Only when she was sure every candle was lit and in place did she turn off the main light in her apartment.
There were dozens of them, all shapes and sizes, but each one made from virginal-white wax and placed in a black glass holder. They covered every flat, stable surface in the room.
A plume of heady-scented incense smoke swirled lazily into the air; the room was filled with the aroma of red and black berries and a hint of frankincense, a top note of exotic musk and spices from far away places. The scent made her think of excited sweat on dark skin.
Krista’s stage was set.
The splendor of her nakedness was exaggerated in the shadow cast on the wall by the flickering light of the candles. She admired her own fine form on the mirrored wall opposite.
She gazed at her damaged flesh, an expression of love on her face. She was proud of her scars, and felt they made her utterly unique in the world. And they said so much about her. Her scars told a story – the story of her devotion, of her trust.
Krista ran a finger over the heart-shaped scar on her left breast; she smiled at the difference in texture it had from the skin which immediately surrounded it. She loved the fact that particular scar was so prominent, so raised, that you could easily tell the shape of the scar without looking at it.
This scar was special.
Only one person in the whole world was allowed to drink from her heart.
Krista’s heart belonged to Lord Ruthven.
Each inch of changed flesh on her body held a memory. Each one of them reminded her of a day, of a person, reminded her of an emotion or a phrase, of a song. Some of them reminded her of a particular sensation – either pleasure or pain, or both. But all of them, each and every piece of scar tissue on her body made her feel love, love for the one who gave it to her and love for herself.
Each new scar she acquired made her feel even more beautiful than she did before. The more scar tissue she collected the more confident she became.
Krista admired her own body and ran her fingers over every scar, delicately touched each raised reminder of a steel caress or an ivory stab.
Lord Ruthven watched her. Although he did not love her, he was fascinated by her, and she allowed him to do things to her no other blood doll would ever tolerate.
Most of the donors he’d come into contact with were little more than weekend vampires. They would dress up in pseudo Victoriana, donned over-the-counter costume fangs from a joke shop and paint their faces with clown white.
But Krista was different. Lord Ruthven knew that from the moment he met her and immediately saw the mosaic of scars that adorned her body.
She was beautiful, olive-skinned and raven-haired and the myriad of scars and her opulent clothing made her look like an old pre-Raphaelite painting with a cracked temper coating.
She was the only one he’d ever indulged in blood-play with who actually allowed him to bite.
She loved it.
She reveled in it.
She needed it.
Each time they had a session she would writhe beneath him, grab fistfuls of his hair in her hands and force his bite deeper. She scream at him to bite harder, to suck harder, to fuck her harder.
And when the blades came out, she was so far into the whole thing that she actually scared him.
He had the notion that she would like him to murder her. He was sure she would die with a dripping cunt if he were to slice her flesh into ribbons with a cut-throat razor and bleed her white.
As he watched her, he was suddenly overwhelmed by his own need for blood. Her blood.
His need rose inside him, swelled, grew into a passion that was just the right side of hatred. He launched himself at her across the room, wrapping her long, dark hair around in his fist and jerking her head back violently.
Krista screamed, but it was not a scream of fear or displeasure. It was a scream of excitement, a scream of lust, of need for the kind of pleasure only torn flesh could give them both.
A new scar was about to be born.
They both grunted with need all the way to Krista’s double coffin bed.
Lord Ruthven couldn’t help but smile each time he saw it. It was one of these things that just made the phrase goth as fuck run through his head and turned the corners of his lips upward in a wicked grin.
They tumbled onto the red satin lining.
“Bring me the crucifix on the wall,” she said, pointing behind her.
Lord Ruthven looked up at the large cross with the impassioned Christ on the wall. He half-frowned and half-grinned, wondering what Krista planned to do with the religious icon.
She knew exactly how to stoke Lord Ruthven’s fires.
She took the crucifix from him and licked the body of Christ. Her eyes burned into him and he could hardly contain himself. He ached to be inside her and to feel the heat of her blood on his lips.
At that moment he realized something; what they had was stronger than love, deeper than love. What they had was something that could never falter, never die, never fade away.
Krista wrapped one hand around the top of the cross and one around the bottom. She pulled downward, the wood on the bottom half slipped off; inside was a long, thin blade, as sharp as any razor blade and twice a lethal.
Her eyes sparkled as Ruthven loomed over her and wrapped his hand around hers, still holding the crucifix dagger. Ruthven rolled one nipple between his fingers and took the other into his mouth.
“Cut it open.”
“Cut it open.”
“Cut what open?” he asked her.
“My nipple. Cut it open.”
He looked at her, mouth gaping in disbelief.
In that moment, he thought it might just be possible for him to fall in love with her after all.
He knew she wanted it, knew that she was serious. If she had not meant it, she would not have said it.
He didn’t hesitate more than a second or two.
Lord Ruthven squeezed the mound of her breast forcing the blood into her nipple. It would heighten the sensation, give the pain a keener edge. Slowly, he dragged the blade across Krista’s the rigid bud. Her back immediately arched and her breath stuck in her throat.