Estimated reading time: 4 – 6 minutes
Lily retreated from the doorway. She spun on bare feet and flopped onto the chaise where Julian choked her with soap. Lily rubbed her twitchy fists against one another. She stared at the opposite wall. The mirrored Lily nearly looked human. Her flushed face defied death. Her eyes flirted with it.
What are you looking for out of this? He’s not Ian. He’s something worse than you are. Is that why you’re here? Because Julian’s more of a head case than you are?
Lily relaxed her hands. She flipped them over and studied the palms. The punctures reminded Lily of stigmata. They were healing sluggishly.
I already know the answer. I’m here because…because it’s still there. I used to want to be him just so I could be a better person. Now I want to be him because I want to know what it’s like to stop caring.
“I won’t apologize for those.”
She wasn’t surprised to hear neither his aristocratic voice nor the haughty words it issued. Lily’s dangerous grin acknowledged the self-destructive futility of her quest.
When he didn’t touch her, he had hurt her so badly. When he wounded her, he had healed some of the pain.
Make him apologize? Never.
Lily fisted her hands. She answered him with, “I’d expect you to have manners to apologize. Since I don’t think much of you it doesn’t really matter, does it?”
Julian dropped a dress-shirt the color of smoke onto her lap. “And since I know you for a liar I don’t know why I bother to even converse with you.”
“Oh baby, did I hurt your feelings?” Lily’s syrupy drawl accompanied by face-splitting smile served to taunt. “I would never want to hurt your feelings, darling. Dig my heart out with a rusty knife first before that ever happens.”
Julian crouched down. “Will a claw suffice?” He traced the razor appendage above the area in question.
Lily lifted her chest. She tapped his finger with each breath. “You already had my heart, Julian. You chose to give it back.”
“Mmm. That I did.” He doodled the air above her heart. “Why don’t you hang onto it for a little while longer? That’s a good girl.”
“You don’t want good. You want easy.” Lily took his hand with both of hers, careful not to make any threatening gestures to land her with a slashed throat. Satisfied Julian would remain well-behaved, she nuzzled his wrist before kissing it. “You know where you can find that, Douglas. Back up about two feet, turn right, and head straight until you come across naked blond tramp.”
Julian echoed her actions. “You have an unhealthy dislike of blondes, Lily. You really should take a care lest I think you’re jealous of them.” He waited until she looked at him before kissing the inside of her wrist.
Lily inhaled and exhaled with staccato precision. Julian smiled. “Why haven’t you taken your dress off?”
“Because you’re still here.”
“Since when are you shy? You hate clothes, remember?”
“Maybe I do.” Her voice, smooth despite the lust stiffening her mouth, flirted with provocation.
“Stand up and I’ll take it off for you.”
“No. I don’t think so.”
“That’s not what you really want to say, is it?”
“No, it isn’t.” Lily’s intoxicated gaze strayed to the fang he flashed. “But it’s what I’m standing by.”
“Too bad. We could have much fun, you and I.”
“I know but then what?”
Julian’s tongue tasted her skin for a stingy second. “You could be my lover.”
“I can have that now. What else?”
“Are you negotiating with me?” Julian’s toothy grin menaced even with its charm. “Please tell me that you are.”
Lily didn’t answer him directly. “What would you give me, Julian, to pick up where we left off?”
The vampire touched her bloody knees with gentle pressure. “Not a blessed thing.”
Lily’s cheeks blazed with color. She looked down and laughed. “Fair enough.”
Julian squeezed just hard enough to get her bruised attention. “I don’t want a crush from you, Lily. I can get that anywhere.”
“What do you want then? You want me to fall in love with you too?”
“Love.” His dead laughter filled Lily with emptiness. “Love is stupidly weak when I want something far more complex. Don’t pretend to understand. Let me explain it to you. I want to be a thorn in your side. I want to occupy every bit of your heart until you can’t breathe without feeling me strangling you with my being. Love comes and goes. It’s easy. I want your hate, Lily. I want you to loathe me so much you want to die. Can you do that for me, darling?”