Another beauty

Loved by a beast

Another tale of infinite dreams

Your eyes they were my paradise


From "Gethsemane" by Nightwish

Lyrics by Tuomas Holopainen




Chapter Seven

Courtship and Proposition


Do you want me to tell you how foolish I am? I am a vampire — the most powerful of all creatures on the face of the earth, and yet I am cowed and rendered almost helpless by the touch of a hand on my flesh or the whisper of a mouth against mine. Although perhaps not the greatest of my kind, still I am not to be taken lightly; and yet one word, one smile, one glance from a pair of amber eyes and I am reduced to a quivering fool — even a youth just come to his manhood has more sense than I it seems. But perhaps that is as it should be — but I have not the experience to know.

Sometimes when I am with Charlotte, it seems as if I lose all sense of myself. I think only of her — her wants, her needs . . . I live for her smile, her touch, her kiss — I have devoted myself to her happiness. To see the light in my beloved's eyes when she looks at me, to feel the pull of her heart to mine, to shiver from the gentle caress of her hand on my cold cheek — these are the things that bring me the greatest joy, that make my existence bearable.

This whole experience of love is new to me — as I have no doubt said before; and although Charlotte seemed to be just as much a novice as I in matters of the heart, she never laughed or ridiculed my poor attempts to show her my affections. Once I tried, quite unsuccessfully, to compose a poem for her. I shall not go into the details of the dismal results, but I will confess that it was a complete failure. Charlotte however, tried to soothe my wounded pride by insisting that I let her keep the offending page and then kissed me quite intently for having at least made the attempt. I think she was just as pleased when I gave her a book filled with ancient sonnets and read to her some of my favorites.

Once I even brought her flowers — wild roses that grew down near the small lake just outside of the town. I felt the world's biggest fool giving Charlotte a handful of flowers while we stood in the middle of her beautiful, lush garden. But Charlotte smiled and I watched her eyes light up at the sight of the peach-colored blossoms. "Meier, these are so beautiful."

I dismissed them with a wave of my hand, "They are nothing, my love; just a silly man's impulse."

Charlotte took my hand, "Silly or not, they're very lovely . . . thank you." Still holding my hand, she guided me to one of the small benches that lined the pathway. Pulling me to sit beside her, she continued on. "I can't believe these are just growing wild. Look at the color . . . I don't have anything like them." She glanced towards the rose bushes in her garden and then back up at me. "Meier . . . do you think — would it be possible for you to get me one or two of these plants?"

I gave her a curious look, "Yes . . . but why? With all that you have here, why would you want these wild things?" I gestured at the small bunch in her hand.

Charlotte gave me a small smile, "I don't know . . . I guess because — because I seem to have developed a fondness for wild things." I watched the blush that crept across her face as she demurely dropped her eyes.

I laughed and pulled her to me. "But you have undoubtedly tamed this wild thing, Miss Elbourne." I kissed her softly. "Tamed it with your kind words and your sweet lips." Charlotte reached up and wound her hands in my hair as our mouths met once again, the wild roses falling to scatter on the ground around us.


I am not prone to being nervous — it is impossible for vampires to be nervous . . . or so I once thought. Yet here I was, pacing the length of the library of my sanctuary. Tonight I had planned something special for Charlotte — something that I hoped would mean as much to her as I knew it would to me. Tonight I hoped to take her away from her father's house — if only for a short time — to a place where the two of us could be together, free from prying eyes and the hatred of humans.

I will hone up and say that it was not wholly my own idea — that it came from a book of romantic drivel that I happened upon. The story itself was forgettable: a man and woman, who at first didn't like one another, eventually fall in love. But it was the things that the man did as he courted the woman that set the wheels of my mind spinning. Thus the idea for this evening's outing — a picnic of sorts near the small lake just outside of the town. Perhaps picnic is not the proper word — my plan being only a bottle of wine and a soft blanket on the grass, but it was close enough for my purposes. I would also be able to show Charlotte where the wild roses grew along the banks of the lake and get her the plants that I had promised her. I wanted so much for this evening to be perfect — for the two of us to be alone and free to express our love for one another.

Yes, tonight I hoped to take that final step and make Charlotte mine — in body as well as in heart. Tonight I hoped to make love to the goddess who had stolen my heart and freed my soul from an eternity of cold dark emptiness.


I rode my horse through the sleeping streets of the town, my pace unhurried. I had debated on whether or not to bring a carriage or at least another horse, but I didn't know if Charlotte could ride and I was fearful of my carriage being seen near her home. So I chose instead to come on a single horse, using my unique powers to help hide my passing. I had already prepared everything for our time together and had entrusted one of my servants with the task of making ready for our arrival.

Have I mentioned vampire servants yet? There is not time enough to tell all, but suffice it to say that there is a particular breed of mutant that has faithfully served vampire-kind for over five thousand years. These mutants call themselves the Barbarois — and they are as loyal as they are fierce. I have had many other servants in my long existence — dhampirs, mutant half-breeds and even full-blooded humans; but nothing could ever take the place of a trusted Barbarois. Their price is high, but they are worth every dollar spent. I have entrusted my life to them on more than one l occasion and have never been sorry.

So I left my servant at the lake to prepare for my arrival with Charlotte — he would see that everything was laid ready and would also clear the immediate area of any unwanted creatures that could disrupt our evening.

Leaving my horse several houses away from Charlotte's, I made my way into the garden to await my beloved's arrival. Once again the cool light of the moon shone down and washed the earth in its silver glow. As I wandered along the path waiting for Charlotte, my thoughts turned towards the future. As I have said before, time is a fleeting thing to my kind — for we are immortal. We do not think in terms of past or future — only of the here and now. Yet lately I had started to think about the future — about what it would hold for Charlotte and I.

I knew that things could not remain as they had been — our feelings for one another were too strong, too consuming. Ours was a love of such power that at times it threatened to overwhelm and engulf us. How I ached to hold Charlotte tightly in my embrace as I joined myself with her beautiful, warm body. More than once, I saw that same desire and longing in my beloved's eyes and it took every effort on my part not to pull her to the ground and do just that. But I wanted no frenzied coupling on the cold ground — no rutting like beasts in a field. I wanted seduction and tenderness; kissing and caressing; exploration and discovery — I wanted to slowly and gently make love with Charlotte; to share with her the most intimate thing that two people could experience. I wanted to make love with her under the silver light of the moon as we cried out our passions to the night sky.

I felt Charlotte's presence in the garden long before I saw her. I knew that she hated the fact that she could never surprise me — for I could always sense her, no matter how quiet she was. But hoping to gain some favor for my plan, I acted as though I was unaware of her until she was right behind me. But before she could speak or touch me, I quickly spun around and took her up in my arms.

Charlotte let out a small squeak of surprise, "M-M-Meier!" Smiling, I kissed her and then gently set her back down. "You scared me half to death — you knew I was there whole time, didn't you?" Charlotte slipped her arm through mine and rested her head on my shoulder. "I hate it when you do that . . ."

I kissed the top of her head, "I know, but I like to watch the surprise on your face — all wide-eyed and breathless; it makes me want to kiss you even more."

"Well if you scare me like that again, you'll have to find someone else to kiss." She teased.

Turning her into my embrace, I kissed her tenderly. "Never my love — after having tasted paradise in your sweet lips Charlotte, I could never kiss another." Charlotte blushed and rested her head on my chest as my hands lightly caressed her back. Pausing momentarily, I put my hand under her chin and raised her face up towards mine. "Charlotte . . . would — would you consent to leave this garden for a few hours and come with me? I have a horse — I thought we might ride down towards the lake. It isn't very far . . ."

Charlotte pulled away from me a little, "I — we . . . I can't . . ." Her voice faltered a little and I could sense her apprehension. "I'm sorry Meier — but I just can't . . . what if we're seen? It's too dangerous."

"Please Charlotte — just for an hour or two? I know that you're afraid, but I promise — everything will be alright. I can hide our passing . . ."

Charlotte was silent for several long moments and I could sense her inner turmoil. Taking her hand, I gave it a gentle squeeze. "Please my love — grant me this one favor."

Charlotte shook her head, "Meier . . ."

I dropped her hand from mine and sighed. "Do you never wish to escape from this garden, Charlotte? There is a whole world waiting outside your gate — a world that I long to show you." I put my hands on her slight shoulders and looked down into her eyes. "I love you Charlotte . . . but — but this place begins to chafe at me."

I looked away from her for a moment, "I have never asked you for anything my love — everything that you have given me has been of your own free will, is that not so?" Charlotte slowly nodded her head. "Please Charlotte, I ask only this one thing of you . . . come with me — leave this place behind for a short time." I released her as I looked back down into her face.

Charlotte dropped her eyes from mine as she went silent once again. After several minutes, I sighed in frustration and turned away from her. "You say that you love me and yet . . . and yet you still do not trust me." I turned back to look at her, "I have held you in my arms and kissed you — and still you fear me." Even to my ears my voice sounded sad and strangled.

Charlotte came to me and took my hands in hers. "No, Meier — don't say that. It's not true, I'm not afraid of you — and I do trust you, I trust you with my life." She released my hands and reached up to cup my face. "But I am afraid for you, don't you understand?" Charlotte wrapped her arms around my waist and rested her head on my chest. "I'm just so afraid that someone will see you — see us together — and then . . . and . . . I couldn't bear to lose you my love . . ."

I slipped my arms around her and kissed the top of her head. "Shhh . . . you aren't going to lose me Charlotte. There is not one man in this whole town that could stand against me. Let them come — let them try to separate us . . ."

Charlotte pulled away from me, "See what I mean? Sometimes you're so reckless Meier. If you won't think of your own safety, then think of mine. Do you think an angry mob will be any gentler with me than they would with you?" I could see the wetness that shined in Charlotte's eyes as she spoke. "It wouldn't matter to them if you had . . . had not taken blood from me; it would be enough that you and I were even together." She turned away from me so that I would not see her tears — but I knew that she was crying.

I watched Charlotte as I thought about what she had said and I knew that her words were true — although I had never fed from her, still there would be no mercy for her; she would be judged guilty by mere association. For the first time, I realized just what Charlotte had done by willingly confessing her love for me — she had virtually condemned herself — as the human lover of a vampire — a thing to be despised and loathed. Charlotte had put herself in mortal danger to love me.

I moved until I was once again standing in front of her. "Charlotte . . . I'm sorry — I didn't realize how difficult this has been for you." I reached for her hand and gently stroked my thumb against the back of her palm. "This is all so new to me . . . I've never loved anyone before." I looked over her shoulder for a moment, trying to sort out my feelings into words. "You mean so much to me Charlotte, more than I believed anyone or anything ever could." I raised her hand to my lips and kissed it. "You are all that I think about — all that I dream about. I want so much to be with you — to have you by my side every hour of every day."

I released Charlotte's hand and once again wrapped her in my embrace, "You have freely given me your heart Charlotte . . . given me your love — knowing full well what I am . . ."

Charlotte reached up her hand and placed it over my mouth to stop my words. "You are the man that I love Meier — that is all I know." She let the tips of her fingers brush across my bottom lip, her touch as light as air — like the whisper of silk against my mouth. "I love you so much, although I know that I shouldn't. By all rights I should hate you and fear you . . . but--but I've seen into the heart of you, Meier — I've seen what lies inside and that's why I fell in love with you." Charlotte laid her head against my chest. "I wish that the world were different — I just wish that we could just be together without anyone judging us . . . condemning us." Charlotte's voice broke as she finished speaking.

I tightened my arms around her and rested my cheek on the top of her head. "I will find us a place my love — a place where we can be free to love one another . . . free to be who we are. I give you my promise Charlotte — I will find that place and I will bring you there . . . and then I will love you with such abandon that you will never catch your breath." I smiled to myself and lightly kissed Charlotte's hair. We stood locked together for sometime while the night deepened around us.

Charlotte finally broke the silence as she lifted her head up and looked at me. "Meier . . . what you asked earlier . . . I-I'd like to go with you." She stood on her toes and kissed my cheek. "Please my love, take me away from here — let me escape from the world for awhile."

Chapter 8
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