A birthday gift for a friend of mine.  Once again, I own nothing. Stephen owns his verson of Dracula… Jane owns herself.

Jane sighed, this whole day had been pretty rotten. Everything seemed to be going wrong today and to top it all off, it was her birthday. No matter what, nothing seemed to be going her way today. She pulled her back pack higher onto her shoulder and walked into her next class. She walked into the room and slumped into her chair, wishing that something good night happen soon. As her friends started to come into the room, one of them stopped by her desk and looked at her gently.

"What's wrong?" She asked.

"This whole day has been a bummer." Jane sighed. "Of all days for the world to smack me in the face, it has to be my birthday."

"I'm sorry." Her friend said and reached into her pocket. She pulled out an old looking envelope. "Here, maybe this will cheer you up."

"What is it?" Jane asked, talking the envelope and looking at it. It was indeed pretty old. It was addressed to her in elegant handwriting in red ink. It puzzled her, there was no stamp nor return address. And there was a seal on the back which she thought looked familiar. She searched her mind to try to find it, but it wasn't coming to her.

"I don't know what it is." Her friend said honestly, shrugging and taking a seat next to her. "I was hoping you could tell me. This guy came up to me at lunch and asked me if I would give it to you. He said his... "master sends his regards". Whatever that means."

Jane gave her friend a questioning look and shrugged. She opened the envelope carefully and pulled out the letter inside. The handwriting was the most graceful she had ever seen.

"My Dearest Jane," It read, "Please forgive me for not being there in person to hand you this letter, for my schedule does not allow it. However, please accept, as my gift for you seventeenth year upon this earth, an invitation to a masquerade ball in your honor. It will be held tonight. I will come and fetch you as soon as the sun has set." There was no signature at the bottom.

Jane felt her heart beet faster than it ever had before. A Ball? In her name? This certainly could not be posable! Maybe it was a prank. It could not be real... but it was! This wasn't a dream. This letter was real! She looked it over again. Who could have sent it to her? She wasn't sure, but something inside said it was someone she knew. She looked at it again.

"Well..." She thought, "No harm in not being ready."

Later that evening, Jade was in her room, putting the final touches on her outfit. Her beautiful reddish brown hair was pulled into an elegant bun and she wore a beautiful black, formfitting dress. A lovely sliver necklace hung around her throat and sliver bracelets dangled on her wrist. She looked at herself in the mirror, she looked very beautiful indeed. She looked back at her bed where she had placed the letter, walked over and sat down. She picked up the letter and looked at it again,

"As soon as the sun has set..."

She gazed out the window and saw that the sun had almost set in the evening sky. She stood up and smoothed out her dress.

"He should come soon." She thought to herself, smiling. Suddenly, a cool breeze blew upon her skin. She looked over and saw her curtains blowing as wind came in from the opened window.

"That's strange." She said to herself, "I never opened the window." She walked over and closed the window... but something else was wrong. Someone was watching her!

"Ah, my dear." A rich voice broke the silence, "I know that nothing I would say would describe such beauty."

Jane's heart leapt into her throat. Causing her not only the pain of not being able to breath, but not being able to speak. She very slowly turned around to face the man who addressed her.

Forget being in her throat. Her heart stopped all together!

The man before her was standing there, smiling at her. He wore regal, black attire, not counting the magnificent golden cloak that covered most of his body. He was was a good few inches taller than her, but not much. His skin was milky white and his eyes shown the color of ice blue. His dashing long black hair was pulled back in a golden clip, except for a few strands that framed his face.

It was him... Count Vladislaus Dragula... or, in a more well known term... Count Dracula.
Jane could feel her cheeks blush a deep shade of red. He was here! In her bedroom!

"Oh God..." She whispered, "This isn't happening. This can't be real."

"Oh, sweet love." He whispered, strolling over to her, "I can assure you, this is very real."
Jane gulped. She watched him approach, her heart beating faster than the speed of light.

"How can I be sure this is not a dream?" She asked.

Dracula reached up and cupped her chin in his hand, Jane felt as though she would melt right then and there. She closed her eyes and sighed contentedly.

"Then," He whispered, leaning forward, his lips came up and gently brushed her ear, "Let me prove it to you."

When he stepped back and Jane opened her eyes, she gasped in shock and amazement. She was no longer in her room... but a ball room. It was covered head to toe in gold and magnificent treasures. It was, without a doubt, the most beautiful room she had ever seen. Hundreds of people were dancing, all of them dressed royally and many ever covered in jewels. Performers were positioned all over the room. It reminded her of Cirque Du Soleil. A group of musicians was playing a hypnotizing waltz. She stared... not believing what she was seeing.

"Oh, trust me, my dear." Dracula came beside her and kissed her throat, "Everything is real."

"God..." She breathed. Suddenly, she looked down and saw herself in a magnificent dark blue ball gown. It was sleeveless and formfitting. It was covered head to toe in incredible embroidery and pearls were sowed into the hem of the dress. She wore a breathtaking sliver tiara and her hair was done up in a regal bun. She wore white gloves on her arms and sapphire bracelets on her wrists. A necklace of sapphires and pearls covered her neck.
Dracula smiled at her amazement and offered her his arm,

"Shall we?" He asked. Jane looked at him and nodded, unable to say anything. He smiled and lead a breathless Jane out onto the dace floor.

Everyone who saw them stopped and bowed low respectfully. It was her ball after all.
As soon as they reached the center of the dance hall, Dracula turned to her and bowed low.

"My dear... might I have the honor of a dance?" He asked, his accent gave her goose bumps out of happiness.

She looked at him and nodded, smiling happily, "Yes! Yes, I'd love to!"

Dracula grinned and snapped his fingers. Another magnificent waltz began to play as Dracula wrapped his arms around her and they began to dance. Oh and dance they did!

Jane felt as though her feet never touched the floor! He spun and dipped her as though she weighed no more than a feather. The dance ended too soon for her though, as the music slowed. Her face fell slightly. The Count smiled.

"Don't worry, my dear." He leaned forward and placed his lips to hers, capturing her mouth in a passionate kiss. In all her years, Jane had never experienced something so wonderful. She relaxed deeper into the kiss before he pulled back and smiled,

"We have the whole night." She felt something small be placed in her hand. She looked down and saw in her hand, a beautiful diamond ring. She gasped and looked at him.

"When you are ready," He asked, coming closer, "Will you be my bride?"

Jane looked at him as though he had just given her the greatest gift in the world. Nothing could compare to the happiness.

"Yes!" She cried and threw her arms around him. As she held him close, she could swear, she almost felt... or at least what felt like... a heart beat!
She smiled happily. Perhaps her birthday was not as bad and she thought.