But it didn’t matter if he protected her or not, because he could never be with her; she belonged to his little brother.
As Robert ran down the stairs, he called to Alex and Catalin.
“Beth’s fine. I’m just going out and I don’t know when I’ll be back,” he said to them.
He caught Catalin’s eye. She knew. She’d seen everything in his mind. He’d lost himself so completely that he’d forgotten to shut out Catalin. And now she knew. She knew everything. She nodded once and sent him a message.
I won’t tell, she whispered into his mind.
Thank you, he said back, so grateful that she knew how guilty he felt.
Then Robert left the house and walked into the fading light. He stuffed his hands into his pockets and started to walk away, with the intention of never coming back. He felt as though he was being watched. He traced the feeling and turned his head. Beth was standing at her window with her hand against the glass.
Robert changed into his raven form and flew away as fast as he could. And kept flying until his wings ached. He knew where he was going and there was still a while to go. He pushed further and further until he found the roof he wanted. He changed back and hurried down the fire escape just as it started to rain.
Robert walked down the corridors with his head hung and his jacket pulled around him. He didn’t look up to meet anyone’s eye.
When he reached his destination, Robert looked up at the door, unsure of whether to knock or not. Why had he come here? Here, of all places? He raised his fist anyway, and knocked.
There was shuffling inside and silence as the apartment’s occupant looked at him through the peephole. Then the door opened and Robert felt a wave of relief wash over him.
The man before him opened the door wide and walked back into the darkness that was his small home. Robert walked in hesitantly, shutting the door behind him. The only light in the room was the clock on the microwave, telling him it was 10:37. He’d been flying since sunset.
Robert sat on the old sofa opposite the armchair that held his friend.
“What can I do for you, Robert?” he asked.
“Daniel, I’ve got a problem,” Robert whispered.
“What kind of problem?”
“I...” Robert took a deep breath and closed his eyes. “I’m falling in love with my brother’s girlfriend.”