I don't know how long we had been sitting there, it could have been minutes, it could have been hours. It seemed to pass by all in one blur. Any normal body would have grown stiff from sitting in one place for so long, but I wasn't normal. My body felt hyper and energetic, keyed up. A permanent adrenaline rush.
'How long is Eli going to be?' Chester mumbled beside me.
I shrugged my shoulders.
'I do not have a clue.'
'Is this ever going to go away?' Conner hissed from the far side of the room. He mirrored my position; his legs were drawn up beneath his chin but he had a crazed glint in his fiery eyes. I wondered briefly if he was going to lose it right in front of us. How strong would he be? Would we be able to manage him?
Chester seemed to know what I was thinking for he said, 'Is it safe for him to be here?'
'It's better here than at his house.'
'That's a point.'
More seconds passed.
'Wait a minute,' Chester frowned. 'How did Conner get in the house? Doesn't he have to be invited in?'
'Not when he's transitioning,' I sighed. 'That's what makes it so dangerous. Any ordinary vampire must be invited into a house by the owner, but a human turning into one doesn't. They are free to enter whenever they like.'
'So they could turn into a vampire in their house and still be allowed to stay inside?'
'I assume so,' I shrugged again. 'I don't really know how it works.'
'Is this what I am?' Conner whispered. 'A vampire?'
'We'll talk about it later. You should try and get some rest now.' I rose easily to my feet after I was certain Eli wasn't going to make an appearance anytime soon. 'I'll show you to the bedroom.'
I held my hand out for Conner and he took it. I noticed his skin was a lot cooler than before, not quite deathly cold but certainly heading that way. I kept my face impassive.
Suddenly, his grip ripped free of mine and he collapsed to the floor, screaming. Chester rushed to my side instantly.
'Conner?' I called doubtfully.
His features twisted into pain and his back arched. I had never seen anything like this before so I could only stand and watch.
'Shouldn't we help?' Chester asked.
'How?' I replied, calmly. 'There's no way we can. This is part of the process.'
'Rose!' Conner rasped out, eyes bulging.
'I'm here,' I crouched to my knees and took his cold hand in mine. 'It's okay, Conner.'
His body twisted into impossible angles, veins throbbed out along his forehead and blood curdling screams ripped from his throat but he never once let go of my hand. I squeezed it tightly, reassuring him I was still here although there was nothing I could really do to help his pain.
Something tugged at my heart. A strange emotion. One I hadn't felt before. I started to see Conner in a brand new light. It was ironic that it was now that this would happen, but as I looked at him I saw someone vulnerable, someone caring and lovely. Someone I could talk to. Someone I could imagine becoming very close with.
His body grew still and his eyelids fluttered shut.
'Is that it?' Chester murmured motionless beside me.
'I think so.' To my deep embarrassment my voice cracked. I coughed lightly and scooped Conner up easily in my arms.
'We should take him upstairs so he can rest. He's going to feel like shit when he wakes up.'
Chester lead me up the stairs and I rested Conner on my bed, taking extra care to make sure he was comfortable.
'I'll be downstairs if you need me.' Chester's voice had grown soft, much softer than I was used to and it was then that I knew he realized what was going on. He knew what I felt for Conner, the compassion I felt, and yet he understood. He didn't mock or criticize me like I thought he would. I had obviously deeply underestimated him.
As he pulled the door shut behind him, I perched lightly on the edge of my mattress and looked down at Conner's resting figure. He looked so peaceful when he was asleep, a stark contrast to a few minutes ago.
With tentative movements, I brushed his hair out his eyes. Trailing my fingers alone his cheekbone, down to his jawline, I sighed. I followed a vein down his throat and rested the palm of my hand against his chest, against a heart beating feebly.
He stirred in his sleep and I pulled my hand back quickly.
Heaving another sigh, this one of exasperation, I stood up and crossed the room, suddenly wanting to be as far away from him as possible. What on Earth was happening to me? Why should I care so much what happened to Conner? What was he to me?
'Rose,' he breathed. I glanced up, but his eyes were still closed. He was speaking in his sleep. In a voice so weak and yet so unbelievably soft. A mere whisper. 'Rose.' A small crease appeared between his eyebrows and the corners of his mouth shifted, giving him an expression of unhappiness.
It was weird hearing my name spoken so softly. I was used to being addressed with hate or anger. Sometimes caution. A very few pleaded.
But not Conner. Not this boy. This unique, strangely alluring human who had become so entangled with my world he had landed himself in it. This is why I didn't mix with humans. It always ended with tragedy.