Impatiently, he glanced at his watch. It wasn’t yet time, but he calmed himself. The car would soon arrive and he needed everything to be perfect for tonight. The gigantic grandfather clock in the dining hall struck the eighteenth hour. Its chimes rang through the empty halls and rooms in the house. He had paid…
Impatiently, he glanced at his watch. It wasn’t yet time, but he calmed himself. The car would soon arrive and he needed everything to be perfect for tonight. The gigantic grandfather clock in the dining hall struck the eighteenth hour. Its chimes rang through the empty halls and rooms in the house.
He had paid the staff to take the day off, and do whatever they needed to do before midnight. He had the entire grounds to himself, just the way he liked it.
He walked to the standing mirror to take one more look at himself. He loved the outfit he had chosen for tonight. It was a burgundy velvet jacket with a lapel that was the deepest shade of black, like charcoal.
The combination brought out the colour of his eyes. His irises sparkled when they caught the rays of the light. He turned to his side to examine his profile. The gentle arch of his brow, angle of the jaw, and slim, pointed nose were the perfect match of beauty. Not to mention his golden brown complexion that glistened in any and every light.
There was no mistaking or downplaying his handsomeness. He should know, he had carefully and tastefully acquired every feature. He still remembered the satisfaction it gave him when he heard her first thought after she met him was damn, he is fiiine! Reading minds helped for times like tonight. It was a trick he had picked up along the way.
Other tricks included learning the art of wining and dining a lady. Asking her to have a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner with you at your home. Sending a car with a teddy bear, a box of Swiss chocolates, and a dozen bouquets of a dozen long-stemmed red roses, to pick her up. Then, having red petals usher her into the house when she arrives and lead all the way to the dining room where a table for two has been set complete with a dozen lit candles, even more red roses, and decadent platters full of all the aphrodisiacs known to man.
Dinner would begin with a fruit platter filled with pomegranates, bananas, avocadoes, and watermelon. Then the main dish will start with the oysters and end with roasted salmon with a bed of even more fruits and vegetables and a glass of red wine. And to round it all up, some chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream should seal the deal.
The entire meal would be enjoyed with a soothing playlist that would migrate from some smooth jazz, to cool pop and finally the seductive RnB tunes of either John Legend or Frank Ocean. Everything would be carefully planned out to set the mood for the night, and he was determined for everything to turn out perfectly.
He heard the car arrive.
“Just in time”, he said to himself, and hurried down to meet her.
He had left a note on the front door asking her to follow the petals in. When he got downstairs, she was just entering the dining room, mouth agape, hands flying to cover it.
“Oh my God! Segun! This… This is all so beautiful!” She gushed. He beamed.
She looked stunning in a bright red dress and black heels, a single string of pearls lay round her neck and her hair was tied into a low curly puff over her head. He realised then that she was indeed beautiful, and he knew there was a future there if he wanted it.
“Here”, he pulled the chair out for her.
“Oh! And the presents! My girlfriends were so jealous!” She squealed, ignored the chair, and pulled him into an embrace. She grabbed his face and kissed him long and hard, only stopping because she had to come up for air.
“I love you baby, thank you”.
There it was. She had said it. He had heard it. But he knew she had not meant it. She was close though, he was certain. By the end of the night, she would be there.
They settled into the dinner, and it all went just as he had planned. After the fruit, salmon and two glasses of red wine, he could tell she was ready. He took her upstairs for desert, holding her hand and leading her up the steps one by one.
“I can’t stay long. My girlfriends will worry”.
“Do you want to leave?” He asked her, stopping in front of the bedroom. He was teasing, it was risky, but he knew he couldn’t appear to put any pressure on her. She had to be willing. It had to be her choice.
“No,” she responded quickly and leapt on him again, pulling him into a deep kiss just as before.
She kicked off her shoes and with her back, pushed the door of the bedroom open. She stopped kissing him briefly to take in the size of the room, and he could tell she was admiring the lavishness on display in the room.
She walked straight to the four poster bed, unzipped her bright red dress and let it fall to the ground at her feet. She was wearing a black lacey bra set. It looked new.
“I got it for tonight”, she confessed and lay on the bed.
“Oh baby, you shouldn’t have”, he said. Really, she shouldn’t have, but he admired the effort.
He followed her lead and took off his clothes. He could hear her heart race faster with each part of skin he revealed. When he leaned over her, naked but for his boxer briefs, he could hear the air catch in her throat.
He kissed her bare stomach and her heart fluttered. He made a trail from her navel to her chest with his tongue, then kissed the top of each breast. Every second his tongue stayed on her skin, her groans grew louder and louder. She wanted him.
She stretched her hands and dug her fingers into his curly mass of hair, pulling him closer to her, she sighed as he kissed the nape of her neck and trailed her earlobe with his tongue.
“Please, make love to me, baby. Please.”
This was it. It was time. And just in time too. The grandfather clock had just begun its twenty-fourth hour chime. She was already there. But he still needed a little bit more.
“Do you want me, baby?” He prodded.
“Yes. Yes. I want you”.
“How much do you want me? Tell me just how much you want me.”
“I want you so much. Please, baby. I want you”. She was thrashing about the bed now, clinging to the sheets. He ran a hand over her body, kissed her ear, face, neck.
“Tell me you love me”. He continued.
“I love you, baby”, she said, purring.
“You don’t mean it.” He teased.
“I do. I love you”. Her eyes are closed as his fingers find her nipples and rub them lightly. She is on the precipice. He knows this. But he needs her to go over the edge.
“Look at me. Do you love me?” He asked one last time.
She opens her eyes and he knows what she sees. His light brown irises set into a beautiful face. He knows she feels his fingers tease her skin. Every pore is alive and she is pulsating with desire. She lets everything go and melts under his hold.
“Yes. I love you”. She said, and meant it.
He beams a smile of satisfaction, leans closer to her like he is about to give her a kiss, but instead whispers, “You shouldn’t”.
With the clock’s last chime, hair gave way to fur, fingers gave way to claws and skin gave way to scales. The beast came forth, fangs and all. She screamed but he didn’t hear it. All he heard was her blood rushing in her veins, his teeth tearing apart her flesh and crushing her bones.
The beast saved the best for last; the heart. It was after all the most important part of the ritual. The three hundred and sixty-five day ritual that required finding a girl, getting her to express genuine love and finally feeding on the heart of the one who loved him before midnight on the day of love.
In exchange for this annual ritual, the beast received beauty unlike any the world had ever seen and abilities that surpassed all imagination. He lived like man for a year, moved his mansion in search of his next mark and prepared to set up its Valentine’s Day ritual all over again.