Abby slowed to a stop, her limbs not responding. She knew this was coming. Something that was not pain but felt like it began to build, causing her shoulders to sag. “Why now?” she thought. Gradually she restored control. She was determined to meet this with fortitude and strength plus resoluteness.
“Go on,” she said, shivering and anxious.
“I…you must have noticed.” The words choked him.
“It’s okay,” she said. “I’m here.”
“I’m a vampire,” he said.
“I know,” she said.
“But…you know? How!” He spun around and looked out the window into the dark. “Of course you knew. You’re you.” He glanced at her from the corner of his eye and allowed himself to feel a small portion of love.
Abby remained quiet. She knew her time for talking, when she could say what she wanted to say, would come later. She removed her bonnet and checked again that her cross necklace was tucked into her frock. “This will take some time,” she thought. “Might as well be comfortable.”
“It’s hell. You’ve no idea.” No holding back now. He was going to reveal all, and maybe even more than that. “It’s because you’re Amish that I’ve waited so long to tell you. Otherwise I would have told you earlier, or even before. Plus the case I’m on has been taking all my time.”
“That reminds me. The DA called for you when you were out. He said the Morelli brothers have been released on bail.”
“All four of them?”
“He said if you can’t come up with the evidence you promised that they’ll all walk. Until then you’d better drop out of sight—go underground.”
Jayden laughed. There’s nobody better at going underground than me, he thought but didn’t say out loud. But where was the evidence? I’m sure I gave it to the DA. Could it be…?” He thrust these dark thoughts aside violently and in haste and began his story again.
“I can’t pick up the simplest object without worrying I’ll crush it because of my superstrength.” He glanced at his hands wondering at the power in them. They shook slightly in his agitation.
Abby noticed. Her body swayed with the same rhythm as his hands. So this is what love is, she thought.
“All my senses are heightened. I can see better, smell better, taste better, hear better.” He paused.
“What…” Abby began shyly. “What about touch better?” She looked down as she said it to hide her growing blush.
He moved his hands in her direction but stopped himself before he could go further and do what they both would regret. “Yes. And touch better. I don’t need to sleep. I can’t get sick. Nothing can hurt me. I won’t age. A hundred years from now I’ll still be as handsome, young, virile, and delicately manly, yet with slightly feminine features, as I am now.” He sighed. “Nobody would want this curse,” he said. “I wish I were as normal as you.”
“I suspected when you told me my father had died of a spontaneous hemorrhage.”
It was Jayden’s turn to blush now. His cheeks glowed red, indicating his feelings.
“I don’t blame you,” she said. “He was an elder in the church. He taught me well enough to know that he would have wanted to me to be with you.”
The phone rang. Jayden flinched. His superstrength caused him to shoot to the ceiling where he hung sweating and clutching to the chandelier, a replica of the one Caravaggio used in his studio in Sicily in 1592 (the same year in which Ippolito Aldobrandini was elected Pope Clement VIII) and which was said to cast an unearthly aethereal light and is what gave his paintings their indescribable vividness. That’s it! Jayden thought. He suddenly recalled that his priest, who was also the confessor for the Morelli brothers, took an unnatural interest in that chandelier last Sunday. The word replica formed in his mind.
“That was the captain,” Abby said. “We’re coming out of hypertwistspace now.” As if on the cue Abby gave, the window turned from its blank dark glow to a not-so-blank light glow. Abby began to smile.
“I didn’t feel the deceleration at all,” said Jayden, who had dropped from his perch. “But then that’s what the plans we discovered in the seeming randomness of the cosmic background radiation said would happen. Packing all humanity on these massive earthships wasn’t easy. But I can see now that it was worth it. I…”
What was happening behind him cut him off. Abby was changing. “I’m finally home,” she said.
And then she proved it.