Beauty In My World
by Kate

It was February, and the nights were still cold and dark, storm clouds occasionally coming in to drop some rain before moving on to other coastlines. The nights were cold, and she was cold, and sometimes she was colder than the nights themselves, ice against my heated skin, and I'd huddle under cheap motel blankets shivering, trying to keep warm and trying to keep my arms around her at the same time.

We had come back to this place despite everything. Despite the memories, despite the death, we came to New Orleans because it was February and it was time to come back, come back to flashes of gold, purple and green and the sparkle of metallic plastic thrown in the air.

I should've known she'd love the town like this...filled with the young and naive, celebrating the end of their lives, farewell to the flesh, and what better way to say farewell than in the tender kiss of my lover's mouth, her laughter against their cooling throats?

Oh, how she laughed, and oh how she loved this season, feathers and flowers in her hair, an indigo silk mask against her face, and she was humming the songs in her head -- the dark carnival spirit made flesh and form, la belle dame sans merci, venus in furs, and only I knelt between her legs and gave her what she needed.

I sacrificed myself for her, gave her libations of wine and offerings of nightclubs and children, luring the ones with the smeared makeup and the inelegant lives to her, pulling them in so that she'd be happy, so that she'd believe in me, believe in her Faith, and let me stay, despite what I had done, despite the death of her lover and the death of so many before. Despite the scar on my stomach, despite the headaches and the memories, and, above all else, oh please, Drusilla, let me be with you, despite her.

And as I held to me in the overcast mornings, my body trembling with desire and shivering with the coldness of her skin, the sounds of the celebration coming up from the streets below, she would smile, the smile of a lioness, the smile of old goddesses, and pull me towards her. And, for the briefest moments, I would believe she loved me.

All Mine