Humans need a lot of energy to function.
They eat more often than us, they need to sleep half of the day, and they're warm. Their body temperature is so high; it must be why they need so many calories.
«You should fix your habit of sleeping during the night. Fortress works at all the hours, but the academy is active only at night,» I warn Julia when she yawns.
She nods and tries to smile, but she's visibly tired. At least, I don't sense the blood from the bandages anymore. Her wrist must be healing properly.
«What do you do at night?» she asks, curious. «You work during the day as well...»
«I'm in charge of the trainings. I can't leave you alone, so you'll have to follow me.»
«How long are you going to observe me? You can just read my mind and let me go.»
«We don't do that.»
«Amadeus considers it torture.»
Is that a relieved sigh?
«Why is he so merciful to humans? And I'm a hunter, so I'm not just a defenceless human,» she says, masking her real emotions.
«Have you ever killed a vampire?»
«No, I haven't.»
«Then, you just are like any other human.»
Hearing these words, she smiles content.
Julia's been so obedient, from the first moment when I opened the small gate. She didn't fight back then, nor struggled the first time I almost lost control.
I don't know if it's just a facade or a trap, but she doesn't look scared by me. Still, I feel like there is something odd about her.
I'll ask for advice from Amadeus once more. He surely knows what's happening to me.
We have just collected her backpack, and she's now clinging to it even though she admitted there is nothing inside.
«This is my only belonging, now,» she explains, deciphering my gaze with no effort. «Also, I want to thank you for taking care of me...»
When I close the door, she strolls to the sofa and takes out the shoes. She takes out a small knife from one of them and cuts the other on the side.
«Now I understand why you didn't throw them away,» I comment.
I checked the backpack and left the dagger as it wasn't enchanted nor anything. It was just an overused knife with a not-so-sharp blade.
«I needed them to be broken not to appeal to thieves. At the same time, it doesn't look too suspicious. Shoes are a luxury if you don't have anything.»
«That's why you had the needle but didn't use it to fix the shoes.»
«Correct,» she smiles. «You see, this is not really mine. It's stolen,» she continues, taking out a gold pendant. «But I guess it has some value.»
She offers the jewel to me but, when I notice the sign on it, I grab her wrist and twist it. She shouts and lets go of the pendant, trembling.
«What are you trying to do?» I ask, threatening.
Julia widens her eyes in surprise and looks at the gold on the carpet. After a moment, she retreats her arm and takes a few steps back. She trips on the sofa's armrest but continues to retreat in panic.
«I didn't know, I'm sorry!» she whispers. «I don't know what that does. I really thought it was just a jewel...»
When she sees that I don't react, she starts to cry.
«I'm really sorry, it was not my intention to offend you...»
I move a step, and she hides her face behind her arms. She doesn't try to flee, but she covers her eyes, not to see.
I snort, bothered.
She's been like this for the whole time, even though I didn't really do anything to her.
I even tried being gentle, but she didn't change her behaviour, and it's starting to get on my nerves. I apologised for interrogating her, for God's sake!
Still, she didn't look less nervous. It's like she's still running alone in the woods, even though she's safe here.
«I believe you,» I utter. «I know that you didn't mean any harm, but I can't touch that pendant. There's an enchantment on it, so I'll need you to put it away.»
She moves one arm to the side and looks at me, still on alert.
«Aren't you angry anymore?» she asks, insecure.
«I wasn't angry, but you were walking towards me with a lethal weapon in your hands. I was just startled.»
«I didn't know,» she repeats, just to be sure that I heard.
I roll my eyes and move a step towards her. She flinches, but the wall is right behind her. She can't move back anymore, so I pin her chin and force her to look at me.
«Good to know,» I say and wait for her to calm down.
I caress her cheek with my thumb and then move my hand to her neck. I feel the blood pulsing under her skin, but that isn't bothering me.
If I just wanted her blood, I would have taken it. She'd accept a contract, I'm sure of it.
The problem is that I won't settle for that.
My hand reaches the border of the t-shirt she's wearing, and I move it to the side, exposing her white shoulder.
She thinks that I'm trying to bite her, so she stays still and tries to relax her muscles.
Maybe I should just bite her to find out what she's hiding, as Amadeus said. Still, I'm not sure I would be able to stop after it.
When she tilts her head and closes her eyes, I can't help but smile at her passiveness.
I caress her arm, reaching her hand. I bring it to my mouth and prick her forefinger with my fang. When a single drop of blood spills out, I pass my tongue on it, healing the wound I made.
«Just as I thought,» I whisper. «Delicious.»
Julia opens her eyes but soon turns her gaze to the side, light blushing covering her cheeks. Her breath is heavy, but she tries to hide it. It's that excitement from before, that feeling of expectation for something that won't happen.
«But I won't bite. You can stop freezing every time. As you can see, I can control myself.»
«You don't have to,» she mumbles, and I almost grab her again.
Is she really this naive, or just stupid? But most importantly, does she say that every time someone aims at her blood?
«You shouldn't say these words to a vampire.»
«You're thirsty, and I am prey. I understand how you feel.»
«You don't understand a thing.»
«But I know that this is how things work. You need blood to survive, and I happen to have plenty.»
«I don't want your blood.»
She winces, and her smile falters. As if I've just offended her. Yet, she doesn't want to make me notice.
«Sorry for not being to your taste,» she shrugs.
What the hell? Ah, I just wanted to comfort her. Why is she pretending to be sad now?
I grab her shirt and push her against the wall. I don't use any strength; I don't want to hurt her. I just want her to notice my presence, to feel cornered. To realise that she shouldn't say words that she would regret later.
When she lifts her eyes to look at me, I kiss her lips with more strength than I have initially planned to. Though she doesn't complain about that.