* Not that it matters to anyone on the planet but me, and I don't even know if this has been read by anyone, but I had stripped out 556 words from my original story for another contest and posted that here instead of what I entered in the TNBW contest. But the nip and tuck ruined the quality of the piece I felt, so I'm putting it back the way I had it. The pace was a bit off and missing some beguilement. It's now 11-20 and I'm plunking in my old version at 2556 words instead of 2000.
~ Life in Paris ~
Streams of purple, green and turquoise light replaced red and yellow as the pit DJ’s next song selection pulsed out of the speakers. Even across the noisy, low-lit club and through the crowd of gyrating fools, Stefan drew her attention by simply mouthing her name. His power was stronger than ever because of his need to feed.
Beyond hypnotist, beyond car salesman, beyond Siren, Stefan could seduce with mere thought and beckon the most hardened soul to his, when his thirst was strong enough, like it was tonight. In his 500-and-some-odd-year existence, he’d never spotted anyone, be it royal or vagrant, with more beauty, sparkle and life. He licked his upper lip, anticipating a resurgence of life and the pure taste of her.
In his white, button-down shirt with a black Japanese flower scrolling up the left, he knew he looked sharp and straightened his collar to draw attention, but she never broke eye contact. He had her. With her eyes still locked on his, Stefan timed his steps with the bass as he made his way over to the laughing goddess. Her golden hair changed like a kaleidoscope under the spinning globes and reflected more colors than he could count.
She waved her body like a snake, one charmed to follow his mental choreography and music. He smirked. By the time she knew what was happening to her, it would be too late. He could already hear her gasp of shock and alarm, but he would muzzle her scream with the scarf in his pocket, the silk one he’d picked up at Versace just for her.
“Hi, Gorgeous,” she shouted, clutching his arm and pulling him around two entangled lesbians to stand less than a foot away from her. A mini-dress in hot pink hugged her body in much the way he hoped to. As she flipped her hair over her shoulder, a waft of jasmine, lavender and spice swirled into his nose.
“Hi. I'm Stefan. You’re Paris Hilton, right?” He shook his head, not used to the bangs in his nicely trimmed dark hair.
“Of course. Gonna ask me to dance or what?” He must have hesitated too long for her liking. “I’m used to the cat-got-cher-tongue look, but I can't stand shyness. It’s so not hot.”
He laughed and wrapped his arm around her waist, clamping her against his body. "More to your liking?"
Her eyebrows raised as did the corners of her lips. “Definitely.”
All the closer, he inhaled the fragrance in her hair, now ringing of honeysuckle in its floral bouquet, and moaned as though he’d consumed the richest chocolate. He quickly cleared his throat to cover his involuntary response.
On television and in magazines, he spotted a rare essence in her, one that drove him mad with lust. Passion for her consumed his every waking thought. He stole his way on a private jet and followed her around for days with the slink of a cat, shielded by swarms of paparazzi. Then he muscled his way in here with his aqua eyes, piercing a massive bouncer into compliance. In person, her eyes, combined with her aroma and her body pressed against his in this dirty dance, had him nearly bursting through his jeans and aching to suck her dry.
“Man. You’re smokin’ hot,” he said, trying to match his appearance of twenty-five.
She nodded while batting her lashes, long and faux. “Yeah, I know. You live around here?”
“No,” he yelled as the music picked up. “Just visiting, taking in the sights. I have business to attend to also.”
She leaned toward his ear. “Oh. That’s cool, Stef. I’m in a new movie so I’m too busy to show you around, but if you need help, I have people who do that...for my friends.”
Friends? I'm in! “Yeah. Doesn't surprise me. What’s the name of your movie?”
“Dead of Night. I’m playing the head vamp in a, what’s it called, urban fantasy or something like that. I get to kick ass. Is that cool or what?”
Ha! The irony! Stefan burst out laughing, not meaning to do so right in her ear. He bit his lip.
“What’s so funny?” she said, followed by a sneer and narrow eyelids. “Don’t you think I’d make a good, ass-kicking vampire?”
“No. I’m sure you will. It’s just, uh, Hollywood never gets it right. Perception’s so narrow and wrong.”
She shrugged and circled her hand in the air like she was casting off a fly. “Whatever. I guess. I get to fly around on one of those zipping harness thingies.” Her hands shimmied down his back to his butt and she rubbed and squeezed both cheeks. “I like the way you dance. It’s hot.”
“Years of practice.”
She tilted her head and smiled. “I’ll bet. Ya wanna go somewhere to play around some? A place that’s more...private and not so noisy?”
Stefan couldn’t believe his luck. He didn’t even have to coerce her, stare her down or anything. She was asking. Maybe he'd make her like himself instead of taking all of her. They could be eternal companions. Two beautiful people…immortal…absolute perfection.
“Love to, baby,” he said. “This is crazy. I never expected to be talking to Paris Hilton let alone taking off with her. Have a place in mind?”
“We can get a room in the hotel upstairs? They totally love me here.”
“Really? You actually stay somewhere that’s not a Hilton?”
“Ha ha. Ye-es. Very funny.” She elbowed his arm and pointed to the other side of the lounge. "We can leave out the VIP exit. Come on.” She collected her hair in her fist and stripped out static electricity. He longed to lick her palm to catch any sparks. It pained him to lose out on any of her. She laced her fingers around his and appeared to look at their joined hands. “Your hands are so cold.”
He shrugged. “I know. They won’t be for long.”
“Yeah. I’ll warm you up. It's one of my many talents.”
Stefan’s pulse quickened and a dizziness filled his head. Her luscious essence intoxicated him. He couldn’t wait to get her all hot and bothered on a bed on ivory satin or something, then jam that scarf in her mouth only to see those eyes widen in a plea for mercy. Too bad she’d covered those orbs with blue lenses tonight, because the terror in her natural brown would be spectacular.
Paris ushered him to a wall, ran her hand along a seam and did something he couldn’t see. Soon the wall sprung open to reveal a hidden hallway. After they stepped into the low-lit hall, she closed the door behind them and lead him through a labyrinth of flickering, zapping florescence. The music and noise dulled behind him and faded to pulsating thumps.
After reaching the end of a hallway, they climbed an iron staircase and at the top of the landing, she opened another door, which opened directly into a hotel suite through a bookcase.
“Ta da. Welcome to my Princess Suite.”
“Wow. It’s so...perfect.”
“I know, right.” She closed the door.
Stefan had seen his share of palaces and ritzy resorts, and this stood toe-to-toe in elegance. He was right! He nearly cheered in glee. Here it was. A bed of ivory satin. So perfect for love and birth and death. Against golden walls, draperies, linens and furniture cushions gleamed in monochromatic tones of cream and beige. Paintings, vases, flowers and fruit added bursts of color as did a red and gold oriental chandelier over the bed.
He noticed a fruit platter and a bucket of chilled wine on the coffee table near the Victorian couch, which would come in handy if loosening up was needed. The more surrender in the prey, the better the essence. He shook his head in disbelief as she walked him to the bed, which shone like the purest alter for sacrifice.
Paris turned to him, her face so angelic, soft and kind. It held self-assuredness but not a hint of cockiness that jealous girls try to pin on her. "I'm not normally loose or anything, but you're totally sexy and you caught me on a horny night. My boyfriend's out of town. Hope you don't mind."
"No. We can do whatever you want. Just kiss even. I really don't care. Doesn't he mind?"
"Nope. He loves my impulsive streak and is completely understanding. He knows how I get."
Stefan drew her into a kiss and she eagerly opened her mouth for him. He explored her and caressed her tongue with his. She skillfully sucked on his offering, which stirred him to arousal, distracting him from his primary need. With her so eager, Stefan decided to quicken things. He picked her up and half-dropped her on the bed, clumsier than he'd meant to. They laughed and she yanked his head down, reconnecting their mouths, before he even had a chance to lay on top of her. He joined her on the bed and after they kissed in a frenzy of grabbing and groping, she unbuttoned his shirt and ran greedy hands along his chest and fingernails up his back.
Paris complimented him on his muscles and the feel of his skin. She flipped them over and straddled him and kissed his forehead and ears and neck as she unbuttoned and unzipped his denim fly. When her hands wandered in, he gritted his teeth and focused on the funky chandelier, trying to ignore the sensations firing off below his stomach. He had to move now. She was driving him crazy and avoiding his gaze too much.
Stefan slid his hand into his pocket and wave after wave of his fingertips, he gathered and wadded the scarf into a tight ball. He’d switch positions, pin her down and get the job done. He’d gaze into her fake-blue eyes then drink her in until she was clinging to life by a very thin thread. Maybe he’d show her mercy and give her the choice. He wanted to give her the choice. To be or not to be? That is the question of life.
She ripped away his shirt, popping the last two buttons she never bothered to undo. She devoured his chest and neck in wet kisses and bites, some sharper than others. What the hell; no harm in letting her go to town first. He grimaced and winced whenever she seemed to be going for a kill.
After she did figure-eights around his pecks with her tongue, she traveled back up to his neck. He could have sworn sharp teeth not just bit, but drove in, deep, puncturing his flesh. The anguish! He gasped and tried to scream, but his mouth was suddenly jammed with some filthy rag. A rag! Not a $3,000 scarf carefully selected to match a handbag. A rag. A stinky, used rag, drenched in Lemon Pledge.
His mortal cry emitted as a sour note from the distant depths of hell. Pain threatened to burst his head and heart. Breath evaded his flaring nostrils. She was draining him faster than he could regenerate and replenish. He fought to push her off himself, but her strength was unbreakable and he weakened more with each second. His arms felt glued to the bedspread. He clammed his eyes shut as blood burned like scorching fire, racing through and leaving his veins, replaced with an icy chill. She drank not just his life-force but his essence and his supposed immortality. The scent of earth and iron choked him.
A jostle at the door and a solid bang into the wall made him jolt and peek through his heavy lids. Paris pulled away from her task to look, her mouth framed with glorious red. No spectacle or wonder on earth, and he’d seen countless, had ever awed him more than that. He longed to kiss her lips again and taste his own essence mixed with hers. Must be like honey straight from the hive.
“Huuuukkk!” rattled the blond, who'd entered through the actual door. “Finally! I've been looking all over for you...Fabulous! Another one? Thought you said you were good to go for a week or so.”
“Yeah. But he’s a psychic vampire. Unbelievable! Gotta be at least 500, Nic.”
Nic? Right. Lionel's anorexic brat.
Paris waved her hand and said, “Do you know how rare one like this is? He’s absorbed so much beauty and energy in his lifetime…only to be a gift for me. The tastiest thing ever. I’m feeling kind of generous. Want some?”
“Hell no! I’d never take your crappy scraps. I was able to snag a sitter. Hurry up, bitch. A bunch of us are going to The Green Door.”
"Kay. Gimme a sec."
Nicole left the suite as noisily as she’d entered.
“Sorry about the interruption, Gorgeous. She really needs to get her own lair. I tell her all the time to knock, but she freakin’ never does! Uuhh! Hate her sometimes.”
He tried to speak but lemony dirt swallowed his one word.
She ungagged his mouth. “What, hun?”
He gasped for hair, his lungs seizing as much as possible. “Question,” he muttered.
“What? I can't hear,” she said with her eyes squinted. She bent down, putting her ear close to his mouth. He stretched his tongue and licked the blood at the corner of her lips.
She jerked away and slapped his chest. “No, no. Uh-uhn, bad boy.”
“Do I get....mercy?”
“Sure, baby. I’m totally sweet like that.” She returned to his neck, taking a fresh bite. He screamed but it exited as a hoarse, girly shrill. His mind zipped back to that day forever ago at age twelve when his uncle showed him the secret of total energy absorption, which would allow him to never get sick, heal rapidly and live forever. Forever? What a joke! His youth spent gathering energy here and there from any passerby had been child's play. He'd waited until the perfect age in adulthood to partake in a total feed, to drain a human of life to prolong and improve his own. He froze. He'd forgotten age. He’d forgotten love. He'd forgotten time, pain and the fear of death. And he felt them all in this moment.
Paris slid off him, wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and licked off the blood.
To be or not to be? “Thank...you,” he whispered as she straightened her dress with a shimmy.
“I know, right?" She waved her fingertips and blew him a kiss. "Bye, Gorgeous. That was hot. Thanks for the party.” She flipped open her phone, and after a moment, said, “Jimmy! Need another clean up, but give him ten...Yes! A spectacular feast...No, not that messy. Thanks so much. Mwah. You’re the best.” She sashayed to the door, hips and arms swaying. She looked energized and refreshed, somehow more beautiful than before.
The taste of their mixed essence clung to his tongue like nectar of the gods. The lights went off, the door closed, and darkness engulfed him, signaling his earthly exeunt. He closed his eyes. His body suddenly felt as old as it was. The minimal blood that was still in his decaying shell pooled in his throat and lungs. He was drowning. His skin wrinkled and pulled taught. His bones splintered and snapped, tearing through muscle. He fell and kept falling into some abyss. He couldn’t scream. He wanted to sing and rejoice. On a bed of ivory satin, he lay dying in agony, and he never felt more alive. To be.
~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.