I was silent as I changed into my black velour Michael Kors track suit and slipped my feet into a pair of black sneakers. For all I knew, a Craigslist killer had found my number and was fooling me into getting into the car with a stranger and I could possibly be killed tonight. I was famous enough for it to happen, the hype was at it’s peak. I was at the point where anybody, anywhere, could recognize me.
The more I lingered, the more this sounded like a really bad idea.
I went through the mini-bar in the hotel room and picked up a bottle of citrus flavored Bacardi. I popped open the cap and took as much of a swig as I could, closing my eyes as I felt the heat pour down into my chest and stomach. I took another swig for good measure before shoving the bottle back into the mini bar.
There was a knock at my door and I looked up, my heart racing. I rushed over and opened it, only to find Dave standing there.
“I left my ipod in here from earlier…what’re you dressed for?” He frowned, looking me up and down.
I was jittery with nerves, but I tried to contain them as I faked a sigh, “I’m gonna take a walk, to get my mind off things.” I lied.
“It’s two in the morning…”
“Exactly. I’m nocturnal…remember?” I leaned in and kissed his cheek and gave him a big hug. If I didn’t make it back that night, I didn’t want his last memory of me to be my anxiety attack.
“What’s that for?” He hugged me back, surprised at my sudden display of affection.
“Nothin. Just appreciate you, is all.” I pulled back, “Well…I’ll see ya.” I edged past him and walked down the hallway. I couldn’t help but to glance behind me as I turned the corner to the elevator. Why couldn’t the spirit just meet me here? Why did I have to be so isolated to see him?
“Ugh.” I grunted as I stepped into the elevator. I paused, my fingers on the Lobby button. I took my fingers off and left the elevator, headed back towards my hotel room, when my phone buzzed, causing me to close my eyes and inhale slowly. I took it out my pocket and answered.
“I’m almost to the Lobby.” I stepped back into the elevator and pressed the correct button. The doors closed, there was no turning back now. “Midnight blue mercedes cls, right?” I asked. Even though I had memorized the car the first time he told me he would have it parked around the back of the hotel.
“I don’t know why I’m doing this.” I said, leaving the hotel and starting down the block.
“Because your fuel is your faith, not logic baby…it’s always been like that.”
“I don’t feel comfortable with you calling me baby until I see your face and confirm that you are real. Because in my mind, meeting up with my dead boyfriend, who’s funeral I went to and sang at, who’s body I saw lowered into the ground….is not normal.”
“Fair enough.” He agreed. I closed my cell phone once I spotted the car and I stopped in my tracks. Was I really going to do this?
Of course I was. I hated to admit this stranger was right, but he was when he said my fuel is my faith. I go off of my faith more than anything else in my mind, and sometimes that led me in the wrong direction. I trekked on, balling my fists at my sides and walking towards the car I saw parked in the middle of the lot.
It was running, the windows tinted. Soon, I was standing at the passenger’s side when I heard the click of the door unlock. I swung the door open and took a few hurried steps backwards, ducking my head down to glance in the driver’s seat.
“Oh….my…..fucking…..” I uttered, my eyes widened in shock. I wasn’t sure how much more my heart could take that evening. I pounced onto the passenger’s seat and crawled over the middle arm rest and touched his face. It was him, my lover, Bruno. He smiled and took both of my hands kissing them gently before looking up into my eyes.
“How am I touching you? Ghosts are transparent.” I continued to touch his face, my hands traveling down to his chest and his arms, I couldn’t believe everything felt the same as it did the night I lost him. Nothing was broken anymore, no more bruises or gashes on his face.
“I’m not a ghost–”
“You can call me baby now.” I sat down in my seat and closed the door, still unable to take my eyes off of him. If this was some sick, twisted dream…I never wanted to wake up.
He laughed, “I’m not a ghost, baby.”
“Then how is this possible?”
“I’ll explain everything at the summit…then you can decide if we can still be together.” He glanced over at me with a smile, his perfect, white teeth glinting in the moonlight, “Though I hope you say yes.”
I nodded vigorously, “Of course I want to be with you Bruno, look…” I showed him my hand that still showcased the ring he had given me in the ambulance two and a half years before this incredible moment.
He shook his head, and his expression was rather sad as he drove, his eyes on the road. “Don’t be so quick to say yes.”
I didn’t understand what he meant, but I didn’t press further. I just relished the moment of us together.
We arrived at the top of the summit, and he put the car into park, shutting it off. I watched him, unable to hide my grin as he came around to my side and opened my door, taking my hand and helping me step out. His hand was rather cold, but I figured maybe if he isn’t a ghost…he’s a zombie? Dead things are cold, after all.
“Just like old times.” He said softly into my ear as he stood behind me, his hands on my waist as he gently lifted me to sit upon the hood of his car. He followed suit, sitting next to me, and it was nothing but us and the moon and the vast land we could see from our spot atop the summit.
“Mmm.” I agreed, laying my head on his shoulder. “So is this the part where I wake up?” I asked, raising my head to look into his eyes. They were back to their lively chocolate color, all the jovial spirit returned to them.
“This is the part where you’re going to call me crazy.”
“The fact that I’m sitting with you atop a summit in Nevada, moon-watching is crazy in itself. You can’t top that.”
He studied my face for a bit before looking back up at the moon. “I died in that ambulance. I straight up died. I remember I was trying to hold on, but my body was stealing my mind’s power from me. I wasn’t even in pain anymore, I just couldn’t feel my body. I was gone somewhere, I wish I could tell you where, but it wasn’t here. I was in some field with these crazy lush trees and there was this huge lake, but nobody was there. I knew I was gone, and I had never felt so lonely in my life. I wanted to come back and see you, be with you, seeing you in all that pain had ripped me apart worse than the truck did.”
I listened to him intently, my heart weeping for him, my hand enclosed within his own.
“I walked over to the lake, hoping for some kind of answer in my reflection or some shit from a movie.” He shrugged, “But as soon as I got there, I felt this searing pain.” The way he explained it, I could tell he was reliving it as he spoke.
“Only way I can explain it is if I had an IV hooked to me and they put in boiling acid that was going through my veins. I passed out, I couldn’t take it. I thought maybe I was going to Hell. I thought I was saved, but maybe God thought differently. So I’m feeling like my body is burning, and then suddenly I feel my stomach flip, like that feeling you get when a rollercoaster dips?”
I nodded in understanding.
“I opened my eyes and I was in the Morgue of the hospital. The doctor, Jason Hendrickson, was standing over me, frowning. He leaned down and said...and I remember this perfectly...‘I’m sorry, but your wife was in so much pain. The love she has for you is inspiring to others.’ and I literally blinked and he was gone. I sat up and wondered why I could sit up when moments before I was pronounced dead. And damn I was hungrier than I had ever been.”
I watched him, confused. If he had somehow revived, why hadn’t he come upstairs to take me out of my misery? But I didn’t interrupt, I continued to listen.
“I pushed myself off the metal table and left the room, on my way up to find you, but I was so hungry I felt like I was about to die all over again. Baby when I say I was hungry…” He shook his head, “You can’t imagine it. There was nobody on the ground floor I was on, or so I had thought. A nurse came around the corner and her eyes got real wide once she saw me. But I didn’t read her fear from that, I could hear her heartbeat. It was literally going miles a second she was so terrified…but I was all the way down the hall, so I didn’t understand why I could hear a heartbeat of all things. She backed up and turned around, starting to run, and I felt something stir up inside of me and I can only explain it like….the feeling a panther gets when it sees the antelope start galloping away. I raced after her, but I had caught her in about two seconds flat.”
“She was really scared now, and with my hands on her arms, I could pinpoint every vein that ran through her body, it was like they all rose for me and baby I–I–” He paused, having a hard time coming to terms with the next part of his explanation.
“I felt my teeth click, and instinctively I bit down on my tongue, but I pierced it and I tasted blood. The nurse was shivering as she watched me discovering myself and what was wrong with me. I brought my hand up to my teeth and my laterals were long and sharp like a snake. Once she saw them full on when I opened my mouth, she really lost it and started screaming, and I couldn’t help it I just–” He shook his head, unable to finish his sentence. But I knew all too well how that ended.
“I left her body there and I ran, and man I could run, especially after….eating. I didn’t understand what was happening and I spent months trying to figure out what was wrong with me. After a week Doctor Hendrikson found me. I had been staying in a motel in Sacramento. When he told me I was…..a vampire, I laughed, and I hadn’t laughed in a really long time. But me? A vampire? It seemed–”
“Unreal.” I said softly, hugging my knees to my chest.
“Yeah. But it was real. He created me, his venom was what burned through my body and brought me back to whatever you call what I am. He told me I needed to go back to the hospital and play ‘dead’, but the mortician was a vampire too. See babe, I don’t breathe, I don’t need to, so they dressed me up, put me in a casket, and I went through with the funeral and the burial. But as soon as the sun went down, Doctor Hendrikson came for me and helped dig me out and then replace the grave like nothing had happened. My first thought was that I needed to see you, but Doctor Hendrikson said different…he told me I needed discipline before I could even consider trying to come back to you, or I would kill you. So I listened to him, but I still made sure you got home safe at night when you were walking alone. I still watched you stay up late, writing songs…and I watched you cry yourself to sleep every single night.”
I glanced down at the desert that lay beneath the summit. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know if I should run, because I wouldn’t have a chance if I tried. I made sure to breathe, to keep my heart from beating too fast.
“In movies and shows this is the coolest thing ever.” I finally said after our long silence. “But this is real life and I–I don’t know how to take this.”
He sighed, even though now I knew he really didn’t have to. He must have learned how to make his mannerisms more human so as to not creep me out too much.
“Can I see them? Your teeth…I mean.” I asked, quietly.
He hesitated, “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Bruno, I’m not leaving you just because you’re a–a–well because of what you are.” I couldn’t say the word myself, this was going to take forever to get used to. “I just need confirmation myself. I need to know this is real.”
He tilted his head back and opened his mouth only partially, and I heard the click and saw his sharp laterals push into place. I leaned forward and slowly moved my hand up to the left one and I ran my finger down it, and he reacted my closing his eyes and pushing my hand away, albiet gently.
“They’re sensitive to touch.”
“I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to–”
They retracted back into hidden view, “It’s alright babe…I mean, if I can still call you that.”
I managed to smile, “As long as you can still sing to me, I’ll still be your baby.”
“Oh! I wanna show you somethin’” In a flash he was gone and then reappeared atop the hood of the car with his guitar. I nearly fell off. “My bad.”
“No, no it just…takes some getting used to.” I said, clutching my chest. I found myself enjoying his company just like before…I guess I just couldn’t enjoy it from 5am – 6pm.
“I wrote this song a couple months after I was turned, when I realized how difficult it would be for me to come back into your life again…” He explained as he positioned the guitar in his lap and toyed with a few chords before beginning to sing the most hauntingly beautiful song I had ever heard.
“Truth of the matter is, I’m complicated.
You’re as straight as they come.
You go about your day baby.
While I hide from the sun.
It’s better if you don’t understand,
Cause you won’t know what it’s like till you try.
You know I…I’ll be waiting on the other side.
And you…all you gotta do is cross the line.
I could wait a whole lifetime, but you just gotta decide.
You know I…I’ll be waiting on the other side.”
I fell in love with him all over again as his guitar chords grew more intense as he sang the next part that made bumps rise on every part of my exposed flesh.
The moment he played the ending chord, I wanted to grab him and kiss him all over, which usually ended in us making passionate love whenever he used to show me his songs back when he was human….but now I was hesitant, I didn’t know how the rules changed now, and the song was so striking to something deep inside of me that I didn’t want to kill the mood and ask.
“Babe…I love it…the melody swims through my soul and the lyrics are so heartfelt. I love you so much, I really do. I'm so happy you're back.” I leaned forward and threw caution to the wind, throwing my arms around his neck and pressing my lips against his.
And it felt so….damn….good.
His lips hadn’t melted against mine in two and a half years and now I nearly swallowed him as we immediately progressed to tongue wrestling. His hands moved around my waist and I moved closer to him, taking care not to damage the guitar that still rested in his lap. I grabbed a handful of his dark curls as I pulled back and rested my forehead against his, breathing heavily before our lips met again in a frantic rush. Something about our bodies making contact was very electric, almost as though his body was beckoning mine and I couldn’t resist the call.
That is–until I heard a click and he pulled away from me sharply and I backed off and nearly fell off the hood of the car.
“Why would you do that?!” I yelled, tasting the metallic liquid of blood from my lip that I had accidentally nicked on his sharp tooth.
“I can’t not do it.” He groaned, putting his head into his hands as his fangs retracted once more. “I have control over them with three exceptions…my teeth are on autopilot when I’m angry, when I see blood and when I’m turned on….it drives me fuckin insane.”
I breathed, calming down again as I moved closer to him and rubbed his back. I could tell it was upsetting him. “I didn’t know, it just startled me is all.” I shook my head, “I’m not used to any kind of supernatural thing, but you know me baby…I’m down for anything and I’m open minded about everything.” I caressed his face as I spoke.
“I love you.” He said, kissing the palm of my hand.
“I love you more. Always.” I leaned over and kissed his cheek. “So…are we allowed to have sex at some point? If you have to even hesitate to think, then we can’t.” I added the last part in quickly. My life was now on the line, and I never realized how often a person could bleed. I would probably have to start taking BCP pills to stop my period too. Ugh.
He burst out in laughter and I couldn’t help but to giggle myself. “Of course we can have sex, nobody’s gonna deny me my little sex panther.” He pinched my side and I squeaked. “But we just have to be careful, is all.”
“Careful? Of what?” I asked. Great, just what I need, more health risks during sex. Sex has more side effects than those pill advertisements on television! AIDS, HIV, STDs, Pregnancy, and now Vampire risks.
“Sex is very closely linked to feeding for me now, so if things get to be too much I don’t want to accidentally bite you.”
I nodded slowly, “But…” I thought before I spoke, wondering if what I was about to say was going to come out as crazy as it sounded in my head, “What if I wanted you to bite me….?”
He tilted his head to the side and raised his eyebrow in question. “That’s beyond kinky...even for someone like you.”
I blushed, “I was just wondering, gosh. Answer the question.”
“Well if your talkin biting for the sake of biting, yeah I can do that…biting for the sake of turning you? I can’t do. It takes a lot more than just a simple bite to turn someone.”
“Mmm…” I pondered the possibilities and decided it was too much for my brain to handle in that evening. “Alright, I’m done quizzing you on your Vampire 101 facts for tonight.” I pushed myself off the hood of the car and stretched.
“Oh, and baby?” He asked, following suit and putting his guitar gently into the backseat.
“Can you not tell Dave? Or anyone for that matter?”
I frowned, “Why not? He’s gonna wonder why I’m out at all hours of the night.”
He shrugged, “I just want to be secure with you for a while before we throw other people into it. It complicates things.”
“Yeah…your right I guess.” I took my seat in the car and let out a puff of air, inflating my cheeks momentarily as I ran my fingers through my hair. I had a feeling that from now forth things weren’t going to be as pleasant as they were tonight.