Cindy sat on a chair in the basement. Matthew was pouring over book after book, comparing the blood that she’d given him under the microscope to the pictures covering his pages. James sat slumped on the futon in the corner, trying to act casual, but he kept glancing back to Cindy to make sure she hadn’t moved. It broke his heart not to trust her. She had been such a good friend to them, for so long—but he didn’t know who she actually was. He wanted to believe that she didn’t know either. He wanted to believe she was just as shocked as he was to wake up after what should have been a fatal blow to the back of her head and neck.
But what if she wasn’t shocked? What if she was something he didn’t know, and he was there to hurt him, to hurt Matthew? What if she was the thing that Matthew and he had been drawn here to protect against?
He saw Cindy shift uncomfortably in her seat, and he realized he’d been staring at her for a while. He turned back to look at Matthew, who now seemed very still. That meant he was close. He’s almost figured it out and now he was just ironing out details before he presented his ideas to anyone else. James subconsciously relaxed. Matthew would have an answer soon. Whether it was good news or bad news it would be good to finally just have a concrete answer.
Slowly, almost like he was coming out of a trance, Matthew stood up straight at his work table. After a moment, he turned to look at James, almost like he was in a daze. “James. I need to speak to you in the hall. Now.”
It was the sharp tone in Matthew’s voice that caught James off guard. Matthew wasn’t the sharp-voiced type. It was that distraction that made James follow Matthew out of the room without thinking about the fact that they were leaving Cindy alone with several means to escape.
They had barely gotten into the hall when Matthew swung the door shut hard behind them, and pointed an accusing finger to the room. “Do you love her?”
There were two beats of silence, then James blinked and said, “No.”
“I’d advise you not to lie to me,” Matthew retorted, in full professor voice. It wasn’t often that James thought about the fact that Matthew was technically nearly double his age. That was the problem of being immortal in a mortal world. Sometimes he forgot that he lived in a way that was unlike those around him.
James didn’t say anything else. He wasn’t stupid enough to lie again when he’d been warned. Matthew nodded his head sagely. “Well, why ask the question if you already knew the answer?” James countered, starting to get annoyed now. He had no idea what all this was about, and he didn’t appreciate the third degree in the meantime.
“I knew the answer, because if you love her—you did this to her. She’s immortal now—because of you.”