It took him a few moments to get his bearings and realize he was in his bedroom. His nightmare had involved snakes, blood, intestines, floating heads, dragons, fire, and screaming women… all brought on by the mind-whammy inflicted by that Jade Court monster he had faced earlier in the evening.
Even has he regained some of his composure his Fae nature once again was subsumed by his mortal guise and the room was returned to darkness. Conor sat still, and tried to get back in touch with his real (not dream) senses. The darkness was broken only by the red LED display of a digital clock showing 1:47 in the morning. The room still smelled faintly of Ren’s perfume and the soaps he had used for his long shower. Though he wore no clothing, he was tangled in his comfortable and soft cotton sheets. He heard nothing but the general white noise of Dallas at night from beyond his windows, within his apartment there was no sound. In his mouth was the dry metallic tang of lingering fear. Yes, his senses were once again his own.
Then he heard a tapping at the shared wall of his apartment and a muffled voice, “Conor? Are you okay?”
He grinned, that would be Ashley… what was her last name? … Davis, right. A nice girl and freshman at SMU, originally from some suburb with the pretentious name of The Colony located just north of Dallas. Conor got up from his bed and stood near the wall.
“I’m choice Ashley; just a bad dream is all. Sorry to alarm ye.” He tapped back.
“Okay,” there was a long pause, “are you alone? You want me to come over? I’ll bring chocolate!”
Conor slowly exhaled, he didn’t particularly feel like company, but Ashley was a gentle soul who was shy around boys and was – as a freshman – out all on her own for the first time. It probably took a lot to get the courage to make such an offer at such an ungodly hour of the night. A refusal might be misconstrued in all the worst ways.
He spoke to the wall, “That would be grand Ashley, I’d love some chocolate.”
Conor hunted around in the dark for some clean clothes, by the time he slipped into a shirt and some sweatpants, there was a knock at the front door.
He opened it and sure enough, it was Ashley with chocolate of assorted types in hand. Conor smiled and chuckled as he saw what she was carrying. The young lady had long, straight bleached blonde hair, brown eyes, and pale freckled skin (with a slight sunburn). She had clearly been woken up herself as she was dressed fairly casually; pajama bottoms, white spaghetti strap shirt with the SMU red mustang logo upon the chest, and fuzzy pink slippers. Her thin cotton shirt also allowed the sunburn on her neck and shoulders to be visible as well.
Conor stood in the doorway for a moment, wondering how to proceed when she asked, “Can I come in?”
Considering all that had happened during the past few hours, Conor was on guard – yet turned on all his best charm and stepped back – asking with a playful tone in his voice, “Well I dunno, can ye?”
Ashley, looking a little hesitant arched an eyebrow and took a step across the apartment’s threshold, “I … guess?”
Conor relaxed and beckoned for her to enter, “I guess you can at that, do come in.”
He put on some hot water to boil and motioned for Ashley to sit at the bar while he himself stood behind the counter in the kitchen. They then shared smalltalk about various topics. Some of Ashley’s initial questions were clearly attempts to fish information about who had been in Conor’s apartment earlier; but Ashley was well aware of Conor’s nightlife habits so didn’t press the matter once it was clear they were alone. Conor asked about her classes, professors, and how things were at home… just basic smalltalk; or so he thought.
“Conor, are you sure everything’s okay?” Ashley had a look of genuine concern.
He looked at her quizzically, “Choice – grand – why do ye ask?”
Ashley was quiet for a moment as she flushed a deep shade of red, “Well, um. I’m here in your apartment at like two in the morning and you haven’t made a single pass at me or told any of your jokes or stories or anything like when we meet down at the poolside. You’re… just…. you’re just not like your normal self is all.”
Conor thought about her words and realized that maybe Ashley was right… something was off, more than just the nightmare. Indeed almost certainly it was a result of the meeting with the Jade Court monster earlier at the Love Field DART station.
He reached out and lay his hands over hers. His large boxer’s mitts nearly covered her dainty fingers as they cupped her mug of hot chocolate. “You are an astute an’ clever young lady, Ashley.” Her cheeks and the tips of her ears once again flushed pink.
“You’re right o’ course. Something is a bit off tonight, sure. But allow me the luxury o’ male pride an’ be silent about it for a bit… I assure ye, I’ll be right as rain soon enough. The concern o’ a beautiful woman an’ o’ course chocolate has magical powers. I feel loads better than I did before ye came to tend to me.”
They sat silently for a couple more moments, and then Ashley stood up, reluctantly disengaging her hands from his. “Okay, then I’m going back to bed, I have a math test in the morning.”
“Fair enough, I wish ye luck,” as he escorted her to the door.
As she left to return to her own apartment, she turned and looked Conor in the eyes, “You sure you’ll be okay?”
Conor nodded with a smile, “Absolutely. I assure ye, the next time I see ye in that lovely pink bikini you enjoy wearing by the poolside, I’ll be giving ye all my best pickup lines an’ stories once again.”
She nodded once, “Good. You better.” and turned to go.
As Conor was closing his door he heard from the direction of hers; “Oh and you can bring whatever’s left of my chocolate stash back tomorrow night, I’ll be home by nine to watch Supernatural!”
Note to self: This is when Rapport went down and Discipline went up. At this stage of things he’s also dealing with a Severe Mental Consequence brought on by the Jade Court Vampire’s Mental Incite Emotion: Fear attack.