It was like some kind of warped dream, seeing them stare at each other like that. The doorway acted as a threshhold between them- he'd never realised how opposite they were; Betty with her blonde, short hair and round face, and Janet with her clean-cut features framed in tresses of hazelnut. As they stared at each other, both faces registered shock in unison, like they were mirror images.
It was like some kind of nightmare. His mistress...and his wife. Face to face. It would've been disastrous enough, even if Betty wasn't a vampire.
He silently willed Janet to not speak out of line, Pete's warning ringing in his ears.
Don't rock the boat, Jan. Please. Say something viable.
Betty's eyes sought his for a moment, before she donned her best smile and asked: “Hello...can I help you?”.
Janet didn't say a word. She stood there, presumably in a state of shock, absorbing the face in front of her and examining every feature. He knew she wouldn't say anything, or likely when she did, it would doom them both.
Time to improvise.
“Janet! What a pleasant surprise,” he breezed, going to embrace her. Janet didn't reciprocate, her shoulders were frozen.
“Betty,” Robert turned to his wife, heart pounding.
“Betty, this is...my sister. Janet.”
His “sister” was still facing him, and her eyes sparked in fury as he talked. He gave her his best shot at a meaningful look. Did telekinesis work? It was worth a try.
Janet, play along, I'm begging you, please.
“Oh...,” said Betty, a little puzzled. She reached out a hand to shake Janet's.
It was so odd, watching them interact. Robert squirmed, and tried to arrange his features into something that wasn't a pained grimace.
“You didn't tell me we were expecting anyone,” remarked Betty.
“I came here on account of a private affair,” stated Janet.
She was sharp and satirical all in one. God, he loved her.
“Oh?,” quipped Betty. Robert could sense he wasn't sure about Janet. He'd always been cagey about his family to Betty on account of how she had loathed his Mother. Luckily, her sparse knowledge of his own family was something of a godsend here.
“There's...there's been a death, I believe,” Janet replied, somewhat subdued. She was trying to catch Robert's eye, he could tell, but he steadfastly focused instead on the doorway, trying to think of a way to end this torture.
“A death? Oh, gosh! I'm...so sorry for your loss,” his wife dithered. “Death can be a difficult matter, leaves a lot of things unfinished...”.
“I'm learning that very quickly, I'm afraid,” Janet stated. She was less emotive with every sentence.
“Oh, my poor dear. I'm so sorry. Does it affect Robert?”
He was finally being dragged into this. The nervousness in his expression was not put on when he turned to look at them both.
“I...I'm afraid it does, quite considerably. Look, is it possible for me to speak to him alone? Sorry...but...I think this is something that should come from me.”
She didn't look at Betty once as she spoke. She was barely masking the venom in her tone.
“I...of course,” Betty looked almost fearful as she nodded to Robert. “I'll go out for a bit. I haven't been out all day. Give you some space for a moment.”
Robert almost choked. Send a vampire onto the streets at night?
“Betty...maybe you shouldn't...”
“Oh no, Robert. It's fine. Unless you want me here?”
“It's really a private matter, sorry,” Janet stated, coldly.
What was there to do? He had to talk to Jan anyway, as caged as he'd feel in his own flat, waiting for her to return at any moment.
Betty already had her coat on.
“I'll be back in a bit. Call if you need me.”
The door closed, and Betty was gone.
Janet sniffed, her lip trembling.
“Robert,” she spat, barely controlling her voice, “What the hell is going on?”