Robert was tense; Beth could feel it in his arms, in his chest. She could feel the distress and complete concentration in his mind. He finally gave in to those feelings and pulled away from her.
“No, Beth, I can’t. I actually... can’t. I’m sorry,” he murmured, stumbling through the words.
Then she realised: when Robert tasted blood, his first and foremost instinct was to kill its donor. His eyes told her just how sorry he was. There was nothing he wanted more than to take her blood, but he was scared that he’d hurt her. She touched his face gently and smiled.
“It’s okay,” she whispered.
Beth kissed Robert again. This time, he seemed distracted, like his mind was too focused on something else to concentrate on her. Beth felt hurt, and jealous of whatever it was. Then she noticed that blood was oozing out of the wound on her neck. She rubbed two of her fingers in the liquid and smeared it on her lips as their lips broke apart for a short moment.
When Robert tasted the blood, he moaned. Then he was gone. Beth’s eyes flew open. He was sat on the floor with his back against the door, his long legs pulled up against his chest and his head buried in his hands. He was rocking back and forth repeatedly.
“Robert?” she asked tentatively.
“This isn’t supposed to happen. This can’t happen. It’s impossible,” he murmured before carrying on in Italian.
“Robert, what’s wrong?” He didn’t say anything to her, just kept on mumbling and rocking. “Robert, talk to me. Please, Robert, you’re scaring me.”
He didn’t even look at her. In a movement so fast Beth hardly had time to register it, Robert stood up and ran out of the room. Why was he so desperate to get away from her, when they’d been kissing not too long ago? What had he been whispering to himself? Beth was actually scared. Downstairs, she heard Robert say something to Alex and Catalin, though what it was she couldn’t make out. Then the front door opened and closed, taking Robert with it.
Beth suddenly felt very lonely.
Robert ran out of that room as fast as he could. He didn’t want to leave; he just had to. Beth made him feel different. She was one of the only people who knew he was a prolific killer, but didn’t care. At least, she didn’t seem to care; she’d kissed him hadn’t she?
That kiss... Robert hadn’t cared about anyone he kissed for nearly a hundred and sixty years. And he didn’t plan to start now. That could never, ever happen again between the two of them. A small part of Robert’s mind snarled at him angrily. This little part was the one that cared about Beth. The part that had found complete bliss in that kiss. The part that would kill to protect her.