Chapter 1: A Visitor In The Night
The clock chimed in on the hour. Mrs Pendleton noting that it had now been four hours since her husband had been called out. She never liked it when he had to go out before dinner, always finding herself concerned about him getting a headache from skipping meals. But a Doctors duty was first and foremost to his patients, and Mr Pendleton believed in his duty to others before all else. It was really a very endearing quality in the man.
"Do you suppose father will be back soon, mama?"
"I'm not sure, dear." Mrs Pendleton sighed, letting her novel rest fully on her lap. "In the meantime, perhaps you should play something for me before bed, what have you been practicing?"
Erina seemed to hesitate for a moment, "I have particularly enjoyed one piece." She remarked.
"Well then, let's hear it." Mrs Pendleton said encouragingly.
Erina smiled, and leaving her cross stitch on the table, moved over to the piano forte in the corner of the sitting room and arranged herself to play.
She was just turned sixteen and seemed to grow lovelier by the day. The Pendleton's were unable to have another child and may have at first been saddened by that fact, but Erina had more than satisfied them in hindsight and they loved her dearly. Sitting down on the stool in front of the piano, Mrs Pendleton smiled fondly at the fine figure of her daughter, her back stood naturally erect, not like other girls she had seen who slouched terribly. Her slim waist and well defined profile seemed to distinguish her. She was to be a great lady, her mother thought.
After silently counting the beats in her head, Erina's pale and delicate fingers fell upon the yellowed ivory of the piano in a manner which suggested painstaking hours of practice. As her eyes darted between the sheet music and her fingers, her small white teeth became visible biting down into her plump lower lip, signalling her concentration. All seemed to be well when her finger suddenly slipped and a note clattered out, discordant against the rest, and lingered in the vibration if the strings as Erina pulled her hands into her lap, her head downcast.
"I'm sorry..." She mumbled frantically, her hands beginning to wring against her skirt.
Mrs Pendleton sat up wide eyed. "Whatever's the matter Erina? People make mistakes all the time, you are only playing for me. Please, continue, you were doing so well."
"Sorry, mama." Erina mumbled again, pulling a stray strand of hair behind her ear. She really couldn't account for her nervousness. But lately she had been so conscious of pleasing her parents. It may have been that kiss... No. Erina didn't want to think about it. Likely it was just the way her piano instructor slapped at her knuckles upon each mistake which lead her to behave so erratically. She hadn't performed for anyone in quite some time, afterall. Yes, that's all it was...
Taking a breath, Erina counted herself in again. One, two, three, one, two, three...
Her second rendition was far more successful, she even managed to sing a little, although her voice was nothing spectacular it was pretty enough. Upon finishing her mother gave her a hearty round of applause and the maid, Milly, even joined in, giving a little shout of commendation.
Erina stood up and gave a small curtsey.
"What a beautiful performance. I can already imagine how impressed Mr Joestar will be when his son finally takes you over to meet him."
"Mama!" Scolded Erina, blushing up to her ears.
"Oh hush. It'll happen. And why shouldn't it? My daughter deserves the very best and that is what she will have."
Erina turned her head in embarrassment. She hadn't told her parents what had happened with Dio and they hadn't caught on that she had ceased her contact with Jonathan. She had made sure to keep all her tears to herself but the wound still being raw she was afraid that she might cry now. "I think I'll go to bed actually." She said quietly.
Mrs Pendleton was quieted by this for a moment but she didn't see why it was too strange a request, Erina was still young and it was getting late. "Very well dear. Would you like me to plait your hair?"
Erina shook her head keeping her eyes down. "No thank you, I can do it myself." And then without prompting she walked quickly over to her mother and gave her a kiss on the cheek, before waving to Milly calling out a very proper, "Goodnight."
She tried not to rush up the stairs to her room. She was not a child after all.
It had been a week to the day since Dio had committed the atrocity of stealing her first kiss. Jojo had warned her that he was nothing but a brute. She should have turned around as soon as she saw him on that roadway but she had been too proud.
A stray tear fell from her eye as she shut her bedroom door behind her. Would she ever be able to forget that horrid boy? Why had he kissed her anyhow? What did it prove?
After undressing in silence, Erina wiped her face with her wash cloth and tried to think about other things. She had been trying to think about other things all week! As she ran the wet cloth over her neck and under her arms she couldn't help thinking of Jonathan. She hadn't meant to fall in love with him, it had just happened. He was so sweet and kind. But now he would never look at her again.
She wrung her washcloth out and placed it on the hook to dry, reaching then for her nightgown and slipping it over her head. Things always seemed worse at night.
She sat down heavily on her bed and began lazily tying her hair into a plait. She tried to imagine facing Jonathan, sure that Dio had told him. What must he think of her?
With a regretful sigh, Erina slipped under the covers of her bed and tried her best to fall asleep.
"Wha..." She nearly screamed as she realised that there was something hovering over her, no, more precisely, someone.
"Shhh, shhhh!" The boy spoke putting his hand firmly over her mouth and muffling her voice.
Erina's eyes widened in the dark as she tried to make out who it was above her. Her heart about to burst out of her chest. The hand over her mouth was warm and rough with callouses. Not the hand of a gentleman at all....
"Dio!" She thought in terror as she noted the fair hair outlined by the moon.
Beneath his grasp she writhed and made as if to try and scream through his hand but was startled as he lowered his face to hers and ran his free hand through her hair which was now undone. "Shhh. Don't be rash now Erina. Just think for a moment. If you scream and people come rushing in here, what will they think of you?"
His voice was charming and full of fake sympathy, it made her break out into a cold sweat. Her eyes widened and she whimpered slightly realising his implications.
"A girl of your age entertaining boys in her room, unchaperoned..." Dio grinned and placed a soft kiss on her forehead his voice suddenly becoming cruel, "They'll think you're a filthy whore."
She tensed as he suddenly pulled her hair tight at the back of her head. She could barely make out his face in the darkness but she could imagine him smiling gleefully above her. Gulping, a tear fell down her face.
He stared at her for what seemed like a lifetime. "Would you like me to remove my hand?" He asked finally, his grip on her hair loosening slightly.
Erina swallowed hard and nodded.
"But remember, no shouting or screaming. If this gets out you'll have to die an old maid."
Fighting back tears Erina nodded again. She refused to cry in front of Dio.
After another moments hesitance he relinquished his hold on her mouth and she gasped for air, but tried to remain as quiet as possible.
Dio moved himself so he was sitting above her, barring her from moving.
"What do you want?" She whispered boldly as she saw his outline move its hands into what she could only assume would be pockets.
Dio laughed as though amused by some great joke and from nowhere he suddenly lit a match and lighted a stubby candle which he placed on the beside, shedding an ominous shadow across his face which she could now faintly see grinning and mocking her.
"So spirited... I must say, Jojo is a fool in so many ways but at least he has decent taste in women."
Erina felt a chill run up her spine as she saw the way Dio leered at her, his eyes like a wolf on the hunt. She needed to be courageous.
"What do you want, Dio? Tell me and be done with it." She sighed at the end, as her heart rate constricted her breathing and speech became difficult, but she hoped she had delivered her lines with enough confidence.
Dio feigned shock. "Erina!" She cringed and leaned back as he brought his face inches from her own. "Don't make me sound like such a brute. I'm only human. Do not I, Dio, deserve some sympathy?" He held her hand against his chest and she felt his heart beat, steady and slow, just as she imagined, almost as though it were not really there.
"W-What on earth are you talking about?" She whispered frantically. "What have I done to deserve your hatred? Why are you tormenting me?" She bit her lip to hold the tears in which threatened to burst.
His eyebrows raised, "Tormenting you? Now this is exactly what I mean." To her relief, in his theatrics Dio leaned back although he held her hand still. "That kiss that I bestowed upon you was no mere passing gesture. I'll have you know, that not unlike yourself it was a premier experience for me. And to have that precious gift tossed back in my face, scornfully as you did..." Dio's brow furrowed, "it was quite hurtful of you, Erina Pendleton, quite hurtful."
Erina's eyes searched his face in wonder. What games was he playing? Was he beyond reasoning with... "Please Dio. Please stop this, whatever it is. I ask you, as a gentleman... Leave now. I won't say a word. Only leave."
Dio grinned anew, "Astonishing, I thought they only dreamt up women such as yourself for fairytales, such manners. Only I'm afraid that it is too late for begging. You yourself cast me as the brute and now I must play my part through to the end."
Erina swallowed hard. "What do you want from me?"
She stared at him. "Pardon?"
Dio rolled his eyes, "Restitution Erina. You stole away the bliss of my first fleeting encounter of love. I demand it back in full."
Dio nodded, "Yes. Suppose now, please, that on the other end of the kiss you received was one Jonathan Joestar, my adoptive brother, perhaps you know him? What would your response have been?"
Erina blushed anew at the thought. "Jonathan? I..." She looked away bashfully but a fire lit in her eyes, "Impossible. Jonathan is a gentleman, he would never do such a thing."
"Ha! That shows how well you know your precious Jojo. But regardless. That reaction you first had, that was what I meant. You would have reciprocated and there is no denying that."
Erina's cheeks only grew redder. She couldn't lie. It would be wrong to lie.
"So now, you will pay me back by giving me the reciprocation which you would have given to Jonathan. It is only right."
Erina's eyes widened, "That's what you want?"
Dio nodded. "And don't try and put on a pretence. If I feel you did not do it justice I shall ask you to repeat it until you do."
Erina's blood ran cold at the thought of kissing Dio. She had been trying to remove the memory of her stolen kiss without success and now she was being accused as the thief and being forced to repeat the offence?
"The longer you make me wait, the longer I stay."
Dio's eyes were cruel. They appeared almost red in the dim light. His teeth seemed sharpened to a point as he smiled condescendingly at her and his hair was like a mass of flame. If Erina ever once thought she had seen the devil, it was now.
Placing her hands by her sides, Erina moved herself closer to Dio, he smelt of sweat, no doubt he had spent the day boxing or horse riding and hadn't bothered to wash before coming here. In order to escape his leer she closed her eyes and did her very best to imagine that it was Jonathan sitting astride her at this moment. She needed to convince Dio on her first try for she did not intend to kiss him twice.
Erina licked her lips trying to place him in front of herself but it seemed wrong and forbidden. Jonathan would never demand a kiss from her... He wouldn't have to. But this whole situation, it was something sacred, something that should only exist after one had exchanged marriage vows and Erina didn't really understand what it was exactly that went on but she knew that out of context it was vulgar and improper for a young lady to think on...
"I'm waiting." Dio announced, his voice not seeming the least bit concerned about her hesitance, rather it appeared that he was enjoying her indecision quite well enough.
Pressing her fingers down against the mattress Erina took the plunge, leaning forwards to where she supposed Dio's lips might be and gave her very best attempt at conjuring a form of passion regardless of the pangs it brought on her conscience.
Her lips pressed down with a tender force against Dio's. They were not now dry as she remembered so it made it slightly easier to imagine that they did not in fact belong to him.
Jonathan, I'm kissing Jonathan... She told herself, her nose rubbing against Dio's as she attempted to supply some extra element she thought may rid her of this demon.
To her surprise Dio did not really respond. In fact, he did not even shut his eyes. Rather he watched in amusement as Erina's flushed face cringed and pouted against his. He tried to dispel any thoughts regarding how cute she seemed, but it was useless. She was quite adorable, really. In a pathetic sort of way.
Erina counted ten seconds and guessed that she should now be able to free herself from his face. But upon pulling away she found herself forced back into place by Dio's hand which crashed against the back of her head, smacking her lips against his once more only this time Dio was a more active participant, his other hand pressing into her waist, Dio pushed her mouth open with his own and shoved his slimy, hot tongue down her throat making her gasp and squeak in surprise and disgust.
Her hands flung up and pushed against his chest with all her might, but she was powerless against his bulky frame and he only continued to fill her mouth with his foreign saliva and grope greedily at her back, his hand moving under her rump and squeezing it roughly.
Finally, with a brutish grunt, Dio drew away from Erina, a small strand of saliva hanging between their teeth as they both panted.
Erina pushed against him more fruitfully this time, throwing herself back against the bed head and biting back more tears, she would not cry!
"That was quite satisfactory." Dio said finally, wiping his mouth on his sleeve.
Erina didn't dare look at him as he moved off her, and she was too afraid to speak lest it prompt his wrath.
He'll go now. She thought with great relief.
But he did not go.
"What on earth are you doing?!" She whispered in shock.
Dio had moved to stand beside her bed, not to remove himself from her room, but rather to remove his clothing. Already his suspenders had been abandoned and he was unbuttoning his shirt with great dexterity.
Dio chuckled as he began removing the shirt, "Don't be so naive Erina. You can't possibly have thought I was leaving after that?"
Erina felt herself go cold. What were his intentions?
As if in response, Dio continued as he began to loosen his belt. "No, Im afraid that I have every intention of fucking you."
He was so blasé. At first she thought, or perhaps she only hoped that, he was joking.
"Take off your nightgown, please." He said as he removed his trousers, Erina's eyes diverting themselves from his improper form.
Her eyes moved over to the door. If only she could reach it and shout that someone were in her room... Dio seemed to follow her train of thought for he grabbed her wrist tightly and forced her to look at him.
"I don't have time for your cutesy games. I want to get some sleep tonight. Now hurry up and take off your nightgown and hand it to me."
Erina whimpered as his grip tightened again, she felt as though her hand might come off. Pathetically she was forced to nod in compliance and holding her sheet up she slipped her white nightdress over her head and passed it to him, clamping her blankets over her bare chest and not being able to drown out the sob that escaped her throat.
"What a good girl." Dio said, stroking her cheek and tossing her clothes on the floor with his own. "Now, let's have a look..." Her heart leapt into her throat as Dio made to pull the covers away from her.
"No!" She cried weakly, putting her whole strength into pressing them down.
Dio sighed exasperatedly and using his full force he ripped the blankets away, her best efforts being pitiful compared to his. Her left arm fell immediately across her breasts while her right hand moved instinctively between her legs.
"Please..." She couldn't stop the tears now as they fell with increasing speed and volume. "P-please Dio. Stop...." She heard herself and she hated how weak she sounded but there seemed little left to do.
She gasped as Dio climbed over her again and petted her hair soothingly. "Erina, Erina..." He repeated her name softly and in a manner which ought to have comforted her but it only made her hair stand on end. A choked cry emitted her throat as she felt something firm rub against her belly, she felt her insides twitch and she longed to know what it was but dared not look.
Dio's thumb rubbed a circle against her neck as he looked down at her, face scarlet in shame, eyes a watery mess. He felt such a strange mixture of emotions. In one way, he was delighted at how thoroughly he was hurting this girl who was so precious to his brother. But in another way he felt conflicted. He had been hurt by her rejection of him, although his hurt had surprised even himself. Somewhere in him he felt saddened by her tears and blubbering, he would have rathered that she looked at him lustily, wanting him to be here, responding to his touch with small utterances of joy instead of fear.
But the conflict was easily ignored. Dio had long since deadened his conscience to arguing against his actions.
"Have you...." Erina swallowed and kept her eyes off him. "Have you done this before?"
She wasn't sure which answer she wanted to hear. She had once seen a dog moving erratically against a mans leg and she recalled the way her mother had gasped and turned Erina's face away.
Dio frowned at her question. "No." He admitted hesitantly.
He noted a small hint of relief in her eyes and it made him scowl. Most boys his age hadn't so it wasn't really shameful, but he didn't want Erina to notice if he was at all clumsy. But now that she knew, she would realise any inadequacies and perhaps it would amuse her.
No. Erina was too refined to be amused by any of this...
And besides, Dio had a fair idea of what was involved anyhow. After his mother had died, Dario had on occasions brought whores off the street up to their home, some of them had chided him for not hiding their actions from his son who would stare in horror as his father writhed against them, grunting and sighing. The first time it happened, Dio had cried. But most of the sluts Dario tossed his coppers at only laughed at the little boy, some making vulgar comments or saying that he ought to pay for the privilege of watching.
But Dio didn't want to think about his father right now. Besides, it didn't mean that he was copying him, after all every man at some point would do this.
He shook his head and abandoned his memories, pulling himself back to the present. Without saying anything more to Erina who had now become still beneath him, her eyes closed, he pulled at her hand which was pressed firmly between her thighs and placed it by her side. She sobbed and shut her eyes firmly as he spread her legs apart, entranced by the soft pink folds between her slit.
He licked his lips nervously as he pressed his fingers against her, it was very dark but he could make out the opening he required and with uncharacteristic hesitance he traced it with his finger, Erina twitched her hips at his movements and bit her lip, her eyes still pressed shut.
With a wry grin he chuckled again, "Do you like that, Erina?"
Her features crinkled as he spoke and with a new found confidence he rubbed liberally at the skin between her legs and pressed his fingers upwards into the soft heat of the hole, she gave a choked cry as a sticky mucus began to develop around his digits.
Dio pulled his fingers back and looked at them curiously.
Erina almost wanted to open her eyes, what was he doing? She still pressed her arm over her breasts and she had never felt so ashamed in all her life knowing that Dio's golden eyes were staring at her so unashamedly. She was about to begin trying to pull her legs together again when she suddenly felt Dio shift his weight on the mattress and she felt his hands push down against her thighs. He hesitated for a moment and then she felt him press against her, her insides seemed to twist and pull sickeningly as it occurred to her that this was really going to happen.
"Ah!" She tried to hold herself back from crying out, but Dio had lunged himself so quickly inside of her that it came as a reflex. Her eyes opened wide and she heard her cry ringing in the still air as she became overwhelmed by how uncomfortable this was. She looked at Dio, "ah, p-please... It hurts!" She whispered frantically, her hands grasping at the bed sheets.
Dio seemed to only half hear her. His mind was somewhere else completely, his breathing turned into a pant. With a grunt he slipped out of her, blood trickling between her legs. Erina gasped in relief but was soon tormented again as Dio readjusted himself and began to thrust upon her, erratically at first but growing steadily more rhythmic.
The pain seemed to lessen over time but the shame of it was more than Erina could bear. Biting into her own hand she tried to dull any moans that escaped her lips, moans that were mixed with her whimpering. She imagined at any moment that someone would walk in to the room and find them doing this horrible thing, and what would they think? She hadn't called for help. She'd be labelled a whore. Her parents would send her away to work in a factory and she would never see Jonathan ever again.
These were the things she was thinking as Dio rutted against her, grunting and grasping at her ass and calling her a bitch and moaning her name and asking her if she liked it, not really caring what she said in reply.
His inexperience didn't stand out to Erina as she had nothing to compare it to, but she felt as he suddenly increased his pace and finally tensed and held himself against her, panting, as with a final moan he went soft inside her, filling her with a disgusting heat.
Dio slipped out of her lazily and collapsed by her side, his face serene in the candlelight.
She stared at him bewildered. Was that it? It was horrible. Erina still felt all the tension in her muscles from before, she felt somewhat how she imagined a bottle of carbonated water felt before its top was opened.
But now he would leave. That was a relief.
He stirred lethargically beside her and slipped one of his hands across her waist moving his lips gently across her burning cheek. "How do you feel?" He asked in his condescending manner.
She moved her lips futilely. She should have felt anger; but she didn't. She felt exhausted. She felt used.
"You didn't say my name once." He remarked bitterly pulling himself up on his elbow.
Her brow furrowed.
"You can be so rude, Erina. Honestly..." He looked away in his new bout of self delusion. "You enjoyed it, there can be no doubt. You made enough noise, I'm surprised your parents haven't come barging in here, and yet, although I said your name, you never once said mine."
"Yes precisely. But nevermind, there's still a chance for you."
Erina gasped as he pressed his hand between her legs again. "I have read that this is sometimes necessary for women." She bucked against his touch as he drove three of his fingers inside her at once, rubbing frantically. "You should really appreciate that I'm the one who's doing this. Jojo would have simply left you high and dry, but not I, Dio." He gritted his teeth as he spoke, focusing on the task at hand, his thumb rubbing at her swollen clitoris.
She felt that same bottled up feeling build again, only now it seemed to grow exponentially. She bit her hand again to muffle her cries.
"Say it!" Dio whispered angrily.
She looked at him through hazy eyes. What was he talking about?
"Say my name Erina. Say it like you mean it."
With strands of saliva running hotly off her lips, she pulled her hand away and defied every fibre in her body. She had to make him leave. "Ah... D... D-Diooo..." She moaned out, her muscles contracting on Dio's fingers as she finally released.
Her breathing was heavy as Dio pulled his fingers out once more and rubbed the mess along her thigh before crawling on top of her and moving her now limp arm away from her breasts. He sighed happily and kissed her chest before laying his sharp white teeth around her right nipple and biting, not too hard, in truth he couldn't risk her parents finding him there either.
She regained her full consciousness that way, with Dio running his tongue over her breasts, sucking and nipping at her pale skin.
Erina felt lifeless.
Dio felt empowered.
He felt as though he had broken her, like a wild horse. Here she lay beneath him, fully at his disposal. She really was beautiful. He envied Jonathan still. She may have been allowing him to do as he pleased but she wouldn't look at him. Wouldn't touch him or kiss him in return. She was not fully his.
"I suppose I should leave you now." He finally announced.
She looked at him briefly when he said this but she was too tired to care. Too spent.
Dio lazily began to dress himself again, after buttoning up his shirt he handed her her nightgown. "By the way, it's a little late now but I've heard vinegar and water can be used to lower your chances of conception." Dio remarked casually as he buckled his trousers.
Erina sat up wide eyed. "W-what did you say? Con... Conception... Of..."
Dio grinned maliciously as he had when he first entered her room. "A baby, Erina." He couldn't help laughing as he straightened his collar. "Fancy a doctors daughter not knowing a simple thing like that... Oh and you might want to do something about that mess on your sheets. Your maid will no doubt make mention of it to your mother otherwise. But anyhow. Off I go. Until we meet again, sweet Erina." His tone mocked.
Erina felt her blood run cold. Dio leaned down to give her a chaste kiss on the cheek before going over to the window which he deftly climbed out.
Chapter 2: Polite Company
Surely Dio can't destroy her life any more than he already has?
**This chapter contains no explicit material but future chapters will. Just letting you know.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
"Erina! We're going to be late if we don't leave soon."
Milly smiled encouragingly at Erina despite still being confused about the odd state of her room. Erina had woken up with a bad headache and had needed some attention to pull into order. As Mrs Pendleton quickly approached the doorway, for perhaps the first time in her life Erina did not smile back at her dear maid.
"I'm sorry." She said meekly, rising from her vanity and exiting the room.
She hadn't been able to remember where Milly stored the spare sheets. So after tearing the soiled ones from her bed the evening prior and stuffing them into the old trunk under her bed, she'd been unable to replace them.
The vinegar, which still sat next to her wash basin, had been a different feat and it was in fact her first call of order. Holding her stomach nervously the whole way down the suddenly creaky stairs, her every movement produced an amplified sound which seemed to ring out through the whole house. She could imagine every detail from the moment her parents awoke; the beginning of her undoing. But somehow, they hadn't heard her and she had stowed the bottle back to her room.
Dio hadn't explained what she ought to do with it but she supposed it was obvious enough.
She guessed that the idea would be to make a solution of the two liquids and use it as a cleanser. However, due to the fact that Dio had mentioned it already being somewhat late to be quite as effective, she chose to use a concentrate.
Placing a dish between her legs and squatting over it, she sprinkled the vinegar into her palm and rubbed it between her legs, in truth achieving nothing purely from her lack of comprehending the issue at large.
The vinegar had stung at little, but the pain acted as a reassurance to her drumming breast that perhaps she had accomplished something by it.
Her mother smiled.
"There you are. Your father is already out the front."
"Sorry mama." Erina said quietly.
The sunlight hurt her eyes as she stepped out into the day, still stinging from lack of sleep and tears. But in truth it was nothing by comparison to her self-condemnation.
Her skin seemed to tingle with the guilt of what had happened. She wanted to tell her parents but was too ashamed. Why did she have to feel guilty anyhow? She was the victim! But well bred young ladies were not supposed to let men do such things to them; Erina had been a failure in the one area she had been destined to excel in.
"Erina?" Her mother stood beyond the threshold of the church and was peering back at her curiously. "You've been in a strange mood all morning. Is something the matter?"
Yes, I'm a common, base woman. I'm defiled and filthy and as soon as I cross that boundary I'll burst into flames and everyone will know my shame.
"No mama." She hesitated only a moment longer before taking a firm step into the church, resigning herself to her doom...
But no flames were to be seen.
She sighed in relief and felt her burden lighten an inch. Perhaps God had forgiven her. Perhaps he knew she was not to blame.
Feeling suddenly emboldened she followed her mother and father to their seats in the pews with her head held high. Smoothing her skirt down beside her, as if by instinct her eyes moved over to the seats inhabited by the Joestars. Her heart ached as she saw Jonathan, head buried in what she guessed was his prayer book. How she wanted to talk to him and have him comfort her!
But with her eye in their direction she soon noticed that Dio had turned to look at her, the moment her eyes met his she looked downwards her cheeks blushing crimson as she thought of their indecent behaviour. It was as though she were naked again with his eyes upon her, knowing he had seen her every part and dreading the smirk he must have worn at that moment.
She didn't hear a word that the pastor said. Her mind was in so many different places. Several times she tried to begin a prayer in her mind, but it was no use. Dio's head lay in her line of vision and the sight of him made her skin crawl.
Who knew the devil went to church?
Upon noticing her after mass, Jonathan made several attempts to engage her attention or exchange words with her. However Erina would have none of it. As soon as she noted him drawing nearer she turned her head and walked away eventually deciding it would be best to follow her mother closely and make herself appear immersed in whichever conversation Mrs Pendleton took part.
She didn't say a word on the trip home and upon arriving at home she withdrew to her room after refusing lunch.
She would have equally refused her dinner, but her parents insisted that she eat.
"You can't expect to be healthy if you don't fuel your body." Her father had said when she finally joined them.
"You look so downcast today, darling. Has something happened?"
Erina shook her head. "No. I just didn't sleep very well."
Her food tasted bland and swallowing seemed a chore. It was not until about half way through dinner that Mr Pendleton announced his news.
"By the way, today that young lad... Uh. What's his name? Erina, you remember, the Joestar boy, not Jonathan, the fair one..."
"Dio, isn't it?" Mrs Pendleton put in helpfully.
"Yes, that's it. Dio. The orphan child. Charming young man. Anyhow. He came to see me today. It seems he's entering the university soon and he can't make up his mind whether he is more inclined towards Medicine or Law so he asked if I would let him spend some time with me on the wards and all that, you know, to get a better idea of what he's getting himself into."
"Yes, well naturally I assented. Nothing like helping out a neighbour. Particularly not one you intend to marry your daughter too." Mr and Mrs Pendleton both chuckled at that statement but Erina only placed her knife and fork down by her plate. "Anyhow, I figured so that we get to know one another better, I've invited him to join us for supper tomorrow night. What do you think?"
Mrs Pendleton smiled encouragingly. "What a lovely idea, my dear. And who knows. Perhaps he will bring his brother along." She turned her head to wink at her daughter when Erina suddenly pushed back against the table sliding her chair out with a thud and rattling the tableware.
"E-excuse me." Erina said in a shaking voice before fleeing the dining room without further explanation.
Her parents sat with open mouths, unsure of what had just happened.
"What an excellent idea Dio. Jojo, you should be more proactive about these things as well. Why not ask around for an internship?"
"Uh... Yes, father, I will." Jonathan said meekly. He still couldn't quite believe what he'd heard. Dio had no interest whatsoever in becoming a doctor. "B-but Dio. Why the Pendleton's?"
Dio smiled at his adoptive brother from above the rim of his glass. "Why not the Pendletons? He is a very successful surgeon, he obviously knows what he's about and besides; they're our neighbours. It was a natural choice."
"It has nothing to do with that Jojo." Dio said bluntly, shooting an icy glare at Jonathan.
"What are you boys talking about?" George asked curiously looking up from his beef.
Jonathan looked positively panicked when Dio glanced at him so he decided he would cover for them both. "Just a little business between brothers. You understand, father."
He was so full of confidence and charm when he spoke it was difficult for anyone to disbelieve him. Jonathan often felt he was going mad purely from the dissonance between the Dio he was with around others and the Dio he encountered in the privacy of their home.
Later that evening as the boys were heading to their rooms Jonathan stopped Dio in the hallway. "About that business with Pendleton's..."
Dio sighed, "Jojo, for the last time, Erina had nothing to do with my decision."
"N-no..." Jonathan paused. He wanted to believe Dio, he always had. "I only wanted to ask a favour of you. Would you..." He gulped, "would you pass a message on to Erina for me. We haven't spoken in some time."
Dio grinned. "But of course. What is it you wanted her to know?"
Jonathan smiled. "Only that I don't care what's happened. I want to see her again and I'll be miserable till I do."
Dio smiled, was it genuine? "I had no idea you were such a romantic, Jonathan. How could she resist?"
And with that Dio turned to open his door but Jonathan stopped him, placing his hand on his shoulder. Dio's brow furrowed as he looked back at his younger brother.
"Thank you, Dio."
His sincerity was almost touching. Almost. "That's what brothers are for." Dio said ingratiatingly before turning away and scowling as he entered his room.
"I was certain it was only your headache that made you act so rashly the other day but now this... Erina, your behaviour is unacceptable."
She didn't care what her mother said, she refused to attend this dinner.
"Erina Pendleton. You will come down at once!"
She heard her mother stamp her foot. She almost never resorted to such things, she was a gentle natured woman.
"Mama I have already told you; I do not feel well and I am not coming down to dinner. Please pass my apologies onto Mister Brando when he arrives."
Her mother stamped her foot again and then Erina heard her footsteps retreat from her door and another set of feet approach. Ones who brought with them something which jangled.
Her mother had gotten the maid to bring up the spare key to her room and had barged in to find Erina still in her day dress, lying across the bed with a book in her hands.
"Get dressed this instant. Your father will be back any moment now."
"No. This is too much. I don't care what it is that's making you act this way, you will pull yourself together and you will be a good hostess and first and foremost a lady." Her mothers tone was curt but wrought with nerves. She felt anxious about any guests, but Dio's links to the Joestars stood him above others. The Joestars were renowned for their elegance and class and Mrs Pendleton dared not offend anyone who held that sort of standing, even indirectly.
Erina had thought that she could avoid this but she found it impossible to displease her parents. With a downcast look and a sinking feeling in her chest she finally acceded. "Very well."
Dio couldn't possibly do anything to her at a dinner with her parents. Surely she was safe. Once again it would only be her pride that would be damaged.
Her mother rustled through her closet with a critical eye. "Here, wear this dress." She finally said.
Erina, who was pulling back her hair glanced over at the dress her mother had chosen. "But that's too much, surely. It's only dinner."
"Put it on and come down stairs right away, I think I hear your fathers carriage."
And with that her mother rushed down the stairs in a flurry.
The dress Mrs Pendleton had selected was a pure white dress, the likes of which were meant to be saved for garden parties and picnics and not regular family dinners.
Erina fussed with the frills on the collar in the mirror. She felt ridiculous. The last time she had worn it it had been perfect. But now it seemed ill fitting and awkward. She felt as though she were thirty and trying to squish into a child's play suit.
"Miss Erina, your mother is expecting you. Your father will be in shortly and she needs you to help her receive."
She sighed, giving her collar one last tug, it seemed stifling. "Alright, thank you. I'm coming."
"There you are. And how lovely you look. Like an angel." Her mother caressed her gently as she descended the stair and it became obvious that all her previous annoyance had already melted away.
The knock at the door interrupted any further exchange and seemed to shake Erina to her core. Her heart thumped as she watched the housekeeper fiddle with the lock and gently open the door with a curtsey, welcoming Mr Pendleton and Mr Brando.
"Welcome home my dear. And welcome to you also Mr Brando. It is a delight to have you join us this evening."
Her mother smiled radiantly as Dio took off his hat and made a polite bow. "The pleasure is all mine, Mrs Pendleton. I am indebted to your hospitality."
His voice made Erina feel sick. But worst of all she could see her mother at this moment buying into all his fake gentility.
"Erina?" Her mother nodded her head in her direction and indicated that she ought to say something.
"Yes, thank you for joining us." Erina said flatly, her eyes focused intently on the floor.
Dio smiled politely and extended his hand to receive hers which she gave mechanically. He lifted it to his lips and looked at her, his eyes taking on their predatory gaze for just a moment, "I assure you, it is no burden to me." He purred, pressing his lips gently, momentarily on her pale knuckles.
She shivered and pulled her hand back trying not to make it too obvious.
"I trust you feel better this evening?" Said her father, who had just handed his hat and coat over to Milly came over and kissed her gently on the cheek.
"You were unwell?" Dio asked.
Erina focused on her father, "I'm feeling much better now, thank you."
"Excellent." Her father said, brushing her cheek lovingly with his hand before passing by her to the drawing room. "Come over by the fire, the air out is quite cold this evening." He called over his shoulder to Dio.
"Yes, it certainly is." Dio said in reply beginning to follow but stopping just a step ahead of Erina he turned back. "I trust you haven't been too poorly Miss Pendleton?"
"I appreciate your concern, Mr Brando, but I really am fine." She threw him an icy glare and he grinned.
"I'm glad to hear it."
Once he had left the hall Erina slumped against the wall feeling now how tense she had been. How am I to get through this evening?
To her disappointment, Erina was seated directly opposite Dio. And while he seemed to constantly be paying attention to anything either of her parents said, if her eye moved beyond her plate she found him watching her intently.
As was to be expected, Dio was an excellent conversationalist. By the time that their meal was halfway gone he had managed to draw out the entire lives of her parents so that he was intimately acquainted with the ins and outs of the circumstances of their childhoods and every point up till the present.
"And you, Mr Brando. It surely must pain you to think of your own parents but, what was your childhood like?"
Dio eagerly placed the morsel on his fork in his mouth in order to hide the natural scowl that crept across his features when his childhood was mentioned. Swallowing hesitantly, Dio licked his lips and plastered a fake smile across his face. "My childhood? It was... Ordinary." He lied. "My parents were not wealthy sorts but they were honest people and they gave me the very best they could."
His voice didn't sound right as he spoke.
"What was the nature of their death?"
She couldn't believe how intrusive her parents were being.
"Consumption." Dio said quickly as though it was the first thing he thought of.
"Oh my, both at once?"
Dio grimaced. "Yes, I'm afraid so. I suppose it's the reason for my interest in medicine."
"Of course. And so do you feel any closer to making a decision?"
He found lying on this subject much more comfortable and he eased back into his seat in his relief. "To be perfectly honest, no. In fact, having seen some of the work required I feel I've underestimated the profession entirely. But Mr Pendleton has kindly offered to keep me with him until I feel more at ease and for that I am very grateful."
"Not at all." Erina's father murmured as he continued to eat.
So he was staying here indefinitely. Erina couldn't help looking at him now. After the evening prior she had thought there was nothing else he could possibly want from her and yet he seemed to be proving her quite wrong on that point.
"And what about your brother, Jonathan. What are his plans for the future?" Mrs Pendleton always spoke with such gusto about Jonathan. But it was really no wonder. She believed that her daughters happiness was her own and so she felt intensely interested in the boy for Erina's sake.
Dio flashed a toothy grin at Erina as he was asked this, noting how her face went pale at the very mention of his brothers name.
"Jojo," he chuckled a little and Erina felt her chest tighten, uncertain what Dio might say, "he's quite different to myself I assure you. At this precise moment his heart is quite set on pursuing Archaeology. I have no doubt he would do well as a professor, but he insists he wants to work in the field, heedless of its impracticalities." He spoke with a mildly disapproving tone.
"Impracticalities?" Mrs Pendleton asked curiously.
Dio sipped his wine contemplatively. "Well, to put it more bluntly, such a job would insist an incredible level of devotion. More so than any other, in my opinion. In order to work in the field he would be required to travel at length to various continents for indefinite periods. Such an occupation would simply not be conducive to a functional family life..."
Erina clenched her skirt in her fist as he spoke.
"Does that not bother Jonathan?" Mrs Pendleton asked with wide eyes.
Dio gave her mother a lopsided smile,"If you mean, does it bother him that he might never be able to marry and raise his own family, then I'm afraid the answer is; no." Dio's eyes shone as he saw the way Mrs Pendleton's face dropped and her eyes instinctively moved over to Erina.
Erina could only glare at Dio.
It was obviously not enough to destroy her reputation but he was now making sure to thoroughly spoil Jonathan's as well.
"I on the other hand, simply cannot understand that mentality in men." Dio shook his head regretfully, "A profession is one thing, and it certainly has its own merit but... To have a family of ones own; can there be a greater joy in life than that?"
Erina shut her eyes. His tone was mawkish and made her stomach tie itself in knots.
"Here, here." Mr Pendleton agreed wholeheartedly.
Mrs Pendleton was still recovering from this new discovery. "Such a shame..." She murmured. Perhaps this accounted for Erina's strange behaviour.
"And you Erina. What are your plans?"
She was taken aback by the question, she had not said a word all evening and was almost certain that she might get away with being silent.
She put her hand on the table and fiddled with the stem of her glass. "I'm not entirely sure yet. I have thought that maybe I would do some work as a teacher..." She said quietly.
"Erina is very fond of children." Mrs Pendleton cut in, "She'll make a great mother some day."
Dio smiled cheerfully at this comment. "I am sure she will."
As was only polite and customary, once dinner was over, Erina's father withdrew with Dio to his office to share a cigar and a glass of port. With his eyes finally off herself, Erina felt that she may have been able to relax. But her mother took advantage of their privacy to question her daughter.
She presented her case that she had guessed Erina's recent change in mood was related to the devastating news regarding Jonathan's disinterest in marriage.
Not knowing why, she agreed readily to this fact, feeling slightly relieved when she saw the sympathy in her mothers eyes.
"Oh Erina. Why didn't you say something?"
Her mother wrapped her arms around her daughter and Erina felt as though a switch had been flicked within her and quite uncontrollably began to cry.
"Come now, there are other nice boys. You'll see."
"Mother, I..." She choked on her words. She had been about to tell her mother everything but how could she?
"Don't speak, dear. I understand." giving her a final kiss on her tear stained cheek her mother pulled away from her and produced a handkerchief to tidy her face. "Anyhow, Jonathan has not come to visit us, Dio has. And I must say I had never realised what a charming young man he was."
Erina scowled and was about to make a scalding comment regrading the 'charming young man' when her father re-entered the room.
"Speak of the devil..." Erina muttered as she saw Dio waltz in behind him.
"Your father tells me you play chess very well, Erina. Would you care to play me?"
"Wouldn't it be better to play something as a group?" She suggested hopefully looking at her parents.
"I'm afraid I don't quite feel up to it and three is an awkward number for cards. You two go ahead."
Erina shot a cold look at her father. Was everyone against her?
"Very well." She said dryly.
They kept a chess table set up in the drawing room by the window, which Dio must have noted was kept a fair distance from the sofa where Erina's parents were currently reading and exchanging small snatches of conversation.
Erina had to smile when she noted that appropriately, Dio had taken the side with the black pieces.
"Your move first." He said as he lounged back comfortably.
"Yes I know." Erina said somewhat smugly.
"What is it that you find so amusing, Mr. Brando?"
Dio leaned his chin on his fist and looked at Erina in a way that could almost be described as adoring. "Do you know why it is that white gets the first move in chess?"
Erina looked at him blankly. It was a rule she had never questioned.
"In medieval times," Dio seemed only to happy to condescend to explain it to her, "it was widely believed that black was a colour which signified luck, therefore the opponent who played with the white pieces was given the first move so that they might have a sporting chance."
Erina looked again at the pieces. He was telling her that she was to be pitied. He was going to let the rabbit run a little before he shot it down.
"Take your time."
Erina looked at him again before returning her eyes to the board. She mustn't let him intimidate her.
With a slightly trembling hand, which she tried to hide, she moved her left knight forward.
"Interesting..." Dio moved the pawn before his left rook one space.
Erina unhesitatingly repeated her move with her second knight. "Why are you here?" She said quietly.
"What on earth do you mean?"
Erina scowled, she glanced briefly to the side of the room where her parents were, they seemed to be discussing something in the news, "you know precisely what I mean. What more do you want from me?"
Dio feigned offence. "Erina. I have already explained why I'm here. Why do you doubt me?"
She decided not to dignify that question with a response.
"By the way," he looked quickly at her parents and leaned over the table, "Jonathan wanted me to pass on a message to you..."
She felt her heart thump at the mention of his name, "Jojo?" She mouthed. "W-what is it?"
"It's your move." Dio said smugly after sliding his bishop out two spaces to the left.
"I mean the message." She said urgently.
"Oh, that." Dio rubbed his chin thoughtfully, "oh yes, he said he wants to talk to you, no matter what, he says that if you don't see him again he'll be eternally miserable, I believe those were his exact words."
Erina blushed and her mouth moved soundlessly searching for words to express how much she wanted to see Jonathan, but her conscience panged and before she could manage anything Dio continued.
"Of course your response will be 'no'." He said it half in warning, half as a reminder.
Dio's eyes alone were enough to stop her continuing. She had never seen him look like this before, she felt sure he might jump across the table and tear her throat out with his teeth. "No buts about it. You seem to be forgetting that you are now spoiled goods. You have no right to talk to my brother and if you try to approach him in anyway I will be forced to tell him the truth about you."
Her lip quivered. "W-what?" She looked over at her parents again who were now laughing, the fools.
"Don't you understand?" Dio seemed to be touched by her naivety. "What we did the other night was no small thing." Making sure her parents attention was still diverted he grabbed for her hand and squeezed it tightly, her whole body went rigid at his touch. "You and I are bound to each other. Why else do you think I approached your father?"
She felt overwhelmed and confused, "What are you saying?" She whispered.
Dio loosened her hand noting that her parents amusement was subsiding. "I'm saying that you belong to me. For better or worse."
He of course won the game. She may have put up a fight, but in the end it was Dio who succeeded.
As they sat down to tea, he asked if she played the piano in the corner and her mother excitedly suggested that Erina perform for them all. Without a word, she assented and played beautifully, mechanically, feeling all the while as though she were a bird in a cage, being poked and prodded for the amusement of others.
When Dio left, he kissed her hand again and asked her if she would take a walk with him the next day. Seeing no reason why she could rightly refuse she accepted his proposal and was congratulated on the matter by her mother before she retired.
She belonged to him? She supposed she did.
When she had shut her bedroom door she tore off her white dress and sat silently on her bed.
This is my baby now.
I would like to briefly note that Erina is in fact attempting to douche, very badly, at the onset of this chapter. Vinegar was a very common contraceptive used by women in the 19th and I daresay earlier centuries, despite its ineffectiveness.