the moon.  Her eyes show concern, sorrow, and love.

“You wish to share everything with me?” she says, raising her hand to her chest.  “You wish to love me for eternity?”  She drags a fingernail across her wrist, slicing into her flesh.  Blood seeps from the slit.  She holds her wrist to my mouth.  “Then drink, my love, and join me in eternity.  Share my pain and be forever by my side.”

I wrap my lips around her wrist and suck, the blood trickling into my mouth and down my throat.  It tastes sweet.  It tastes good.  With every drop of blood that snakes down my throat, I crave more of it.  It is not merely a desire; it is a necessity.  The blood is life.  My body will forever ache for more.  I must have more.  I must have blood.

“Very good, my love,” says Margaret, her voice calm and alluring.  “Now we shall be together forever.”


© Copyright 2018 Jeff Bezaire. All rights reserved.

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