Chapter 4Mature

Maeve's dreams were reminiscent of the moment when Perry and she had been standing near her bedroom window, inspired by the romantic thoughts in her mind at the time.

She was walking along a moonlit beach whose sands were an odd, unreal colour that was something like silver yellow, which bordered on a sea that looked almost black in the powerful darkness. The sky above her was vast and beautiful, the stars scattered across it like the drops of water which darken a wooden floor when you shake your hands to dry them.

The scene was calm, serene, and it was like Maeve was stepping across the very shores of Dreamland. No birds called to each other, no noisy wind blew across the terrain: even the sea was mysteriously silent.

Maeve gazed to her left and saw that Perry was walking beside her. Behind him, a formless landscape stretched out to the other side of the world, making her feel small and frightened as she imagined being swept into the never-ending barrenness, lost forever in an unforgiving environment which lent no aid as she collapsed - first mentally and then, throughout years of pain and suffering, physically.

She looked back at Perry and instantly felt reassured. She had the distinct sense that he would never let anything of that nature happen to her. She was once again filled with tranquillity and she felt in harmony with the relaxed, natural beach.

She gazed around her at the comforting surroundings before glancing at Perry to see if he was aware of her.

He noticed her looking at him and smiled, revealing the same peace and contentment as Maeve felt. Such was the pleasure in knowing that she was sharing this moment with someone, she smiled widely, almost causing the world of gentleness, unused to strong or thrilling feelings, to collapse around them.

Perry stroked the hand Maeve hadn't been aware of him holding and she calmed down again. She felt like the sea, her emotions swelling and shrinking in this manner.

Of one accord they stopped and Maeve closed her eyes as Perry leant down to kiss her. Her emotions at once became quietly intense and the air about the two began to buzz. Inside her was a sense of completeness, as well as the strong feeling that this was right. It was like their hearts had been fashioned to fit together and that it was Nature's will for them to be together.

The kiss ended all too soon and as Maeve woke up, she was left with a sense of loss.


Blinking, she glanced at Perry. He looked extremely cute with ruffled hair and a face clear of concern and stress. Wait! Perry was here? On her bed? The jerk! Maeve was half-tempted to push him off the bed but then she realised she didn't want to spoil this beautiful silence. Besides, she was probably overreacting in mentally asking ‘How dare he assume he can sleep on my bed?' Ebbie the kitten was nowhere to be seen: she had probably wandered off during the night to find somewhere to sleep where she wasn't at risk from being kicked off the bed.

Carefully Maeve propped herself up against her pillows which in turn were propped up against the headboard. She considered Perry's sleeping form.

On a physical level, he was gorgeous and she had to confess that, despite her terror at the sight, when he had wings, he was still beautiful. This beauty was savage, however: a style of magnificence only an animal could pull off.

And in panther form, he was just amazing...

But, Maeve told herself sternly, looks were not all she should think about. She needed to take this thought process to at least one more level if she wanted to gain any security of actions and feelings related to Perry.

The next level was his character. From experience, she knew that Perry could be patient and kind, possessing a surprisingly sweet side to his personality, but could become scarily angry if provoked. But other than this, he was a mystery. Did he like her?

Maeve was half frightened that this whole experience could be some elaborate form of fun for a vampire such as him: an opportunity to exercise a lot of control over her mind in keeping with the idea that humans were inferior to humans. She shied away from continuing this line of thought when it looked that the final resultant question might be ‘Is reality a lie?'

Instead, she focused on Perry's effect on her: her reaction to him and response to the things he did. In short, the new question was ‘Can I trust my own feelings?'

On the one hand, Maeve's feelings were very unhelpful. She blushed as she remembered that quickening of her heartbeat in response to Perry's proximity in the blue meadow; she cringed a little as the event in her dream came back to her. Maeve wondered if she had a small crush on Perry the vampire. This could be another of Perry's mind games, however, and in those circumstances Maeve could definitely not depend on herself for the solutions to her problems.

On the other hand, she was capable of fearing and hating him. Surely these emotions were signs of rationality and meant that she could trust herself.

But Maeve didn't know for certain that terror and bitter resentment would hold out against everything else and was left with unanswered questions as she finally stopped thinking so deeply about the vampire lying in front of her.

"How long have you been staring at me?"

Maeve jumped, stifling a scream by shoving her fist in her mouth.

Perry opened his eyes and gazed sleepily at her.

"What - you think I didn't notice? You humans are so silly."

Maeve removed her hand from her mouth and stuttered "You - you were asleep."

"Yeah, and then your eyes entered my dream and wouldn't stop watching me. So what's the big deal? Have I turned green?"

"No," Maeve replied embarrassedly.

"Then?" The question wasn't asked too harshly but Maeve had been sensitised by the utter humiliation she felt. Honestly she had no real justification for thinking so deeply about him.

"It doesn't matter," she said sharply, hoping to close the matter.

"Ouch. Sorry." His eyes flashed like a lightning bolt and Maeve was suddenly terrified.

"Please!" she cried despairingly. "Don't keep asking. I'm sorry for making you mad. But please. It's not worth it: it's really not."

Perry looked amused. "What are you so desperate to hide?"

"I don't want to tell you," she mumbled, calming down as the danger faded but bothered about the fact he found this funny.

Perry rolled his eyes, looking a little annoyed.

"Fine, then. But watch yourself. I've a quick temper in the morning and anger makes me thirsty."

The fear started to return to Maeve, enlarging like something approaching at high speed.

"Okay," she whispered, swallowing hard.

Perry nodded. "Good."

Maeve turned away, feeling something like betrayal amongst the pain produced from how he was acting towards her. The fear dwindled and died down again, almost making her feel sick from its indecision.

"What happened to nice Perry?" she asked sadly.

"I don't know," not-nice Perry replied, his tone one of indifference. "He could be nocturnal or something."

"So you have two personalities? Oh, that's great (!)."

"Look, if this makes you less concerned, he wasn't feeling all soft and sympathetic to humans in the park yesterday."

"What?" Maeve asked, shocked. It was like discovering your playmate at nursery was spending more time with another child.  

"Well, he was  - oh, this is just weird: I was watching you before I came over and drank your blood and so, okay, I was feeling bizarrely sentimental, but most importantly, I was looking forward to drinking your  blood."

"But ... but," Maeve spluttered, "you were so nice afterwards! Okay, so you lied about being an omniscient panther and me dreaming but that was to protect me, right?"

Perry sighed heavily. "Look, I don't really care. You're probably right about me having two personalities. Now, are we just going to stay in your room or are we going to get out and do something?"

"You don't want to do anything with me," Maeve murmured, once again upset.

"Well, there is thing." Perry looked Maeve up and down appraisingly.

She blushed and glared at him.

"Fine, not that," he said. "But I'm legally bound to spend at least one hour with you daily. As soon as that time has passed, I'll be off."

Maeve gaped.

"You don't tell a girl a thing like that!" she exclaimed, appalled.

Perry shrugged. "I just did. And I don't really feel like taking back the truth."

Maeve stared at him, still open-mouthed. After a while, she was able to translate her reaction into words.

"Get out. And don't you dare think about coming back until you're prepared to apologise. If it looks like you might end up in jail and you're still not sorry, I don't care. How dare you think you can get away with not considering my feelings?"

Perry sat patiently through Maeve's speech, looking totally uncaring.

Afterwards, she was glaring at him. He gazed back, unfazed by the annoyance he was causing her.

His response wasn't long at all. But it was enough to make Maeve slap him - something she'd never done in her life.

"Vampire are stronger, faster and cleverer than humans. In short, and I'm sure I've said this before, we're superior. I'm not obliged to do anything you say."

Maeve's hand made contact with Perry's cheek like a coconut falling on someone's head. He winced before grabbing her wrist with alarming speed and pulling it away so viciously that it hurt. He held it down by her waist, clasping the other in his other hand.

His eyes burned like a raging fire and Maeve, so terrified and upset by him, began to cry.

"Shut up," he ordered, as the sounds which invariably accompany terror- or pain-related crying started up in Maeve's throat. His words had no impact on her - she couldn't have stopped if she'd wanted to.

"Do you want me to bite you?" he threatened.

Past caring, Maeve said through her sobs "Go on then. What difference will it make? I'll still be in pain and frightened of you. And if humans are inferior, what should it matter the things you do to me?"

Perry shrugged. "All right then."

And he leant in and violently bit into her neck.

The End

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