Axel had been in Vallo a couple of weeks, now. Long enough to have settled in to a routine. But routines had to be adjusted when food ran low, and he had to go to the shops to replenish the things they had at the apartment.
He carried himself like a soldier, because active duty or not, he was a Marine. he would always be a Marine. And he was far too used to being on high alert, ready to knuckle down and kill anyone and anything that got in his way, if necessary. Thankfully there were no vampires in Vallo, at least not like what he knew. No one and nothing had tried to kill him, or Vanessa, yet.
He wasn't about to let down his guard, though, Which was why, when a woman stepped into his line of sight, he stiffened. He quelled the impulse to attack first and talk later, and after a second or two when she seemed to pose no threat, he let out a breath and let his shoulders relax the slightest bit.
"You startled me," he said. It wasn't strictly true. But it would explain his tense reaction, even if it wasn't the truth.