“Wait, wait, what? Slow down, Alex,” Beth said over the phone.
“He just turned up last night, in my car. He said he was here to help,” Alex said.
“Do you believe him?” she asked.
“Yes—no, I... I don’t know. I don’t know what to think. Cat thinks I’m insane for even considering trusting him.”
“That’s because you are!” Catalin shouted from upstairs.
“Oh, shut up, Catalin! You weren’t there!” Alex shouted back.
“Do you really need to shout at each other?” Beth asked over the phone. “Can’t you just talk at normal volume and still hear each other?”
“Well, yes, but vampires still shout at each other for the same reason as humans: to release anger.”
Suddenly, Catalin was sat right next to Alex on the sofa, wrapped in her towel and her hair dripping wet from the shower she’d just got out of.
“You told her?” Catalin asked, her eyes glowing with excitement.
“Did I not tell you?”
“No, I was too busy being threatened by Robert at that time. So you shouldn’t trust him.”
“Actually, when I told her, I’d already made you fall unconscious and taken you to bed.”
Catalin scowled and was gone again.
“Sorry about that,” he said to Beth over the phone.
“Don’t worry about it. So, can Robert come out in the sun like you can?”
“He can, but he usually doesn’t. He tends to only come out for an hour or two around midnight; that’s when we’re at our strongest.”
“Okay. What about that thing today at school?”
Alex paused. “What?”
“Mierda!” he said, swearing in Spanish.
“You forgot, didn’t you?”
“Alex! How could you forget? You helped me organise it.”
“I’m sorry. I’ll be there, I promise. We’ll come and pick you up in an hour, okay?”
Beth sighed. “Okay.” Then she hung up.
As Alex got out of the car, he slipped his sunglasses on. It wasn’t a hot day, but it was relatively warm and the weak sun regularly broke through the thin clouds.
“I thought you were protected from the sun,” Beth whispered.
“While it may protect my skin, it doesn’t stop the sun from hurting my eyes. We aren’t designed for daylight,” Alex whispered back.
“Can we just get this done, please?” asked Catalin sharply. She wasn’t too impressed about the whole situation.
“You didn’t have to come, Cat,” Alex pointed out.
“And leave you at the mercy of our distrusted brother? I think not.”
“Yes, Catalin, it’s lovely to see you too,” said a voice from behind them. The three of them turned around.
“I think I’ll go and mingle,” Catalin said, making Alex smile; she hated ‘mingling’.
“Robert,” Alex said in greeting.
“Brother. And, of course, this is Beth.” After giving Beth a quick glance, Robert focused his attentions back on Alex. “I knew you’d come here hoping to find me. I wasn’t planning to come, but here I am. In the morning. I’m not a morning person, little brother, so don’t irritate me.”