We never should have come here. It was Mark’s idea. It was Mark who hadn’t wanted to stay in yet another hotel for yet another conference. It was Mark who suggested that we stretch three days of meetings into a well deserved and long awaited vacation. It was Mark who found this quaint Bed & Breakfast, with its old world charm and ultra-modern amenities. It was Mark who found her.
But I am getting ahead of myself. It’s a bad habit. I’ve never been particularly good with words. Give me numbers any day. Still, I suppose that it’s no good telling a story without introducing the characters…so allow me to introduce myself. My name is Alexis DuChamps. It sounds exotic, doesn’t it? I assure you that it is not. My friends call me Alex, I have never set foot out of the country and I make my living not on-stage but from a small yet tasteful home office.
Mark is my husband. He is a Biology professor at the local university and, while he doesn’t look the least bit academic, he is brilliant in his field. We’ve been married for five years and haven’t gotten tired of each other’s company yet. Sometimes I am amazed that we can spend so much time together and still find things to talk about. Are we a happy couple? I suppose that depends on your personal view of what happiness really is. All I can say is that we’re not unhappy.
Mark’s job means that he usually has to go to at least one conference a year. Sometimes I go with him. Sometimes I just plead exhaustion and send him off by himself, even though I know he would rather have me there with him. It is not always a lie. Ever since I decided to tell my boss exactly what I thought of him (even now the offending language makes me blush) and strike out on my own, I’ve been busier than ever. It is nice to get away from it all though. That’s why I didn’t put up much of a fight when Mark suggested that we say to hell with everything and treat ourselves to a holiday.
I still wasn’t thrilled at setting off for the heart of a big city (how much of a holiday could it be?), but even that particular hurdle could be overcome. One of Mark’s colleagues had been raving about this gorgeous little place roughly half an hour from the conference center. Having met the poor woman I am fairly certain that ‘raving’ doesn’t even come close to a suitable description, but in the end it was all that she claimed it would be. It was as though someone had picked up a piece of secluded countryside and transplanted it into the suburbs. I am fairly well off but I can’t even imagine how much money must have gone into acquiring such an expanse in that area, much less creating the overall effect.
Not that you can tell if you’re just driving by. No expense was spared to ensure that guests are gifted with as much privacy as they require. The wall is at least eight feet tall and the sprawling driveway is designed to shield the house from any prying eyes. I must admit that I never fell in love with a building before…not until I took that first look at the structure before me. The almost perfect faux brick finish…the hint of ivies along the walls…the sound of laughter from within. It was all so warm and inviting that it seemed a shame not to accept the invitation.
I wish now that we never had. Something has come between us, and that something is her. Nico. I don’t quite know how to explain it. I’m not even sure that I know what ‘it’ is. Mark isn’t aware of it…isn’t aware of the way my breath caught when I saw her…isn’t aware of the way my eyes followed her every movement. I doubt that she is aware of it, but it is there nonetheless. It is as if the essence of her is in the air and I have no choice but to breathe or die.
There is something about her…something that I can’t explain…something not quite right. She is a most polite and courteous hostess…nothing is too much for her guests. It is not a busy time of the year but what few visitors there are seem to be utterly fascinated by her. Perhaps that’s it. There is something almost unnatural in the way she is able to draw everyone in, even me. While I have never been described as being rude or impolite (at least not to my face), I have also never had a great love for people. My inner circle is sacred to me and members must prove themselves worthy before they are allowed entry. And yet even I felt myself succumbing to her charm on that first day.
What is it about her that occupies my thoughts? She is even seeping into the time that I spend with Mark. Usually I would hang on his every word but every now and then I find my thoughts wandering to her, trying to figure her out, before guilt puts them back on track again. It was bad enough when he was around all the time and could I try to convince myself to fixate on him. But now those three days are upon us and he is rarely here. Would it be cruel of me to say that I know I should miss him more, but I do not? I am restless. I do not know how to occupy my time. I suppose that I could go out but I feel the strangest pull to stay in.
Nico almost never leaves. Only once did I see her coming back in, on a night when my old nemesis insomnia was fully upon me, and she appeared startled that I was up. It doesn’t seem odd. There is little reason to leave. This is home to her and practically everything is delivered anyway. Only the lower rooms are rented out, but the building is large enough that the lower rooms are many. The second floor is reserved for herself and her small staff. I understand that this is an inheritance of sorts but she must be, to put it crudely, filthy rich to have been able to do all this.
I find myself, against my best intentions, seeking her out. It has only been a few days and already I feel as though she is a drug and I am the addict. A warning bell deep inside has been going off non-stop, but I am not certain what I am supposed to safeguard against. We speak a lot for it is usually just the two of us…alone. I find myself pleased by this fact. I find myself experiencing the strangest fluttering in my stomach when I see her. I find myself wondering what she is thinking when she looks at me the way she does. Worst of all, I find myself liking it.
She is beautiful, this one. There is a fire burning within her that I haven’t seen in a very long time. It is too bad that she is taken. There was a point when such a thing would have been a triviality…a miniscule barrier easily surmounted. I have since learnt that getting oneself involved in such a situation can bring needless, and highly annoying, complications. Still, she is growing to want me and I cannot deny the attraction.
I make no apologies for my love of women. I love the subtle silhouette of their curves. I love the smell of their skin after it has been kissed by water. I love the softness in their eyes that can turn into a torrent of desire in an instant. Yes I love women, and I have loved many…but I have only been in love once. I tire quickly you see. For me the novelty is worn off all too soon and I feel the urge to seek another thrill.
But I could be in trouble with this one. I suspect that this one could take my heart, as cold and unyielding as it is. I have guarded against this for so long and now she comes along. I do not want her to want me, and yet I want to make her need me. I fear that, should she come to me willingly, I would not be able to say no.
I’m not quite sure of what I’m doing, other than putting one foot in front of the other. I’ve just come from the room that I share with the man I profess to love…and I do love him. The time that I’ve spent with him has been some of the best in my life. It hasn’t all been the so-called smooth sailing. We’ve had our moments but we’ve always gotten past them and, looking back, there isn’t really anything that I can say I truly regret. So why did I just slip out of bed…out of his arms? Why did I tiptoe out of the room and close the door as gently as I could, all the while praying that he wouldn’t stir in his sleep? Why am I climbing these stairs now, filled with both anticipation and trepidation? Because of her…the woman who has gotten under my skin and try as I might I cannot seem to get her out again.
I make my way to the second floor and along the darkened hallway. I raise my hand to knock on her door but I can’t quite bring myself to. What if she’s asleep? Please let her be asleep. Somehow I know that if I cross this threshold there will be no going back. Yet I am drawn to her, and that pull is almost strong enough to erase all rationality. I look at my curled fingers with something close to wonder and it occurs to me that I might not be able to explain my presence should anyone chance upon me. It is doubtful…everyone should be asleep…but there is still the possibility, however small. Strange that I do not once contemplate what my sleeping husband should think if he were to awaken without me. I am saved from further indecision by the sound of that smoky voice.
“Come in Alexis.”
I don’t know how she knows that I am here and the greater part of me doesn’t care. There is nothing left now but to turn the handle and open the door. I feel my pulse quicken as her room is revealed to me…as much as the dim light will allow. I am not surprised by the clean lines and dark furniture, but I take it in with no more than a glance. I care little about what surrounds her. I care only for her…and she is here. She is framed in the doorway that leads out to her balcony, her back to me, loose drapes stirring around her. If not for the fact that she bid me enter I could easily believe that she is unaware of my presence.
“Why are you here? What is it that you want?”
You, but I couldn’t bring myself to actually say it. Up to this very point I hadn’t allowed myself to acknowledge it, content instead to mask my desires with confusion. Even now I couldn’t get a clear picture of exactly what I wanted other than to feel her next to me. I am struck by my helplessness and, as though she has sensed it, she turns to face me. She is beautiful. Not in the way that the magazines today will have you believe. She is so much more than that. There is a subtle strength and a grace that forms a part of everything she does.
She says nothing, only stands and looks at me for what seems like hours although I know it must be mere minutes. Slowly she starts to advance upon me and I feel a compulsion to rouse my body from my place at the door and meet her halfway. There are only inches between us now and as she reaches up to caress my face I release a breath that I didn’t even know I was holding in. There is a quiet intensity about her, as though there is something feral hidden deep within…something held in check only by sheer force of will. Her fingers stroke my face as if trying to memorize every detail and I feel a slow burn kindled somewhere deep within me…somewhere I hadn’t known existed.
Her hand curls around the back of my neck and I feel her pull me towards her. The first of touch of lips is tentative, as though she is seeking permission to continue…permission that I readily give. The kiss is like none that I have had before…so much longing and yet so soft. The feather light touch moves across my jaw and makes its way down my neck as her fingers trace lazy circles on the small of my back. She is teasing my skin and it doesn’t want her to stop.
“Do you know what I want? I want you. I know you want me. And before the night is over, I will make you beg.”
It was said as softly as a whisper, but its intent was a promise…and I believe her. I am already on the verge of begging. I’m not sure for what, just that she is the only one who can give it to me. With what are clearly practiced actions, she removes my top in one deft motion. I feel slightly embarrassed. My cotton vest and shorts seem somewhat undignified next to the smooth silk pressing against me. It is a fleeting thought, soon banished by the feel of a hand trailing its way down my chest…of a palm cupping my breast. One sharp intake of breath later and I find myself longing for the feeling of a warm mouth to replace the ministrations of fingers. I do not have to wait long and I cannot keep myself from crying out as I feel the first rasp of teeth on fevered flesh.
I entwine my own fingers in her hair to keep her close to me even as her hand continues on the journey it started seconds ago. She is slowly maddening me and by the time she reaches my stomach I feel as though my nerve endings are raw and bleeding. She slips into the waist of my shorts and lingers there. She promised that I would beg and now I do.
“Please what? Tell me what you want.”
She does, and it is as though that one touch drains all the energy from my legs. I am barely able to keep standing. I am wet. I can feel it. So can she. She lowers me to the bed and removes my last barrier while coaxing my legs apart. She doesn’t need to do much to convince me. I should feel exposed, legs spread wide in front of what is technically a complete stranger. And yet it feels like the most natural thing in the world. I close my eyes in expectation, and open them again when I feel nothing. She just smiles at me and slips her hands under my hips. She can’t be about to do what I think she is…and yet she is.
The first touch of her tongue and my back is arching off the bed. I want to tell her how good it feels, but the only word I can summon is yes…over and over again…yes. I’ve had this done to me before…but never quite like this. There is no fumbling, only a deft stroke. She is as patient as she is insistent…coaxing me to the brink only to pull me back again. I don’t know how much of this I can take, and yet I want more. Strange how she seems to sense it.
My hands clutch aimlessly at the sheets as she slides her fingers into me. There is no frenzied thrusting for her, just a quiet ebb and flow. Somehow I didn’t expect this from her…these gentle touches. I barely know her and yet there is something about her that leads me to believe she has no love for tenderness, although she will give it if it is needed. Even now the slight tremor running through her body betrays the control that she is fighting so desperately to keep. It excites me. It intrigues me. I want to know who she really is…what she is really capable of.
I can almost feel her smile against my heated flesh as she instantly complies. So this is the power I have over her…to make her do my bidding…to make her give me what I want, whether it is slow or heated. If I am not careful it could become my addiction. I yearn to touch her and one hand clamps down roughly on her shoulder. I dig my nails into soft skin and I feel her body tense. Violence is not natural to me but she needs my pain just as I need her pleasure, and I have never been a selfish lover. And soon I am too far gone to care who may or may not hear. With her tongue still on me and her fingers buried deep, I am professing my satisfaction into the night.
She is insatiable, my fiery beauty. It is of her I was thinking when I heard the low creak on the stairs. My hearing has always been exceptional. Even though there were a few possibilities, I knew it was her. I knew what she wanted, even if she could not yet bring herself to say the words. It was impossible to deny my need to touch her…to taste her. I know now that her pleasure will always be my pleasure. Such passion. Such longing. It is as I feared. She has come to me willingly and I am not certain that I can ever let her go.
It is over. Not my affair…no, not that. This time together that was supposed to bring us closer is over. Mark and I have not been intimate since the first few nights that we arrived at this place…not really. I did try once, out of guilt more than anything else. Poor Mark. He is the same as he’s always been…kind…caring…and yet it is no longer him that I crave. It is no longer his touch that excites me. I tried because I know that he loves me, but it was no more than a half-hearted attempt. It was not him I was thinking of. It wasn’t his name that I was tempted to call out.
Does he know? I am not sure. He has said nothing but I know he suspects something is wrong. Could it be that it has occurred to him what that something is? Perhaps not. After all, why should I seek solace in the arms of another when we’ve been so happy together? Why indeed? I can’t explain it. Perhaps she gives me something that I didn’t even know I needed. Or perhaps I’m just a bad person underneath it all. All I know is that the life I had before doesn’t matter anymore. It’s so strange. I almost feel as though everything that went before is unreal…as though I only started to live the moment that she touched me. It is as if my life is filled with colors now where before there had only been black and white. Why should I want to leave? But the time to leave is nearing.
Mark wants to know why I am not packing. I don’t know what to tell him. No, that’s not true. I don’t know how to tell him. He is an amazing man and I do care for him. I have no desire to hurt him and I know that the words I must say will cut deeply. I wish with all my heart that I could spare him this but to do so would be to sacrifice my own happiness and I am not quite as unselfish as that. I try to make a start, and falter. He deserves at least an explanation, but I have none to give.
How can I explain that I expect him to go back to an empty house alone? How can I expect him to face our friends and tell them that his wife is never coming back because she desires someone else, someone she has known for a matter of weeks? How could I expect that to not crush him? But I cannot bring myself to go back…to leave her. This is harder than anything I have ever imagined…and then she is there.
“She is not leaving with you.”
She is leaning in the doorway as she says it and there is no hostility, no overt sense of confrontation. And yet there is a subtle threat, as though a dangerous animal has decided not to strike but is perfectly willing to make you aware that it can at any time. The way she says the words makes it sound as though it is no more than a statement of fact. She might as well have said that the sky is blue or the grass is green. Nevertheless it carries an air of command, because it is a fact. I am not leaving…not with Mark…not with anyone.
There is a look of confusion on his face, as though he didn’t actually hear the words clearly, but I know that he has. They just haven’t hit home as yet. He turns to look at her and then at me. There is the gleam of an idea in his eyes, not yet fully formed but working its way to the surface. I am afraid of how he will react. I have seen him overcome by anger before. There is none of that now, although I suspect that an explosion of temper would have been forthcoming had it been anyone but her.
Perhaps the hatred will come later, when it all has had a chance to sink in. For now there is just what appears to be a quiet resignation. He says nothing as he returns to his packing and it’s clear that it is a dismissal. Nico has gone and I quietly follow. There are tears in my eyes in sympathy for his pain, even as my mind rejoices that I am free.
She is mine and I am hers. She has said it so many times that I have no choice but to believe her. Had anyone told me a few months ago that I would have been happy to say I belong to someone I would have undoubtedly favored them with a look that was half incredulity and half pity. I have always prided myself on not belonging to anyone…on being my own person. And yet I am content to give myself over to her.
We haven’t spent a single night apart since the day I decided (or it was decided by fate, if you believe in that sort of thing) that I could not leave her, and I can imagine no place that I would rather be than in her arms. She is deceptively strong and her arms wrapped around me fills me with a sense of calm that I have never known before. I never thought of myself as the type of person who needed to be protected from the world, but I have come to rely on knowing there is someone who would do anything to keep me safe…someone who can do practically anything.
She is waiting for me as I climb the stairs to what is now our room. I spare a brief thought for the night when cowardice could hold me no longer and I took to the shadows so I could reach her. It seems so long ago now. My hesitation seems so foolish. How could I not have known that my place was with her? But that is in the past and there is no point in dwelling on it. We are together now and I know that she will be more pleased than usual at my return for I have brought with me a very special present.
As I expect, she is on the balcony. It overlooks the garden and the view is as far away from the bustle of the city as you could possibly want. It is a clear night and I know she loves to feel the cool breeze as it caresses her skin. Lucky breeze. I take a moment to count my blessings and then I go to her. One hand cradles my gift behind my back while the other encircles my treasure. I hear her sigh and her fingers entwine with mine as she leans into me.
“You’ve been gone a long time.”
“I had a special errand to run.”
“Really? Hmm. And have you brought me anything from this special errand, my love?”
A smile plays upon my lips as I gently nuzzle her neck. I am as eager as a puppy that has gotten a new toy and can’t wait to show it off. I draw my prize from its hiding place and triumphantly present it to her.
“Is that what I think it is?”
Of course it is. It is what she wanted and I always make sure that she has what she wants. It is my way of repaying her for the happiness that she has brought to me. The look on her face is worth it. She looks like the so-called kid in a candy store. It is all I can do to suppress a laugh and I know that I haven’t been totally successful when she favors me with a quizzical look. I reluctantly explain and she bursts into laughter herself. I love her so much. If I am ever intellectually challenged enough to doubt that, all she has to do is laugh and I will be certain.
She asks me for a glass and I willingly comply. I watch her every movement as she pops the cork and pours the rich, ruby liquid. It is a special blend…just for her. She looks me straight in the eyes as she takes her first sip and I revel in her little gasp of contentment. A stronger drink and she summons me to her. There is a hint of red on her lips as she draws me into a kiss…a slow, deep kiss. It is one of the most erotic things that I have ever imagined and I cling to her, a mass of desire and want.
I didn’t mention that before, did I? It is so much a part of my life now that it no longer seems strange. Yes, my love is a vampire…a creature of the night if you will. And so am I. She always says how much she wanted to taste me on that first night. It was my blood she was after. It is her blood I now crave. She knows what she does to me. She knows what the taste of blood on her skin does to me. I have been anticipating this for days…ever since she told me that she wanted him dead.
Of course she could do it herself…she is so much stronger than I am. You needn’t worry. It is not of Mark that I speak. As far as I know he has gone on with his life. No, I refer to one of her rivals. Silly boy, thinking he could threaten her like that. She probably would have destroyed him eventually, but these little surprises make her so happy. I just couldn’t resist. Just like I cannot resist her now. I take her hand and lead her inside…or rather she allows herself to be led. It is rare that she consents to me taking the lead and I have every intention of making the most of it. After all, she is mine. I am hers. And the night is ours.