She called for me. She always does, in the darkness of every night. And like a faithful pet I always obey and come to her side at every beck and call.
Her chambers are on the third floor, I always know they’re hers by the golden Order of the Dragon crest on the doors. I knock three times, like I’ve done so many times before, and wait. Autumn has returned to Wallachia and the trees have begun to change color, the air has bite to it. Soon it’ll be winter, and with it will be my beloved’s memories of her father. My heart sinks at this – it hurts to see her grieve for the man she looked up to her whole life.
“Come in, Briar,” she calls.
My heart stops at the sound of her voice: silver with the accent of Romania. Her voice always turns me into a pool of howling humanity, making me salivate like the German wolf I am. But nothing – nothing – makes me swoon like the sight that awaits me when I enter the room.
She stands at the window, clad in a black negligee that falls short against her thighs, her long midnight-black hair falling to the small of her back. When she turns and penetrates me with a gaze from her bright, wide green eyes, I fall to one knee before her. I am in awe of her, my vampire lover. My Voivode. “Voivode,” I say.
My beloved, the daughter of Vlad Tepes, the great Elena Dracula, smiles and glides over to me. She leans forward provocatively and kisses me. She tastes of blood and wine. “Let me brush your hair, my love,” she says as she stands me up and leads me to the enormous four-poster bed she rarely uses. We sit with Elena behind me, her hands gentle as she runs a brush through my long white hair. This is her bedtime ritual, another form of the giving we share. We’re quiet as she brushes, thinking our separate thoughts. I think of the night I first lay eyes on her: she, wearing black armor that was still smoking with the blood of her fallen enemies, riding through the gates of Auschwitz on a giant black horse, the mighty Voivode of Wallachia. I gave her my heart then, this beautiful vampire girl who looked nineteen but was in fact ageless. Nothing has changed and nothing will. Our love is eternal.
We recline on the bed once she braids my hair, her hand cool on my hip, her mouth gentle as we kiss in the dark. Some nights we go beyond this but right now I’m content to just lie here in her arms.
“Briar?” Elena whispers.
“Ja, my Voivode?” I return.
“Tell me what you’re thinking.”
I rest my head on her shoulder and she begins stroking my hair. “I’m scared,” I admit. She raises a thick black eyebrow. “Of what?” she wonders.
I sigh. She knows me so well, my Voivode. “I’m scared that in the next twenty or thirty years I’ll lose you,” I confess. I know it’s foolish to even think it, but I do.
She chuckles heartily and all of my fears evaporate. “You’ve nothing to fear, my Briar-Rose,” Elena establishes. She kisses my forehead. “We’ve been as one for sixty-eight years, haven’t we?” She grins, her fangs gleaming in the dark, and she climbs on top of me with her long slender hands on either side of my head, her long muscular legs against my hips. She kisses me the way I love to be kissed, slow and deep and profound, she smiles as she moves to kiss my neck.
“I love you, Briar,” she says. “I’ve always loved you and I always will.”
We kiss again and I pause to feel her back beneath the negligee. God, she is so soft and supple: her smooth and cool skin marred by the numerous scars she retained in several centuries’ worth of wars. Heaven, she feels like heaven.
“I love you too, my Voivode,” I say in her ear. She rolls away from me and spoons herself against me, biting my ear gently. I smile to myself – was this love?
“Dawn comes,” she whispers. “Stay with me while I sleep. I want to wake up with you waiting for me.”
I look up at her adoringly. I’ll do anything she asks me to do – so long as I can do this some more, so long as I can have her rose scent imprinted on my skin and later drenching my wolf pelt. “If that’s what you want,” I say. She smiles against my shoulder.
“I will always want that, Briar,” whispers Elena.
She also tells me that she’ll always need me too, while we hold each other in the darkness. But she is wrong. She doesn’t need me as much as I need her. I need Elena Dracula like mortals need air to breathe, need her strength and beauty like they need food and water to survive.
As dawn breaks Elena retires to her coffin for sleep, my Snow White awaiting the kiss of true love. And I sit beside it, like the loyal wolf I am, waiting for the night to come again, for the touch of my Voivode’s hand.