Love Lies Bleeding

by Lariel

Disclaimer: Copyright to the author Oct 2002. Thanks to Steph and the Academy for the invite to participate. This story has a bit of strong language in it, but apart from that it should be safe enough to read.


Have I ever been in love?

Well. What a question. I’m not sure I really want to answer… why? Because it’s personal. I don’t want to talk about it.

No, it was a long time ago.

Well, yes… I suppose so, but it doesn’t make it any less painful. More so, in fact. With every year that passes, the loss gets driven deeper under the skin until you can persuade yourself that you’ve almost forgotten about it. But it’s still there, jabbing at your heart.

Was it the real thing? None of your damn business.

Of course I can tell the difference. A crush you remember; it’s like a tickle in your heart. But love goes bone deep; it burrows in and fills all the spaces in your head until you can’t think of anything else. It takes over.

Do I? Funny, I don’t think of myself as bitter. But we never see ourselves the way others see us, do we?

Did she love me? Ah, well now, that is the million dollar question.

Did she love me?


It wasn’t love at first sight or anything crazy like that. I’d known of her for a while - a friend of mine, Ray, used to hang around with the same crowd. He used to tell me all about the things they’d do, what they’d get up to. Used to talk about her all the time, he did. I was going through a rough patch so I tagged along one night and that was it.

We used to do all kinds of stuff - nothing too rowdy but it usually involved beer. Sometimes we’d just sit in a bar all night, drinking and smoking, just hanging out and talking, or playing games like pool, darts or even dominoes. Or we’d go clubbing till all hours, maybe take in a movie or go see a play - all kinds of things I’d never done before. That’s what made it so appealing, see - hanging round in a big crowd, always someone to talk to, always someone to flirt with. I felt like I belonged somewhere.

Of course, I noticed her straight off. Hard not to really - she was the glue that bound us all together. The leader of the pack, and with all the charisma to carry it off. Of course, it was hard to get to her - she was always surrounded by her coterie and it was tough getting into that inner circle at first, even though we all wanted to. There was just something about being around her.

Strange how that was. But I guess when you think about it, we were all at that vulnerable stage - not when the hormones kick in at adolescence and testosterone or oestrogen surges through the body and distorts the judgement. I wish I could say that I was an impressionable teenager but I wasn’t. None of us were, but most of us were going through that stage where you’re starting to evaluate your life and you’re finding it wanting. All I knew was that there was a huge hole in my life - a gaping chasm of nothing, an echoing emptiness at my core and I had no idea what was missing until I got to know Her.

At first the companionship was enough. Hanging around with people, similar interests or polar opposites - didn’t matter, it pushed the loneliness back a while. At the time, in the early days, I didn’t look at Her in that way - she was too far away, out of my reach; on a pedestal for us all. I’d been flirting with another girl in the group; a cute blonde with shapely legs and heavy breasts. And a nice personality. We used to have a laugh together and I’m sure she liked me too because her nose used to crinkle and turn ever so slightly red at the tip when I used to sidle up to her in the bar and whisper naughty things into her lovely little ear.

We were sitting opposite in a booth in a noisy bar, surrounded by the rest of the gang and trying to enjoy a few snatched minutes of privacy.

"He used to hang around here all the time, but I haven’t seen him for a long while now," Ella said as she swept her gaze around the room absently.

"Boyfriend, was he?" I asked, casually. "You talk enough about him."

"Hardly," she replied. "Just a really good friend. He ate at the big table, anyway." She nodded towards the bar, where our charismatic leader was holding court. "Guess he fell out of favour, ‘cos he just disappeared one day. She has this effect on people; one minute they’re all over her, next it’s like they were never here."

"You wouldn’t forget me that quickly…" I gave her a huge, cheeky grin and she replied in kind.

Ella picked up her empty glass and twirled it around in her delicate fingers, before a grin cracked across her face. "Is that your foot that’s moving up and down my leg?"

"Of course not," I lied as my foot strayed up her leg again. "You must be imagining things again." Ray and I had a bet on that I’d get lucky with her that night - he’d tried and failed, so we figured - okay, I figured - that I stood a better chance. I really did like her, though; it wasn’t all bravado and sex.

"Like I’m imagining it’s your turn to get the drinks, I suppose?"

I remember grinning at her as I propped my elbows on the bar top and waited for the bartender to spot me.

"Cute girl." I was still staring at my little blonde prospect and merely nodded at the voice at my left elbow. "Sister? Friend?" The voice was rich and smooth with a Jack Daniels burr to it. ‘Quite sexy sounding,’ I remember thinking whilst still smiling at my date in the booth. "Girlfriend?"

"You better believe it," I returned, injecting as much cocksure arrogance into my response as I could. I turned, an egotistical smirk spreading my lips…

It was Her. Up close, and in my personal space. And her smirk put mine to shame.

"Nice," she purred, still smiling. "Good luck with it." One delicate, dark eyebrow arched sardonically. "Hate for you to find yourself edged out of the competition." Her blood-red lips parted, revealing a teasing flash of blindingly white and perfectly regular teeth.

Her presence was slightly disorienting. "I’m not into sharing," I blustered.

"Neither am I," she retorted smoothly. "But I see, and I like - and I just might take." She turned her eyes away from my intrigued - and I could tell, extremely flattered - companion, and I almost gasped out loud at the heat I felt spreading through my body as they raked over me with an appraising gaze.

"You couldn’t." My blood was up; leader of the pack she might have been, but throw down the gauntlet and I couldn’t resist. Pride and all that, you know. And I wasn’t slow to see a main chance when it came my way - this was my opportunity to show her that I was more than just a tag-along. I too could stand eating at the big table.

She felt it too, I could tell. Her jade eyes gleamed and her nostrils flared slightly, scenting the hormones which spiked the air. "A challenge?" she teased. "Be careful; you won’t win. Everybody falls in love with me if I want them to. I’m irresistible."

"Not to me." The bone-white of her skin shone eerily under the harsh lights of the bar, her cheekbones and under-eyes hollowed with purpled shadows. I found her unusual, striking even, but not beautiful. The startlingly green eyes added to the mix, staring out of her face with a faerie glow. They were mesmerising.

"I wasn’t meaning you, but if you insist…" She grinned again, those lovely, plump lips creasing, the tip of her tongue flicking out to moisten them. She examined me again, the flicker of mirth dying in those astonishing eyes, leaving them with a curiously dead expression in their depths. "Be careful; you don’t want to take me on. I’ll win. And I’ll have your girlfriend if I want her. You’ll stay out of it, if you know what’s good for you."

She clicked her fingers, and the barman was immediately in front of her, a slavish expression on his puppy-eyed face. With a drink in each hand, she kicked away from the bar and sashayed across the room.

She was true to her word. As determined as an arrow, she flew right over to my little blonde. And all I could do was watch.


Ray was blubbering wetly over his beer. He’d been all starry-eyed over Her, felt he was making moves and getting through, until she’d spotted Ella. Suddenly he was out in the cold and he didn’t like it.

"What’s the matter with you, man?"

"Your goddamn blonde chick! She’s stolen her away from me." He threw a slug of amber beer down his throat and angrily wiped the foam moustache away.

My eyes glinted in the dim, orange light of the overhead bulb. "She was never yours, man - she’s got the pick of the bunch and she plays us all off against each other."

"That’s crap. She was into me." His eyes hardened. "Couldn’t you keep your fucking blonde bitch under control? What, are you so bad in bed, that she had to go find someone else?"

"What the fuck’s that supposed to mean? Don’t get on my fucking case, because you didn’t get your piece of ass…" I shoved him in the shoulder, smarting from his comments.

"It wasn’t like that! It wasn’t just about sex with her…" His shoulders drooped and his tone became less combative, morose once more. "I could’ve gone without sex…"

My eyebrows almost shot up into my scalp. "You’re kidding, right? You, go without sex? Since when?"

He stared me right at me, a lost look in his eyes. "I love her. I really do."

I watched him shrink into himself, wilt and fall like a flower denied the sun. He’d drooped and moped for weeks, ever since she’d taken Ella into her inner circle. Normally such a larger-than-life, blustering bear of a man, he’d become almost unrecognisable from the friend that I knew. ‘If this is what love does’, I had thought to myself, ‘then I want none of it.’

But there was no escape. She wasn’t one to let a fish off the hook, once the squirming had impaled it further. Ray had squirmed, and she had watched him until the time was right.

Which, apparently, was now.

Suddenly, she was there, sliding onto the bench beside him, rubbing her canvas-clad thigh against his as she settled into place. His face was guarded and delighted at the same time. She flashed me a brief, dismissive smile, then turned the full force of her personality onto Ray.

I noticed the flicker of jealousy from my blonde, who watched us closely from a neighbouring booth. I glared at her, not bothering to hide my resentment, before turning my baleful stare back onto Ray and his new companion.

Her long, chestnut hair swept across her face, hiding half her features as her head flicked around towards me. I felt a momentary spike of excitement as those ethereal eyes met mine. "Don’t you have somewhere else to be?"

That dashed the excitement. "No," I replied curtly, not bothering to stop my feelings from glaring out of my eyes.

She laughed at me, almost approvingly. "Then we’ll go. We have something much more… private to be doing."

She slithered out from under the table, Ray’s hand grasped in hers. "C’mon, lover - let’s see if absence has made the heart grow fonder…"

With a triumphant backward glance, she left the bar, pulling Ray out with her. A stupid grin was plastered all over his face.

Looks like they were back on again. And if looks could kill, Ella would’ve been done for murder right then.


Whenever I saw Ray after that, he was always with her, looking variously ecstatic, joyful, furious or jealous depending on what hoops she was making him jump through on that particular occasion.

I often think of him, even now. Regret not spending more time with him, finding out how things were really going. I didn’t think he’d just take off like that, you see, but I guess in the end he just couldn’t deal with the roller-coaster relationship. Particularly when she got bored with him and got back on with the blonde.

She told me they’d rowed, and he’d split. I couldn’t believe he’d just take off like that, without a word, but he had. I got a postcard from him a few weeks later, the writing scrawled so badly as to be almost unrecognisable, saying he’d been so cut up by the row, the love, the betrayal that he just couldn’t take it anymore. That he’d moved abroad, got himself a sweet new life. That I should come visit one day.

She’d come to commiserate, with my Ella hanging off her arm adoringly. "Don’t worry about Ray," she’d reassured me. "I got a card off him. He’s cool, he’s where he always wanted to be. Doing something useful with his life, so I understand. Good for him."

One more smile, and she was gone.


Strange how wounded pride can develop into a pure, sweet hatred if it’s goaded enough, and that’s what she did with me. Flaunted her conquest, teased me with her teasing of my blonde. I wouldn’t have minded - it wasn’t like I’d been engaged to Ella or anything, we hadn’t even had sex - but having her deliberately stolen away from right under my nose like that just plain irked. It festered nicely, and she knew it. I swear to God she loved stirring it.

It didn’t help that she was looking plump and rosy-cheeked, obviously prospering. Screwing my Ella was doing wonders for her health.

I started to drift away from the group - Ray wasn’t there, the rest of the gang ignored me because of the way I treated her, and she drove me crazy so what was the point of sticking around just to have her rub my nose in it? But it was like she’d notice, and all of a sudden she’d be really attentive. Almost like she was offering an olive branch. And I was so tempted to take it, every time she laid eyes on me, somehow I was tempted.

I fought it, though. Every time she made an effort, I made damn sure she knew just how much I despised her, just how pathetic her constant need for adoration was. Oddly enough, she seemed to like me more for it. I guess I was the only one from her constantly-changing coterie who stood up to her. Maybe she respected that? I don’t know.

All I really remember was how much I hated her for ruining things. For once I’d found some kind of acceptance, only to see it all fall away. I grew more and more resentful at what I’d lost, I missed Ray more and more, until all I could think about was how much I hated her for spoiling things, for making me lose my best friend, for getting in the way of a fucking good screw with a cute blonde. Any reason I could think up, to make myself keep hating her.

Weird how quickly hatred could turn into obsession.

The say it’s a fine line between love and hate. It’s even muddier when obsession sits squarely in the middle.


It was a chill October evening, and I was sitting all alone in a diner, newspaper spread out over the red formica table top and chewing on a burger when I felt a warm body shuck up to me.

"Haven’t seen you around for a while."

I stared at her in silence for a minute, quite stunned to see her sitting next to me. It wasn’t one of their usual haunts; I’d been making sure I steered clear of her hang-outs since I realised the kind of obsession I was developing just wasn’t healthy.

"Didn’t like the company I was keeping," I replied shortly before turning back to my paper.

"Pity. I kinda missed the edge you bring." Seeing my raised eyebrow, she clarified. "Sometimes being surrounded by a load of suck-ups can be a pain in the ass. You’re different. I like that." She shrugged her heavy duffel coat around her. Looked like she’d lost weight again; her cheeks were hollow and her eyes were sunken and heavy-lidded, like glittering emeralds half buried in the sand.

"Thanks for the compliment." I remember I could feel my heart thudding in my chest and I was sure she could too, it was so loud. I turned away again, and motioned for the waitress to come over. She refilled my coffee, and took my unwanted companion’s order. "Don’t bother making yourself at home. I’m sure your suck-ups’ll be missing you."

She ignored the jibe. "Seriously, I was wondering where you’d got to." The waitress arrived and plonked down a plain white mug in front of her, then filled it with coffee. She curled her fingers around the handle and inhaled the steaming liquid before gingerly bringing it to her lips.

"Didn’t think you cared." I was sure I kept the bitterness out of my voice, but her lips curled slightly and I knew she’d caught it.

"I notice when my people disappear." She flicked me a glance, then sipped from her mug.

"Really? Funny that, because I’ve noticed a lot of them do. What is it - they wise up to you? Can’t stand to stay around you for too long?"

Her eyes narrowed, a steel core appearing in the pupils as she glared at me. "People serve a purpose, then move on. It’s called human nature." She snapped her eyes away and took another draught of her drink. "Look, I know you’re sore about Ella. You shouldn’t have gotten my competitive juices running - I warned you that you’d lose. But I am sorry. I probably shouldn’t have been so in-your-face about it."

I tossed her a quick glance; she seemed genuinely remorseful. I shrugged, and bit into my burger again, making the ketchup ooze out onto my fingers. I licked them clean, and watched as her eyes followed the movement of my tongue and fingers.

"Watching Ella follow you around like some love-sick puppy really got to me. A pride thing, you know?" She nodded. "So, have you finished with her?"

"She’s still around."

"Haven’t gotten bored screwing her yet then…"

"It’s not like that," she said, placing her coffee cup carefully on the table and levelling an earnest gaze at me. "I’m not that callous; I don’t use people just for sex. Ella means something to me - she has to, otherwise it just doesn’t work."

I have to admit, she was surprising me more and more. I had such a fixed idea of her - one I’d built up over months of stewing resentment - and I wasn’t sure I felt comfortable with this new picture I was getting. I caught myself almost liking her. Dangerous, when I already had this always-in-my-mind, obsessive thing going on.

"I’m sorry." She nodded at my muttered apology, and we sat in silence for a while, both sipping our drinks, sharing the paper and exchanging comments and views about the news. It felt comfortable. As soon as I realised that, I jumped to my feet, tossed some notes onto the table and stalked out quickly.

No way I was getting caught in the bitch’s net.


I often saw her after that; at first, she’d drop into cafes and bars where I was hanging out and just have a drink and a chat. Then, she started inviting me back out with the crowd — crazy pool games, trips to the casino, dew-lapped midnight picnics in the winter parks where we sat on the frosted grass, sipping beers and eating sandwiches until the police threw us out.

She made it clear to the crew that she wanted me there; that she accepted me. That I was one of hers. They soon got the message - I was back and in the inner circle. I still needled her, still baited her. She had enough love-slaves around her, she didn’t need me to be one more. Besides, I wasn’t besotted with her. Obsessed, certainly - in love, maybe, but it was a hard, real love - not this mush-covered, Harlequin, cult leader crap that she got covered in every day.

Find it hard to believe that, do you? That I could love someone who was so… nasty, so undeserving? You’ll learn; you can’t always choose who you fall for, even if you do spend a lifetime denying it. And when you were with her, when she was focusing all her attention on you and making you feel like you were the most important person on the planet to her - well, then it seemed to make sense that you loved her.

It was only when I was away from her that I wondered what the hell I was doing.


She’d dragged us all off to a Halloween party, held in one of the more notorious nightclubs on the outskirts of the city. Getting into the spirit of things, I’d rented a tux and a flowing cape, slathered my hair in gel, drawn a widow’s peak onto my forehead with brown eyeliner, slipped a pair of plastic false teeth into my mouth and slobbered, "I vant to suck yourrr blaaaadddd…" over anyone who’d let me.

Festooned with dangling rubber bats and spiders, the dingy nightclub was like an oversized magic lantern theatre, filled with ghoulish sights backlit by the grinning pumpkins and melting candles in Gothic holders — all the clichés you could think of. Every sort of Halloween costume had been bought, stolen or sewn together.

Hers was wonderful. She had come as Morticia, and she looked absolutely fabulous. The midnight velvet dress caressed her curves and her dark, chestnut hair framed an ivory face, purple shadows adding dramatic relief to her eyes and cheekbones.

It was only when I saw her up close that I realised she wasn’t wearing make-up. Her remarkable grass-green eyes seemed muted with tiredness, and a faint network of lines traced her brow and mouth. And she’d lost weight too.

"God, you look like shit," I shouted at her over the nightclub noise when she sat opposite me at the table. "When was the last time you ate?"

She shot me a look. "A while ago." She twisted around, searching for something, then crooked her finger - a zombie appeared at her elbow and placed a cocktail in front of her. "Virgin’s blood," she explained, taking a sip. "Want some?" I shook my head, my lip curling at the drink. "Obviously it’s not, you dumbass. Vodka and cranberry juice, renamed ‘specially for the occasion." Her eyes sparkled, making my stomach do a faint flip.

"I’d prefer a Long, Slow Comfortable Screw myself," I teased, a slow smile spreading across my face.

"Would you now?" she teased back. "We haven’t even dated. I’m not that kind of girl."

"A kiss, then." The request slipped out almost without me realising. She saw the blush that bloomed on my neck, even though I tried to make it look like it was part of our banter.

"Ask me tomorrow," she growled while holding my gaze, reluctance showing in her eyes.

"Why wait ‘till then?" I leaned across the table and placed my hand over hers, caressing the back of her hand lightly with my fingertips. She didn’t pull away. I decided to take a chance, and see how far I could push this. "It’s just one little kiss. What harm can it do?"

"You’d be surprised." She slid her hand out from underneath mine and made to rise; I grabbed her again and pulled her back down into her chair. Leaning forward once more, I brought my lips up close to hers until I could feel the energy crackling between us. I paused before allowing our lips to touch; the surge of electricity was amazing - it lit up my whole body until I could feel every cell inside me pulling towards her lips, every drop of blood crashing up through my arteries and capilleries, trying to pour my whole self into her.

With an animalistic cry of hunger, she pulled me in and suckled at my lips until I began to feel weak with it. Then, just as suddenly, she threw me aside; I landed astride two chairs, stumbling as I tried to regain my equilibrium.

"What price, a kiss?" she hissed, dashing her hand across her lips swiftly as though trying to erase the memory of me from them. "Would you give your life for one?"

"Maybe I would," I gasped, still panting from the intensity of the experience we’d shared. It was as if I had given myself over to her and I just wanted to dive back into it and keep on giving. Her blazing green eyes enticed me, entrapped me, begged me to just jump into her. I made to capture her lips again but she backed up.

"You damn fool." She slapped me across my flushed face.

"What else is worth dying for?" I babbled, desperately trying to scrabble around the table and block her exit as she tried to dash away. Luckily, her clinging dress hampered her speed, and I managed to grab hold of a bare arm and yanked her back to me. "You know you want me, it’s in your eyes. It was in your kiss - the need…"

"Yes, I need… but not you, not you…" She pushed me away again, her face as pale as marble but her eyes were gleaming, as though all the energy in her body was centred in them. "It’s Ella I need…" She plucked my former girlfriend from the speechless crowd which had gathered around us, and pulled her in close. "It’s Ella’s turn now. I know she loves me, whereas you…" She flicked me a green-eyed glance.

"Yeah," I spat back at her. "Go back to your little lap-dog. If it’s puppy love you want, go and take your fill. I don’t love you, not like that." My lip curled and deliberately, I turned my back, grabbed my Dracula cloak and wrapped it around myself as I watched her drag Ella out towards the toilets. "Go take your fucking little bitch and screw her…" I snarled. "Go run away from me…" I tossed the rest of her Virgin’s Blood down my neck and tried to calm my thundering heart and draw air into my choking chest. "You don’t really think I’ll leave it at that, do you?" I thumped my fist on the table as attraction turned to anger. "You want me, I want you - and this time, I’m gonna take what I want. Make a fucking fool of me again!" I grabbed up the empty cocktail glass, smashed it against the stone wall of the club and ran towards the toilets.


They were hidden in a candle-lit alcove on the cellar steps. She had Ella up against the wall, fingers curled in her blonde hair and one hand splayed on the wall behind her as she alternately nuzzled and sniffed the girl’s neck, making Ella groan and cry out as her arousal built.

"Do you love me?" she was asking Ella, her voice thick with urgency. "Do you love me?" Ella could do nothing but grunt her answer. "Tell me you love me…"

"I… love you…" Ella managed, earning a growl of relief from her lover and a skin-searing kiss in response to her declaration.

It made me sick to see them. Instead of howling my anguish, I hurled on the stairs.

When I’d finished, they were lip-locked, with Ella groaning and squirming while She held her close and braced them both against the wall. The candlelight flickered around them, casting grotesque shadows on the rough, red painted stone walls and blended its sickly yellow beams with the green light which seemed to be glowing around her like an aura.

Ella’s movements became more intense, almost frantic. Thrashing her head around, she tried to break lip contact but her head was clamped in place as She suckled and drank from her lips greedily. Soon, her struggles grew weaker and I marvelled at the level of arousal that was reducing her knees to jelly just from kisses, and got even more bitter because it wasn’t me whose legs were collapsing, who was sliding down the wall and pooling in a boneless heap at Her feet.

I barely noticed the thin trickle of blood which ran from Ella’s mouth.

"Thank you." The short sentence echoed in the narrow space, but got no response from its recipient. Bright emerald eyes closed and she leaned against the wall, almost as though she was gathering her energies. Already I could see her cheeks plumping and shading, the face looking less cavernous. "Your love lets me live. I know that’s what you would’ve wanted." She paused, her head in her hands for a moment. "I’m so sorry," she muttered as she stepped away from Ella, then leaned down and rolled her down the stairs and into the cellar. There was a heavy, sickening crunch as she hit each step.

"What the hell do you think you’re doing?" I screamed, leaping down the stairs after her. I could tell Ella was dead when I lifted her head up; her eyes were staring out of her face, all the life and colour and vibrancy drained from her. She felt cold already. "You’ve killed her!"

"No, it’s not like that, you don’t understand. I didn’t kill her - it’s what she wanted."

"What the hell are you talking about?" I screamed, trying to shake Ella back to life. I didn’t want to believe what I’d seen. "She didn’t ask you to strangle her!"

"I didn’t strangle her!" It was true - Ella’s neck was smooth and tan, with no trace of any marks or signs of any struggle. "She knew what I needed and she gave it to me."

"What you needed? What are you, some sort of psycho serial killer?" I dropped Ella carefully to the floor once more, and rose. "Kill to get your rocks off..?"

"I kill because I have to!" she fired back at me, her eyes kindling with dark green fire. "Don’t you?"

"I don’t kill!" I gasped, aghast at the suggestion. "Don’t you dare suggest I’m like you!"

"You eat meat, don’t you?"

"Oh my God…" I staggered back, stunned by the realisations that were suddenly crowding into my consciousness. "You need people to love you…" She was above me on the stairs, and I couldn’t see any way past her. "That’s where you get your energy from, why you need a gang of rabid fans following you around. Like ready meals." Slowly, I took the steps towards her.

"We all have to survive." Her eyes were piercing in the weak candlelight, the pupils a dark jade colour as they fastened onto mine. I could feel her drawing me in, wanting me and for a moment, I wondered what it would be like to surrender myself to her.

"What do you do - hypnotise us first, so we can’t put up a struggle?" I turned my eyes away, breaking that mesmerising contact. "You killed Ray, didn’t you? He loved you, and you took advantage of him."

"He wanted me. He wanted to be a part of me forever, and now he is. Just like all the others. Just like you could be… you know you want to." Her gleaming eyes held a hunger in their depths, her need burning through their irises and into mine. I tried to shelter my eyes from their harmful rays, but she grabbed me and started kissing my neck and cheeks.

"No fucking chance!" I pushed her away, startling her with my strength. She was obviously used to stunning her victims before she moved in. Quickly though, she recovered and ensnared me again. "I know the way you feel about me, I’ve seen it in your eyes. All those insults, that hatred - we both know what it really meant." She placed her lips on top of mine, and immediately I could feel the pull of her; the urge to just throw myself at her was overwhelming. "You love, me… don’t deny it…"

I felt my hands come up to her breasts, trying to push her away but the feel of her flesh under my fingers was making my head swirl. "I don’t… I hate you…"

"You love me… say it, please… I need you to say it." She kissed me again. "I need you to tell me you love me…"

I heard Ella’s reply; I saw her and I saw Ray, with her lips moving all over their bodies, pleading with them to give themselves over to her. And they had. With a cry, I shoved her away - she stumbled on the stairs a little, allowing me to get a few feet ahead of her on the staircase. "I do not love you!"

"Liar!" she hissed, her face grotesque with hunger as she grabbed me again. "I can taste the love in you; it runs so deep. So pure… so beautiful…"

I could feel the life ebbing out of me as she plundered me, and I couldn’t stop myself from gasping out the words she so wanted to hear.

As soon as I said them, she started sobbing herself, pushed me away and sank to her knees, huddled on the steps. "Get away from here… you better go, before I change my mind…"

"What?" I felt smashed open, devastated with the unexpected rejection.

"I can’t… all my life, I’ve had to take love. It’s never been like this. I can’t take your love. I just can’t." She turned her face to the wall. "Get the hell out of here before I change my mind!" I hesitated, desperate to get as far away from her as I could and yet needing somehow to stay. She turned and growled, her face suddenly hideous, the eyes cold as jewels and her mouth snarling.

I backed away slowly, then ran like hell was behind me.


I never saw her again. I searched and searched for years for her, desperate to track her down and persuade her that we could have a life together, that we could find ways to satiate her need without killing but she’d gone.

Funny really - she took my love with her after all. I was never able to feel anything for anyone, after her. I’ve had an incredibly lonely life, you just wouldn’t believe it. All those people who tell you that it’s better to have loved and lost - they’re naïve, they’re foolish. Propaganda for the broken-hearted masses - don’t believe any of it. I wish I’d never fallen for her; I wish I’d never met her.

I hate her so much.

That’s what love does to you.

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