‘I am going to do this. I am going to do this.’ I muttered the words over and over again as I walked steadily back towards the house. I was determined not to let my resolve falter. My feet took me up the familiar staircase towards the room India now shared with the human. It still hurt that although India was still in my family’s house, she no longer shared my room, which now seemed very empty without her. Refusing to let that get in my way I bravely knocked on India’s door and opened it before I could change my mind.
I immediately regretted my actions. There was India, her hair streaming in waves down her back and her sparkling laugh dancing on the air. But the picture was ruined. Instead of my arms wrapped around her waist and me softly kissing her neck, it was Leo. I felt another hole blast its way through my chest and I took a step back, the pain knocking me off balance. What was I meant to do? India had seen me, the smile fading from her perfect lips as she pulled away from her human. Could I still leave?
‘I’m sorry,’ I said, my voice refusing to speak in anything other than a monotone. ‘You’re busy, I’ll come back later.’
‘No wait Dom.’ I hadn’t expected her to call me back so kept moving out of the door. ‘Dom, please.’ As she repeated herself I realised she really meant it and stopped in my tracks.
‘Can I talk to you for a moment India?’ My eyes moved subconsciously towards the man standing behind the woman I loved, one of his hands still resting on her waist. ‘Alone.’
‘I get the message.’ Leo moved towards me, heading for the door. ‘I’ll see you later India.’ He blew her a kiss as he left the room and I thought my insides were tying themselves up in knots.
‘Do you want to sit down?’ India indicted a chair by the window, which I calmly moved towards. She sat opposite me on the edge of her bed, running her hands nervously through her hair. How could I still love her this much when she was with another man, and not even another vampire, a human man. I had to force myself to stay sitting in my seat as she looked directly at me. ‘You said you wanted to talk to me?’
‘Umm yes I did.’ Suddenly, the speech I had prepared on my way back to the house had gone straight out of my head. I was going to have to trust that I would be able to say the right thing. ‘India…’ I looked into her eyes. Big mistake. I lost all focus as those beautiful dark eyes drew me in and all I wanted to do was take her in my arms, hold her close and kiss her. ‘I love you.’ It wasn’t quite the delivery I had been hoping for but as least I had said it.
‘Dom…’ India’s eyes were filling up with something that looked like pity but I couldn’t stop now, the floodgates had opened.
‘I don’t care about what you are or what differences we have, all I know is I love you and I can’t stand to see you with that.. HUMAN.’ The last word came out with a little more venom that I had intended and India recoiled from me, sending me into silence.
‘That human,’ India said, her voice hard, ‘as you call him, has been my best friend since I was small and I happen to love him.’
‘As a friend or as a lover?’
‘I don’t know if I can have this conversation with you right now Dom.’ India stood up and began pacing around the room, her hands fiddling with her hair, the way she always does when she’s nervous or stressed.
‘So you don’t know the answer?’ Something that felt like hope filled my chest. Maybe she didn’t really love Leo in the way she thought she did and wanted me back.
‘I can’t lie to you Dom.’ I thought I heard a sob catch in her throat but when she faced me her face was fixed and I could see no tears. ‘I think Leo is the one.’
‘But he can’t be.’ The glow that had warmed my unbeating heart began to fade and the cold set back in. ‘You’re the only woman for me, the woman I chose to spend the rest of eternity with and you’re abandoning me.’ Tears began to slide down my cheeks for the second time that day. ‘I won’t believe it.’
‘Oh Dom.’ India walked to my chair and kneeled in front of me, her hands on either side of my face, her thumbs wiping away my tears. ‘I love you too.’ A sad smile crept onto her beautiful face. ‘But it’s not enough.’
‘Yes it is,’ I insisted, taking one of her hands and kissing it. She pulled away.
‘No it isn’t. Leo is everything I have ever wanted and he’s the one I want to spend my life with.’ The hurt inside me began to boil and turn to hate. Not that I could ever hate India, I don’t think I could hate Leo, I just hated the way this was turning out and the hopelessness of my situation.
‘Even when you’re going to have to watch him grow old and die? Are you still going to love him when he’s eighty and needs you to look after him and you’re still young and beautiful? Don’t you think he will despise you because you will never age and he will end up dead?’
‘Don’t say that.’ India was crying now, tears of blood, the same as mine, running down her perfect skin. ‘Leo would never hate me.’ I regretted what I had said and tried to pull India into a hug, wanting to apologise. But she pushed me away. ‘No Dom. It’s too late.’ She walked away from me, towards the bedroom door. ‘You won’t have to put up with us for much longer,’ India said, her voice suddenly steady, ‘Leo and I are moving away from this house, we need to find our own space.’
‘When?’ My voice was surprisingly calm.
‘When Penny and Jake are married. I couldn’t leave before then, Penny would kill me.’ We both laughed under our breath. India turned to face me, her hair glowing in the soft light that came in through the window behind me.
‘You’re perfect,’ I breathed.
‘Don’t start that Dom, please, I don’t think I can take much more. I love you so much, but I have to do this.’ She was standing in the doorframe now, her face serene and noble, she couldn’t have looked more magnificent if she had tried. ‘Goodbye Dom.’ She left the room.
I don’t know how long I sat there, bathing myself in the late afternoon sunlight coming in through the window, but finally I managed to say the words I had hoped I would never have to say.