Beth was sat on her own bed in her own home. Everyone else was asleep. She may not have had the inhuman hearing that Alex had but she’d checked. She didn’t want anybody to know where she was going.
When Beth had eventually worked up enough courage, she left the house, alone. She glanced at the car. No, she thought, too noisy. She walked to her destination, trying not to think about how far it was. It was a cold night for April, and Beth didn’t know whether it was natural or Robert had been messing again. Beth tried to focus on what she was doing.
Finally, she stepped behind the first line of trees. She was in the forest. Beth was all too aware that this was Robert’s domain, this was his territory. This was where Alex reckoned he was staying. Catalin had agreed.
“That’s where he threatened me,” Catalin had said. “I can imagine that’s his current home.”
“None of us can go there alone then,” Alex had murmured, more to himself than to either of the girls. They’d both watched him for a long time. “He may say he’s trying to help us but he’s still dangerous.”
Beth was doing exactly what Alex had told her not to do. She was going into the forest alone. A mere human, searching for a vampire.
She walked for what seemed like hours. There was still no sign of a dweller in this wood. Beth laughed once. What was she expecting? A little gingerbread house? Did she really think he would come out of hiding just because she was walking through—
“What do you want?” said a voice. Beth span around, trying to locate the source.
Then she saw Robert. He was crouching in the tree, on a thin branch that wouldn’t have held a normal, fidgeting human. He was camouflaged in the night; his black hair and clothes blending into the darkness. Only the moon behind him showed him up. He was watching her intently. He seemed frozen in time, some sort of sculpture in the tree.
“What do you want?” he repeated, breaking the illusion.
“I...” was all Beth could say. Robert was silent. Beth hadn’t thought about why exactly she was searching for him. “I came to thank you,” she blurted out.
“For what?” Robert asked emotionlessly, though his brow drew together in confusion,
“For not killing my teacher.”
“I didn’t do it for you.”
“Who did you do it for then?” she asked.
Robert’s expression changed from genuine disinterest to sinister menace.
“I gave my word to my brother that I wouldn’t kill people while I’m here. Again, what do you want?”
“I came to talk,” Beth admitted, trying to hide her fear.
Robert’s glare softened slightly as he stood up on the thin branch. The branch hardly moved. A single leaf fell to the ground. Nothing human could have moved so carefully, so precisely.
With a smile that lasted less than a second, Robert said, “What are you here to talk about?”
“Things,” she said quietly.