He'd had some time to prepare mentally to see his wife again. But even after his chat with Pete had slid the reality of his dilemma into focus, part of him hoped he'd walk into his flat and everything would be as it was two days ago.
He slid the key into the lock and turned it and the door opened with a suiting B-movie squeal. The flat was dark and still. Robert glanced around, paranoid. Where was she hiding? Would she jump out from behind a corner and...what, bite him?
"Robert...?," came a distant call from the bedroom.
Each step reverberated in the empty flat as he made his way to the source of her call, the bedroom. His heart beat gulped up blood in an almost offbeat rhythm. He felt a sort of stagnant anxiety flood his torso as he pushed open the bedroom door.
There was only the bedside lamp on in the room, so he didn't see her at first. She was tucked into their bed looking reminiscent of a Klimt painting - her eyes closed and face peaceful. But instead of the signature maiden's blush in her cheeks, there was no colour. She was so still, but prettier than she'd looked on the slab...
She opened her eyes. Her pupils were huge.
"Robert," she breathed, smiling.
He had to catch himself, then. She looked more attractive to him than she had in years. How? He didn't know. But as entranced as he was, he felt a growing sense of dread. He stood a little awkwardly in the doorway, his cognitive dissonance pulling him two directions at once.
"Well, come and sit by me, then".
He did as he was told. She smelt good, too. How did she smell so good? She sat up to join him, showing her teeth as she smirked at him. The dread increased, heavy as lead and cold as ice.
"Have you lost your voice? It's almost like there's something wrong with you at the moment," she whined. "Aren't you going to ask me how my day was?".
Robert had an O level in performing arts. He could do this.
"How was your day, honey?," there, he spat in an endearment for good measure. "Are you feeling any better? I got the shopping".
"Oh good! I still feel wretched, I've just been trying to stay still all day. I can't seem to get warm, and I can't seem to eat anything," she paused, puzzling. ",I had a cup of tea yesterday, that was all, and it just tasted horrible and I threw it all back up.".
Robert stared into space, questioning how he was holding up a light conversation with a vampire. Was it possible she didn't know what she was? Could he tell her? Would he be forced into some gritty life of house-husbandry, by night killing innocents to quench her thirst?
"Robert! You've gone again. You haven't even looked at me, comforted me. I'm your wife!".
There it was again, the trembling tone that signalled she was about to snap. Robert's heart beat fast. He put his arm around her.
"Sorry, sorry...I'm just thinking. About work. I'm sure it'll be fine, it'll be a...a bug going around or something.".
Her head pricked up, suddenly and she cocked her head.
"D-darling?," he ventured, "Are you alright?".
"I just thought I could...nevermind. I can feel your heart beating. Are you alright, Robert?," she pressed her hand to his forehead, turning to face him. "You feel...so warm."
He tried to calm his pulse. It was impossible. Oh god, was he making her hungry? Fuck. Fuck.
She leant her head onto his chest and closed her eyes. He took a deep breath. He realised he hadn't heard her breath since he entered the room.
She moved her head up to his shoulder, and looked up to him.
"Robert, you will love me forever, won't you?," she whined, lisping.
This had come from nowhere.
"I-...of course, Bets, of course. What makes you say that?," he said, stroking her hair. Any wavering over his opinion of her by her new-found attractiveness had been quelled by how disconcerting her manner was. Her teeth, her temperature...
"I just, I just need to be told sometimes. I'll love you forever Robert, you know. You wouldn't ever keep secrets from me, would you...?"
It was then Robert noticed his phone, which he must have forgotten to take with him earlier, lying on the bedside table. In a rush of chaotic thought, he remembered the texts to Janet. The call to Pete. The incriminating history that put him firmly against her.
He had to get to his phone.
He tried to shuffle a little away from her towards it. "No...not at all dear. Why are you saying this?"
"Just...sometimes...," she caught up with him, and moved her lips up from his collarbone to his neck, tracing an invisible trail upwards. She kissed his neck- this was unusual, and much too forward for her usually- but only a light kiss.
Robert could hear his own breathing and heart. This wasn't good.
"...sometimes I don't know. I thought marriage would keep us together, but you've been so odd, it's made me think..."
Her lips rested on his neck. She must've heard him gulp.
There was a knock on the door.