I felt the warm water being poured over my head and the last of the suds flowed into the water. I had just laid there in Dracula's arms, not moving an inch. He never took his eyes off of me, always staring at me with sweet interest. He spoke to me softly, seductively. I couldn't understand at first, but I knew he was saying something I dare not repeat. Just then, he tipped me slightly and I slid, feet first into the water. Standing up, I looked at him, wondering what it was he was doing. He slowly got out of the water and once again, his clothes and hair were completely dry, as though he had never touched the water! He nodded to Yuffe and she carefully helped me out of the bath, making sure I did not miss my footing and slip. He snapped his fingers and another servant with a warm towel appeared. I lifted my arms and he wrapped the towel around my body, I held it close to my chest, to make sure it did not fall down. Dracula nodded to the servant and came close to me, try as I might, I could not walk away. He came close and stroked my cheek. I wanted to slap his hand away, but my mind was still shaking off it's sleep-like state.
"My servants will take you to my private chambers. I must leave you for a moment, sweet love, but I shall return soon." He kissed my forehead and walked out of the room, leaving me to wonder what he was going to do. Almost immediately after he left, Yuffe came foreword and took my hand gently in hers,
"Come this way, my princess and be careful, the stairs are not smooth as they used to be." She told me and led me from the room out into a long, narrow stairway. It was much colder now as we walked through the castle. I was freezing, it was so horribly cold. Yuffe was light on her feet and moved quickly up the stairs, I moved quickly in order to follow her. Finally, she reached another door and opened it. A warm breeze came through and touched my skin, I felt very relieved. She held my hand tighter and led me into a large corridor. This one was warmer and richly decorated with gold and portraits. The carpet beneath my feet was softer than anything I had every touched. I couldn't help but notice the paintings hanging on the walls, they were all gory battles, ones that Dracula had fought in when he was mortal. I gulped and looked away as I saw the ones of the humans being impaled on stakes. Yuffe seemed to notice,
"You will grow used to them my princess, all of his brides did... as they had to come this way every night to be with him." She said, touching my hand gently.
I didn't even want to know what she meant by that statement, but my heart told me I would have to find out sooner or later.
"What do you mean... they had to come this way every night?" I asked quietly, the terror rang in my voice. Even Yuffe could hear it. She turned her head to me and spoke,
"The master makes love to his brides at least once a night." Yuffe told me, speaking it as if were no big deal. My heart stopped beating at that moment. I wanted to die, be actually dead. Be far away from this place. I felt the tears in my eyes, but did not let them fall. I would do that later tonight... when I knew it was right.
I stopped walking and pulled my hand lightly away from her. She looked at me strangely, unsure of what I was doing,
I looked at her and smiled, "Thank you, Yuffe." I said kindly to her.
"For what, sweet princess?" She asked, very unsure of what this all meant.
"You are the first person here who has been truly kind to me. You have not hurt me, deceived me or asked anything of me. You only wish to help me. You're so kind. Thank you for everything, dear Yuffe." I looked at her and bowed low to her. She gasped and stared at me, tears in her eyes. She was trying to smile. I gave her a comforting look.
"Yuffe, what is wrong?" I asked worried I had hurt her.
"I have been in the service of my master and his brides for longer than I can remember. And thought... at times they were kind to me... none were as kind as you. None of the actually... bowed to me... treated me like an equal." She whispered and came near to me, kissing my hand gently, "God Bless You, sweet princess."
I nodded in thanks and smiled, "Yuffe, no matter what happens tonight, please know this, It is a wonderful honor to have you as my friend."
"And you, dear princess." She whispered. We smiled one last time at one another and she continued to lead me through the hall till we arrived at a door similar to the one at the bath. Yuffe opened and door and ushered me inside. This was easily and by far the most beautifully furnished room in the house. Everything seemed be covered in gold, jewels, silk, the most beautiful materials known to man. This had to be Dracula's private chamber. The furniture was made of fine leather and the walls were covered in tapestries and paintings. The loveliest I had ever seen in my life. I could not stop staring at the beauty of it. I felt as though I had stepped in a fairy tale and quite literally, a grim one. Yuffe took my hand again and led me over to a table where a small supper had been left for me. I licked my lips, it smelled delicious. It was some sort of dish I was not accustomed to, but it smelled wonderful and I had not eaten in days. I invited Yuffe to sit next to me and she accepted. I ate slowly, wondering if this would be my last meal. When the meal was finished, Yuffe handed me a small goblet and told me to drink.
"To cleanse your palette, my princess." she told me and offered me the goblet.
I was hesitant at first, but took the glass from her hand and took a small drink. The taste was sharp and powerful, but I took another drink. It was extremely strong in taste, but not at all displeasing. I drank a small amount of the concoction and then handed the glass back to Yuffe. She nodded and then took the glass from me; putting it on a tray and helping one of the other servants clear the dishes. I offered to help, but Yuffe would not let me. Yuffe motioned for me to stand and told me to remove the towel I wore.
"The master will be with you soon." She told me, "He will want to see you in your fullest beauty before you are clothed to be his bride."
For the umpteenth time, I was completely lost at what Yuffe had said to me. But after she had helped clear the dishes away, she came to my side and asked me to rise, which I did at once. She gave me a sad smile and gently removed the towel from my skin. I stood there naked as she looked at me and sighed sadly. She touched my shoulders very gently and then kissed my forehead.
"I must leave you for now, sweet princess. But when I see you again, you will be our master's wife, and I will be your lady-in-waiting."
That I was able to understand loud and clear. I held back my tears and nodded, even Yuffe knew it was the end. Unless Van Helsing was to come for me, I would be trapped with Dracula for all entirety. She hugged me close to her and then pulled away, bowing to me and leaving the room. I stood there naked and couldn't speak. It seemed as though my life had vanished before my eyes. It felt as though a few days ago, I had just been born... and now... I was to be a bride to Dracula. I walked over to a large fireplace and stood as close as I could to the fire, keeping my unclad body warm. The flames looked so light and happy as they flicked the air and disappeared. My skin was now fully dried and my hair looked light and bouncy as it had before any of this had happened. Suddenly, I heard one of the doors open and close very softly. I waited to hear if it was the voice of one of the servants, but when no one spoke, I knew who it was that had come into the room. I just continued to stare at the fire; pretend I had not noticed him. Continuing at watch the flames dance upon the hearth. There was a soft laughter in the room and suddenly, I felt two cold hands gently touch my shoulders, delicately rubbing the skin and a mouth right by my ear.
"Have I so easily plucked my little angels wings?" His voice floating into my ear, a tongue lightly flicked my cheek. I flinched and tried to move, but he simply spun me around and I looked at him. My eyes widened at the sight of him. He was wearing a magnificent red and gold cloak over his black militaristic attire and a golden mask encrusted with black diamonds. His hair was pulled back as usual and an evil smile lit his lips. He actually did look extremely handsome. He pulled me close to him, wrapping me in his cloak. It shuttered at the thought of being this close to him naked. Suddenly, I could hear him whispering strange words and his hand pressed against my stomach. He ran his hand up my body and to my chin. Suddenly, I felt this strange clothing cling to my body. When he released me and pulled away, I gasped in shock as I looked down. I was wearing the most beautiful dress I had ever seen in my life! It was a pure white, long and shapely, like a wedding dress. The train was being held up with a bow in the back and there was sliver embroidery on it in patterns of flowers. It had no sleeves and left a little of my chest exposed (not my bosom thankfully). My hair was pulled back and braided down my back and I almost screamed as I realized my ears were now pierced and I was wearing a pair of diamond earrings. I also wore white pumps and long white gloves on my arms. Dracula smiled at my amazement and motioned for me to turn around. I turned to the side and looked at myself in the mirror. I couldn't believe it. I actually looked... pretty. I felt two arms wrap around me and clutch me to someone's chest. And though there was no refection in the mirror except mine, I knew who's arms held me to their chest.
"You look beautiful, my dear." He hissed in my ear, "This was meant to be you know. You were meant to be on the arm of one the most powerful men in the world."
I said nothing, only continued to stare at my refection. Anyone who saw me in this mirror would assume me to be free and happy... instead, I was captive and frightened. I heard a soft laugh and a hand went and wrapped itself around my throat, feeling the bare skin against his. His tongue clicked thoughtfully.
"This shall never do." He whispered and released me. I was wondering what in the world he could be doing when he snapped his fingers and a servant walked into the room, a large case seemed to be in his hands. He bowed slightly to Dracula and then came closer to me. Dracula came beside me and the servant opened the chest. I gasped in true shock. In front of me was the most beautiful necklace I had ever seen in my life. It looked like it consisted of vales, string of large pearls and diamonds hung low. I could not speak, nor accept such a gift. But before I could respond, Dracula had picked it up, stepped behind me and placed it on me. It covered almost all of my neck and exposed chest.
"A gift worthy of your beauty, my love." He whispered as I still had not found my voice. I just continued to stare in the mirror. Dracula smiled and looked to see another servant enter with another box, a little smaller. I was scared at what it was this time, but Dracula simply opened it and I let out a small cry of amazement, it was a sliver tiara. Though it was not extremely big, it was large in size and there were diamonds encrusted around the outside. At the peak of the tiara there was a beautiful gem, a blue sapphire. Dracula grinned and picked it up carefully.
"Fit for a princess... to become a queen." Dracula whispered as he placed it delicately upon my head. He took his hands away and looked at what stood before him, growling in pleasure. He came behind me and turned me once more to look in the mirror. He wrapped his arms around me tightly, "Wear this crown with pride, my beloved, for you are now royalty. Kathryn Gerheart, Queen of Vampires, Countess of the Undead. You have nothing to fear anymore and you obey no one... except for your Lord and Master." He kissed my neck hungrily, I cringed.
"Who is my Lord and Master?" I asked, knowing too well what the answer would be. Dracula's lips split into an evil grin as he turned my head with one finger to face him,
"Your husband." He hissed. His lips caressed my shoulders while his arms held me close. I cringed in fear.
"I... I have no husband! I'm too young!" I said at once and gave one final effort to pull away. It didn't work and Dracula's laughter rang in my ear... as did his tongue.
"You do not have a husband... not yet anyway... but you are ready." He whispered and reached into his pocket to pull a small little box from its confines. He held it in front of me and whispered in my ear,
"One final gift, sweet princess, worthy of no one else but you." He said and opened it. I could not speak nor scream, I knew this hand been coming. It was a wedding ring, like the ones he had given his other brides. Mine was designed with patterns that seem to remind me of "Lord of the Rings", very Eleven. There were two diamonds surrounding a large sapphire. I watched in mixed fear and emotion as he slid the ring onto my finger. He kissed me passionately and grinned,
"At midnight, my love, we say our vows and become Lord and Lady... and you shall no longer be a child. You will know the feeling of having made love... For until you truly know a man's touch you are just a child. " He spoke into my ear as though I was an infant, his voice was sweet and smooth.
"I refuse to sleep with you, Count!" I cried, trying to break free, "I will never let you touch me like that again! I will kill myself first!"
Dracula laughed, "You would never want to die with a mortal sin on your soul, now would you, sweet love?" He questioned, "Tell me, Katie, would it be so bad to live beside me forever? To make love to me? I will be kind to you and you will not have to bare me children till you are older in your Vampiric life." He said in a compassionate voice. I could not fall for his trap.
"Yes! It would be horrable…" I whispered, tears flowing down my cheeks. He smiled and kissed them away.
"Your mind will change, all in good time... now, come, my dear, it is time." He offered his arm to me and I had no choice but to take it as he lead me from the room and down a flight of stairs. Soft voices and music were slowly coming to my ears...