Needless to say that nothing was the same after that night. Chin Mae wasn't even sleeping anymore since he was tormented from nightmares and grew distant since he didn't want to bother me from whatever he was going through. Days were flying away, leaving an annoying bitterness in my mouth that I couldn't wash off as I was helplessly witnessing Chin Mae's new routine of going to hunt from early afternoon till late at night, which at one point made me wonder if he was doing it on purpose.
"Welcome back," I acknowledged Chin Mae as soon as he entered from the front door. I looked at his profound disgusted expression as he threw his jumper on the floor that from grey turned to brown and crimson red colour.
"Rough night?" I instigated him cheekily, collecting it from the floor, but I sank into his silence as I watched him disappear behind the bathroom door without uttering a word.
"I shall take it as a yes," I murmured as I threw the jumper into the bin and made my way back to my university report. I shouldn't allow his mood to affect me; I had to be like my usual self... but how? I was tired and stressed, too, even though I couldn't do much for him.
But my phone's ringtone broke the myriad of voices inside my head, and it didn't take more than a second to remember who my deepest fear and the origin of my anxiety was.
"Mother," I uttered emotionless as I breathed in deeply, patiently waiting for the usual scold to commence.
"You could call more often," she responded sternly. "But I hope that your negligences are excused by working hard for your exams. Don't disappoint me."
"Yes, mother," I answered coldly and sat down on the chair like a mannequin. "Why did you call, mother?" I asked, feeling the urge to scream at her and demand answers from what that monster said- wait, I didn't ask for his name!
"I am pleased to see that you indeed know me well," she started with a satisfied tone, "As soon as you finish your exams on your second semester, you must immediately come back home. Your father and I have organized an important meeting, and your presence is required."
"Mother, why so suddenly..." I coughed, hoping she missed my wavered and anxious tone. "What's the occasion, if I may ask, mother?"
"You'll finally meet your fiancèe at the general meeting. She's the first daughter from the family we started to work with for our new project in Hong Kong. Your union will bring immense benefits to our company, so behave and don't disappoint us."
"Oh, and also, I've been sadly informed that you're meeting with... questionable people. Stay alert. You know that all they want is what you have and not your company," she concluded before she closed the call. Rage started to burn in and out of my body, but before I could throw my phone against the wall, Chin Mae appeared in the room and looked at me like he had just seen a ghost.
"Are you okay?" he asked as he got slowly closer to me.
Shit. Did he hear our conversation?
"Y-yeah, all good, babe," I swallowed hard, shutting down my phone, "Just worried about exams, can't concentrate and-" but Chin Mae suddenly hugged me from behind, startling me. I didn't expect that.
"Cheng..." he sighed as I looked up at him. I fell exhausted with my back on the chair and surrendered at his comfortable touch. "Who was it?"
"My mother, she wants me to go back home as soon as I finish here." I hissed and stood up to search for a snack in some cupboards. I couldn't believe what she said and how she could still lie to my face. And also, arranged marriage? In what kind of generation did she think we were in?
"Want to talk about it? Did you tell her what he wanted you to-"
"No, no, I didn't. I couldn't." I sighed again and held exasperatedly the bridge of my nose. "I know I had to, but she didn't give me a chance, and I don't even know his name. But, geez, what will happen after she knows anyway?" With the marriage word buzzing around my head and her annoying voice, I couldn't even think about what I should tell her. I was somehow afraid to know the truth, and of course, I was doing everything I shouldn't be doing, such as hiding information and not talking about what I should be talking about.
Maybe that monster was right... was I even willing and actually doing my best to help Chin Mae? All I had to do was spill the beans to my family and hope that everything would be sorted out, so why didn't I do it? Was I that selfish?
"His name is Kurasa," Chin Mae looked sternly at me. "Listen, if you don't want to tell her about it, it's okay. I'll be fine. But if you do, it's normal for her to worry. A vampire serial killer wants to hunt them down as soon as he gains more power and will use their son as a scapegoat." he scoffed acid and sat in front of my laptop, casually looking at the work I was doing.
"What are you exactly trying to say? Because you know, I may need another enlightenment for not telling my mother about it, so go on." I chuckled nervously and crossed my arms against my chest. Or maybe I was right to pretend that my family could be as dangerous as that monster. Nothing reassured me that Chin Mae would be safe, so I wasn't willing to give it all up. I couldn't give up on us.
"I'm sorry, Cheng, but if she decides to lock you up somewhere where nobody knows, I won't oppose the idea; if that's what will keep you safe. You know already that having me by your side puts you in great danger."
"Did you get the part 'my family is the mafia'? How can I be safe with them? How can I let him win and get what he wants?" Chin Mae was surely not helping to find a solution here. He was putting my head into the lion's mouth and called the shots. I knew it was his life we talked about, but he shouldn't sell himself so short.
"How can you let him-" he sighed, annoyed "Cheng, I will sort this out; you need to stay out of this once and for all. Am I clear?" he ordered me an inch from my face, his expression wholly dark and angered.
"They can protect you; they always did!" he said exasperatedly. "And you're not the hero of the situation. We're not in a drama, right? So stop acting and be realistic because I am getting tired of being illusional that everything will be back to normal. I can't go back and being a human, and neither will he."
"And what are you going to do then?!" I shouted, grasping his t-shirt as I pulled him closer to me, "Are you going just to watch me walking out of your life without doing absolutely nothing, without letting me fight by your side?" I shoved him away from me, and huffing, I brushed my quivering lips.
"I fucking get that all this situation is out of control. I get that you only want to keep drinking animal blood until you're satisfied, even though Kurasa told me it wouldn't work. I understand that he can help to control your hunger and that the only way to do it is to reveal what he told me..." I hissed and tried to control my emotions even though I felt too overwhelmed, hurt and useless. How could he even infer to give up everything without even trying?
"But can you please understand that as soon as they know the truth, they will hunt you down like an animal while locking me up somewhere? How can I even agree when a simple solution will be you drinking my blood and staying hidden here with me? Why do you always need to run or make things complicated?" disappointed, I gave him my back so that I could compose myself. I said too much, but he needed to know what I thought about the whole situation. He had to stop to decide what was best for me and give up on his freedom.
"Cheng, I need to face him. I have to, can't you understand it? And everybody knows about me, so why keep the show going?" Chin Mae made his way behind me and grasped my shoulder, breathing deeply against my nape. Goosebumps soon ran all over my body, and I felt a void in my stomach.
"You are just... Gosh!" I yelled and threw a punch at the wall. I couldn't stand it anymore. I hated all this; I fucking hated it. I just wanted a normal life with him; was I asking too much to ask? I was finally happy with
someone, why was there always something that had to ruin it?
"Concentrate on your studies and stay safe; that's what matters now," he then walked into the bedroom and disappeared for a bit, leaving me thinking about my feelings and fears contrasting his will. But when he came out with his backpack full hanging around his shoulder, my heart dropped.
"Where are you going?" dumbfounded, I moved closer to him as soon as he laid his hand on the doorknob "Chin Mae-"
"I like you, Cheng, for real. But we need to end this before he gets his hands on you; I don't want the story to repeat itself," he stated and tried to remain calm even though his body was shaking.
"What do you mean?" I was afraid of the answer, but I felt that Chin Mae would finally open up looking at the circumstances. He was leaving me, and I was trying to do anything that could delay it.
"That bastard was a regular in my father's restaurant. They soon became friends, and after work, they always had a drink together. But one night, he reported to the police that my father disappeared in the middle of their meeting." Chin Mae's eyes closed for a few seconds, and he couldn't make eye contact anymore. His hands clenched around the backpack strap.
"The police found him dead in a park. It was a simple heart attack, they said, but in reality, it was him. That bastard confessed to me at his funeral, but somehow I only remembered it now." he angrily uttered as he looked at the floor. He used mind compulsion on a vampire... I never thought it could be possible.
"He killed my father and married my mother maybe because he saw what was inside me from the very beginning. He planned everything so that he could get what he wanted without interferences," Chin Mae scoffed dryly, now looking at me with disdain and bitterness as he was ready to get out of the apartment once again.
"So I'm sure that when he possesses me again, he'll kill you because you didn't do your part. I know him too well, Cheng," he admitted, and I was afraid of the thought of seeing him leaving me once and for all this time. He was about to face a new world alone and in the worst physical condition ever.
"But we still have time; he didn't give me a deadline so-"
"He gave one to me. And I don't want to see you drop stone-cold while he plays me, so let me go." I grasped his arm and stopped him once again, thinking about anything that could change his mind. "I will never forget you, Cheng. I promise that if I'll find a way to overcome all this-"
"No, let's talk about this. Don't act on impulse-"
"But I'm not. This is for your own good. You don't want to tell your parents about me because you're afraid they will hunt me down, right? So this is the best and real solution that I came up with." Chin Mae hugged me tightly against him and held my nape with one hand, making me notice only now how my body was trembling. Then, he backed up, and we wistfully looked into each other eyes. I felt hopeless as he observed right through me, making me fall into a void that I couldn't shake off.
"I... I really like you, Cheng, but this is for the best. Please don't wait for me and live your life from now on. You gave me everything you could since we met, now let me do the same, even if that means to disappear from your life." Chin Mae kissed my lips softly, but soon it became a voracious one. I blinked multiple times and felt a heavy boulder sitting on my mind as I slid my hands under his clothes while our tongues brushed against one another like they knew that that was the last time.
"If it's the end..." I panted on his lips, looking at him hungrily, "Let me taste you one last time so that I can imprint it in my mind once again." as a response, Chin Mae dropped his bag instantly on the floor. He lifted me until we reached the bedroom, where he threw me on the soft surface and topped me.
"This is a mistake...How am I able to walk away after this?" he mumbled as he ripped my clothes, shortly followed by his "One last mistake." he smiled sadly as he savoured my chest, but I had other intentions. I pushed him back slightly and grabbed the lube from the night table, making it drip on my entrance under his famished gaze.
"You will make me yours tonight, Mae." I seduced him and played with myself and his erection up until I was ready. "I am yours, take me while you can." licking his lips, I bit into his lower lip and pulled him down to eat them as I wrapped my hands on his hips, leading him into me. "Ah-" I hissed, breaking the kiss just to press my head on the pillow as he entered fully inside me.
"Tell me when I can move," he panted, aroused. He rested his forehead on my chest for a second before he started kissing and playing with it. "Cheng..."
"I wish I was this careful with you too," I commented dryly and initiated a thrust. I tried to contain tears that threatened to erupt from my eyes by closing them for a few seconds; I didn't want to ruin our last moment.
"You were. You're always gentle and apprehensive, even when I was a dick." as he said so, he held the back of my neck with one hand while the other grabbed mine, taking it in front of his lips. He kissed the inside and outside and then looked right into my eyes.
"If anyone can get pregnant by a gaze, that would be yours, babe," I moaned as he rocked fluidly in and out of me, but tears slid freely on my face. I didn't know if it was caused by the physical pain or for the realization that after that, he would have walked out of my life, but I seemed not to care anymore. I wanted to let myself feel everything he could give me, without restrictions or self-containment.
Was it even possible for me to go back to my old life?
But for how much I wanted him to stay, who was I to order him what to do? I had to accept his decision and let him go, even if it hurt like hell. I just had to show him how grateful I was to have him in my life.
"Focus on me one last time, Mae." I whispered and quivered in his arms, not afraid to hold back the rest of my tears, "You've been the best thing that ever happened in my life."
"Cheng..." Chin Mae thrust quickened; red tears dripped down from his eyes as we both soon reached our climax. "I'm sorry." he hummed next to my ear before he fell heavy beside me and held me close against him in what felt like our last hug.
I couldn't move; I just didn't dare.
"There are no words that can explain what I feel right now," he admitted as he sniffed behind me. "Promise me you will move on, Cheng," he laid his head on my shoulder and brushed his hand on the side of my body.
"I'll try," I simply said with a hoarse voice as tears kept falling down my cheeks. "I love you."
Chin Mae clenched my body tightly against his, but soon, the weight of my sleepless nights won over me. I couldn't stop my eyelids from closing and my mind to quiet down.
"Goodbye, Cheng." was the last thing I heard him say as he tried to contain his heartbreaking and muffled cry before he pierced my neck with his fangs.