"Can I touch it?" I asked. "After all, it was meant for me."
Rory had laid the turquoise on my bed. We knelt on the floor watching it. It sat there, occasionally catching a glint of sunlight and sparkling prettily, looking harmless and innocent.
Rory frowned. "It might be dangerous."
"You'll protect me," I pointed out.
Rory suddenly looked pained. "What if I can't?"
"I'm sure you'll be able to."
Rory didn't look convinced. "I couldn't bear it if I let something happen to you."
I sighed. We sat in silence for a few minutes, still watching this immobile, uninteresting yet fascinating stone.
"The stone doesn't have thoughts itself," Rory mused. "Unless it's got a very strong wall around its mind. But that seems like a silly idea. I think someone has made the stone send you a message, using magic or something."
"Magic?" I asked excitedly. "If that's a magical stone, then something special might happen when I touch it!"
Rory looked wary. "Yes, but that something special might be something bad."
"Oh please let me touch it." My curiosity was bubbling over and I just couldn't stand it anymore. Not waiting for Rory's reply, I reached out and touched the turquoise.
"Charley!" Rory yelped, sounding frightened.
"What?" I asked.
"I can't see you anymore!"
"Really?" I asked, fascinated. "I'm still here. I don't feel any different."
"I'll be the judge of that," Rory said. He closed his eyes. I felt his gentle probing touch in my mind but it searched much deeper than it ever had before. I could feel Rory's anxiety, protectiveness and love for me. I got the feeling he didn't stop but the feel of his mental probe started to fade.
"Rory?" I asked, alarmed.
"Sh, I'm concentrating," he murmured.
"Don't!" I said, suddenly frightened.
Rory opened his eyes. His brow was furrowed. "What's wrong?"
"You should ask before you probe my subconscious!"
Rory's frown deepened. "Have you been hiding your dreams from me again?"
"No, of course not, but I don't like the idea of it. You seeing things that I don't even see. Seeing the unexposed part of my mind. It's not natural."
Rory sighed. "Okay, then. Sorry. From what I did feel of your mind, there's nothing wrong. But could you let go of the stone? Hearing your voice and not seeing you is kind of freaking me out."
I let go of the stone. "Disembodied voices scare vampires?" I asked, grinning.
Rory looked serious. "Yes, they do actually. Especially when the disembodied voice belongs to the girl they love so much that they would die for her."
"I wouldn't want you to die for me," I said quietly.
"Well, I couldn't let you die."
"Neither could I," I pointed out.
"Charley, I love you too much - I wouldn't let that happen."
"I love you too. You seem to forget that. You say you couldn't live without me but I can't live without you."
"Well, it's a predicament, either way. Let's hope it never comes to that."
"Let's agree to die together if it ever comes to that."
"Alright," Rory muttered, but I could tell it was just to pacify me.
Suddenly, the doorbell rang. Strange: we weren't expecting any visitors and mum was out doing grocery shopping.
We rose to our feet and Rory followed me to the door. I opened it to find a postman in blue uniform standing there.
"I have a letter for a Miss C Linton," he announced.
"Do come in," Rory said, surprising me.
The postman's brow furrowed. "I have other things to ..."
"No, you don't," Rory said, and I saw from the man's eyes that Rory was hypnotising him.
‘Rory,' I hissed in my mind.
‘He knows things,' came the reply.
Rory led the postman to the kitchen. I closed the front door and followed, at a loss for words. What ‘things' did the postman know and how could they possibly make Rory interested enough to hypnotise him?