Sharp pain. But Maeve hardly focused on that because instantly, she felt ... subdued. Her tears ceased and she stopped making noises.
Perry withdrew his fangs and let go of her wrists. He looked less human than he had done for the past half hour or so - now he was wild, like he had been last night: his fangs visible and his aura as dark as his presently invisible wings.
Maeve couldn't help but admire him. When Perry had bitten her neck it had not only caused her to feel slightly submissive; it had caused her to feel curiously unafraid and find him incredibly captivating too. With his eyes almost black from a sudden great darkening and his face close to hers so she could observe his gleaming white fangs, he possessed that same beauty she had attributed to his savage self earlier and at this point in time, Maeve was full of awe.
She gazed at him steadily, willing him to do something impulsive which would reveal more of his strangely addictive supernatural attractiveness.
Perry grinned and took off his shirt. He was now showing off his muscles.
Maeve openly stared at his perfect six pack, her breath catching in her throat. She found herself wanting to touch it to see if it was real.
"Go on, then," Perry said, nonchalant about the effect he had on the poor girl.
Nervous yet fascinated, Maeve reached out and touched his skin. The muscles didn't fade or disappear.
She looked up into Perry's eyes, wonderstruck. Her breathing was now heavier - like it had been in the meadow when he had approached her in panther form though Perry presently had an even greater impact on her senses. Mesmerised but full of a bizarre clarity, Maeve identified the feeling as desire.
Perry watched her intently.
Maeve needed to ask if anything was going to happen but she couldn't. She could only attempt to convey things through her eyes and hope that Perry would answer her every thought.
Perry purposefully ignored Maeve's wordless questions and instead, focused on himself. He knew exactly what he wanted to do with his new toy and this was evident in his next statement - a statement of observation, but of an implicit desire for a certain sort of behaviour.
"You were quick to pull away."
What he was saying was true. Maeve had only touched him for a second. The trembly feeling it had produced in her was frightening.
"Is that bad?" she whispered, helplessly bound to wanting his approval.
"Well, it's just that I thought you liked me," he answered.
"I do!" she said quickly, causing Perry's smile to widen.
"Then that's fine. You don't need to be afraid."
A small part of Maeve that had been left untouched by whatever Perry had done to her opened up, as if awoken by Perry's further encouragement of the captivation he had produced in her. She was utterly appalled by him, unable to believe how awful he was. He wanted her to stroke him?!
Unashamedly, he showed nothing to the contrary as the outside, compliant Maeve impulsively reached out and stroked his abdomen.
"That's great," he murmured, in an intense tone that took his dreadfulness to the next level.
And then, he became impossibly more horrific in the eyes of every decent, good girl as, in a voice that was coaxing and compelling, he asked "Why don't you kiss me?"
Desperately, the true Maeve tried to tell the other Maeve to resist him. But it seemed the two parts of her were separate: detached. Her face tilted upwards as she leant in to kiss the wicked creature's lips. A thrill ran through her enthralled self and in a flash her arms were around his neck.
He gently pushed her away and looked into her eyes. He entered the part of her mind which was screaming furiously and thought ‘I can make you betray yourself in horrendous ways. I can make you want to kill yourself. Don't mess with me.'
Maeve expected him to end his control over her now. Or make her suffer by controlling her further. She did not expect him to lean down and sink his fangs into her neck. Maeve was almost glad that all her conscious thoughts stopped.
Perry was extremely happy that all his sentimentality from yesterday evening had gone. It annoyed him that later on he had been soppy and nice to the girl, though.
The truth was... he softened at night. Whether it was due to the calming nature of the silver moon or the fact that he had more energy when the stars were out, he just couldn't be himself. It was unnatural and disturbing and caused him to be disgusted with himself the following morning but he couldn't do anything about it. He hated something and he was helpless to do anything.
Asserting his power over the human race was relieving as well as satisfying. He enjoyed proving vampiric superiority to chase his negative mood towards the nightly transformation away. What could be better than showing humans just how inferior they were? Though he couldn't deny he liked Maeve attempting to challenge him...
He was full now. He lifted his head from the rapidly healing wound on her skin and sighed contentedly before awaking that bright, intelligent mind.
Wordlessly, Maeve stood up, grabbed some clothes from her closet and drawers and left the room to take a shower. She was mildly surprised (but immensely relieved) that Perry didn't call her or try to follow.
Perry sat on Maeve's bed, laughing. After his amusement had died down, he decided he would go out and he left through Maeve's front door. He went to visit his witch friend Chloe who let him use her shower as well as snatch a sneaky drink in order to enhance himself rather than sate any thirst.
"So, what's happening in your life?" she asked.
They were currently sitting in her living room: Perry sprawled across her couch looking like he owned the place and her sitting on a beanbag a few metres in front of him.
"Nothing much," he replied casually.
"Where'd you spend the night? I told you there's always room for you here."
He grinned at her. "Tempting but I don't quite trust witches."
Chloe chuckled. "Surely I'm not a threat to you."
Perry winked. "Don't tell anyone."
"I spent the night in a house. It was extremely comfortable."
She snorted. "I love it when humans are oblivious to us."
"Me too, but there was one actually aware of me."
"Ah, you suppressed her mind - I assume it was a her?"
Perry gave a short laugh. "Yes, it was. And I did suppress her mind - several times. But never quite for the purpose you're imagining."
Chloe gaped at him. "She knew what you are?"
"Depends on what you mean by ‘what I am'." Perry's eyes glinted.
Chloe closed her mouth and swallowed, slightly nervous.
"Vampire. I mean vampire."
Perry looked at her intently.
"I know, Chloe," he murmured. "I've known for a while. You try to joke about it but it's much more serious than you let on. You know what I'm referring to. Your admiration of my ... tendencies, shall we say?"
"I thought you couldn't read a witch's thoughts," she whispered.
"Doesn't mean I can't read her." He sat up. "Come sit beside me, Chloe. Don't worry about that insignificant human girl."
"You can't trust me," she quoted from earlier, but already she was standing up and moving to Perry's side, looking as though she were hypnotised.
"Only at night," he murmured as she sat down.
Perry was surprisingly being honest about the fact he couldn't trust a witch at night. When the moon began to shine, witches became darker and less predictable - the transformation rather like the opposite of his own, except that Chloe never exhibited a nice personality. The added fact that his personality became quite the opposite at night didn't aid matters.
But it was daytime now, so Perry was totally safe in what he was doing.
He looked deep into Chloe's eyes and slipped into the character which she hadn't ever seen before but which she'd glimpsed through his normal behaviour and guessed at when he'd described perfect moments with women.
He began by asking her rhetorical questions.
"How long have you wanted this?" he asked, drawing out the long to emphasise Chloe's longing. "How desperately have you wished that I would ask you to enter my personal space and show you the side of me you always knew existed but never got to see? How incredible is it that I'm looking in your eyes with a thrilling intensity and talking to you intimately like a lover...?" His final question was non-rhetorical as he addressed her directly. "How lucky are you feeling at this minute, Chloe Rou?"
"Amazingly so," she breathed. Her heart was pumping loudly and rapidly and her spine was tingling. The physical form of her magic, concentrated somewhere in her abdomen but dancing energetically in her bloodstream, was buzzing wildly.
Perry leant forwards and gently kissed the place on her neck where he usually bit his prey. Chloe's blood raced below her skin, her heartbeat having accelerated. Her breathing rate increased.
"Are you ready?" he whispered.
"You really...," she gasped, "don't ... have to ask."
He smiled and began to perform a perfect re-enactment of the best dream she'd ever had about him that he had curiously seen a year ago when her mental guard had been down.
Afterwards, when Chloe was buttoning up her cotton shirt, still breathing heavily, she asked, slightly shyly "So, do I only get the best moment of my life once?"
Perry lay on his back, head and shoulders propped against the couch's armrest. He wasn't bothering to reclothe his beautiful body. He smiled up at her and said "I don't know, Chlo. Would it be more special if you only experienced that once, or if you were honoured enough to experience it again and again?"
Chloe bit her lip at the thought of the latter.
Cautiously she asked "Are you giving me the choice?"
Perry smiled sympathetically. "No. But I have taken your feelings into account."
"What was your decision?" she murmured, finishing with her shirt. She dared not look into his eyes, lest her desire overwhelm her again.
"I'm not going to treat you again," he replied calmly. "This will remain the best moment in you life. It was great in the way that you were clever enough to give and feel all that you could."
"Thanks," she murmured, unfazed by his complacency.
"I wouldn't threaten my character," he continued, appealing to the part of her which liked the way he dealt with his love of women. "I don't want to become too attached to you."
"Of course," Chloe replied, smiling. She loved the fact he was a devil. "I wouldn't expect anything else of you. You gave me the time of my life and really I'd be ungrateful to say it wasn't enough."
"You still want me," he reminded her gently.
She grinned. "Who doesn't?"
Perry smiled, job done. He hadn't really worried that Chloe would hate him but just in case he had ensured, by being everything she thought he was and checking that her own feelings could resolve any problems, that she remained his friend. He appreciated her retention of her awe of him too.
"So, Chlo, do you want to meet my new friend?"
"The human? I'd love to."
Maeve returned to her bedroom after an hour, having eaten breakfast as well as washed herself. She saw that Perry was gone and didn't know how she felt about that. Part of her was glad, of course, because she hated his guts. But part of her was saddened too. Illogical as it seemed, she would rather know (and maybe even court) her awful destiny than live the rest of her life without him. She sat on her bed and sighed.
A few minutes later, she was sitting against her headboard reading one of her favourite novels.
Over the next hour, she read six chapters. As always with a good read, she became immersed in the fantasy world and fell into the role of the main protagonist. She was about halfway through the seventh chapter when Perry knocked on her window like he had done last night, shattering her daydreams of talking to the attractive, inspiring male hero.
Partly from resignation because she knew he could force her and partly from a genuine desire to see his face again, Maeve, putting her book aside and standing up, walked to her window and opened it. But instant doubt hunted down any hopes or dreams that progress would be made in her relationship with Perry when she saw that he had brought a visitor.