Elizabeth had known him now for over a decade. Matthew first appeared to her in her dreamland, just after she turned ten. Surprisingly, he seemed more like an imaginary friend than anything to her, which was normal at that age. He let himself be seen to her as a playmate her own age, and he grew up with her. When she turned 13, he was 13. When she turned 16, he was 16. It was only when she turned 18 years old did he reveal himself. He loved her.
Her dreams were always perfect; if she was happy when she faded into slumber, he would play games with her and have tickle contests, things children do. But as she grew into her teenage years and started to have more heartache, sometimes he would appear in her dreams sitting next to her on the edge of a pond in the middle of the night, and he would listen to her troubles. He was the perfect best friend, and he wasn't even real. It was because of Matthew that she had few real friends and not a terribly high amount of boyfriends, either. She seemed sort of a loner, but Matthew was all she needed.
As time went on, she wondered about her sanity. How on earth could she dream about someone for what was now seven years that didn't even exist? She could not remember a night she did not dream, and she could not remember a dream without Matthew in it. Her dream self never thought to ask him why he was "haunting" her - she did not want to make him go away. She wanted him to stay in her dreams forever. After all, he was perfect; standing at just a few inches shy of six feet in height, piercing grey eyes, and what seemed like the most welcoming body she had ever seen on a person of the opposite sex. She could recall back to a few times in her young teenage years that she had fallen "deeply in love" with him - but, like all the others of her many years, he was just a crush and after a few weeks of batting her eyelashes at him and touching his shoulder and playing with his curly hair, he faded back into a good friend. It was better that way, anyway.
Matthew was just beginning to wonder what he would think of her if he revealed himself to her. It was a few weeks before her eighteenth birthday, and he did not appear in her dreams that night. He was there, but he was hidden. Elizabeth was devastated. This was the first time in almost 8 years he had left her alone. She woke up and she cried for a good hour before she rushed to get ready for school. What had she done? Why had he left? She needed him. He couldn't just leave her!
Just as she was slipping her shirt over her head and wiped one last tear from her eye, she felt that familiar pulling sensation that happened to her just as she fell asleep at night. The doctors had said this was probably because her brain liked to "hiccup" when going from "awake mode" to "sleep mode"; it was normal. She almost fell to the floor with sudden drowsiness, but somehow she felt something hold her up long enough for her to hear Matthew say, "I did not leave you. Do not worry, Elizabeth. I am not going anywhere. I will meet you in your dreams tonight." and she fell to the floor. She felt another sensation, this time a lifting one, as she found her energy rushing back into her. She felt a sudden surge of elation and she jumped up, giggling to herself. Matthew had not left!
He watched her jump and skip about her room through the smallest crack in her closet. This was the way he watched her during the day. She was so beautiful to him - more than a picture of perfection. He had not seen beauty like this in his 300 years of life, nor had he felt this love. She was so perfect. He watched her turn her back to him and noticed a small red spot on her white shirt... oh no. He reached his hand up quietly and wiped his mouth, only to find that he had rushed back so quickly from his feeding that he still had blood on his teeth and lips. He had stained her shirt when he mingled his soul to hers. He silently cursed at himself for his carelessness. He watched her fade from his vision, and close the door behind her as she headed to the kitchen. He closed his eyes and thought to her, 'I love you.' - he was never sure if his message got through to her, if she could actually hear it, but he said it every time she left nonetheless.
Matthew had discovered some time ago that he could mingle his soul with others that he was truly connected with. He could swiftly bring himself behind them and plunge himself into their souls, and be with them in their minds - which was how he was always in Elizabeth's dreams. Throughout his three centuries of being able to do this, he had only been able to do that with one other person besides Elizabeth, and in the end she had rejected him when he finally revealed himself. He had to be more careful this time. He had, being very discreet about his existence, and always making Elizabeth happy. Keeping her happy and feeling loved was what she needed; was what he had to provide for her to have her.
He slumped himself down to a corner of her closet and slept while she was at school. Modern times gave Matthew more spaces to rest than olden times, when he was forced to sleep in a coffin to get rest at all. Elizabeth's parents were never home until well after she was, and well after dark, so her closet was his perfect resting place. He would never have to stray far from his love.
He awoke a good few hours before she was due home, and he could not find slumber again. He instead sat up and thought about how he was going to reveal himself to her. As of late, he had become more bold when he was in her dreams. Their encounters were becoming more than friendly interludes, they were beginning to become quite erotic. She allowed him to see her body, and sometimes to play with it as well. What Elizabeth didn't understand was that when he mingled their souls together during her slumber, he merely made himself miniature, and in a way "cloned" her as a miniature version of herself. The caresses she felt were real. He had wanted it to be like this, to be able to physically spend time with her without her being aware of it. She still had full control over what her dream self did; she made her own decisions. That was the only way he could know if she really felt that way for him, or if she was only dreaming it.
Matthew was one of those vampires that was able to shrink his fangs down to the normal size of a human canine. He could control how long they were, and when to let them show. Only when he thirsted could he not control them, but that was never a problem with Elizabeth in her dreams. He thirsted for her, but only to make her his... not to merely feed from her. He did not want to take her life, he wanted to give her a life with him. Yes, he would reveal himself on the eve of her eighteenth birthday. Finally the time came. It was the eve of her eighteenth birthday and in Elizabeth's dreams, Matthew and Elizabeth were sitting on a branch of a tree, and they talked of their futures. Well, mainly Elizabeth spoke.
"I think I want to move to go to college. I really don't like my reputation around here, and I think I deserve to have a better life, don't you, Matthew?" It always surprised both Matthew and Elizabeth that she never once called him "Matt" like most would these days - nicknames were "in", after all. No, he seemed too mysterious and dark for that.
"Yes. Moving would be a good thing for you. I believe it is time you tore yourself apart from your childhood home and moved on to bigger things. Better things. It is time you enhanced your life." He took a deep breath and decided that now would be as good a time as any. He was sure that if he was still human, his heart would be pounding, his whole body would be shaking, but, being a vampire, he seemed perfectly calm to Elizabeth. He hopped down off of the branch, and lifted his arms up so that Elizabeth could do the same. She jumped into his arms and he placed her on the ground. She stood there, her beauty seeming to radiate around her being, and smiled up at him. He did not smile back, but instead leaned down slowly to kiss her tenderly. He realised that this might be the last kiss they ever shared. If she rejected him, he would disappear from her dreams, from her life. He had already decided this.
She kissed him back softly, and felt his warm tongue lick her lips and seek a slow entrance into her mouth. She opened her lips slightly, just so his tongue could make entrance. He continued to kiss her with all of the love in his being, and he slowly began to let his fangs grow. Not fast enough or long enough for her to notice while the kiss went on, but enough to show her after the kiss was broken. He finally decided that they were at the proper length, short enough so as not to frighten her, but long enough to give him away. He pulled from the kiss, and then brought his mouth back down. He often bit her bottom lip after he broke their kisses, so Elizabeth was expecting this. He opened his mouth a little more and then pulled his head back, letting his fangs catch her bottom lip slightly. He wasn't sure if she noticed, but when he had completely pulled his head away and opened his eyes, he knew she had.
The look on her face. At first it seemed to him sheer terror, and he had to control himself from disappearing instantly in that moment from her sight. Just as he thought she was about to scream from being so frightened, her face changed to an emotion of what he swore must have been curiosity. Her eyebrows lowered and it seemed like she was questioning him if what she was seeing was real. He slowly nodded. She reached up her right hand to his mouth and then brought her hand back down. What if he was truly some savage beast that would rip her arm off and then suck the blood out of her just to get a mere meal? She was frightened again.
"It is alright, Elizabeth. I am not a monster," Matthew found the courage to say. The look of curiosity came across her face again and she again reached up her right hand to his mouth. He opened his mouth slightly, and she lifted up his top lip. She saw his fangs, they seemed to shine in the moonlight (her dreams were always at night) and another surge of terror rushed through her. She contained herself from trembling in front of Matthew. Her fingers ran over his right fang, then his left. They were indeed real. Elizabeth did not know what to make of this. She did not know what to say. "I am not asking anything of you," Matthew said. "I am just revealing to you my true self I have hidden for eight years. You are free to make of me what you will, I will not be shocked nor offended. You need not worry about hurting me."
Elizabeth was still so stunned she didn't seem to be able to truly comprehend the words he was saying. Why had she never realised this? Why had she never paid enough attention to him? Why had she never read the what seemed now obvious clues?
"If it will make you feel more comfortable..." Matthew began. He removed her hand from his mouth by gently pulling at her wrist. He let his fangs shrink back down to what they normally were around her. "I shall keep them hidden," he finished, opening his mouth to show her they were normal again. Elizabeth looked at him again with the confused look. She hadn't spoke in over ten minutes. She took a deep breath and looked into his eyes. He was not a monster. He was the same person he had always been, ever since she was ten years old.
"No," was all she could say. There was a pause.
"No, what?" Matthew asked.
"No," she repeated. Just as Matthew was about to interrupt again, she continued. "Be yourself. Don't hide yourself from me anymore."
Matthew wasn't sure if she was just saying this out of curiosity, pity, or if it was what she really meant. "Are you sure, Elizabeth?"
"Yes. I want to know you for who you really are."
And so it was. Now everything made sense to Elizabeth. He was a vampire! It all came together now. Three months later she left her home and moved to the big city. Thankfully, Matthew followed her and still remained in her dreams.
Just to keep everything safe and stable, Matthew slowed himself down in her dreams. They were no longer erotic, aside from a sweet kiss every now and then. He felt like he had to regain her trust again, that she was still unsure if everything was real or her dream friend just so happened to be a vampire dream friend. It wasn't until she turned 21 that he revealed himself even more.
On the eve of her twenty-first birthday, he had planned everything out. He entered her dreams and almost immediately began sweetly kissing her. She would only be asleep seven hours and he needed all of that time to do what he had planned. As their lips caressed each other, he slowly was pulling her body closer to his. That night he had left his fangs at a short length, the average human size. He did not want to accidentally harm her.
Their lips were pressed firmly together as were their bodies. Minutes went by as their kiss became more passionate and Elizabeth noticed that his fangs were not able to harm her intruding tongue, so she kissed him fiercely. His hands slowly rose up the side of her body and felt the soft flesh of her covered breasts. Their passion continued to rise throughout the night, until they were making love deep within Elizabeth's dream world. The sun would rise within an hour, and Matthew needed to leave Elizabeth to feed. He promised her this night would repeat itself over and over, only getting better and more intense with each time. She trusted his word and let him leave her.
The next morning when Elizabeth awoke, she stretched her arms and realised that something was on the pillow beside her. She sat up and wiped the sleep from her eyes as she gazed down upon the object. It was a gorgeous red rose, with a note attached to it. The note read:
My Dearest Elizabeth, I am filled with joy after my encounter with you tonight. I do so hope that you will allow your dreams to continue like this, as I enjoyed it - and you - immensely. I have always wanted to make love to you, so I must thank you for making my dream come true. I will see you again in your slumber tonight, my darling. - Matthew
There was no way she was reading this. No way she was holding this. Matthew... he wasn't real. He was just a fragment of her imagination. A dream partner she could not live without. But real? No. She decided as soon as she saw his fangs for the first time that he could not be real. Vampires did not exist. But how did this get here? She had just awoken, she was sure no one else could see into her mind and view her dreams except her. No one but her and Matthew knew about her dreams. But how? The notes kept coming, each and every morning. All of them personal enough to have to have been from the Matthew in her dreams. She was still doubtful, until a year later.
Her twenty-second birthday was not as eventful as her twenty-first. She had decided just to go out and have a nice meal with all of her friends. Now that she was off at college, she got many more friends, outsiders like her that had moved from their homes in hopes to have a better life. She liked her new life, and she still enjoyed meeting Matthew each and every night to speak with him and make love to him for hours. He was always there for her. Finally, she felt herself obligated to go to bed, she had a big day ahead of her the next day, so she needed plenty of rests. For the first time, she did not feel the intense pull just before she slipped off into dreamland. In her dream, she searched and searched for Matthew, but he was nowhere to be found. She sat down on a park bench and began to softly sob. Had she truly done something wrong this time? She was pulled awake by hearing her windows slam open. She had a nice apartment, with a balcony. She usually kept her doors open, but tonight she closed them as it was chilly outside.
"H... h... hello?" She asked the darkness. The moonlight barely lit up the room, and when her eyes finally adjusted she got up and closed and locked the doors and went back to bed. Maybe this time when she fell asleep, Matthew would be waiting for her. She, again, did not feel the pull as she drifted off to sleep. She was only asleep for five minutes before she heard her closet door spring open. Someone was definitely there.
"W... w... who are you? What do you want? I have money. Please, don't hurt me. I can give you all of the money you need..." She trailed off. There was no one there. She sat up in her bed for what must have been a good half hour before she drifted off into slumber again. She awoke with a start for the third time when she felt something rubbing the side of her nose. Her eyes bolted open and she pushed the body off of hers. She was about to grab her mace from her top dresser drawer when she heard him speak. She knew the voice very well.
"Elizabeth..." Matthew said. That was all he had to say. Her movements stopped completely and her eyes locked with his. Those grey eyes... yes, it was him.
"Matthew?" Elizabeth questioned. He nodded. He walked back over to her. Her breathing became slightly rapid and her hands began to shake. She pinched herself. She was not dreaming this time. Matthew had decided to let his fangs grow to their true length tonight. It was all or nothing this evening. They were just visible, sitting on his bottom lip comfortably. He slowly approached her and he knew she was staring at his fangs.
"Do not worry, darling. I am not here to feed. I will not harm you." His perfectly proper English always drove Elizabeth wild. He was so mysterious.
"You... do you promise?" Elizabeth asked.
He sat down on the side of her bed, just below her feet. "Yes, I promise." He paused, trying to find some courage to say what he wanted to say. "May I touch you, Elizabeth?" She looked at him for a moment, when he said, "I promised I would not harm you and I will not. I need you to know that I am real. I am not a dream anymore."
She stared into his eyes, then down to his fangs again. Swallowing hard, she looked up into his eyes again and then slowly nodded. He was just as frightened as she was. He had never touched her actual life-sized body before, and despite his outward calmness, he couldn't have been more the opposite on the inside. He scooted himself across her bed, keeping his gaze on hers to show her he did not mean any harm and he settled himself beside her. She slowly turned her body to face him and seemed to not be able to do anything but blink slowly. For a moment, that was all Matthew could do as well.
He took a deep breath and raised his hand up to touch her soft face. She watched his gaze, studying it, surveying it, for any sign of change. For any sign of animal instinct. There was none as his fingertips finally brushed against her cheek. Feeling her slightly flinch, but only from shock he thought, he rested the remaining part of his hand on her cheek and stroked it with his thumb. Her skin was so warm; she was so alive. For a brief, a very brief second, he thirsted for her. Not the usual thirst, but the completely animalistic, lustful, need for her blood. Thankfully the slight sparkle in his eyes at that moment did not draw Elizabeth's attention. When Elizabeth seemed to calm down, after several minutes of Matthew just softly stroking her cheek, Matthew grew bolder.
"Might I be asking too much if I asked to kiss you, Elizabeth?" Matthew found himself asking. There was a pause.
"You may kiss me, Matthew," Elizabeth said. "But please be careful," she added, referring to his fangs.
"I promise I will, sweetheart. I will be very cautious," Matthew replied. He leaned his head into hers, pulling her slightly towards him with the hand on her face that had moved to the back of her neck. He closed her eyes the same time she did, and their lips touched. Somehow, Elizabeth had felt this before. Matthew had, because he was physically there, while Elizabeth wasn't in a direct way. For some odd reason she couldn't understand, Elizabeth melted into the kiss. It was with that first kiss that Matthew knew she would be his forever.