Josephine’s eyebrows lifted as she listened to her father speak of her mother so intimately. It was absolutely stunning to hear the way her father spoke about her mother with such reverence and love. The love he had for her was so palpable it brought tears to her eyes and she smiled softly. “Oh, Papa…she sounds wonderful. I hope I am half as lucky as you to find a man to love me so…” Her voice trailed off as she looked towards the balcony again, once more reliving the memories of Johan’s hands around her. Perhaps it wasn’t love, perhaps it was. She didn’t know a thing about the man, only the way it had felt to be in his arms as he led her around the dance floor. She felt just as her father had described her mother, that she and Johan were not merely dancing but floating across the floor in their own little world. And the way he had saved her from the hands of Marian had been enough for her to see past he fears and behold a man that had captured her heart and attention. Could she just let him get away when her father sat here describing the wonders and happiness one found when they were in love? No, she could not.
Pushing her chair back, she sprung from her seat and rushed over to peck her father on the cheek. “Please excuse me for a moment, Papa. I wish to get some air.” Picking up her skirts, she then walked swiftly across the dance floor and moved passed the table of gossiping women. When she was outside and saw Johan, her breath caught in her throat. He was so handsome she felt rooted to the spot as shyness and fear took over. When she could finally speak, she stepped closer and spoke so softly she was sure the wind would carry her words away “Why did you rescue me from that man? Why do you look at me from across the room while another is in your arms?”
Out on the balcony, Johan was about to light a cigarette, when he heard the padding footsteps of Josephine coming up behind him. Her words were soft, yet carried through the air with ease.
“Why did you rescue me from that man?”
“Because it was the right and noble thing to do. He is a Vampire after all, and I am sure you didn’t have plans to be undead before the night was through.”
Why do you look at me from across the room while another is in your arms?”
“I am a dancer, and must still do what I am paid too. Surely you would understand this. I am a lead dancer, and am here to entertain the ladies. But can I help it if a beautiful flower was sitting in amongst the weeds of society, and I felt the attraction to stare? If I was too bold, then please, tell me now and I will stop.” Johan said, with an intense gaze. He was looking at her like he was drinking her in, and then just as easily, he turned away, and took a puff of his cigarette.
“You radiate that angelic aura so well when we danced, how was I not to keep my eyes from you, Miss?” He said, taking one last drag of his cigarette, before dropping it and stubbing it out with his toes. He strolled up to her, and then she would be able to smell his manly musk scent.
“If you think Marian is dangerous, I am far worse. It would be easy for me to lure you into my arms, and take you right now on the balcony.” He reached out and picked at a lock of her hair, toying with it between his finger and thumb. He brought it up to his nostrils and inhaled, closing his eyes and then letting it slip from his fingers. So many will try to corrupt you, others will wish to own you.”
He bent his head forward and whispered to her ear;
“What I would do, if my nature ruled my head, is to drink your very essense, the way that the Vampire would drink your blood. You swim with sharks, my little mermaid.”
As reality began to set in, she stepped back from him as her eyes widened in fear. What was this man? If he was more dangerous than Marian, wouldn’t she be dead by now? He spoke of taking her on the balcony, and the very words brought a deep blush to her cheek and made her feel as though she were melting under his gaze. Clearing her throat, she held her breath when his lips fanned his words against her ear. The shivers returned and she felt her body swaying into him. Clutching at the front of his shirt, she lifted her head so her lips were inches from his. Her blue eyes darkened with lust, but there was fear in her voice as it shook “You’ve scented my blood, but you haven’t attacked, shark…why?”
“Because my dear, there is more fun in the chase than simply catching what I desire.”
A simple answer, as he felt her clutching at his shirt, trying to hold herself up. It was clear that she was finding his scent and boldness to be more than an aphrodisiac than any chocolate or foods. Her knees were set to buckle, as the fear in her voice caused her to tremble and quake. He moved to hold her in a dancer’s grip, so that if anyone saw them, it appeared that they were dancing on the balcony.
“So pure…so ripe and full of life.” He said almost breathlessly, as he toyed with her. Johan spoke of her essence, as he inhaled deeply, again like drinking her in. All it would take…would be a kiss. Who could imagine that something so simple, could be so deadly.
Just then Reginald came up behind them, as Johan was about to bend his head to kiss Josephine, but his eyes flickered as Reginald approached. He pulled back, and then released his hold, offering Jo’s hand to her father.
“A Father always has first rights of claim to dance with their own.”
Little did Reginald know, he just saved his daughter’s life.
Josephine whimpered a bit when he moved to adjust her, but she looked at him with a soft smile when she saw that he did not let her go. As his hand when to her waist and he clutched his other hand around hers, she gazed up at him adoringly. She would have given herself so freely to him right then and there if he demanded it. Her hips shimmied to get closer to him, all the while her eyes darkened by lust just stared so openly at him. Josephine so badly wanted him to kiss her, and she closed her eyes in anticipation as she listened to him speak. She could feel him bend closer to her and her heart lurched to her throat. Never before had she wanted a kiss as badly as she did now. Just one taste of his seductive lips…just one kiss was all she craved.
It seemed fate had other plans, however, and Johan relinquished his grip on her to offer her hand to Reginald. Blushing furiously as she realized her father was now present, she wondered just how improper she looked at the moment as she was ready to throw her virtue to the wind for some stranger. The presence of her father had sobered her up quite a bit, she took two big steps away from Johan. She had to get away from his intoxicating smell and touch, had to get away from those eyes that seemed to see right into her very soul. This was all just too much for her, and Josephine turned to look at her father with a weak smile.“Forgive me, Papa…I just need a moment…” Turning around quickly, she fled back into the dance hall as she tried to run from her feelings. How could she be so forward, so wanton with a complete stranger? That man was dangerous, perhaps even more dangerous than that man who had stalked her before, and she could taste it in his smell…Josephine could feel the danger in his touch, but the problem was, she felt the thrill too. The thrill was too strong, and that was where she knew she was in trouble.
As Josephine got lost in the crowd of dancers, she spun around in slow circles as she tried to get a grip on her sanity. Jugglers, fire breathers, sword swallowers, and contortionists surrounded the dance floor as though creating a prison of thrills around the half-angel. She felt trapped in the care-free world of wonders, and she didn’t know how to get out. A man stood in the corner, watching the bewildered girl fight for control in a world of chaos with a knowing smile on his lips. There was such a bright flame in this young woman…but it seemed to flicker under the power of the circus. Stepping forward, he crossed his arms and studied Josephine’s features. No, she was too special to be snuffed from the world by the many dangerous men who lurked within the corners of the circus troupe. When he sensed that she was about to lose her wits, he stepped right in front of her and smiled gently “Are you lost, Madame?”
Josephine looked up at the man cautiously, her face so full of fear it was a wonder she hadn’t been raped or ruined already. With a sigh, the man took her hand into his and she flinched. “Please sir…I just want to get out of here.”
As Josephine flinched, he closed his eyes and breathed in her scent. It was tinged with fear and a little bit of lust, but there was another scent that made him realize it was not aimed at her. Opening his eyes slowly, he just began to chuckle “So, you’ve met our lead dancer, then?” See the look of surprise cross her face, he just laughed openly and pulled her closer to tuck her arm under his. His laugh was so warm and inviting that she found herself smiling in spite of herself. There was no danger around this man’s aura. In fact, he seemed to be genuinely jovial. As he led her towards a table, he began to speak once more. “It is your first time here, is it not?” Pulling out a chair for her, he gestured for her to sit down. When she did, he pushed it in gently and went to take his own seat across from her.
Josephine could only stare at this man. He had such an open and inviting demeanor, she began to wonder what he was doing here. Tilting her head, she smiled slightly “I’m sorry, but what are you doing here…Mr…?”
“York. Jasper York, my dear. And you are?” He disregarded her question for the time being, caring only for her name.
She smiled more as she folded her hands on the table in front of her. Now that Johan was not in her sight, she felt more composed and well at ease. Her manners and charm returned to her as she spoke in her angelic voice “Josephine Blaine.”
His eyebrow perked up at the surname. “Blaine…as in, Detective Reginald Blaine?”
Nodding, her eyebrows knitted together as she asked “You know my father?”
Jasper chuckled and reached into his sleeve “I know of your father, darling. Would you care for something to drink?”While asking if she desired a refreshment, he proceeded to pull a well-aged bottle of wine out of his sleeve, along with two glasses.
Unable to help herself, Josephine began to laugh with glee and clapped “Absolutely!”
The illusionist just smiled and poured them both a glass. Passing her glass over, he raised his own “Ms. Blaine, let us toast to that enchanting laugh of yours…”
Thoroughly won over by this man, the naive Josephine lifted her glass with a joyous smile “And to your smile, Mr. York. But please, call me Josephine.”
“And Jasper to you, Josie.” With that, they clinked their glasses together and took a sip of one of the finest wines in London.
Like a leopard, he started to stalk them from the far walls, watching how Jasper smooth talked Josephine into having a drink with him. Johan’s eyes held a dark hunger and the look on his face was like it had been chiseled from stone.
At a table, one of the ladies that had just entered society a week before, had been knocked back by Johan in favour of Josephine, and had watched as she more or less fled from him and into the waiting arms of Jasper. Seizing the moment, she rose up and pinched her cheeks, to make them rosy, before swanning over to Johan, desperate for his affections.
“That Ms Blaine is foolish to leave such a handsome devil like you alone.” Trista purred, pawing at his jacket with a hungered look. “I can be what you want. If you let me.” Johan stared down at the girl, angry still at losing Jo to Jasper.
“Can you now?” He replied, a cruel smile forming on his lips. If he could not have Josephine, he was going to eat anyways. The girl was no where near as magical as Josephine, but he was now in a killer mood. “My office.” He suggested, and led her out to a back store room. She entered hesitantly, as it was cold, dark and dingy. Locking the door behind him, he slowly started to take off his tie, as she turned around and could see a dark red glow to his eyes. “I…I thought…we could…talk.” She stammered, starting to feel like a rabbit that had been caught in a hunter’s trap. Johan scoffed and threw his tie on the floor.“Now…are you a prick tease? I think you are. You want something you aren’t quite ready for. Let me guess. You’re a virgin.” Now he was sneering, as she backed up against a desk, and dropped her fan. Shaking like a leaf, she said. “I’ll scream…I will.”
Before she knew it he was on top of her, and had her pinned to the desk.
“Not if your dead you won’t”
The shadows on the wall showed the eruption of large wings coming out of Johan’s back, and a long pointed tail, that ripped up through the girl’s womanhood, as his mouth covered hers. There was no scream…no cry…no more breath, as the incubus fed…and fed…and fed.
Later he was seen to emerge from the store room, leaving behind a pile of fabric and a hair pin. Nothing else of the young girl remained.
While a sex-starved Incubus was feeding on a girl in a different room, Jasper was laughing with merriment at the girl across the table from him. Josephine was simply divine and had quite a knack for story-telling. At the moment, she was recalling the tale of how she had fallen from a tree branch that happened to be perched over a couple that were getting rather intimate in the park. Chuckling still, he reached down to take a sip of his wine “Whatever did you do, dear girl?”
Josephine was giggling her darling little laugh of hers as she was becoming quite tipsy from the wine. She was already on her third glass and was beginning to think this man was her savior. Leaning over the table, completely unaware that her bosoms were on display, and giggled “What else could I do? I gave them a dramatic bow and apologized before fleeing like Satan himself was after me!”
Jasper roared with laughter at her exclamation and downed the rest of his wine. This woman was really quite a treat, and a treat he wished to keep safe from being gobbled up by others. Seeing that she perhaps had a bit too much, he reached for her glass and finished it when she was too busy watching the dancers and other spectacles. When she turned around, she pouted a bit and looked at her glass. The illusionist just smiled and leaned towards her “Now you see it…now you don’t. Care for a dance, my dear? I’m afraid it has been a while, so you will have to be patient with me.”
Though she seemed to be doing quite a bit of it tonight, the idea of dancing more had Josephine leaping out of her seat. Rushing over to his side of the table, she took both of his hands in hers and pulled him up. “Allow me to show you!” Pulling him from the table, she led him to the dance floor and turned to look up at him with a radiant smile. “Just follow my lead until you can catch up.” Jasper only nodded as the music began to pick up, and Josephine began to lead them in an fast-paced waltz. They swirled, spun, and swayed all over the floor and her joyous laughter seemed to carry above the music. The illusionist was indeed enchanted by this young woman’s appetite for life, and he couldn’t help but smile down at her gently as they danced.