(Written by Okafor Erasmus Ugochukwu)
At that moment of the winter, it was beginning to snow heavily as she packed her things together, ready to leave. Even though she wanted to leave, she didn’t know where her destination was going to be at that iniquitous hour.
Morris wasn’t really heartless but wanted to establish the authority as the owner of the house, especially after being attacked by the young girl who could have given him some injuries if he wasn’t fast enough to dodge it.
After packing, Juliet tearfully tried leaving the house. Though it was heavily snowing, she didn’t care because, by that time, she’d lost her soberness to anger. Her sadness got engraved in her mind’s eyes while she pulsated with hatred and disgust.
Morris knew that she couldn’t go anywhere but expected her to ask for his permission to stay but she disappointed him and continued foots logging to the door.
When she held the door as she transferred her aggression to the knob, she tried to force the door open and enter the snow without an umbrella or winter jacket before Morris intervened. He rushed towards her and held her hand. He felt so wicked as if he was truly wicked for being rude to her.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” he said and dragged her to sit on the sofa, “the snow is much and this isn’t the time to take such risks,”
Trying to avoid those tears already at the threshold of her eyes, she heaved a sigh and remained calm without uttering a word of anger or appreciation. She didn’t want the tears to drop as they’d always accompany any statement she’d want to make.
She waited for the snow to dwindle so that she’d get ready to leave the house that night but the snow continued to fall for many hours. As she waited on the sofa, she slept off unwittingly.
Morris saw how cold she looked and used his coat to cover her up while she slept. He got the fireplace lit to provide warmth for the sleeping girl sexy young girl. He changed to his pyjamas and went into the kitchen and started making dinner for both of them without waking her up.
He couldn’t believe that he was cooking for a human because he naturally saw them as unworthy and unadventurous but he had no choice than to cook.
As he was making some slight noise with the utensils, Juliet woke up. She discovered how she was well wrapped against the cold, showing some traces of chivalry in the seemingly heartless guy. She slyly smiled and felt happy.
To avoid being noticed, she tiptoed to the kitchen to see what he was doing. Seeing how focused Morris was as he prepared the dinner, she suddenly felt some strange feelings of affection inside but she didn’t just have to show it so that Morris wouldn’t feel so important.
Being a vampire with heightened senses, he already knew that he was being watched. He suddenly turned and saw her. She felt embarrassed at the moment.
“Sorry, sir…I was just waking up,” she said and turned to leave.
“Wait,” Morris called and went closer to her, “see the rules here,” he said and fastened the apron’s string, “I’m the owner of the house, which is undisputable but I won’t be peremptory about this because, from what I can see, even in the morning, you can’t even go anywhere. I can see the location of your computer. I guess you’re a writer, but that location will change because that’s where I’d be keeping my boots. Don’t worry, there are other better positions and I’ll help you fix that,”
Juliet’s charming eyes were daring and inviting as she looked and listened, making Morris more seduced as viewed her beautiful face. Her dimple was a mirage which seductively appears and disappears at intervals depending on the mood of her face, though Morris wished it remains steady or lasts longer.
“You shouldn’t worry about fixing it,” she politely objected, “just show me the location,”
“There are two rooms in this bungalow, so we wouldn’t have any problem with that,” he continued, “but you’re moving to the smaller room with smaller bed because I am the owner. I have to take the bigger one. We should share the cooking in turns. If I cook today, tomorrow is yours,” he said and started leaving, and then stopped as if he forgot something, “Most importantly, don’t get naked before me or do anything seductive because I just came down to the house to relax and be alone, not to have a company. Hope I’m understood,”
She smiled, revealing those dimples once more and said: “I accept your rules. You have any other rule to add?”
“These are okay for now,” he muttered and continued cooking.
According to the newly laid down house rules, Juliet rearranged the rooms according to Morris’s demands. She first made sure that her computer for writing was arranged in the smaller room.
As Morris cooked, he inadvertently admired her but she didn’t notice. He couldn’t imagine how a girl would want such solitary life and use it for something useful; like writing a book. He admired writers so much but never got to meet one of his favourite authors.
Juliet couldn’t imagine what she felt for Morris, which wasn’t her way of life. She wasn’t the kind of girl that falls easily for a man. The only thing that captures her interest is to write and listen to audio-books. Writing romantic novels was just to get busy with writing what she considered a fantasy of the mind and limbo of unrealistic emotion, not that she was really believed in love or anything that has to do with it.
She admired the way Morris handled his culinary art in the kitchen made evident by the sweet aroma of the barbeque ribs and turducken that fought their ways through the connecting door and gaining possession of the entire rooms.
After the preparation of the food, Morris got the dining table that was graced with the food and juices; of course, his favourite Mexican wine wasn’t left out. With sedate steps, he advanced towards her room where she was busy typing her novel.
“The dinner is served,” he said and went back to the dining table and waited.
Making sure that her winter jacket got her well covered without revealing her curvaceous body, in accordance with the new rules, Juliet majestically walked towards the dining table and sat opposite him, feeling uneasy and thinking of how she was almost chased out of the room if not for the heavy snow that got her ass spared.
The room was honoured with candlelit dinner because they were trying to conserve energy, especially under the wintry weather. The candles created a perfect environment that made the room more interesting for a dinner.
“I must admit that you’re a good cook,” she smilingly complimented, “you’re not as wicked as you look,”
“I just hope that you’d love the cuisine,” he said and smiled, “what I’ve done for close to two hundred years should have been in me by now,”
“What did you say about two hundred years?” she curiously asked, though she never thought it was possible.
“Sorry for the slip of tongue,” he lied, “I was trying to say twenty years,”
“Okay, dear. I almost fainted,” she said and chuckled, “I love the taste of the food,” she mouthed and started enjoying the food, feeling happy being around him.
“I love your novella, though I’m yet to read it,” he said, taking a sip of the wine with his eyes fixed on her eyes.
“Thanks for that, but I can’t understand how you’d like a story you haven’t read,” she said and parted her lips.
“At least I peered through few lines,” he gleefully said.
“You must be the smart guy because I didn’t notice,” she jested.
“You can say that again, dear,” he said smilingly and curled his lips, “I love your lips,” he flirted.
“I guess you should learn the eating habits of not talking when you’re eating,” she humorously said, in a bid to avoid his last words.
“Hey, I was just trying to be friendly here,” he said, “Do you prefer the part of me that asked you to park out tonight or the one that compliments?”
That question was really a difficult one for her because any of her answers could be put Morris at the winning end. She chose not to answer at once but remained calm. Her dimples were evident, showing that she was stifling a smile. Morris was the shrewd kind of guy and knew how to get a girl speechless or talking whenever he wishes.
As they ate, Morris slowly moved his hands over her hand and caressed her gently, but observing her mood to know if it was approving or disapproving.
Juliet was really uncomfortable, even though she liked the touch. Getting closer to a man wasn’t yet easy for her, and even if she could do that, it would be too hasty of her.
Morris tried to be domineering to make her submissive but he simply underrated her audacity.
“Don’t be coquettish,” she warned courteously and freed her hand from his grip, “It was just a couple of minutes that you set some rules,” she reminded him.
“Seriously?” he said and smiled, “do you have a boyfriend?”
That was another difficult question for her to answer.
She couldn’t answer yes or no but in actual sense, there was no man in her life but she had to make herself more unapproachable by lying to him, “I have someone in my life,”
Her answer hit him badly and triggered that sombreness, though he tried to disguise it and act normal, she already noticed.
“That’s cool. Can you tell me about him?” he asked, trying to keep the ball rolling.
“It’s personal and I may not oblige your request,” she shyly added in order to avoid further lies.
“Can I know about your folks or anything concerning your family?” he queried as he took a big bite of the barbeque ribs.
Juliet was really not relaxed or ready for that question because it might require forcing some tears of emotion out of her when she remembers her parents. She wasn’t ready for that. She splayed her hands on the table, signifying that she was done with the food, “you ask a lot of questions,” she politely said.
“Apologies,” he said and stood up too, “I know you don’t want to talk about it but as someone staying in my house, I should be in the know. It’s necessary to know about you,”
With that last statement, he succeeded moving the discussion to the direction that would force her to answer the question.
“They’re dead. Are you okay now?” she replied moodily left to her room feeling sad and persuaded for answers.
Morris felt the sadness in her voice and went after her to get her appeased. Sometimes he’d forget that he wasn’t dealing with a fellow vampire but an introverted human who could be judgemental sometimes.
Getting to her room, she’d locked up the doors already, crying on her bed and getting her pillow bedraggled with her tears. “You may wish to open the door, please,” he said as he knocked gently on the door, “I don’t even know your name and you don’t know mine. That’s so funny and artless of us. Can you tell me your name at least?”
Morris waited for a couple of minutes until she opened the door.
“Juliet,” she said and sighed, “It’s Juliet Peters,”
Morris entered the room and held her by the shoulders, “I’m sorry for that. “I’m Morris More,”
“Thanks for the meal,” she said and tried to muffle her melancholy.
“You can enjoy your sleep now,” he said and led her to the bed. He made her lie on the bed, and covered her with the duvet, “goodnight, Juliet”
“Goodnight too,” she responded, “remember to close the door behind you,”
He left the room and closed the door as she instructed and went into his living room to check out his numerous emails from his fellow vampires asking him to come back and run for the position of the tribe leader. They were ready to give the position to him unopposed but seeing the emails got him dispirited because he wasn’t yet ready to honour such invitation, especially when he was already enjoying the low profile life he hoped for.
On the bed, Juliet kept trying to fight off those feelings she was unusually developing for Morris but the more she tried the more it was becoming more pronounced than she expected. She really needed to allow the feelings die but it kept coming naturally, making her hate it.
Morris never wanted anything that’d bring him close to humans because, according to his belief, falling in love with a human would be a waste of time, with his reason being that humans get old and die, living him ever young and mourning for the loved one. That part of his life made it almost impossible to mingle with humans. The last time he tried being close to mortals didn’t end well, making Judith’s memories and images to remain almost stuck and permanent in his mind’s eye.
Meeting Juliet was magical because it suddenly started making Judith’s image to fade in his mind’s eye, but it was almost the same thing; using a human to replace a human, which would simply make him end up missing two lovers instead of getting healed. For this reason, he kept leaving the love vacuum inside him blank without allowing anyone to occupy it.
To be continued..