Kassa looked up at Vlad as he pulled into a travel inn; it was evening and the sun was beginning to set turning the sky a deep pinkish almost red colour. Sighing sadly she picked up her bag and followed him towards the reception. She stood looking at a large portrait not listening to what he was saying; she presumed he would book two single rooms. Or at least a room with two single beds. A hand on her arm told her he was ready to go up to the room and so she followed him. She’d barely said a word to him since he promised her Jok would be safe. He’d tried making conversation but her heart wasn’t in it. And she didn’t trust herself not to cry.
“Our room.” He said bowing her into the room; Kassa rolled her eyes and clutched her backpack. She hated it when he made royal gestures, she wasn’t a princess anymore. Hadn’t been for centuries! Her eyes swept over the room taking in every detail, the cheep wooden wardrobe, the perfectly white walls, the door to the bathroom, the TV, the cream coloured carpet and the double bed.
“There’s only one bed.” She said numbly as he stepped into the room behind her.
“Where am I sleeping then?” Kassa asked turning to look at him, she didn’t realise her eyes were pleading with him. She couldn’t share a bed with him! She couldn’t! She rarely shared a bed with Jok so why should she with Vlad?
“In the bed…with me.” Vlad said rolling his eyes, he ripped off his shoes and collapsed onto the bed sighing in pleasure as his back met the soft mattress. “Heaven,” he flashed her a smile, “or almost.” Kassa knew what he meant and she shook her head.
"I’ll sleep on the floor.”
“The deal was I go with you and you leave Jok alone. It said nothing about me having to do what you said or even sharing a bed with you. Even,” she added as he opened his mouth, “if nothing is going to happen. I don’t care; I will not share a bed with you!” Vlad sighed and stood up taking a step towards her; he ran his hand over her thick hair and smiled grimly.
“I could make you.”
“I know,” Kassa whispered not meeting his eyes, “but…I know you won’t.”
“Why?” She shrugged and looked up meeting his ruby eyes with her own.
"Would you?” Vlad smiled and shook his head.
“Unless of course you made me very angry.”
“I’m not stupid,” she said quietly, “so can I be please sleep on the floor?”
“No…I’ll sleep on the floor. You can have the bed.”
“Kassa you know me, I don’t do nice things very often. When I do accept them.” She nodded, he didn’t do nice things very often and he was extremely cruel. Except to me, she thought looking at him.
“Thank you.” She whispered.
Kassa couldn’t sleep that night; she hadn’t expected to be able too. Instead she thought about how far away Jok was. Vlad had driven all through the early morning and all through the day. Finally deciding to stop in the evening, she looked down at him sleeping on the floor and felt tears well up in her eyes. He looked exactly like Jok…it might not have been so bad leaving him. But seeing his face everyday…
“What’s wrong?” Vlad asked, Kassa jumped she could have sworn she was asleep but his voice didn’t sound as if he had been.
“Nothing…just thinking.” Kassa said looking back up at the ceiling; she heard Vlad groan and sit up.
“Let me guess, you were thinking about my brother.” Kassa didn’t say anything; she didn’t want to start a fight with him. Instead she closed her eyes and tried to fall asleep but Vlad wasn’t finished yet. “Can’t you just forget him?”
“How can I when you look exactly like him?”
“If I look exactly like him how could you always tell us apart? Even my own mother couldn’t do that.” He growled and spat the word mother like he had just eaten something very bad. Kassa shivered remembering what Jok had told her about how his parents died.
“Your eyes,” she whispered, “Jok…most the time you can tell what he’s feeling by looking at his eyes. But yours…”
“Mine?” Vlad persisted when she didn’t carry on.
“Yours are empty and cold.” She flinched thinking that would make him angry, but it didn’t.
"So that’s how you always told us apart?”
“Mostly…when Jok touches me I feel safe, I don’t with you…” She didn’t answer him when he asked her how she felt when he touched her. He made her feel wild and exotic, dangerous even. She was sick to admit she was attracted to Vlad, but she loved Jok, all she felt for Vlad was a mere attraction. “Vlad…where are we going?”
“I live up near Scotland…I have a small cabin up there.”
“A cabin?” She couldn’t picture Vlad living in one of those; she pictured him living in a big drafty house.
“It’s quite nice…I think you’ll like it. And it’s in a secluded woodland so humans rarely find it. I get the odd lost person.” She didn’t have to look down at him to see him grinning; she shuddered feeling sorry for those people. But at least if it’s in a woodland there’ll be plenty of animals…Kassa didn’t like feeding off animals, but she didn’t like feeding off humans either. If she could find a willing donor she would feed from them but that was rare.
Below her she could hear Vlad snoring, she was he was asleep now. Rolling onto her side she pulled the thick blanket up to her chin and tried to bite back sobs. Jok had seen the letter by now, he was probably looking for her even though she had told him not too. Finally she drifted off to sleep with silent tears trickling down her face.