I sat quiet for a moment, collecting my thoughts. Marisa didn’t stir – she was so still I wondered if she was awake. Then she raised her head up to look at me, an almost tangible sadness in her wondrous eyes.
“Did you ever get to see your family again?”
I smiled mirthlessly, dipping back into the black well of memory.
“Only from afar. What they must have thought about me, I cannot imagine…”
Marisa placed a firm but gentle hand on my arm. “Surely they would never think that you abandoned them.”
I shrugged, looking out the window at the sun. It was almost in the exact center of the sky; soon the servants would be coming in to wake us.
“I don’t know what my family thought. Probably that I’d been murdered by a street robber and thrown over a cliff. They wore black for an entire month and my mother never left the house again. I stayed for a year, living in the same cave where I’d been changed, coming as close to my family as I dared. I left after my mother’s death. I never returned to Greece again.”
“Did you never feed?”
I’d been waiting for that question. I pulled Marisa back so that she was at arm’s length and addressed her directly.
“As I told you before, I’ve never fed on blood before tonight. Even right after the change, when I was being torn asunder by horrible pains and thought I was dying, I did not feel thirst. I have never known thirst until tonight.”
I couldn’t erase the trace of remorse lingering in my words. I’d always taken pride in the fact that I wasn’t like the others, that I didn’t feed on innocent humans.