There was a rapid knocking at my door that jarred Bruno from his sleep before his swift movement awoke me as well. I sat up and looked around frantically, my eyes finally locking onto the alarm clock that read 3:05am. I shoved the blankets off and followed the wisp of air that had gone past me until I was met with the worst thing my tired, half-asleep, half-high-off-of-vampire-blood self could have seen.
Ashley and Robyn were standing at my door, eyes nearly bulging out of their skull at the sight of Bruno, who took it upon himself to answer the door. I yawned and walked over, standing next to him and wrapping my arm around his toned waist. No use in pretending anymore at this point.
“Don’t be strangers, come in. I’ve got a lot to explain.” I mumbled tiredly, giving a kind smile to the two girls who couldn’t dare peel their eyes off of the man who they believed to be dead for these past few years. The only time I had ever seen Ashley this pale was when she was in hair and makeup for her vampire character Alice in the Twilight Saga movies. Bruno’s fangs came out with a click, and both girls jumped nearly eight feet backwards.
“Don’t be a jerk.” I slapped his arm as he laughed, retracting his teeth. I gestured to the girls, “He won’t bite,” I touched my shoulder nonchalantly at my ironic statement, “I promise.”
Ashley shoved Robyn in front, who kept her eyes on Bruno as she crept inside the room, Ashley attached behind her almost as though she were a shield. I rolled my eyes and looked up and down the hallway before closing the door and locking it.
“What are you doing!?” Ashley squeaked.
“Locking the door. The world has gone into chaos over this, I’m not jeopardizing his life for some crazy anti-vampire fanatics who could be lurking.” I said firmly, “Sit.” I pointed to the couch. I glared at Bruno, “Be nice.” I mouthed…he nodded like a child who had been chastised and forced to behave. He walked over, at a normal pace, and took a seat in the chair across from the two girls, who were huddled together like their lives depended on it.
“So, in case it wasn’t clear…obviously Bruno is a vampire. He was turned the same night he was killed, and by the doctor himself. Who knew, right?” I gave an awkward laugh, trying to lighten the moment. Robyn and Ashley continued to stare, frozen to their spot.
I cleared my throat, “Right. So without getting into the gory details, he’s still a hundred and ten percent him. He won’t hurt you or attack you…I promise you, cause I would’ve been dead by now if he was just some carnivorous feral beast. I’ve known him like this for about a month now.”
“And you never said anything?” Robyn started to loosen up.
“You would’ve believed me?” I asked, when I was met with silence, I added, “I thought so. Last time I went crying ‘vampire’, I put myself in UCPH.” Just then, my phone began to ring. Bruno vamped away and back with my phone in hand, which nearly made both girls leap out of their skin.
“Sorry.” He shrugged, “I’m still trying to balance out being human with this.”
“At least you’ve remembered to breathe accurately.” I squinted at the caller ID, seeing Dave’s name come up. He opted out of coming on tour, deciding to keep things together back in the States for me…which I appreciated because I needed time away from him. He was becoming increasingly motherly and it had rubbed me the wrong way.
I answered the call. “He–”
“YOU WERE RIGHT ALL ALONG AND I AM SO SORRY, I’M SORRY I SHOULD’VE BELIEVED YOU. IT’S CHAOS IN THE CITY RIGHT NOW AND HOLY SHIT I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS REAL!” Dave shouted, talking faster than I could understand. I brought the phone away from my ear as he continued to repeatedly apologize and scream, alternating between the two.
“Come on Robyn…no short jokes?” Bruno leaned back in the chair, running his hand casually through his curls…which were frizzed and freestyle thanks to the rain and his lack of a hat.
She shook her head vigorously. “You look quite….uh…tall actually.”
“Right.” He rolled his eyes and stood up, vamping from the room. I finished my conversation with Dave, telling him I would contact him later after I got things sorted out here. Once I hung up, I leaned forward, eying both my girls seriously.
“Look. He’s having a hard time as it is trying to deal with what he is. This is why he forced me to keep it a secret, because he didn’t want people to judge him–”
“What are we supposed to do? Be thrilled that he–” Ashley looked around before whispering, “Eats people!?”
“He doesn’t eat people. In fact, I’ve seen him feed twice since my knowing him…and both times were from me, with my full consent.”
Ashley gasped. “You’ve got a serious pair for that.” Robyn said, her eyes big. She wrestled her arm from Ashley’s grip. “Look Ash, they’re all over the place now…the news has made that evident. We should play nice, it’s best to have them on our side because if it comes down to a war, at least Bruno can speak on our behalf, right?” She looked to me for co-sign.
I nodded, “He’s very very powerful, he can do a lot to protect us from the bad things that could possible come of this.” I knocked on the wooden table, hoping for the best. “He’s really normal, you’ll see. All he does is move fast. He never shows his fangs unless he sees blood, he’s angry or turned-on.”
“Or just wants to be a jackass.” Robyn rolled her eyes, cracking a smile. Bruno vamped into the room with a shirt on his previously shirtless body, startling Ashley into a tizzy, but merely catching Robyn off guard. That’s why I loved that girl, she could hang with just about anything.
“I heard that.” He cut his eyes at her.
“Oh shit B-Mars when did you get here? Oh wait, never mind, I just wasn’t looking down far enough.” She said with a snarky grin.
“Oooooooooh, alright, what was that? 1-0? I’ll keep score on your five-head.” He laughed. While they were in the middle of their roast-fest, I took a seat next to Ashley, wrapping my arms around her and giving her a big hug.
“I’m sorry Roxanne I just–this is gonna take a while for me to digest.” Ashley said quietly, staring down at her fidgeting hands.
“I would think you of all people would understand Ash.” I frowned.
“Yeah well Twilight is fiction…and even so, the dangers for the characters was real. Now the dangers for us arevery real. I–I have to go.” She stood up and rushed out of the room, slamming the door behind her. I listened to the echo of the slam, my eyes closed tight until I felt a hand on my shoulder.
“I told you everyone’s reaction wouldn’t be what you expected.” Bruno said, “Don’t try to force it onto her, she’ll come to terms with it on her own time.”
I stood up, “I suppose…” I said, staring after the closed door that my bestfriend had just bombarded through to get out of this situation. I hoped she would come to terms with it…I could never imagine losing her. Not now. Not because of this.
I stood in line at Starbucks, and for once I felt calm. Nobody paid any attention to me, as the world whirred about the new revelation of vampires in our society. I literally had not one photographer in my presence. I hoped they would all be hiding in the bushes to creep out and snap flix of vampires. I just knew that was going to be pressed all over the tabloids. I received my coffee and stood over at the small table that held the sugar and the cream. I ripped open two packets of Sugar In The Raw and poured them inside, and I glanced over the shoulder of a customer who was flipping through a magazine.
The headline read; “Your Favorite Celebrities Dead? Yes, But Not Six Feet Under.”
I edged a bit closer, stirring the sugar in my coffee as I craned my neck to see the list of undead celebrities who had come out of hiding. My own lover was not amongst the list, thank goodness. He was taking it slow and not flaunting it to everyone, which gave me prep time for whenever he did. I could tell that he didn’t want this to happen, but Bruno was never one to concentrate on the negative. He made the best out of his “condition”, and I could tell by how I watched how gentle he was with Robyn last night. They ended up wrestling while I perused online entertainment blogs (bad habit, I know), and Robyn had him yelling uncle in no time. I couldn’t stop laughing the whole night. Ashley never came out of her room, but I didn’t bother her.
“Excuse me.” An employee said politely, giving me a smile as she swept up the trash on the table and continued on her way. I pulled my shades back down over my face and left the coffee shop. I was able to shop today, as my show got pushed down to a later time because “extensive security” was needed around the premises at night in order to ensure the safety of the audience members. It was a crock of bullshit to me, what were a bunch of uniformed humans gonna do if a gaggle of hungry vamps decided to overthrow my concert? I didn’t think that would happen, of course, but it was still pointless precautions.
I told Robyn I’d meet her at H&M, because she was going to try to get Ashley out. I arrived and texted her, standing by the mannequin. Soon I heard her loud, recognizable voice out of nowhere and she hugged me tight.
“I couldn’t get Ashley.” She frowned.
“How come?” I asked, disappointed. If Robyn couldn’t do it…that meant something was seriously wrong.
Robyn hesitated, looking down at her phone. I stole it out of her hand and snapped for her attention. “Robyn?”
She sighed, “She flew back to L.A this morning.”
My face fell, “What?”
“She’s freaked about the vampire thing Rox. You know Ash, she just needs some time. I tried to explain how he’s no different but–”
I turned away, “No. He warned me this would happen.” I said quietly. I altered my expression so as to not kill the joyful mood that we had previously shared, “So anyway back to shopping.”
We went straight back to the clearance rack and started clearing out Lady Gaga vintage tees and of course Robyn went for the florals that were scattered about. She was really into funky girly prints now. I stuck to leopard and stripes. I guess I was old school…trends never fascinated me.
“So…” Robyn started, butt bumping me as she passed by to check out the chunky jewelry. “You’re OK with this whole…vampires in the world thing?”
I shrugged as I held up a leather jacket to my body. “I’m OK with my boyfriend’s condition…yes.”
“Ah, so the idea of it all–”
I shook my head, “Nah. I don’t like the idea of there being a society of them.”
“Neither do I.” She agreed, dumping a few more accessories into her shopping bag. “Have you ever thought of going over to the other side….?”
I laughed, “The other side? Really? You’ve never treaded lightly with me before Robyn Rihanna Fenty, don’t start now.”
She rolled her eyes, “You know what I mean.”
“I’ve never considered being turned, no. I think when it’s my time to go, I’ll go peacefully.”
“But I was thinkin’ about it last night; and I don’t think many vampires choose to become vampires. And Bruno loves you a lot Rox…I feel like he would go all reverse Romeo & Juliet on you and turn you before you die to keep you with him.”
“Reverse Romeo & Juliet…really Rih?” Together, we burst out laughing at the idea of how ridiculous that sounded. “I suppose if he does that I can’t really do anything about it, can I? But I’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. First thing’s first: the press.”
Robyn slapped her forehead, “Holy shit I forgot about the press! They’re gonna have a fit!”
“Fucking lose their marbles is what they’re gonna do. But I’m cool, I feel so much freer now. Less anxiety.” I took in a deep breath and released it happily, picking up a bracelet and slipping it onto my wrist.
“Can I ask you something?”
“Shoot.” I pointed my hand like a gun playfully, ready for whatever she had to ask me.
“Is he the same…like…everywhere?” She raised her brows twice, indicating she wasn’t talking about his cooking skills…if ya catch my drift.
“I CAN’T IMAGINE YOU COULD POSSIBLY BE TALKING ABOUT HIS–” She slapped my arm sharply to quiet me down and I dissolved into giggles at how prude-ish she was acting. “Bruno has always been very well-endowed, I’ve told you that before. He’s not any bigger. But he is very very good at it now. He’s unusually accurate with the way he touches me. And his stamina is off the charts.”
Robyn was chomping at the bit, “Gah, your making me want a vampire.”
“No. I won’t tolerate that shit. If we don’t know the guy who knows what he could do to you? At least we’ve known Bruno forever now. And he’s so so respectful about his needs. He only needs to feed a couple times a week he says. He gets his blood at some kind of ‘undisclosed location’,” I used air quotes, because that’s what he had referred to it as, “And when he’s not feeding there, he asks me during sex and I’m so fogged up in the brain that I just say yes.” I shrugged.
“Does it hurt?” She winced. “I’ve been wondering that for a while.”
“I wouldn’t be one to ask…I like that kind of shit.” I said.
“That is so gross.”
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me?” I gave her a knowing look, reciting the lyrics of one of her recent songs about her newfound love for S&M. “Since your so curious, why don’t you get bitten?”
Robyn bit her lip, pondering it for a minute. “I was considering it…” She whispered.
We made our way up to the cashier and I turned to her, speaking low so the cashier couldn’t hear. “Curiosity killed the cat. I know you Rhi. I’m just sayin if your really curious…”
Her eyes got as wide as saucers, “You mean….?”
I placed my hand on her wrist delicately, “Not sex. He may be a–” I looked around, “–you know…but he’s still myman. I just don’t want you getting yourself into any stupid shit with someone you don’t know.”
“I–I wouldn’t–” She started to defend herself but when I stared her down, she quieted, knowing I had won. Robyn was the type to seek out the answers to life’s biggest questions no matter what the risks. I figured what could a little bite hurt? A nick and that’s it. She’s safe and he’s fed, two birds killed with one stone.
From our shopping at nearly every place we could touch down in Milan, we went straight to my venue for the evening. Security surrounded me like a disease, I had never felt so claustrophobic in my life. Hair and make-up was virtually painless (shocking), and the show was amazing. I had a little chat with the crowd, another therapy session you could call it I guess. I found this was an effective way to gain loyal fans.
Robyn squeezed my wrist once we were standing in front of my hotel room. “Stop it, being nervous makes your heart beat faster.” I raised my brow, indicating that wasn’t a good thing. I wanted to chuckle, she was taking this all so seriously and all she was gonna do was get a little blood taken out of her.
I opened the door and walked inside, hearing the faint melody I was hearing earlier suddenly stop. I cut the lights on and took my jacket off, tossing it onto the couch along with my shopping bags. I shook my arm loose from Robyn’s grip.
“Stay here.” I said quietly. I walked back into the bedroom, but there was nobody there. “Olly olly oxenfree, youdumbass.”
He vamped behind me and I jumped and turned around, punching him in his arm while he laughed. “Don’t dothat!”
“I’m sorry, but you’re so damn cute when you’re afraid. Makes me wanna protect you.” He wrapped his arms around my body and kissed me. “You brought company?”
I separated myself from him, “Yeah…about that.” I lowered my voice.
“What’re you up to…?” He asked warily. I took both of his hands in my own and bit my lip. “OK when you look at me like that, nothing good can come out of it.”
“I need you to play a game.”
“And that game is?”
“So Robyn…you know Robyn, she’s the kind of person to go out and solve her own mysteries…and I care about her a lot, hell I love her, that’s my girl. I don’t want her winding up in trouble so I kind of need you to satisfy her curiosity for me pretty please?” I batted my eyelashes.
“You want me to……” He gestured for me to cut to the chase.
“Bite her pretty please?”
He groaned, “Roxy…”
“And do it right.”
“I didn’t say–”
I ran my hands up his abs, to his chest, and up to his shoulders. “Did I ever tell you how much your body turns me on?”
He smirked, his hands resting on my hips. “Fine. But only because I love you.”
“Ok.” I said and he gave me a faux look of hurt.
“I love you.” He repeated.
“Ok.” I said again.
“I love you.” He was persistent.
“I love you too.” I said with a grin and he gave me a swift pat on my bum before disappearing. I hurried back out to the living room, where Robyn sat on the couch, fidgeting with her hands.
“What happened?” She asked, sitting up once she saw me.
I felt a breeze rush past me and Bruno came to a halt on the couch next to Robyn, who jumped with a shriek. “Relax.” He said with a laugh, looking to me for reassurance, “Can you chill your friend? Her heart’s going a mile a second.”
“I’m fine!” She argued, putting on a brave face and sitting up straight, tilting her head to the side. “Just do it.” She closed her eyes tightly.
“First, I’m not going to bite you there.” Bruno said, when she opened her eyes and looked at him in confusion, he elaborated. “Here’s a mini lesson for you.” He looked over at me, “You too kid, listen up.”
I was interested in what he had to say so I nodded. “The vein in your neck, it’s called the jugular. It’s one of the biggest ones you’ve got, and the easiest to identify and access…that’s why we bite there so much; but it hurts the most and is the messiest. I haven’t even bitten Rox there yet.” He ran his finger down her neck on both sides to show where it was located.
“One of the best ones, to me, is the ulnar.” He turned her hand over and ran his fingers down the veins in her wrist. “Virtually painless, and doesn’t gush out blood.”
“My favorite, though, is the femoral.” He lifted his brow with a smirk. “It’s located right along the upper part of your inner thigh. It’s another thick, messy one…but I make sure I get every drop…”
“Bruno.” I warned and he gave me an innocent fang-less smile.
“Just explainin’, damn baby.” He lifted her arm and curiously observed her veins. I was a little thrown, he was looking like something was puzzling him.
That look soon turned into alarm as his fangs extended and he sunk his teeth into her wrist. She let out a little sound of pain, instinctively drawing back but unable to pull herself out of his grasp. The more I watched, the more alarmed I became…because he and I were in tune with each other’s feelings because of our blood bond…and I felt like he was hungry…very hungry, dangerous. It was like a red haze in the part of my mind that was connected with his own.
And he kept drinking, pulling out more and more blood. Way more than he ever had with me. “Babe…” I stood up. Robyn tugged at her wrist but winced.
“He’s gripping me kinda tight dont’cha think?!” She said, pulling harder. “Ouch!”
I rushed over and separated them, and he nearly flung her across the goddamned room. “Bruno!!” I exclaimed, rushing over to Robyn, who insisted she was fine…albeit breathlessly, as she stood up and looked at the wounds in her wrist.
“Here.” I said, pulling her into the bathroom. I took a towel and wrapped it around her wrist. “Told you, you’d have to see for yourself.” I said with an awkward smile to hide my fear.
“Is that how it really feels?” She sucked in air sharply at the pressure I was applying to her wrist.
“Be glad he didn’t hit your neck.” I touched the artery in her neck as an indicator and she nodded in agreement. “I’ll be right back.” I said, “Keep pressure on it.”
I left the bathroom and closed the door behind me, making my way to the living room, where Bruno sat down on the floor, his head in his hands. “You mind telling me what in Christ’s name just happened back there?! You were going to kill her!” I whispered ferociously.
“Roxanne…she’s–she’s not human.” He said, looking up at me slowly.