It was a tragic love after all, for him to end up lifeless in her arms. Blood was still warm on her lips, slick between her fingers, and it stained such a beautiful shade, like mulberry wine. It was easy to see why, without out it pulsing through his veins, beneath his skin, he had turned such an ugly, pallid grey. Still, that did little to dim her feelings, so she pressed a kiss to his cold cheek, leaving a stain behind, an eternal mark of her love, smeared in crimson blood across his face.
That was after, though, and before was always better. Before was a time when love could bloom and blossom like the stunning rose with no mind for the thorns beneath. But, with time, all petals withered and fell, leaving only the sharp edges behind as a cruel reminder of the beauty that once was. So as she laid him down on the silky sheets and slipped out the open window, white curtains fluttering in the breeze, she turned her memories back to before, when she had loved a living man and not a corpse. Licking the blood from her lips, she let a smile crack across them and remembered.
She had seen him first under the spray of sakura blooms after midnight, the moonlight robbing the petals of their delicate pink and turning them to silver instead. He was lying in the grass, an expensive bottle of champagne tucked under his arm, and from that moment, she was entranced. The starlight touched his cheeks with their elegant shimmer while the shadows sunk deep into his eyes. For a long time, she stood at the sidewalk, watching, admiring, inscribing ever detail into her memory so that in such moments of the future, when things turned sour as all things did with time, like wine to vinegar, she could look back and recall the stirrings of rosy, pastel feelings in her heart.
She waited until he was asleep to approach him, and closer, the effect was even more brilliant. He was prettier than anyone she had ever seen, than the delicate flowers overhead and the meandering river at the end of the slope. For a moment, she worried he may have been an angel, fallen or perhaps taking a respite from the heavens. But no angel would allow such a haunted creature like herself to come so close. They knew better than to involve themselves with the obsessive and impulsive, she figured. So she crouched beside him, brushing a few blonde locks away from his lidded eyes. His lashes were dark and sleek, resting high on his fair cheeks, and the slight part of his lips was enticing. Though, the marvelous illusion all fell away when he stirred and awoke, eyes flashing open with some confused panic.
At first, he tensed under her touch, then brushed her hand off and scrambled to get away from her, nearly tumbling down the bank in his efforts. She merely offered a gentle smile and stood, gaze sweeping up and down him once more. While he stared with disgust and fear in his eyes, she did so with admiration and fondness in hers. It was hopeless now; in a single night, just the barest of moments, she had fallen for him. She had chosen him, and there was no turning back from such a thing.
After that fateful night, finding him was easy. She returned to the sakura trees every night after the sunset gave way to twilight. There was only one more encounter there, though. He woke with his head in her lap and her fingers combing through his hair. He slapped her and stormed off, breathing curses and insults quietly enough that she assumed she wasn’t supposed to hear them. But, she did, and they burned just as hot and sharp as the reddening handprint on her cheeks. Still, eyes misty, she only smiled, her heart fluttering in her chest. He didn’t understand, that was all. Once he saw her love, felt it, he would come around. He would offer her everything, in time.
He never came back to the park. He never slept under the cherry trees again. Still, he wasn’t hard to track. She could follow his unique scent back to his apartment, savoring every hint of salt and mint that clung to his skin. Outside his window, high on the fire escape with the wind pulling at her hair, roaring in her ears, she could watch him. And even without the starlight shining down on his face, he was still captivating. So, night after night, she climbed the rickety steps, heartbeat fluttering with anticipation until she reached the the window she knew so well.
It was a balmy night, the night when before blurred into after. The breeze wasn’t chilling but pleasant and gentle. Was that why, she wondered, he left his window open that night? Whether it was the spring weather or an absent whim, she was thankful for it. Crawling in through the window was much easier than the other alternatives she had begun to consider. He didn’t wake when she stepped inside, or when she padded quietly over to his bedside. For a moment, she stood and admired again, just like she had the very first night she saw him, and something stirred deep in her stomach. It was a hunger she had grown quite familiar with over the long years of her life. He could take care of it for her though.
Carefully, quietly, she climbed onto the bed, a knee on each side of his hips. She leaned down, her hair splayed in a dark halo around them against the pillow. Anticipation uncoiling in her chest, making her eager, she parted her lips, ran her tongue over the pristine teeth behind them. Then, savoring the moment, she pressed her fangs to his throat, a spot high over his thrumming pulsepoint. There was the pop of skin being punctured, of veins being punctured, then all she could see was red. He never moved, never stirred, yet blood tricked in thick rivulets down his throat. Greedily, she sucked the liquid from his veins, drained the life from his body, overcome by the heat spilling down her throat and the metallic tang on her tongue.
What ran past her lips spilled onto the bed, slicked the hand beside his head. Even still, as it slowed from a surge to a drip, she licked the remaining droplets from his neck, smearing crimson across his greying skin. And when he finally had nothing left to give, she sat back, satisfied and sated. Even in its own tragic sort of way, it was beautiful. Ghastly and eerie and enchanting.
That was what remained with her when her mind returned to the after, the whirlwind of captivating magnificence of it all. What a wonderful love it had been, petals and thorns in all.