As always you’re waiting. Waiting for the one who’s plagued you for years and years now. No doubt there’s no thought in his mind of stopping anytime soon. Your hand cups your cheek, allowing you to stare up at the ink-black sky, dotted only with small reverberating lights of stars long since dead. The moon is hiding in raven darkness.
Hair ruffling slightly in the night air, you wait for him to come. It won’t take him long, he’s usually quite punctual; strangely enough. You wouldn’t have guessed he would be as strict as he is about cleanliness, or about being on time, or about keeping his promises. And yet, he is. But then again, demons are strange creatures. One can never predict what they’ll do.
Four sharp knocks on the door sound, a sigh escaping you as you look towards the mounted clock on the wall. “On time as always,” you mutter under your breath, hearing the church bells faintly ring the midnight hour. Going to front door, you unlock it, swinging it open for him. His black attire is as ever present, his silver hair covered with an ornate top hat from long-ago times. You already know what he’ll say and how you’ll react.
“Hope I’m not late,” he tells you, slipping off the hat and bowing his head a little as he walks across the threshold. “You’re right on time, as always,” you can’t help but add. A faint smirk twists his lips upward and he coughs a chuckle, placing his hat on the coat rack and hanging the black trench jacket up on one of the rungs.
“So what have you cooked up for us today?” He asks, rubbing his hands together. The usual white gloves are missing, you note and his clothes seem more… crooked somehow. Dismissing these things as nothing, you turn to the kitchen where the oven is still blazing away. “Some roast turkey, potatoes and gravy.” You list, already donning the stained oven gloves and balling your fists.
“I do like potatoes,” he replies, taking his usual seat across from yours. “It should be almost ready.” With these words the timer goes off, dinging once before you manage to switch it off. “Perfect timing as usual.” He comments, watching you with one arm slung across the back of his seat. “What can I say? I’m just brilliant.”
“I’d even go as far as to say that you’re awesome.” He retorts, making space for the silver platter and gravy dish, which you place on the table. After carving up the turkey, you tell him take what he wants and you sit yourself down. Forking some golden potatoes onto your plate you drizzle them and the turkey with gravy, gathering a dribble of brown sauce on your fingers and sticking them into your mouth.
He watches you hungrily, his red eyes suddenly ablaze. When you notice his stare, he looks to his plate, stabbing a potato and eating it whole. Considering whether or not to ask him why his shirt is disorderly, you gaze at him in thought. This time it’s he who catches your gaze and, with a pink dabble on your cheeks, you’re the one to look away. Out of the corner of your eye you look at him again, wondering why he seems so different.
Having never doubted his promises of protection, you tolerate his presence, but you never knew much about him, even now. That he’s a demon was clear to anyone. Though the way he’s acting tonight and the way he looks might make him seem almost human, if you didn’t know his true nature. His usually iridescent hair, which always shone as though fresh moonlight was woven amidst the strands is now ruffled and greasy. His usually so neat clothes are crinkled, his bow-tie askew. His eyes, as crimson as new blood spilled on snow are now bloodshot and flicker across the table, up to you and then dart back down.
Simply put, there’s something dreadfully different about him.
The blush on your cheeks radiates across the table, his pale cheeks flushing too in response. Almost dreamily he looks up, seeing your glassy eyes and guessing you’re lost in your thoughts. He hopes you’re thinking of him, because if there was any other man, human or other, which made you look so muddled, confused and yet somewhat happy, he’d have to kill them.
It isn’t the food he’s coming for. It was never the food he came for. He spotted you out in the forest and simply knew he had to have you. Since then he’d been promising you protection – from what he never specified – in exchange for a meal. A hearty meal. Every night the moon didn’t rise he’d turn up, a cocky smile on his pale, pointed face and dandy clothes on. But it was all for you, never for the food.
Being able to see you again makes his stone heart move uncomfortably in his chest, his stomach churning whenever you smile or even laugh in response to what he’d said. The food he needed wasn’t the stuff on the plate, delicious as it was it simply couldn’t fill him. The small streaks of crimson which cross your cheeks, the slight stutter which you try to hide, that’s all he needs to survive!
Searching his mind for words to express himself, he finds himself gazing at you, you too lost in your thoughts to realise. However, when you do snap to reality, you blush heavily at seeing his crimson irises trained on you. “What?” You say, disliking the silence which had settled over you both. “I-“
He’s cut off by the church bells, which ring the hour. “I should probably go.” He says, worried he might try something on you if he’s not careful; the wine you’d offered him earlier was starting to fuzz his senses. Your scent intoxicating him was more likely however and he didn’t want to do anything to you. Not yet anyway.
Blinking in surprise, you stand as he does and walk him to the door. You know what’ll happen next; he’ll kiss your cheek to provide protection for the next month, will smile somewhat sheepishly and will then disappear into the darkness with the words ‘Thank you for the meal and ‘till next time’. And if everything goes as usual, he’ll have a rather large smirk on his face when he fades away into nothingness.
But it doesn’t go as usual. Having put his hat and coat back on, he turns his back to you and stares up at the sky. “The food was wonderful.” He says, his voice a pleasant murmur. “It’s- it’s no problem.” You mutter, rubbing your arm uncomfortably. You’d never made small talk with him like this and it was agonisingly awkward. He steps off the porch, still not having kissed your cheek. Did he intend to have a lengthy chat out here?
“Well, I guess I should be going then.” This wasn’t right, he was smiling sheepishly now, that wasn’t the order of things. “Ah, I almost forgot.” Stepping up to you, his fingers gripping your chin, he leans down for the customary kiss. You feel heat racing up to your face, your eyes shutting almost instinctively. It never comes.
Instead you’re met with a soft, warm feeling against your lips. The tender pressure is cut off with a small sigh and you open your eyes to see his, mere inches from yours. His cheeks are reddening and he ducks his head down to hide his expression with his top hat. “See you next time then, Liebling.” The way he turns from you allows you to see a wide grin on his face, not at all the usual smirk he wears at the end of the evening.
Fading into the darkness, you watch him as he completely disappears. For a few moments after, you stand there looking at the spot where he stood last. Slowly, you reach your fingers up to touch your lips, a full blush hitting your face now.
Nothing will ever be the same.