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It had nothing to do with travelling, with how we lazily drifted west at whatever pace that seemed most agreeable at the moment. It was not in the air or the surroundings at all; no one else would notice it, because no one else experienced what I did. No one else felt it – felt everything. After only two days, I had been better attuned to her than anyone else I had ever met. At the end of the first, short week, I could feel myself beginning to depend on her feelings. Now, five months later, I was permanently addicted to her company, her person, and the unique flora of emotions that bloomed within her body. I had never thought to resist her. The combination of our peculiar abilities made for something stranger yet; I always knew what she felt, and she always knew what I would do and say. This knowledge made her mind peaceful and certain; since the moment we’d met I had not felt a trace of doubt from her. Trusting her would never have been an issue in any case, but her confidence allowed me to trust myself as well. Even with the immeasurable discomfort that came from the new abstention, I couldn’t recall ever feeling so content. She was an unquenchable flame of optimism, and it was easy to let myself bask in the warmth of it. “Wake up, wake up, dreamer.” I looked up, and she was walking next to me again, having returned from chasing the first light of dawn through the forest. Her slender fingers brushed gently against my arm. A familiar motion by now, familiar as my incomprehension – how could she feel so good from touching me? And there it was, again. I thought I had learned all of her moods and emotions, but there was something new there. A change. She knew something. She had seen something that had brought it on. But what? And what was the feeling? It was so faint that, for a moment, I wondered if she was purposely keeping it from me. She had never done that before. I tried to focus, caught in her gaze. Anticipation? Not quite. Some kind of excitement, perhaps, but subdued, so unlike her. The specifics evaded me. “Alice?” I asked. She knew what I was inquiring for, but for the first time ever, she did not give me a straight answer. “Tomorrow we’ll be passing through a little town. I will buy a skirt, and you will successfully resist temptation.” How could she know this? What if I changed my mind in a split second? Did she already have such faith in me? “So, seeing as we’ll be among people, I want to get cleaned up. There is a little forest lake half an hour from here.” It flickered past again, bewildering me. I searched her exquisite, elfin face for clues, but saw only the smile. “All right,” I nodded. “Lead the way.”
Her fingertips wandered along my arm again, downwards, curling around my hand. She tugged me along, swiftly, and I was happy to follow. I had wandered aimlessly for so long, wondering if I would ever find a course. Now, with Alice, I no longer cared where I went as long as she was there. It was a soft kind of forest, deep and old and covered in moss. Our shoes were in my backpack, and her white feet flashed against the rich green and brown as she darted and danced along. It had been an effort for me, learning to relax and run with her like this; I was so used to being alert, on guard, prepared for the worst. But with her extra sense, my military habits had become superfluous. By being who she was, she had lifted this burden from my back and set me free. It was exhilarating. The little lake lay suddenly before us, its black surface still under the early morning sky. There was no sandy shore, but the moss and grass and timid woodland flowers grew to the very edge of the water. It was a serene place, one that must have altered very little over the centuries. At first it had a calming influence on my easily excitable companion, but then the change pulsed through her once more. I raised my eyebrows a fraction. Her only reply was smiling a little wider. Then she stepped away from me, six paces, and pulled off her red blouse. The white skirt fell next to it, and she had removed her undergarments before I understood what was happening. Mild amusement mixed with the other emotions that were radiating from her, before she turned her back towards me and skipped into the water. It was shallow, and so did very little to hide her body from my view. I sank to the ground, gripping futilely at the dew-covered foliage. What was this? What was happening inside me? I raked through the years of my existence, but found no similar reactions to help me explain it. There was, however, an echo of a memory. Something so vague that it must be of my human self, something about… harvests, and dancing. About a promise of pleasure. Still I did not fully understand, but an unexpected ache tore through my silent insides. She waded further out into the lake until the water was high enough for her to lean back into. She swam with small motions, her closed eyes turned towards the heavens. I watched her, absolutely still and not breathing, trying to figure out why the gentle kicking of her legs, the glimpses of her breasts above the surface, affected me so. I had seen plenty of undressed females, both vampire and human, but I couldn’t recall that it had ever mattered before. Even the one who had created me had never aroused these feelings in me; the only satisfaction I had sought with her was the prey with which she would reward my progress and obedience. Alice didn’t stay in the water long. Perhaps I ought to have looked away as she walked towards me, but I couldn’t. The sun was just peeking up over the treetops, bouncing in golden sparkles off of her skin and the hundreds of droplets clinging to it. She stopped briefly at the edge of the water and shook her hair, smiling at me again when she had finished. There was a little hesitancy there, I sensed, but she approached me nonetheless. Not until she kneeled down before me, still naked, did I think to draw a breath of air again. It undid me. Her scent had always been pleasant to me; most vampires’ were. But here, mingled with the morning air and intensified by the unspoiled water, I could barely handle it. It was sweeter than blood, equally compelling, but pulling my needs in a different direction altogether. The word hunger surfaced among my incoherent thoughts, opposing itself to the thirst.
“Alice,” I said, and realised belatedly that my voice was pleading. She seemed to have been waiting for this, because the moment after I had spoken her name, a wave of emotions hit me – the full force of the change, of what she had known we would feel. My impulse was to curb it, to phase it out; my experience told me that anything of this magnitude must mean trouble. But I knew it was useless even before my reflex reaction had a chance to attempt it. Even if I could calm Alice, there was one person whose emotions I could never manipulate – myself. “Jasper,” she answered me simply, her tone thick with the same desire that shone from her whole being. She reached out, leaned forward, brought her hands to my face. I hadn’t known that my kind was capable of such tenderness, but Alice’s fingers, caressing my forehead, my cheeks, my lips, felt almost soft. I was only dimly aware of how my breathing quickened, her moist lips cutting off a gasp as they met mine. It was not our first kiss, not at all. She had pecked the corner of my lips in that diner, startling me, on the afternoon when I first saw her. Since then she had made a habit of it, quickly kissing my face when she passed by in one of her sprints; oftentimes upon my mouth. But those kisses were all fleeting, not exactly innocent, but also of no more significance than holding hands. This kiss was different. I don’t know how it came to be, but next thing I knew I was leaning back on my elbows in the undergrowth as she straddled me, her little palms steady on either side of my face. Cool drops of water fell into my face as she kissed me, softly at first but then with more force; surprising force, for such a small creature. Her tongue caressed my lips the way her fingers had my face, and I didn’t think to object when she demanded entrance to my mouth. My own tongue came to life by the touch of hers, and a low, appreciative growl escaped me when I could suddenly taste her venom. A thrill shot through her at the sound; I sensed it as clearly as if her feelings were my own. She pulled me back up, still on my lap, and let her hands fall from my face, past my shoulders. They came to rest at my hips, and then she simply sat there, gazing at me, inviting. Expectant, my senses told me. I hesitated, searching deep in her eyes for guidance. I had no idea how to do what my body – and hers - wanted. “I saw you holding me,” Alice whispered. So I did. I embraced her tiny, bare frame with my body, stroked my hands over her back. She sighed against my chest, and I tried to fathom how those simple movements of mine could stir such sensations within her. I bent down, burying my nose in her wet hair, and feasted on her glorious scent. After a few moments she shifted, and I could feel her swiftly unbuttoning my shirt. It came off easily, and then she disposed of my other garments. We lay next to each other now, a foot apart, letting our gazes wander over these new, mesmerising landscapes. I could feel her fascination and wonder, her silent longing. It was a relief, almost, to sense her uncertainty; we were equally lost, as were we equally willing to search for a way. Knowing this, I reached out and touched her stomach. My hand seemed to move independently, discovering a path up to her hip, along her waist, which came to an end at her breast. There were no words for this, how her skin felt; no language invented for Alice’s sounds and emotions when my thumb circled the marble softness around her nipple. I edged closer, following some forgotten human instinct that led my lips to her collarbone. Her taste was phenomenal, and another feral growl escaped me when she pushed herself against my body. I abandoned her chest so that my hand could press against her back, welding her more securely to me. Her touch was everywhere as I continued to savour her, discovering the
subtle difference in flavour between her throat and her shoulder. It grew sweeter as I returned to her breast, and her reaction when I tasted the perked tip was overpowering. My free hand flashed to the other breast, my mouth to hers, and an eternity passed while I sought to discover all the ways to make her tremble. It was she who leaned back slightly, away from my face. Her eyes were glazed over, scorching with lust, and she watched my expression closely as she slid her hands lower, over my stomach, and closed her fingers around my erection. I had no idea how I had grown so hard – I was sure I couldn’t have managed it by a conscious effort, but that it was all due to this female vampire lying next to me. She lifted her leg, ever gracefully, and slid it over my hip. I realised what she was doing, and I froze. This was Alice – the purest of my kind I had ever met, unspoiled and innocent. I couldn’t do this to her. Who was I to taint her with a soldier’s filth? I did not deserve her. I could not have her, not like this. I tried to release myself from her arms, and opened my mouth to speak. But she refused to let go of me, and her left hand flew to my lips, stopping the words. “Don’t. I know what you will say, what I will answer, and how I will convince you that you’re wrong. So don’t. Just come to me.” I didn’t know how to. She was so small, brittle-looking to me however indestructible she really was. Uncertain, shivering, I tried to carefully climb on top of her. I was sure I would crush her, but her little hands urged me on, took a firm hold and guided me to her. Slipping in, I gasped. There was no way to differentiate between our emotions now. The feeling of her embrace, of my hardness filling her, stroking her, our eager mouths and hands and legs entwining, all of it blended into something otherworldly, unbelievable even as I experienced it. A roar, ripped unbidden from my chest, echoed through the ancient forest as I pushed into her. Supporting myself against the ground, I searched her face and her emotions. I was three times her size; surely I must be hurting her? But all I saw was her little smile and her burning eyes, and all I felt was a deep pleasure. A little bolder, I pulled back, then forth again, and bent down to taste her tongue and its luscious venom again. She grinned against my lips, and reached as far down my arched body as she could, to my lower back, where she pushed me down until I was lying fully on top of her. Surprised, I found that she enjoyed the feeling of my weight. Emphasising this, she locked her legs around my waist and forced me closer, deeper. She was so light, all but weightless, and I sat up and lifted her with me with no effort. Seated on top of me, she hissed, and I grew almost dizzy when realising that it was me, my size, inside of her, that had caused the sound. Gently, I touched her face. “You saw this?” I had to ask. She nodded. “And you were not at all… concerned?” I could barely recognise her voice. “Silly, overprotective Jasper… as if you could ever hurt me.” All I could think to do was wrap my arms around her, and shield her from everything but myself. She moved carefully, deliberately, on my lap, and to my own pleasure hers was added. I knew what every motion did to her, how something indefinable grew inside the both of us. Then she raised herself a little, pushed down, and the world exploded.
I couldn’t estimate how much time had passed before the scattered pieces of reality had finally finished reassembling themselves. I opened my eyes and stared into the endless, blue vault above. I could feel her next to me, relaxed and amazingly satisfied, and I turned to look at her. We were both undressed still, and the attraction between our bodies was nearly visible. She had her head propped up against her hand, and seemed a little amused. “Welcome back,” she smiled, lazily brushing her fingertips back and forth over my chest. I caught that hand and brought it to my lips. I wanted to ask her if she was all right, but I already know that she was fine – no, more than fine. There was only one other thing I could think to say. “Thank you.” She laughed lightly. We lay still together for another little while, revisiting newly discovered favourite places. She was a little preoccupied, I thought, and wondered what was on her mind. Double realisation hit me then – she was waiting for something, and I knew what it was. “Alice, I –” “What?” she asked, gently. “What were you going to say, Jasper?” “You already know what,” I sighed. “Yes. But I want to hear you say it.” Maybe she did. Her face was so expectant, her expression flushed even though her cheeks remained pale. For one short moment, less than a second, doubt lashed out from her. It startled me. Could she possibly need my reassurance? After this? She, who knew and saw everything? When I imagined that my silence might actually worry her, the words slipped easily from my lips. “Alice… I love you. Far deeper than I knew I was capable of.” She did not need to say it back. The happiness emitting from her was more than enough.
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