"I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I'm close to something real..."
It was dark now.
Not that there was much sun to begin with today – a big rainstorm was passing through, shrouding the skies with its dark ominous clouds. It had been overcast all day.
But the sky was even darker now, and I knew nighttime was rapidly approaching. The normal bustling crowd of Worthington's Cafe was down to a few scattered customers and workers, all as melancholy as the weather outside.
My eyes, glassy and unfocused, looked away from the rain-streaked window down to the empty cup of chamomile tea in my hands. Once again, time had managed to slip away from me and I knew it had been hours since I first walked in here. The waiter gave up long ago on asking me if I would like anything else. For hours, I'd been sitting here just looking out the window.
It must be this weather, I thought to myself. Otherwise I'd find something useful to be doing.
The truth was, there was nothing I could do. A rape attempt, an apartment broken into, and a job withdrawn from me... all in the same month. There was nothing here for me now. Not even my chamomile tea could heal me.
My heart ached, dragging me down like a lead weight. My eyes had no more tears left to shed. My cheerful spirit was nowhere to be found. A chill had seeped into my bones early on and left me an emotionless, empty shell. I was blank.
And now, as I sat unmoving by the window, I had no urge to leave. No, leaving was the last thing from my mind. I would stay until the workers had to drag me out and throw me into the streets. Then I'd probably have to get a taxi to drive me back to my empty apartment.
Well, at least that's what I told myself at first. But then, the door to the cafe opened and in walked a guy I'd never seen before. I paid no real attention to him, only vague acknowledgment as he shook the rain from his jacket and walked up to the counter. My eyes slid back over to the window again, as I continued to watch the raindrops slash across the glassy panes.
It was a few minutes later when I heard a small cough come from beside me.
"May I join you?"
My eyes swiveled wildly towards the intruder, the same guy I had watched walk in earlier. I had intended to glare at him, but all anger was swept out the door when his eyes locked onto mine. At first, all I could see was the soft yet brilliant brown, like melted toffee. My breath hitched as I continued to stare into his eyes, and soon enough I found the emotions buried deep within those orbs; compassion, curiosity, and just a hint of sadness. It was almost overwhelming.
I didn't say anything, but I turned my gaze away from him and nodded almost imperceptibly. Then I watched him slide smoothly into the chair across from me. He held a steaming mug in his hands and I was surprised when he pushed it towards me.
"Chamomile tea," he said softly, "It's known for its soothing and healing abilities."
Soft tendrils of steam reached my nose and I inhaled deeply, closing my eyes and savoring the crisp, apple-like smell. Then my wary eyes snapped over to the man. While the offer was sweet and seemingly innocent, I couldn't help but wonder if he knew more than he was letting on.
"What makes you think I need it?" I asked quietly, not used to the sound of speech coming from my lips. It had been days since I last spoke to anyone.
"I don't." was the man's reply. "But I had to order something, and the waiter over there by the counter told me it was your favorite."
I sensed no dishonesty in his words, but there was something he wasn't telling me. Those toffee colored eyes of his were starting to unnerve me. Instead of turning away, I held my gaze steady. This helped to dull the intensity of his eyes, and little by little I started to make note of his other features: dark brown hair swept smoothly across his face that was starting to curl at the ends, alabaster skin that looked like the finest white marble, angular cheek bones, and sculpted lips all added up to the most intoxicating creature I'd ever laid eyes on. He couldn't have been older than 25.
Even in the wallowing depths of my depression, I could still feel myself swooning
"Who are you?" I whispered. My guest's mouth quirked upward, as if suppressing a smile.
"My name is Quinn."
I paused, momentarily intrigued by the seemingly-ancient name. Who would name their child Quinn nowadays? However, the more I thought about it, the more the name seemed to fit him perfectly.
The words were short and cold, more out of courtesy than anything else. But it seemed to please my guest, for he flashed me a dazzling smile. It amazed me that a person could possess such sharp, perfectly white teeth.
After introductions, there was a slight, awkward pause in our conversation. I busied myself with the cup of tea in my hands, tugging gently on the tea bag to draw out its full flavor. Then, after a hesitant first sip, I savored the warm, soothing heat as it flooded my senses and brought to life my lethargic limbs. Once I felt a little life come back to me, I focused my attention back on Quinn.
"So if you don't drink tea, then are you a coffee person?" I asked, almost ashamed of how ridiculous I must have sounded. But instead of ridiculing me or rolling his eyes, Quinn smiled at me again. That's when I noticed for the first time that he had a small dimple in his left cheek that whenever he smiled. It was breathtaking. My bashfulness immediately melted away at the sight of it.
"No, I'm not really fond of bitter drinks." He replied casually, crossing his arms across his chest. The faded t-shirt he wore wrinkled under his smooth, toned forearms.
"But you don't look like a person that would drink soda either..." I mused, taking yet another sip of my tea. I wanted to figure this guy out.
"Oh no, definitely not." Quinn replied with a soft laugh.
"Then what do you drink?" I asked.
Quinn's eyes darkened, as did his expression. For the first time that night, his gaze left my face and turned towards the rain-streaked window instead. There was a few moments' pause before he answered.
"Water. I like water."
His voice was rough, demanding even. It had an edge of warning to it, as if telling me not to push the conversation any further. I just nodded instead, my face becoming a blank mask. If he was going to be cold all of a sudden, then that was fine with me.
The lightness of our conversation was gone, and there seemed to be a gap between the two of us now. My tea was cooling off rapidly, and that chill was starting to seep back into my bones. Languidly, I swirled the tea cup around in my hand and watched the contents stir along the bottom. The only distinguishable sound was the soft pattering of the rain.
Vaguely I felt Quinn's stare land back on me, and I tried to brush it off but it was useless. My eyes moved on their own accord and locked with his toffee-colored ones. I could sense the confusion coming from him and so, before I knew it, I was speaking.
"I'm sorry, Quinn. You've just caught me on a bad day. Maybe it would be best if you just leave."
No sympathy. No pity. No emotion. They were just empty words coming out my mouth.
I moved to face the window again when, suddenly, a pale hand reached out and grasped my chin, tilting my head back so I was facing Quinn. I jumped at the sudden contact and the remarkable coldness of his skin.
"Why do you keep distancing yourself the moment you drop your defenses? We all have bad days, but we also have good days out there waiting for us. The worst thing you could possibly do is keep to yourself. I'm not going to let you sit here and wallow in your own self-pity when I can help you."
Sharply I withdrew from his grasp and stared at him, a frown growing on my face. There was something about him that was confusing me, something different... Once again, I studied his face.
And then something clicked: the bright eyes, the pale, cold skin, the sharp teeth...
"Why do you care, Quinn? You're not even human." I spat.
A definite change then came over Quinn's features, and a slow smirk draped across his face.
"Neither are you. You're just a cold, stone statue, April. I mean, do you even feel? I mean, really feel..."
Anger boiled within me, and I slammed my hand down on the table.
"Shut. up." I hissed venomously. My jaw clenched and I started grinding my teeth together.
"Why should I?" Quinn countered, his toffee eyes acquiring a wicked gleam that hadn't been there before.
"I said shut up! Leave me alone!"
My lethargic limbs were now surging with adrenaline and I leaped up from my chair towards the exit, but a cold hand grabbed my wrist and pulled me backwards. Stumbling, I fell right into Quinn, who caught me easily. Brilliant brown eyes captured my gaze and didn't let go.
Then I felt two cold fingers press down right underneath my jaw bone and I gasped, my eyes widening in fear. What was he doing to me? Quinn's face lowered until his mouth was against my ear, lips brushing against the skin as he murmured to me.
"Do you feel that, right there? You're still human, April, so don't just throw it away."
His fingers were pressed right up against my pulse.
That's when I broke down.
Sobbing uncontrollably, I clutched onto Quinn for support. All this month's events wore down on me and I couldn't stop it; it was like opening a floodgate of emotions. Only vaguely did I realize Quinn was walking the two of us out of the cafe, and only vaguely did I feel the raindrops against my skin. Buried in Quinn's shoulder, I couldn't help but feel calmer – like everything would somehow work out. My tears quickly died down, but I stayed in his embrace. Quinn got us a taxi, and I managed to choke out my address before falling back in Quinn's arms.
It had been so long since I'd been with someone that I had forgotten how comforting an embrace could be. And it was comforting – with one strong arm wrapped around me and the other petting my hair, I felt cared for.
"Let it go, April. Let it all go." Quinn murmured into my ear.
Through many tears and sobs, I poured my soul out to this vampire. I told him about the rape attempt, the break-in at my apartment, and how I had lost my job. I told him all of this and more. The taxi ride didn't take half as long as it usually did to make it to my apartment, that's how much I talked.
And when we finally did reach my apartment, only to see the broken windows, the missing valuables, and the trashed rooms, I cried again. Quinn had to carry me to my bedroom I was shaking so badly. He set me carefully onto my bed like the gentleman he was. Then, after a moment or two, I felt the bed shift as his weight settled down beside me, and I turned over to face him. Quinn smiled softly at me, reaching out again to run a pale hand through my hair.
"You have so much to live for, April. I just know you'll be alright."
He was right; it all felt better somehow.
The trashed floor and the blank white walls of the room all faded away as I gazed deeply into toffee-colored eyes.
It didn't matter anymore if he wasn't human or not. He was the only one who took the time to save me from myself.
Soon, exhaustion fell upon me and I could barely keep my eyes open. Curling up against the figure beside me, I dug my hands into Quinn's t-shirt and didn't let go.
"Don't leave me." I whispered, opening one bleary eye to make sure he heard me.
What I didn't expect was for him to lean in and kiss me. His soft yet cold lips pressed gently against mine, and my eyes fluttered shut. Moaning softly, I summoned up all the energy left in me to kiss him back.
Then my eyes were closing and everything was going black. The gentle summon of sleep was tugging at me, and I let myself go.
The last word I heard come out of Quinn's mouth was: "Sleep."
And I fell asleep.
The next morning I woke up alone to a clean room, the white walls almost gleaming with the sunlight that came pouring in through the window.
Quinn was gone, but on my bedside table I found a steaming mug of chamomile tea.