Still holding her neck with one hand, very careful to keep his fingers straight and not scratch her with his claws, Vincent shifted just enough to pull the knot out of her dress.
It did not fall open, much less slide off. Catherine was right, the books did tend to leave the unromantic portions of reality out, and reality dictated that a dress with ties that wrapped all around the body and threaded through a hole must have the ties unthreaded and unwrapped before opening. Catherine giggled out loud as he sat back and stared, dumbfounded, at the uncooperating cloth. She started to take it off herself, but Vincent reached for her hands.
"It's my turn tonight, remember?"
Catherine nodded, smiling broadly at him. "I'm also going to remember how much you like Bailey's Chocolate Cream liquor. I have the rest of the bottle, you know. You can have it later. I wanted to give you as many new sensations as I could. I want this to be special, Vincent."
"Everything you do is special, Catherine." If he had to lean close and take her back in his arms, well, it was the dress's fault, for he had reach behind her to unwind the cord that had held it taut. And if he had to run his hands slowly up her sides to open it and then down her shoulders to pull it off, well, that was the dress's fault too. He pulled it roughly out from underneath her and tossed it aside on the floor in a heap to punish it.
Beneath it, she was wearing intriguing little scraps of scarlet satin. Very little scraps, held on with tiny little strings of lace. Part of him admired the way the vivid color made her skin look particularly creamy. The other part coldly calculated how easy it would be to shred those tiny fastenings - and Vincent realized that that was exactly what he wanted to do.
Catherine must have picked his thoughts right out of the air. "Do it," she urged, wriggling her chest at him provocatively. "Use those claws!"
"Catherine!" Vincent snatched his hands back. "What are you saying?"
She grabbed one of his hands, sweeping her cheek along the fur on the back of it and kissing a claw before curling his fingers around one bra strap. "I'm saying that I don't just love part of you, I love all of you. Just as you are. You've been so afraid of your hands for so long that all you can think about is how fur and claws 'aren't made to give love.' Well, you know what?
I LIKE the feel of fur, and those claws can be useful." She winked at him. "Want it off me? Rip it off me!"
She meant it! She really, really meant it! Closing his mind to a lifetime of "Be gentle with your claws, Vincent" and "Don't rip up the fabric, we can use that for something else, Vincent," he flexed his hand and the strap snapped.
Unlike the dress, the only thing holding the bra up was tension and good wishes. The cup slipped, giving him the tantalizing sight of the top of one nipple. Something dark and primal rose up in him then, and he set about systematically shredding the cold, slippery fabric that kept him from seeing all of his beloved. In seconds Catherine sat, laughing and nude, in a pile
of red scraps.
There wasn't a single scratch on her perfect skin.
Elated, Vincent pulled her into a bearhug, kissing her deeply and discovering that she still tasted faintly of liqueur. He ran his hands up and down her back, glorying in the feel of her warm, smooth skin. But their fronts were kept frustratingly apart by the layers of clothing he still wore. He should do something about that.
With a last nibble, Vincent released their hug, sitting back. He started to reach for his vest, then stopped. This was HIS night to have every dream fulfilled...
"Catherine," he whispered, taking her hands in his and putting them on his clothes. "Please undress me."
"I thought you'd never ask!" she chuckled.
Perhaps the mere act of peeling off a vest and shirt didn't require that much stroking and hugging. But Vincent wasn't objecting if Catherine bent the rules of their agreement, not when her movements brought so many new places for his hands to stroke in return, so many crannies for his nose to nuzzle. When she rose up on her knees to pull his shirt over his head, Vincent found himself eyeball-to-nipple with her breasts, which were bobbling tantalizingly. Before she could sit back down, Vincent grabbed her by the waist, holding her in position as he leaned forward. He was still wearing his pants and boots, but this was an opportunity he could not pass up.
At first he just rested his cheek against her, breathing in her scent. Catherine put her arms around his head, cradling him against her, stroking his hair softly, waiting patiently.
She didn't have long to wait. Soon he opened his eyes, staring at the breast so close to his mouth. He nipped at it, not quite daring to make contact with the delicate thing with his sharp teeth. Catherine pouted, and Vincent couldn't help but chuckle up at her. "I thought you didn't have any expectations of me." He kissed along her neck, whispering in her ear, "I love you so much. I promise, I'll take care of you."
Then there were no more words. Once upon a time he overheard some of the tunnel women talking about earlobe nibbling, and how much they liked it. Now what was it they said... Ah. He breathed hotly into her ear, nipping delicately at it. Catherine shuddered with delight and he dared open his mouth a little further, running the tips of his fangs along the rim.
Catherine moaned. He stopped for a second, pulling away and trying to judge her feelings. Catherine captured his head and pulled it back down to her neck, and Vincent couldn't help laughing. He moved his face slowly down the side of her neck, trying to rub both the roughness of his beard and the smoothness of his skin against hers. Suddenly inspired, he came back up with a long, swift lick from shoulder to earlobe.
Catherine gasped, clutching at his back.
"Mmmm, you like that?" Vincent asked rhetorically, kissing along her jaw, across her mouth, and heading towards her other ear, where he did it all again. "Is this what you want?"
"YES!" Catherine clutched at him, grinding against his body. "Do it again, do it again!"
Vincent bent to comply, opening his mouth as he neared her skin. But just as his teeth touched her again, a sudden revelation froze him. For so long he had hidden his differences, tried to be just like other men, feared the destructive power of his hands and teeth.
Yet here he was, baring his heart and flesh to his beloved. Not only wasn't she repulsed, she was writhing against him with abandonment. His hated hands, which had once torn into Lisa, were wrapped securely around Catherine. In his passionate distraction, he'd forgotten to hold his fingers flat and was clutching as desperately at Catherine as she was to him. At this close contact, with both of them focusing so hard on each other, the bond between them was becoming almost telepathic. He could feel all of what she was feeling; the prickle of claws across her back, the sweep of fur across her chest, the hard ridges of his fangs, the overwhelming love and eager passion.
She wasn't afraid! She wasn't afraid! She didn't WANT him to be like other men! She wanted HIM! Just as he was!