“I, uh... Yeah, I did,” he said, looking down.
“Why?” she asked.
“What do you mean, ‘why’?” he asked, his eyebrows drawing together in confusion.
“Why mark me?”
“I can’t help it; I love you. It’s biology. And, well, it’s the only way I can protect you when I’m not there.” Before Beth could ask, he said, “You can’t smell it but my scent is all over you. It’s a warning to everybody that if they touch you, I will kill them. Human males can’t smell it exactly, but it will trigger a response in them.”
“So all my male friends are now going to start staying away from me?” she questioned, raising an eyebrow.
“Only the ones that see you the way I do,” he said simply.
“Care to explain?”
“I’ve loved you for a long time, darling, but there are those who would soon take advantage of you if they could. I don’t want that to happen.”
“How do you know that?” Beth asked, crossing her arms across her chest.
“I can read minds, I hear thoughts, and not all of what I hear is nice.”
Beth didn’t say anything, knowing that she couldn’t argue with that. She knew there were boys in her year that had spent the last three years thinking of ways to bed her.
“I don’t want to argue with you about this, Beth,” Robert whispered. “All I want to do is protect you.” Again, she said nothing. “To vampires, marking is a symbol of love and respect.”
Robert stood up and went to pull the knife out of the wall. He dropped it in the sink, along with her plate and cutlery. He turned to leave the room.
“I love you,” Beth whispered, making him stop.
“I love you too,” he replied without turning around.
Beth didn’t move to hug him, as much as she wanted to.
“I don’t want to argue either,” she said.
He turned around slowly. There was a look in his eyes that Beth couldn’t quite place, and didn’t want to think about. He said nothing, and neither did she.
“I’m sorry,” she murmured.
Beth waited for him to say something, anything. When he didn’t, she stood up and walked up to him. She took his hands and looked down at the floor. He took one of his hands from hers and tipped her head up so he could kiss her. His lips were gentle as they touched hers lightly. She reached up and touched his cheek, kissing him back. He pulled back and pulled her to him, just holding her.
“I don’t want to argue,” she whispered.
“I don’t either.”
She tightened her arms around his waist and sighed.
“I’m sorry,” she said again.
“It’s okay,” he responded, though this time she could hear the slight smile in his voice.
He played with the ends of her hair.
“I think I might need to wash my hair to get all the knots out,” she mumbled.
“Probably,” he chuckled.