Julia is waiting patiently, staring at me with her breathing slightly quickened. She doesn't dare to touch me first, so she keeps her hands on the wall. Her eyes stare at me with expectation, almost asking for it with her contracted pupils.
This is becoming bothersome. How much has it passed since last time? A few hours only.
If I assault her now, I'll leave my scent on her. Somehow, I'm not bothered by this thought. On the contrary: I'm more than willing to signal to every person in the surroundings that Julia is mine...
I sigh, wondering how Julia would react if she knew what I am thinking.
Focusing on breathing, I distract myself from the needs I'm driven by.
I calm down, and I notice that Julia's heartbeat is slowing down with mine, a degree at a time.
So, it indeed was my fault. I'm the one that triggered this reaction, and I also was the one pacifying all the sensations. For both.
I shouldn't have reacted like that just because she called my name. It's not even the first time. But her voice, her neutral tone, as if there wasn't anything wrong with saying Leo. As if it was normal.
«How are you feeling now?» I whisper, sincerely hoping that she will stop to stare. Her hazelnut eyes are so clear in the dim light of the lamps.
My voice is uncertain, so I don't have any choice but to keep it low.
«I'm okay,» she mutters. «But you seem to be...»
«You don't look too well. Are you hungry?»
«No, let's go. This looks like an addiction; we shouldn't do it too often.»
She nods and walks behind me in silence. She doesn't make any more questions and just steals a couple of glances at me when she thinks I don't notice. I can tell when her attention is directed to me.
Or maybe, I'm just imagining it.
This might be considered telepathy. I'm not even focused on this girl's body signals, for once, but her feelings reach me by some weird media. They mix with my own and make everything just more complicated.
Amadeus is not in his office, as suspected. I open the door and let Julia in. We'll wait a few minutes; he shouldn't take too long.
«You can sit down; he'll arrive soon,» I inform her and light a candle. I put it on the window.
The moon is full; Amadeus must be hunting right now.
It may be the reason for what's happening to Julia and me. Human women do get influenced by the moon, don't they?
«I wasn't expecting you so soon!» Amadeus says from the balcony. He jumps in and smiles reassuringly at Julia. «I'm glad that the lady is all right. You haven't killed her yet, I'm surprised.»
Julia giggles. She's not bothered that Amadeus is joking with her life.
I roll my eyes, remembering how she almost started crying in front of me. Now, she's chuckling as if that didn't happen.
«We have something to ask you,» I start and sit down on the chair next to Julia.
Amadeus reaches the sofa in front of us and pours three glasses of whiskey. What is the royal treatment due to?
«We?» he repeats with a cunning smile.
«Well, I bet Julia has more questions than I do.»
«Let's start with the reason she has her backpack with her.»
I nod, and Julia takes out the cloth with the pendant. As soon as Amadeus sees the symbol on it, he jumps back by instinct.
I retract back the arm that I didn't even notice I moved. I wanted to protect Julia from his eventual attack. Luckily, Amadeus didn't charge towards her.
However, this time, I couldn't stop myself from shielding her from potential danger. Is it because we're close?
«You have guts, young lady,» he comments and sits back, still uneasy. Even just the presence of this pendant should be sending me thrills along the spine. Although, I'm more focused on Amadeus's movements to pay attention to it.
It's strange, but it's not the stranger thing that happened around this girl.
«Wrap it up again. I'll ask you to put it away for me, as I can't touch it...»
Julia follows Amadeus's instructions and leaves the pendant in one of the secret compartments in the office. Then, she closes it, and Amadeus fixes the mechanism back in place.
«Now, tell me how come Leo didn't kill you on the spot when you showed the pendant to him,» he says while sitting down again.
«I just twisted her wrist,» I comment and look at her hands.
There are no signs except for the bandage around her right wrist. Still, I'm sure she used her left hand to offer the pendant. I have forgotten about it because of what happened after, but her arm doesn't look hurt. I must have used less strength than I thought.
«I didn't know it's so dangerous,» she whispers.
«We're not here just for the pendant,» I interrupt them. «There's something I want to ask you.»
I don't care too much about the history of that thing. The hunters have hundreds of similar objects. One stolen won't make them despair.
«Hmm, I figured that much. I thought you would resist a bit more, by the way. It had been two days, Leo. You're rather impatient.»
Julia lifts her brows, surprised, and looks at me. She wants to ask something but keeps quiet.
I just shrug, as I have no clue what Amadeus is blabbering about. He should have told me immediately if he knew something. It would have spared me all the torture to resist my urges.
«What is happening?» I inquire.
«You found your soulmate,» Amadeus says like it's the most obvious thing in the universe. «Congratulations!»
«What does it mean?»
«Ah, it's a long story. Wait, you're here because you're feeling weird all the time, and you want to bite this girl all the time, but you don't want to hurt her... Aren't you?»
«Not exactly,» I utter. «But that's part of the story.»
«Ah, you should treasure this little thing because you won't meet anyone like her.»
«What the heck are you talking about? Is a soulmate a real thing?»
«You're destined for each other. Most people don't even meet their other half, you know? When it happens to vampires, they notice it at the exact moment. It's because we're more sensitive than humans. And we obsess over our stuff, so we get rather possessive without apparent reasons.»
«When will this stop?»
«It will tune down with time.»
«How much time?» And how much down?
«There aren't studies on the matter, Leo. However, from my experience, I can estimate a few months. Three or four if you fall in temptation.»
«And what if I don't?»
«Around a year. It will slowly become bearable, but it won't stop as long as the girl is alive.»
I hear Julia thrilling, and I reach her hand by instinct. Before I can squeeze her fingers, I have to use my hand for something else.
Amadeus takes a paper knife that he left on the table and starts to make it spin in his hand.
«Killing the lady is the fastest way to get rid of that feeling,» he explains with his usual, uninterested tone. «You will feel awful for a couple of weeks, but you'll be back at normal soon after that.»
Before he has time to do anything, I stretch out my hand and grab the knife. He's suspiciously sly right now. I don't know what he's planning, but I don't like his words.
I won't let him hurt Julia, whatever it takes.