Darkward Vampfic Contest

Title: My Bloody Valentine

Penname: SweetDulcinea

Disclaimer: All characters, products, and songs mentioned are property of their respective owners. This story belongs to me.
Thanks to my betas for the help.


A/N: 11/29/09 MBV received 3rd place in the contest!!! Thanks so much to the voters & judges!!!

A/N: 2/28/10 By request of one of my Fandom Gives Back Bidders, I will be writing another chapter of MBV. Put it on alert if you'd like to read more! =)

He dropped you off, I followed him home
Then I, I stood outside his bedroom window
Standing over him, he begged me not to do
What I knew I had to do cause I'm so in love with you
Good Charlotte

Through the walls, he could hear the sound of footsteps coming down the hall. They were soft and light, and he knew to whom they belonged. A mischievous smile spread across his lips, widening with each step she took toward the door. This was much sooner than he had expected.

They had a date that night – Valentine's Day, what a foolish holiday – but she was not due over until evening. Instead, she was coming by before work that morning, perhaps because of all the unanswered phone calls she had attempted.

Her key slid into the lock, a muted click sounding as the mechanism disengaged. Through the walls of the apartment next door, he could hear everything. The door opened, and he began to laugh, even before she would have seen anything.

"Michael?" she called out into her boyfriend's apartment. A note of concern tinged her voice, making this moment that much sweeter for the one listening next door.

Then his moment of bliss came; the sound he longed to hear. A blood-curdling scream filled the halls of the apartment building. To the neighbors it was an alert. To him, it was beautiful music.



I was a wanderer. It was easier that way.

Some vampires found mates or small covens to travel with and lived as nomads. Others stayed within the same general area for extended periods of time. Braver still were those who frequented cities, generally coming out by cover of night to interact with the human population…and hunt, of course.

Not Edward Masen. My mind reading gift left me with little desire to seek company or be around humans longer than necessary. I lived in seclusion the majority of the time, whether by hiding amongst nature or finding a home in some remote location. The latter usually included feasting on the occupants of said home first, but it was all a part of this life. Those were the times I caught up on human culture; watching news and television programs, reading any form of the written word in the home, and in recent years, exploring the fascinating world of the internet. Those were also the times I rotated my wardrobe and drained my victim's bank accounts. I always rooted through wallets and purses before disposing of a body as well.

My stays never lasted very long. It was rare to encounter someone who didn't have at least one or two people who would question their disappearance, so it was better to move along before I risked detection. It was not as though a human could bring me any sort of harm, but it was best to be proactive.

That was how I existed for a very long time. Occasionally, I would come across another of my kind, sometimes several traveling together. These meetings were usually peaceful, and if not, each of us moved along and out of the other's territory. I never considered any of them friends, nor did I ever consider joining them in their journey. When we said goodbye, I meant it, no matter how well I might get along with someone.

Then I began hearing strange rumors of immortals who survived on animal blood. The entire idea was absurd, but as the years passed, many acquaintances had also heard of the same peculiar practice. My interests piqued, I decided to try it. A farm lost its finest workhorse that night, but it was all in the name of discovery. The blood was not sweet or rich like a human's, but it was surprisingly appetizing. After all, it was still blood. I had little interest in making this my main food source, but now I knew that the rumors were at least somewhat true. A vampire could drink animal blood.

While fascinated by this new food supply, should I ever need it, I still could not fathom how anyone could live on animal blood alone. Furthermore, I didn't understand why they would want to when humans were so much more appealing.

It wasn't until nearly a year later that those thoughts came back to my mind. While traveling through the southeastern United States, I met a mated pair who claimed to have met this infamous coven. All the others I had met had only heard the rumors; these two had actually spent time with them. Had I not been able to see the images in their minds, I may not have believed their accounts.

These were no typical vampires. They held a permanent residence and interacted with humans on a daily basis. They had careers and went to school. Their ability to resist human blood was astounding. Most surprising of all were their eyes – their golden eyes. These were not the tell-tale, inhuman red of a vampire, but a strange shade that could easily allow them to pass as humans. It was perplexing, an anomaly, and intriguing.

With nothing better to do with my time and an absolute fascination with this oddity, I began to experiment with animal blood. I drank from nearly every creature I could find, comparing the taste of their delicious nectar to one another. None compared to my natural food source, but they still sated my primal thirst. In time, I grew accustomed to the strange difference in flavor and even found which animals I preferred.

This experimenting also included careful observation of the changes in my eye color. I noted how long it would take for the red to fade once I began feeding on animals and vice versa. In a way, I was rather enthralled by all of it.

Regardless of my studies, I did not wish to alter my diet permanently. I continued indulging on the always tempting blood of human men and women, but used my new knowledge to my benefit. By utilizing the animal diet for short periods of time, I could temporarily modify my appearance when I wished to integrate with society and dwell amongst the living. It was still difficult, as I would be inflicted with the flood of internal voices when I did so, but there were times it was convenient or interesting to fall in with humans. My most curious discovery was that when I wasn't feeding on people, it was actually a bit easier to resist the call of their blood.

I used this newfound knowledge as a strategy many times. It allowed me to become comfortable interacting with humans without feeding on them. With the aide of my extra ability, I knew I was a very powerful vampire, and I did not take that for granted. Already an exceptionally intelligent man on account of my infallible memory, I expanded my horizons by spending time in libraries and any other place I could gain knowledge. Endless nights, the lack of a companion to occupy me, and infinite time allotted me many opportunities to learn. I could be a wild, instinct-driven creature like most of my kinsmen, but I rather enjoyed the more civilized lifestyle at times. Being able to walk amongst the humans this way served to make me much more tolerant of their thoughts invading my mind.

One winter day in Pittsburgh, I was peacefully minding my own business, studying music theory in one of the many public libraries. I never checked books out, as I seldom stayed in any one place for too long. Furthermore, creating false identities was possible, but bothersome. I normally left at night when the library closed, but yesterday, my first day in this particular library, I found myself engrossed in a stack of books that I did not want to part with. Instead, I hid until all the staff was gone and the building was locked up, continuing to read throughout the entire night. The distant sound of a door opening alerted me when it was a new day.

As was my uncontrollable habit, I listened for the inner musings of the librarian's mind, hoping to use the person's thoughts to identify him or her. To my surprise, I heard nothing. Only the soft sounds of computers buzzing to life, books being shuffled, gentle footsteps, and paper rustling. Puzzled, I listened harder. Still nothing.

Sighing in frustration, I tried to return my attention to my studies of the piano. I would have to locate one soon to put all my new knowledge to work. It was hopeless, though. Not being able to hear this person was nerve-wracking.

A short while later, the library doors opened again, and another person came into the building. I immediately heard the woman's thoughts and recognized her as Alice, the librarian who had worked the closing shift the previous day. I listened as she approached the silent person and struck up a conversation.

"Good morning, Bella! How are you doing today?"

As Alice continued speaking, I noted the name of the silent woman, enjoying seeing and hearing about her through Alice's mind. As a mental picture of this Bella dressed in dark slacks and a blue sweater passed through Alice's thoughts, she appraised the other woman's outfit for the day.

Bella was quite lovely, and I saw how fond Alice was of her. When the previously unheard woman finally spoke, an unfamiliar thrill ran through my body. Her mind was still blocked from mine, but her voice was like an angel.

Being a naturally curious creature, I wanted to know more. I wanted to see this enchanting woman in person, and I wanted to figure out why I could not get inside her head.

I stayed there most of the day, studying Bella through the eyes and thoughts of her co-worker and friend. Her silence enraptured me, and the soft echo of her voice, heard through several levels and walls in the building, was somehow rather enjoyable. It was an odd feeling. When Bella left the library for the day, I followed her out, but stayed far enough away that she would not detect her curious admirer. She was even more attractive in person, with deep, dark eyes, and long flowing hair that held a pleasant floral scent. I realized that I was attracted to her – a first, as human beauty pales in comparison to that of vampires – and that whatever artificial products she used to perfume her body, they were subtle and surprisingly appealing, unlike most women.

Following her home, I stood outside her apartment all night long, listening with the help of my enhanced hearing. She cooked, cleaned, showered, and read. At one point she received a phone call from a friend. Later, she made a phone call to someone else. A boyfriend. My body surged with jealousy. I truly had no reason to feel that way, and frankly, it was quite a foreign reaction, but I did. Within only a matter of hours, I had become incredibly possessive of Bella.

I balked at the strange sensations and reactions, fleeing to the suburbs to find a meal in some wooded area, even though I had just fed two days prior. I was angered by my strange draw to this woman, but nonetheless, I returned to the library the next day. For weeks I visited, watching and following her, but never allowed myself to be seen. The more I spied on her in hiding and in the minds of library staff and patrons, the more I wanted her.

My first instinct as a vampire was to make a meal out of her, but the more time I invested in this unique case study, the less interest I had in draining her blood. She smelled delightful and appetizing, but it seemed she would be wasted if that was the only thing I took from her. No, this woman was vivacious and beautiful. Her character and physical appeal did not stand out immediately to the common onlooker, but I saw deeper. I recognized her subtle charms and understated allure. Humans would call her common, but she was anything but. While I could not hear her thoughts, her eyes, gestures, and mannerisms spoke volumes…yet she was still a mystery.

When she laughed, I found myself smiling. As she interacted with other people, I noticed how genuine and respectful she was to everyone she encountered. Appearances, age, and race did not seem to matter. They were all regarded with kindness, all taken care of by the sweet librarian with the shy smile and innocent eyes. She was the complete and utter opposite of me – good, unblemished, alive – yet I could not tear myself away.

For the first time in my long life, I wanted to know someone. I craved attention and companionship in a way I never had before. Attracting those kinds of things was easy enough with my supernatural good looks, but I never truly desired the company of those I drew in that way. Any human woman who had ever fancied herself a worthy sexual partner for me was always made a meal of shortly after our coupling. I never wanted them the way they wanted me. I used them for a few moments of carnal pleasure and then bloodlust fulfillment.

The day I first saw Bella's boyfriend had nearly been the last day of the human man's life, but I resisted.

Not yet, I reminded myself.

In time, the demon within whispered. Follow the plan.

And so the plan began.

I discovered that this poor excuse for a male companion for my Bella lived in an apartment building on the North Shore. It was not far from where Bella resided, but her home was closer to the library. Mike, the vile boyfriend, had an elderly neighbor with no known relatives. By the time I had the appropriate paperwork drawn up to fake my role as old Mr. Hinkley's great-nephew, the man mysteriously passed away. Of natural causes, of course. Within a matter of weeks, I had moved into the apartment next door, a prime location for watching Bella and keeping tabs on the thoughts of her chosen partner.

This plan took time. I familiarized myself with Mike and Bella's schedules and routines. Strategically, I arranged moments of passing in the hall and stairwell so that Mike could familiarize himself with my face and become comfortable with my presence. It was no easy task for me, as the impure thoughts of the man next door were tedious to endure, but I held onto my resolve.

When the time was right, I allowed Bella to see me once and only once. As difficult as it was, I managed to keep my eyes down and my face partially hidden. A Steelers ball cap covered my unmistakable mess of bronzed auburn hair, giving her a partial glimpse of Mike's neighbor, but not enough to fully catch her attention. The moment passed too quickly for her to really register much about my appearance.

Another step in this carefully executed plan had been taken.

Shortly after, I returned to the library, arriving just after the morning opening, guaranteeing that only Bella and I would be present for this encounter.

"Good morning and welcome. Is there anything I can help you with today?" she asked as I approached the front desk. I removed my sunglasses, evoking an encouraging gasp from the brown-eyed beauty. Responding with a handsome half smile, I heard her heart rate speed immediately.

"I'm looking for books on music theory," I said smoothly, even though I knew exactly where to find any title in the building.

"Right this way."

She led me to the appropriate level and section of the library, pointing out numerous shelves and offering assistance in any way I wished. If she only knew.

We conversed lightly, sticking to the subject at hand until a nearby table was filled with the items I claimed to need. It was all working out so perfectly. I knew it would. After I was supposedly settled, she left me, returning to her station and other duties for the day. I spent the next few hours reveling in my own satisfaction.

It was obvious that she was attracted to me. If her rapidly beating heart was not enough of a giveaway, the slight perspiration she developed in my presence only supported my discovery. While she maintained her professional behavior, it did not escape my notice when her gaze would linger just a few moments too long or the way she nervously brushed her hair back every few minutes.

During her lunch break, she wandered back to me. I heard her coming, of course, but pretended to be surprised as she approached my workspace.

"I just wanted to make sure you were still alive down here," she teased.

Alive. If only you knew, dear heart.

"Don't you want to stretch or get something to eat? I've never seen someone so committed to their studies." She laughed good naturedly at the thought.

Food. I had forgotten that suspicion.

"Oh, well, don't tell the librarian, but I have some granola bars and a bottle of water in my bag," I said with a wink. She should have reprimanded me for bringing food into the library, but she was too distracted, studying my topaz eyes, heavy brows, and chiseled jaw. I could see precisely what she was looking at with each flicker of her gaze.

We conversed a little longer before she excused herself for break. When she returned, I would be gone.

The next time I came in, Bella did not show me where to go, but she did ask what I was studying and why.

"Oh yes, well, I'm a musician," I explained, giving her a story of the fake identity I had created. "This is a bit embarrassing to admit, but I'm quite…gifted in that area." My perfectly crafted nervous tone made my story believable, while painting me as a sweet, vulnerable music prodigy.

"What do you need to study, then?" she asked.

"Well, I can basically learn to play any instrument once I understand the practice and theory of it. I like to read about the history of different instruments and musical studies so that I have a sense of, umm, camaraderie and respect for them before I begin," I explained.

Bella shook the stunned wonder from her head. "So, what? You just read about something and then you can go pick it up and start playing?"

"Pretty much," I replied, ducking my head and peering up at her through my lashes. She definitely bought my coy routine. "It's not as though I can do it perfectly the first time, but it makes the learning process easier when I understand everything there is to know about an instrument first."

Bella seemed to ponder my strange musical talent for a few moments, hopefully finding herself interested in learning more about the beautiful, stoic man I pretended to be.

"I've always been able to memorize poetry and significant passages when I read," she admitted. "My mind is nearly photographic when it comes to words, but that is really the only place my knack applies," she added with a shy shrug.

"I guess that makes this the perfect job for you then," I responded with a soft chuckle to lighten her suddenly self-conscious mood. She gave me an appreciative smile.

"Hey, I'm sorry I didn't ask before, but what is your name? I'm Bella."

"I know," I nodded toward the nametag clipped near her hip. "I'm Edward."

We were quiet for a moment before I pulled out another important part of the plan.

"I hope this doesn't come across as odd, but do I know you from somewhere, Bella? You look so familiar to me."

She shifted nervously at my question, presumably unsure if I really did know her from somewhere or if it was an attempt to hit on her. One of those thoughts thrilled her, as her body reacted to me the same way it did the first time we "met." Her heart pounded harder than usual, and a hint of arousal whispered from her body. Her momentary torment only lasted a few moments. She was a woman of fine moral character. I was not surprised that she fought the attraction. She had Mike.

That only made my game so much more enjoyable.

"No, I'm sorry Edward. I've only ever seen you here."

"Huh, my mistake then," I replied cordially, though inwardly I celebrated my success.

Only a few days later, I continued my plan. As Bella was leaving Mike's apartment one evening, I just so happened to be walking down the hall to mine.

"Bella?" I asked, playing up the surprised tone in my voice. I wore my hat with the local NFL logo again, slightly masking my appearance, but providing her with a reminder that she had in fact seen me before.

"Edward! Hi, do you live here?"

"Yes, in 303. Do you? I'm sure I would have noticed before."

Smiling weakly, she gestured toward Mike's door. "No, my boyfriend Mike lives in 301. I guess you're neighbors, huh? Do you know him?"

"Blond hair?" I asked and she nodded in response. "Only in passing," I said. "I knew I had seen you somewhere before."

Bella's cheeks flushed a pretty pink, making me thrill at her blood and beauty. This was all too easy.

We exchanged a few more friendly words before Bella's tone became awkward and I sensed her desire to retreat. It was a delightful confirmation that she too understood the way her body responded to me.

"I guess I'll see you around then, Edward," she told me sweetly.

"Of course," I said, nodding once and giving her the smile I knew made women swoon. It worked – Bella's heart rate instantly increased.

With that, I ended our conversation by unlocking the door and disappearing inside my apartment.

Winters were long in this city, but I knew that my time was limited. I had never intended an extended stay in Pittsburgh, so I had to act faster now. With that new resolve, I made myself a more frequent guest in Bella's life. My study time at the library increased, as did the frequency of my "coincidental" run-ins with Bella outside Mike's apartment. Those came at a cost, of course, when I had to hear Bella and Mike together, but it was all for a greater purpose, so I clenched my jaw and endured it.

The more meetings we had and time we spent together, the easier our conversations became. All the while, I was using every nuance and trick I could to seduce her – which seemed to be having an effect – but I also grew quite attached to her along the way. Bella was intelligent but did not display it in a superfluous manner, she had a light sense of humor but was not crass or offensive, her beauty was simple but in no way plain or common. Bella was attentive, kind, and insightful in so many ways. I found it such a joy to be around her, not just because her silent mind gave me a welcome and uncommon respite from the noise of society, but because she was passionate, intriguing, and mysterious. There was so much to discover and unravel about this woman, and I wanted it all. I wanted her, and I would have her.

Mike drove the final nail in his own coffin the day he came home with a small, black velvet box. I was disgusted at the notion of Bella spending her life with someone so unworthy, especially after all the thoughts I had heard in his putrid little mind. The ring was an offensive piece of garbage – a cut that would not flatter Bella's delicate hand at all, the clarity was poor, and the size was simply laughable. This was no two months salary, as was the so-called guideline for engagement rings – this was a cheap excuse for something that was meant to represent eternal love.

I would show her what true eternal love was.

I heard Mike's plan for the proposal and used that information to formulate the final stages of my own plan. This would be epic. It would be a grandiose performance, all in the name of Bella; a stage show she would first take in as audience, then enter as the female lead. We would coalesce in our performance before the grand finale would come to its glorious, magnificent close. Yet this end would truly be a beginning.

Just days before the big show, I went to Bella near closing time at the library. She was alone, assisting the remaining patrons in signing out their books and escorting them to the door. I slipped in and waited patiently as the last person placed a small stack of books on the circulation desk.

"Hello Edward," she said with an alluring smile on her raspberry lips. "Did you need something? I was just about to lock up for the night."

Oh yes, sweet siren, I do need something.

"No books tonight, actually. I have something I want to share with you. Do you have a moment?"

"Umm, sure," she replied, but sounding considerably unsure. Did she feel unsafe with me, or was it that she didn't trust herself in my presence? I hoped for the latter, though the former would be understandable. "Let me go lock the doors and shut down the computers first."

I volunteered to handle the computers as she took care of the doors, and we met back at the desk a few minutes later.

"This is for you," I said, holding a CD in a clear jewel case out to her. She looked down at it with her eyebrows pressed together in confusion.

"What is it?"

"Do you have someplace we can listen?" I asked instead of answering her question.

"There's a small stereo in the office. Come on." She directed me behind the desk and into her office that was really more of a closet with a desk, loveseat and a few shelves. "What's on it?"

"Just listen," I said, flashing her a conspiratorial crooked smile. Her heart rewarded me with its harsh thumping.

We sat together in silence as the CD began. The resonant sounds of an expertly played piano filled the small room with a variety of notes and phrases. The little boom box did not do the music justice with its cheap speakers, but to Bella's human ears, I knew it was still stunning.

"This is so beautiful," she whispered. "What is it?"

"They're songs I've composed," I admitted, trying to sound shy.

"Oh my gosh, Edward! This is amazing!"

As she spoke, the first track ended, transitioning into a second, more melodic tune. Her attention fell back to the pull of the music. She left her desk, instead taking a seat beside me. Her head tipped back and her eyes closed, exposing her creamy, enticing neck to me. I watched her chest rise and fall with rapt attention, enjoying her lovely curves while she could not see my lustful ogling.

Experimentally, I shifted so that our legs brushed against one another slightly. She made no move to break the contact, and I smiled victoriously. The temptation to take her then and there was so strong. We were alone, and she was clearly comfortable in my company, but I couldn't do it. Not yet. As much as I wanted to ravage and possess her, it was not time. My plan would be so much better if I allowed it to play out fully, and this was only a piece of my scheme. Shoving back my hungry desire, I focused on the music with her.

I had been a bit surprised at how quickly I'd taken to the piano. Then again, my time was limitless. The sun still shone occasionally in the winter here, so I procured an impressive keyboard to keep me occupied in my apartment on days I could not go outside. The compositions came to me easily when I thought of Bella, but I would wait to tell her that each of these lullabies was written for her. To make the CD, I had gone to a local recording studio and worked with a professional engineer on my creation. He had been rewarded well for his willingness to fit me into his schedule on such short notice.

"I can't believe this is you," Bella whispered, tipping her head to the side and gazing at me. I turned myself so that my bottom leg curled beneath me on the small sofa and I could face her. My head dropped casually against the back cushions, and we were eye to eye.

"It's nothing," I shrugged and smiled.

"What? No, Edward. This is fantastic," she insisted. "You are so talented. Thank you for sharing this with me."

We sat in companionable silence for a while longer, listening to the music and staring at one another. With each passing second, my passionate need for her grew, but still, I resisted.

When her forehead scrunched slightly, I wondered what was going on in that pretty little head. She answered my thoughts with her words. "Your eyes are so strange," she whispered. I blinked twice. "Some days they look like butterscotch, and other days they look darker, more tawny with dark flecks. It's beautiful, but I've never seen anything like it."

"Must be the lighting," I shrugged, regarding her observation nonchalantly. "It's much different here than it is in the hallway of the apartment.

"Maybe…" she said without conviction. "I don't mean to offend…I like it. It makes you sort of mysterious."

"Mysterious?" I said with a laugh, playing up my part as the quiet but friendly loner.

"You're just…I feel like we've become friends, but I really don't know anything about you."

"Do you want to know me?" My voice was low, bordering on seductive, but not obvious in its intent.

"Y-yes?" she replied as my fingertips lightly grazed her arm. She turned toward me.


She nodded in response. Her eyes were wide and nervous, as if she wanted something more, but was unsure of what to do.

Very slowly, I leaned toward her. Her heart pounded thunderously, and sweat broke on the back of her neck and various other locations on her body. Her apple cheeks wore a new flush that spread down her neck and beneath her sweater. Each breath she took was now labored, slightly audible to human ears but screaming victoriously to my vampiric senses.

With my fingers now curling around her elbow, I drew her to me, and she moved at my will. Our eyes were locked, full of fire and want. She was so innocent, so trusting. It was an incredible sight to behold. I drew closer to her a fraction of an inch at a time, reveling in the sweet harmony of my music on the stereo blending with her heart and breaths. They synchronized in the most titillating song that had ever been played.

We were there, alone, so close. I could feel her warm breaths tickling my lips, and I drank them in. I hovered near her mouth – waiting, watching, listening. The tiniest whimper echoed in her throat when she tasted my unnaturally sweet breath, and I wanted so badly to crush her mouth with mine right then and there.

But I didn't.

"Oh god, Bella, I'm so sorry," I said suddenly, snapping back and looking at her with a guilty expression. I quickly leapt from the sofa and pinched the bridge of my nose. God, I was a good actor. "I'm so sorry! That was completely inappropriate of me. You have a boyfriend. I should go. I'll…I'll…" I fumbled around, as if I was trying to collect all my personal belongings.

She sat in silence, looking stunned and disappointed, but not saying anything.

"I'll see you around, Bella. I'm so sorry," I repeated, quickly exiting her office. When I neared the front doors, she called out to me.

"Edward, wait!" I turned and gave her a nervous, questioning look. "I have to let you out," she continued in a quiet, defeated tone as she held up her keys.

We walked to the doors slowly in silence, both muttering our goodnights before parting.

Out on the sidewalk, a huge smile spread across my face. That had gone perfectly. Better than I planned, in fact.

I would not return to the library or allow Bella to see me at the apartment until the time was right. And it was coming…very, very soon.


The day had arrived.

I hadn't seen Bella in nearly a week, and it was killing me. She had been to Mike's apartment, but I kept myself locked safely inside my own. Stick to the plan, stick to the plan. It became a chant, an oath, a prayer. I had never wished so badly that I could see inside her head as I did that week. Did she think of me? How did she feel about our close encounter?

Of course she thought of me. She had to.

Unfortunately, I had to listen to that dolt, Mike, constantly. His thoughts enraged and disgusted me, but he and I would deal with that man to man. Well, man to vampire.

February thirteenth. I heard him return home – alone, thankfully – and I made my way out to the hall as he unlocked his door.

"Hey Edward, how's it going man?"

Without hesitation or warning, I shoved him into his apartment and locked the door. He was on his ass on the floor, scrambling to get up quickly.

"What the fuck is your problem?" he spat, holding himself in a fighting stance. I laughed because he truly had no idea what he was up against.

"You are my problem, and you have been all along." I shoved him to the floor again, knocking the wind out of him this time. "Just be still like a good boy and this won't hurt…much."

That was the moment the fear set in. He could see the predator in my eyes and hear it in my tone, and his mind finally told him that whatever I was just wasn't natural. Not human.

Oh god, it was wonderful. I couldn't help but smile.

"What do you want from me?" he asked quickly, scrambling backward on the floor like some silly child playing like a crab. He thought of large knives in his kitchen, a baseball bat in the hall closet, a can of pepper spray in a drawer.

"None of those will work."

"Wh-what?" he sputtered.

Chuckling, I answered his words and his thoughts. "The defensive weapons you're thinking of – they won't help you. I can't be stopped that way. Honestly, there's no way you can stop me." My tone was flat, almost bored.

"What are you going to do to me?" He was begging now. In his mind, he cried out for some saving grace. He thought of himself only, never once considering Bella as his fear grew and the sweat poured from his stringy body.

"Must I spell it out for you, Mike? I'm going to kill you, obviously. I'm going to slice your major arteries and let you bleed out on this carpet. And if you smell appetizing, I may just take a taste myself." With that, I flashed him a wicked smile, exposing my razor sharp teeth in a menacing manner.

His mind became such a blur that I forced myself to ignore it. He was a ridiculous excuse for a man. How had Bella ever chosen to be with someone like this? I would be much better for her.

Bending down to the floor, I lifted him by his shirt and stood him upright. He was stunned into shock, hardly able to fight me off any longer. That was good because I didn't want to leave any unnecessary bruises. This was meant to be a clean job. Bloody, but without much damage.

I twisted his body in my arms so that his back was to me. He struggled for a moment, so I lifted my knee between his legs and struck his testicles. He doubled forward, but I held him upright. From my pocket I withdrew a surgical scalpel. While my teeth were sharper than the finest knife, my fingernails were dull in comparison. They could slice, but I wanted more precision for this task. I shoved the back of his shirt up as he groaned in pain from my assault to his manhood.

"This will only take a moment, neighbor," I assured him as I located the vertebrae I was looking for. With one fluid movement, I drove the scalpel into his back. In a single flick of my wrist, I left him paralyzed and incapacitated, but still fully awake and aware. It was a very fine cut. Nearly microscopic, in fact. I severed part of his spinal cord in such a precise manner that he would see, hear, and feel everything I had planned, but he would not be able to fight back. Before pulling his shirt back down, I licked my thumb and rubbed it over my injection point. My venom sealed his wound so that no one would ever know what had truly happened to him.

I laid him on the floor, getting on all fours to hover over his still, silent body as I began my speech.

"Do you really think you ever deserved her, Newton? Bella is so much better than you could ever hope to be. She is beautiful, smart, and a wonderful woman. I've listened to you for these past few months. I've heard all the snide remarks you've made in your head when she speaks to you. I've seen every flash of another woman's face when you were intimate. I know that you think you're better than her; that she's lucky to have someone like you."

I took the scalpel and moved to his ankles. Brushing up his pant legs, I made a quick slice along each one. His mind registered the pain, but his body was still.

"You think she's 'good enough' to be your wife, but you are so wrong. You could never be good enough for her. She is an angel, a queen. You are a time filler in her life. She is just too kind to see past your ignorant façade, you fool."

Grabbing his left wrist, I made another clean cut. This one poured faster, and the scent of fresh blood was a jumpstart for my frenzy. Roughly tossing his arm down, I took his right wrist and gave it a twin cut. It was so difficult to resist breaking every limb of his body, but I did not want to leave him mangled.

"Every time she was in your bed, I wanted to come over here and do this to you. Have you really convinced yourself that you love her, or are you just that stupid? What you think about isn't love. It's selfish. To love is to give, not take, but you are a leech. You take whatever you can from her and repay it in empty, hollow sentiments."

Adrenaline pumped through his veins, triggered by his fear and my words, but it was a futile effort. He was fading with each pump of his heart that inadvertently gushed more blood out of his body. But I was not done with him yet.

"You truly know nothing about that woman. You don't know that she prefers comedy to action movies, you don't know that she likes red wine and only drinks white when she is here, you don't know how passionate her tone becomes when she speaks of books and poetry. It's clear in that tiny mind of yours that you don't know her at all, but I cannot blame her for falling under your spell. You are a good liar. I just don't see the point in it all."

I sighed at my last statement, letting my voice fade from its intimidating growl as Bella's beautiful smile filled my mind. I was doing this for her. For us.

"Oh, and your taste in jewelry is atrocious. You would dare give that piece of garbage to a goddess such as Bella? That is the worst form of blasphemy, my friend. And to think that is how you planned to ask her to be your wife? On Valentine's Day? You are a walking cliché. Did you grow up in a trailer, too?"

As his blood continued to seep onto the floor, the adrenaline faded and his heart finally slowed. I raised myself over him so that we were face to face, only a matter of inches apart.

"This is the end, Michael Newton. Even in all of this, your mind is still solely focused on yourself and your own life. Never once has Isabella crossed your mind when I did not bring her up first. For that, you die."

I flashed my scalpel in front of his eyes before lowering it to his neck and holding it against his skin. A slight break in the topmost layers caused a single drop of the rich red blood to swell where the blade pressed into him. A mischievous grin overwhelmed my face.

"I will take good care of her. When she discovers your lifeless body, I will be there to comfort her. No one will ever know who did this to you or why. I will take Bella away from this place and introduce her to a new life. She will thrive as one of my kind, and oh sweet victory, she will be magnificent. I cannot wait to see her with blood-red eyes and impenetrable skin. I look forward to the day her bloodthirsty delirium drives her to make her first kill. Perhaps it will be a sorry little man like you.

"I will give her everything you never could. When I make love to her, it won't be the self-centered fucking you perform. I'll take her to heights she never imagined possible and then do it all over again. We will spend forever together, and everyday, she will know that she is loved the way a woman is meant to be loved and worshiped in a way no one else ever could hope to. When you are gone, she will be mine."

With my final words, I swept the scalpel across his neck, harsh and deep but a clean cut.

Warm blood poured from his neck, welling in his throat and tumbling out of his mouth as he gurgled and choked on his own lifeline. Within moments, his eyes slipped closed and he was nearly gone.

I lowered my mouth to his, sweeping my tongue inside to suck up the blood that had pooled there.

"And that, dear friend, is because, even in death, you do not deserve Bella's sweet lips to be the last you've kissed."

Taking my scalpel, I left his apartment, locking the door behind me.

There would be no DNA or fingerprints at this crime scene, as I had neither. This murder would be filed away with every other cold case a vampire had caused.

Now it was time to wait for my angel to discover her gift. She was due over tomorrow night for that wretched holiday.


The phone next door rang many times, and I knew who was calling. I could hardly wait to witness her reaction. My plan was finally coming to a head, my well-crafted schemes all fit together like puzzle pieces. Just a few more and then eternity would be ours.

I wondered how she would react to my gift. As a compassionate woman, I knew it would affect her emotionally, but I would be there to care for her. While I thought any mourning would be undeserved, it was most likely inevitable. Nonetheless, I knew exactly how I would combat that. In time, she would see my gesture for what it was: a sign of my love. The ultimate sacrifice at her altar.

As I waited for my darling, I sat at my keyboard and played all the songs I had written for her. When I tired of that, I brought out the composition paper I had purchased and transformed her songs into a symphony. I wrote the parts for winds, strings and brass, and one day, I would have it performed for her. My Ode to Bella. It was my masterpiece. An encore of sorts to accompany her Valentine's gift.

Hearing her come by in the morning was a welcome surprise. I would not have to spend the day pining. When her horrified scream resonated through the hall, I wiped the smile from my face and was the first one at her aid.

I ran into Mike's apartment to find her standing over the cold, dead body of her former boyfriend. "Bella, what's going on? Oh god-"

"Edward!" she sobbed, turning and throwing herself into my arms.


"Come on, let's get you out of here." I guided her out to the hall where several other neighbors had gathered. They wore confused, curious, and terrified expressions that matched their thoughts. I closed the door and instructed them all to stay out.

Bella clung to me, refusing to face anyone else as a cacophony of tearful cries muffled themselves in my sweatshirt. I wrapped my arms around her, stroking her back in a soothing manner as I directed traffic in the hall.

"Someone call the police and tell them there's been a homicide," I said authoritatively. The thoughts of the growing crowd went wild at the word homicide. "Mrs. Baylor, will you please get Bella a cup of tea? Chamomile if you have it. I don't have any in my apartment. John, you make sure no one goes in the apartment until the police get here, and I mean no one." Once I had confirmed through their thoughts that they took my menacing tone seriously, I escorted Bella into my apartment and sat her on the sofa.

"Bella, sweetheart, I need you to give me your phone. I'll call your friend Alice and tell her you can't come into work."

After a muffled agreement, she pulled her phone from her purse and handed it to me. I left her briefly to go to my bedroom and make the call. Alice was clearly shocked and upset for Bella, but she promised to cover her shift.

When I returned to my love, she was lying down on the sofa. Her eyes were open, staring at nothing, and her body trembled. I perched on the edge of a cushion, stroking her hair and humming to her until there was a knock at my door. Mrs. Baylor had arrived with Bella's tea. I beckoned her in, and after handing me the warm mug, she promised to help in any way she could. I heard several police officers on the main floor of the building, preparing to come up and investigate Mike's apartment.

Once alone, I set the mug on the coffee table and pulled her limp body up to mine. She was like a jellyfish, so I shifted us until my arm was wrapped around her and she fell against my body.

I handed Bella the cup of tea and noticed something taped to the bottom of the mug. I peeled it off and saw two small pills.

"What are those?" Bella sniffled.

"Xanax. It probably wouldn't hurt to take one. It will calm you down."

"Yeah, okay," she feebly agreed, taking a pill and swallowing it with a sip of tea.

I stayed with her all day that way. The police came by later to question her, but her statement didn't take long. She knew absolutely nothing and had only been in the apartment for a minute before I pulled her away. I answered a few questions of my own, but in their minds, I could see that they didn't regard either Bella or me as a suspect.

Bella slept at my side on and off for the rest of the day. I could tell that she didn't want to think or move, so we turned on the television and sat in silence. She did not want to speak of the event any more than she already had. She was traumatized, but it was a necessary evil in the plan. Late in the afternoon when she slept, I laid her on the sofa and covered her with a warm blanket. Holding her and watching her sleep all day had been a dream come true, if vampires could dream at all.

When she awoke, I had take-out delivered and encouraged her to eat. I could hear her stomach growling and wanted to ensure that she was taken care of in every way.

Her trust in me grew exponentially as the day progressed. She was comfortable being close to me and touching me, but I could see that she was still vulnerable.

As we cleaned up her dinner, she turned to me and smiled sadly. "Thank you, Edward. I don't know how I could have gotten through this day without you."

"I would do anything for you, Bella," I said honestly. Stepping closer, I placed my hand on her cheek and felt the invisible tracks of her tears. Her body instinctively moved closer to mine, and her arms wound around my waist. We embraced, and I could feel that her pulse was steady but elevated by our nearness.

"I think I need to lie down again," she whispered after many minutes of quietly holding one another. "I…I should get home. It's getting late anyway."

"No!" I replied sharply, but calmed my tone immediately. "You shouldn't be alone right now, and I don't mind you being here. Why don't you rest in my bedroom? It's dark in there, and I can play some music for you."

"Why are you being so nice to me? What did I ever do to deserve this kindness?"

"Don't you know, Bella? Can't you see it? Feel it?"

She looked up at me with her swollen eyes and pouty lips, and I could wait no longer. I leaned down, closing the gap between us and taking her mouth with mine. She froze at first, but as my lips continued to work against hers, she responded. It was an amazing sensation. I had her.

Without hesitation, I swept her into my arms and carried her into my bedroom. I placed her on the bed gently, standing before her as I removed the shirts I wore, leaving my cold, hard chest exposed. She stared at me with wide eyes, but did not protest. I could not read her thoughts, but I could see the desire in the vast pools of her chocolate eyes.

I covered her body with mine, kissing her mouth first and then all over her neck. Blood pumped through her body so hard I could feel it at her pulse points. It was so tempting, but draining her was not an option. I would keep this one. I would keep her forever.

"Wait," she pleaded, pushing herself up on her elbows.

I did not want to stop, though. Fortunately, neither did she.

"Hold on," she said as she tugged on her own shirt. I smiled down upon her, helping her remove the stretchy sweater and toss it aside. My mouth found hers again, carefully sweeping my tongue against hers while avoiding my teeth. It wasn't time for that yet.

We continued to strip and grope one another, slow yet needful. Her hands would become frantic at times, grasping and stroking whatever part of my body she could.

"You're so cold," she whispered as her hands ran the length of my back.

"Does it bother you?"

"No." She shook her head. With that confirmation, I dipped down to her breasts and tore her bra in half. I enveloped one peak in my mouth, lavishing her nipple with attention from my icy tongue. Her body arched up to me with a loud gasp that quickly turned into a series of wanton moans. I moved back and forth between her modest yet satisfying breasts until the scent of her arousal was too strong for me to ignore any longer.

I yanked her panties off, but she nudged me in a cue to roll over before I could touch or taste her. Lying on my back, she carefully removed my boxers and made a path of wet kisses from my mouth down to my hip.

"I've thought about this," she said, gazing at me from her position at my waist. Her hand slid onto my erection, wrapping around it with the perfect amount of pressure. "It's so wrong of me, but I've wanted to know what you would look like, feel like." She stroked me languidly, making me gasp. "You're so beautiful. Your body is so hard and perfect."

Keeping her hand between us, she slid back up my body, her mouth meeting mine in a long, sensuous kiss.

"You are the beautiful one," I whispered against her lips. You are perfection." I rolled us so that I was propped up over her once again.

Her free hand rested on my hip, squeezing and releasing repeatedly. "We shouldn't be doing this. I shouldn't be doing this, but…"

"But what, Bella?"

"But I need this. You. So badly," she panted, pumping me harder and faster as I spread kisses over her collarbone and shoulders.

"Yes," I growled, not caring that I sounded more animal than man. The sound seemed to turn her on even more, sending a fresh dose of her arousal into the air.

"I don't know what you are, but I can't stop this." Her hand slowed, positioning me as she wiggled her body into place beneath mine. "I hardly know you…I can't seem to figure you out…yet I want this."

Pressing myself against her entrance, I fought to stay in control and give her the pleasure I desperately desired to. "I belong to you," I whispered in her ear. "Are you sure you want this?"

"Yes, please."

The urgency in her voice was enough, and I thrust forward carefully. I didn't want to fuck her the way that disgraceful man had done so many times. I wanted this to be good for her. It would be the last human experience she ever had.

It felt as though waves were rolling inside my head once I was fully inside her body. She was so warm and inviting, so responsive to the way I filled her. Her moans were loud and rewarding, an obvious sign of the pleasure I brought to her beautiful body. We found our rhythm quickly, working together to bring us both to the highest plateaus.

"Don't stop…oh god…don't stop," she cried. Her fragile little hands weaved through my hair, tugging almost violently. I loved it.

"Never," I told her, thrusting harder, but not enough to hurt her. "You're mine now, Bella."

"Yes!" Her voice was a loud, exquisite pitch that I loved. Her hips lifted off the bed seeking more. I reached down and hooked her knees with the inside of my elbows, holding her open for me to go deeper and bringing her to higher heights of ecstasy. As I drove into her, I felt her entire form beginning to tighten. She fought against me, not to get away, but because her body could hardly stand this level of bliss. Within moments, the ripples of pleasure flooded through her, pulling me in with them.

"Fuck," I groaned as a long stream of my venom poured into her. "So perfect."

She had no choice now. She had already willingly submitted herself to me, and there was no turning back. She may not understand it yet, but she would in time.

As we lay wrapped up in one another, I pulled the unused blanket back from my bed and covered her with it. We stared at one another for a long time, curling our fingers in each other's hair and sweeping fingers up and down our arms until she spoke.

"I never imagined…I never knew."

"No, I didn't either," I admitted.

"You're not…" she started hesitantly. "What are you, Edward?"

My unbeating heart jumped with pride at her question. My girl was becoming so observant. "What do you think I am?"

"I don't know." Her eyes left mine, but I tilted her chin so that she would look at me again. I needed her eyes. "Your eyes change colors. Like today, they're a different color than I've seen so far. Still that unique golden color, but they seem to be tinged with…red."

"Mmm, yes," I hummed. "It's something I did for you."

"For me?" she asked nervously. "I don't understand."

"You will. Tell me more," I pressed.

"Umm…your entire body is so cold. It's hard and almost unyielding. You're incredibly beautiful; there isn't a single flaw on your body. Your intelligence and talent are astounding. You're quiet and mysterious, and you always seem to appear out of nowhere…like you did this morning. It was as though you knew I would need you."

"What if I did know?"

"What are you saying?"

"Tell me, Bella, do you regret this?"

"No…no." She shook her head. "I've never felt anything like that in my life. It's just that…I'm so confused. I shouldn't be here with you like this, not when…when…"

I watched her fighting back tears and leaned forward to kiss her. Within a few moments, she had calmed completely.

"You shouldn't be able to do that to me. I should be upset right now. Guilty," she said with a sharp edge.

"Open your eyes, sweetheart. See what this is."

"What do you mean?" she sniffled.

"We both want this. I've wanted you from the moment I first saw you. Can't you feel that?" She stared at me questioningly, so I continued. "He never deserved you, love. He was always thinking of something other than you, but me, you're the only thing I think of."

"I don't understand."

"I couldn't let him have you, darling. Not when you were made for me." My lips connected with her jaw, kissing a line to the sensitive spot behind her ear and sucking. I was so tempted to do it right then, but I needed to wait. "Think about how good we felt together. How perfectly our bodies fit. It was right, Bella. This is right." My mouth flooded with venom as I became more and more anxious to claim her.

"Yes," she whispered, seeming to be in a daze or under some spell. "Wait – you couldn't let him have me? Edward, what do you mean? Did you-"

"For us, Bella. We can be together forever."

With unmasked vampire speed, I moved on top of her. Our bodies pressed together as much as possible without crushing her, and our centers touched. I could hear, feel, and smell her reactions to me. She wanted this. She wanted me.

"Think about the bliss, the passion. Every day from here until the end of eternity, we can do this." Our bodies aligned and rubbed together in the slick heat of her arousal, but I did not enter her yet. Her arms and legs wrapped around me in welcome anticipation.

"Oh god…" she moaned. "Forever?"

"Forever, love."

"I'm…so…confused," she panted as I worked her body expertly, building up to the moment I would fill her again. "Wait."

I stilled my movements, hovering over her and caressing her face lovingly.

"Michael. You did that?"

"Because I love you, Bella. He could never love you the way I do," I finally admitted. "You're the only one I've ever wanted. I couldn't let you go, especially not for that vermin. You're mine, sweet Bella. Aren't you?" I coaxed.

I knew that if I continued to look at her the way I had been and allowed her to smell my saccharine breath, she would succumb. But I didn't want her to give in because she was dazzled by my arsenal of immortal tricks. I needed Bella to give herself willingly.

"Tell me what you're thinking, Bella," I urged.

She stared at me for a moment, looking perplexed rather than terrified of my admission. "I should be frightened right now. I should be disgusted and scared," she said slowly. Her small hand reached up to my face, skimming over my cheek before spreading her fingers through my hair. "But I'm not, and I don't know why…after what you've told me. Why aren't I afraid of you?"

"It's because you know I'm right, don't you, my love? He was never good enough for you, and now that I'm here, you can finally see it. This is your destiny, and fate doesn't care who gets hurt in the process." As I spoke, my body settled against hers further, and she shimmied against me in response. "Do you feel that Bella? Do you understand that you are mine?" I repeated my question.

Her eyes locked with mine in a fierce gaze. Her heart was pounding the most glorious tune as her breathing became heavy and labored. Finally, she gave me her answer.

"Yes!" she moaned sharply, attacking my mouth and pushing her hips toward mine to resume our friction. "I don't know how to feel or think or anything else, but I want you. I want you and I need you."

"There's no turning back from this. Do you understand?" I asked. She nodded, attempting to dig her fingernails into my impenetrable flesh. "You'll be like me, and we'll have each other always. We can go anywhere we want, do anything we desire, and we'll be together through it all."

"Yes, Edward, make me like you. Whatever you need. I want you forever."

Those were the most glorious words ever spoken, amplified further because it was Bella saying them to me.

I kissed her without reservation, showing her my love in every way I could. This would not be a pleasant experience for her, but it would be worthwhile. I finally slid into her, ceasing the torture of being right there but not bonded this way.

"It's going to hurt," I told her as I anticipated her climax. "Just focus on me. When it's over, nothing will ever hurt you again. We'll have each other for eternity."

She moaned and cried out to me in high, breathy gasps, opening her body and her soul for me to take. I kissed her lips one last time and then her forehead. As her body built up toward a powerful orgasm, I lowered my lips to her neck. I licked and kissed her, allowing my venom to numb her delicate skin before the time came.

With a few deliberate thrusts, she tensed and called out her rapture. Before she was even halfway through the powerful climax, I sank my teeth into her, tasting and savoring the paradise of her blood before stopping to force my venom through her bloodstream. The heady combination of love, lust, and blood-induced frenzy was the precise recipe for me to come.

I sealed her wound with my tongue, and as she began to writhe in pain, I flattened my ice cold body against hers, hoping to provide even the faintest relief from the burning. I pressed my lips to her ear and whispered.

"I love you, my Bella. Now and always."

Oh, my love
Please don't cry
I'll wash my bloody hands and
We'll start a new life
I don't know much at all
I don't know wrong from right
All I know is that I love you tonight
My Bloody Valentine – Good Charlotte

E/N: Thanks for reading! If you have never heard this Good Charlotte song, go youtube it. 75% creepy, 25% funny.

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