It goes on for a week; Adrian barely talks to me. He storms about the house and hides away in his room, that’s when he isn’t hiding away at the institute or off on some hunt.
The apartment doesn’t feel like home, it feels cold and void. When Adrian talks to me, there is a darkness in his eyes and a hardness to his voice that makes me feel as if I weren’t worthy of talking to him.
“Adrian,” I’m fed up with the silent treatment so I find him out on the balcony and confront him, “What’s wrong? Why aren’t you talking to me? Have I done something?”
“Do you want to go back to the vampires?” he deflects, his question catches me by surprise and the mere thought of falling back into the darkness has my hands trembling in fear.
“Why would you ask that?” I ask, trying to keep the shake from my voice and tears from my eye.
“I mean you’re not really trying,” he says, folding his arms over his chest and leaning back on the railing, “you’ve been freed for almost six months now, and you still cry out at night, you refuse to progress or better yourself, it’s like you’d rather still be there.”
His tone is dark yet with a quipped volume to it, he glares at me as if I were scum as if I were everything he hated in the world.
“I’m sorry,” I hear myself whisper, “I’m trying.”
“Well not hard enough,” he says, stalking past me and into the apartment, “I mean look around you, you’ve stopped doing things around the house, you mope about doing nothing, you refuse to even try to do better. We’re all trying to help you and you act as if you want to be back there.”
“Do you think I wanted my first time to happen like that?” Adrian asks, his voice rising as his fist clench at his side, “Do you think I liked it happening like that?!”
The small movement he makes sends a bolt of fear racing down my spine, I don’t react to his anger, I can’t, I know what happens if I do. My fingertips rub together as he continues to yell at me.
“And now I let you into my home, I take care of you and you do nothing to help yourself,” Adrian snaps, “I don’t expect rent or help with the bills, yet you think that this is a holiday inn, where you don’t have to do a thing to help out. Wake up Rowy, you can’t be a victim all your life.”
He stops, staring at me, expecting and waiting for me to say something.
My jaw is clenched shut, I don’t want to say anything, I’m not sure what he wants to hear or what he wants me to do, so I don’t do anything, knowing that I’m less likely to get hurt if I just keep my mouth shut.
“God,” he snarls, walking away from me, “you’re so infuriating, why can’t you just be a normal person for once?!”
Adrian leaves, slamming the door behind him, no doubt retreating to the institute where I won’t be.
Normal... am I not normal? What is normal? I don’t know... I wasn’t raised ‘normally’.
I look around the apartment, it feels cold and unwelcoming, and yet it’s clean... what more could he want?
Maybe if I clean more, if I cook more he’ll be happy. I want him to be happy, I don’t want to be his cause of unhappiness.
I start in my room, it’s still a mess from a week ago, for some reason it just seemed too impossible to clean, the disorganisation of it all was somehow soothing, but obviously it wasn’t soothing for Adrian.
I start cleaning, picking up my clothes from the floor. I find the dress Adrian liked me wearing.
As I pick it up, a small packet of powder falls from the bra that I wore that night. All thought of cleaning leaves my mind as I bend down and pick up the packet.
Adrian liked me when I was on the other stuff, maybe he’d like me if I take this... how do I take it.
I remember the party, I remember seeing others snort the powder into their noses. I shouldn’t do this, but surely a little bit won’t hurt.
The next thing I know, I’m sitting by a river, staring up at the sky and what little stars I can see.
“Oh my god!” someone screams from behind me, “Your top!”
I look down and I’m dressed in some kind of tight outfit that hugs close to me and does nothing to shield me from the bitter cold.
A group of girls find me and they flitter around me like sparking goddesses, they want to know where I got my clothes from, when I tell them they squeal and promise to go there.
“Come party with us, cute top girl,” They say.
One offers me her glittery hand and I am pulled up and into a multi-coloured room filled with loud music and strobing lights.
“What are you on?!” One asks, as she dances with me, our bodies so close that her glitter is rubbing off onto my skin.
I’m handed a drink and it’s bitter and sour but so good, it washes over my tongue and makes all my nerves light on fire.
“Your boyfriend seems like an ass!” the girl says as we collapse into a booth.
“He’s not!” I defend as she puts her arms over my shoulders, “He saved me!”
“He’s a boy!” she says, shouting over the music, “throw him away!”
I laugh with her for a while, and when I’m starting to feel sick and bad, she and I put more of the white powder in our noses so that we can dance more.
The night is a haze in my mind, all I can see is glitter and bright lights that flash and dance in my mind.
When the club spits us out, we stumble down to the next one, and the one after that. I feel free and my body feels alight with golden euphoria.
“Rowy!” his voice breaks through the haze and the next thing I know Adrian is charging through the dance floor.
“Is that him?!” one of the girls asks as the four of them dance with me.
I can vaguely remember nodding my head.
“What are you doing here?!” Adrian asks, taking my arm and trying to shake me out of my daze.
“Hey! Don’t touch her like that!”
“Who are they?!” his voice sounds weird.
“They’re my friends,” I say, as my hips continue to move with the music, “Come dance with me!”
When I try to pull Adrian into the dance, he snatches his arm away as if I were poison, he looks at me as if I were a stranger.
“Why are you speaking Romanian?!” he says over the music, “We’re going home!”
“She doesn’t have to go with you!” one of the girls say as the others dance with me.
“She’s my girlfriend!” I hear Adrian argue.
The rest of the argument is drowned out of my ears as I continue to dance and move with the other girls.
“What were you thinking?” Adrian asks, suddenly we’re in his car and I’m watching the city fly by in a swirl of lights, “How did you even get out here?”
Adrian just keeps talking at me, I don’t care about what he’s saying, I care about the pretty lights and the sound of my heart beating.
I awaken in my bed, wrapped in my blankets with Adrian by my side.
Thankfully, my clothes are still on and intact, when I crawl out of bed, it’s to race to the bathroom and throw up, after which, I shove my whole face under the water tap, gulping down water as if it were a finite resource.
My heart is still beating, but now it’s starting to beat unusually, with a quick pace, I remember this feeling.
My mouth turns dry, despite the amount of water I just drowned it in. My body tenses and even though I take deep breaths, I feel as if I cannot get enough air. As I pick at my nails, I watch the doorway, waiting for it to be filled by the shape of a vampire.
I know I’m safe, I know that they’ll never come, but what if they do, what if I’m not really safe?
Someone does come through the door, but it’s not a vampire, it’s Max, when he sees me he drops low and crawls over to me until his head is laying in my lap, over my hands that continue to scratch and pick at each other.