He had another nightmare. This was the fourth day in a row. Maybe it had been five days. He couldn't even remember for sure anymore; nor could he clearly remember what happened in them. All he remembered was the feeling of being chased by monsters, of desperately climbing something cliff-like, of part of the cliff collapsing and falling.
He felt as though the night before he'd heard the repulsive voice of a baby. It didn't just cry - it was a voice filled with brutality and cruelty, like a cross between human and beast. It looked like Katherine's pregnancy was taking its toll on him. It had left a strong mark on him, giving him nightmares. As always, he woke up sweating and exhausted. He didn't think he would ever get used to the feeling.
"So, what did you want to talk about?" a voice beside him suddenly said sweetly. It was Catherine's voice. Flustered, he twisted his head around. She seemed to have woken up first today. Wrapped in a blanket, she looked at Vincent, wide awake.
"What are you...!?" As he spoke, a sharp pain, like he had been hit with something hard and metallic, ran through his head. It was a pain characteristic of a hangover. Frowning, he held his head in his hands.
"Hey. Are you okay?" she asked, a little angrily. "Have you had too much to drink? You can't just invite people over and then forget about it!"
"You're kidding, right? Yesterday, I..."
He had been drinking with Orlando, Jonny and Toby. They had talked about the possibility that Katherine was having an affair. What happened after that? He couldn't remember. Thinking about it normally, though, he should have gone straight home... Maybe he'd called her later, or something like that? Purposely, himself? No, that was stupid.
Vincent stared at Catherine, lying beside him. She was wearing impractical underwear that seemed to exist solely to tempt men. It was possible that she had forced her way in. That was what she'd done the day before last. Maybe she was just claiming that he'd called her. But even if she had, Vincent had no proof to refute those claims.
"What's wrong? You're acting kinda weird." She swiftly brought her face closer to Vincent's, peering into his eyes. Their noses touched. Her sweet-smelling breath touched his face again. Vincent jerked his head backwards.
"Why can't I, like, remember the time I spend with you? It's kind of like the crucial bits are missing..."
"I remember them reaaally well, though." She laughed suggestively.
Had they really done something special? Something that couldn't be spoken about in front of others for fear of what they might think? They must have. Vincent was a man, after all. With such a seductive girl put in front of him, how was he meant to just leave her alone? But why couldn't he remember it? Shit. He felt like he was missing out on something big.
"You're weird." She smiled teasingly, reaching out to embrace Vincent once more. "Hm?" Her hand stilled, and she picked up something from the sheets. "What's this long thing?" Her voice was low.
A long hair, around thirty centimetres, dangled from her fingers. The colour didn't match hers. He didn't have to look more closely to see that she was hanging onto Katherine's hair. How long had it been since she had last stayed over, ten days? He hadn't changed the sheets once since then. There was plenty of chance that she had left one of her characteristic red-grey hairs on them.
Crap. He hadn't told Catherine about his girlfriend. In fact, he had denied having one just two days ago. Would she accept him telling her that he'd broken up with someone just recently?
"How do I put this..."
No, he didn't think she would. She didn't seem like the kind of girl who would be totally okay with having shared a bed with him multiple times that still had his old girlfriend's hair in it.
"That's, uh, m-my hair," he spluttered, trying to cover up for himself.
"From where? You have short hair."
Think. She cannot find out about Katherine.
"I think it m-must be from my boss who stays over sometimes. I sleep on the floor then."
"Your female boss?"
"Of course not. He's a man. Some of them have long hair. I mean, look at the line of business I'm in - actually, I guess you wouldn't know. We have pretty loose rules on how we can dress. There are people with all kinds of hairstyles."
"Oh, really?" She sat up, reaching out her arm and dropping the hair onto the floor. Turning around, she looked at Vincent. "It doesn't mean that you have another woman besides me, right?"
"Of... course not!" he answered immediately, but couldn't stop his voice from faltering.
He felt guilty for lying. So desperately trying to keep his girlfriend a secret from his mistress was just pathetic. He couldn't even believe that he was doing this. But there was also the possibility that Katherine was cheating, too. If she really was dating Steve, Vincent could decide to break up with her unapologetically. He could openly date this beautiful, devilish girl. As long as the possibility remained, he couldn't destroy their relationship yet.
"If you did have another woman..." Catherine said with a grin, touching Vincent's cheek, "I would die right here."
"Y-you shouldn't joke about dying..."
"Okay, then I'd kill you instead." She took her hand from Vincent's cheek, wrapping both lightly around his neck.
"Me dying, or me killing you - which would you prefer?"
He thought it was a joke, but she gripped tighter, putting real pressure on his throat."Calm... do..."
His throat squeezed, his mouth half open. His oxygen supply cut off, he began to lose feeling in his body. His consciousness began to fade a little. He was at his limit. Vincent tried to raise his arms and push her off him, but just before he could do so the pressure suddenly vanished from his neck. She put her hands either side of him, lying on top of him and biting his shoulder. Her canines cut in sharply. He was struck with a different pain to before, letting out a groan. But it was just a play-bite, not the real thing. Her tongue flicked across Vincent's skin.
"O... Of course I don't... have another woman!" he managed to insist. She might actually kill him if this went on. The pain and his inability to speak continued. "Y-you're just overthinking things."Hearing this she looked up, staring at Vincent with a satisfied expression.
"I said really!" he shot back frantically.
She gazed down at Vincent like a queen ordering an execution, or perhaps a cat tormenting a mouse. All of the girls I get close to are like this, Vincent thought. Not that he was unhappy about it; nor was this kind of physical torment an issue. If anything, if it was teasing with a clear intent with mutual understanding, he was perfectly happy with it.
After staring vacantly at him for what seemed like an eternity, Catherine's expression suddenly softened, and she said, "Okay, let's say that's what it was," as though making fun of him. Her tone was light, but he could feel a silent force in her words.
"I won't worry about what you've done in the past." This time she softly sat back, putting her chest to Vincent's and embracing him gently. He could directly feel the softness of her breasts. She seemed to be doing it intentionally. "I won't ask you about it."
How much did she know? How much had she guessed? As Vincent considered this in fear, the sound of the doorbell rang throughout the apartment, dragging him with a start back to reality.
"That might be a delivery... Maybe I bought something by mail order."
"You don't have to get it, do you?"
Looking up, she glared with annoyance at the front door.
"Uh, well, I guess not..."
As soon as he finished speaking, he heard the faint scraping of metal on metal, followed by the heavy sound of the doorknob turning. Someone was trying to get into his room - and as far as Vincent knew, there was only one person besides him with a key. Vincent pushed Catherine off of his chest, jumping up and running at full speed over to the door.