Close your eyes
Feel the ocean where passion lies
Silently the senses
Abandon all defenses
A place between sleep and awake
End of innocence, unending masquerade
That's where I'll wait for you
Hold me near you
So close I sear you
From "Sleepwalker" by Nightwish
Lyrics by Tuomas Holopainen
Discovery and Heartbreak
Never in my long existence had I known such bliss as I found within Charlotte's sweet embrace. Our nights, with our bodies wound tightly together in the grip of our passion, were the stuff of dreams we fit so perfectly, so naturally together. Each time that we made love I could feel our bond with one another strengthening and growing. Charlotte's shy, tentative caresses grew bolder and surer her hands and lips driving me to the brink of reason, at times long before I ever joined with her warm, welcoming body.
Our nights were filled with exploration and discovery each partner giving and learning from the other. Sometimes as I rested during the day, I would dream of the night before and I would awaken at sundown to find myself in a most uncomfortable state of arousal. It was almost as if I had become enslaved to the power of our lovemaking. How I wanted Charlotte with me; so that when I awakened she would be there, waiting for me ready for me.
I knew that something had to change for as it stood, Charlotte and I could never be together as we were meant to be. Our only hope lay in leaving the town but I had no idea as to where we could go, for the prejudices that surrounded us could be found everywhere. On those nights when I could not go to Charlotte because of her family or when her monthly cycle came; I spent my time searching for that place that I had promised her a place where we could be free to love one another as man and woman, not vampire and human. Yet always I came away empty-handed as if the very world were conspiring against us. But I would not give up not after I had found the love that had been denied me for so long. I had convinced myself that such a place existed and I was determined to find it no matter how long it took.
But it was our love and passion for one another that also blinded us to the world around us and so I should not have been surprised when we were confronted by the very danger that Charlotte had feared would find us sooner or later.
I will openly admit that I held no regard for Alan, my love's older brother. From the first time that I saw him, there was something that turned me the wrong way. I cannot put into words what it was, only that there was something in his manner his attitude that I instantly disliked. But Charlotte was devoted to him and would not hear one word against him. During her father's illness, as you will recall, we argued more than once over Alan's constant absences while my love was burdened with the task of caring for their father. But because Alan was Charlotte's brother, I tried to keep my feelings hidden from her I tried to speak civilly of him and to give him the benefit of the doubt.
What can I tell you about Alan Elbourne? He was older than Charlotte by a few years and was considered to be quite handsome a most sought after catch by many young ladies. His manner could be slightly arrogant at times and he was highly regarded by the other young men in the town and was something of a leader to them. Although he was not a wastrel, Alan had no qualms about spending the Elbourne fortune which was quite considerable on drink and gambling. He also had a great love of travel and never missed an opportunity for adventure and exploration. All in all, I suppose he was like any other spoiled, rich young man for good or ill.
But the one thing that I could never fault him for was his love for his sister. He was just as devoted to Charlotte as she was to him sometimes to the point of smothering her. Whenever he returned from one of his extended journeys, he would bring Charlotte some small gift and spend hours telling her everything that had happened along the road. Once or twice I listened at the window as Alan spun his tales for his sister and father.
By purest chance I also discovered that Alan hoped to arrange a match between Charlotte and one of his friends, a man by the name of Jack Turner. The jealousy that burned within me over the thought of some other man touching my love was so great that it was almost painful. I had pledged never to harm Alan Elbourne, but I knew I could make no such pledge regarding his friend. Charlotte was mine and I would let no other man have her.
Charlotte's brother also liked to entertain and there were times when a whole week would pass before she and I could be with one another because of the endless stream of guests constantly coming and going from their home. Those were the times that I hated Alan the most and would fervently wish that some journey would come along to take him away. For without her brother there, Charlotte would invite me into the house while her father slept oblivious to my presence. I remember feeling tongue-tied and almost shy the first time that she led me up the stairs to her room where we made love on the cool, silk sheets of her bed. But when Alan was in residence, it was all I could do to get Charlotte to walk with me in her garden for a short time. Although we had never met face-to-face, I began to resent Alan Elbourne and his intrusion into our relationship.
I was waiting at the back gate for Charlotte; we had planned to ride out to the lake once again, for I had never brought the wild rose bushes that I had promised her. I had been waiting for some time and began to feel a little uneasy I had the oddest sensation that I was being watched; but as I let my senses scan the area around me, I could detect nothing. I frowned and began to wonder what was keeping my love. There had been no carriages or horses in front of the house and I could hear no voices within so I knew that her family was not entertaining so why had she not come yet? A frustrated sigh escaped from my throat as I started pacing back and forth like some kind of caged animal. The odd sensation from earlier had not left me and I began to feel more uncomfortable by the minute.
After perhaps a quarter of an hour, I was rewarded as the back door opened and Charlotte stepped out into the night. Hurrying down the steps, she almost threw herself into my waiting embrace. "Meier, I'm sorry I didn't mean to keep you waiting." She lifted her face up to mine for a quick kiss.
"It's alright my love there is nothing wrong I hope? Your father has not taken ill?"
Charlotte shook her head, "No, quite the opposite. He seems to be doing better every day. In fact that's why I'm so late; he wanted me to read to him before he retired."
"That is good news I'm glad for your sake that he is recovered at last." I let my fingers slide through Charlotte's hair as I held her.
She tightened her arms around me, "Yes, it's taken so long I never thought he would come back." She kissed my chest through my jacket. "I would never have gotten through it without you Meier your love and strength kept me going when I had just about given up."
"No my love, the strength was all yours." I kissed the top of her head and rested my cheek on her hair. "I never met anyone like you Charlotte, so soft and gentle and yet as strong as iron at the core. It was your love and devotion that helped your father to recover your determination to see him live. It is but one of the many things that I admire and love about you." I finished as Charlotte moved her head to look up at me.
I had just bent my head to kiss her again when I felt an overwhelming sense of danger steal over me. My head snapped up just in time to see the man as he hurled himself towards us from the cover of the garden.
"Charlotte! Run get away from it!" The man held a gun in his hand, "Let go of her you monster!" As the moonlight fell on the man's features, I felt my heart sink; for the man was none other than Alan Elbourne.
Alan came slowly towards us until he was only a few feet away. I saw the dull gleam of the pistol as he pointed it up towards my head. "I said let her go now!" He held out his other hand towards his sister, "Charlotte, it's alright. I won't let it hurt you. Just come here, slowly."
I could feel Charlotte as she started to tremble in my arms. "A-Alan what?" Her voice sounded strangled.
Once again he motioned with his hand, "Here Charlotte reach for my hand
My love shook her head, "N-No you don't understand
Alan's eyes narrowed as he looked at me, "What have you done to her you black-hearted devil? What kind of spell have you put on my sister?"
Charlotte moved until she was standing in front of me, as if she meant to shield me from her brother. "Alan please, you don't understand. It's not what you think
"You don't know what you're saying Charlotte he's put some kind of spell on you. He's going to kill you
Her voice was soft as she looked at her brother. "No Alan, I'm not under any spell; I know exactly what I'm doing. Meier has done nothing to hurt me he would never hurt me. Please put the gun down and I'll explain everything to you."
I watched the color drain from Alan's face as he finally seemed to realize that Charlotte was under no compulsion and that she in fact seemed to be protecting me from him. "Please Charlotte don't do this come in the house with me now
Charlotte slowly stepped towards her brother. When she reached him, she put her hand on the arm that held the pistol and gently pushed it down to his side. "I won't let you hurt the man I love, Alan."
Her brother let out a strangled sob, "N-No don't say that! It's a monster an evil thing of the night. It put a spell on you you don't know what you're saying. You can't be in love with with that." I felt my lips draw back over my teeth at Alan's words, but otherwise I remained motionless.
Charlotte looked up into Alan's eyes as her hand touched his arm. "He's not an 'it' Alan his name is Meier Link and I am in love with him."
"Link?" Alan's voice sounded incredulous as he looked up at me. "Good gods Charlotte what have you done?" He pulled away from her touch and looked at her like she was a stranger some unclean, horrible thing. "Please Char
"Enough!" My voice boomed out. I had reached the end of my patience with Alan Elbourne and his derogatory names. "I have done nothing to harm your sister, Mr. Elbourne. I have given Charlotte my sworn word and she has accepted it."
"Your word as if the word of a hell-spawned monster would mean anything." He sneered at me.
"Alan please you're only making this more difficult." Charlotte again reached out her hand, but her brother backed away.
"No Charlotte, you don't understand what you've done you've ruined yourself ruined yourself beyond redemption
Alan looked at me and I could see the hatred burning in his eyes. "This is all your doing you put a spell on my sister drew her to you like a lamb to the slaughter. I swear I'll kill you for what you've done."
Charlotte let out a strangled gasp, "No, Alan don't say that
Alan reached out and grabbed Charlotte by the arm and I saw her wince in his grip. "I understand that you've whored yourself out to a vampire! A vampire gods Char, how could you be so stupid?" Pulling Charlotte with him, Alan moved toward the gate.
Once again he brought the pistol up and aimed it at me. "Move away from the gate now. I won't hesitate to use this on you." He waved the gun at me and I slowly moved away from the gate, my eyes never leaving Charlotte's terrified crying face.
The two mounted the steps and as they reached the door, Alan turned back towards me. "If I see you here again, I swear you'll die where you stand." He fumbled with the knob and shoved the door open, pushing Charlotte through it ahead of him. As the door slammed shut, I heard Charlotte cry out my name.
A hoarse, animal-like cry rose in my throat; and grabbing the wrought iron gate, I ripped it away from the fence post and bent it in my hands. The rage was still coursing through my veins as I threw the twisted metal down onto the ground. I stood and looked up at the Elbourne house, as a cold hatred swept through my heart. With every ounce of power that I possessed, I shouted out a single word into the night. "CHARLOTTE!"
Dogs howled, birds awakened and soared up from the trees, flowers wilted around me as frost touched the air, horses kicked at their stalls and more than one window pane cracked from the force of my cry. Lights went on in several surrounding homes and I could sense the overwhelming fear that spread out into the night.
Gathering my cloak around me, I headed into the night bent on releasing the rage that burned through me like hell-fire.
It has been almost three weeks since I last saw Charlotte three weeks of absolute torture. My very body aches with the pain of my loneliness. How I hate Alan Elbourne how I long to put my hands around his neck and squeeze the very life from him. Gritting my teeth in frustration, I remember my pledge to Charlotte and no matter how much I hate her brother, I will not break my word to her. He may think that he has won that he has separated us, but he is greatly mistaken.
I allowed myself to smile as I looked back down at the letter in my hand. Yes, my love we will be together again and no one will ever be able to come between us. Once again, I read the letter that my servant had brought back to me just this morning. Finally, my long quest to find a sanctuary for Charlotte and I had born results. Setting the letter aside, I reached for pen and paper and quickly wrote a response. Sealing the envelope with wax, I rang for my servant.
Soon Charlotte would once again be at my side and in my arms in a place where we could be free and happy for all eternity.