Brook got off the wall and called the elevator. The doors opened and he stepped in. Fern stealing a last glance at the shadowy shape of Dacian, turned and joined Brook inside the lift. Brook pushed the button and the doors shut. Fern hugged herself, feeling upset and no closer to the answers she had been seeking. Brook stayed silent, watching the numbers on the display flashing upwards.
They got out on the sixth floor and went to the apartment door. Brook let them in just using his hand and mind.
‘You need to teach me that,’ Fern remembered.
‘Sure,’ Brook answered, ‘there’s a bit more to it then the shadow cover though.’
‘It’s fine. I need to learn,’ Fern stated and walked inside.
The apartment was dark, but Fern quickly found her way to the bathroom and shut the door behind her. She heard Brook mutter her name, then saw a flash of light coming on from under the door as he turned on the main lights. Fern clicked on the bathroom one, then shrugging off the backpack, stripped from all her wet clothes.
She turned on the shower as she heard the TV coming on. She paused and tried to figure what the action movie was that Brook had stopped to watch. Shaking her head and feeling wet hair clinging to the back of her neck, she got in the shower. The hot water felt great and she sighed deeply before plunging her head underneath the full flow of water. She washed and double washed her hair, lingering in the shower as long as possible.
When she stepped out into clouds of steam, she grabbed a towel and dried herself off. Leaving her things behind her she walked out and over to Brook. He was sprawled across the sofa, just in his boxers. She was about to throw her arms around him and give him a hug, when she noticed the small, thick black outlined tattoo on the back of his neck. It was an opened mouth skull with a vampire bat escaping from the teeth. Puzzling over it, she hugged him and rested her shin on top of his head whilst her arms locked around his throat.
‘I emptied all the clothes on to the bed,’ Brook spoke.
‘Thanks. I’ll sort through them. What’s with the tattoo? I never noticed it before,’ Fern asked.
‘Not much. I got it before I was turned. I designed it myself.’
‘You never told me about that…how you become a vampire, the one who made you…how old you are?’
Brook gave a little snort, ‘it’s not interesting.’
‘So, tell me.’
‘I’m going to shower first. Maybe, before we go to bed.’
Brook moved and Fern had to let him go. She dug her hands into the back of sofa and thought about pressing him. He had gotten up though and was crossing the room. She went to get dressed instead and found that he really had just emptied the bag on the bed. Turning on the light, she had a quick sort through and found that none of the clothes were nightwear. There were two plain black t-shirts she could use, but there were no shorts or pants.
Fern picked out a nightie and bottoms from the wash basket and put them on. Really, I need to get back to my place and pack up all my stuff….Do I really want to move in here though? She thought. Sorting out the other clothes; she found two pairs of jeans, three jog pants, a packet of underwear, a handful of different t-shirts and a very worn blue woollen jumper. Okay, I so need my own stuff… Sighing, Fern folded the clothes and put them on top for the wash basket. She then got into bed and listened to Brook turn off the shower.
Settling back, she ran through a number of ways to bring up the suggestion of going to her flat. Thinking of that led to more thoughts about her other possessions and money. She had her purse and phone, but hadn’t touched them since Brook had taken her into the tomb. Her thoughts jumped on to that and a wave of blurry images came to her. She could see the damp stone walls and smell the mould. What I had I been doing before that? She thought, how did I spend my last day as a human? God, it was less than a week ago and I can’t remember!
‘You asleep?’ Brook’s voice cut into her thoughts.
Fern’s eyes snapped open and she jumped slightly, ‘I’m awake.’
‘You’re not tried?’
‘Not really,’ Fern said thoughtfully.
Book lay down next to her and they stared at each other.
‘You’re going to let me see Dacian again, right?’ she asked after a few seconds.
Brook gave a half shrugged and looked up at the ceiling.
‘He said he didn’t know when his blood would leave me…do you know?’
‘No. Do you feel drawn to him?’
Fern tried to hard the small smile on her face, ‘I guess…’
Brook went silent then after a few moments said, ‘any of the clothes good?’
Fern cast a look at the pile on the basket, ‘not really…Don’t you think it’s wrong?’
‘That we just took that stuff….I mean we didn’t really needed it.’
‘You learn to take and give,’ Brook said sleepy.
‘Give what?’ Fern tutted.
‘Donations. Money, food and stuff.’
‘And when have you ever done that?’
Brook sighed, his eyes fixed the ceiling, ‘not to them,’ he said very softly, ‘there was another shelter that helped me when I was first given the blood.’
Fern pressed her lips together quickly and wait for him to carry on. However, Brook seemed lost in thought. Fern moved closer on the bed to him and put her head onto the edge of his shoulder. Her hair brushed his neck and cheek; bring him back from a turmoil of memories.
He put his cheek to her hair and breathed deeply. Fern smelt smoke and blood on his breath.
‘Want to talk about it?’ Fern whispered.
‘Not right now. I guess one day…none of it really matters. It’s the past. I can’t go back…’ Brook uttered, ‘would you go back to yours? The cancer?’
‘No, of course not. I’d be dead all ready if it wasn’t for you and this…’ Fern stated and moved her head so she could see him better.
Brook glanced at her and kissed her nose awkwardly.
‘Though it’s not been easy or what I hoped…You know tomorrow we should go to my place,’ she added.
‘Why?’ Brook asked.
‘For my stuff. My life isn’t just in my handbag you know. I’ve got clothes and things…things I want. And rent…’ Fern trailed off into a hum as she tried to calculate when her rent was next due.
‘Guess your place isn’t as good as this one?’ Brook questioned.
‘It’s a one bed flat, almost a bedsit, but I’ve my own bathroom and a tiny kitchen. We should go though. I want my things and if we don’t go tomorrow the landlord might just throw it all out.’
‘Okay. I’m thinking of moving anyway. Been thinking about it over the last few days, really…’
‘Because of Dacian?’ Fern shot back, a hint of irritation in her voice.
‘He’s a part of it, more so then before now, thanks to you. But no, this place is shutting down for winter and there’s going to be less people now. It makes sense to go to my actual house. And now I know you’re going to live and we seem to be getting along okay, I thought we’d go there,’ Brook explained.
Fern rose off his shoulder and sat up in the bed. Her thoughts a hot, fast rush of words she couldn’t put together correctly to voice. She grabbed the duvet and clutched it tightly as a wave of anger rolled within her.
Brook followed her up and pressed a hand to her back. He began making large circles across her skin, sensing the mix of emotions coming off her. He didn’t speak and he was unable to get into her mind as her thoughts were too uncontrollable. He waited and listened to the sounds of birds singing the coming dawn song and car engine in the distance.
‘You lied to me. Again,’ Fern finally spoke.
‘No. I didn’t tell you the full truth. There’s a difference,’ Brook answered back.
‘I asked you,’ Fern said as she turned to look at him with a hand pressed to her forehead, ‘if you had a house and I thought this was it. You made me believe this was it.’
Brook pulled a face, ‘I’m the caretaker. That’s how I make most of my money. I get to live here or in the other apartments to do that job.’
‘Why didn’t you tell me?’
‘You didn’t need to know…like everything else. Why should I lay my life out for you?’ Brook demanded, anger sparking in his voice, ‘did I make you tell me everything before I shared my blood with you?’
Fern shook her head then as she thought about it, asked, ‘I don’t really remember…did you?’
‘No. It wasn’t important and it’s still not. And it’s the same for me. There’s stuff, Fern, that you really don’t want to know about me…A lot of shit stuff and yeah, it no longer matters now, but it made me and you don’t need to hear it,’ Brook stated.
He dropped his hand and flung back onto the bed. He spread his arms out, then rolled over and pulled the duvet over his head. He breathed heavily then arranged the pillows and settled for sleep in the nest he had made.
Fern watched this then lay down next to him, quietly. She watched the hump that was Brook raising up and down for a few moments. Her mind was reeling off questions and conjuring up images. The desperation to ask him refused to build and sighing deeply, she rolled over and kept everything to herself.
To Be Continued….