Markus sat straight up in bed, forcefully drawing air into his lungs. It had only been a matter of days since he was turned, but he already hated almost everything about it. Serge’s side of the bed was empty, as it had been every night for the past four days, and would remain as long as he was human and not into being nocturnal.
He kicked the covers off and stood up, despite wanting to do little more than sulk for a few more hours. He knew he’d just end up being mad at himself if he missed out on a chance to see Serge before he left. Frowning deeply, he did his best to avoid stomping down the stairs and into the kitchen.
“I baked a chicken if you’re hungry,” Serge announced, his tone carefully neutral. “I figured it’d be good to make something that’ll give you some leftovers.”
“I have to choke down my own liquid diet first; maybe I’ll have some later after the guys leave,” he replied. His stomach clinched at the thought of ingesting human blood, but he couldn’t deny how much the rest of his body craved it.
“You know I don’t have to stay in Seattle for this assignment, right? I can drive back and forth. Or, hell, I can just not go at all and stay here with you this weekend.”
“We can spend a few days apart. There’s no reason you should do all that driving when you already have a hotel reservation, and there’s no way in hell you’re not going. I’m not an invalid, Serge.” Markus found himself getting snappy in spite of his best efforts.
“I know you can take care of yourself; I just thought if you didn’t want to be alone I would have no trouble not going.”
“Sorry; I woke up in a bit of a mood again.”
“You’re allowed to mourn a bit. It’s not like you wanted this to happen,” Serge replied softly.
“No, definitely not. I keep waiting for Nana to show up on the doorstep, too.”
“Are you going to tell her?”
“Part of me is pretty sure I don’t have to tell her, but yeah. I was thinking of giving her a call this weekend.”
“Good. I don’t want her coming after me for keeping it a secret.”
Markus forced a smile before quickly shifting the conversation away from his grandmother. He’d always been convinced she knew when she was being talked about, and it gave him the heebie-jeebies.
“How did your lunch date go with Emily?”
“It was good to talk to her. She’s a sweet girl.”
“I think you’d have to fight Tristan for her.”
“It’s a good thing she’s not my type.”
“Shouldn’t you start heading to town?” Markus asked, pulling back reluctantly. “It’s a good two and a half hour drive.”
“I’m starting to think you’re trying to get rid of me.”
“Only because I know how important this story is to you. Not to mention how good it’ll be for your career.”
“You sure you don’t want me to stay?”
“I could probably be persuaded if you keep kissing me like that, but you really should go. I’d hate for you to miss out on it because of me. Besides, I think I need to be alone for a bit.”
“I must be losing my touch; I used to be able to change your mind with one kiss.”
“Well, you’ll just have to practice on me when you get back.”
“I like the sound of that.”
“I thought you might. You should probably get going, though.”
Serge sighed and took a step back, carefully studying Markus’s face.
“I’ll miss you.”
“I’ll miss you, too.”
“Call me any time you need to, OK? I’ll keep my phone with me all the time.”
“’K. Have fun.”
Markus followed him to the front door but stopped just short of stepping out. While the sun had dipped below the horizon, its light was still painfully bright for him. He waited, watching as Serge tossed his bag into the passenger seat before getting behind the wheel.
As he closed the front door, he felt slightly lightheaded for a fraction of a second.
“The strange wave of dizziness passed almost as quickly as it began, leaving me to wonder if I’d just imagined it. I shook off the strange feeling, assuming I just needed to consume the blood waiting for me in the kitchen. I pulled back the front curtain and watched as Serge disappeared over the crest of a hill. I was already feeling lonely after he left, the sound of his car fading into the distance as I watched from the window. I knew I only had a short amount of time before my clients Tristan Payne and James Selwyn showed up, so I decided to tidy up the dishes before their arrival. It was tedious work…”