Ian barely paid Deigen’s approach any notice and in fact seemed completely transfixed on only one person in the room.
Simone raised a hand to her shoulders and swung the open palm side to side, delivering a high-speed wave at him. “Hi.”
“Hi,” Ian echoed back in the same giddy tone. He plopped his hand up and slapped himself in the chin while trying to mimic her greeting.
Deigen watched their exchange with a raised eyebrow. “You two are sitting in spitting distance of each other, I really don’t think waving is necessary. And it also appears dangerous.”
V cleared his throat and took a step toward the couch. “Ian, I need to apologize for my behavior earlier.”
“It’s fine.” Ian continued his dazed staring contest with Simone. “No harm done.”
“But I nearly attacked you! That’s far beneath the conduct expected of me, particularly being one of the queen’s guards.” The vampire shook a shameful head at himself and lowered his eyes to the floor. “And to think I might have killed you if—”
“Everyone has a bad day at work sometimes.” Ian flopped his hand dismissively.
“Ian, I’m truly sorry too, lad,” called out Albert from his post at the door. “Quite uncivilized of me to go charging toward you the way I did.”
“They were both after you like starving mice trying snatch a piece of cheese!” added Trevor with such alarm that one might think Ian’s life remained in peril. “You were bleeding all over the place and could have lost your brain too!”
Ian flopped his hand up again. “It’s still stuck in my head, no worries.” He reached for Simone’s hand. “There’s all sorts of strange people here but I never realized until now some are also more beautiful than anyone I’ve ever seen back home.”
Simone blushed and smiled. “And some from other lands are much more handsome than all others I’ve ever met.” She edged closer to Ian but held on to his hand which made the pair suddenly appear on the verge of an arm wrestling match. “I’m so glad you’re okay. I heard it was a sword that injured you while practicing for battle.”
Deigen rolled his eyes over the whole sickly sweet exchange. “Well I heard it was Ian’s own sword that injured him after he tried tossing it in the air like a baton and caught the pointy end with his leg.”
“That was so brave of you to take on both a zombie and a vampire at the same time,” continued Simone, still gazing at Ian. “Most men cower in fear at having to fight just one of them. You must be akin to a knight where you’re from.”
Ian nodded as though he just might believe that himself. “Yeah, something like that. I wasn’t scared a bit.”
“Because you were unconscious during most of the ordeal!” Deigen swung his arms up in exasperation. “You stabbed yourself in the leg while showing off and passed out. Vandalarius and Albert wouldn’t have even attacked you if—”
“If they had known what a formidable opponent stood before them,” interrupted V while stepping over to stand next to Deigen. “Truly we were ill prepared for such fighting skill.”
Deigen gave him a silent side glance.
“Come on, look at them.” V motioned toward the lovestruck couple while pulling Deigen away. “If Ian wants to pretend he has the bravery of a knight for a moment to impress the one thing in our world that doesn’t terrify him, Albert and I are fine with that.” He made a pleading face at the zombie who just shrugged for confirmation. “It’s the least we can do for almost eating him.”