Chapter One

After pacing in the hall for a good ten minutes, to calm myself, I finally pushed into the room.

"What are you doing here?" Bobby murmured, groggily, as he tried—and failed—to sit up. I narrowed my eyes at him as I approached, trying to ignore the stranger seated at his bedside.

"I'm still your emergency contact, remember?" I said, sighing a little. "And I'm your sister. I'd say if anyone has the right to visit you when you land yourself in the hospital of all places, it's me."

The man who occupied the seat beside him sat up a little straighter in his seat. "Bobby, you have a sister?"

Bobby turned away, looking caught off guard.

"Yes." I answered for him. "I'm Clara. And you're Bobby's...?"

I let the question linger, although I could tell what he was the minute I'd walked into the room. He was too handsome, too perfect. A vampire. Bobby continued to avert his gaze guiltily, and I knew he wasn't about to answer for him.

"I'm his boyfriend." The vampire answered. "Milo."

"Right." I tried to put on a smile, but it didn't really reach my eyes. "Nice to meet you." I said, although I couldn't make myself mean it.

The tension in the room was broken a woman walked in. I knew she must have been a doctor from the white coat he wore and the metal clipboard she held.

"Roberto Russo?" The doctor asked, as she flipped through Bobby's chart.

Bobby nodded weakly. "Yeah, that's me. What's the damage?"

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Milo frown. 'Roberto?' he mouthed. Bobby just shrugged, like his full name was some unimportant detail. I wasn't surprised he hadn't mentioned it. Bobby had never been fond of it.

"Well, I'm afraid you have a mild concussion, Mr. Russo."

I let out the breath I'd been holding. At least he wasn't in for blood loss—again.

I listened quietly as the doctor continued to explain that Bobby would need to be kept overnight for observation. She assured us that he would be fine to go home in the morning, as long as he got plenty of rest.

"Why don't you stay with me?" I offered, when I returned in the morning.

Milo hadn't returned yet, but I didn't notice until Bobby's eyes flitted around me, searching for him. He sighed a little, in resignation when his gaze finally returned to me.

"Okay, I guess." He said.

It stung a little that I was his second choice, but at the same time, it didn't really surprise me.

The drive home started out quiet and uncomfortable. We hadn't talked in so long, and I didn't think either of us really knew what to say.

"I love Milo." Bobby said, suddenly, shocking me.

"Bobby." I whispered, sadly.

I shook my head as I thought about the last vampire my brother had been enamored with. Daniel was handsome enough, but he'd treated Bobby like a piece of meat.

"No, don't do that. I'm serious." He insisted. "It's not like it was with Daniel. He loves me too."

I let out a heavy breath. We'd barely even spoken and I already felt exhausted by the conversation. "Whatever." I relented. "It's your life."

"Yeah. It is." He sounded equally defeated.

I knew he wanted my approval, but I just couldn't give it. Neither of us wanted to argue over it anymore, so we spent the rest of the ride in silence.

Bobby was the first to say something when we walked through the front door of the townhouse I'd been renting.

"So this is your place, huh?" He looked around, appraising it.

"Yep. This is the new place." I nodded up the stairs, not wasting any time. "Come on. I have a guest room you can crash in."

His brow furrowed as he followed me. "Why do you have a guest room?"

"I'm between roommates at the moment." I explained.

I helped him settle in to National Geographic, a station he had loved since before I could remember. I brought him up lunch around noon, but mostly I left him to his own devices. He was an adult and I trusted that he would take the doctor's advice seriously and rest up over the weekend. When I checked up on him again around dinnertime, I caught him talking on his cell with someone.

"It's okay, really. I knew you'd be asleep. Clara was there to pick me..."

Not wanting to look like I was eavesdropping, I knocked on the edge of the doorframe to announce my presence. Bobby was quick to react, murmuring for the person on the other line to hold on a sec before he covered the receiver.

"Hey. I just wanted to ask what you felt like for dinner. I don't really feel like cooking... Would you be okay with take-out? There's a great pad thai place down the street."

He chewed his lower lip thoughtfully, and I knew he was tempted by my offer. Bobby had always had a weakness for asian food, especially pad thai. I nodded to the phone in his hand as he mulled it over.

"Who are you talking to?" I asked.


I had suspected as much, but I didn't want to jump to conclusions.

"Why don't you invite him to dinner?" I suggested suddenly, surprising even myself.

Bobby's brows shot up in surprise. "Really?"

"Yeah." I repeated. "Invite him."

Maybe I was being prejudicial. The only way to know for sure was to see for myself.