For the next three days, Erik didn't say a word to me. We went to the council sessions, obeyed our duties of looking like we were in love, then went home to more silence. Erik told the council it was a large wolf killing the deer and that we had killed and burned its body. It satisfied everyone except for Marie. She was certain there was more to the story. When I read her mind, I saw everything from vampires to werewolves. It would seem she was one of the few to believe in these things.
On the fourth day, he finally spoke. I was brushing my hair, getting ready for the day, then reached for the lip paint.
"Do not paint your lips, Camille," he whispered. "I have told you: You are too beautiful for that."
"I thought you were not speaking to me," I said.
HE stood behind me and started to braid my hair.
"You must see things from my point of view," he said. "I have searched for you for over 50 years. When I finally tracked you to London, I killed many women thinking they were you. Once I found you, I was so relieved I just wanted to be with you. But you hate me."
I shut my eyes.
"And you must see things from my point of view, Erik. You did not give me a choice."
"You would have said no," he argued.
I shook my head. "Not if you had taken the time to explain it to me," I sighed. "I may have come around."
He frowned at me through the mirror. "You are saying you may love me, too?"
"I am saying you should stop acting like I am the only one who is causing damage here. It is not my fault your bloodlust is too much for you. It is not my fault that we have moved nearly 20 times in the last 10 years. It is not my fault that vampires from your past track you down."
"I never blamed you for any of that," he said.
"Maybe not out loud," I said. He frowned and leaned against the vanity, facing me. "There is so much about this you do not understand. You may have all the knowledge about vampires, but not about love."
"What more do I need to know than that I love you?"
I looked at him. "If you truly did love me, Erik, you would not hit me. You would not be so cruel to me. You would not pressure me has you have been."
He ran a hand through his hair. "Why can you not get this through your head, Camille? If we do not consummate, we risk death."
"From what?" I whispered. "We cannot get sick, we cannot grow old."
"If Roman had killed me-"
"But he did not," I interrupted. "You were able to fight him off. You are strong, Erik. You are used to having everything perfect and your way. Now that you do not, you cannot bring yourself to handle it."
"Of course I can," he argued. "But you are stubborn."
"Perhaps," I consented. "I ask you this, though: If I loved you but still said no, what would you do?"
"If you loved me, you would say yes."
"Are you sure?"
He clenched his jaw. "Why in the world would you say no if you loved me!?"
"There are several reasons. But the main one: because I am afraid."
Silence fell in our room and I looked at the vanity.
"You are afraid?" he whispered. "Of me?"
I laughed and stood up. "Are you serious, Erik?"
"What do you mean?"
I threw my hands into the air. "You attacked me! You stole me from my father! You killed those around us just to hide a secret they would never have discovered! You refuse to let me have any say in what we do! The only power you give me over a situation is when we consummate but I can tell it is not your choice! You yell at me! You hit me! Why the hell would I not be afraid of you?"
He was frowning again. "I did all that because you needed it."
I shook my head. "No one needs to be hit," I snapped.
"You are a vampire. You heal."
"You do not just cause physical wounds when you hit me, Erik. There are deep mental wounds, too."
He rolled his eyes. "Because you are a woman," he said. "With men it is different."
"No it is not," I argued. "I know how hurt you get when I tell you I do not love you. See!?" I shouted when his shoulders fell. "How does that make you feel, Erik!? It hurts you!"
"Stop yelling at me!" he shouted. "I am trying to have a conversation with you, damn it! You always do this!"
"Because you refuse to see things from my point of view!" I yelled, my voice high. "You want me to see things like you do! You want me to understand things that you do! But you never give me the same courtesy!"
"I do not need to see things the way you do! You are clinging to your humanity, Camille, but it is gone!" He grabbed me by the arms and shook me. "It is gone! You are not a human anymore! You are a vampire! You have duties to fill if you wish to live!"
"Then maybe I do not want to live anymore!"
"I am not going to let you die! I do not care how miserable you are! I do not want to die!"
I shook my head. "You do not love me. If you did, you would not care. You would either let me die or try to make me happy. You have not made me any allowances. Please let me go. You are hurting me."
He just tightened his grip and shook me a little. "I do not understand!" he shouted in my face. "There must be something I can do to show you!"
"Let me go!"
He wouldn't so I pushed his chest as hard as I could. My increased strength caused him to stagger back. He hadn't let go, though, and his nails dug through my skin. I cried out in pain, staggering back, too.
I sat down heavily and sobbed into my hands. Erik didn't say anything but I knew he was still in the room. I gripped my hair and let all of my grief out. I was tired of holding it in. I was tired of being alone. I was tired of being miserable.
Most of all, I was tired of Erik Moreau.