My eyes squeezed shut. I tried to block out as much as I could. Part of me wanted it. The rest of me — the part of me that would usually be terrified and trying to fight, trying to run — had gone from catatonia to disbelief. This wasn’t happening. I was making it up. This was just like any one of my messed up fantasies, except that somehow I’d put myself in it instead of Megan or Emma or Fumiko. It couldn’t be real. I couldn’t believe anything I was experiencing actually was happening — it didn’t make sense, even if my senses denied the truth of my logic.
My disbelief would have been so firm that if Hans had been Melvin, he would have popped out of existence. Would have been, except I couldn’t ignore the contradictory evidence pouring into my heightened senses as they tried vainly to find a flaw in the illusion my denial was insisting I was trapped in.
Hans’ fingers slid over my skin, between my legs, caressing my labia and tracing my slit. I gasped in despite myself: trying to ignore everything didn’t do any good. If anything, it made my sense of touch — or my awareness of the burning knot developing inside of me — worse.
For a moment, or a second, or god knows how long, Hans stroked and caressed and played with me. What was he doing? What was he doing?! He couldn’t be doing what I thought he was doing; what my body told me he was doing — I was finally going totally crazy, wasn’t I? I was in a mental institution, and everything from the vampires to the faeries to Emma and Hans — it was all in my head. Right?
Then Hans started pressing more firmly. One of his fingers rolled back and forth along my slit while the neighboring two pressed and spread, easing my labia apart, letting the middle finger slide inside of me. I let out a strangled moan in response and gave up on thinking. If I was crazy, this was not the time to become sane.
My legs and arms trembled; goosebumps raced up and down my flesh. Hans’ finger stroked inside of me, exploring slowly. His other arm still held me; his hand squeezed my breast. He was leaned in close: He murmured, but between my moans and my ongoing disbelief, I couldn’t understand what he was saying. His accent haunted my ear, unintelligibly sexy.
I didn’t know if I was moaning or sobbing. I’d lost track of the difference between whimpering and breathing. I was dimly aware of Hans’ cock — all too aware, once I realized what it was — erect and hard and pressed against me as he held me close to himself. What was the word? I tried to find the word, as though that inanity would be enough to distract me.
Oh, god, I’d made someone turgid.
Hans shifted slightly behind me, maybe to find himself a better angle — his fingertip found my clit.
I cried out immediately as sensation tore through my insides. I choked back on the exclamation and ducked my face, trying vainly to bury it into my shoulder, but that just let Hans’ accent whisper directly into my ear. I still couldn’t make myself understand his words — but my autopilot didn’t lack for a response.
“Harder,” I gasped. I tried to twist my head toward Hans — it was easier than I’d thought it would be because he was leaning over me — and let my autopilot take over while I just focused on the sensations. “Yes right there.” If I ignored what he was doing to me and just focused on how it felt, it didn’t seem so impossible — or at least I didn’t have to be stuck on the impossibility of it. “Oh god oh god oh…” I don’t know if it was a moan or a wail that interrupted me, but I lost my use of words as Hans slid that finger down and inside of me — and brought his thumb to replace it on my clit: pressing hard and stroking fast while a second finger joined the one inside of me.
Hans’ arm around my torso had pushed my shoulders forward — I buried my face again and bit into my own flesh in a vain attempt to shut myself up. My fangs sank in despite the awkward angle. Those moans couldn’t be me. It didn’t work; barely muffled the cries that escaped me. Hans seemed to take them as encouragement. His free hand released my breast. He reached up and across my body, curling his arm and grabbing a handful of my hair. Then pulled my head aside, away from my bloody shoulder: forcing me to crane my neck sharply to the side and face up toward him. His lips crushed down over mine.
The kiss was hard, fierce, possessive. It didn’t last long before my body spasmed. The knot of heat collapsed in a wave of warmth that overwhelmed me. Hans shifted again, providing me more support with his other arm across my body — holding me up as my arms gave out. My hair pulled painfully; I loved it. He straightened, pulling me upright as well. My legs were crossed at my ankles and my thighs squeezed crushingly around his hand — refusing to respond to me and refusing to let him go.
Hans’ fingers shifted, the two flattening side by side and plunging in and out of me in short strokes that always seemed to end a little deeper than they’d started. His palm pressed up hard on my clit with each stroke. He let go of my hair. Tightened his arm around my shoulders. Growled. I trembled and moaned and tried to ignore the tiny, mortified part of me that realized not all of the wetness running down my legs could be blamed on the still running shower — and then I came again.
This time, it was finally too much. I slumped in Hans’ grasp. My breath came in ragged gasps, and my eyes were squeezed shut painfully tight. My ankles uncrossed. My body shivered despite the hot water and steam from the shower, despite the warmth that seemed to suffuse it.
Hans slowly — carefully — freed his hand. I flinched and jumped as the process inadvertantly brushed parts of me that were far too sensitive, sending spikes of sensation careening up my nerves.
My hands hung at my sides. What had just happened? I wasn’t crying. I wasn’t! My face was just wet from the shower.
My shoulders shook, despite my best lies to myself.
Hans stroked my cheek with the back of his fingertips. I almost choked on a sob. My heightened senses could still smell myself on them. “Abigail,” he breathed. And then, despite myself, I sobbed aloud.
Hans’ body immediately tensed — I could feel it, still pressed against me. “Abigail?” he asked. I could hear the concern in his voice, but I couldn’t comprehend it any more than I could what had just happened. What had just happened. Period, no question mark. I couldn’t deny what had happened, not with my legs still trembling and Hans’ arms still holding me. I couldn’t reconcile it with an entire life of never thinking it would, either.
Hans turned me around; caught my chin and tilted my face toward his. I opened my eyes and looked up at him, ignoring the way the shower spray bounced off our skin and misted my face. Hoping it would cover the tears. Why was I crying?
I don’t think it did. Hans’ concern deepened as soon as he could see my face. “Abigail, what’s wrong?” he asked. “I didn’t hurt you,” he protested with what almost sounded like alarm. “Did I?”
I shook my head. I tried to form some words, but I couldn’t. Even my autopilot seemed to be in hiding. I tried again, and this time I managed three. “I-I’m sorry,” I said.
Hans relaxed almost imperceptibly. If I weren’t still pressed against him, I wouldn’t have even noticed. “I can’t imagine what for,” he said quietly. A small smile tilted the corner of his lips. Maybe he recognized my vulnerability from one of his previous relationships, and was trying to comfort me. Maybe… maybe something else. Maybe he really didn’t know what I meant.
“I’m sorry,” I said again. “You didn’t have to do that.”
Now Hans frowned. “Did you enjoy yourself?” he asked me.
I nodded ashamedly.
“Then I don’t see why I wouldn’t have wanted to,” Hans concluded.
I blinked at him. Opened my mouth, then closed it. He really didn’t get it. I marshaled my thoughts.
I’d always known I would never have a lover. I’d figured out at an early age that no one would want to be with me, that the only way someone would ever even have sex with me was if they were on some power trip — if they got off on humiliating and dominating and controlling another person, and I happened to be the one they raped that night. Even then, I’d known that if there was someone else available I’d just end up murdered instead.
But last night with Emma, I’d realized there was another way it could happen, too. If I started it. If I had something they wanted, or needed, if I forced them into it. Emma had consented. Emma had been attracted to me — I’d been able to feel it through her blood. But how much of that attraction had been because I’d taken her blood? Because she was enthralled by me, now, just like she had been by Mr. Salvatore before? How much of her consent had been because of her craving for the emotional emptiness of being drained? Her own addiction to giving blood?
I didn’t know. I really didn’t, and I’d been doing my damnedest not to think about it — but that was wrong and selfish of me, and I couldn’t keep denying it if Hans was falling into it too.
“I…” I tried to put it into words, and failed again. I knew Hans thought I was attractive. I knew Emma did, too. And that should have been all I needed to explain why they would treat me like that: why Emma would give herself to me; why Hans would take me. But just knowing something didn’t do a damn thing to change how I felt, and I felt like it was wrong for anyone to want me — and since Hans hadn’t been on some crazed rapacious power trip, that meant I had manipulated him somehow. Tricked him into liking me or guilted him into staying with me or… I knew I was wrong. Probably. Possibly. But regardless, I couldn’t help how I felt.
“I’m sorry,” I said again. I looked down, thankful that we stood close enough together that I couldn’t see much — and at the same time far too aware of Hans’ anatomy pressed against mine. I remembered how adamant he had been this morning, when he’d done his best to assure me that his interest in me was genuine. I didn’t want him to think I didn’t believe him. I didn’t want him to know how messed up I was. I didn’t want to make him feel guilty because I was upset that he had wanted to give me pleasure. I made him guilty enough already, what with the whole having died before he could save me thing.
I swallowed and looked up. “I’ve just never done that before,” I said honestly. “I mean: never had that done to me. I mean… I liked it,” I rambled. “And I’m rambling. I’m going to go. Um. I’m going to go make some of those phone calls we talked about. Stop distracting you; let you actually shower.”
I forced myself to smile. Dishonesty always came so much easier to me than honesty. Or what else would you call all the wild stories I always came up with? This was the same: a distraction to get me out safe. “I’m sorry I got emotional,” I said while doing my best to smile like nothing was wrong with me. “And, um, and that I got done before I could reciprocate?” That sounded like something I should apologize for. “And for getting all vulnerable and ramble-y and running away,” I added as I freed myself away from his arms.
Hans let me go — not without a certain amount of reluctance, but he let me go. “You should finish cleaning up,” I continued to babble as I pulled the shower curtain aside enough for me to step out of the tub. “And then make your calls, too, okay? Okay. I’ll let you know how mine go.” I scrambled to the sink and grabbed the bundle with my clothes.
For some reason, I grabbed the crescent moon earrings out of the dish where I’d abandoned them on my first morning as a vampire, too.
“I’m just going to… yes. Fleeing now,” I concluded as I popped open the bathroom door. And then, just to prove to myself — and Hans — that not everything to pour out of my mouth had been a misdirection or placation or lie, I fled.