“Shawn?” she said looking as surprised as I was. She looked different in her dark gray skirt and matching blazer.
“Hi,” I finally managed to say. How long had she been standing there? I kicked myself for letting my guards down. Danyael was right. Any hunter could have easily killed me. I had to be more careful and better monitor my surroundings. “You… you work here?” I asked wondering what she was doing in my office building.
“Yes. Is everything ok?” she asked looking at me and then at the guard still holding my I.D. badge.
“No, not really,” I could feel my cheeks burning up in a mix of anger and embarrassment. “Today’s just not a good day.”
She smiled warmly. “We all have those.”
“I’m sorry sir, but I have to ask you to leave,” said the guard returning my I.D.
“Great, I’ll wait outside then,” I grumbled and then walked towards the door leaving Emily behind. I was in no mood for company.
Emily caught up to me in a few long strides, “I was heading home. Do you need a ride anywhere?”
I looked outside and then at her still smiling. “I… hmm. No. My brother should be here any moment now.”
She was disappointed, but quickly smiled again. “Ok, well I hope your evening goes better.” She held the door open for me.
“What have you got to lose?” Danyael’s words echoed through my mind. I extended by senses towards her and felt no negative emotions coming from her. Could I really trust her? She gave me a strange look and only then did I realize I had stopped walking and was now blocking the doorway. I stepped outside and faced her. “Actually, I’d love a ride home,” I said surrendering. After all, it was only a car ride.
Her eyes lit up. “Ok. My car is right over there.”
An uncomfortable silence settled between us after I gave her the directions to my house. “This is a nice car,” I said trying to keep the flow of conversation going.
“Thank you,” she smiled and took a quick glance my way, “You look tense. Are you ok?”
What an understatement. All I could think about was how badly I wanted to find Danyael and punch him in the head, repeatedly. “Yes. I’m sorry, it’s been a very long day.” I shook my head, why was I apologizing to her? To a human?
She nodded and offered another warm smile. “Is your brother usually this late?”
“Yes,” I said, irritated. “I don’t know why I’m so surprised. He probably does it on purpose.”
She laughed and there was another long pause. “I still owe you a new shirt,” she said breaking the silence.
“I guess that was your bad day huh?” I smiled despite my bad mood thinking back to her embarrassment, “It’s ok. Don’t worry about it. I have other shirts.”
She smiled once more. I had never seen someone smile so much. I had seen many humans wear smiles on their faces all day long but their eyes often told a different story. Not hers. “I feel horrible about it… and have decided to quit coffee,” she added with a touch of shame.
“What? That’s insane.” I said actually meaning it. “I can’t imagine a world without coffee.”
“I know, but I never thought it could turn into a weapon either,” and she laughed again making laugh lines appear by her eyes. Only truly happy humans had those at such a young age.
“What makes you so happy?” I said startling her.
She hesitated for a moment. “That’s a very random question.”
I nodded. “You’re always smiling.” Her brow creased in confusion, “I know this is just the second time we’ve met but you seem so genuinely happy. A lot of people smile through their day but deep down I can tell they’re miserable. What’s your secret?” I caught myself almost pressuring her for the answer.
Blood rushed to her cheeks, “I don’t know what to tell you.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.” And there I was apologizing again. What was wrong with me?
“It’s ok. No one’s ever asked me that before.” Her cheeks had turned a light shade of pink again.
“Is it your friends, family, career? There has to be a secret,” I said. Humans had a rough life filled with sins, disasters and death but yet they smiled and enjoyed life better than us.
“I’d say it’s a mix of everything. I doubt there’s a secret.” She tilted her head. “Why do you ask?”
I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I’m starting to think I’m one of those miserable people.” Confessing this felt like I was lifting a dark curtain from my eyes. Something about her put me in a better mood.
“Are you sure it’s not the bad day talking?”
“Maybe. See, you’re smiling again,” I said causing her to blush even more. “My apartment is to the left here.” The drive went by surprisingly fast. “Thank you again.”
“No problem.” She looked as though she wanted to ask me a question but then bit her lip instead. “Have a good evening,” she finally said.
“You too.” My face dropped as I stepped out. My car was parked at its rightful place in front of the apartment. “But I know someone who won’t,” I whispered through clenched teeth. I waved at her with one hand and formed a fist with the other.