She smiled at Beth and looked at Robert suspiciously. She’d never seen him around before, and here the two of them were, almost oblivious to the world because of each other. Once Mrs Thompson had entered her garden through her gate (it was only then that Beth realised that her and Robert could have gone through her own gate), Robert kissed her again quickly and started to move away but Beth tightened her arms around his neck and he stopped.
“No running away,” she said breathlessly, looking up at him.
“No running away,” he agreed quietly and kissed her again before stepping back, taking her hand and leading her away.
The two of them exited the footpath, coming out onto one of the main roads. Robert led her to a black Lamborghini, the newest model—something Beth only knew because she had a fourteen year old brother.
Beth stopped and gave Robert a questioning glance. He just smiled, slipping on a pair of sunglasses, and moved to get into the car. Beth got in the passenger side, momentarily confused by the scissor doors.
“I thought you had a motorbike,” she said, doing up the ‘seatbelt’, which was the sort of harness you’d wear in a racing car.
“I have both. Would you rather ride on the motorbike?” he asked sarcastically, somehow knowing what she would say.
Robert was happy, Beth could feel it somehow. He started the car and smiled at the noise it made. After Robert had been driving for a little while, he spoke.
“You’ve been stealing my dreams, mia bellezza,” he said.
“What?” Beth asked.
“Have you not noticed?” he said, glancing over at her. “Dreaming of people you never knew, lessons you never had, punishments you never endured?”
She realised she had. She thought briefly of the one last night. She’d been sitting on a bed with a ginger girl. The girl’s slight body was covered by millions of blankets but Beth – Robert, she corrected herself – said something in Italian that made the girl laugh.
“Who’s the girl with ginger hair?” Beth asked quietly.
Robert smiled to himself sadly. “My sister, Angelina. Our mother died giving birth to her. Father absolutely despised the poor girl, refusing to have anything to do with her. Once Angelina was four, I began to look after her, because the nursemaids that had cared for me had loved my mother too, so I had to look after her. I was only seven at the time, looking after my four year old sister. Sorry, you probably don’t want to hear about a girl you never knew.”
“No, I do,” Beth said.
Robert glanced over at her under his sunglasses. “When I became a vampire, I went to see her. I snuck in through her window. Poor girl got the fright of her life; she’d just been told I was dead. I explained to her what had happened and why I had gone searching for Aneska, the vampire. Angelina gave me a hug and a kiss, and handed me her ring.” He held up his left hand, showing her the gold ring on his middle finger. “And she enchanted it. She knew that a vampire needs a talisman to walk in the day. She told me to leave before I got caught in her room. She died a week later from an illness she’d suffered with her whole life.”
Beth saw a tear fall into Robert’s lap.