Robert hadn’t come back at all, and she hadn’t been okay. She’d been crying silently for most of the day. She’d just wanted to be alone. She didn’t want to have to face Alex with all his worried glances and smiles. She didn’t want to have to think about how guilty she was; she’d kissed his older brother, the one he didn’t trust. And if Alex knew how intense the kiss had been, and how much it had affected her and Robert, it would break him. She could imagine the cruel remarks he would make, the hurt, betrayed look in his eyes.
Betrayed... Robert had said he’d felt betrayed by Alex and Catalin once. Well, he hadn’t said it, but he’d meant it. He’d refused to tell her why. He’d said she had to ask Alex, or maybe Catalin. But she didn’t want to; she wanted Robert to tell her. Because she knew he would tell her the truth, he wouldn’t lie to her. He’d even promised he wouldn’t lie to her, but that was before...
He’d called her things in Italian that she didn’t understand. She’d looked them up on the internet on her phone. ‘Tesorina’ and ‘gattino’ meant ‘little treasure’ and ‘kitten’. Now that she knew what they meant, her heart did a little flip whenever she thought about the words coming from Robert’s mouth, but then she’d think about his lips and remember.
It had been a week and a half since Robert’s disappearance and Beth was starting to slide into depression. Alex had been surprised by how much his brother’s desertion had affected Beth, but he still didn’t know why. Catalin knew. She hadn’t said anything about it but she knew. Beth could tell just by the way Catalin held her hand, or hugged her.
Beth had made a full recovery very quickly after Robert had given her his blood. And then left. Alex had been suspicious – and still was – but he was too grateful that she was alive to think about it too much—which was lucky for Beth.
She and Alex hadn’t shared a single proper kiss since before Robert had vanished. There had been quick pecks, but nothing that resembled the kiss Beth had shared with the guy that wasn’t her boyfriend.
Beth had gone to school on the first Thursday after falling ill. She’d been well enough by Wednesday but Alex refused to let her out of bed, let alone go to school. Catalin had finally persuaded him on Beth’s behalf. Beth had gone home on Friday night too.
But it was now Wednesday again, and no sign of Robert, a large raven, or his motorbike. There was nothing. Every time she saw someone dressed in black out of the corner of her eyes, she got excited, thinking it was him. But it never was. Even black birds got her excited, before she realised it wasn’t even a raven, let alone Robert himself.