They walked up the stairs and into a territory that made Scarlet uncomfortable. She had left the other women and entered the ring of torture and blood. Clara’s grip on Scarlet’s hand was tight as she pulled Scarlet through whichever path she could find. The floor was wet here, but Scarlet didn’t look down to acknowledge why.
The vampires around her were feeding on the fear of their victims, and women begged for their lives to no avail. Scarlet wished she would’ve listened to Lady X. This side of vampires wasn’t something she could stomach.
Even though she had dealt with dead women and bled them, she had never done this. Never once had those women begged for their lives. This scared Scarlet, and a rush of emotions filled her head. She could feel the sting of tears, and she knew she needed to stop them.
Her fear made her break away from her surroundings. She thought about playing the piano, the cool calming tones of the Moonlight Sonata pounding in her head. She let those powerful notes take her over. She just went deeper and deeper inside herself, letting the sound of the sonata wash away the world she rejected.
She could see the torture that went on around her, but she looked straight through it. It was as if she walked through a hall of ghosts, everything made of smoke. She imagined she was in that small little room from her memories. The way the light filtered through the heavy curtains, her grandfather at her side as she played for him. The notes were slow and dark, deep, and full of emotion.
Clara left her standing near the railing when they reached the top. Scarlet looked down at her sister. She knew Lesley loved it here, but she didn’t belong. Scarlet could see a smile on Lesley’s face that she was supposed to be hiding. This was the trademark of an inexperienced doll, one with no future in this dark place.
Lesley looked up when she saw Scarlet’s stare. Scarlet wore a fragile pout as if she longed to cry, but was incapable of producing tears. Her perfect expression was frighteningly beautiful. It was like the face of an angel coveted by the darkest of demons, trapped here in this hall of sin. Scarlet could see from the slow parting of Lesley’s lips that Leslie was in awe of her, but Scarlet felt nothing.
The light from the crystal chandelier near Scarlet made her skin sparkle. Her finger slowly went up to kiss the surface of her blood red lips. She hoped her sister would recognize her perfectly manicured nails from their outing the night before. She wanted Lesley to see the girl that was hiding inside this beautiful facade. But she didn’t. All Lesley could see was Lady Rose.
Scarlet felt the Count’s hands slip around her waist, and she now knew it was he who had beckoned her here. She had memorized the weight of his fingers and the shape of his body as it pressed against hers.
His breath was hot on her neck. Blood dripped from his chin and tainted the pure whiteness of her skin. Closing her eyes, she turned her head slightly to the side and let him sink his fangs into her flesh. His bite was gentle. His eyes shut tightly as his hands caressed the hard fabric of her corset.
Scarlet’s lips were parted. Her breath deepened as she took in the pleasure his magic provided to ease her pain. Her body felt light. She bent forward slightly. Slowly, her hands slipped down her torso and felt around for his. She wanted to feel his hands and follow their path as they explored the curves that excited him.
When he felt her hands, he linked them in his and slowly pulled away from her. She turned, a slow smile filling her lips as she gazed into his eyes. With a wet mouth, he kissed her. It was a greeting so passionate that she felt they were the only ones in the room. She could taste her blood and was feeling dizzy from the loss of it.
Holding up their joined hands, the Count looked lovingly at her. It was something he had never done before. Her heart raced as she stared at him with hungry eyes. His face gradually bent closer and closer until his lips kissed the surface of her ear.
His voice was seductive, so low only she could hear. “What are you doing here?”
She wiped some of the blood that lingered on the corner of his lip. “I heard the devil was here.” Her tongue licked it slowly from her finger as she sent him a wicked smile, “And like a bad girl, I snuck into his den of sin, because I couldn’t resist getting a glimpse of his face.”
When she flirted with him, he didn’t come back with a rude remark. This time, he encouraged her, “I’ll break your wings and drag you to hell, my princess.” They both shared a devilish laugh. The Count held onto her hips as his nose rested against hers.
“If it means being trapped in the arms of the devil, I’d commit any sin to stay here.”
He raised a hand to her cheek. “You, little girl, are a distraction. And I’ve gotten you so…” The next word came out in a deep, seductive tone that made her giggle, “Dirty.” Removing his hand, a more serious tone lined his voice and ruined her romantic moment, “Why are you really here?”