I dreamed of her pulse long before I took it from her. It's unusual, I admit, to string someone along. To see her night after night, take her out to eat and get to know her in a subtle, personal way. My dark friends teased me and compared me to cats playing with rodents.

Oh, please Phillipe, just end it already. Surely you are bored of her?!

But I admit, I enjoyed it. The dance, the wooing. My manners, so ordinary 100 years ago, have become impressive. I realize part of that is in relation to the general casualness of twenty first century America, but I would like to give myself a little credit for smoothing off my own edges. I know some literature, I have some ear for music and I can be a good listerner. At least I appear to listen. She must have thought I was attentive, as I leaned forward to hear her heartbeat. I'm sure I looked interested as I reached out to hold her hand so I could feel the warm fluid race through her veins. She often complimented me on how careful I was to hold her chair, open her car door, not knowing it always afforded me a chance to hear her life sounds and smell her fear.

After such a long overture it was a little sad to silence her music. Parting is always bittersweet, but it's an acquired taste.

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