She poured wine into two glasses and handed one to him. The glass was cheap. Probably something she’d found at a discount store. The wine was cheap, too, like her apartment and the sofa they sat on. Like her.
He smiled and lifted his glass to hers.
“To us,” she said.
“To us,” he repeated, and sipped the distasteful liquid, his eyes never leaving hers.
They lowered their glasses, and he took hers from her then set them both on the coffee table.
Turning back to her, he put one hand on her throat and stroked her chin with his thumb. Her pulse beat rapidly beneath his fingers. His own heart rate increased, and his smile became genuine as he thought of how he had the power to stop that beating. He possessed control not only of his life but of hers, too. It was a heady, exhilarating feeling.
She lifted her face to his and closed her eyes. Her eyelashes were black and caked with too much mascara. She always wore too much makeup. Her hair was too red, her fingernails too long. But none of that was important.
He cupped the side of her throat with his other hand, then lowered his lips to hers. Her lipstick was cheap and would be all over him, but it was a small price to pay for the ultimate thrill.
She returned the kiss, and he wanted to laugh. She offered him passion but not the kind he wanted, the kind he was finally going to get.
Slowly he increased the pressure of his hands on her throat. His heartbeat accelerated, and he felt himself becoming aroused.
He took his lips from hers and watched her face as he pressed his thumbs against her windpipe. Her eyes flew open, filled with surprise then terror and disbelief. He drank it all in, savoring the taste.
Her hands flew up like white birds with red-tipped wings. Without power, they flailed against him. He was taking her power. He was taking the life force from her, taking it into himself, increasing his strength.
Two of the red tips snapped off her nails and fell away. Her hands fluttered down.
He was full to bursting with life and happiness and freedom.
He released her, and she crumpled onto the sofa.
He stood, not wanting to touch her now, and looked around, basking in the flowing energy he’d released. There was so much to experience, and he was going to have it all. This was only the beginning.
On his way out, he paused at the door and looked back. Her empty shell sprawled among the gaudy, lifeless flowers of the sofa, unable to move from that spot while he was free with no restraints.