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She leans against the castle’s stone window sill, just out of his reach. Her head is held high, her eyelids heavy with relaxation over those startling blue irises as she peers at the Romanian countryside as if in deep thought. Every position her body is in, from the delicate position of her soft white hands, to the subtle crossing of her legs, was carefully created to portray a powerful but yet feminine presence.
The young artist tries not to look too long at this royal beauty – only as long as what his job calls for. He immerses his brush in the midnight black paint, swirling it around on his canvas to create her curtain of inky curls down her slender back.
The Romanian princess looks at him briefly, flicking her gaze towards him for a half second, not once breaking her pose. His breath hitches in his skinny chest at their eye contact, and her lips turn upward in a slight smirk at his reaction.
“Please stay still,” he whispers, his voice hoarse. But he knows she has not moved a hair – she is too composed for that.
She grins a little at his nervousness, but continues to hold perfectly still, almost statuesque, reverting her gaze to back out the stone window.
His brush moves across the canvas lovingly. He dips his brush in bone white paint, mixing it with a touch of ivory, creating a perfect match to her alabaster skin. The contrast between her dark hair and snowy complexion is achingly beautiful.
He uses a blooming shade of red for the rogue on her cheeks and to color her full lips. He captures the light in her blue eyes perfectly, the curve of her regal cheekbone perfectly, the slightness of her waist perfectly. It is almost intimate the way he gazes at the princess and proceeds to caresses the canvas with his brush, as if it was her skin.
He paints her gown, a piece of artwork itself, with deep purple, the color of royalty. His painting is taking form, and he briefly wonders where it will be placed. Perhaps in the King’s grand hall, as his favorite portrait of his favorite daughter? Perhaps in the castle’s foyer, so her beauty will be the first thing a visitor to Lonyai Castle sees upon arrival? Perhaps in her bedchamber? He swallows thickly at the thought, aware of her once again watching him again out of the corner of her eye.
She angles her head slightly higher, exposing more of her long, pale neck. He feels his face grow hot, and wonders if he is imagining the sarcastic little laugh she lets out. Her eyes gleam wickedly at the spell she has over him. Oh yes, she has played this game before. Her ruby colored lips curl up into a deeper smirk as the young artist looks away hurriedly.
She is so beautiful. But yet, untouchable.
The artist adds the finishing details now. He creates the shadows formed by her regal cheekbones and the light reflecting off her soft skin. He dips the tip of his brush into a deep gold, and then paints the thin rings on her fingers, the crucifix worn around her neck on a chain to protect her from Romania’s legendary vampires and beasts, the jewels dangling from her ears. Then he depicts the tiny circlet of gold resting upon her dark mane that signifies her royal blood.
“You may rise, Your Highness.” he says softly when the painting is done. She smiles in relief and rotates her neck, sore after sitting so stiffly so long.
“Thank you.” she says, and her voice is like music. Slow and sultry…oh so tempting…
Stop it. He can’t ever have in her in that way, no matter how deliciously she tempts him. She is royalty…he would be killed on spot for that act.
He nods nervously in response, his long fingers collecting and closing his many pots of paint. He places them in his leather bag carefully, and then works on picking up the array of brushes. He refuses to look up at her again.
“Are you thirsty?” she asks politely after a minute or so, watching him work. Her face is expressionless now, completely still.
He nods, not trusting himself to speak to her. The princess rises with the grace of a songbird, lifting a nearby pitcher of water. He does not know why she cares for his thirst, but accepts it gratefully. Clean water is not an easy thing for a person of his class to obtain.
She pours it, leaning over delicately. Her dress’s neckline falls open slightly more.
“Thank you, Your Highness.” he mutters, daring to look up into her eyes. Her perfect brows are arched far too coyly to be innocent, and her lips seem almost curled. He looks away quickly. It is not right for him to be alone in this grand room with her now. It is not proper.
She pours herself a cup as well, her body moving fluidly. Perfect grace. Perfect posture. Perfect refinement. Her goddess-like perfection seems to cause him physical pain deep in his stomach.
She takes a long sip, her sapphire eyes not leaving his, until he at last turns away. The artist’s cheeks bloom in embarrassment again, and the silence – awkward on his part, but mysterious on hers – seems almost deafening.
“Look at me.” she says smoothly, and there is a light thump as she sets her cup down. The boy looks up nervously, not knowing what to say. She has moved to in front of the lavish wood-framed bed, and her long, pale arms are stretched out, beckoning him towards her.
He can’t take this risk. He knows that. But the pain she causes with her beauty is too much for his young mind. He walks – stumbles, rather – towards the princess.
His quivering hands reach up as if to touch her, but he falters at the last second, his hand dropping to his side.
She giggles once, girlishly, and he likes how her eyes crinkle at the corners when she laughs.
“Don’t be scared,” she smiles, pulling him closer by her wrists. “I won’t hurt you.”
It takes only a few seconds for her to fall backwards on the plush velvet comforter, bringing him with her so that the artist now hovers over her. He is close enough to feel her soft breath on his face, and it sends ripples of need cascading through him.
He freezes, knowing he is on the brink of no return now, and she smiles again. The same crinkles around her eyes, and a light pink blush feathering up over her cheeks – the first display of any vulnerability she’s shown. He can’t help himself anymore.
He gives in.
“Did you enjoy my chase?” she asks, her voice like honey. Her brows arch again in amusement as he stares at her. She likes how the village boys squirm and shake uncomfortably when faced with her ethereal beauty. It gives her a sense of power. “Be honest.” Her lips caress the words slowly, and she reaches behind her back to loosen her corset’s ribbons.
What does she mean? He wonders for a second.
I don’t understand. She has it all wrong.
He brushes the thought off, and instead focuses on the princess lying before him. He lets out a shaky sigh, his long painters’ fingers reaching out to trace the line of her jaw and trail down the smooth curve of her silky white neck, eliciting soft sighs from the princess. His fingertips brush over the soft pulse point and she stiffens slightly. Her toes curl. Her fingers go up to touch the cross around her neck that is supposed to protect her.
Perhaps she senses something already. “A-are, you going to kiss me?” she says softly, impatience lacing her words. She lifts her head to bring those perfect lips to his.
“Oh Princess, I’m going to do far more than that.” The artist says huskily, his shyness disappearing as his desire for her grows.
He leans forward to meet her blue, blue eyes. She shrinks backwards now, recoiling as his own irises, no longer brown but now blood-red, swell as if to pierce through her soul. In a matter of seconds, the roles have reversed; from predator to prey.
And he smiles. His razor sharp teeth glint in the torchlight. “You tempted the wrong village boy.” he hisses, roughly kissing her lips. He trails his mouth down her swan-like neck feverishly, feeling her tremor with terror underneath his own body. It thrills him.
She screams as his fangs sink in.