After the chit-chat in the living room and a delicious dinner in the kitchen (I was starting to love Ellie), I went upstairs for an early night.
I was struck my a strange thought as I got into my pyjamas and picked up a book that had helpfully appeared on my bedside table.
What would happen if I were single?
My first thought was 'Why on earth would I think that?' Was I just very cut up over the fact Rory wasn't here? Did I feel alone? Or was it something worse?
My next thought train shoved the end of the last one away. How could I think that? I loved Rory. Of course I loved him. I couldn't love anyone else if I tried. He was my heart, my life, my soul. If we broke up, I would die. I literally would.
My last thoughts were 'Would I fall in love with Eoin?' It seemed that the other Atlanteans were almost destined to love each other. Were these missions match-making missions? Was I meant to be in a relationship with Eoin?
I couldn't be! Rory! He was my love! It was him I was meant to be in love with. I think that even if I was supposed to love Eoin, I wouldn't. I belonged to Rory. Fully. If he couldn't have me, no one could.
And with that, I decisively switched the lamp off and snuggled down into my duvet.
And was aroused from my light slumber by a knock on the door.
I turned on the lamp and called out sleepily "Hello?"
Alexander walked in, smiling.
"You okay, Charley?"
"Are you a psychic vampire who's in love with me?" I asked.
Alexander looked sympathetic. "I'm sorry. I forgot how much it was affecting you."
"You knew how much it was affecting me?" I asked sceptically.
Alexander nodded. "I may not be a vampire or the love of your life, but I am psychic."
He came forwards and sat on the end of the bed. He gazed intently into my eyes. "And I know how much this is hurting you. If there was some way I could send you back to your loved one without endangering this whole mission, I would do it."
I nodded, trying to smile. "Thank you for that."
"Hug?" Alexander asked, holding out his arms. I climbed out of my bedcovers and hugged him, nestling into his embrace. He held me back, making me feel secure and loved.
He rubbed my back absent-mindedly, saying "I know how distant you feel from the others because you weren't there in the first mission. I know how difficult the fact they all have their boyfriends and girlfriends there is for you. I know that Eoin doesn't really help because no one here truly understands your love for Rory and so will never be able to understand you."
In a quieter voice, he said "I know how you used to cry at being alone in South Africa. How you saw the world as if from behind a barrier. How isolated you felt, even in your own home."
Now he was talking about private things. Things I couldn't bear for anyone else to know. Things that I didn't even discuss with Rory.
"Alexander...," I said hesitantly.
"I'm sorry," he whispered. "I'm just so... concerned about you. You're so fragile, Charley. At any second you could break into a million pieces. Rory is the perfect guy for you because he can protect you."
"I have that," I murmured.
"You miss Rory, though," Alexander said, and although his voice was a murmur, I was relieved he wasn't whispering anymore. When he was intense, he was incredibly captivating.
"I'll be fine. You're talking to the girlfriend of a vampire here." I grinned.
Alexander smiled. He lifted me up, startling me for a moment, and then put me at the top of my bed, tucking me in as if I were his young daughter rather than a friend. He sat beside me and picked up the book.
He began reading to me. His gentle voice sent me into a deep sleep.
"Charley..." It was just his voice but it was enough.
"Hiya Rory," I murmured, smiling as I replayed his voice over and over in my head.
"How is this possible?"
"Hm? Oh, I'm not sure. Maybe Alexander fell asleep next to me and unwittingly initiated contact."
"I think I love that guy."
"No, you love me," I corrected.
Rory laughed his brilliant laugh. "Yes, that's true."
"I'm missing you," I murmured disconsolately.
"I'm missing you too. I haven't seen you since your sixteenth."
"That was a good day," I replied, remembering.
His voice sounded a bit fainter, as if he had put more distance between our minds.
"Oh," he said. ""Guess I'm off."
"Night," I murmured, disconsolately.
Well, what a pleasant end to a thought-provoking day.