The Way We Talk

Chapter 13

ooo

Claire never felt more confused in her entire life than now. She knew that she was one of those people who possesses superior intelligence, and that for her, understanding things come so naturally, almost like breathing. In fact, the need to understand and make herself more knowledgeable is like a need. If she doesn't sustain herself with science, she feels like grovelling on hot sand then dying. In short, she was a rare species what society calls today as a:nerd. But as she and Michael made way to the front door for their supposed departure for supplies, she found herself constantly questioning the last words Myrnin uttered to her: I'm ready to fight for you.

Now, see, this train of thought isn't exactly nerd material. But it brought the same thing knowledge gives her: a thrilling of the spine and a somewhat sense of exhilaration at the back of her brain at the thought of someone fighting over her. It was quite sadistic, but if you were a woman, there comes one point in your life when you want two boys to fight over you. It was silly, but it is a part of what makes us who we are. Claire's problem was that she had trouble realizing that Myrnin's very words thrilled her and saddened her at the same time.

She was thankful for the opportunity to get away from the mansion for a while, and was already convinced that she needn't think of his words for a day, tucking it at the dustiest recesses of her brain, when she heard rapt clicking of heels fast approaching them.

Michael, whose ears are far sharper than hers, already stood in attention and turned to face the person catching up to them. When he saw her alert gaze, he gave her an assuring look and said, "It's just Sylvia"

And indeed, it was. As soon as the sound of heels rounded the corner, Sylvia emerged, eyes cold and lips pursed, still looking like an angel as she did so. Claire didn't have the chance to ask what the vampire wanted, because Sylvia raised a red-manicured hand to silence her.

"I'm sorry, but unfortunately, Michael cannot come with you" she said sharply, stopping right there in front of her, eyes controlled but demanding.

"Why not?" Michael asked, surprised

Sylvia's eyes slid to his. If Claire could guess correctly, she was trying to intimidate him as much as she can. But Michael's knowledge of Sylvia as a hater of violence paid off, because he didn't back away whatsoever from her heated gaze.

"Myrnin wanted you to do something else for him. He said your strength as a newborn vampire might help." said Sylvia "And I do not see any reason not to agree"

"But why can't Myrnin do it himself?" Claire demanded. Strength? Please. Myrnin might come off as lanky, with long arms and legs and a not-so muscular frame, but she knew he himself had strength like steel. There was something very implausible with the excuse. What task could Michael possibly do that Myrnin couldn't? No way. The vampires are bluffing, she was almost sure.

"Because Myrnin will be the one accompanying you to town this lovely morning." said a new voice.

And they all turned to see Myrnin sitting on the living room couch, looking perfectly at ease with a faint smile on his lips.

Claire narrowed her eyes at him. "Have you been there long? You are acting rather creepy, you know that?" He was smart. She knew he'd get what she was trying to say to him. Hopefully, he'll get the gist that he was creeping the heck out of her today.

Myrnin scoffed as he stood up. He brushed her words with a pale hand and said, "It's not my fault your hearing is faulty and human"

From her left, she heard Michael inhale sharply.

Okay. That was it. Claire had enough of him. First, he kissed her in the forest. Then he confined her in the tight closet with him, where he practically puked out words that could conjure sweets and rainbows, and now this. He does love a scene, doesn't he?

"Well, I'm sorry but it looks like you'll be doing the task. Not Mike. He's coming with me" she said coldly to Myrnin, before grabbing Michael's arm and leading themselves both towards the main door. "Let's go, Mike"

"Stop" Sylvia and Myrnin demanded at the same time, from behind them.

"I really don't get why we're fighting over this!" Michael suddenly said to everyone, whipping his body away from the door. "Let me go, Claire" He looked fed up. And up close, Claire could see that his eyes were very tired. She let go of his arm and took a step back, embarrassed. She forgot that Michael was in a fragile state.

"Sorry"

"Look, if we're all planning to be a team tomorrow, to finish these vampire hunters, I can pretty much tell you right now that we all suck as a team." Michael's blond hair jostled as he shook his head in disappointment "And if we keep up this suckiness, we'll be dead long before we get them"

"Exactly" said Myrnin coolly, nodding. "Now, then. I suggest you stay here with Sylvia and do the task I assigned you, while Claire and I—" his gaze met hers, and she'd be a liar if she said she didn't feel the warmth surging up her neck at the way his face contorted into this thing when he looked at her. Just as quickly, it passed and his eyes returned to Michael "collect chemicals in town for our lab work."

Michael nodded, seeing the sense of this.

Claire felt like dying. If Mike would agree to stay home, Myrnin would be the one to go with her to town. Oh good Lord, how many more of Myrnin can she endure in one day? She felt like physically combusting from frustration. She wanted to look up at the heavens and shout: screw you, whoever you are up there!

"Now that the matter is settled" said Sylvia, looking bored "follow me, Michael Glass"

Claire watched dejectedly as Michael gave her one final nod as he followed Sylvia. They walked the pathway leading to the basement, before their bodies disappeared below the stairs. Their disappearance was a reminder that only her and Myrnin remained on the first story, alone again.

She folded her arms around herself and refused to break the growing silence. But it looks like Myrnin had no intention of thriving into awkwardness because he immediately turned to her and tipped his head good-naturedly. "Shall we go?" he asked in a light tone

Again, she narrowed her eyes at him, speculating another of his devious actions. She tried to keep her emotions in check. God, he was confusing. And crazy. That's just what he is. She looked at his calm demeanor right now, but she knew underneath the shell is an entirely complicated guy.

"I'm not stupid, you know" she said to him with a sigh. "Before we leave, I want to know why you're coming with me instead of Michael"

He fixed her a steady gaze now, his lips stretching into a thin smile that concealed so many things. "What do you think?"

His tone made her heart flutter. But she convinced herself that he was only trying to play with her. And she, a woman of great intellect, shouldn't participate in his stupid games. There are far more important things to do than revolve herself into such nonsense.

"Answer me Myrnin" she said threateningly, hoisting her backpack—the one with the silver-coated stakes, higher up her shoulder.

He let out a small chuckle, small chunks of his breath tickling her nose, before he backed away. "Relax, Claire. There's no need to get so worked up. The only reason why Michael needs to stay here is because he is on medication. Do you realize what would happen if he is exposed to extreme sunlight while there are so many humans?"

She stood there rigidly as her mind formed the puzzle pieces together.

And of course, the obvious answer mapped out right in front of her. How could she think of such malice thoughts when all along, the reason why Myrnin chose to go with her was to protect both Michael and the town occupants? She flinched at the thought of Michael exposed to the human race, fangs bared and eyes bloodshot. That wasn't a very good mental picture.

"Why?" Myrnin broke her out of her reverie "What other reason did you have in your mind?"

At that question, she looked away. "Forget it" she said "Let's go"

Again, he bowed his head good-naturedly, seemingly contented of her response. She watched as he put on a pair of ray-ban sunglasses on, and an LA cap on top of his usually wavy hair. "It's about time. I was afraid we had to discuss the entire content of organic chemistry before we get to leave"

"Oh ha ha" she rolled her eyes as she reached for the door. "Don't forget to pull your sleeves down, or you'll burn to a crisp"

"Concerned, I see" he said to her as they started walking to towards their car. She heard the smirk in his voice. When she looked up, he was indeed wearing a smirk.

"Don't push it, boss"

"Can I just say that it is such a delight to accompany a moody lab assistant in going to town for supplies? Really. What a charming girl, you are"

She scowled at her boots. Why did he pick this day to annoy her, of all days? Oh, wait. That was everyday. The sound of dead leaves crunching underneath them as they walked was deafening. It felt like a stadium, where they are. Instead of cement walls though, were acres of trees and barren land. What fun.

"Oh shut up"

"If you say so, Claire" and she watched him one last time as he fished out the car keys from his sweater pocket and smiled at her, catching her off guard, because the sun's rays were reflected on his glasses, giving his face this certain glow. She knew he was never bad-looking right from the start. But him, clad in sweats and sunglasses and a cap, was a ridiculously interesting sight to see. And by interesting, she meant of course, striking.

"Stop staring" he said, snapping her out of it "Are my clothes really that bad?"

On the contrary, she wanted to say. But she didn't want to give him that pleasure. She knew how he was with compliments. He can be quite egotistical when he wanted to be. "Well it's a definite improvement from your ridiculous 1600-themed clothes." was all she said, casual and all.

He shrugged "Fine. And of course, there's no point on commenting about what you wear because somehow, whatever you wear actually looks good on you. Get in"

She got inside the hummer, ignoring again the fact that he actually complimented her. She looked down at her clothes. She had on worn jeans and a simple-looking green blouse that her mother gave her as a birthday present. Her eyebrows met at the corners.

Myrnin should really stop feeding her lies.

ooo

"Okay, Agenda number one..."

She looked as he fished out a long list from his jeans pocket. They were already walking along the busy street of the town, where people were loud and bustling to get to one place to another. From the far left corner were different shop stalls selling raw foods like meat and fish, vegetables and fruits. And on the right, across the road, were a series of small stores.

She would've wanted to see more of the stores, but the cacophony of sounds made her a bit dizzy. She had to keep walking with Myrnin to keep up with his long legs.

"Morganville was never this crowded" she said to him, while he was busy perusing the list.

"And never this lively either" he said, "but enough about the town, Claire. We have so many things to accomplish. Now, have you any idea where we can get all these?"

He handed her the list. And as her eyes read through all of the needed materials, she became more and more bewildered.

"Where the hell can we find 'urea nitrate and trinitrotoluene' in this place?" she hissed at him, "Do you think they will easily hand us over the ingredients for explosives like this?"

He shrugged "Who said we can't have it? If humans won't give it to us, then we can get these chemicals by force. Now, since we don't know the town that well, I suggest we walk around until we find a chemical store"

"Wait a minute" she paused, as one last thing on the list caught her eyes

"What is it?" he said, a bit impatiently

She tried to read it again and again, thinking that her eyes must've been playing with her. But when she was sure, she said "What the hell?" and she pointed at the last thing on the list that stated 'Claire's dress', in Sylvia's elegant hand writing.

"Ah" he nodded "I suppose you do have to buy a dress. I don't think you can get in the boat if you wear clothes like this" and he pointed at her worn jeans and sneakers.

She snatched the list from him as she continued to walk. "Fine! Let's go find these chemicals before we buy my stupid dress"

ooo

It was already afternoon when the both of them finally got to the bottom part of the list. Myrnin rejoiced at this thought, but Claire who was well aware of what was at the bottom most part of the list, suddenly turned brooding and moody.

Moodier than usual.

As they walked along the wide brick-laden street, Claire couldn't help but notice how women who pass by them look at Myrnin with lingering, gawking stares. At first it was quite alright, seeing as how her boss looked oblivious to the attention. But later, when there were more women who openly stared and boldly point with their fingers at the beautiful man beside her, Claire felt the slow simmer of anger settling at the base of her neck.

He was handsome. Fine. But get over it, women!

"You must love the attention right now" she said to him dryly and in a conspiratorial whisper, as they continued to walk along the bustling street. She had her eyes glued to the list but from the corners of her eyes, she was looking at the people around them.

"Hm?" she seem to have pulled him out of his thoughts "Did you say something, Claire?"

She sighed "I said, you must be loving the attention right now"

It took him a few seconds to know what it was she was talking about, but it was enough for Claire to know that he wasn't loving it at all. In fact, he was so dense, he literally cannot see the women whose breath he had taken away, metaphorically.

"Oh" and it was only then that he bent his head up and addressed the people with a searching stare. "Oh, I see." Then she watched as he arranged his posture straighter, before winking at his audience. "Well this is certainly something I can get used to. My, they simply adore me!"

She had to stifle her eyes from rolling. "Ugh" She cannot believe him. He was bat-shit crazy sometimes, a genius all the time, but she never had him pegged down as an attention whore. Maybe he was starting to become one. Good Lord.

"Well the audience may be quite entertaining" he said to her, as they walked further on "but I'd prefer only one girl to look at me like that" And without warning, he placed one arm around her shoulders and pressed both of their bodies together, side by side.

"What are you doing?" she hissed as she tried to pull away from his grasp. She can feel his palms pressing lightly on her right shoulder, but his arm was too strong for her to get away from. "Get your hands off me, Myrnin!"

He shrugged "I was merely trying to give all these lovely ladies a sign that they needed to back off. That was what you wanted, didn't you?"

She flushed. Did she want them to back off? At the back of her brain she knew the honest answer, but admitting it out loud would be like making a pact with the devil. So she said, "No! I just want this tiring trip to be over. I know it won't be over soon enough if you get all sorts of distractions. But that's all"

He gave her a look that told her she was busted, but he didn't say anything and only gave her a gentle yet crazy-looking smile as they continued to walk on, his arm remained resting around her shoulders.

ooo

When they entered the fancy-looking boutique called Huntington's, right at the middle of the bustling town, Claire was immediately blinded by the endless racks and racks of dresses in all shades of color imaginable. The entire left wall of the shop was made of mirrors. When she looked at her own reflection, looking so sweaty and rugged, dressed in all around pants and a long-sleeve shirt, she immediately felt under-dressed. Meanwhile, reflected just right behind her was Myrnin who looked comfortable and appraising.

"Well this is certainly something" he said to her as his eyes looked around, past the pastel colored cushions and small, intricately shaped tables that held French macaroons and china cups and saucers.

"Huh" was all she said, as she continued to walk around.

"Well hello there, miss! How may I help you?" said one of the shop attendant. Claire smiled at her and tried to ignore the fact that even the helper was better dressed than her.

"Yes" said Claire a bit uncertainly "Um, I'm looking for a dress?"

The attendant raised a well-plucked eyebrow. "I see" she said dryly "Have you figured out what sort?"

Claire considered for a moment, then said "not really"

Good Lord, she was bad at this. Normally, she was very good with putting clothes together. But she never had the manual for what to wear during fancy balls on boats. What was she suppose to say anyway? Excuse me, but do you have a dress that's appropriate for whenever you attend a ball on a fancy VIP boat? Oh, and can you make it appropriate for running? We're also going to fight vampire hunters on the way, you see. K, thanks bye.

She sighed "Um, how about a cocktail dress? Something that has a lot of room for the legs?"

Now that was a start, she said to herself confidently. Running was certainly going to happen.

"Tell you what," said the assistant kindly, seeming to understand that Claire was in a dilemma and was feeling overwhelmed by so many clothing merchandise "how about you first find a dress that you like, and I can come back later and find other dresses that are similar to the ones you picked? That way, we can narrow the choices down"

Claire nodded in relief "Yes, please. And thank you"

When the shop assistant left, Claire walked further on the shop, her hands trailing along the soft cloth of the garments. It was really hard not to feel overwhelmed. In Morganville, she rarely shopped for clothes. And if she did, the choices were very limited, thus easy. But this was like a hunt. A very stupid yet intimidating and complicated hunt. Yep, she was definitely in Girl's world right now.

A silver dress caught her eye. When she removed it from the rack, she winced. The neckline was plunging, and the back was very bare. Nope. Definitely not. She returned it back with disappointment.

The dress grabbing then returning continued on for quite a while, until she heard a small sigh behind her.

"How hard can this task be?" said Myrnin from behind her, "Just grab a dress and buy it. There, done"

She shook her head at him, laughing inwards at his naivety at circumstances like these. "That's not how women do it, Myrnin"

He sighed again "Fine. Let me help." His eyes searched the rack for a moment, before grabbing one dress and holding it out to her "How about... this?"

She winced as soon as she noted that he picked out a canary yellow dress sewed with too much sequins at the top and bottom. "Unless I want to defeat the hunters by blinding them with all these weirdness, no thank you" she took the dress from him and returned it to the rack.

"I don't understand how this can be such a tedious task" he said, as they continued to walk to another rack. "People can certainly learn a thing or two from me when it comes to choosing clothes"

She shook her head, laughing. "I don't think so." she said. He actually believed he would do humanity a favour if he teaches them all how to dress! Ha. Myrnin does have a sense of humor.

Claire spotted another dress. This time, it was a mixture of pinks and violets, and strapless. What made it more alluring was the thin band of silver glistening right at the middle, as if to act as a belt. Then to another side, she saw a red and black one, equally cute and short. But there were less glitter and more layering. Then another one, was an ice blue color that had the most intricate of details. The small flowers and diamonds were expertly spread to make the sides noticeable.

"This is not fair" she grumbled "This is why I hate shopping for clothes. There are too many cute ones, it's so hard to decide"

Myrnin picked them up for her and held it at arms length. "Try them on, Claire"

She eyed the three dresses and contemplated. She pursed her lips as internal thoughts battled at what was the best one. But after a short moment, she still cannot decide. "Fine. Give them all to me"

The assistant finally came back after seeing Claire hold three dresses. She offered to carry the garments as she lead Claire and Myrnin to the changing room. "I see you picked out sweetheart dresses"

"A what?" Claire and Myrnin said together.

The assistant smiled condescendingly at the both of them. "Never mind"

Before Claire closed the dressing room's door shut, she saw the assistant leading Myrnin to a chair and offering him macaroons and tea as he waited. She locked the door with a small smile on her lips.

ooo

"This is a really interesting French pastry" Myrnin said to the assistant as he waited for Claire to come out of the dressing room. He eyed the round, brightly colored sweets before taking one and pretending to eat the sides.

She offered him what seems to be a dazzling smile. "Thank you sir. It is our goal to make our customers feel comfortable. I am glad you are enjoying yourself"

"Mmm..." he said absently, eyes now far away. He placed the pastry right below his nose to cover the smell of blood wafting from the assistant who was standing merely five feet away.

Claire doesn't know it, but there was a growing thirst threatening to overcome his senses. And he knew, that if he doesn't control it, he would risk exposing himself to the general public. Right now, everyone within a few feet radius was in danger. It would only take a tiny more scent of blood to fill his nostrils, before he'd loose it.

"Claire, are you going to take a while in there?" he called out to her.

"Yeah" she said back to him, from the other side of the door, her voice muffled by some garments. "Just sit and wait. I'll be out in a minute"

"Hmm..." he said again, hating that he couldn't exactly voice out to her what he needed.

"Sir" piped up the assistant, looking giddily at him, as if eager to please and be approved of. "Have you tried our tea? This is an exotic blend right from the mountains of China" and at once, even before Myrnin could reply, she walked over to him and poured some tea into a cup and saucer and handed it to him with a bright smile.

"No, thank you" he said, in a constricted voice. He tried not to breathe too much. But if she was going to stand this close to him, he might not be able to resist.

"I insist" said the woman, walking even closer now. Closer than what was necessary for a customer and assistant. "A tiny sip will make you feel right at home"

"Very well" he took the cup and saucer from her hand, taking great care no to breath. But as soon as their skins touched, an immediate shot of need pooled at the base of his throat. He looked at the woman and smiled predatorily at her.

And then it happened for a millisecond, but he can see everything. Her veins were pulsing, and the rich blood that travels through it was rich and sweet-smelling. He knew it would taste so much better than the French pastry. All it would take was a tiny invitation to go out the back, and there he would pretend to kiss her neck, as if in affection, and slowly, his fangs would come out and descend upon her, tasting fresh blood that he longed to taste for such a long time.

No one had to know. Especially not Claire. It would be very easy. It wouldn't take a minute.

The woman mistook his staring as flirting. She giggled at him softly, while pressing a palm to his arm. "You are very handsome"

"And you are certainly striking for a woman" he said to her in a quiet voice "Would you like to come meet me out the back?"

Yes. Myrnin would lure her towards him. A predator acting as prey.

She giggled again. "Sure"

What a foolish girl. He can almost taste victory on his lips. Her easy agreement made things so much more exciting for him.

Myrnin really would have done it, he would have taken her hands in his and feel the rushing of blood through her heart, and devouring it in a few seconds, if Claire hadn't come out of the dressing room.

At once, the assistant stepped away, clearing her throat in embarrassment, and Myrnin slumped back in his chair, unable to take his eyes off his laboratory assistant.

"Well?" Claire said, looking a bit doubtful as she walked towards him. "How's this?"

She stood, awkward-looking and a bit embarrassed, a small pool of blood rushing in the middle of her soft cheeks. She looked extraordinary in the ice blue dress. Someone that could only come from classic sculpture and painting masterpieces. This time, he needn't hold his breath, because she took it away from him.

She actually took his breath away. Huh.

At last, he finally understood what Shane Collins saw in her that he never saw before. He was so attracted to her mind, her abilities and mannerisms, that he had forgotten the simple pleasure of life: looking at beauty as a whole.

"Perfect" was all he said, before rushing out of the dress shop.

He can't do this. He cannot disappoint Claire by taking an assistant out the back and drinking her blood. He cannot disappoint himself, either. He needed to discipline who he is from the temptations.

Both Claire and the assistant looked at each other in astonishment.

"What's up with him?" Claire said, raising an eyebrow. "He's acting weird"

"I don't know" said the assistant with a sigh, looking oddly disappointed "you tell me"

ooo

"Did you use my gold card to pay the charges?" asked Myrnin, who was waiting for her outside in a bench with a shelter, as she walked out of Huntington's and into broad daylight. The street was busy and hot as ever. Myrnin was smart enough to cover his face with a cap and roll down his sleeves.

She smiled. "Yeah, I did. Thanks. That was very gallant of you" The small fancy bag labelled 'Huntington's' was strapped on her wrist as they walked on, swaying back and forth in all its blue pastel glory.

"Oh well" He shrugged, brushing the compliment off "Do we have everything, then? Can we go home now?"

"Not just yet" she said, grinning "We have to get you your suit"

His eyes widened. Quickly, he grabbed the list and scanned it. She knew it wasn't listed there, but it was a very necessary undertaking. "What? Is that really necessary? I can wear my—"

"You cannot wear anything you own, okay? You'll freak everyone out on the boat if you do"

"What was that suppose to mean?" He said in a harsh, yet insulted tone.

She grabbed his hand out of impulse, laughing as she did so "Come on. Let's get you something dashing"

His hand tightened on hers. He smiled at her. She smiled back, and saw her own reflection from his sunglasses. Her eyes were so alive and bright, it was hard not to admire their size. And her cheeks were this rich pinkish color. Whether it's due to the hot temperature, or their sudden unexpected hand-holding, Claire decided not to question it.

She only continued to hold his hand as they perused the street for a shop suited for Myrnin's need.

ooo

The sound of jingling wind chimes greeted them as soon as they entered the shop. Inside, was a cosy little reception area, and the rest of the store just behind a small walkway. Every interior was decidedly marble. The walls were impeccably painted a white color. The floor reflected the overhead glare of a small chandelier from the ceiling. From the sides, are white waiting chairs encrusted with diamonds. mainly for the use of decoration than for sitting, judging from the fact that no one actually sat there because the store was out in the back.

A blond woman looked up and gave them a beckoning grin. When Claire and Myrnin walked up to her, she said "Hello! How may I help you today?"

"Yes, hi" said Claire, again overwhelmed by the lavish interior and the fact that she and Myrnin were so embarrassingly under-dressed. She gave the pretty woman a small smile before pointing at the vampire beside him. "He and I are going to a formal party tomorrow evening and I was wondering what kind of suit would be appropriate for him for the event?"

It did not go amiss to her, how the woman's pupils immediately dilated as soon as she looked at Myrnin. "Of course!" she said perkily, if not a bit flustered at the sight of him. "We have all kinds of suits for him to wear, but judging from his frame—" she eyed him up and down for what was an unnecessarily long time "he is thin, well-built and tall. The European cut suit would be perfect"

Claire nodded "That's really helpful. Thank you"

The woman smiled once again as she stood and led them to the store at the back of the walkway "Please, follow me."

"Do you even know what a European cut is?" said Myrnin as they walked in the small walkway and towards the brightly lit roomful of suits. He looked doubtful and apprehensive as he followed Claire further in the shop. His knotted eyebrows were enough proof of his discomfort. He eyed the room that was oddly reminiscent to that of the previous dress shop they were in.

"Oh shut up" she said, but not too harshly. She was enjoying herself too much to be annoyed with him. Not to mention, a little excited. Seeing her boss in a suit would be like looking at a brand new sun that gives off a whole new light.

The shop was small, yet very organized. Instead of endless racks distributing itself around the room, the suits were lined up against the walls by thin clothing racks. The middle part served as the sitting area where once again, have the white waiting chairs encrusted with diamonds.

"Let me help you find an example of a European cut" said the woman, walking along the sides and trailing her finger against the fabric of the garment. She took enough care to look as carefully as she can, before holding out a hanger for a light silver suit. "Ah, I think these will be nice"

She handed Myrnin the hanger, not without a flutter of her eyelids and a grand smile. "Here you go cutie"

Oh boy, Claire thought.

Myrnin took them politely, having enough wits in him to appear interested at least. "Marvelous choice." he said calmly "But would you mind if I circle around the store for a while? I'd like to be made aware of my own preferences thank you."

The woman blinked thrice, a look of complete astonishment displayed on her face. "Um—of course, sir. Please don't hesitate to call on me if you need anything else"

"I will keep that in mind, thank you for your help" and he bowed like a complete gentleman, smiling at her politely. Claire would've wanted to point out to him that he looked completely ridiculous with his formalities when he was wearing a sweatshirt and jeans if she wasn't too pre-occupied with wonder as to why he sent the assistant away.

"What the heck was that about?" Claire said, as soon as the woman was out of ear-shot. "She really knows this stuff. Why did you send her away?"

"Look at me" he said quietly, in that haunting tone that never failed to make the hairs at the back of her neck stand up.

"Oh shit" she muttered. He was hungry. His eyes were enough evidence to this sudden development. Quickly, she reached for her backpack and tossed him his blood pouch. She tried not to wince as he tore through the plastic with his teeth and made quick gulping sounds as he sucked through the bag.

"More?" he said, his eyes now a dull red.

She tossed him one more bag. This time, he drank slowly, savoring the taste. Out of politeness, and of sheer awkwardness, she sat on the chair and stared at the floor for a while. When she returned to looking at him, he already disposed of the pouches. And his eyes were the normal brown orbs once again.

"Better?" she said in a small voice

"It would be better if I take them fresh" he said in a matter-of-fact voice that made Claire wrinkle her nose in distaste "That woman assisting us has the loveliest smell. It didn't help either, that as soon as she took sight of me, her heartbeat went overdrive. But two pouches would do. Now, where were we?"

"Here" she handed him the suit "You were suppose to try these on."

It was his turn to look at her with distaste. "That looks absolutely boring" She watched him with a bit of frustration as he roamed around the racks until he pulled out a new hanger. "This?"

The suit has a brown-colored plaid design all over it. It looked horrifying.

She tried her best to smile, as to not hurt his feelings. Even if she didn't know a lot about suit formalities, she had enough wits in her to know it would look absolutely foolish on him. Not that he would mind, he was just that type of guy who loved horrifying clothes and thought they were fashionable.

"Um, how about you find another one?" she suggested, her smile freezing on her lips. "Something that is actually wearable in this millennium?"

He shrugged and put it back on the rack, seemingly unaffected of her remarks. "Fine. How about this?"

Again, he held out another strange choice. This time, it was a tailcoat suit colored a dark green, with unnecessary buttons to serve as 'embellishments'.

"Myrnin" she said with a small sigh, stifling the urge to roll her eyes at him. "Look, will you just try this suit on?" she held up once again the suit that the assistant suggested. It was by far the most sensible choice for him.

"But why?" he said, sounding just a tad bit whiny. His eyebrows met at the middle in befuddlement. "My choices are extremely remarkable!"

"Because you choose terrible clothes!" she snapped, fed up. She grabbed his arm and was actually able to guide him to a dressing room. "Here" she said, as she thrust the suit unto his arms. "Now go try it on and don't you dare say anything more about your weird suit preferences or I swear to God I'll put a stake through your chest"

"That is a pretty graphic picture" he said, with an amused twinkle in his eyes. "But very well, since you asked so passionately." He took the suit into his arms and started walking towards the dressing room lithely.

"Yeah? Well it won't be a picture for long if you don't keep moving" she threatened sourly.

"Alright, alright" he said in a condescending tone "But why I listen to you is beyond me. We spent an approximately long time at Huntington's to find you your dress, and I've been nothing but patient. But here, you act so—"

"Myrnin"

He smiled. "Fine" and with that, he closed the door behind him.

As she waited a bit impatiently for him to finish, she contemplated about their little town adventure for today. It was quite funny, how things turned out this way. Last night, he'd kissed her there in a deep part of the forest. And just earlier this morning, he told her something that equally thrilled and saddened her.

Of course, it didn't help either that she had reached a sort of epiphany about how she felt for him. It was a foolish little crush. But right now, she wasn't sure by how much percentage that crush escalated into something more. This used to be such a harmless endeavor, liking him for his eccentricities. But now, it was so hard. He was eccentric and brilliant, yes. But he was something else now, too. A person that had a new completely added puzzle.

It was as if as soon as she finished solving him out, he gives her another puzzle to solve. He was so complex. Just like the different branches of Chemistry.

Suddenly, she was brought back to last night's events. The feel of his lips on hers actually made her insides tingle in this frenzied way once again, the way forbidden kisses aren't suppose to be felt. It fueled up the need to feel it once more. His deft lips, that always let out snarky yet witty and brilliant observations, against hers, inducing jelly legs sensations that could potentially turn her into a puddle of goo.

Was it just her, or did the room suddenly feel hot?

"Claire, is something wrong?" said Myrnin, still inside the dressing room. "Your heart beat turned abnormally fast all of a sudden"

She almost jumped when she heard him. "Stop eavesdropping on my heartbeat" she said, masking her unease with annoyance "And nothing's wrong. Keep dressing"

"I'm actually done" he said on the other side "but I am having trouble knotting the tie. Can you be of assistance?"

"oh, sure"

He went out of the dressing room with hesitation, his hands buried deep in the pockets of his trousers.

"Ta-da?" he said halfheartedly.

And Claire just stood there for God knows how many seconds, just soaking him in, in all his suit-wearing, glory. The color light grey really made wonders to his pale skin. Instead of looking like a sickly, abnormal-looking alabaster, he actually kind of glowed in a way that no clothing did before.

Yep. The room definitely felt hotter.

"What?" he said, misinterpreting her silence. "I look absolutely horrendous, don't I? What a silly colour! And boring too. It looks so washed-out."

"N-No!" she said, shaking her head. "You look really nice"

He raised an eyebrow, still apprehensive "How nice?"

"Fine" she sighed, slumping her shoulders in defeat "You look absolutely dashing. Don't make me say that again, Myrnin. I know how egotistical you can be when faced with these kinds of compliments"

He actually grinned at her, his teeth minus the fangs, displayed for her to see. And just like that, the room suddenly turned brighter. He handed her the tie. "Help me put this on then? To make me more...dashing?"

She rolled her eyes at him a she grabbed the tie. "Don't push it boss"

She stepped closer to him, and wrapped the tie around the collar. "You're lucky, I know how to tie a tie" she said, as her hands continued to work on tying the garment. "My dad used to ask me to do this for him all the time because that's what he wears to work. It's kind of fun."

He stood still and tried not to perturb the atmosphere they were in, as of the moment. She was standing very close to him, that he can smell her faint scent, and feel the actual exhalation of carbon dioxide from her nose. As she continued to explain to him about her father, and he listened with his rapt ears, his eyes where examining her very closely.

Claire's eyes were very animated. The way they always would when she makes a scientific discovery. And the pooling of blood on her cheeks made him feel this great surge of want and need at the same time. Her smile as well, was very ensnaring to the senses, her lips pulled upwards, forming little lines at the sides.

She was a sight to behold. If he had to live a millennium for this sight, he would. Because it was well worth it.

"There" she said, "done"

She didn't fail to notice the intensity of his gaze when she tied the tie around his collar. It made her uncomfortable. But also, a larger part of her wanted to look back into those big brown eyes and just stare and maybe get lost into them.

She took a step back, her smile waning. "Now you look extra dashing."

He walked in front of the mirror and examined himself. "It's not bad" he agreed.

Silence.

She looked away from him and took a seat in one of the chairs, fearing that if she didn't, she would actually embarrass herself with some ridiculous behaviour in front of him. Even if he was the king of ridiculous sometimes.

"Claire?" he said, and he walked towards her, while she felt the air getting more and more tangible with whatever atmosphere was forming. "I was thinking...that since we're having such a nice day together. Maybe we can—I don't know, perhaps end it well? What do you say to a nice dinner with me?" he sat next to her and picked up her hand.

Her heart wasn't helping with the matter. It went on thumping quickly inside her ribcage, traitorously signalling to Myrnin that the thought of dinner excited her. Was he asking her out on a date? Is he crazy?

Just before she can say something, her cell phone rang. Funny, but it actually sounded more like a timer. As if to say, Time's up!

She retrieved her hand from his grasp and unzipped her backpack, fishing for her phone.

Yes, it was definitely a timer. A timer that reminded her she had a boyfriend. Because displayed on the screen was Shane Collins, calling her.


A/N:Get ready for an action-packed chapter next time. Thank you once again for the support, it is much appreciated! :)