I roll over and slam my fist down onto the alarm clock, an ominous crunch sounding beneath my hand. I lift my head from the pillow and peer bleary-eyed at the table by my bed.
“Oh not another one, Tala!”
“It's not my fault they're so breakable!”
Jay sighs and dumps the pile of clean clothes on my desk. I sit up in bed, yawning widely as he tidies some of my stuff up.
“I never realised that you were a hen, Jay.”
“I like a tidy house.”
“But this is my untidy part?”
“You never know who you'd want to bring here. So keep it at a reasonable level, Tala.”
He laughed and picked up a top from the floor, holding it out.
“Probably. Can I get dressed now?”
“Fine, I'm leaving. Steer clear of the kitchen for a bit though, please. They're having their...Breakfast.”
I screwed up my face. You do not want to watch a vampire eating. Especially when all they actually eat is raw steak. Jay chuckles and wanders from the room. I climb from my bed and stretch in the middle of the room until I feel my back click.
I was just heading down the stairs when I heard the door ring. Uh-oh, I'd forgotten that Sam was walking with me this morning. But as I dithered on the staircase, Alaric swept along the hall and flung the door wide open.
“Can I help you?”
“Who are you?” I flinch from the top of the stairs as Alaric draws himself to his full height and looks down his nose at Sam.
“I am Alaric and a guest of Jayred and Tala.”
“Uh-huh? Tala around?”
“I believe she is still in her room. Would you like me to fetch her?” Something slid into Alaric's voice at the end of his question, giving it a suggestive tone and from my place on the landing, I see Sam colour in anger.
“Alaric?” Jay appears in the doorway and walks to the door.
“Hello, Sam. How are you?”
“I’m good, Jay. Is Tala here?”
Jay turned and looked up the stairs, beckoning me down. I ran down and smiled, slightly worriedly as Sam and Alaric both stared each other down over me. I tapped Alaric on the chest, very hard to make him feel it and gently squeezed Sam’s wrist to calm him down.
“Gimme a sec, Sam. I’m just going to grab some breakfast and I’ll be ready then.”
He stepped back a few places and dropped into the swing chair on the porch. Alaric winked at me as I passed.
This is going to be hard.