by Lauren Lionheart

"Isabella" started out as a progressive short story written during my junior year of high school.
(1995... before my sister Isabelle was born, before "Twilight" was written.)
Everytime there was a new assignment in writing class, I'd write a new chapter for Isabella
and my teacher (dear, dear Mr. Morse) would lavish praise upon it.
I respected his opinions because he was always such a hardass, so difficult to please.
Since he graded my creative work so highly I thought I might really have a gift for writing.
I wish we were still working together today.

Her eyes flashed for one cold moment and I felt my heart flutter against my ribs. Despite the threat she meant to impose with that look, I wanted nothing more than to rush into her arms. The way she tried so ardently to be the killer, the demon, the last thing I would wish for, simply made her all the more appealing.

The long auburn hair, stringy and pressed to her cheek, smelled of outdoors. I wanted to run my fingers through the tangles and breathe in the heady mix of flesh and earth, life and death. For, despite my angel’s appearance of vitality, she was merely that: an appearance, a façade of life-like beauty. She was actually a taker of such things. An inhuman predator encased in the delicate flesh of a beautiful young woman.

She seemed to be leaving me in a flourish, but before I could cry out to her, she was before me again, holding my face in her hands, roughly. She glared at me with unforgiving and frustrated eyes.

"Why do you love me like this?" she demanded. "Why do you feed off everything terrible that I am, and still cling to me?"

And of course, I had no answer. Not an explanation existed under God that made sense for the kinship we knew. I looked in her eyes as though I didn’t hear her protests, and wordlessly told her my intentions. I would stay with her forever or die trying, for I could never go back to life without my angel.

Her face suddenly went expressionless, and for one moment I was terrified of what would happen next. After years of these confrontations, it was inevitable that one of two things would occur. Either she would succumb to my cries, or leave me forever. There was no in-between for us and it was maddening to imagine my life taking either turn, yet now the moment of truth seemed to be at hand.

I could feel the tension in us both come to a crest. We stared at each other. Neither making a move, but feeling the situation culminate into a final battle of wills. She could smell my desire as easily as I caught the scent of fresh blood somewhere on her clothes. It was not her own, and not mine…

"What if it’s as I told you, and you become more insane than you all ready are?" she challenged me.

I told her it wasn’t fair to say such things, but she only laughed.

It was true I had teetered on the last precipice of sanity before she came into my life. It was also true that had she not come to me that night it’s very possibly I wouldn’t be here now.

“Please don’t...” I begged her with defeat in my voice, but before I could say another word she was upon me.

I felt her begrudgingly give in to the need, and I was utterly compliant. Nothing had ever felt as good, as thick and luscious as her breasts crushing against mine with her incredible strength, of her piercing my skin and sending a shock through my entire being.

My existence had boiled down to those moments that seemed to last a delirious eternity. My hands were finally in her hair again, holding tightly and pulling her head harder into the crook of my neck. The pain was mixed with so much bliss that it ceased to matter after the initial shock.

Oh, to be ripped open and fall in gushes inside her mouth was all I had ever hoped for! Knowing this was either the end or the beginning made my weakening heart flutter inside me again.

It was being drunk on bottles of wine, and ready to fall into a deep, long sleep. Except that as my sight began to blur and dim I knew I wasn’t falling asleep.

I was dying. I was in her arms and she was finally killing me.

My eyes rolled back into my head and I saw nothing but the darkness. I listened to the quieting thunder of my heart and pictured her face. I imagined her flushed cheeks, and lips ringed in blood, upturn into a victorious smile… that gorgeous demon.

It was only as bursts of color and light exploded in my brain that I realized my eyes were open again and her pale wrist began to drip onto my face. It collected in pools in the sockets of my eyes, and rolled down the sides of my face. I couldn’t even move my mouth to catch the feast. I felt her lift me closer as the blood fell down my cheeks and she pressed her wrist to my motionless lips. It made it’s way into my mouth in spurts and slid down my throat without my swallowing.

Within moments I began to regain my physical capacities and started the feeble sucking. As I gnawed at the wound, the flow increased and came in hot torrents. The dizzy feeling was incomparable: no words exist to describe that exchange. My blood for hers, my life for her.

She groaned once and pulled at my firmly latched mouth on her appendage. I was already so affected by the transfusion that I was able to hold her firmly and keep the flow for a few seconds longer. The thirst was so strong that the only thing of importance was keeping the hot gush for as long as possible.

There was a silent yet indisputable hum that filled my ears and heart and vibrated through my core. I could feel her inside me, changing the very fiber of my body, making my heartbeat return to its sure and solid pattern of contracting and releasing.

And then the shock, as my tongue foraged for more magic, only to find none.

My darling let herself crumple to the ground and held her wrist without looking at me… and she didn’t need to. Her thoughts were so clear to me, even though they took no verbal shape.

I knew suddenly what a moment this was for her, as she struggled even after the fact to justify her actions. I watched her gaze scornfully at the wound that had already healed, and shift her gaze, finally, to me.

It was the first time I had seen her look vulnerable, as if she were going to cry. I had wondered once if creatures like her were able to cry.

"You will find years of crying ahead of you", she assured me, even though it was more effrontery than a promise. Her eyes shone so brightly despite her temporary physical drain that I swore I could see the color of her struggle inside.

She reached out her hand to me, the one that had worked this trick, and motioned for me to sit with her, but instead I pulled her up beside me. Not a moment to waste, even if we were to exist like this forever. Was it forever? I realized that all I assumed from what she was came from the most unreliable sources. Things I had seen or heard over the years, mixed with the things I had actually seen her do.

She felt my curiosity and smiled in amusement. I didn’t know what I was to become, but I had taken the predictable human leap for the sake of love. A bit for my desperation, we both knew that, but much more to be with her.

The smile that continued to blaze from her porcelain face expressed this joy, and assured me all was new. None of the games we had played as mortal and immortal lovers meant anything. This was the first time we looked into each other and knew exactly what was to come. No more worry that she was leaving, no more wondering who would crack first.

It was done, and I was hers.

She took me into her arms swiftly, and roughly pressed her lips to mine. An embrace so forceful would have crushed me before, but now I reveled in the pressure that kept us so close. Even the slight press of her unforgiving teeth made a line of blood droplets across my bottom lip and on the tip of my tongue. It was the first of countless such salty kisses between us, each with an overwhelming passion like that of our first.

I rolled back my neck as we finally lay together as the same creatures. I felt the sting again, and then just the hum… the hot, dizzying hum…