Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Cornett Residence

This house has been sectioned off into two living spaces, separated by floor as opposed to wall throughout the middle. The first floor has been reserved for a renter while the second floor has been claimed by the owner of the duplex. The living space is large and spacious, perfect for a summer's day when the windows are open. Much the bachelor pad, it is sparsely decorated. All the basics that are required are there but rarely used and so the area is immaculate. A large living area and kitchen lead to a hallway which contains the doors for the bathroom, master bedroom and guest bedroom. The only difference between the two bedrooms is that the master room contains a computer desk and laptop.

Hours have passed since the incident. Hours in which a young woman remains passed out on the floor of her soon-to-be home. Curled up whimpering at her side is a small beagle puppy.

The door to the house is opened, left that way earlier. Open to the elements, and to small creatures that deem to wander in. The presence of the puppy seems to deter quite a few. Especially when it growls or barks. Still, the young woman remains motionless and pale. A small pool of blood resides just off her neck though the puncture marks have coagulated by this point.

The night has been a hectic one, as is prone to happen during the weekends. It has left a particular bouncer wishing for nothing other than to return home and hug his future wife. He's not unaware of foul play as he approaches his door. The moment he realizes that it is ajar, Bobby's bouncer-senses begin tingling. Before entering, he disappears for a moment to pull a baseball bat from his vehicle. Then he returns, slowly entering the home that is supposed to be safe. The first step taken nearly causes him to step on a squirrel which nearly has the bat crashing down on the tiny animal. Able to resist the temptation, he pushes forward and immediately locates Hope.

Perhaps it is in poor defense but he drops the bat next to her and immediately falls to her side. After checking for breathing and a pulse he immediately gathers her up in his arms. "Hope?" Why does this have to happen to her, to them? The puncture wounds are most certainly noticed. The only vampire that should be allowed in his home is Tripp, and the thought that he would betray them so much begins to fill Robert with rage. "Hope, you have to wake up now."

Hope doesn't feel like waking up. Waking up means facing the truth. That there's something wrong with her. That all those she chooses as friends will turn on her. Eyelashes flitter and flutter but her eyes don't open. Instead, her head lolls against his chest.

Serenity, sensing the concern, barks once and starts to circle the two humans. A wide berth, eyes darting to them every few seconds to ensure that things are okay.

It's a good thing that the pup is so well behaved or else she might have escaped while the door was opened. After the squirrel scare the door has been closed, so there's no concern about her safety. The concern is focused primarily on Hope. "Fully awake now," Bobby says, keeping his voice calm in that practiced way of his. As he does so he stands, moving her away from the scene of the crime. Her bed is far more comfortable, after all. "Tell me what happened. I need to know." He needs to know because he's very tempted to go vampire hunting.

There is a struggle within her. One wherein she just wants to lay there and say nothing. Hope's eyes squeeze shut, and finally she squeaks, "He bit me." That's all she says, and it sounds quite a bit as though she's still in shock over it. Hours may have passed, but to her? Mere minutes. "I'm sorry, Bobby… I didn't know. I'm so, so sorry…"

Not another word is spoken until she's placed comfortably atop her bed. "He who?" There's anger swirling within his eyes but Robert is doing well to stay calm. Instead of lingering by her side immediately he goes to find two wash clothes. One is soaked in cold water and then brought to be placed on her forehead. The other is also soaked in water but is instead used to clean her new wound. "I have a hard time that you asked someone to bite you, Hope, so I know this wasn't something you wanted. But I need to know more if I'm going to make it better."

Eyes close again, and she turns away from him, trying to hide her shame — the bite. Hope clenches her hands into tight fists as a way to keep herself from crying. "Elliott. He came over for cocoa and to catch up, and next thing I know, he bit me. I'm sorry, Bobby. I swear I wasn't leading him on or anything." Her fear, the shock, has caused her to momentarily forget that her soon-to-be-priest friend just tried to make a meal of her.

"Elliott?" That's a name that he's surely heard before but he honestly can't place it. The fact that she doesn't say that it was Tripp is actually a great relief. If it was, all bets would be off. As much as she tries to avoid him, avoid him seeing the bite marks, Bobby will be firm about cleaning the bite. As gentle as he is, he is a good deal stronger than she is. "The last thing I'm worried about is you leading someone on. I'm just wondering how you managed to make friends with a vampire." It makes no sense considering the fact that she won't accept Tripp of all people.

There is a very distinct pallor to her skin. Eyes widen greatly and she jerks upward, clinging to his shirt. "No! He can't be… he's not." Unlike Tripp, Hope did not see Elliott die. There can be no chance that he's a vampire. "He's going to be a priest!" The wet cloth is tossed from her head as she shakes it vehemently. "He wouldn't. He knows my views. We've discussed them. He was… I've spoken to him during the day! I've seen him in the daylight. He can't be…" Granted, she's not seen him much lately, but that's just because they've both been busy.

This is an interesting response. Bobby remains right where he is, allowing her to at least get out what she's trying to say. When the word 'priest' is mentioned he instantly realizes who it is that she's speaking of. "Hope?" His words are calm despite his feelings. His arms move to try and hug her, to keep her close, to protect her. "Maybe you should let me talk to him then? Because I don't know many other people who go around biting others, and leaving marks like the ones you have on your neck." The night isn't over yet. If he leaves soon, maybe he can find this Elliott guy.

Truth is a very harsh mistress, and soon Hope is sobbing quietly. When she's able to control it, to stop herself from needing to gasp words and to make them coherent, she mumbles, "I invited him in." She would like nothing more than to die now. "He… he told me that they would try to hurt me. Because of Zane. He said that thanks to the tabloids, they'd know that I was important to him, and that they'd try to hurt me… and I…" Okay, so the sobs aren't under control. She sniffles a little before continuing. "I told him I'd be fine… and he bit me. You can't go after him. What if he comes back and I'm here alone?"

"Tell him that he isn't allowed in. You didn't invite a vampire in. You invited a friend in." As if things are truly so simple. He knows that they aren't but he can't voice his real thoughts to her. "What else did he say? Was it a threat?" Bobby brings a hand to stroke gently through her hair, trying to at least comfort her while she cries. There is very little else that he can do. "Maybe. Maybe you should stop helping this Wright guy. At least until I can figure out what's happening."

"No, I don't know… it was… concern? It wasn't a threat, none of it was threatening." Maybe Hope is just too naive to see it as a threat though. "Bobby, what's wrong with me? Why do all the people I care for wind up… monsters? Why? First Tripp, now maybe Elliott? I should… I should leave so that they don't get you too. It would kill me if they got you." Another little sniffle and she looks up at his face. "I don't want to stop helping Mr. Wright. Don't you see? By quitting, it's letting those vile demon creatures win."

This is where the two differ, and only because of the tragedy that has struck him in the last few months. "Then maybe he honestly was concerned? You said yourself that you've spoken to him during the day. That means he's new to the whole thing. Maybe it was an accident?" He has to try and paint a nicer picture, for her. Tripp doesn't wish to hurt her, this he knows. "And you're not going anywhere. Nothing is going to turn me into a vampire, and nothing will keep us apart." That part sounds decidedly more determined as Robert allows his anger to seep through momentarily. "Well, you? You have to do what you think is right. But don't put yourself in danger when you don't have to."

She knows though. That something is wrong with her. It's why everyone is turning into monsters around her. Demons that want to bite her. To kill her. Care and concern? Demons have none of that. It's all a ploy. Eventually, this is going to cause Hope to snap, but for the moment she seems to be content with just sobbing against Bobby's chest or shoulder. "You can't. If they turn you, I'll never ever forgive myself. Ever." Nothing else is touched on for the moment. That's the most important thing.

"They won't." He seems to believe this without a doubt. No attempt is made to move her away from him, or to get more comfortable. This is her time and if she needs to cry against him, then she'll be allowed to do so. "You're stuck with me just the way I am. No vampire or werewolf or anything is going to change that." They haven't so far, at the very least. Bobby grits his teeth while not speaking, his mind planning out how to reach this so called priest. "In fact? I'll even be sure not to go out again tonight, even though I want to. I'll stay here, and be safe."

"T-thank you." Him staying in, when he's angry and wants to smashy-smashy beat on stuff for her, like her Bobbyguard and gallant knight that he is, means a whole lot to Hope. "I… you could call? His number, it's in my phone. I don't remember… oh! It's by the couch. I left it by the couch when he came in. I'm sorry about the mug. I didn't mean to shatter it. I'll clean it up after, I promise."

Bingo. A phone. "You will not. You'll stay here and rest and show Serenity that you're okay." It sounds a bit demanding but that's what needs to be said at the moment. "I'll be back in a few minutes, okay? I'm just going to make sure the house is locked up." He's also going to go clean up the mess and grab her phone. Bobby doesn't say this part, though, as he wants her to stay promptly in bed.

"Oh, geeze, Serenity! Is she okay? He didn't hurt her, did he? I… passed out, I think." Well she knows, but still. Spying the dog tail sticking out from under the bed, she sighs and pats the mattress calling for the dog to jump up. Bad habit for the puppy to get into, but it's one Hope doesn't mind her having. "C'mere, puppy, up up…" And as soon as Bobby quits holding her, she immediately goes to snuggle with the pup for comfort.

The mess is cleaned up easily enough. The mug isn't important. The blood on the floor, however, fuels the anger that flows through the eldest Cornett sibling. Of course there's an explanation for this but his wife has been attacked in their home. This can't continue. So with the mess cleaned up he grabs her cell and promptly dials the number last on the ID. What follows is a soft yet angry conversation with the so called priest. It's made worse by the fact that the vampire actually seems honestly remorseful. With that taken care of Bobby returns to Hope's bedroom to check on her and the pup.

In Bobby's 'quick' run off to grab the phone, Hope's actually managed to fall asleep. All cutely snuggled with the puppy. Still, she stirs when she hears him coming in. "I can't go to church tomorrow," she says calmly. "A scarf or turtleneck is too conspicuous in this heat, and I've nothing else to cover the wound. They'd… ostracize me." The church, which has become her family, is something she can't lose now. "Can you just tell them… I've got a bit of a summer bug or something?"

He isn't fully of smiles when he returns. In fact, he's wearing the face he normally does when he's irritated. It's the same face he makes when her parents visit. "Don't force yourself. You need to rest. I'll talk to everyone. But I doubt they'll be anything but concerned." Bobby takes a seat on her bed, inviting himself in without asking. She'll tell him to leave if she wants him to. "I should talk to that Wright, too. Just at least let him know what happened. He has a right to know."

He should know better by now. Hope is clingy when she's really upset. There is not telling her only protection to leave for the night. The grim expression, the irritation, it only goes to secure her deepest fears. Elliott is a monster and it's all her fault. "Oh, could you? Don't call him tonight though, but if you see him at church tomorrow? Just go for a walk with him and let him know the truth? But only him, Bobby. I don't want some of the zealots at church getting themselves hurt because they think going on a vampire killing spree is a good thing." She pauses. "And don't tell Faith? I want her to have fun in Cabo. She deserves all that nice sunshine."

Clingy is an acceptable option and one that he will allow her with no desire for something in return. They have the rest of their lives to be together intimately. Right now is a time for comfort, not passion. Something a few other males could use to understand. "It's too late for a phone call. He and I have to talk. In private. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone else." This is partially because Bobby gets himself into situations that he really shouldn't. "And yes, I will tell Faith. She has a right to know." He always says this. "That priest guy wanted me to tell you that he's sorry, by the way." It's uncomfortable, the way this is said. The internal struggle continues.

"Sorry? It doesn't matter. He's dead to me. Just like Tripp is dead to me. Soulless creatures don't understand the meaning of sorrow or regret!" Hope scooches the puppy over so that she can move over herself and give Bobby room to lay down and just be with her in a comforting manner. "Just don't tell her until she's back from Cabo? Please? Ivan will claim I'm ruining his life or something if you call and get her all worked up. She should be back sometime this week, and by then it will be old news and I'll be fine again."

Again they will have to agree to disagree. Rather, he'll just remain silent, living in a bit of torture as he's unable to even speak openly with his fianc. This is the life that he's chosen and he only has himself to blame. Instead of pressing the issue, Bobby just lays down when given room, using his presence to comfort her. That's what she really needs at the moment. "It's too late to worry about talking to her anyway. I'll deal with it all eventually. But for now?" The strong bodyguard allows his softer side to show through as he holds onto her, keeping her close. "This little family? This is what is important. And you need to sleep."

They may always disagree when it comes to vampires. Hope sees them as monsters, and creatures without the ability to be human. Why shouldn't she see them this way? One killed her best friend and hurt her sister. Tripp came back and nearly sent her into a mental breakdown. Elliott just tried to bite her. "Bobby," she asks, voice a bit tiny as she makes herself comfortable on the bed. "Are you sure there's nothing wrong with me? Nothing about me that makes people want to be vampires?"

Elliott didn't attempt to bite her. He did bite her, and even if sorry, he'd best never encounter Bobby. Fire will be made. "I'm positive," he says, his voice surprisingly calm despite the thoughts swirling around his mind. "It's just going to happen, no matter who you are or what you do. It happens to both of us, and to the people we know. It will keep happening until we get a new Mayor, too." Hopefully phrasing it like that will not only give her the desire to keep working, but will comfort her a little.

"Then we'll get a new Mayor," Hope says calmly, snuggling between him and the puppy. "I'll see to it." He really does know what to say to calm her and put her in that state of mind where she can just relax and fall asleep. He's been doing it since the first time he came to stay with her when Faith was missing. "Thank you for not hating me over my mistake, Bobby," she whispers, just before she drifts back to sleep.

It isn't until she's asleep that he dare speak again. "If I'm going to hate anyone, I'll be at the top of that list." This is starting to be even more difficult now than before. Tripp he was prepared to deal with. He can't bear the burden of Elliott as well. "Sleep well, Hope." Bobby will not be getting any sleep for quite some time, but he remains exactly where he is. This is where he belongs, no matter how many secrets he has to keep.

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