So I'm lying on Maxxie's sofa, attempting to fit my six foot frame on the cushions. It's not big enough. I've got my legs bent and my head is up on the arm of the sofa like it's a pillow. It's not too comfy, but hey, it's a better distraction from the smells of Maxxie's apartment than staring at the ceiling in an effort to keep my eyes off Maxxie's neck.
I'd never noticed that the veins in his neck are always throbbing in a steady, hypnotic rhythm, or that they were gorgeously plump. He's not talking at the moment. I'm trying to enjoy the quiet, but I swear I can hear his heartbeat over all my thoughts.
He's not talking because we did go back to my apartment. He frogmarched me, as promised and forced me into the shower and some clean clothes. But it didn't feel right being in my apartment.
It smelt of my aftershave and Angelina's favourite perfume that I'd got her for her birthday a while ago and of humanity. I didn't feel like I belonged there anymore. Like... you know when a relative, or someone you know has a relative that dies, and their room becomes like a sacred room that no one touches in the hope that one day, they'd be back to use it again. Or you promise you'll get rid of their crap one day, it's all boxed up and waiting to go, and you never get rid of it?
Walking through my apartment felt like that. Like I was intruding on some dead relative's room that hadn't been touched since they died.
Because, even though Angelina is gone, and I may as well be, nothing in the apartment has actually changed. I mean, the bread's gone stale and the milk didn't smell so good, but other than that... nothing was different. It's me that's changed. I've lost all but one person I care about all over again and this time, I've lost myself, too.
Maxxie doesn't believe I have.
But at the company, boss always reminds us that vampires are nothing more than a shell that has to feed. No personality, no desires that stretch beyond base instinct and certainly no compassion.
That's how we manage to deal with it. Killing them. Because they don't look much different. Maybe a bit paler because they can't go out in the sun. Angry, usually, because you're trying to kill them. But this is how I always saw them. Shells looking for blood and new "companions".
I'm beginning to realise that this isn't true, though. I don't feel like a shell. I don't feel right, I don't feel normal, but I don't feel empty. I'm only lying here trying to distract myself from Maxxie's heartbeat, because I don't want to hurt him. Suddenly, my thoughts on vampires are already changing. How do they manage like this? The thirst, the urge - the need - to kill ones you care.
Maxxie's eyes are on me. He's watching me carefully. He told me he wasn't scared of me, but he's watching me like I might explode any second. I turn my head a little and glance at him. His lips twitch up in a smile, but the thoughtful look in his eyes is there, still. I know that look.
It's the look that tells me he's been reminiscing. Probably remembering how we became best friends in the first place. I remember it all too well. I was the only one that would stand up for him.
Smiling back at him, I know that there's a look in my own eyes that betrays what's going on behind the feeble attempt at a smile.
I doubt I look particularly thoughtful, though.