I woke up the next night feeling disoriented. I still could not get used to getting up as the sun set, even as my body adapted, my mind struggled. 'Breakfast' was layed out at the bottom of the bed. Two fruit scones and a pot of tea, along with strawberry jam. I grinned, it was the first proper food I had really eaten in a while. 

The sugary jam melted on my tongue, and the sweet taste was like an overload to my dulled down senses. I had been living on bare scraps of bread and meat, so the scones were a surprise. 

Once finished, I washed and changed, the puncture wounds had healed well, so it meant I could style my hair up. It was a challenge taming the mass of curls without assistance but with a lot of hair pins and ribbon, I eventually managed, pleased with the end result. 

An hour later, there was a tapping at my door, the same rhythm as the night before. "Mr McCarthy" I said with a smile, curtsying a little. 

"Beatrice" he said, bowing, "You look delightful"

"Thank you" I said, blushing from the compliment. 

He took my arm in a bold gesture and led me down the corridor. I laughed and spun, making Brendan laugh all the more. 

We did not go to the library, instead going to a willow tree by the lake, the house sat in the distance and it made me smile to be away from it. The moon shone eerily on the water, glittering and reflecting back into the star speckled sky. 

We did not speak for a while, just gazing out across the lakes, sat on the stone bench and shadowed by the willow tree. 

"Do you miss it?" I asked him.

"Miss what?" he said.

"Your humanity"

"My humanity?" he repeated.

"Not in the way your thinking, I did not mean that you are heartless and cold, but...do you miss mortality? You know, heart beat, sunlight, change?" 

He pondered this for a moment before answering me, "I don't think I ever lost some parts of my human self. Centuries can pass, and we remain frozen, never changing. There are a great many benefits of being vampire, Beatrice, things you can't understand unless you are one"

He picked up my hand, "Beneath your skin, I can feel your pulse, I can feel the softness of your skin like no human could, I see so much more beauty in things than I ever imagined to be possible. I love that I see so much of life, played out over and over again. 

But I know the drawbacks too. I miss the sunlight, I was a sailor in another life, and the sun was my guiding light and I miss it's warm glow more than anything. Heart beat is debatable, I have not had one in so long, I forget what it is like"

I reflected on his answer, then asked, "How were you turned?"

He smiled ruefully, "A vixen named Rosaline" 

I raised an eyebrow and he continued, "We were shipwrecked on the coast of the Irish sea, the storm had been particularly bad and I was barely breathing when I washed up on a beach. She found me and brought me back from the dead"

"Did you love her?" 

He nodded, "We were together many centuries, so much longer than some get, and she was the light of my world, but she was killed. I was destroyed by it for a long time, half a person. But we got longer than most get, and for that I am grateful"

I took his hand and just held it, he jumped but made no attempt to move it away. His fingers tightened around mine and I smiled into the distance, relieved at last to find some peace for a moment for the first time since leaving Rowhurst. 

***

After nearly an hour we wandered back up to the house, and I heard the thundering of hooves on the drive way. I set off at a run, desperate to see what it was before Brendan could stop me. "Beatrice, wait!" he called. 

I skidded to a halt in the hallway as the door opened. Felix entered, drawing back the hood of his cloak. His red eyes met mine before my own cast on the girl being dragged behind him by Lucas.

Her fiery red hair shone under the candle light and her eyes were alight with rage and defiance. "Let me go, you sick bastard!" she spat, hissing and writhing like an angry cat. 

"Caroline!" I said, running forward. Brendan dashed forward, his fingers winding round my fore arm to stop me going any further. "Let go! Caroline!" 

Felix gave me one last glance before turning to Lucas, "Take her downstairs"

Lucas smiled cruelly and gripped Caroline's arms tightly, dragging her down the stairs, "Come on, Fairfax" he growled.

I stared speechless at Felix, "Why?" I said.

He didn't answer, his eyes burning when he saw Brendan's hand on my arm before he turned furiously and followed them down the stairs. I broke free and ran to follow, but Brendan stopped me, "Beatrice, you cannot do anything, don't put yourself in a worse situation" he implored.

"Brendan! It's Caroline! I cannot stand by and let them torture her...possibly kill her while I stay up here in luxury"

"But what use are you too her in a prison cell?" he reasoned, making me see sense. Above the prison, I was far more use, able to possibly get Caroline out alive. I swore I would do it, even if it was the last thing I did.

I saw his point and feeling too vunerable, collapsed into a chair, Brendan knelt beside me offering little comfort. 

Felix came back through and joined me in the hall way, his gaze fliting to Brendan then back to me. "I would like to speak to Beatrice, alone" he said monotonously, his eyes never shifting from mine.

Brendan got up and left, bidding me a fleeting look of farewell. I felt abandonded, but knew he could not disobey Felix.

"Why?" I asked him. 

"She is from an original family, I had to" he said, almost pleading for me to understand. 

I didn't respond, still upset about events that had transpired between us. "Do you really think I'm a monster?" he asked me, the vunerability in his voice shook me, but tonight, I refused to be shaken.

I could not look him in the eyes as I spoke, afraid of what I would see there. "You told me you were one yourself"

"That isn't an answer" he said, he sounded broken, empty. I was torn to pieces inside, but refused to visibly crack in front of him as I had so may times. 

I looked at him and said, "well it's all your getting"

He bowed a little, an old gesture but one I found I loved so dearly, a sweet reminder of a time long ago. He looked at me, his face a mixture of emotions, "Good night, Beatrice" he said softly, turning and walking down the corridor, his footsteps echoing through the corridor as he left. 

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