Disclaimer: I STILL don't own Van Helsing, Dracula, Anna or anything else, just teh plot ;) Chapter Two: Dress and Dine Anna sighed exasperatedly and snatched the dress out of Dracula's hands. "Where am I supposed to change...?" Anna asked. "Here." "Fine. Get out." "You seem to have forgotten again. This is MY house, you are MY prisoner, and I'm not about to let something so pretty out of MY sight." Dracula snapped, stepping forward. "It's an insult to be called pretty by scum like you." Anna spat. "I was talking about the dress," The Count laughed softly, "now, I would like you to get dressed. I won't look, but I'm not about to leave you alone when you're a danger to yourself." He turned his back to Anna, but she decided to change in the corner, just in case. She left her pants on, but undressed from the waist up. Anna looked at the dress and decided she was definitely going to have to wear the corset. She put her arms through it and found it impossible to lace up the back without the help of another. But there was no way in hell she was going to let the fiend on the other side of the room see her when she wasn't fully clothed, so she had to do it by herself. Although she tried hard, she couldn't manage it by herself. When she was all laced up, the corset was so loose, she could have fit a pillow in it, so she gave up and figured she was going to have to ask for help. She took a deep breath. "Erm...Count, I'm, uh, having a bit of trouble here, with the corset. I can't get it laced tight enough." Anna said, nearly dying of embarrassment. "Yes, so? What do you want me to do about it?" Dracula said, still facing the wall. Why did he have to make it so hard? "Isn't it obvious? Can you please help me with it?" Anna snapped, turning around and walking towards him. "I suppose I could help." The vampire said, very pleased with himself. Dracula walked up to her, turned her around, and began to lace up the corset. Anna was shocked how tightly he had pulled the strings and could hardly breathe when he was finished, but she didn't complain. After all, she had wanted it tight. Dracula surveyed her from behind, slowly sliding his finger down her back until he came to her waist. He placed his hands on her bare shoulders, inhaling the scent of her hair. Anna closed her eyes and let out a sigh...and then remembered that he was the enemy that her family had been trying to destroy for over four-hundred years. "Don't TOUCH me!" Anna screamed and shoved Dracula away from her. How had she allowed him to get so close? She could have been bitten! "You will learn." Dracula said smiling evilly at her and returning to his place at the other end of the room. While she finished dressing, Anna tried to come up with an escape plan. No doubt Van Helsing would come to rescue her, but just in case, she needed a backup plan. She knew that tonight was All Hallow's Eve, and every year, no matter the circumstances, Dracula always had a Masquerade Ball, with hundreds of guests. Being the host, he would have to be present at his own party, and that would give her some time alone to escape, but, no, that wouldn't work. He was most likely going to leave her in the company of those two fanged monsters, Aleera and Verona. The though of being left alone with those two scared her to death. They would surely kill her, and she'd be outnumbered and unarmed. Great, she thought. Anna looked at herself in the mirror and had to admit, being Dracula's prisoner wasn't as horrible as she's imagined it. She looked more like your stereotypical princess than the captive of a monster. She turned to face Dracula, but to her surprise, he was already turned around, surveying her from the other end of the room. "Where you watching me!" Anna said, her face twisting with fury. "No. I turned around when you were done. You seem to think I want to see you half clothed. Don't flatter yourself, princess." The Count said smoothly. "W-well how did you know I was done?" Anna stammered, embarrassed for the second time. "I didn't hear you moving, I assumed you were finished dressing." Dracula said, walking over to her. "What if I wasn't dressed yet! Y-You could've seen...something!" Anna said, her temper rising. "Well, you were dressed, so it doesn't matter. I refuse to discuss the matter any further. Now, hurry up or you'll be late for dinner." He grabbed her by the arm and led her through the many halls of his huge castle. Anna was freezing. She rubbed her arms as she followed her captor through the castle. Lighting flashed at every window and she jumped everytime the thunder cracks became especially loud. Dracula took no notice of the thunder and carried on walking. The lightning flashed across the helmet of a suit of armor and Anna had the sickening feeling in her stomach that the suit was not empty. At last, they arrived at an elegant wooden door. Dracula pushed it open to reveal another large room with stone walls. It was a dining room with a chestnut dining suit and beautiful golden silverware. There where two unlit candlesticks on the middle of the table and an ancient fireplace stood to the right of the table. There were only two chairs at the table, but golden plates and goblets covered nearly every inch of the table. A huge window was at the other end of the room, and Anna noticed dried blood all over the windowsill. How on earth was she supposed to eat in a place like this? "Come sit." Dracula said, pulling her chair out for her. As she took her seat, Dracula was tempted to place a hand on her shoulder, but knew this would enrage her, and quite frankly, he was quickly tiring of constantly fighting with her. As Dracula walked to the other side of the table (the seat at near the blood, much to Anna's relief), he snapped his fingers, and immediately, the candles on the table lit themselves and the fireplace burst into flame. The odd thing about the flame in the fireplace was that it was white at the base, blue in the middle and a deep purple at the tip. Anna felt no warmth coming off the flame, only cold air. She noticed that the wood the fire was burning on was now covered in a thick layer of ice. Anna looked across the table at Dracula, the flame didn't reflect a warm, gold color off his face, like most fires would, but instead, it was an ice white color that looked more like water reflecting off his face rather than fire. This strange light made him look if possible, even paler than usual. At that moment, the sound of a door creaking open woke Anna from her thoughts. Igor, Dracula's assistant bustled through the door, caught sight of Anna and nearly dropped the bottle of wine in his arms. He had never seen anything so pretty that didn't have fangs. "H-hello, Miss." Igor stuttered, trying to regain his composure. Anna did not respond to the evil...thing in front of her. She merely nodded. "Get on with the food, you dimwitted rat." Igor sat down the wine bottle and collected the empty plates from the table. He walked out the door. He returned several minutes later, his arms filled with plates of various foods. There was a huge ham, freshly baked French bread, green grapes, some sort of pie, green beans, and some other strange looking foods. Igor sat the food on the table and left without a word. "Dig in." Dracula said, pouring the wine for her. Anna suspected there might be poison in the food, but didn't really give it much thought. She didn't even wait for Dracula to begin his meal, she began to snatch things off the golden plates and eat. She was starving, having not eaten since her capture, hours earlier. As she ate, she felt eyes watching her. She looked up from her plate and met the green eyes, observing her with much interest. She noticed that her captor had not touched one morsel of his food, he only seemed to drink the wine. "Do remind me, Princess, what it is like to eat. I have not eaten in so long..." Dracula said, looking longingly at the food before him. "You...you do not eat? But why?" Anna asked. "Because I cannot taste it. It does not quench my thirst or end my hunger. Only blood can do that. Blood is all I can taste, all I can feel, all that I am." Dracula said, his eyes widening with hunger. Anna was surprised that she didn't know this about vampire, considering that was all any of her family members had ever talked about while they were alive. As Dracula turned his gaze away from her and back to the fire, she almost felt sorry for the Count. Almost. But her feeling of sorrow was quickly overcome by another one: determination. She was sitting there, having dinner with a monster and feeling sorry for they murderer! Anna quietly slid a steak knife off the table and hid it behind her back, careful not to make a sound. When Dracula got up from the table, she would walk up behind him and... "I highly suggest," Dracula said, not looking up from the fireplace, "that you put that knife back in its place. I wouldn't want to have to hurt you." Anna sighed exasperatedly and placed the knife back on the table. She finished her dinner as quickly as she could, because she knew the vampire was watching her and it made her rather uncomfortable. Igor came back through the door the second she laid her fork back on the table and Anna had the feeling that Dracula hadn't been the only one watching her. As the bowls and dished were cleared from the table, Dracula stood up and crossed the room. He helped her out of her chair and walked over to the door. "Come." He said, stepping into the hallway. She followed Dracula back through the halls, past the windows, past the suits of armor and up the stairs until they arrived in the room where Anna had found herself at the beginning of the story. Dracula shut the door behind him and it locked itself, making Anna jump. He strode over to a table next to the window seat and took a large wooden box off it. Dracula approached Anna and opened the box. She gasped at what she saw. Inside the box was a beautiful gold tiara, set with rubies and matching earrings and a necklace. Dracula smiled at Anna's reaction and told her to put them on. She walked in front of the mirror and put on the earrings. The lamplight reflected off them with every movement of her head. Next, she put on the tiara, and was so amazed by its beauty that it wasn't until she felt the cold metal on her chest that she realized that Dracula was behind her, clasping the necklace around her neck. It was extremely strange, seeing the necklace being tugged at by an invisible force. She turned to face him and he slipped the white gloves over her elegant fingers. "As you know, tonight is All Hallow's Eve, and I'm having my annual Masquerade Ball. You will be attending the ball with me, for I cannot trust Aleera and Verona alone with you. I was going to let you come as you are now, but after the incident at the dinner table, I do not trust you, and we can't have you embarrassing me in front of all my guests, now can we?" Anna looked the vampire in the eyes and found that they were slowly turning a bright red. She tried to tear her gaze away from them, but found his eyes hypnotic... A/N: Muahaha...hope you liked that one :) I know, I know, I TOTALLY stole the steak knife scene from Pirates of the Caribbean, but what was I supposed to do, have her kill him with a spoon? LOL, anyway, in the next chappy, we will have some fun at the Masquerade ball, Drac and Anna will finally kiss, Van Helsing will make an appearance, and we'll find out where Verona and Aleera have been all this time.
Please R & R! Until next time,