I froze in shock. The word had been so succinct, yet I did not understand it. Elizabeth slowly pulled away from me, reading my expression. Or so I thought.

Elizabeth smiled. "Jolint, I can read minds."

I liked the way my name rolled smoothly off her tongue, like waves flowing up a beach as the tide comes in. Elizabeth herself seemed godlike and immortal, and I was surprised she was even tangible.

Her smile turned wistful as she, no doubt, heard my thoughts. "Sometimes I enjoy appearing beautiful to humans, but I would appreciate even the most subtle quality of a mortal," she explained, as I looked at her, confused.

"But you are very similar to humans," I protested, "because you have the physical structure of one."

"Humans are fallible. I am not, in the sense of balance, speed, agility, strength, and endurance." Elizabeth gently pushed me away, and I heard a clamor from outside the window. She explained her hasty action as she got into bed. "This is the regime. Every afternoon, my friend Edwin - a vampire as well," she added, "bangs the gutter to let me know that someone is coming upstairs."

This eased my suddenly searing pain that had begun as she started explaining. I thought she had rebuked me for a moment, but I could not cease my profane thoughts toward this 'Edwin.'