And it begins
Noah was, as usual, the first to notice.
He was sitting at the dining table, pretending to read from the book Charlie had leant him while she prepared her dinner. Something with chicken and butter. Yet again he wished such food still appealed to him so that his normal diet wouldn't repulse her.
As far as he could tell, she seemed calm today- fewer nervous glances and flinches when he drew near her. Noah was even pleased to hear soft humming under her breath as she chopped up something- mushrooms?- that she tossed in with the chicken. Humming was definitely a good sign that she was slowly accepting the fact that he was a vampire.
As if sensing his thoughts, Charlie glanced back at him. Of course his eyes were already back on the book, resuming his fake reading of it. He made sure to look up just once, as if he hadn't noticed her watching him, and offered her a shy smile. The smile she returned was just as shy, but definitely real, and it warmed his unbeating heart to see it. Maybe things really could go back to the way they were between them.
They maintained their comfortable silence, each watching the other while trying not to be too obvious about it. It was in the silence, though, that Noah heard that soft footfall.
When Charlie glanced again, she was surprised to see him staring out the window, tense and unnaturally still. His eyes were an icy yellow, not at all like his usual golden caramel, reminding her of a small lion holding absolutely still before his prey. The thought made her shiver before she could remind herself not to. She knew her subconscious fear of Noah's true identity made him sad which only made her feel fearful and guilty.
Charlie made her hands turn off the stove, noting absently that they were shaking. With her back still to him, she quietly asked, "Noah, is something wrong?"
A beat of silence- Noah debating whether or not to tell her the truth- and to her irritation, Charlie found her heartbeat beating a little faster. She needed to get a grip. Noah either sensed her rising alarm or heard her rising heartbeat, because he suddenly looked back at her and frowned, concerned.
Shut up, she told her heart. "What is it?" she asked again more firmly.
Noah sighed, and against his better judgement, told her the truth. "The other vampire- Alexander Crowne- is outside."
Charlie stopped breathing altogether. Alarmed, Noah rose to his feet- as always, mindful of moving slowly around her- and went to her side. She didn't react at all to his proximity, which frightened him even more, and with only a slight hesitation, he rested a gentle hand on her arm. "Charlie, please don't be frightened," he whispered. "I'm not very big, but I am strong, and-" he rose his voice for the benefit of the audience outside- "I won't let him hurt you."