The room was silent.
The light stayed on. It didn’t flicker. Didn’t brown out. It stayed steady.
It cast a soft and comforting glow.
The carpet from the dresser to the foot of the bed was clear. There was nothing in the way. Nothing to accidently step on or stumble over. Nothing to accidently knock over.
Nothing to accidently create a sound.
The bed was a slightly larger than average twin sized. It was big enough for two people to sleep on with a little extra room to spare. The white wood frame wasn’t new. It had a few battle scars, some ancient crayon marks, some spots of peeled paint. A poofy red and blue plaid comforter covered the two people sleeping on the mattress.
Clarice slept. Her expression was peaceful. Perhaps she was having a good dream. Or maybe it just felt good to be asleep.
She rolled over on her side. The comforter slipped down to her elbow and lay there, undisturbed.
A soft exhale touched the room’s silence.
But Clarice slept on.
Raven woke to find himself back in his seat. He sat up and rubbed the back of his neck. “What…”
“You almost fell asleep on top of Tessa.” Jeff said from the back of the room. “So, I returned you to your seat.”
Raven stood and turned to face him. “Thank you, sir.”
Jeff looked out the darkened windows. “I suppose you’ll be going hunting now.”
Jeff’s words were like a door being slammed shut and locked. Raven felt like he was standing on the wrong side of the door, trying to figure out how to open it.
Silence fell between them.
The only sounds were the muffled voices of people walking past Missy’s door and the beeps of distant monitors.
“And if I were still a hunter, I’d be going out there now with Tsunachu in my hands.” Jeff continued. “Maybe our paths would cross. Maybe they wouldn’t. Who knows?”
“Perhaps, sir. Perhaps you would kill me.”
Jeff turned his head to the side.
“Perhaps I would kill you. Perhaps I would change you. It is difficult to say.”
“Yeah.” He faced Raven. “Look. I am trying my best to push myself past all of that for Tessa’s sake. But it’s hard. I’m pushing past a whole lifetime of training and fighting and protecting my city from vampires. That isn’t something I can just forget.”
Raven managed a slight smile. “I do understand that, sir. It is not easy to forget what one has been trained to do, especially if it is something one takes a deep pride in.”
“Yeah.” Jeff sighed and raked his hand through his hair. “I talked to Tessa earlier about me becoming a hunter again.”
Raven clenched and unclenched his hands. “I see. And what, might I ask, did she say?”
She would not agree to it. She knows the risk to Jeff….and to me. She would never agree to it. Yet, what if she did? What if she insisted on it? What if—
“She talked me out of it.”
Raven exhaled a subtle sigh of relief. “Ah. I see. I suppose—-” His pupils involuntarily widened as his hunger panged. “I beg your pardon, sir. I must leave.”
A conflicted expression came over Jeff’s face, but he didn’t say anything more than, “Go.”