OK, this is the one with the sex in it. Don't get me in trouble by
reading it if you're under age.


"What?" The word was breathless, shaken.

"We love each other, don't we? And now ... if we're ... if we're going
to run away together --" she held him more tightly "-- I want to be
_yours_. Not Tom's. Your lover. For real. Make love to me, Meier,
please. I want you to be the only man I'm ever with."

Once he recovered from relief that Charlotte meant sexual congress and
not transformation or enslavement -- what calling a human one's own too
often meant among the vampire-kind -- Meier found his tongue. "Of
course, love. I'm very honored."

Charlotte's body grew tense and cooler against him, and Meier didn't
blame her; he also found the prospect intimidating, however delightful
to senses and soul alike. At last she started to pull away and softly
said, "Just ... excuse me a moment, all right?"

Meier released his hold, but her voice had a flatness that made him
uneasy. She slid off the opposite side of the bed, and he asked, a
little tentatively, "What are you going to do?"

Charlotte didn't face him. "Take my clothes off."

Meier practically leapt for her -- rather awkwardly, for he was not
accustomed to mattresses -- made a face-first landing in the covers,
frantically scrambled forward and nearly had a similar encounter with
the floor. Charlotte could hardly miss the sound of the scuffle and half
turned just as he caught himself -- and then caught _her_, around the
waist. She gasped softly.

"Oh, love, don't be afraid. And don't ... why do you want to be apart
from me now?"

"That's ... that's how things are done."

"Not between us. Charlotte, we make our own rules. We make our own
pleasure. And I want to be with you. For all this." His hand cupped her
face. "I want your pleasure. Your company. I won't be parted from you,
not for a moment." Charlotte started a little when he picked her up,
cradled her in his arms. "Come back to bed, love. We'll do what pleases

There was no threshold to carry her over in the traditional sense, and
yet Meier knew he _had_ crossed some threshold when Charlotte cuddled
against him again and pressed a kiss to his cheek. He had to exchange
kisses with her very carefully. He had fed well that evening -- he
always did before he saw her -- but biting came far too naturally even
to a sated vampire, and it was a delicate and sometimes unnerving
balance for him.

"Meier," Charlotte asked after he had thoroughly tasted her lips and her
forehead, "is it really true? We can do what we want?"

"Of course. What would you like?"

Charlotte looked down shyly. "To see."

Meier gave a little gasp of embarrassment. He sometimes forgot how much
difference there was for humans between darkness and light. "Turn on any
lights you wish, dear."

"It won't bother you?"

Meier silently vowed that it wouldn't. "I don't think so."

"I just want enough light to see." Charlotte rolled out of bed and
switched on a reading lamp on her desk, then turned its shade so the
glow bounced off the ceiling. It was enough light for human eyes, but
not so much as to damage the delicious intimacy of all they would share.

"My turn," Meier said as she slid back into bed beside him. "If I may."

Charlotte smiled, even though she was puzzled. "Your turn?"

"To see." He touched the hem of her nightdress, carefully pulled it
upward. Charlotte's smile broadened and softened as she worked it over
her head virtually unassisted, and Meier suddenly learned a new and
delightful meaning for the expression "an embarrassment of riches." She
wore nothing underneath, and Meier drank in all that was suddenly
revealed -- the slender arms, the dark nipples, the rounded abdomen, the
tuft of pubic hair, the length of her thighs and calves. Where on earth
was a man to begin savoring it all?

"I'm going to kiss every inch of your body," he told her. "Every inch."
And he gently pressed her back onto the pillow to commence operations on
her forehead.

Sometimes Charlotte held him, sometimes she only touched him, as he made
good his word, pausing to share at her mouth, brushing her neck so
lightly it tickled, prompting shivers of anticipation as he made his way
down to her breasts. Charlotte restrained herself -- perhaps mostly in
surprise -- at his touch on the first nipple, but when he worked his way
over to the second, it was too much, and she pressed her hands to the
back of his head. "Don't --" Meier's eyes flicked up in concern, and she
quickly finished "-- don't stop. Don't go so fast. Please."

There were no words in response, but his tongue caressed her nipple,
then his lips again for some time before moving on, down across her
belly. Even Meier wasn't equal to kissing his way through all her pubic
hair (Charlotte had to stifle a giggle at the thought), but when she
parted her legs further, he looked up into her eyes, then rubbed his
cheek along her inner thigh with a gentleness that made something grow
tight and warm within her. And then he was _there_, with lingering
kisses that left her breathless and almost aching before he moved on to
her thighs and calves and even every toe, and then her fingers and her
palm (how beautiful that very mundane spot felt with his lips against
it), up one arm and down the other, to fingertips and palm again.

He looked at her with an earnestness almost as deep as sorrow then --
for he was going to turn her onto her stomach and administer his
treatment to her back as well -- but Charlotte reached out and touched
his cheek. "Please, Meier. I want to see too."

"Ah." He looked down, a little embarrassed, and then embarrassed at his
own embarrassment -- for hadn't _she_ been willing to expose herself to
him? Disrobing was also a more complicated affair in his case: his
attire was more extensive, and the cape had become, in a sense, part of
himself; in its absence he felt not merely naked but incomplete. But
Charlotte sat up and slipped her fingers under his neckcloth, and Meier
realized how very much he wanted them under more than that. The great
carapace of his cape came off, and then the coat beneath it, and --
between kisses and caresses and nods of reassurance -- layer after
layer, a masculine answer to Salome's dance of seven veils. It all made
quite a heap on the floor.

Meier's form was like his face -- pale and austere, sleek lines with a
slightly inhuman grace. Charlotte was too shy to want to kiss every inch
of his body, but she snuggled against him where he sat. He gently pushed
her hair aside and kissed his way down the back of her neck and along
her shoulder, then pressed her to lie down again, turned her over, and
began kissing his way down her back, his body now close to hers. For him
it was a respite as well as fulfillment of his promise, for he was not
accustomed to nudity and found Charlotte's gaze a trifle disquieting,
for all the love in her eyes. But her shape and her skin and the beat of
her heart were a world he could lose himself in. At last the richness of
her scent drew out his fangs, and he had to clench his jaws together for
a long, tense moment until he had leashed his beast once more.

Charlotte turned over, smiling, and caressed his cheek.

"You're safe," he told her softly, as much for his own reassurance as
hers. "I won't hurt you, ever."

"I know." Her hand slid behind his head to pull him down. "Love me,

Meier pressed his lips to her belly, then lavished gentle circles of his
tongue on the nipple he had neglected earlier. He kept his body against
hers as he worked his way up, his erection drawing warmth from the flesh
it touched. Once they lay truly side by side, he nuzzled her ear
(eliciting a series of delighted gasps) and trailed one hand along her
side, over her belly, and very, very carefully worked it between her
thighs. Charlotte opened her legs to him almost reflexively, and he
lightly stroked the length of her slit with the flat of his finger. He
didn't dare attempt more intimate hand contact: his nails could work too
much damage. But she was gloriously smooth and wet and heated where she
pressed against his touch.

"Meier -- oh, Meier --" Her fingers dug into him, and she softly
whimpered in protest when his hand ceased its gentle ministrations.
Meier gave her ear a final kiss and shifted himself to lie between her
legs, penis hard against her pubic curls. She looked into his eyes.

"Love," he said softly. "Charlotte."

"Yes," she said, a response not only to his words but to his body, and
she shifted beneath him so he felt that velvet warmth on his member. He
wanted to say _something_ -- that he didn't want to hurt her, that he
did want her so very much, that she was the most magnificent being on
earth -- but words eluded him, and he carefully guided himself into her,
moving as slowly as he could. It _had_ to hurt her; he could feel the
pressure, smell the blood. But Charlotte held him tight in her arms,
smiling with unforced sweetness.

"_Yes_," she finally repeated, gasping with far more ecstasy than pain.
Meier cradled her head in his hands and pressed his cheek against hers
for a long moment, relishing the warmth of her breath against his ear.
Her belly tensed against his, the slow rhythm of her pleasure around him
making him gasp in return. A tremor went through him, and for a moment
his spine arced -- not in climax, but in surpassing pleasure,

Charlotte's palms pressed against his back, and those amber eyes, wide
and luminous, sought his with a question. "Is ... is that all?"

"All?" What slowly spread over Meier's face would have been a grin on
anyone else, but on him it was a smile so broad and true that his eyes
twinkled with it. "Oh, _love_. It's barely a beginning." He shifted a
little, waking new sensations within her so her expression nearly
mirrored his own.

"Meier, what is it ... what is it I _want_?"

"I'll show you. I promise. I _promise_..." His voice went breathless
then, for his pleasure drowned words -- his pleasure, and his
determination to pleasure _her_, however it tested his self-control. She
was so soft and warm and alive, and she _held_ him ... he moved his hips
again, a little more now, gradually finding a rhythm, and soon
Charlotte's body responded, keeping pace with him and, as it seemed,
urging him on. Her eyes were still open, and he held that gaze, or it
held him, for timeless moments when the world contained only their
bodies and their bliss. But the world seemed too small when Charlotte
finally moaned as fulfillment rolled through her; her eyes fell shut,
and Meier pressed his cheek against hers, jaws clenched as his body lost
itself in what they shared.

Their movements slowed and then their breathing. It was Charlotte who
broke the stillness, kissing Meier's cheek and then, remembering the
pleasure it had given her, his ear. Meier gave a soft _mmm_ of
contentment and carefully shifted over to lie beside rather than on top
of her.

"Don't go," Charlotte said softly.

"I'm not going anywhere," Meier assured her. "We need a chance to
breathe, that's all."

"Oh." She snuggled close to him. "Is that ... what it's supposed to be

"If it pleased you."

"Oh, _yes_." At Charlotte's smile, Meier's throat went tight for a
moment, and he tightened his hold on her as well.

"I didn't ... I didn't hurt you too much, did I?"

Charlotte shook her head. "It's all right. I knew it would. I'm glad it
was you. I --" her eyes went wide, and she sat up with a gasp of alarm.
Meier followed suit a little more slowly to see her inspecting the sheet
more or less between her legs, where there were stains of blood and
various bodily fluids.

"Love, it's all right," he told her, but Charlotte shook her head.

"You don't understand. How am I going to explain this?"

The silence was tense for long moments. This was something Meier had not
anticipated and was ill-equipped to deal with, ignorant as he was of
human customs, and unpracticed as he was at covert sexual liaisons. He
could only offer comfort, and this he did, pulling Charlotte close and
lying down with her in his arms.

"If this had been our wedding night for real..." she said at last.

"It has been. In our eyes, if not the world's."

"But that won't -- oh!" Suddenly she giggled. "Oh! But what if everybody
thinks it _was_?"

Meier's first reaction was to wonder if fear had unhinged her mind.
"What do you mean?"

"What if people think _Tom_ did this?"


"Meier, don't look that way." For something like rage animated those
pale features at the thought of another man sharing Charlotte's bed, or
even having been believed to. "Sometimes people ... when they're
engaged, they don't wait until they're married ... to consummate it. If
everybody thinks that Tom sneaked in the window and made everything all
right between us, and I..." she averted her eyes, blushing. "Everybody
will think it's all right, and Mother and Father will be happy because
I'm not fussing about marrying Tom any more."

"Your ... betrothed might not cooperate in a lie of such magnitude."

"He won't have to. He was leaving today on a trip to Gallinas to hunt
swamp suckers. Everybody will think he stopped by here to..." Charlotte
giggled, "to say good-bye to me." She buried her face in Meier's chest,
giggling almost uncontrollably. Then she grew serious. "But Meier ...
can you take me away before he gets back? Because..."

<<Because this charade won't hold water once he does,>> Meier silently
finished. He nodded. "I'll find a way, Charlotte. At least we have a
reprieve until he returns."

And Meier resolved that he would make the journey to Gallinas and see
that young Tom's return was delayed ... perhaps indefinitely.

They lay together, arms and legs entwined, mostly still except for their
breathing. Just touching her and holding her was enough to reawaken
Meier's desire; besides, he reflected dryly, Charlotte's family might as
well think she was promised to someone virile. He kissed her hair.

"Would you like to do it again?"

Charlotte looked at him with hope in her eyes. "Can we?"

"If you wish."

Her smile broadened, and she nodded. "Do you want me to do anything

"Whatever pleases you, love. I'm very happy to be with you, whatever we

"I want to make you happy. I mean ... if I can."

She wanted to take a more active role, and Meier felt absurdly flattered
and somehow proud of her. "Wherever you enjoy being touched, I do too.
Touched, or kissed. I enjoy your kisses."

Her lips met his in a long but gentle kiss; there may have been a hint
of a question in her eyes when they parted, but Meier's example must
have made some impression: a series of moth-soft lingering kisses worked
their way along his jaw, down neck and over collarbone, and Meier rolled
onto his back, carefully pulling Charlotte along with him. He was
stimulated almost to dizziness when she arrived at his nipple and
carefully licked it.

"You don't have to be so gentle," he whispered, voice a little rough
from pleasant frustration. Charlotte paused and gave him a
half-wondering smile.

"You like that?"

"I certainly do."

"I didn't think men's nipples ... _did_ anything."

"I like it when you kiss mine. It's very ssss--" Meier's description of
the effect was cut short by the distraction of it, and in a lucid
interval, he guided Charlotte's hand to manipulate his other nipple.
After a time she must have grown tired, for she laid her head on his
chest with a sleepy smile. Meier returned the smile, if not the
sleepiness of it, and softly said, "Love, will you --?" and guided her
hand down to his genitals.

This was new and somewhat intimidating territory for Charlotte, but
Meier's smile -- she had never seen him smile so much -- was a great
source of reassurance. His pubic hair was very unlike hers: it was white
and soft, like the hair on his head, wavy rather than curly, half
invisible against his skin. It did nothing to conceal his penis or
testicles -- they had a pinkish tinge, flushed with blood, and the
former was mostly erect. Charlotte carefully cupped his scrotum in her
hand, then gently rubbed her fingers over it, learning the texture. Her
equally careful touch on his erection made him shiver -- it was too much
like teasing.

"I want to feel your touch," he told her, grasping her hand. He sat up
beside her. "I'd like to try something, if I may. No, no -- I need your
hand, too. Here --" At first Charlotte thought he wanted her to
stimulate herself, but his object was the moisture that had accumulated
there and was making its way down to her thighs. It smoothed the way for
her hands on his erection, and as she stroked him, Meier kept an arm
tight about her, making low sounds of pleasure now and then. Finally he
moaned as passion overcame him, seed spurting up onto his belly and
chest. He stilled Charlotte's hand with his own and pulled her down to
lie beside him.

"I didn't plan that," he said, a little self-consciously, once he'd
caught his breath. "I'm sorry, love -- that was selfish of me, to enjoy
so much without pleasuring you. Forgive me."

Charlotte smiled shyly. "You liked it."

"Very much. But I don't want to enjoy myself at your expense. We are
meant to share pleasure."

"It makes me happy to see you smile," Charlotte told him earnestly. "I
want to make you happy, Meier."

"You are making me happy," he assured her. "Very happy."

"Am I?" She looked down self-consciously. "I didn't know if I could. I
mean ... you've been with women before, haven't you." It wasn't really a
question. That vampires were passionate creatures whose long lives
afforded many opportunities for liaisons was general knowledge; Meier's
age wasn't known to his human neighbors, but he was surely far from
young and just as surely far from being a virgin.

"A long time ago," he admitted softly. "You needn't be jealous,
Charlotte. That was all a long time ago. And I would rather have you
than a hundred like the ladies I've known in the past." They had all
been vampires, and now he realized that he had merely coupled with them,
though sometimes with passion that bordered on violence. Charlotte was
his first human, and what they had shared was lovemaking.

"Oh, Meier." She sounded close to tears, and Meier ruffled, then
smoothed, her hair. "Is it really okay that we're doing all this?"

"I thought the world would believe your fiance had committed an approved
act of affection," Meier said dryly. He was still less than happy about
the ruse Charlotte had planned, even though he understood its necessity.
But Charlotte shook her head.

"I mean, we're _doing_ so much. Both of us. I didn't know we could."

"But you do like it."

Charlotte nodded. "I thought I was supposed to just let ... well, my
husband -- do what he wanted to, and then it would be over. I was just
supposed to lie back and let him. But it's not like that at all."

"It certainly isn't. Do humans believe that?" If they did, Meier
thought, it was a wonder the race had survived.

"It's all anybody's ever told me."

"_I've_ told you we make our own rules," he reminded her, but he
softened his words with a smile and a caress. Charlotte snuggled close
to him and her eyes dropped shut. In a few minutes she was asleep. Meier
had been given to understand that this could be a manifestation of a
human woman's sexual satisfaction -- vampires were of course incapable
of sleeping between sunset and sunrise -- but considered it more likely
that she was simply tired. It was late, and Charlotte had been through a
great deal, emotionally as well as physically. It was nonetheless
touching that she trusted him so; and she was so beautiful in repose, so
desirable in her naturalness and warmth, so sweet as she lay against
him. Somehow that strengthened his resolve in a way his own promises had
not: he _must_ take her away to a place of safety, where his swinish
rival and her pig-headed father could do her no more harm. He wished she
could be at his side while he slept through the day, for surely he
trusted her as fully as she did him. Perhaps the day would come when she

Charlotte eventually woke; even held against him as she was, she reached
out to touch his face and murmured his name.

"I love you," Meier told her softly.

"I love you too. I didn't mean to fall asleep."

"You're beautiful when you sleep. I wish I could lie beside you every
night and watch as you slept."

"Oh, Meier. I wish we could be like this forever." The last word sparked
anticipation into her eyes. "We could be together forever, couldn't we?
If you were to make me like you..."

"Shh. Charlotte, don't think of it. I wouldn't wish this existence on
anyone. We're dying off, being hunted to extinction or simply fading
away for lack of..." he averted his eyes; it was not a congenial topic
to his kind, "for lack of some inner resilience. It is a lonely life."

"But Meier, we wouldn't be alone. We'd have each other."

It was an aching temptation. Charlotte had a point: no matter how much
he loved her or how well he guarded her, her life span was finite. She
_would_ die, and her death would leave him even more alone than before,
bereaved as well as isolated. But if she were like him...

Meier slammed a heavy mental door against the possibility. Humans could
become vampires, but the process transformed their personalities as
surely as it did their bodies. Bloodthirst became their prime motivator,
and even those who retained some measure of their former gentleness --
dare one say humanity? -- never properly escaped that craving, but at
best were torn apart by conflicting urges. True nobles were born to the
bloodthirst and thus became acclimated to it in a way the transformed
could not. Even for the born nobles, there was no escaping it fully --
as Meier was often reminded in his contact with Charlotte -- but bearing
it in their formative years made it less an obsession and more a
companion, if not always a welcome one.

"We wouldn't, Charlotte," he finally replied. "You wouldn't ... be my
Charlotte anymore. And I would miss you so. Don't ask that of me.
Please, love. Please."

Charlotte couldn't protest when he begged, especially when he kissed her
again and again and held her close, hands sliding over her skin with a
fervor that bespoke quiet desperation -- and, after a few minutes,
renewed desire. There was no need for words; Charlotte wrapped a leg
around him, and Meier let himself be pulled into a double embrace as his
sex pressed into hers, clung to the warmth that surrounded him, lost
himself again in all she offered so freely. Before, their love had left
room for leisure and gentleness; the impulse and heat of this second,
more certain coupling made a shield, however short-lived, against the
uncertainties of the future and the fears its prospect inspired. The
very intensity of the act brought them to climax almost literally before
either of them knew it; that Charlotte's cries didn't waken the
household can perhaps be laid to some guardian power having more concern
for passion than for propriety. This time Meier didn't pull away as his
ragged breathing slowed but continued to hold and be held, jaws
clenched, cheek pressed tight against her hair, heart too full for words
or even wishes, fulfilled as he had never dreamed he could be.

 * * *

End part 4 of 6

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