When I regained consciousness, Charlie was Christopher.
“It’s only six o’clock,” I whispered. “It’s summer. The sun’s not even setting.”
My mind was filled with the memory of Christopher’s fangs protruding over his lips, growing and sharpening.
‘I’m so sorry you had to see that.’ Christopher’s mental voice was pained. ‘No vampire should let their lover see that.’
“It’s not dark!” I hissed, too shocked to shout, which I suppose was a good thing. “Why are you a vampire?”
I guess it was too much déjà vu.
“Too much déjà vu?”
Yeah. Too many reminders of vampire memories. I guess Charlie’s mind couldn’t cope.
“Poor, confused Charlie. What will I tell him?”
He blacked out and you took him home. My dad will probably understand if you talk to him.
“Yeah, you’re right.”
Did you like my family?
“I loved them actually. Oh, sorry for fainting, by the way.”
You fainted three times last night. I’m almost used to it. In fact if you don’t faint at least once a night, I’m tempted to try to make you faint myself.
“Oh, Christopher,” I sighed.
You missed me?
“Yes. I mean, Charlie’s wonderful, but you, you’re ...”
‘A vampire?' he finished, but he meant that that was what was attractive.
‘What did you think of Charlie, then?’ His enchanting voice was gentle. I wondered if I’d get away with hating Charlie.
I blushed. I’d forgotten he was psychic.
“Charlie was lovely. He was fun and funny, light-hearted and cheerful, yet a caring lover. Very good-natured, just...”
‘Too friendly,’ Christopher finished for me.
“Friendliness is brilliant, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like all him and I could amount to would be close best friends.”
We sat in silence, Christopher stroking my hair, while I reflected upon the sad truth of what I’d just said.
“Are you thirsty?” I wondered aloud, my mind straying to my offer from last night.
A little, but it’s tolerable.
Silence reigned again. Christopher kissed my hair before returning to stroking it again.
“I’m sorry,” I murmured.
For what, my dove?
‘Dove?’ I thought.
‘If you don’t like it, I can call you something different. Marigold, wondrous being, enchanting one...’ He trailed off as if continuing the list in his mind, but allowing me to talk.
“Dove is beautiful. I love it. I love you.”
‘And not Charlie so much.’
He wasn’t upset that I preferred one aspect of his personality to another. In fact, he seemed to understand. ‘Is that why you’re sorry?’
“No, though I apologise for that, too. I’m sorry because I lied to Charlie.”
‘To protect this relationship,’ he reminded me, kissing my hair again.
“You remember I was crying while kissing you.., sorry, kissing Charlie?”
‘Yes.’ He laid his head on my shoulder.
“Those were tears of relief, but also of guilt. I felt so awful for not being straight.”
We should probably call Dad. You shouldn’t feel that guilty. He’ll be able to make you feel better. Would you like me to call him?
“Yes, please.”I wanted minor problems sorted out so that they wouldn’t affect the night ahead.
I’ll need a phone. Unless, you’re willing to let me hypnotise your parents so they don’t suddenly realise I’m inhuman? He jokingly sounded hopeful.
I don’t feel like moving, I thought to myself. I’m so comfy, and frankly I’m exhausted, but it wouldn’t do to be lazy.
Sorry, was that directed at me? I can go if you want. Where’s the phone?
My mind flicked lazily to an image of the cordless phone on the table next to the couch.
‘Sorry,’ I thought. ‘It’s been a long day.’
He sounded completely understanding.
‘It’s hard not to understand someone whose thoughts you’re immersed in each night’, he commented, in his soft, gentle voice. Oh, I loved him.
“Love you,” I told him as he stood up and kissed my forehead.
I love you too, my dove. Perhaps take this opportunity to sleep.
‘Good idea,’ I thought sleepily. I closed my eyes and my body obligingly drifted into sleep mode. I barely felt the mattress underneath me as I slumped sideways onto it.
I was awoken by the gentle closing of my bedroom door, as someone entered. My eyes opened blearily.
You awake, darling?
“Hmm,” I mumbled. “No, this could only be a dream.”
He chuckled enchantingly. Sitting by my head, he gently pulled me up to lean against him. I sighed, closing my eyes again.
Don’t fall asleep.
“I don’t want to miss any of tonight.”
Tonight will be beautiful...
“...albeit dreamlike for me.”
‘I love you.’ He sighed audibly. ‘Let’s call Dad.’
“I love your dad.”
You’re in a very loving mood tonight, aren’t you?
“Why shouldn’t I be? And it helps that all I can think of is you.”
I do wish you’d see that I’m no good for you.
This surprised me. “Of course you’re good for me. Don’t talk nonsense.”
‘Shh.’ He wordlessly passed me the phone. I heard the dialling tone. His dad picked up.
“Harold Parker, here. How may I help?”
“Heya, Harry,” I said cheerfully.
“It’s a tad early, isn’t it?”
“He thinks he had too much déjà vu.”
“Ah, that’s possible. What can I do for you, Terri?”
“Well, I was reflecting upon today... and my guilt at lying to Charlie...”
“Ah, the amount of times I’ve lied to Rosie. You see why we must, of course?”
“Of course, but that doesn’t stop the pain.”
“The pain shows that you’re the right girl for Charlie. I’d rather you felt guilty than thought nothing of lying to him.”
“How could I stifle the pain, though?”
“Simple. Just look in Charlie’s (or Christopher’s) eyes and remember what he means to you.”
“And when that fails?”
“Let him comfort you. He cares about you: your emotions and your problems. He’ll always be there for you.”
I felt much better. “Thank you, Harry.”
“No, problem, kid. Oh, and tell Christopher ‘no later than 1 o’clock’, okay?”
“Bye.” I hung up.
Let me return the phone, then. We don’t want any interruptions.
“Was obtaining it okay?”
Yes. Your parents had fallen asleep on the couch together. Your mum was leaning against your dad and they both looked very peaceful.
“How lovely,” I sighed.
Not as lovely as you.
I smiled as he quietly left the room with the phone.
Ten minutes later, he had returned and was lying on my bed. I lay next to him, my fingers gently caressing his arm. He was staring at the ceiling, lost in thought.
“What are you thinking?” I asked curiously.
I was trying to come up with a new serenade.
“It’ll be easier for you to sing next time,” I noted. “It won’t have to by hypnotic. I’ll just come to gaze at you momentarily out the window before coming out to see you.”
‘Gazing out the window... A window is almost like a balcony. Art thou Juliet, now?’ His words changed to Shakespearean language seamlessly, as if it were the most natural thing in the world for him to do so.
How romantic, I thought. I saw him smile at that.
“If thou art Romeo,” I replied.
If there is ever a moment when I am not Romeo, I shall be wronging you in a most unforgivable manner.
He rolled over to hold my gaze in the blanket-like folds of the depths of his eyes. ‘How could I survive not being Romeo?’
My heart somersaulted. His gaze was no longer fixing mine; instead, he was allowing me to fall into the blue depths.
He chuckled as my mind blanked. Where was I? Who was I? I felt like there was only me and him, trapped in a timeless world with no other inhabitants.
‘Caught in a moment.’ He smiled. ‘I’m thirsty, now. May I?’
‘Oh. Yes,’ I replied.
He stared more intently and I fell out through the blue into black.
I woke up feeling light-headed. I saw Christopher’s hand move away from my shoulder to rest on his corresponding thigh.
“Nice?” I asked.
Oh, you can’t imagine. So sweet and intoxicating. I feel drunk!
“It, um, wasn’t hard to stop drinking, was it?” I was slightly startled at how tasty he made my blood sound.
Not at all. In fact, the sweetness helped. Too much sugar is sickening.
I sighed, relieved.
‘Were you worried there?’ He sounded amused.
“Slightly,” I replied.
“Maybe a bit more than slightly.”
Don’t worry. I promised to be careful, didn’t I?
“I know. It’s just you did sound a little drunk afterwards, I was worried you’d want more.”
My dear, you asked if it was nice, I replied honestly, and now, I can truthfully say that I don’t want anymore. How are you feeling by the way?
“Enchanted by the musicality of your voice, captivated by your mesmerising eyes and intoxicated by the love you convey.”
‘Physically, my dove.’ He did sound happy that I’d described my emotions, though.
“Just a little light-headed, thanks. Nothing that won’t soon pass.”
Just then, my bedroom door opened. My dad’s silhouette blocked the light from the passageway. He looked at his watch.
“Shouldn’t you be off, Charlie?” he asked.
I rolled my eyes, sighing exasperatedly.