Trent listened to all Rory was saying, trying hard to believe it was just some fanciful and very convoluted story to explain why he hadn’t gotten in contact with him until today.
He might have, because he didn’t want it to be true, but one small thing stood in his way. Rory had fangs. Long ones that he could extend and retract seemingly at will.
So where does this leave me? Do I wish him a long, very long, and happy life and walk away? Or do I stay, and hope he will too, and we see—what happens.
He wasn’t really surprised when Rory said, “I’d rather the latter than the former.”
“Are you always going to do that?” Trent asked, trying to make it sound like a joke although it really wasn’t. He didn’t want Rory knowing his every thought.
“No. I’m just… I need to know how you’re feeling about all this and I suspect you’re expressions, and your body language, are telling only half the story. So—I probe a bit.”
“Well don’t. Aside from the fact it’s very unnerving, it’s also totally unethical. Of course,” he added snidely, “vampires probably don’t worry about ethics, all things considered.”
“Not true, damn it! Just because I am one now does not mean I’ve changed in any way except that I’m not alive in the usual sense of the word.”
“That’s a bit of an understatement.”
“Is, isn’t it,” Rory retorted with a small smile. “One question, and I won’t read you so you can answer any way you want to and I’ll take it as the truth. Do you believe me?”
“I believe”—Trent frowned, looking at the man he had loved—“I believe you think it’s true which I guess makes it so.”
“Not terribly logical.”
“I’ve read things about people who actually do believe they’re vampires and need blood to survive. It’s a rarity, but it happens. Maybe this Emily person managed to convince you that you are, for some ulterior motive of her own. If that’s true, then you’re…” He stopped when he realized the fallacy in what he was saying. Rory did have fangs. Real ones. Not implants or the kind they sold in the tourist shops in the Quarter. He had the real thing. “Yes,” he said almost reluctantly, “I believe you.” For some strange reason, that didn’t frighten him as much as it had half an hour ago.
Rory nodded, a look of relief flooding his face. “Then what happens next? Will you walk away?”
“Honestly, I don’t know. I should. I should go to your… your funeral, and then forget I ever met you. Speaking of which, are you going to let your folks know you’re alive?” Trent grinned weakly. “More or less.”
“What do you think?” Rory replied sourly. “If I did the shock would kill them. Better that they go on believing it’s me in that casket and let them grieve and move on.”
“How do you know? I mean about the funeral and the bones and all?”
“Emily and I set it up. She said they needed closure and I needed to stop feeling guilty for what they were going through. What you were going through. We—well I’m afraid we did a bit of grave-robbing at one of the cemeteries. Took a few bones, enough to validate the idea my body had been left in the bayou and some animal had dealt with it and left the remains for nature to take care of. We buried them, with my license and the ring so there’d be no doubt whose they were. That was almost two years ago, just before we went to France. I guess we did too good a job of it. We expected them to be found soon afterwards. It took much longer, obviously. We waited a few weeks then she had a friend of hers check the spot occasionally and watch the news. As soon as they were found we came back.”