He takes the stairs two at a time in a bounding, clumsy sort of fashion unlike most vampires I’ve encountered. A wide grin stretches across his youthful face, but you never know with a vampire. He could be older than me, though for some reason I doubt it. He doesn’t just look young, he acts it too, flopping into the small room, into my space without so much as a by your leave, and dropping his pack on the little table next to me. The urge to bat it right off again strikes, but I resist.
“Wow. You must be Leonas. You’re even scarier looking than Ivaz warned. But he also said not to worry. That you would act mean but that you weren’t really mean. ‘Just a kitten,’ he said. That true? I’ve never met a panther before.”
Irritation crawls beneath my skin and settles at the back of my neck and the tip of my tongue. I’ll have a few words for Ivaz when next I see him. “And you are?”
“Jeno!” He says his name like it’s a prize rather than a basic introduction and thrusts his hand toward my center, dopey grin still intact.
I stare at it through lowered lids. No. Will not be touching him. He’s already acting too familiar for my comfort. I don’t plan to encourage it. “What’s your business here?”
His brows crumple as he withdraws his hand. “Letters.” He regains a modicum of his former exuberance. “I’m the new messenger.”
Since when do the vampires allow messengers to be this young? I study him. His tanned skin still retains human pores. His mouth, a rosy shade of pink with slight protrusions where fangs lay hidden beneath, trembles as if he’s finally realizing he stands before a true threat and not the harmless kitten Ivaz so erroneously made me out to be.
My own lips part as I take in his wide eyes, hazel jewels sparkling with questions, staring at mine as if it’s I who hold the answers. They spell me with their beauty. A rush of warmth fills my chest.
I shake myself out of it with an irritated huff. “And so? Hand over the letters, then.”
He squints. It’s cute. I hate him.