If Beatrice had to pick Lucy Augustine’s most frightening trait, it would be her silence.
It was a strange thing, the way it infiltrated the air: innocuous, at first, until its cold fingers brushed your cheek, like a chilly wind on a summer day. There was always a chance it was nothing, a fleeting bout of unseasonable ill-temper. But more often than not, it heralded an end to the days of sun, and a coming harvest for the unsuspecting herd. The question was: upon whom would the blade fall this time?
It was this thought that forced Beatrice to lower her fork, her cafeteria lunch suddenly less appetizing now that she sensed the shifting weather. Alissa obviously noticed it too: her green eyes were wide and alert behind her fake glasses, her gaze darting between Beatrice, Lucy, and their other two companions. For their part, Teresa and Suzi seemed just as oblivious as ever: the former was still twirling a strand of poppy-red hair around her finger, speculating about a passing couple’s virginity while her bouncy, busty audience giggled. Didn’t they recognize the ice in their leader’s eyes? Couldn’t they feel the frigid quiet enshrouding their table? A part of Beatrice wanted to say something, to risk drawing Lucy’s ire, if only to shatter the awful tension. But that wasn’t the way things were done. When the golden-haired goddess of Helgrove High wished to speak, she would.
“We need a new slave,” Lucy finally stated, glaring at her phone screen.
Teresa stopped mid-joke, sharing a panicked look with Suzi before the latter asked: “Uh, whaddya mean?”
“You know what I mean. A slave. A gopher. An errand boy. Whatever you want to call it.”
“Oh, like Peter,” Alissa suggested.
“Not anymore.” The tyrant’s tiny nostrils flared. “I had to wait a whole hour for him to pick me up on Saturday. That’s strike three. So he’s out.”
“Awwww,” Suzi pouted. “I liked him. He always brought the good granola bars to swim practice.”
“So when you say he’s ‘out,’ do you mean like ‘out-out?’” Teresa asked excitedly. “Like, all the way?”
“That was our arrangement,” Lucy nodded, setting her phone down with a sigh. “Those disgusting drawings of his should be circulating any minute now. Maybe that’ll teach him to stop being such a flake.”
“A furry flake,” Suzi giggled. “No wait, a flakey furry!”
“Gross,” Alissa grimaced. “I swear this school’s perv infestation gets worse every year.”
“Totally,” Beatrice agreed, even she struggled to maintain her smile. This wasn’t her first time witnessing a wayward pawn’s punishment, but it still twisted her stomach to think about. Peter’s only crimes were being a little too infatuated with Lucy, and a little too careless sharing his…artistic pursuits. Did that really warrant being shackled to her whims under threat of social crucifixion? Probably not. But, Beatrice reminded herself, that was just the way the world worked. Either you inserted yourself among the strong, or withered helplessly with the weak. Her own experience had taught her as much.
“So, wait.” The slightest furrow appeared on Suzi’s smooth brow. “Does this mean no one’s gonna do our trig homework anymore? ‘Cause there is no way I can do it. Triangles are, like, the worst.”
Lucy arched an elegant eyebrow. “That’s why I said we need a replacement. Weren’t you listening?”
“R-right. Duh. I just meant, like, we should hurry up and find one or whatever, right?”
Lucy smiled, in that way that Beatrice always suspected was condescending, but could never say for sure. “Don’t worry,” the blonde said. “I already have the target lined up. I just need Bea to pull the trigger.”
Beatrice blinked. “Me?”
“Interesting,” Alissa’s eyes narrowed. “Someone with a She-Hulk fetish, perhaps?”
Beatrice scowled. “Shut up. I told you not to call me that.”
“I’m only teasing. You know I love your tree-trunk legs. I’m sure tons of guys would love to get crushed between them.” The bespectacled pixie giggled.
Lucy smirked. “Alissa’s jealousy aside, she’s not wrong. In fact, I know of one poor simp who’d be a perfect target for you.”
“Really?” Beatrice frowned. “Who?”
Lucy tilted her head forward. “See for yourself.”
Beatrice glanced over her shoulder, and found herself meeting the hooded gaze of a tall, frail-looking boy seated two tables down. Instantly, his dark pupils flicked away, his unruly black hair hiding his expression as he became transfixed by his lunch tray. But the charade hadn’t fooled anyone, and Beatrice felt herself turn scarlet as her friends burst out laughing.
There was no denying it: Levi Ehrlich had been staring at her.
“Oh no,” Alissa cackled. “Oh Bea, I’m so, so sorry.”
“Did you see the way he was looking at you?” Teresa howled. “He was all: hrrmmmgh.”
“No no no no,” Suzi insisted. “It was more like: harmmhhnn.”
The laughter resumed anew. Beatrice turned away with a scoff, only to be frozen by Lucy’s expectant eyes. “Well?” the blonde prompted.
Beatrice swallowed. “Wh-what exactly do you want me to do?”
“Nothing the rest of us haven’t done before. Just give him a little of what he wants, and then use that to get us what we need. If you’re not feeling creative, just say you’re gonna jerk him off or whatever, and snap a pic of him with his junk out. If he doesn’t agree to help us out, we threaten to leak the goods. Easy.”
“Exactly,” Alissa chimed in. “And if memory serves, you two have the same English class, don’t you? So the approach should be a piece of cake, right?”
Beatrice hesitated, unable to resist another look at her proposed victim. Fortunately, the girls’ attention had apparently spooked him: his scarecrow frame was already nearing the doors, his ragged backpack bouncing as he stormed away without a second glance. For some reason, this filled Beatrice with relief, though the effect was short-lived.
“Does it have to be him?” she whined as she turned back to the table.
“What’s the problem?” Lucy asked innocently. “He’s the perfect target. He gets good grades but lacks social skills, has a car but no job or after-school activities, and even though everyone knows who he is, I’m pretty sure he’s never made a single friend here.”
“But he’s so…creepy,” Beatrice protested. “What if he ends up, like, kidnapping me or something?”
“That won’t happen. If he tries anything weird, just say the word and he’s dead. You know I won’t let anyone take advantage of my friends.”
Teresa nodded in agreement. “Lucy’s right. Jokes aside, we’ve got your back, Bea.”
“Besides,” Alissa snickered, “if worse comes to worse, I’m pretty sure you could snap him like a twig. No offense.”
Beatrice shot her a fresh glare, but let the dig slide with a sigh. “I dunno. I’ve never done this kinda thing before. Are you sure one of you wouldn’t—” The rest of her excuse vanished as Lucy’s hand rested on hers. It was always surprising, just how gentle the golden girl’s touch could be.
“Bea,” she murmured. “Have some confidence in yourself. You’re a certified badass—everyone in the school knows it. You’re smart, gorgeous, and probably one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. You’re destined to have everything you want—all you have to do is find the courage to take it. Do you think you can do that? For me? For us?”
Beatrice nodded, lost for a moment in the benevolent glimmer of her friend’s sapphire eyes. “S-sure. Yeah. No problem.”
Lucy smiled, her hand withdrawing like a sunset. “I knew I could count on you,” she said. “Don’t worry, it’ll be easy. That creep won’t know what hit him.”
That was all well and good in theory. But the practice was another matter entirely.
Beatrice shifted uneasily against the desk, trying not to mind the curious glances as her peers trickled into the classroom. Even though Levi hadn’t arrived yet, everyone knew the corner seat was his domain, the perfect spot for a gloomy weirdo to roost. So it must’ve seemed strange for the socially ascendant Beatrice to stake it out before class. She tried on a subtle smirk, hoping a hint of irony would deflect any unseemly rumors from spreading. Of course, Lucy always insisted that the strong needn’t mind the chatter of the weak, a maxim Alissa, Teresa, and even Suzi all followed with ease. But it was different for them—Beatrice was still new to this whole “popular girl” shtick.
And none of it had come easy.
She shifted again, using a yawn to cover for the fact that she hadn’t settled on a pose just yet. To some degree, she knew she was attractive. Her ample, shapely curves, vibrant, chestnut hair, and pretty, unblemished face had earned her plenty of hungry leers and jealous stares over the years, though it hadn’t always been that way. Up through middle school, she’d been the awkward, gangly type, her legs too long, her shoulders too broad, and her eyebrows too prominent to earn more than passing glances or cruel jokes from her classmates. But toward the end of her freshman year, she’d suddenly “gotten hot” as her friends had put it, her body reshaping itself into something she was no longer comfortable controlling.
That didn’t spare her from the consequences though. No sooner had sophomore year started than her social compass spun off its axis, her ability to navigate crowds and cliques completely shot. Forbidden realms suddenly opened with welcoming smiles, meanwhile familiar territories became increasingly tense and strained. Her mere presence seemed cause for comment and controversy, and she could practically keep time by the number of stares caught throughout the day. It was intoxicating, infuriating, and had almost driven her insane. It was thanks to Lucy that junior year hadn’t ended in an asylum.
But, of course, help always came with a price. And now it was time to pay up.
At last, Beatrice glimpsed the top of Levi’s head above the crowd, and she quickly changed her smug smile into what she hoped was an inviting grin. Not that it mattered: for all her pains, all she got was one surprised look from her target, before he immediately shifted course and sat at an empty desk across the room.
So that was how it was going to be. Beatrice exhaled, and resisted the urge to mirror Levi’s glower as she approached him.
“Hey…” she said, trying to match the lilting tone that always got Lucy what she wanted. “It’s Levi, right?”
Despite her gentle approach, Levi tensed as though she’d flashed a knife. “That is my name,” he uttered, his voice surprisingly deep for his waifish body. “What of it?”
Beatrice covered her irritation with an awkward laugh. “W-well, I just realized we’ve had a buncha classes together, but I don’t think we’ve ever really spoken. And, to be honest with you,” she glanced away, affecting her expression with a hint of shyness. “I…have a favor I wanted to ask you.”
Levi likewise averted his eyes, though they remained fixed forward as he spoke. “In all the courses we’ve shared, you’ve never let more than an unlucky glance pass between us. But the minute you want something from me, you don’t hesitate to make it known. All the while behaving as though it were you gracing me with your indulgence. How flattering.”
“W-well, I’m sorry if that’s what you think,” Beatrice deflected. “But I’m not trying to offend you or anything, I just…I really need your help, okay?”
“And why would I offer it? Do you think me so basic as to believe an attractive smile would be enough to ensnare me?”
Beatrice flexed her hands. No wonder this asshole didn’t have any friends: they’d hardly spoken a minute and already she felt like throttling him. “To be honest, I haven’t thought much of you,” she replied, unable hold back the anger searing her throat. “But I figured you would be chill enough to at least hear a girl out before you bite her head off. Or do you think choosing to be obnoxious makes it cool somehow?” She grit her teeth. “You know what. Forget it. I’ll find someone el—”
“Wait.” For a brief moment, Beatrice swore she saw a flash of regret in his eyes, right before their inky placidity returned. “My apologies. You may tell me what you wish.”
Beatrice hesitated, hurriedly reassembling the plan she had discarded only a moment ago. “Um. It’s…I’m having a lot of trouble with our poetry project. I’ve written maybe three of the five, and I’m supposed to present at the end of the week. So…since you did such a good job on yours, I was hoping…y’know…”
“I would complete your work for you?”
Beatrice flipped her hair and laughed. “Well, if you’re offering, I won’t say no.” Levi’s expression darkened. “B-but actually I was thinking more that, I dunno, maybe you could come over and just, y’know, help me workshop some things? It’d be great to have someone to bounce lines off of, especially since we’re supposed to read them out loud and everything.”
“Yes, I’m aware,” Levi grunted, crossing his arms. Again, Beatrice had the burning desire to wring his scrawny neck, but it was easier to resist this time. She could tell the offer of a personal study session was one he couldn’t easily pass up. Which meant it was time to move in for the kill.
“So…what do you think?” she asked, leaning over the desk so her breasts were practically dangling in his face. No man could resist her low-cut pink top and push-up bra combo, and it seemed Levi was no exception. He stared at her swaying cleavage for a full second before looking away, a satisfying blush adding some vitality to his sharp cheeks.
“You’d be doing me a huge favor,” Beatrice pressed. “Both of my parents are gone on business, so there’s no one else to help me. And I’m really, really desperate...”
“V-very well,” Levi uttered. “Now would you please sit down? Our instructor will arrive any moment.”
“Sure thing, Levi.” Beatrice rose and headed back to the empty desk, making sure to throw one last smile over her shoulder. “Anything for you.”
Levi looked like he was choking on his own breath. Beatrice took her seat and resumed the posture of an innocent student, even as she glowed with wicked triumph inside. Once again, Lucy had been proven right: everything Beatrice wanted was within her grasp.
Now she just needed to take it.
Beatrice paced around the kitchen, her hazy reflection flitting across the spotless countertops. Despite being large enough to feed a family of ten, the space was pretty much a pit-stop for pre-packaged meals these days. Of course, Beatrice’s parents still paid to have the floors and appliances scrubbed weekly, and never hesitated to scold their daughter for any crumbs or wrappers she left out in the open. Not that she could blame them: after all, she knew all too well the importance of appearances. Still, on lonely nights like this, she couldn’t escape the feeling that she was a tiny bug trapped in an immaculate dollhouse, scuttling beneath the shadow of its massive owner.
It probably didn’t help that Levi was taking forever to arrive.
Beatrice glanced at her phone, debating whether to send another text or not. It probably wouldn’t do much good: her target was infuriatingly hard to get a hold of, and seemed to only reply to messages when the mood struck him. Which was rare, apparently, despite her flirtatious efforts.
She had to be patient, Beatrice reminded herself. She wasn’t a confused little girl lost in her own home; she was a lioness waiting in her den. Even if Levi’s brusque manners had caught her off-guard, she was still in control. He was nothing, a pathetic loner who pretended to be above everyone else even as he wallowed in the social gutter. She, on the other hand, actually had status, actually had power, and actually knew how to use it. There was nothing to be afraid or ashamed of. This was nature at work.
She just really wished it wasn’t taking so goddamn long.
The ringing doorbell almost caused Beatrice to slip. She quickly recomposed herself, and took her time as she moved towards the front door, pausing for one last checkup in the hall mirror. As usual, she was in perfect form: she had retained the inviting pink top from earlier, but had ditched the bra and traded in her jeans for a pair of soft, yet snug shorts, the kind that rode the line between casual loungewear and slutty, thigh-hugging tease. She doubted Levi had ever seen a girl like this, much less been invited to spend the evening with one. If he was sharper, he might’ve realized the opportunity was too good to be true. Alas, he would have to learn the hard way. Such was life, Beatrice told herself.
“Heeeey Levi!” she called, swinging open the door with an easy grin. “Glad you could make it. I’ve been sitting around all night and I’m, like, super bored.” She shifted restlessly on the balls of her feet, illustrating her point while also putting a little bounce into her chest.
Levi seemed to get the message. “I-I’m only here because you need my help,” he insisted, not even appearing to convince himself. “This isn’t a playdate, or whatever your kind calls it.”
Playdate? Her kind? Woof. The stench of his pretension only got worse outside of school. “Of course,” Beatrice nodded, her smile unwavering. “But that doesn’t mean we still can’t enjoy it. Poetry’s supposed to be fun, right?”
“In a sense…” he admitted, his body radiating tension as he moved past her. It was strange: once he was inside, his focus quickly shifted from Beatrice to her surroundings, his eyes scrutinizing every corner as though wary of what may lay around it.
“Relax,” his host said, wary now that her scheme may have been compromised. “I know it might seem like I’m messing around, but I really am grateful for your help, and I’ll do my best to honor it. Can I get you something to drink? I’m gonna make myself a vodka tonic, if you’re interested.”
“That won’t be necessary.”
“Well, I’ll make an extra anyway, in case you change your mind later. After a few sips, my mixology skills kinda go out the window.”
“Do you often bartend while your parents are absent?”
“Why, you gonna narc on me?” That came out with more edge than intended. She laughed to compensate. “I’m kidding. Sometimes the girls and I will have a drink or two to relax, but we never go super hard on weekdays. Though I’m not against it, so long as everyone promises to behave…”
Levi finally paused his surveying, long enough for Beatrice to capture his gaze. There was something ominous behind those dark orbs of his, but she forced herself to hold eye contact as she sauntered over, drinks clinking in her hands.
“Don’t worry.” She offered a glass. “I can tell you’re one of the good ones. You’d never do anything to hurt me, right?”
Levi made a sound somewhere between a hum and a grunt, receiving his cocktail with an iron grip. Beatrice rose her own glass to her lips, and felt his gaze around her neck as she titled her head back for a long, luxurious sip. God, he was so thirsty for her. It was almost painful. Then again, there was also something thrilling about it, something that made her stomach flutter when she met his eyes again. Maybe the alcohol was already kicking in.
“W-we should probably get to work,” Levi muttered.
Beatrice allowed herself a mischievous smile. “Whatever you say, Levi. I’m at your service.”
Aha. There it was. He was trying to hide it, but Beatrice noticed the erection straining his jeans as he shuffled towards the den. So he liked it when she acted doting and submissive, huh? It figured—guys like him always ended up having the most twisted fantasies. The things he probably dreamed of doing to her at night…ugh! Beatrice took another drink, her face strangely hot all of a sudden.
Fortunately, Levi seemed determined not to notice. He sat at the far end of the couch and began flipping through the pages Beatrice had left out, not even looking up as she settled one cushion apart from him. Sitting right beside her target would’ve been too obvious, but she still made sure to sprawl luxuriously in her seat, her bare legs stretched less than a foot away from him, her torso nestled into the crook of the sofa, daring him to corner her. As if he had the guts.
“Well?” Beatrice asked, the sound of rustling paper starting to grate on her.
Levi frowned. “It’s…difficult for me to make sense of this.”
“That bad, huh?” she yawned. “Well, I’ve never really been a big fan of poetry, so…”
“I don’t believe you.”
Beatrice blinked. “Excuse me?”
“It’s clear you’ve analyzed our readings thoroughly,” Levi observed. “You’ve reproduced the styles and meters of your assigned authors impeccably. But it’s almost as if you’ve done it by accident, or as some kind of joke. Your choice of subject matter and language is laughable, and yet not a line is out of place. If I didn’t know any better,” his eyes narrowed, “I would say your intent is mockery.”
For a moment, Beatrice found herself unable to speak. She sat up and folded her legs, struggling to hide her discomfort behind a wry smile. “Well…shit. Didn’t expect you to say that.”
“What did you expect me to say?”
“I dunno. That it’s garbage, or something.”
“Oh, it is. It definitely is.”
“But it’s not because you lack understanding or intelligence. It’s more like…you simply refuse to utilize them.”
Beatrice swallowed. She went to take another drink, only to realize her glass was already empty. “Are you saying I’m failing this class on purpose?” she growled.
“More or less. Though perhaps not consciously.”
Beatrice chuckled humorlessly, the anger she’d felt in the classroom rising again. “Right. Because you’re such a good judge of character. You’re so smart, all it takes is one stupid homework assignment for you to become an expert on me, is that it?”
“It wouldn’t take an expert to see that your struggle is with actualization, not academics. It’s as obvious as the fact that you don’t really need my help.”
“Oh yeah? Then why the hell did I invite you over? Because it sure as hell wasn’t for your company.”
For a moment, Levi’s expression went blank. He turned away, seemingly lost for a moment, before at last taking a cautious sip of his drink. “I’m not sure,” he said, his words soft and slow. “About you. About…any of this.”
Beatrice closed her eyes and bit her traitorous tongue. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to go aggro all of a sudden it’s just…” she laughed. “You’re kinda intense, you know that?”
“Is that how you see me? As…intense?”
Among other things, she thought. “I guess,” she said, subtly shifting closer. “You always seem so…serious. I mean, you tore into my poems like they were crimes against art. But this is just a high school English assignment, right?”
For once, Levi didn’t tense as she drew near. Instead, his gaze remained distant, clouded by thoughts unreadable. “I suppose…it just seems like a waste,” he said.
“Woof. See? That’s exactly what I’m talking about. You gotta learn to relax, dude.” She hesitated, then brushed a strand of hair from his brow. “You’d actually be pretty cute if you lightened up a little.”
Levi searched Beatrice’s expression, as though convinced she was bluffing. But she had spoken honestly: maybe it was the alcohol, or a trick of the light, but up close, without his trademark glower…she had to admit, his face wasn’t totally unpleasant. In fact, with his clean jaw, symmetrical features, and slightly pouty lips…Levi could probably pass for attractive, if he put some effort into it.
It was almost a shame she had to break him.
She moved her hand from his hair, letting her fingers skim his cheek. He bristled, but didn’t pull away.
“Sorry,” she murmured. “Should I stop?”
“N-no. It’s fine.” He swallowed. “What I mean is…it’s…er…it’s just...”
“Just that a girl’s never touched you before, right? Not like this, anyway.”
“Well…that’s…not exactly true.”
“Oh?” Beatrice arched her eyebrows. “Then I guess you already know what comes next.”
“What—” he started to say, but didn’t make it any further before her lips pressed into his. She felt his body go rigid, and then, like a dam breaking, he became a cascade of motion and passion, one hand pulling her closer as the other grasped her face. Her mind went blank, the sudden sensation of his touch stifling her instincts, his tongue sliding into her mouth before she knew what was happening. He tasted sweet, and moved with an aggression and confidence Beatrice never would have expected. It made her light-headed, and took a surprising amount of strength to break free.
“Is everything alright?” Levi asked, a strange note of danger in his voice.
“Y-yeah,” she assured him, trying to sound unfazed even as she wiped a shaky hand over her lips. “I just…wow…didn’t, um, didn’t think it’d be like that.”
“It’s not all I have to offer,” he replied, his eyes shining. For a moment, Beatrice was frozen, like prey trapped by a predator’s gaze. But she stood before he could get any closer, backing away with an uneasy laugh.
“Oh, don’t worry,” she said, reorganizing her scrambled thoughts. “I will…definitely take you up on that. But first, I gotta grab some, uh, some protection from upstairs. Why don’t you…get yourself ready while I’m gone? I promise to make it worth your while.”
“Of course,” he nodded. “Though I’ll admit, you have made me rather…impatient.”
Beatrice opened her mouth to retort, only to turn away when he began undoing his belt. She hurried out of the room, her heart racing as though she had just escaped certain death. It wasn’t until she was halfway up the stairs that her body and mind finally slowed, allowing her pride and frustration to catch up.
Just who did that asshole think he was?
Beatrice growled as she marched into her room, stomping in circles as she pretended to “look for protection.” Levi was probably having a hearty laugh downstairs. He must’ve felt pretty slick, acting so vulnerable and nervous only to turn the tables the moment she let her guard down. No doubt it was a move he’d learned from some pickup artist or something. She would bet money he practiced in front of the mirror before coming over. He probably thought she was hooked. Probably thought she was easy. Like everyone else did.
Well, he was about to get a nasty surprise.
After taking a few deep breaths and determining that enough time had passed, Beatrice crept back down the stairs, careful to not make a sound as she readied her phone. If her timing was right, she should be able to snap a photo of him and send it to her friends before he even suspected she was watching. Then the trap would be complete, and he would be hers to do with as she pleased.
Not that he would ever please her, Beatrice reminded herself.
She held her phone up as she approached the den, determined to seize the first chance she got. Even if Levi didn’t appear especially strong, there was something vaguely threatening about his presence, something that convinced Beatrice she would only get one shot, and that she couldn’t risk what would happen if she failed.
So she held her breath. And poked her head around the corner.
It took a moment for the camera to focus. Then Levi’s naked form filled the frame. He was as skinny as she imagined, all jagged bones beneath a layer of wiry muscle. Despite this, his cock seemed surprisingly vigorous, the flushed, stiff shaft bobbing restlessly as he paced. She couldn’t say whether it was larger than average or not, but it was still oddly…distracting. For all her preparation, it wasn’t until he absently stroked the prominent appendage that she snapped back to attention, stifling a startled gasp as she took the photo.
The shutter clicked in the darkened hall.
“Beatrice?” Levi called. “Was that you?”
Beatrice ducked out of view, a torrent of panicked curses racing under her breath. What a stupid mistake, to forget to silence her phone ahead of time. It was only further proof of what a maddening debacle the evening had become. But that was about to change. If she could just send this photo to Lucy, then…
Beatrice froze, blinking in disbelief at her screen. Something was wrong. The picture hadn’t turned out right. The background looked as it should, but there was a…glitch, or corruption, or some kind of electric interference over where Levi was standing, hiding him in a cloud of distorted pictures. Of all the times for her phone to be on the fritz, it had to be now. With shaking hands, Beatrice readied the camera app again, lifting the phone and peeking around the corner for a second shot.
What she saw set her teeth on edge. The glitch had somehow spread to her camera as well: even though she knew she was looking right at Levi, all she could see was a storm of fractured color. She tried changing her position, no longer worrying about getting caught, just searching for any angle that would reveal her target.
“Beatrice?” a rumbling voice asked.
Her eyelids fluttered. Strange. That had sounded like Levi’s voice and yet…different. It was like she had felt the words instead of heard them, their warmth passing over her skin like the first breeze of spring, gentle and inviting. The tension in her body eased, her phone arm lowering…
…Allowing her to see the source of her troubles.
Levi had changed.
No, that wasn’t it. It was more like he’d…blossomed somehow. As if the boy she had glimpsed earlier was just a seed, a skeletal cocoon waiting to break open, and unleash the miraculous creature inside. Gone were his wan skin and reed-like limbs, replaced by an imposing figure of impossible darkness, a masculine form made from swirling, impenetrable shadows. Streaks of starlight formed the contours of his body, like galactic rivers flowing through muscular valleys. He was at once stillness and motion, the darkness and light shifting constantly, yet gradually, as impossible to follow as it was to ignore. Beatrice could feel her gaze drawn in by its majesty, and might’ve stood there staring forever…
…Had it not been for his face.
It was still Levi. She recognized this, somehow, even as he no longer resembled any human she had known. In fact, he didn’t resemble anything: his features seemed to exist on the same cosmic plane as his body, their dimensions always shifting, irresistible beauty their only constant. His eyes were the sole exception: they remained fixed in place, blazing with a radiance Beatrice had never experienced before, a light so blinding as to be blacker than night. She couldn’t understand it. Couldn’t look away from it. And couldn’t resist its power.
Without a word, he called to her, the gravity of his constellations impossible to disobey. Her feet moved in slow, automatic steps, her mouth falling open in wonder as her phone slipped from her grasp. She didn’t even flinch as the plastic clattered against the floor. She was no longer in control. The darkness was. And she was helpless before its whims.
Yet as she drew within reach, a part of her instinctually recoiled. In the recesses of her heart, a voice called for her to flee, to break the chains around her mind and escape the shadows before they consumed her. But then the shadows spoke, and silenced the thundering drums in her ears.
“Be not afraid,” the darkness said. And she wasn’t. Her body obeyed as if her own soul had commanded it, her tiny spark of fear extinguished in an instant. The remaining tension in her body slipped away, her her shoulders slumping as her head listed forward with a sigh, a string of drool trickling down her drooping chin. She felt helpless and naked, completely at the mercy of the forces that had captured her. Yet as a dark, warm hand cupped her face, it wasn’t terror that caused her veins to tremble; it was…it was…
“You are safe,” the soothing shadows purred. “I have not come to harm you. I am here to give you what you want, what you have always desired.”
“What…I…want?” Beatrice repeated. Her thoughts were too dim to comprehend the words, yet she trusted that they were the truth, as irrefutable as the cosmos swirling in her head.
“That’s right,” the galaxies hummed as a thumb traced her dripping mouth. “You wish to become mine, to taste my pleasures and be ruled by my power. This desire lies at the very core of your being, and it flows into every inch of you, growing stronger with every beat of your heart and breath from your lips. You feel it don’t you?”
“Yesss….” Beatrice answered. Her insides burned with hopeless yearning, the fire growing brighter the deeper into the darkness she fell. She felt the shadows snake beneath her shirt, grasping her soft, pliable flesh, tweaking and teasing her trembling nipples. A shuddering whine crawled from her lips, the pain and pleasure suffusing every inch of her. Yet she wanted more. She wanted everything. She wanted to be enveloped by the night, to be swallowed and filled until there was nothing else left.
“Good.” The word rippled like a euphoric pulse through her mind. “Then open yourself to my will. Surrender to me, and proclaim me your Master.”
“Yes…I…” Beatrice’s breath caught, as though trying to stop the words from forming. But she couldn’t resist for long, no more than she could stop the arousal soaking her panties.
“Say it,” the darkness commanded.
“I surrender…to you…my Master.”
Her reward came swiftly.
At first, Beatrice couldn’t comprehend what was happening. Her pupils rolled back, her heavy eyelids fell closed, and yet she could still see Him clearly, in every dimension of her mind’s eye. Then she felt His embrace, and stopped trying to understand. How could she? It was beyond anything her pitiful body had experienced before. Ecstatic sensations seized her from every side, like the touch of a million lovers claiming her all at once. It was overwhelming, inescapable. She felt Him enter her pussy and fill her mouth, her cries muffled and then silenced as He poured into her, until she was overflowing with delirious joy. He was taking her, in every sense of the word. All that Beatrice was belonged to Him: she writhed in worship of His power, came again and again in mind-shattering supplication. Her tits, her ass, her mouth, her cunt—they were all merely instruments of His will, vessels for the pleasure He created. She was used. She was loved. She was consumed. She was remade.
She was in bed.
At least, she thought she was.
Her body twitched as the darkness receded from her naked form, the sensations of her Master fading, sweat and stickiness still clinging to her skin. She wanted to see Him, to roll over on the soaked sheets and beg Him to stay. But her muscles remained immobile, weighed by a fatigue heavier than her frail will could manage. The more she struggled, the deeper she sunk into the mattress, deeper towards irresistible slumber. For a moment, she was terrified, fearing that the favor of her Master would fade along with her consciousness.
Yet as sleep clouded her vision, she felt His power linger inside her. It was still there, weaving itself into her heart, into her mind, becoming a piece of who she was. Its presence was comforting, reassuring. And it allowed her to at last yield to the needs of her exhausted body, and slip into a deep, peaceful sleep.
Levi sat hunched at the edge of the mattress, his breath coming in strained, rapid gasps. The thrilling frenzy of his power was receding, his wretched, human form returning along with a cold, sober realization:
He had fucked up. Big time.
How had he let things get this bad? Hadn’t he made himself a promise? Wasn’t it supposed to be different this time?
Perhaps his adversary had been right all along. Perhaps demons were beyond change. Perhaps this was the way it was always meant to go.
Levi turned to his victim, his gaze searching desperately, as if he could somehow be mistaken about what had just occurred. But of course, the truth was plain as day, as undeniable as the crest forming above her still-glistening snatch.
Beatrice was now his servant. And he was almost certainly doomed.