“Why do you stay with me, Gillian?” Harold switched his gaze from the crack that ran along the ceiling to his lover, lying awake in the semi-darkness. “I know it’s not because you’re hopelessly devoted to me.”
Gillian was silent for a while, her eyes flickering from left to right as if she were reading an invisible book. “I feel safe with you,” she said. “It’s so rare for a vampire to have a long term partner, and a non-vampire one as well, that our situation is pretty unique.”
“Do you love me?” Harold was afraid of asking but more afraid of the answer.
She turned her head to look at him. “Love is over-rated,” she said. “If all you have is love the dream will shatter when the love fades. I like you, I’m comfortable with you and I will stay with you. Don’t ask me for love as well.” She chose to ignore the silent tear the fell from Harold’s eye and ran over his cheek to stain the pillow.
“I won’t.” He looked back at the crack in the ceiling. Had it grown bigger? “What made you give it a try at all?”
Gillian shifted position, turning onto her side to face him. “You know the way cuckoos lay eggs in other bird’s nests so that they raise the chicks as their own?”
“Yes?” Harold wondered where this was leading.
“It was like that. Had I remained independent you would have ended up hunting me. I joined you for protection from you.”
Harold stared at the crack, willing the ceiling to collapse and give him something else to think about; anything but the whole his lover had just torn in his heart. He jumped when she touched his hand.
“Don’t torture yourself,” she said. “Heaven is being glad for what you have.”
Harold nodded, then movement lost in the darkness to anyone other than his preternatural lover. “Thanks,” he said. “But just for the record, I love you.”
Her thumb stroked the back of his hand. “I know.”
© Rachel Green 2007