Wow two updates in one week (well almost) this is unusual. This might keep happening into next week as its reading week so I might get time to do some more writing.

Another thing, I guess my once readers are yet to forgive me as I received ONE review for the last chapter ONE! Thank you pheobep3 it was nice to get at least one review so I'm dedicating this chapter to you. Although flames are banned I find constructive criticism in reviews very useful as I really want to make this a good story to read and if I can improve future chapters that would be good and encouragement always motivate me to keep it going. So please read and review. Anyway enough with that rant and on with the story I hope you enjoy it.


Chapter 11 - Corsets and Restrictions


Leah sat in her room which she had with the help of servants whom she had come to know fairly well so it now had white sheets and a chaise lounge which had been produced from what seemed like nowhere but was probably one of the storage rooms that only they knew about. She was now seated in front of her dressing table mirror arranging her newly set ringlets in a style (AN: yes she can manage this on her own) that was vaguely Victorian. She was finally happy with the way it looked and she walked towards the wardrobe and pulled it open gently. She took out a Victorian style corset and a crinoline (Costume Note: this is a support that gives a Victorian skirts their dome shaped appearance). She tied the corset firmly over her shift and then stepped into the crinoline covering it with several petticoats. She felt restricted but knew that infuriating him was the only revenge she might get. And she had the perfect way to achieve this feat and it was going to be along distance endurance type of revenge. She lowered the dress over her head it was of white cotton with small blue flowers over it. She fastened a reasonably large silver and amethyst broach onto the middle of the bodice. With that she walked out of the door to her room and turned down the by now familiar corridors which led to the dining room. Her gown was making a swishing noise as it passed across the floor. There was no way Dracula wouldn't have heard her and that was exactly the way she wanted it to be , she knew her plan would take all her patience and self restraint but it would be well worth it. She walked into the dining room and sat at the end of the table nearest the door keeping her eyes on the table top.


Dracula walked into the dining room and raised his eyebrows rose in question as he saw Leah sat demurely at the end of the table. This wasn't normal for the last week she had generally avoided him only to spit foul words at him if she saw him. To tell the truth her shouting just attracted him to her more it showed she was a fighter, besides that she was even more beautiful when she was angry (a cliché he knew) but her eyes lit up and it cause the colour to rise in her cheeks. What was wrong with her? We'll he'd play this game her way. "Good morning" (he knew to her it was the dead of night but she could learn to live with his sense of time). "Good morning Count" she replied keeping her eyes well on the table. He would not know that she was raging inside because she kept calm on the surface trying to be as expressionless as possible. They sat in silence Dracula watched Leah over the edge of his goblet as she picked at her food. In the end he could stand this conundrum no more and left more confused than he had ever been.


She had never understood the words "women have more power than men" it always seemed to her the other way round. However, now she understood and felt for the first time the strength of a woman's power but the restriction of her clothes.



Most of that evening Leah spent in the library with an embroidery hoop and a book open on the stand. She wasn't truly awful at embroidery but it wasn't her forte and she kept pricking herself with the needle. Each time she did Dracula would turn up in feign of looking for some book or another but it was a bit of a coincidence ad she had her hunch. But why did he come in when she hurt herself and why did he look so shifty, blood? No, she had only bled once and he would have drunk from her already if he intended to do so. Did he care about her? Possibly but how did he know when she was hurt?

Images flashed through her mind as she tried think of reasons why this was happening. "It's the bond the duel created" came a smooth voice. Leah's embroidery flew in the air from the surprise she experienced from hearing that voice in her ear as she bent to pick it up she managed to stab herself with the needle. This caused Dracula's eyes to screw up in pain Leah stood ad turned leaving the room without a word or expression.


Dracula stood there for a moment dumfounded this was starting to get to him and it shouldn't have been.



Later that evening when Leah was getting ready for dinner there was a short knock on the door. She went and opened it, there in the half light was Igor, and Leah did not like this man at all. It wasn't his disfiguration, no that wasn't his fault but she couldn't stand his grovelling loyalty, to her it seemed unnatural. "The master sent you this" Igor intoned holding out to her a set of earls. Leah was shocked a little, what did he mean by this? Igor coughed sapping Leah out of her thoughts. "I can not take them" she replied in the same dead tone "send them back and tell the count I am flattered but I couldn't possibly accept such a gift he is far too generous". "As you wish Igor replied; Leah noticed the look of contempt on his face. He sauntered down the corridor and out of her sight, Leah turned and returned to her room, putting on a blue Victorian evening gown and the bloodstone pendant she finished and walked out of the room toward the dining hall.


Dracula didn't fume too much when Igor returned the pearls along with Leah's message. He reclined in the wing back arm chair twirling the necklace between his fingers a quizzical look painted on his face. This was all very strange to him Leah, as far as he could remember had never been the submissive beautiful woman of ages past, she was strong, fiery and stunning. She was like the strong female characters throughout history, Isabella of Spain, Joan of Arc. He wanted the old Leah back this new one got on his nerves even more. He knew the embers of the fire still lay beneath the surface he just had to figure a way to make it burn again. He stood, placing the necklace in his jacket a smirk passing over his face he knew just what to do.


Dracula walked along the ceiling intending to cut Leah off half way he knew he'd achieved this as he heard the rustle of silk along the stone flagged floor. He flipped down and waited back straight, hands held behind him an elegant but oh so handsome smile on his face.


Leah walked around the corner and saw him standing there looking rather suspicious, she almost asked him what was going on but managed to control herself. As he held out her arm to her she swallowed and took it. "How are you this evening?" he asked "very well thank you" she managed as a demure reply.


They sat down to dinner and the conversation was very one sided. Dracula found Leah's short and polite answers very, very annoying. He wanted to change the tone of the evening and he knew just how to do it. "Do you dance Leah?" he asked and observed a slightly shocked look cross her face "Not very well" she replied. He stood and moved towards the fireplace so that he stood in the half light "then come here and let me teach you". Leah stood and walked toward him placing her right hand in his left, and stood in front of him. He placed is right hand under her chin lifting her head so she would have to look at him. As he pulled her into the appropriate hold for the dance he could tell she was uncomfortable.


They started to dance to a waltz the idea that it was once a forbidden dance seemed very appropriate to Leah, and she fell into the dance with ease like it was something she did everyday but this was not the truth. The last time Leah had danced was at the school prom she had tripped over her own feet flown across the room and bought down the buffet table that was the worse night of her life! She wanted to stop but couldn't stop, the rhythm was taking her and she could not help but let herself be led by Dracula.


Satan's breath, he wanted to change the pace of the dance to make Leah move with greater fervour and for her to be wearing something a bit more figure hugging. He gently lent to the side and nodded his head the tempo increased not too much to a polka. Dracula watched as she fell into the different dance set with ease, he allowed himself to smile. "What if I told you Igor was wearing a pink tutu and he was choosing the music?" "If you command it then I may not complain" she replied. As the dance came to an end he removed the pearl necklace from his pocket and turned to her "I wish for you to have these" he said holding them up. "I couldn't" Leah replied eyes cast to the ground but Dracula wasn't about to give up keeping his gentlemanly like persona as he fumed at her refusal he moved around behind her and put the necklace around her neck it settled nicely above the other pendant. "I insist" he whispered dropping a small kiss on her neck "they suit you". "Well thank you and goodnight" with that she dropped him a deep curtsey shocking him into a bow as she walked from the room. Dracula sat in a dining room chair rubbing his temples all this acting gave him a headache but he had to admit he was having fun seeing how far he could push Leah's emotionless self. He just had to keep going; tomorrow he thought he might not be so placid.

Right well that's it for this week I hope everyone had a great weekend. Sorry for the costume references but I'm a costumer at heart. Hope you liked it if you did read and review!

- Ethlena