"Barnabas," said Victoria Winters as she picked up her purse. "It was very kind of you to let me stay here."

"Well, I thank you for coming, Miss Winters," said Barnabas Collins. "Would you like me to show you to your chambers?

"Most certainly. I would really like that." Barnabas lightly touched her shoulder and led her to the front door of the Old House. As he did, Vicky thought, "Oh my gosh, he's touching me! Stay calm, Vicky. Stay calm!"

"Well, this is your room. I really hope it is to your liking."

"Thank you." Barnabas was about to leave when Victoria walked up to him and hollered, "Wait!"

"What is it, Miss Winters?"

"I have just one request."

"Alright. What is it?"

"Um... Will you... Will you read me a story?"

"Read you a story? But why?" Barnabas seemed quite surprised by her request.

"Well, I simply can't sleep with all this thunder outside. I was thinking, maybe I could relax a little before going to bed?

"Oh."

"And I just love the sound of your voice. It's so mysterious and... kind of... soothing."

"I see. Well, I'll be down in the study to look for a book. I'll be right back."

"Alright."

Barnabas went to the study to find a book while Victoria was changing into her nightgown. After about three minutes, Barnabas came back into the bedroom. Victoria was already in her bed snuggling under the covers, but she was still sitting up straight and attentive.

"Well, it took me a little longer than I expected," He said. "But I think I've found a book that you might find interesting." He showed her the book that he found.

"'Sleepless Nights'?" she read. "That's what you're reading to me?"

"Yes. It's a rather short story, but I think you'll like it."

"Sounds rather depressing, if you ask me." she thought to herself. In her mind, she associated the title with feelings of angst and sorrow. Now she was not so sure if she wanted him to read to her; but she decided to give it a chance. They say that one should never judge a book by its cover, and she felt that she should look deeper into the story than just the name of it.

Barnabas opened the book and turned to the next page. Victoria was prepared for the worst story she would ever hear. However, the story was not really depressing at all. In fact, it was rather beautiful; touching, in fact. The story of a love-struck servant and her faithful lover was told in the most dramatic and poetic ways unlike any other book that she had read before. While she was listening, she tried to hold back tears during the most emotional moments. Not only was it truly romantic, but the language was, for lack of better words, old fashioned; other-worldly, actually. It felt as though Victoria was being taken to another time, another place, a whole other universe. She felt at ease; this was definitely an escape from reality.

Midway through the story, Victoria became so tired that she just could not concentrate anymore. Each word that she had heard sounded like complete and utter gibberish to her ears. So, she gave up trying to understand the words and decided to lay back and relax. She just listened to Barnabas' voice. Every sound, every word, and every breath that he took seemed very lovely to her. The way he was reading the story made his voice seem even more alluring than usual. It seemed smoother, dramatic, and had a mysterious vibe to it. At certain passages, Barnabas' voice sounded very soft and low, and it brought shivers down her spine. Victoria could listen to him speak for hours if she could. Each syllable just seemed to tickle her ears like a feather rubbing against her skin.
In a few minutes, she felt weary. Her mind was almost a complete blank. She lay down, and looked at Barnabas as he finished the story. He closed the book, and looked back at Victoria. Seeing that she was about to fall asleep, he turned toward her and gave her a goodnight kiss on her cheek.
"Goodnight Miss Winters." Barnabas whispered.

"Good... Goodnight... Barnabas." Vicky said. Her voice was weak and was slowly getting quieter and quieter. Victoria closed her eyes and lay down on the pillow. Barnabas walked out of the room. He stopped by the doorway, and looked back to her. She was already fast asleep; dreaming, perhaps. He smiled, and walked out of the room, nervously waiting for the sun to rise so that he could get some sleep as well.