6.1 - CONUNDRUM
“No, I’ll be okay in the morning, honestly. I’ve just got a bit of a sore head and I’m tired.” Becky clasped her phone to her ear feeling a tad guilty about not going out with Nick and Craig as arranged but she really didn’t feel up to being out in the open - at least not with her newfound bodyguard nearby.
Her conversation with Cain had oddly made her feel safe for all she knew he was Nosferatu. She firmly believed now that he would not harm her although she did wonder how difficult that was for him considering the nature of vampires. She was, nonetheless, curious to find out more about him and so decided to forego her night out on the town with her friends.
As she listened to Nick’s response she looked over at Cain. He sat watching her, his dark eyes almost holding her captive. She was intrigued by him, even more so now that he had revealed his origins.
She did not believe as he did in God, but she had never dismissed the probability that many of the characters other than kings, pharaohs and political leaders in the Bible were based on actual people from history. To hear that Adam and Eve existed and not in the way the Good Book described was fascinating.
She drank in his features; the set of his cheekbones, jawline and cleft chin. The dark, obsidian eyes, wise, knowledgeable, ageless. Long dark hair framing his face, insanely well conditioned for one so...old! His lips full, inviting... Painfully aware she had been staring at him, the need to get up and walk away overwhelmed her. She rose and moved across to the other side of the room.
Nick was still yabbering on, concerned, asking if everything was really alright. How had things gone with her stranger? Handsome but kinda creepy, he called him. She muffled a laugh and assured him all was good. “Stop worrying. Now seriously, you two go out and have fun. It’s your last night, so make the most of it,” she smiled.
She reached out to the little bedside cabinet where a folded brochure containing a hand-written note lay. It was the prices Tania was going to leave for her. She glanced at it while Nick kept speaking. “Uh huh. Possibly two, maybe three days,” she said before closing the brochure again.
Craig then took over, he too asked if everything was alright. She reassured him and said if she felt better later she would call them and venture out, but for now she just wanted to rest. She chewed her lip at the lie, hoping they would forgive her if they ever found out the truth. “Okay, have fun,” she said before ending the call.
The silence in the room was deafening. Now what? She sensed Cain still watched her and it was taking all she had to look at him without feeling awkward. She swallowed and inwardly started counting her way to courage...1, 2, 3, 4...
“Your friends are worried about you,” Cain said.
Although his voice was soft, it still startled her. She looked over. His mouth held a gentle smile. She glanced away again. “Yes. They are quite protective of me for some odd reason.”
“Have you known them long?”
“No! I only met them yesterday morning when I arrived. Quite a lot has happened since then, however...” Her voice drifted off.
She chastised herself for being so pathetic. Taking a deep breath she ventured back over to the bed and sat down facing him again. “Tell me more about yourself,” she said.
He leaned forward, forearms on knees, hands clasped. “There is not much to tell you.”
She gasped. “You must be about 3,000 years old at least...”
He grinned. “Older. Much older.”
A slight pause ensued. “Okay, even at that, how can you say there is not much to tell?”
The grin vanished. “I am not accustomed to telling anyone about my - existence. In fact, I have not shared such tales... for a very long time indeed.” A moment passed and he lowered his head.
Becky’ heart clenched. The utter remoteness in his words had her trying to stem the tears. She faced a conundrum; she had her own misery, her own feeling of loneliness, humiliation and hurt and yet here she was, having invited a complete stranger into her room who said he was a vampire - which, irrationally, she believed - and now she was struck by how agonising his solitude must have been? Plus, she reminded herself, a group of angsty fallen angels were on his tail also and possibly hers, going by his determination to ‘protect’ her. It was, indeed, how he had warned her it would sound - fantastical!
A flash of courage flared. Her next decision was as outlandish as his tale. “Then perhaps it is about time you shared again,” she said.
He looked up, sharp, guarded.
A nervous smile played on her lips. “I think out of the two of us, I have more reason to be afraid, don’t you?”
His face softened. Slowly, he nodded.
“Then take me to where you have been staying,” she ventured. “I want to know more; how you live now and how you lived then.”
“My -” he hesitated. “Accommodation is nothing like this,” he warned, indicating her room with it’s clean, comfortable surroundings and fixtures.
She nodded. “I somehow expected that.” She stood up and went to the wardrobe, pulling out a warm sweater, boots and a large wrapped package.
Cain rose and took a few steps towards her. With hands outstretched, he tried to reason with her. “It would be unwise. I’m sure they know where I sleep - you would be in danger.”
She pulled on the sweater, kicked off her trainers and started to don her boots. There was no going back now. “I want to risk it,” she said with a final stomp, ensuring the boots were on. “Show me.”