Alexandria stared at the expanse of the garden, her eyes lucid and nose crinkled. She saw the world in its intended hues, those of black, white, and grey. Never would she believe in the color-coated fantasy that most people perceived as reality. She understood how the world operated. She was gifted, after all. She was the apex of—

"Perfection doesn't exist, Alexis. Why can't you just accept it and get on with your life? You know, be happy…"

Alexandria smiled. As her canines scraped across her lips, they tingled with a knowing bitterness. Genius was such a simple, perceptive thing.

"And turn out like you? I understand much more than you do, Narissa. You think that you understand the workings of society and life. You don't, I assure you. You are still a child," said Alexandria.

Narissa's eyes, brimming with moisture, glinted in the hazy light of the moon.

"Don't mock my Turning age. I certainly don't need that from you. Why can't you just be different from the others?"

A few tears spilled from her eyes and trailed down her cheeks and neck, just before nestling at her collarbone.

Alexandria turned to the younger woman and rested her fingers on her moistened cheek. She took special care to curl her fingertips, so that her nails skated against Narissa's skin—threatening.

"That will be the least of your worries, now," Alexandria stated.

Sucking in air, Narissa attempted to calm her quivering emotions. "What do you mean by that?"

"In due time, my lovely. Have patience." Her forked tongue vibrated against the roof of her mouth as she scratched Narissa's cheek.

Gliding past the adolescent vampire, her gaze set on the entrance of the palace. She cleared her throat and looked to Narissa and then the door. Narissa obeyed her elder's terse command and followed her like a shadow, miming every step.

Narissa attempted to distract herself, eyes shifting to the flowers, the sky, and the palace ahead. Despite her efforts, her mind caused her eyes to fixate onto Alexandria's backside.

"You don't have to hide behind lies, Alexandria, physical or otherwise."

Alexandria tightened her jaw, ensuring her own silence.

"You don't have to be so cruel to me. I know how you feel, so you don't need to cover anything up. It isn't any sort of secret, you know. I know that you love me. It's all right, Alex—"

Alexandria turned her body around and gripped Narissa's bony arms, yanking her forward.

"If you dare to test me, sweet Narissa, even once more, I might not be so generous. You might find yourself lacking a tongue to pester me with."

Alexandria's irises flared with rage. They flickered, contorting between shades of burnt orange and red. Heat appeared to radiate from her eyes as she stared, as if she hoped to burn a sense of understanding into the girl's consciousness.

You know that you couldn't stand to part with my tongue, Alexis," Narissa said, her words edged with a defiant glaze. It lacked potency, however; Narissa's innocence hovered like a ghost still separating from the body.

Alexandria stopped. Her maniacal luster dwindled.

"I've no patience, nor time, for your games," Alexandria spat.

Narissa started, eyes widening. A brief moment of uncertainty flashed across her eyes, but a spark of ingenuity soon followed.

"I thought that you liked my games," Narissa said as she dragged her fingertips across the elder woman's scissor-like hipbones.

Alexandria grasped Narissa's hand and smothered it in a cloud of ferocity akin to a python.

"I said no games, child."

"I'm not a child anymore. We've consummated our love for months. Your excuses are worthless. You can't run, you just can't."

"I am not running, from this or you." Alexandria glared at her young lover.

"What would you call it, then? Let me make you happy. Or at least let yourself be happy. You have no reason to feel guilty."

"You are delusional. I feel nothing for you beyond carnal lust. You are merely my personal whore. Nothing more, do you understand? Do you, you filthy little—"

Narissa detached herself from Alexandria. Nothing more than muffled, half-recognized obscenities reached her ears.

"You don't mean any of this, I know it. You can't mean that, you just can't."

Alexandria faltered. Her eyes swept across Narissa's lithe frame.

"Perhaps," She cleared her throat. "Perhaps, I overreacted. You know how I am sometimes, I—"

Alexandria had no more excuses, only crossed fingers, to help her.

"I won't let you abuse me, Alexandria. If you really feel that way about us, I can't be a part of it," Narissa said. Her bones rattled against her skin as she spoke. She cursed her fear, her foolishness.

Alexandria gritted her teeth and willed a convincible lie to travel from the recesses of her brain and land onto her tongue in a state of articulacy.

"You know how my father makes things so damned contriving when he gives advice and so forth. I try to make sense of it all and I always manage to hurt someone in the process. I get so wrapped up into his ideas on the matter that I forgot about sane, rational thought. I forget that I might cause problems with the people that actually care about me, maybe even love me. I don't know," Alexandria said in a breathy proclamation. "You do love me, don't you?"

Alexandria's mouth twitched as she held back a smirk. Ah, the simple beauty of success.

Faltering, Narissa's eyes darted to various nothings. Her tongue was stuck between the conflict between the message of her thoughts and one that sparked beneath her undergarments.

"I- I just don't know if I believe you, that's all. You, you've done this before."

"I promise that I'll make it up to you. I'll make everything right."

Alexandria, with fingers crossed behind her back, leaned into Narissa with a scorching kiss.

Narissa smiled. A wispy blush painted her cheeks.

"I trust you."