The Guest & The Change - By M. D. Bowden Page 0,1

now? But I feel OK. If I’d passed out I may have dreamt the whole thing. I may have hallucinated that I actually left the house, and the reports of deaths may have triggered the vision of a vampire.

Jo thought about this. This explanation did seem more likely. Not that he’d ever passed out before, but these things did happen. Maybe he should stick his head out the door and check, he thought. Regardless of his new explanation, his pulse still quickened. What if there really was a vampire out there?

God, he was becoming completely deluded. Taking another deep breath, he strode out of the room, down the dimly lit hall, into the white bathroom. He splashed his face with ice cold water and dried himself on a soft white towel from the rack. He took another deep breath, preparing himself for action.

Jo grabbed his jacket and put on a scarf; not much protection from vampires, but it would protect him from the cold at least. He picked his keys off the hook and headed for the door.

***

Sarah pulled up at her parents’ house. The large, detached timber structure radiated warmth in the early evening light. Bea and Megan were chattering in the back.

‘Me out first.’

‘No. Me out first,’ they argued.

Megan, the oldest, undid her own straps and pushed out first, as soon as Sarah opened the door. They owned a typical people wagon. Lots of space, lots of mess. Sarah stuck her foot in the foot well and leant in to unstrap Bea. Bea pulled out her little arms and Sarah gave her a quick hug before letting her climb down on her own. Megan had already run off ahead and was pounding on the door.

‘Grandma, Granddad, we’re here!’ she shouted, before they’d even had time to open it.

Sarah looked up and walked up the steps holding Bea’s hand.

The door opened to Grandma and Granddad with big smiles. Megan immediately threw herself at their legs in a big hug. As Sarah and Bea reached them they exchanged greetings and Grandma lifted up Bea, giving her a hug, while her Granddad ruffled her hair and gave her a kiss.

Grandma pulled Sarah aside.

‘We have company,’ she said. ‘He’s in the kitchen.’

Sarah raised her eyebrows at her mother, wondering about her tone of excitement, her secret whispers. Who could this man be? And why was her mother flustered?

Feeling a little nervous, the familiarity of the situation gone with the addition of a guest, Sarah walked through the cozy living room, where welcoming sofas and a warm live fire tempted her, into the kitchen. Her mother was at the stove, Bea on her hip. Leaning against the worktop, glass of wine in hand, was the unfamiliar guest.

Sarah caught her breath. Oh my God, he’s unbelievable! Unbelievably beautiful. His eyes, warm and dark with long eyelashes. His jaw, rugged and defined. His lips. Sarah quickly looked away from those, feeling her cheeks redden. Dark hair falling around his eyes. Mmm. Her blush deepened and she tried not to look too shy as her father came in and introduced them.

‘This is my daughter, Sarah, and her two children, Megan and Bea.’

Megan had followed her Granddad in but she was staying close to his legs, unsure of the intimidating new man. Yes, that’s it, he’s definitely intimidating. And he looks powerful, I bet he’s quite muscular under that shirt and leather jacket. Dressed entirely in black too, that definitely adds to his mystique.

Stop thinking this way. Remember Jo?

Feeling guilty she smiled at the man.

Then, as he smiled back, her heart skipped. No. It melted. This is not happening.

‘And this is Daniel,’ he continued.

Daniel put down his glass and stepped forward, holding out his hand. As Sarah took it a shock, like electricity, went up her arm. She felt the urge to pull away, surprised at her reaction. But his eyes and his smile held her in place. When he let her go she stepped back and turned away to pour herself some wine, to get her breath, and to not let her parents see her reaction. Her mother sent her a knowing look though, which just made Sarah’s cheeks feel even hotter.

‘Daniel has just moved here, he’s staying in The Woodman - that old hotel just out of town, till he can get a place.’

Sarah took a gulp of wine before speaking, ‘So, how did you meet my father?’

Daniel looked at her steadily but Sarah couldn’t maintain his gaze. Feeling like a silly teenager she kept

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