A/N: In my head, this takes place about three weeks after The Golden Lily. In this time, Sydney has had no 'unnecessary' contact with Adrian.

Songs I listened to while writing this:

Need You Now by Lady Antebellum

Happy Endings Are Stories That Haven't Ended Yet by Mayday Parade

I disclaim.


It was raining. Not a drizzle; pouring rain. Torrents of rain, like the world's biggest shower, and Sydney was standing outside in the parking lot of Adrian's apartment, Latte's keys clenched in her hand. She was getting soaked, but she couldn't move. Couldn't go inside to get out of the rain, couldn't get back in her car to drive back to Amberwood. She was breaking curfew—it was two o' clock in the morning—but she didn't care. She was being, as Brayden had put it, irresponsible.

She couldn't get the dream out of her head. Did she call it a dream? She had seen it in her sleep, but it had really happened, so did it count?

Stop rambling, she told herself. So he kissed you, so what? So you kissed him back, and you liked it. So you can't stop thinking about him. So you still see the expression on his face when you ran away every time you try to fall asleep. So you dream about it every night, and wonder if your mistake was kissing him in the first place or leaving afterwards. So you stare at yourself in the mirror and try to see if you look any different because you kissed a vampire. So you want to kiss him again. So you still hear his voice in your head, over and over, 'it was the closest I could get to doing this'.

So you still want to kiss him. So you might be in love with him. So what?

So what? So he's a vampire! her conscience screamed at her, throwing the words like poisonous darts. He's an evil creature of the night! He uses magic, corrupts the laws of nature, and thinks nothing of it! He can twist people's minds to do what he wants! He drinks, he's a slacker, he's addicted to cigarettes, he lies about not knowing how to drive a stick shift…

He's changing, the rambling voice countered. He doesn't drink as much, because he cares about Jill. He doesn't smoke as much, because he cares about you. He tries harder, because he cares about being a better person. He defended you, saved your life, even though he knows how much him even existing disturbs you. He loves you.

Sydney wasn't getting wet anymore, and it was a minute before she realized that it was because she had crossed the threshold and entered Adrian's apartment complex.

Still not too late to turn back, she reminded herself, you can still go back.

No. I'm going through with this, and that is final. She forced herself to think of nothing as she climbed the stairs.

It wasn't until after she knocked on the door that she realized a major flaw in her plan. It's two in the morning! He's probably asleep!

Adrian opened the door. It was Adrian, she was sure of it, just as she was sure he was shirtless, and…growling? He looked at her and smiled widely, exposing his fangs. "Boo," he whispered.

Sydney screamed. "Serves you right," Adrian said, some of the growl still in his voice. "Now, go try and sell whatever it is to someone else. I need to sleep."

"A-Adrian?" Sydney asked. His head snapped up, his eyes really meeting hers for the first time, and he froze.

Then he unfroze violently. "The hell, Sage? It's two o'clock in the morning!" His face changed to one of worry. "Is there an emergency? Everyone's alright, right? Is Jill okay?" His expression changed again. "Are you okay?"

"No," Sydney said, "No, I'm not."

He grabbed her by the hand and tugged her into the apartment. "What's the matter, Sage? You barely speak to me for three weeks, and then—"

"I can't stop thinking," she said, interrupting him.

"About what?" Now Adrian looked downright confused.

"About this." She took a step forward, cradled Adrian's face in her hands, and kissed him. Just like before, her brain short-circuited the moment their lips touched.

You're kissing him! the rambling voice screamed. You're kissing a vampire, her conscience protested. He's not wearing a shirt, Sydney noted again. He's a much, much better kisser than Brayden, too.

This time, he was the one who pulled away. "The hell, Sage?" he repeated.

"Do you really go all Count Dracula on door-to-door salesmen?"

"Only at two in the morning. Stop changing the subject. What is going on with you?"

"I have no idea!" she shouted at him, and realized she was starting to cry. "All I know is that you kissed me, and now I can't stop thinking about it! I can't stop thinking about you! Did you put some sort of spell on me? I don't want any of your creepy vampire magic! It's unnatural, and just plain wrong, and…" she was crying in earnest now, but she had to finish. "And I really hope it was just a spell, because I don't want to be in love with you." She broke down sobbing.

"Sydney…" his voice was very soft. He walked her over to the couch and sat the two of them down on it, and held her close. She tried to protest, but she couldn't. "Please stop crying and talk to me. Please?"

"This is all wrong, Adrian. Don't you see? You're a vampire. I'm a human. It's unnatural. If my-my father ever found out, I'd get sent to a re-education center. I deserve to get sent to a re-education center."

Adrian shook his head. "I love you, Sydney Sage. And if there's a system that says that's wrong, maybe… maybe that system is flawed."

"It's not that simple, Adrian. I can't ignore what people've been telling me for my entire life. Not like you can. This…us…" she gestured between Adrian and herself, "this goes against everything I've ever believed."

"I'm not going to let you walk away from me again, Sage." Adrian's gaze was hard. "If anyone knows about asshole fathers, it's me. At some point you have to realize that listening to them will never get you anywhere. You're stronger than that, Sydney. You're stronger than him, even if you won't admit it." His voice lowered. "I know you are," he said, and Sydney wanted so badly to believe it.

"You're wrong," she protested, "I'm not. I could barely even handle that stupid self-defense class."

"I didn't mean here," he said, tapping her bicep. "I meant here,"—he placed his left hand on her chest, over her heart—"and here." His right hand came up to rest on the side of her face. His fingertips traced circles on her temples.

Sydney swallowed hard. Her eyes, as if drawn by a magnetic force, locked on his lips. "I can't do this," she said, no longer sure to whom she was speaking. Adrian? Her father? Herself?

Adrian smiled, a small, sad smile. "Of course you can, Sage. You can do anything."

"I'm scared," she admitted.

"You don't have to be," he said. "I don't bite." His eyes gleamed wickedly. "At least, not unless you want me to."

Sydney gave a little half-choked laugh that might have been a sob. And then both of Adrian's hands were on her face, and he was kissing her, and she was kissing him back. And she wasn't afraid, even when she felt the tips of his fangs with her tongue. "I love you," she gasped into his mouth, and letting out the words was like putting the weight of the world down from her shoulders. "You hear that, Adrian Ivashkov? I love you."

"Loud and clear," he murmured against the corner of her jaw. "I love you too, you y'know. Just putting it out there."

She let out a breathless laugh. "Shut up and kiss me," Sydney said.

"Feisty! I like it," Adrian said his voice edging to a purr. But he complied.


"I lied to you," she said to him a little while later.

"Hmm?" He didn't seem bothered.

"The blue raspberry slush. It wasn't really sugar-free."

"That's my girl," Adrian said with a smile. He leaned over and turned out the light.