Being a vampire kind of gives you an excuse to be a murderer. What excuse do you give a bloodthirsty human?

INSPIRED by (not exactly like) American Psycho; I give you: my Darkward. Sometimes you need to be a little….well, really evil.

WARNING: This story contains dark themes! Gore and unapologetic murder and death. No rape, necrophilia, incest or anything but really, this story doesn't need it. It may be too disturbing for some people, so some discretion is advised. This a judgment call on your part.

Come see inside my bones.
All the fiends are on the block;
I'm the new king - I take the queen.
Cause in here, we are all anemic,
In here - anemic and sweet…

My knife, it's sharp and chrome.

Knife Party by Deftones

You know, these years and days and hours have blended together so entirely that I honestly can't tell you when exactly it was that I started killing people, the first time it happened, or who it was; but sitting here in this board meeting, I am certainly reminded why I started.

I tap my pen harshly into the too-perfect, recently-waxed cherry wood top, so expensive, so decadent, a rich, clean smell coming from it, almost its own form of aromatherapy, if I had any positive inclinations towards therapy. My quill tip pen is rapping into the wood, creating nice little chips on its flawless surface. I see my colleagues sitting around me with their eyes continually flashing towards the scene of my desecration, little subliminal messages that say, 'We are silently acknowledging your social faux pas and silently will you to stop, because we are bureaucrats and professionals and we do not say these things out loud, (except when we go out drinking or to a swanky strip club and don't invite you because really, that wood top finish was flawless and you had to ruin it.) Regardless, though, we are gentlemen.'

I tap my pen harder into the counter, these superiority complexes around me making my throat burn with my ever-increasing blood-lust, my stomach churn with excited anticipation. I want to know humanity. I know how to make these buggers human. I'm dying to stab the tip of this pen into my friend's neck next to me, because his eye-flashes are becoming more frequent than the rest.

But I don't, because I have bigger annoyances right now. Namely, the woman we are giving our undivided attention to.

Oh, how I hate Tanya Polanski. For weeks now she hasn't been around too much, traveling or something, and that's the only thing that's saved her, because I really need to end her superior little existence. She walks around in pant suits, those suit jackets with padded shoulders, giving her that strong, triangular torso look, and clickety-clackety heels that hit the uncarpeted floors each step around this building with a sound that reminds you that she's still a woman and those heels can go through anyone's neck that stands in her way of corporate domination perfection.

The thought inspires me, and I think I smile, but I probably don't. My face is a blank slate, ready to be carved into whatever it needs to be to slink into the moments where I'm truly alive; when I'm in my element. I smile, I'm polite, I laugh with my colleagues when they expect me to. My face is like an exterior being, an enzyme unto itself perhaps, creating active sites and induce-fit reactions wherever it needs to, to be who it needs to be, while I can retain my true nature inside with no one knowing.

Like right now, I've just figured out how I'm going to kill Ms. Polanksi later. I contemplate offing the friend next to me as well but figure Tanya will be enough excitement for tonight. I don't want to run out of fun for some other time. I can be patient. Sometimes that's the best part. Drawing it out.

Tanya clicks a button on the hand-held remote and the slide show switches to the next point. My eyes narrow as I take her in. Strawberry-blonde hair swept neatly back into a burette, feminine but professional. She obviously uses no gel yet not one silky strand is out of place. Her posture is straight, her hand on her hip for stature and pose, not comfort and relaxation. Her steely blue eyes sweep the room while she discusses this new benefits plan for one of the charities we help, for that is what this business I work in does: handles, supports, finances, and directs charities. For the well-being and safety of all people.

It's ironic, some would say. I disagree. I enjoy helping people. Sometimes the only way to help a person is to make them a person again. And that requires reminding them of their humanity. That's where I come in.

And maybe, perhaps, in this existence I lead where each day I feel like I fade behind my induced-fit mask, I like to find and connect to humanity as well, by tearing these people down, and bringing them back where they should be.

Which brings us back to Tanya. Our eyes meet in her sweeping of the room. I chip the perfect table-top more viciously. It is clear that she believes herself a superior being. She must be brought down. It is the people like her that drive me insane.

I don't really think that there was any kind of catalyst in my past for the way I am now. It just kind of happened. I just kind of Became.

Oh, sometimes I pass the hours musing about what would happen if I got caught. Maybe I could claim asylum, though I don't think I'm insane. I'm not psychotic - neurotic, maybe - but not psychotic. I am very in tune and aware of reality. Perhaps too much so. Perhaps that's the problem.

I'd go on some talk show, people's morbid curiosity getting the best of them. 'What could have happened to this poor soul to make him this way!?' I'd probably go on a very hip talk show (I'd better). I'd be sitting there on some white couches sitting across from my interviewer, and they'd be asking me the infamous question, "What kind of pain is in your past?"

Because there always has to be a reason right? People aren't homicidal for no reason. Something must've happened when you were a child. If not, how could people possibly wrap their minds around a concept so abstract as the idea of unjustified.

But I'll tell them what they want to hear, my induced-fit model. "My parents divorced when I was young. Shuddering breath. My father sent gifts and money to spite my mother, but he never loved me. Tear. And my mother worked all the time and ignored me when really, all I wanted was to be loved. Trembling chin. It felt like everyone was always better than me, and maybe if I was better they wouldn't have divorced. Hiccup. And maybe this is the only way I know how to get close to people because my parents never hugged me. Sob."

Yes. That's it.

Tanya's eyes meet mine again, and I can tell she wants me, and that she thinks she can just take me. I'll let her think that for now. My face contorts on its own, giving her subtle encouragements for her subtle advances, because we are professionals after all, and these are things that have to go on silently.

"Penny for your thoughts, I wonder?" she asks an hour later when the meeting is over and we've left the room. I left a full minute before her, and the clickety-clack of her heels was sharp and rushed as she hurried to catch up. "You looked pretty thoughtful in there. It's always nice to know if the catch is biting after all." She laughs, unawares that her implication of her almighty power, the fisherman to us school fish, has sealed her fate with me.

I smile, a deep sense of satisfaction lining my intestines like a sheet billowed out fresh from the dryer. If she wants to play God that's fine now; she's pranced in to the Reaper. I look down at her, her make-up unneeded on her flawless face, hair still perfectly pulled, power-suit completely wrinkle-free. I contemplate ram shackling her penthouse after I kill her just to pull all her ironed clothing from their neat hangers and crumple them on the floor to gather dust and crease while they wait for a new owner. The thought keeps my smile friendly and in place.

"Actually, I would like to discuss it more with you," I tell her smoothly, maybe even charmingly. My pseudo pod is reaching out, and molecule that she actually is, she gravitates inward. I am about to surround and swallow. "Dinner tonight at eight? There's this new Greek place I've been dying to gut out on Abel."

She smiles, teeth like blind spotlights. "That sounds great Edward. I'll meet you there."

After she walks away, I see one of those generic type paintings on the wall, the kind nobody notices but expects to be there in the business place. Generally some failed impersonator of Claude Monet or Picasso, their nature scenes or cubism something that is nice to look at for half a second before moving on. I reach out and carefully tilt the painting just one more degree to the left. Subliminal perception; except for the OCD go-for that works typically on the floor below this one. When he does come up here, it's sure to kill him.

Really, it's almost too easy these days. Dress nice, smile nice, act nice, and people trust you whole-heartedly, even when everything in them should be flashing warning bells when something comes off as amiss. But they must be mistaken. Because that person is, nice, smart, good-looking, well-dressed. The affluent are never dangerous. People will smiles never have anything to hide. No secrets whatsoever.

Nope. Just follow me down this dark alley, away from the streets, windows, lights; witnesses. Away from anyone to help you; because you can trust me. I wear Armani. My Rolex has no scratches. I am clean-shaven and precisely groomed. My Dior cologne is light and unassuming.

"This is the way to the restaurant?" Tanya asks confusedly next to me. But the question is harmless. There is no suspicion at all. She must be ignorant of the layout of this small section of the city.

"Actually, it's not," I tell her, stopping, turning to smile. She stops and looks at me like she didn't hear what I said. I give each of my leather gloves a purposeful tug up each wrist, securing them. "I brought you out here to brutally murder you, you pompous little bitch."

The brain does not contend well with shocking news. Denial springs up too unconsciously for you to stop it, and then it's too late.

Before the bemused expression remotely starts to flicker, not falter; before what I said even makes it past her brain and into her mind, I've got her by the neck and then I'm throwing her down on the ground, her mind still too confused to even know to scream. And then the wind is knocked out of her, sprawled on the ground like a gasping fish, and it doesn't matter if the motivation is there or not.

It's a matter of seconds before I've thrown my leg over her and bent down, pressing the pad of my thumb tightly to her windpipe. I'll let her breathe enough to keep her alive for a little while; I don't want this to be over too quickly.

See, she'll never understand the error of her ways if it's over too soon. Her life won't have enough time to flash before her eyes. She needs to be completely and utterly aware that she is going to die for her to learn, for her humanity to return and claw out and cry in relief at finally being here. I want her, need her, to feel that. And they all need time to get there. So I give it to them.

Her eyes are wide and confused, filled with horror, as if she's unable to understand that this is me; as if she's looking for someone else.

"No, it's me," I murmur to her. "It's always been just me."

I drop my knee hard and deep onto her stomach, keeping her winded and immobilized while I move around for a moment, reaching back to take off one of her razor-like god damn clickety-clackety heels. Let's see what these things are capable of, really. They can obviously bring her up; I want to know how far they can take her down.

"E - e…" she chokes out, still too winded, too shocked to speak.

"How do you walk in these things?' I marvel conversationally, holding the glistening shoe before me with the three and a half inch, thin as blades heel. I twist it back and forth, and curiously bring it down to her exposed, perfectly tanned arm, that perfect golden-brown crisp, like god damned pre-cooked meat.

I place the hard, sharp heel on her shoulder, and can already feel her gym-toned arms yielding to the material. I press down until it feels right and slowly drag it down the length of her arm. Tanya half-whimpers in pain, still unable to truly catch her breath. The line of red that appears on her skin is satisfying and drips a few drops down her arms, small lines staining her skin more.

As I generally do, I run my finger into the blood and bring it to my lips. I never know why I do this or what I hope to find. I lick the blood thoughtfully and wrinkle my nose, knowing that the taste of leather isn't what's making it come off wrong. I spit it on her face in disgust. It never tastes right, never like I imagine. The coppery taste isn't tinged with success and vibrancy. Just disappointment.

"You're disgusting, you know that?" I inform her.

"H - help," she wheezes, her voice hoarse and weak. I've damaged her esophagus too much for anything else. Which is good. A little noise now and then is kind of vitalizing, but it's pesky in populated areas. This is a private moment for me. I like to enjoy it in relative silence. When they start to scream too much or too often it gives me a head ache and distracts me from what I'm doing, making me move on to ways to make them be quiet. I'm glad I knocked that problem out early.

"No one's going to hear you," I say coolly, because really, she should know that. The hope that her try-cry blossomed from is almost beautiful though.

I make a series of shallow cuts on her other arm, head bobbing as I murmur a little rhyme I made up a while ago.

"Shallow cuts, shallow cuts.
Make them bleed but not too much.
Need to suffer, need to squirm.
Need to make their outsides burn…"

"W-why are you…d-doing this?" she coughs, the struggle starting to return to her limbs. She tries kicking out, jerking her arm from me. I place my knees on her thighs, my full weight sure to fulfill its job and bruise her in the process. I jab the heel into the crook of her elbow, a deeper, wider gash forming. She screams out as loud as she can - not very loud - and discontinues jerking around. Knew that Yale degree of hers was useful for more than just business.

"Please don't talk to me," I request, and start to hum a little more.

"Little vein, bigger vein,
Watch you flow, watch you drain.
Delicate and easy to maim,
While you can, remember the pain."

Tears are running down her face in streaks. I swipe a little on to my finger and taste it, before spitting it on her again. Still not what I'm looking for.

I continue cutting her skin, moving to her collar bones, ripping the top of her shirt a little and progressively making my injuries deeper, longer; more painful. She's crying in earnest now.

The panic in her eyes is beautiful; as is the vulnerability quivering her chin, and her mortality seeping out of her pores like toxic old make-up she forgot to take care of years prior. It is a lovely release. I feel that familiar closeness, a fondness for this renewed human, and I stop my ministrations for a minute to stroke her blotched face and now imperfect hair, feeling like Mother Mary looking down at her human son and believing he's something more.

Tanya's mouth begins to move. "P-please," she whimpers, "Just m-make it q-quick. Don't…r-rape me…p-please…."

And just like that I am Nietzsche glaring at the gaudy cathedral, contempt and disgust returning. I am glowering at each stone that makes up the elegant structure, my fists choking every single one hard enough to squeeze blood out. I want to bleed it dry.

She has learned nothing at all.

Anger grips me in a vice. How arrogant. What nerve. To believe that yes, because she is a woman, because she is beautiful, because she is her, oh Lovely Superior One, I must want her in that way. I have never wanted her in that way. I have never wanted anyone in that way, though I've tried. It's so disgusting to contemplate, that she's still wrapped up in her own orbit, even after I was convinced we were making good progress. Fury bounds through my veins, creating a whooshing in my ears. Slow and sweet and shallow is gone.

I raise the shoe and strike a blow against the side of her face, her perfect face, as hard as I can. A small cry leaves her, a large gash in her neck pouring blood down her skin like a dark, thick strand of hair. I contemplate popping her eyes out like I did to this man with a rusty wire once, but decide against it. I have a better idea. More appropriate for her.

Sticking the heel down her mouth, I smash it against the back of her throat, hitting her spine, making her gag and choke and bleed, mutilating the delicate skin there. But not hard enough to damage her so she won't feel it when I finish the job, which I plan on doing shortly. But I feel this is a just punishment beforehand. Her foot has always been in her mouth anyway. A little symbolism never hurt anybody. Well, until now.

Tanya is a bloody, bruised, cut-up mass of flesh at this point, blotched and tear-stained and moaning in pain as much as she can, though that just worsens her suffering. Amazing. Her eyes are so sad, so betrayed, so hurt. I'm glad I didn't take them out now.

"I think it's time to end it," I whisper to her. Her eyes close, in anticipation or horror, it's hard to tell. I loathe the fact that this will be a relief to her, especially after she rejected the lesson, but I'm too sickened with her to continue being in her presence any longer.

It's time for her high-heel's final act. Taking it from her mouth, I trail it down to her neck and position it correctly. Gauge my strength. And then plunge it sharply all the way through her throat.

Her final scream is actually quite loud. But I'm not worried. If anyone even heard it, no one would come running. They would all assume it was just some cheap whore getting fucked in an alley, or getting fucked over. Either way, who would care.

I take a moment to just sit back on my heels and look at her corpse. This is usually the best part. The reflective moment. There's no need to clean up the mess immediately; I always make sure there's no need.

This is the moment where my satisfaction is as high as it can get and I feel completely sated.

But right now, there's still a bit of hollowness in my stomach that I don't understand. It's definitely not guilt. And it's not hunger.

I realize it might be boredom.

Frowning, I think about this problem as I finally stand, picking up Tanya's immobile body, the shoe heel still lodged in her throat. The exposed parts of the shoe sway and twist her skin as I move her. Sometimes, if the situation and location permits, I'll take the body back to the deserted café I bought a couple years back, where there resides a nice large freezer. It's my thinking space. To be alone with some of my old victims, stacked against the walls, hung in body bags; looking at their pale faces in there, watching my breath fog in front of me, and knowing that one day I'll be like them too…it's relaxing in a way.

But it is a lot of effort to get there unnoticed, and frankly Tanya was such a disappointment I don't bother making it. I dump her in a nearby dumpster, covering her up efficiently enough. I make sure there's no incriminating evidence, and then walk down the alley back towards my car, whistling a little, still thinking about the hollowness I feel. What can I do different to fix it?

I am almost out of the maze of alleys, back to my parked car, when a movement makes me pause. There, scurrying from the shadows is a patchy, sickly rat. And leaping from the shadows not a moment after is a skeletal-looking stray cat, pouncing on its meal and quickly biting into its neck, shaking it a little, killing it completely.

I stop and turn, facing the scene straight-on, enthralled.

Reflection on Tanya's arrogance made me realize something. Every person I'd killed to bring them down could possibly have only brought them up. I'd made them think they were special in singling them out. I think of this struggling rat, lucky in its own way to be chosen by a predator greater than it. Hypocritical as it is, I am a god in this little world I create, and I elevate my victims - I guess my Chosen Ones now, as they see it.

So why not switch my tactics, since I seem to have been going in the wrong direction all this time anyway? Why not choose someone weak, someone who believes themselves to be below human, and elevate them up to that level again; glorify them by singling them out? Yes, maybe they're the ones who have been needing my help this entire time. And maybe they're the ones I'll find more happiness in killing than the routine grim satisfaction I am feeling now. At the very least, it sounds like a good plan to try.

Smiling, I bend down to pick up the scrawny stray that so helped me reach my revelation. It screeches a keening 'mew,' trying to run, but that's just useless. Who can resist the power of a force mightier than itself? I take a knife from the inside of my coat pocket, and easily slice through the thin membrane of skin on the emaciated cat's neck, choking it on its own blood. I continue to smile fondly at it as I toss it towards the alley wall, a small thump heard before it slides down to crumple on the dirty ground, a bit of blood glistening on the bricks that are the color of dried-blood anyway. I couldn't deny its role in my thoughts. I needed to thank it somehow. My close brushes with humanity today have created a warmth within me that's making me feel unexpectedly kind towards everything now that I've found solutions for myself. And I'm excited to begin my new mission.

Taking a deep breath, I really breathe for the first time, my smile wide enough to ache the unused, taut muscles in my cheeks. I smell garbage, blood and decay. There is purpose and life in it.

Where do the weak and timid go, I wonder? The last place you would look. Places filled with power and movement and lots of people. Places to lose yourself.

The pulsing beat coming through the heavy metal doors of the converted warehouse shake the sidewalk beneath my feet. There is a long line of people standing behind the velvet rope, but I walk straight up to the door.

"Hey, woah little man. You got to stand in line like everybody else," says the burly guard at the door, keeping the peace and organization. I slip him a Benjamin and suddenly I am not 'everybody else.' I am inside the club with the swaying bodies, technicolor lights, and still dim, smoky atmosphere.

The dance floor is not the place to look. Confidence and dance go hand in hand. You are giving your body over to unorthodox movement and therefore overt judgment. Dancing and the meek do not stir well together.

I prowl along the outside ring of the dance floor, taking my time, keeping to the dark and gauging my surroundings. There is nobody here alone. Every table is filled with groups of friends, glasses of drinks. On my second turn around a situation draws my eye.

A girl with two friends, who each have an arm and are half-heartedly trying to tug her onto the dance floor. Her face is all smiles, her eyes all pleading. She does not want to go. She wants them to go dance, enjoy themselves. She'll stay there and watch the table.

I examine her more closely. Deep brown hair, a little past her shoulders. The ends of her bangs are swept towards one side of her face. Their ends and the ends of her hair are jagged - professional but with an edge. And yet her body language, the hunch of her shoulders, reveal that the haircut was obviously done with a boost of confidence that is now diminished back to its normal state.

My veins hum in anticipation. I've found her. The first one of the new flavor.

I leave the curtain of shadows to saunter forward, eyeing her appraisingly. She has the body and the curves of one who could dance. But she won't. And in that weakness is my intrigue.

I stop a little bit behind her, beside her. She is sipping from her drink, staring at the wall, daydreaming about something. Or wanting to appear as such.

"Hey. Why are you sitting here all alone?" I ask her, leaning down a bit, as a way to break the ice.

She startles and looks up at me. I smile down, induced-model style. "Oh um, I'm not," she stutters, blushing. "My friends are dancing."

"Why aren't you?" Concern. Just surprised concern. I already know why.

"Oh, just not a dancer," she replies, waving her hand around as if this supports her answer. She bites her lip and looks away, either not sure what else to say or else waiting for me to go.

I'm not going anywhere little one. Not until I help… you.

"Oh, I doubt that," I tell her lightly, wanting to see how easy she'll yield. "Come on - dance with me. Right here, if you'd like."

"I don't think that's a good idea," she laughs nervously. "You've really no idea what you're getting into."

I don't let my agitation show yet because there's no reason. I can see her thinking about it. Her thigh twitches like she wants to stand up but is too unsure.

"Just one dance?" I ask for with a charming smile, holding my hand out.

She hesitates, holding her breath, hand half-raised. "Please," I breathe.

"Oh what the hell," she mutters, and takes my hand. I pull her away from the table and into my arms, swaying with the beat. She is quite small and vulnerable, just as I suspected. And she was right about the dancing - she resonates awkwardness at first, trying to be better at it than she actually is, before relaxing and giving in, allowing me to lead.

"I'm Edward," I tell her after a few minutes, watching her closely.

"Bella," she smiles up at me, like she's never seen a man before. I can tell I'm winning her over. It won't be very hard now to convince her to leave with me. I can feel my veins practically vibrating with anticipation, my bloodlust causing my mouth to water. The hunger takes over my eyes when she looks down at my chest. "It's nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you," I purr, pressing my hand to the small of her back. For as much a gift as I will give to her, she will give me just as much in return.

I twirl her around for a bit and make her laugh, her face alight with a happiness and excitement that hadn't shown itself when I was watching her earlier. She looks a little too happy. This is a rare experience for her, I can see.

"You are very beautiful," I tell her. I peer closely at her and realize that she is rather fortunate in the skin beauty. She is wearing no make-up and yet her pale skin is creamy and smooth, and her features, though not perfectly proportionate, work for her. It really shouldn't be that hard to raise her up tonight. She already possesses everything she needs.

Her eyes look up at me, awed, amazed; hopeful. I've positioned myself to be her God and as a God, I can create her humanity.

"Really?" she asks, her eyes so bright, wanting to believe me and not quite daring to.

I smile kindly at her. I've hit upon the exact right thing. You can make anyone do anything so long as you know what buttons to press.

No one has ever told her she is beautiful.

"Staggeringly beautiful, really," I confirm, lightly caressing her cheek. If no one has ever told her she's beautiful, then no one's ever touched her like it either.

I know I'm right. She's leaning into my touch so willingly, and trusting.

We talk a bit more, and I interlace more compliments, none of them entirely false I find. The girl is becoming more and more enamored with me, or at least with what I'm giving her. It doesn't take too much longer before I can sail into the finale.

"Would you like to go somewhere quieter?"

She looks up at me and something blazes her eyes briefly. "Yes," she answers, quietly but confidently. She turns around to leave, not even bothering to find her friends and tell them good-bye.

I smile darkly to myself, triumphant. I can feel it twist my features into something most likely deranged, but nobody is watching. Nobody is ever watching. Except for me.

It's like they always tell you. Never go home with a stranger, because for all you know they could be a serial killer.

Ha ha.

"Would you like something to drink?" I ask the girl when we enter my high-end apartment. She is looking around in awe at the posh setting. "I know I tore you away from your drink earlier. Maybe I could replicate it?"

"Oh, that's fine," she says, hands clasped in front of her, teetering a bit before making up her mind to sit on the couch. I notice that she took off her shoes at the door, a fact I am entirely grateful for. I like to keep my apartment immaculate, since I spend half my time in dingy areas. The last thing I need is dirt and mud staining my pale carpet. "Well, actually, some water would be nice. I'm a little thirsty."

I walk into my kitchen and get out a glass, pouring her some water from the freezer door, contemplating how I should kill her. Slow and steady? Violent and brutal? Painful but clean? I look at her from behind, a pretty, sweet silhouette. I can't see using any jagged tool with her. She's too soft and not that perfect. Something smooth then. A knife perhaps.

I quietly open one of my kitchen drawers, filled with numerous knives. Small paring ones. Long, butchering ones. Sharp, Asian, decorative ones. Fingering through them delicately, I choose one of the collapsible knives. It's prettily designed and still incredibly effective. It looks perfect for her.

Slipping it into my pocket, I saunter back into the living room and hand her the glass of water. She takes it with a smile and a polite 'thank you' and takes a long draught from it. I sit down next to her on the couch, and recline a little. I'm not relaxing but I'm in no hurry either.

Before she can set her half-empty glass down I lean forward and pull a coaster in front of her, letting her get the hint. I don't need any water stains on my wooden coffee table.

She turns her body a little towards mine, resting her elbow on the pillows behind us and her head in her hand. "This is a really nice place Edward," she compliments. "What do you do?"

I watch her throat as she speaks. Her pale skin is almost translucent in the bright lighting, and I can see the pull and movement of the cords and muscles in her neck undulating and flexing softly as she speaks. It's mesmerizing. My fingers twitch and I redirect the reaction by placing my hand on her knee. It's not time for that yet. And she seems to like this gesture anyway.

I am already noticing a difference in how I feel in this line of killing - even in its preliminary stages - compared to how I felt previously. Where as before there was an angry bitterness that lent itself to hollow stomachs and a nasty aftertaste, I'm feeling a strange warmth - slow excitement, I realize - kindling its way throughout my body. Yes. This will be very satisfying.

"Charity," I answer. "I work for a firm that organizes charities."

Her eyes widen with happiness. "Really?" she gasps. "I love that. See I'm a nurse, and my life is kind of centered around helping people, so I can really relate to that…"

I almost want to laugh at the irony. Poor, sweet, innocent girl. A nurse. That's very cute, and I can appreciate her line of work.

"You must get very close to people," I murmur.

She smiles sadly. "I guess. I enjoy what I do. But everyone's very temporary and I doubt any of them remember me."

Ah. There's that low esteem. Intrigued, I lean down to peer a little closer into her eyes, trying to see it, understand it, when suddenly, without me having foreseen the movement, her eyes slide shut and she presses her lips to mine.

I freeze. This isn't the way it goes. I don't enjoy this kind of contact with people. At least, I never have before. I'm not really concentrating on whether I do or not because my mind is racing. My hand flickers back towards my pocket, and I slip my hand inside…

And then I'm being knocked backwards because suddenly she's crawling on my lap, her hands on my face, her lips seeking harder contact with mine. "I'm just tired of everything," she whispers, eyes still closed, lips still pressed against me. "I just want to do something…just want to give up…feel something…for once…"

Her tongue pries my mouth open and touches mine. I'm shocked and completely unsure of what to do because this was nothing I anticipated. She was just supposed to meekly sit there and blush until I got around to killing her. She wasn't supposed to this determined, taking this much control. And I find that the kiss isn't that bad, not as bad as I remember. I feel a closeness there, a different kind than I normally search for, but there nonetheless.

She moans a little and I'm intrigued that she can make that sound when I'm not really doing anything. My mind is searching for a path to take. Do I let this continue? I still plan on killing her. But should I let this progress naturally first, experience that first, and then move on? I'm not feeling disgusted like I have before and I think that this might be my one opportunity to attempt sexual gratification.

I'm a bit conflicted though, because unlike most of my fellow counterparts, I've never wanted to mix sex and murder. It's too crass, too predictable, too…purposeless. But I wouldn't necessarily be mixing them if I did one first and then followed up with the other later, would I? They weren't related.

The girl's hands are unbuttoning my shirt while I'm thinking, and tentatively returning her kiss, and her hands rubbing my bare skin illicts a tingling that isn't altogether unpleasant.

Making a decision, I push her off and stand up, heading toward my bedroom. I indicate that she should follow and she does, happily hurrying behind me. I don't turn around as I enter my bedroom, and let her pass in as well. I'm surprised that she's already lifting her shirt over her head. I'm starting to think that I've misjudged her innocence and my eyes narrow in disappointment.

"Okay, just you know, I've never done this before," she says at she sits on my bed, showing a bit of her nerves. Or not. "And maybe you could be erm, patient, with me?"

I nod my understanding and shut the door, immersing us in darkness. I take the knife from my pocket and set it on the nightstand for later, taking a seat beside her on the bed.

Her hands search for my shoulders and she pulls herself back up to kiss me, dragging her body into my lap once more. I don't resist it so much this time, though it's still very strange for me. I recline stiffly into my pillows, and she ends up laying splayed half on top of me. I don't think I like that a lot.

I roll us over so she's half under me now. Her hands are pushing my shirt off and wandering across my torso. The warmth is nice.

"You can touch me you know," she gasps, breaking away from the kiss. "I want you to."

My mouth twists, and hesitantly I bring my hands to her shoulders, trailing them down to cup her breasts. They're quite soft and warm as well, and I pull them from her bra to feel better.

She's moaning and I'm enjoying her expressiveness. I always enjoy it a little when they're responsive, so long as it doesn't become obnoxious; when people scream when I hurt them, gasp as I cut them, there's some gratification in it. I'm just not always a fan of them talking. Though it fluctuates depending on my mood and the situation.

As I start getting into the swing of things and allow myself to enjoy it, I can feel my blood pulsing inside my veins, humming and thumping down to my groin. It's been some time since I was last aroused. And I realize that as my arousal grows…my bloodlust is strengthening as well.

When I caress her skin, I'm getting a desire to dig my fingers in hard enough to bruise, to puncture. When I kiss her flesh I want to bite down hard enough to draw blood and taste it, see if her blood will have what I'm looking for, whatever that may be. I feel like being rough and making her scream for very different reasons. But I resist the impulses for now, because I do want to see this through.

I finally push inside of her and she gasps in pain and pleasure as her virginity is taken. I can't help but press my mouth against her hard, because the feeling of her cunt around me is making me lose some of my control and I give into the desire to be a little rough.

I thrust into her over and over, and the more I do the more I start to forget about waiting to kill her. I really have the urge to do it now.

As I plunge into her slick heat my hand reaches over clumsily and grabs a hold of the knife. The girl doesn't notice. Her eyes are closed and she's whimpering and groaning, her hands grasping tight to the pillow behind her.

Her neck is perfectly exposed and I'm transfixed, my thumb sliding the knife open as I rock into her steadily. I lick my lips, skimming it across the pillow, closer…

Then she's wrapping her arms around my neck and pressing her lips to mine again for a sweet kiss, pulling me tight against her. "Edward…" she moans, pushing her hips against mine. "Feels so good…"

That was probably what saved her. Startled, I come back to the situation and my hand loosens around the knife. I leave it on the pillow. Later. Kill her later, I remember.

She's panting softly, and I feel her silky muscles spasming around me. She's about to orgasm. With a jolt, I realize I am too. There's an unfamiliar tightening in my abdomen, oddly warm and tingly, and even stranger than that, there's a tightening in my throat and while I stare at the girl, who is now staring at me too, I see the brightest, happiest shine in her eye. My vision wavers a bit.

With a cry, we both reach our release, and I collapse beside her, my entire body shaking. I glance down at my cock and see that it's still glistening with both our cum and, after I peer closer, the girl's virgin blood.

Curiously, with a shaking hand, I reach down and swipe a good amount onto my index finger and stick it in my mouth, licking it without expectation.

My eyes widen. It tastes like….machines…and nature. It tastes like balance. It tastes right.

My throat tightens again, and suddenly my vision blurs. I don't understand but I just suddenly feel….overwhelmed, by everything. I turn over a bit and hover above the girl, staring at her - what I can see of her, that is - in lost confusion. She smiles tiredly but happily at me. The blurriness falls from my eyes and onto her breasts, and I realize that I'm crying. And then that crying becomes full out sobbing, and it feels so good that I don't - can't - stop. I fall on top of the girl and bury my head in her chest and just cry.

And to my surprise, the girl - Bella - doesn't seem to mind at all. She wraps her legs and arms around me and holds me to her tightly, running her fingers through my hair while humming softly. "Edward," she whispers, nuzzling the side of my face and neck. "Edward…you're okay. I've got you." It feels so good and it's just making me let go more because, well -

My parents never did hug me.

After that night, Bella and I were just kind of together.

I'm not quite sure how it happened, and I don't care to examine it either. All I know now is that it simply is.

Tapping my quill point pen into a well worn chip on the underside of my wide, oak desk, I glance at the industrial yet decorative clock hanging across the wall from me. I can basically take however much time I want off, but I don't normally have an inclination to. But I see that Bella's shift is about to end in about twenty minutes.

Closing up all my binders and scattered pens, I order them neatly back into my desk and lock everything up, pulling on my white jacket and exiting my spacious office, locking it.

"I'm taking the rest of the day off," I tell my secretary, a young woman named Jane. I like her because she is so impossibly stoic and generic that I don't have to even think about her. She gets the work done in her own sphere, and is proficient at it. That's all I want. "Rearrange any appointments I get and defer the phone calls. You can go home early if you want to."

She nods once in understanding, and jots something down on a notepad next to her coffee mug.

I make my way to the front of the office building where the flashy, expensive car my father bought me to celebrate my last promotion sits. It showed up in my driveway one day with a giant red bow and a small, neat white card that said Congratulations. No other signature was needed. I was used to that routine enough to know it was him.

I put on some intricate piano music and allow myself to get lost in the notes as I weave in and out of traffic, the city's general hospital looming closer. I pull up to the curb near the clear sliding entrance doors and sit there with my fingers tapping the wheel, waiting.

She's quite punctual as Bella finally opens up the passenger door and slides into the seat with an exhausted sigh, still in her light blue scrubs. I see a small spattering of recently dried blood that is clearly not her own near her collar bone. I lick my lips involuntarily and pull away from the curb, heading to my apartment.

"Rough day?" I ask.

Her hand pushes back her hair. "There was a car accident on 68th apparently," she informs me tiredly, closing her eyes as she reclines back. "Really bad. There was a small boy in the backseat, but he'll live. As an orphan now. His parents didn't pull through." She keeps her voice purposefully detached and clinical.

I smirk a bit to myself. She just seems too delicate and attached to be in that field of work, in my opinion; but there's something about the idea of her being a nurse that I really enjoy, perhaps a little too much.

"That's a shame," I answer seriously.

Sucking her lips into her mouth, she over at me with big doe eyes and takes one of my hands in hers, pressing it to her face for the rest of the car ride. I let her because I've grown used to these little contacts that she enjoys, after so long of being untouched.

We enter my apartment, and she removes her shoes and her scrub top, a simple white cami on underneath. She stuffs the top into her overnight bag and places it neatly next to the couch as she sits down, pulling her white-socked feet up underneath her. Bella holds her arms out to me then and finally gives me her familiar wide, happy-to-be-with-me smile. "Movie?" she asks.

"Sure," I murmur. "Drink?"

"Wine," she informs me grimly. "If you don't mind."

I grin. She must have had a really hard day.

As I walk into the kitchen, I'm studying the back of her head again, just like that first night. I'm in one of my strange moods when it comes to Bella. Sometimes I don't feel like anything more than doing something average like a movie with her, maybe have sex. I don't feel an urge for anything else.

And then there's days like today, where I stare at her head and really just think that I need to kill her already. It's old, it's over. Offing her will fall into place like a teetering tower of cards that finally reached its inevitable end.

I pick up a fireplace poker from the corner of the kitchen and hold it up, turning it around to examine it and get a feel for it. It'll do. I'm not in a mood for playing with knives.

I approach her quietly where she's kneeling now in front of my DVD cabinet. Her head skewered on this makeshift pike, my mock French Revolution brought to life in my living room. That's what I want today.

I lift it up with my arm pulled back that's holding the handle, my other hand delicately pinching the middle of the rod with my fingers for more precise aim, squinting my eye. Her hair is up in a bun. Her long neck is off for show, the very nape of it the perfect target.

"What do you think Edward?" she asks, peering intently through the many rows of movie cases. "Horror or comedy?"

I don't answer obviously, my lips furling into a grin as I imagine the quick, easy, forceful jab that is all it's going to take to shove this sharp, metal stick through the thin, multi-layers of tissue that is her body. The blood will squirt out everywhere from the other side, just like the smattering on her shirt earlier, little drops hitting…staining…

I start to frown, my eyebrows creasing. Yes. If I kill her like this, with nothing laid out, then her blood is going to stain my white walls and pale carpet, and there will really be no getting that out.

I really scowl now, lowering the poker with displeasure. I didn't think this out, clearly. And that was my one attempt for tonight. I'm just going to have to murder her later.

Mouth twisted, I turn silently on my heel and walk back into the kitchen, setting the poker down and getting out the wine glasses.

"I'm going to go for the comedy," Bella finally decides, pulling out a DVD. "I've had enough horror for one day."

"Wow Edward," Bella breathes in wonder, her bright eyes looking around excitedly. She glows warmly in the romantic lighting. "I've never been any place this nice before."

I push her into the table when she sits down on the velvet cushion in the gilded chair. I'm pleased that she likes the place, smiling at her as I take my seat on the other side of the small table for two. It takes an arm and a leg to get in here, but I aim to impress. Why go ordinary when you can go extra-ordinary. Oops. I mean, ordinary with a little extra.

She looks elegant and upscale in the small black dress I bought her. I see the excited blush covering her chest that I've become familiar with, and I grow hungry. To my surprise, it's in both the senses I've come to know. My fingers and dick itch and twitch at the same time. It's one of those nights. My eyes flicker to the delicate fork on the left side of my plate. Then they flash back to her plump lips.

"See anything you like?" I ask as she peruses the menu.

She bites that lip. "I don't know. Everything looks good, and I'm really hungry right now, which isn't helping." Tell me about it darling. "Any suggestions?"

I can see her sincerely wracking her brains to narrow down what she wants. I wonder what they taste like.

"The sweet breads are excellent, I've found."

The waiter comes over. "Have you decided on a course to take tonight?" No. "My lady?" he asks my Bella, and I realize his eyes have noticed her bright ones as well, her plump lips, the ingenuity of her full-body blush.

My smile slowly fades into a straight white line, my suddenly shaking hand curling into a fist in my lap. My other hand tightens around where it holds Bella's on the table. I know what I'm feeling but I don't understand it. I've never felt this way before. All I know is that for now, Bella is with me - whether tonight will be the end of that remains to be seen - and while I'm hesitant to say she's mine - let's just face the facts here. She is.

Bella's still unsure of what she would like to order. "Um…" She looks over at me.

The boy turns his eyes to me, and then they widen as he almost takes a step back. Bella looks at him, surprised by his reaction.

I order, keeping eye contact with the almost trembling male. They say that people on the verge of death can see the reaper in those last few moments.

Bella will be safe tonight. But I wonder if he can already seeing me pull my bloody scythe from his gut.

I twirl my fork in my fingers with a small smile when he walks away, and then lean over and kiss Bella's lips softly.

Over two hours later, she is the one kissing my mouth repeatedly as we back blindly into my bedroom. "I still can't thank you enough for dinner," she gasps. "It was…absolutely divine…"

"You're welcome sweet heart," I murmur against her imperfect mouth. "So long as you enjoyed it."


I tear off that little black dress of hers in one percentage of the time I spent looking for it, but I feel no remorse. Everything is temporary and must run its course. When she's completely undressed I take care of myself and push her down on the bed, climbing on top.

I don't feel like extensive foreplay right now, but she is already hot and willing and completely uninhibited from all the expensive wine she drank tonight. I'm hoping that will blur her memories a bit later.

I push into her hard, an urgency there that I've never felt before. She's squeezing me and sucking me with vacuum-like muscles deeper inside her. I don't resist the inside-out crawling-in feeling this is giving me as I fuck her repeatedly. I have this need for validation suddenly that refuses to leave.

I make her tell me that she belongs to me as I bang her lovely compound, atoms forming molecules that make up substance, bone followed by muscle followed by tissue and skin and neurons that create thoughts and feelings. Just add water and let it incubate for nine months. Voila. You have this being who is willingly giving that entire, long process to me. All these excursions have been making me think my original disgust on sex was wrong. I see the point of it now. I feel…closer at the end of it. Closer to what, I don't know. Maybe closer to her, maybe everyone.

Bella comes with a cry of pleasure, and I think about that term. Coming. I suppose it makes sense. A coming of release, or good feeling, or closer. But really, it's not as accurate as it could be. When she orgasms, I see something new in her face and eyes that wasn't there before. I feel that same thing in myself when I come. So what we really do is become.

"Sweet heart," I groan as I too become, and my teeth search out her shoulder and neck. I bite down, harder, understanding with perfect clarity in this moment the animal that I am and the need that I have for marks and control and blood, something so universal and common, yet no one can help but to lust after it. I break the skin, and she screams, but not in horror. I think she understands who she is in this moment too. I lap at her sweet blood, the flavor I'd been looking for when I didn't know what I wanted, and give myself time to imagine it sliding down into my stomach, my intestines, leaking through my membranes and entering my bloodstream, intermingling our bodies and our humanities.

Speaking of which…

After Bella has long since fallen asleep, I slip out of bed and pull on my clothes, humming softly to myself as I grab my car keys and let myself out.

I linger around the metal-plated corner, peering closely as she works. I have a bag in my hand, but that's only an excuse to get what I really want, which is to watch her in her natural habitat.

In one hand she consults a chart, and in her other hand she adjusts the patient's IV's and a knob on some machine with a concentrated frown. She sets the chart back down on its hook at the bed's end, and tests the man's vitals before, seeming to be just about complete, smoothes down his sheets gently over him. He is old and pale, wiry white hair patchy and everywhere. He looks to be very deeply asleep. But then as Bella turns to walk away, his red-rimmed eyes open at the same time as his lipless, fishy mouth gapes. His feeble hand grasps her arm and she turns around with a start.

She says his name, confused. 'How are you?' I can lip-read her ask.

His mouth gapes open, sputters closed, open, close, like a puppet. He's not speaking yet, just trying. His shaking hand moves up from her arm, so smooth and young and vibrant next to his wrinkled, yellowed, spotty flabs of tissue rolling over each other, fighting to escape, and places it on her shoulder. He pulls down.

Understanding what he wants, she leans closer so he can put his gaping hole mouth near her ear. She listens very intently, brow furrowed, and stands up straight when he's done, expression unchanged. She nods. Taking his shaking hand, she places it on top of the sheets and pats his shoulder. "Get some sleep," she tells him and walks away, in my direction, her eyes on the ground.

She lifts them up and her eyes widen as she gasps, halting in her tracks. And then a great smile breaks over her face and she skips the rest of the way to where I'm waiting around the corner.

"What are you doing here?" she says excitedly, hugging me tightly. I rest a hand on her hair, and pull it down through the strands of her pony-tail.

I hold up the grocery bag as way of an explanation. "Thought you'd like some lunch." I jerk my head towards the old man before we commence walking towards the cafeteria, my arm around her shoulders. "What'd he say to you?"

She is intrigued. "Really interesting actually, it was a Nietzsche quote I think." She snuggles closer as we walked. "He's not looking too good right now," she says sadly, referring to her patient. "But we're doing what we can. He really needs a liver transplant but he just doesn't meet the qualifications yet. Medically and financially."

I frowned, annoyed that she still hasn't told me what he said.

She sighed. "I wish there wasn't such a hierarchy, that depends on how much money or influence you have. How much power." She gazes off wistfully. "But there needs to be."

"Why?" I ask automatically, angry before I can think about it. I should've just agreed.

"Because people crave having a place among other people, even if it's not a good one. And power creates ambition, which, though it's often abused, has created all of this." She gestures around. "You have to deal with bad things to get good ones. That's just the way it works."

I smile to myself. It doesn't have to be, if you have the courage to work the system.

Returning to the original subject, I ask Bella again, "What did he say to you?" She starts out of her thoughts.

"Oh yeah. 'If you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.'"

We sit down at a small table in the large cafeteria area, and near us is a couple with the newspaper open in front of them, running through it and talking with each other.

"Oh yeah, I heard about that one on the news this morning."

"You did? I didn't see it."

"Well, it was really short, but apparently the kid was completely unrecognizable. Found him in a dumpster near some restaurant. They had to get that dental thingy just to identify his body. Eyes completely gorged out, burned all over…"

I sip my water thoughtfully as I contemplate things. Sometimes, when you stare into the abyss, your eyes adjust.

I sigh sullenly to myself as Bella and I walk arm in arm around the park. The sun is shining, and everyone looks happy, and Bella is care freely licking an ice cream cone, enjoying the scenery around us. My own ice cream is melting all over my hand. I don't even want it, but she insisted I would appreciate it later.

It's become increasingly obvious to me that I really do have to kill her now, because we have nothing in common at all, and therefore no reason to stay together.

I glare up at the offending sunshine streaming in through the treetops. This is not my normal scene, and I don't know exactly how I got dragged out here. Only she would think of something like this.

I look around at the children playing, shrieking and laughing and shoving each other. I do have to admit, children are probably the only people I like, because they're the only real people left. They are humanity at its rawest, basest form. It hasn't quite been mutilated yet.

As we walk along farther, we pass a girl sitting cross-legged under a tree, she too happily slurping on an ice cream cone. She's peering closely at the children playing on the nearby swing set, and in her total concentration, she doesn't notice that her ice cream is slipping over the cone until it falls onto the grass in front of her.

It's comical, really, the way her eyes bug as she looks at the melting chocolate lump sitting the grass, her tongue still out like she's about to take a lick, and staring at her ice cream as if it's not really there, and if she keeps staring it will magically appear back on her cone.

Her eyes tear up in frustration, and she starts sniffing rapidly.

Intrigued, I break away from Bella and walk over to kneel in front of her.

I hold my melting ice cream out as an offering. "I see you dropped your dessert. Perhaps you would like mine? I haven't eaten it and I don't really want it."

She sniffs again, her eyes big and watery as she looks at the ice cream, looks at me, then back at the ice cream.

Her nose wrinkles in absolute disgust. "Ew no way!" she cries, glaring at me. "It's melting all over the place, why would I want your dysfunctional ice cream?"

She stands up and stomps away, furious.

Bella is laughing so hard next to me that she has her hands on her knees. "I don't know," she says, beaming, wiping her eyes. "There's something I like about kids. The way they're so…unfiltered, you know?" She laughs.

"No." I continue walking.

Nothing in common at all.

She pops the rest of her ice cream cone into her mouth and munches on it as she rejoins me on the sidewalk, hugging my arm again. "Well I know," she says confidently.

"I'm glad," I say, surly. This is around the time I would be calling upon my induced-fit model to smile and act pleased, but I just don't want to and for some reason I have no problem showing her my displeasure though I usually try to mask it. She's ignoring me anyway, which only makes me sulk more.

I realize this can't go on much longer. I mean, it's dangerous for one. I have to mask my extra curriculars more carefully with another person constantly and intimately in my life, which I've never had to do before. It hasn't become too much of an issue yet, but eventually she'll want to move in and get married and have kids, and then it will become rather bothersome to skirt around all that.

And then there's the fact that we're just two very different people. I mean sure, we both try to help the world, but she's a nurse and I'm a sadistic murderer. She doesn't have a sadistic or a murdering bone in her body.

A butterfly lands on Bella's arms and she shrieks once before hitting it off with her hand. It falls to the ground and before it can escape she's stomping on it with her foot over and over, even long after it's dead and squished. "Die, die, die!" she screams. When she's completely satisfied with its demise, she smirks, satisfied. "I hate butterflies," she tells me. "They look all pretty far away but they're so creepy up close."

See? We have absolutely nothing in common.

I fall off of her to the side, sweaty and panting and spent. The sheets feel cool and smooth underneath me and I'm grateful for them. Bella rolls her sweaty and panting and spent body over to sling an arm and a leg over me, tucking her head under my armpit exhaustedly. Her hand rubs my chest before going up to scratch my hot and tingly scalp, which feels amazing.

I look down at her parted legs and spot my cum still dripping down her thighs. I massage a bit of it in to her skin gently with my finger. She moans softly and stretches like a cat against me.

"That was better than usual," she mumurs. She sets her chin on my chest to look up at me, an expression of complete sation on her face. "Something good happen at work you haven't told me about?"

"No," I reply. "Just one of those things I guess."

"Mmm," she hums, closing her eyes and settling down again. She yawns. "I like those things."

I put my hand behind my head and start to hum a tune in my head as she falls asleep. My hand fondles and caresses the gun under my pillow, waiting for her to enter the deep stages of sleep.

It has come to my attention that I can't do one of my long and drawn-out murders with her. I've realized now that if I could do it I would've already done it, but I can't keep her either. It has to be done, and I can't do it my normal way, so I'm going to settle for something quicker and easier. I've already drilled holes in the gun as a silencer, so this whole process should be relatively quick and clean. All it takes is the pull of the trigger, just a second, and everything will be different.

When I can hear her soft snores, more audible puffs of breath than anything else, I slip the gun out. Pursing my lips, I gently drag the end of it over her skin, up the column of her neck, pausing underneath her jaw, before continuing on up to her temple. I shift away from her a bit to get out from under the receiving end, and Bella whimpers in her sleep, her hands flexing and reaching for me.

I ignore that, and place the gun steadily on her head, slowly cocking the hammer so the click won't wake her up.

"Edward," she sighs, and my hand jumps to the trigger before I realize she's sleep-talking again, this thing she does. My finger relaxes.

"I love you," she breathes, face peaceful.

I stare at her. I already know this of course. I can tell by the way she looks and acts that she's in love with me. But I've never heard it out loud before, and it makes the knowledge somehow more substantial, concrete.

I furrow my brow. I don't love her but for some reason I can't bring myself to kill her either. Why is that? And then I ask myself the more prevalent question, which is why do I have to? When I think about it, I have no real reason. She won't actually stop my extra curriculars. And I obviously enjoy her around more than I'll admit. It's just been my goal for so long to kill her that I can't get it out of my head. But I don't really want to anymore. The desire isn't even there like it was in the beginning.

My mouth twists, and I put the gun back in the drawer with the knife, sighing as I flop back.

I've decided. I'm going to keep her around.

Of course, now that I've made up my mind about keeping Bella, the world decides it's the most comically correct time to fuck with me.

As a commiseration of my decision, I decide to take her back to the club where I first Chose her, but really just to dance and drink this time. I suppose the irony amuses me. And when I take her back to my apartment, we're going to fuck; except this time without the internal conflict in my mind. I'm not sure if it's going to be better or worse this way, but I'm determined to see.

We walk into the club, my arm around her shoulders, when I brush past a man who's leaving.

It's like the brush is in slow motion, and the crackle of electricity between us is insanely enhanced because of it. We slowly turn our heads to look at each other.

He's a killer too. I can just feel it, and I know he's realizing the same thing about me. We can always identify each other. It's like a sixth sense or something.

His eyes appraise Bella, my claiming grip on her. He raises an eyebrow on me. She's your victim tonight? he asks.

I tighten my grip on her shoulders, pulling her closer, and snarl a little at him. No, and back the fuck off.

This a mistake. He's one of those insanely obsessive killers that no doubt loves the challenging victims. And who is harder to kill than someone another murderer has already taken a hold on?

His eyes tighten with a smile full of threats and promises.

I turn my head back around, seething.

The exchange has been so fast that Bella notices nothing, not even aware I turned around at all. She's watching the dance floor apprehensively.

I growl inside. We can't leave yet because there's no way to explain it to her. I'll have to wait at least some time before any excuse will be believable.

I feel the man's smug smirk behind us.

"I think I'm going to need some liquid courage," Bella confesses. I contemplate. That probably wouldn't be a bad idea. The more inebriated she is, the quicker I can convince her to leave without rousing her suspicions. I fervently hope that gland will get sufficiently doused with the liquor without affecting anything else she might need tonight should the need arise.

"Alright," I concede, and walk her over to the bar. I throw a wad of cash at the bartender and let Bella order whatever she wants while I scan the crowd.

Damn it. He's completely disappeared out of my sight. I realize he's biding time for an opportunity to get her away from me. Well, it's not going to happen. I have no need to be away from her and he won't be able to find one as I have no other obligations. I smile triumphantly and hope that he's watching it.

Bella orders a shot, some kind of flavored vodka, and downs it in a swallow with a disgusted shudder. "Alright," she says, squaring her shoulders. "Let's do this thing."

Let's indeed.

I hold her hips and pull us into the dance floor, trying to get lost in a crowd of people. I pull her against my body and sway from side to side to the beat, and she follows my movements, letting me lead. She allows herself to be loose in my arms, and I figure it's probably for the best. She still can't really dance.

Suddenly there's another pair of hands on her waist that are not mine, and a body pressed against her back, sandwiching her between us.

"Mind if I join?" the other killer grins, his eyes flashing at me then her. "My name's James."

"Um." Bella recoils from his touch, sinking into me. I feel a sense of pride and elation. "No thanks James. I'm quite occupied as it is."

His eyes darken and his smile fades. He can obviously tell there's no convincing her. "I see," he comments. Too quick to do anything about it, he tightens his grip on her waist and pushes against her, grinding his entire body on hers aggressively, and then walking away.

Bella's shocked. "What the hell?"

I growl, "We're leaving," and thankfully she doesn't question it or argue, but seems grateful.

The car ride home is silent, but hers is more contented, and mine is angry. I have a tight grip on her knee. Bella seems pleased and comforted by it. I feel glad in that moment that I was the first person to get to her before any other killer. Because she's mine now and I have somebody.

I'm glancing in the rearview mirror every few seconds but I don't see any trailing cars. The hairs on the back of my neck won't go down though and I'm still very much on edge and guard.

We get to my apartment without incident, and I do a thorough search of the place discreetly while Bella walks into the bedroom, taking a seat.

"What do you want to do?" she purrs.

I'm not really in the mood.

"Watch TV," I tell her, and make an effort to walk in and close the door, laying on the bed too. I pick up the remote to the wide screen across the room.

Bella looks rather rejected but I kiss her once on the neck and this seems to cheer her up. She lays down and picks a program to watch with more cheer.

My eyes watch the clock. Some time passes and nothing has happened. I think I maybe have nothing to worry about tonight. I didn't see James following us and he doesn't even know my name - to my knowledge. Or Bella's. I finally relax a little and look at Bella's form with interest, thinking that maybe my mood has changed.

"I'm going to get a glass of water," she tells me.

"Hurry back," I answer, and it's my turn to be suggestive. She understands immediately and a bright smile appears on her face. She scampers from the room quickly and I know that she'll hurry now.

So after two minutes of waiting, I understand that something is wrong.

I walk out of the bedroom and down the hall and see my fears confirmed. I observe grimly the sight of Bella sitting on James's relaxed lap on my sofa, his hand clamped over her mouth and her eyes wide with horror; though she's too afraid to move due to the knife pressed against her jugular.

"Was wondering how long it would take you," Jame coos at me.

"Why don't you try taking me on first, and if you kill me, then killing her will only be a more satisfying win for you," I recommend.

"Somehow, I don't think so," he counters politely. He presses the blade tightly to Bella's throat, once, before relaxing it. A small line of blood is visible. I lick my lips and narrow my eyes in anger. That's my blood. She's given it to me before.

Suddenly, showing more cajones than I thought she'd have in this situation, Bella jerks violently, elbowing James hard in his stomach. The knife presses tighter to her neck but not for very long before his hand limps automatically, so the damage is minimal as she leaps to her feet and kicks him hard before running toward me. Grabbing her hand, I haul her back down to my bedroom and slam and lock the door. It won't hold James long, because he was obviously somehow able to get into my locked apartment, but I have a gun in here and he only has a knife. It doesn't take a genius to figure out who's going to win this fight.

I start to make my way over to the drawer as the pounding on the door starts, but as shaken as I thought she was, Bella is still able to badger me with questions.

"What the hell is going on? What was that? Who is that? Why were you guys talking like you're so familiar? Why the fuck did you say that to him? Edward? Talk to me, dammit, I think I've earned the right to know!"

"You really want to know?" I seethe, halting before whirling around to face her. "You really want to?"

"YES!" she explodes.

"Because Bella, I am a sadistic murderer, and so is he, and we've just gotten into a pissing war." Her mouth drops open. "And you can bet sure as hell that I have tried to kill you, many, many times. While you're sleeping. While you're awake. I've recently decided not to, but I've thought about it a lot and I've tried to a lot." The confession feels so good that I don't stop, stalking over in front of her and grabbing her arms to shake her. James is still trying to force entry, and the continuous banging is only fueling the fire in my head. "And I've killed a lot of other people. People I work with. People I've just met. People who piss me off. And I do it really slow, and really painful and make excuses and justifications to myself so I can continue to do it. Like I killed that kid at the restaurant who was staring at you. Remember him?" I laugh harshly. "I don't really either. He wasn't important enough to keep his body. But I do that sometimes. I own an old restaurant with a big freezer, and I keep some of the mutilated bodies there and go talk to them when I'm down or confused. I've talked to them about you. About how when I kill you, I'd put you in there as well."

"Really?" She seems almost flattered.

"Really. But I don't want to kill you anymore."

"Thank you Edward. I appreciate that."

"You're welcome sweet heart." I lean down to kiss her and am elated when I realize that I'm still going to be able to keep her when this is all over and done with.

"This explains a lot. I always wondered why you kept all those weapons around. I thought you were just paranoid," she comments.

The door bursts open then, busted on its hinges, and James stormed in, wielding the knife like a sword. And I still haven't gotten the gun.

Scowling, I push Bella behind me and hear her back up even more. I crouch a little and keep my eyes on James's blade, drawing upon the fighting techniques I learned when my early victims would try to struggle and I wasn't proficient at immobilizing them.

James swings crazily, but before I have to do anything, I hear a muffled shot sound behind me, and then there are these dark red spots on the wall behind James. He still has that leer on his face, except now there is this curious, small black hole in the middle of his forehead. As I stare, blood starts to ooze from it in a thick line, sliding down his face. He falls back on the floor.

Walking over to him, I kick him with my foot. He doesn't move. He is dead.

I stare at the blood on the wall, and the thick stain of it pooling around his head on the floor, sucked up by the carpet. "That isn't coming out," I mutter to myself.

I turn around and Bella is standing there with the gun still raised in her hand, drawer open behind her. She looks almost awed.

"That kinda felt…" She struggles for words. A grin slowly pulls up her mouth. "…Good."

I stare at her in awe, a grin unfurling on my face.

I remember that hollowness I was feeling before I met Bella, and I realize what it was now.

Every oxygen molecule comes in pairs of two oxygen atoms. And every king has his queen.

And now I have mine.

Oh my god, this took me weeks to write!

Please review! I kind of have half a mind to turn this into a full fledge story; there are some ideas running through my head on what happens next. But I don't know. Would anyone even read it? Let me know!

- The Romanticidal Edwardian