I couldn’t hide the grin on my face as I sat in the backseat of the car, being taken to Vida Salsera in Waikiki. I smoothed out the ruffles on the bottom of my black skirt and adjusted the bright red flower behind my ear.
“Have you ever been to Hawaii?” The driver asked, glancing in the rear view mirror at me.
“A couple times.” I replied with a small smile.
“Hm.” He nodded, “You look familiar…are you an entertainer?”
“I thought so. What’s your name?”
His eyes returned to the road. “Well it’s nice to meet you.”
“You too.” I said as he pulled up to the front of the club.
Bruno had caved on allowing me some freedom, but he didn’t want to put me in any “high pressure” situations, so unfortunately we had to play ‘obstacle course’ with our appearances. We were in separate cars, and I was to go into the front and he would enter from the back. We tended to attract more attention when we were together, but apart we could slip under radars if we did it right.
The chauffeur came around to open the door for me and I ducked into the club before anyone on the street could notice me. After giving my name at the front door, I was led straight back to the VIP.
So far…so good.
The club was pretty packed, and a few people were dancing out on the floor to the live band. The environment was so alive, and now that I could see and hear and smell better…I felt so much more connected to everyone. Like I was feeding off of their energy. It was the strangest high.
I took a seat at the bar, watching the crowd cheer on a couple who was dancing.
“Hey.” A female’s voice said. I looked up to see the bartender, a beautiful girl with long, dark hair and exotic features. “What can I get ya?”
I opened my mouth to speak, about to order when I realized I couldn’t drink. “Water.” I said, frowning as the word left my lips. I wasn’t even sure if I could drink that.
The girl laughed as she wiped the inside of a glass, “You look like you can handle a little more than that.” She set the glass down and poured me a vodka cranberry…which was light normally for me. But I was unsure now…I recalled Bruno getting extremely sick when he faked eating and drinking at our wedding.
“On the house.” She said, sliding the drink over to me, “I’m Leilani.”
“Roxanne.” I replied, holding the glass up to my lips. Well…it still smelled like it did when I was human, I don’t think it’ll….
I wanted to choke when it touched my tongue and went down tasting like bleach; and I didn’t even know what bleach tasted like! But I forced it down so I wouldn’t look like an idiot.
“So you’re married?” She nodded to my ring as she wiped the bar down.
“Yeah, five months now.” I fingered the diamond as I set the glass down discreetly, hoping I could just pretend it didn’t exist.
“Aw that’s so cute. Look at your smile, you must really love him…or her.”
“Oh it’s…erm…it’s a him.” I said awkwardly.
She chuckled, “You never know nowadays, didn’t want to offend of course.”
“No, you didn’t offend me, I’m cool with…everything, you know.” I started playing with my glass.
She gave me a curious look, “Me too. You’re beautiful, by the way.” She smiled.
Oh God I think she’s hitting on me.
I didn’t mean ‘cool with everything’ like that.
Bruno, where are you?
“Thanks.” I stared down into my glass, wishing the vodka cranberry would swallow me whole right about now. “You are too.”
“I guess I am, I’ve got you real shy right about now.” She teased, leaning onto the bar to drag my attention back up out of my glass. Her close proximity brought attention to how lovely she smelled, but more importantly, how alluring she smelled. I heard her pulse steadily beating.
“Hey pretty girl, eyes up here.” She snapped her fingers to return my gaze to her eyes. I had previously been zeroed in on her heart, which I guess looked like I was staring at her breasts and…
Oh God Bruno…where are you…?
“So…where’s your hubby?” She innocently inquired. “There’s no way you came to this club alone, that’s just asking for trouble.”
I swallowed as I closed my eyes, hearing the blood as it swished through her veins. “He’s…around…somewhere…” I looked around the club, trying to figure out a way to get away from this situation…which was going downhill extremely fast.
“Want me to help you find him?” Leilani reached out and placed her hand on my arm, but when she touched my skin, she gasped and pulled back, her narrowed eyes widening with excitement. “Are you…?”
I gave up. “Yes. I’m a vampire.” I admitted softly…now her pulse quickened and her hand rested on my forearm.
“That’s hot, I’ve never met a female one before. My ex was turned, not while we were together though. Some bitch got him killed…” She traced her fingers down my arm and I exhaled sharply, keeping my mouth closed as my fangs had just extended.
You have GOT to be fucking kidding me.
She’s a GIRL!
A drop dead gorgeous one, but a girl nonetheless.
“My hufffsband ith won too.” I tried to talk without opening my mouth too much.
Laughing, she reached out and tugged gently at my chin. “Vampires don’t scare me any, you don’t have to hide.” Her dark eyes fixated on my lips and I wasn’t seeing gender right now, I was seeing food. Slowly, she leaned forward until her lips connected with mine and I was side swept with thirst. I deepened our lip lock, placing my hands on her cheeks as I tasted the tiny droplet of blood from her lower lip being nicked by my tooth, and oh my God I just…I just needed real blood from a real live human, not donor bullshit…and Bruno and I still weren’t having sex and…this was, this was—
“WHAT THE FUCK!?”
There you are.
I pulled back sharply, covering my mouth. “I didn’t do-”
I looked from one to the other, confused. “You two…know…each other?”
“What’re you doing here?!” I asked, thrown into a spiral of confusion at the situation I had just walked in on. “Why are you kissing my wife?! Wha-what the fuck?!”
“Your wife?” Leilani looked at Rox, “Bruno is your husband?”
“Yes? How do you two know each other?” She questioned.
“I was his first love.”
Roxy stood up and slammed her fist on the bar counter, “You’re that hoe that was in Puerto Rico and made him feed off you?!”
“You’re that bitch that ruined his life!” Leilani fired back.
“Roxanne, c’mon, let’s go…people are taking pictures…” I grabbed her wrist, mistakenly under the impression that she hadn’t had the opportunity to get too fired up.
I was wrong.
She shoved me away and tackled Leilani onto the floor behind the bar. Club goers crowded the VIP divider, trying to see the source of the commotion.
I lunged over the bar and got tangled in the brawl for a couple seconds before I grabbed Rox’s arms, considering she was the biggest threat at this point, and I cast her aside.
It wasn’t until she crashed into the liquor display case, sending bottles hurdling to the floor, that I realized that wasn’t Roxanne…
It was Leilani.
“Oh my God.” I vamped over to her, tapping her face, trying to wake her up. “Lani!” Without a second thought, I scooped her up into my arms and left the club for the hospital.
“Move, move out of my way. Excuse me?! I said move the fuck out of my way! Coming through!”
I had covered my face, seeing bulbs going off and little red recording lights all over the place. All I could do was sit on the bar floor, covering my face.
“Let’s go. Now.” A sharp voice demanded.
I looked up, “Presley?”
“No, it’s Jesus. Get up, come on.”
I scrambled to my feet and she guided me out of the back door, daring anyone to stop us, and sure enough they all parted like the Red Sea and allowed me to have a halfway decent exit.
But there were Paparazzi swarming like flies as soon as we hit fresh air. I followed Presley to her truck and clamored inside.
“Roxanne wait! What happened tonight with you and the bartender?”
“Are you and Bruno still together?”
“Why did you cancel all your appearances?”
“How does it feel to be a vampire?”
I slammed the door and covered my face as Presley whipped the truck out of the parking lot and drove off.
Once we were a safe distance away, she exhaled and ran a hand through her long, curly hair. “Why though? Just…why?” She said.
I stared out the window. “That was his ex girlfriend.”
“I know who Leilani is. She’s an irrelevant non factor bitch…and guess who you are?” She asked rhetorically before grasping my left hand and shaking it. “You’re the wife! That means you win! You hold everything down and should have no reason to come out of pocket like that Poprox!”
“But you don’t get it Pres, right before our wedding—”
She waved her hand, “She tried to seduce Bruno, I know.”
I looked over at her, “How?”
“Because he was so upset about it, he called me to ask me for advice. He really didn’t want his stupid ass mistake to screw with your relationship.”
I laid my head against the window, staring at the passing ocean as she drove. “Clearly he doesn’t care ‘cause he’s gone with her so…”
“As he should be! You attacked the girl and he got involved and ended up hurting her! And everyone in that place was filming it, what does that look like if he just leaves her there and rolls out with you? And I’m gonna keep it real with you sis, because I love you very much…” Presley pulled into the driveway of her home and shut the car off before she gave me a serious look.
“You know why they split, right?”
“He mentioned that his old ex cheated on him…only told me once, years ago.”
“It’s more complicated than that.”
I eyed her, “Define…complicated…”
“Leilani was his first real relationship, and they were together from high school up until he was about twenty one. He got her pregnant by accident; but wanted to step up and take responsibility for it, so he proposed to her and they were supposed to get married. My brother was working like four different jobs, trying to save up for this family they were gonna have; but he would tell me all the time that they kept arguing because she would be out madd late, and come home smelling like cigarettes and shit. Eventually she would be gone overnights, but Bruno was working so hard that he didn’t have the time to even stress about it anymore.”
She continued, “Leilani started complaining about him wanting to do music, she didn’t feel like he had any kind of ‘look’ for it, or whatever, I don’t know. She said he was wasting time. So apparently she had started seein’ this other guy, right? Nobody had any idea…and this guy warped her common sense and convinced her to get an abortion. So she did, and after Bruno was trying to get them a place in California, she finally just dumped him…told him she was cheating on him and that she got rid of the baby, and she left.”
“…And let me tell you, Poprox, I never, ever wanna see my brother the way he was that night, ever again. I can’t even describe it. He was wrecked, likesuicidal wrecked, he came home and just collapsed right at the front door and wouldn’t stop crying and shaking and gasping and-” Presley massaged her temples, shaking her head as if to rid herself of the scarring memory. “He used the money he saved up to move to California and…well you know what happened after that.”
I toyed with my fingers in my lap as I received all of that history that I never knew in all the years I had known him. “He never told me.”
Presley hopped out of the truck. “Yeah and now you see why. You gotta find some more control ma, letting situations get to you is what got you here in the first place. Now get out of my car so I can get you some clean clothes and I’ve got to call my brother ‘cause contrary to what you think, I’m surehe’s worried about you.”
“You’re so mean.” I whined, getting out and closing the door. I followed her into the house and she wrapped her arm around my waist, hugging me as we went inside.
“It’s tough love kid, clearly you’re not gettin’ enough of it.”
It was when she pulled me close, that for a fraction of a second, I noticed her pulse. I pushed it to the back of my mind. I already fucked up pretty royally tonight, the last thing I needed was to kill Bruno’s sister.
So I took a seat on her bed while she opened up her closet and began tossing clothes backwards. “Pres, I’m pretty sure I can’t fit your clothes.”
“Yes you can, and I’ve got some of Tahiti’s stuff too.” She sent a shirt flying in my face and I pulled it off, setting it aside. Finally she emerged with her hands on her hips. “I don’t know, find something. But that liquor soaked shit you have on, gotta go. I gotta step out for a sec to call Bruno.”
“Ok.” I stood up and wandered over to the closet, looking around with a sigh as the events of the night began to really weigh on me. If it were up to me, I’d just hit my daytime death early and pretend like problems didn’t exist.
I pulled out a pair of baggy sweats and a beater, changing into it and balling up my dirty clothes. I finger combed my hair and threw it up in a bun, unable to fully de-tangle it from that stupid bitch’s pulling and yanking.
I can’t believe I kissed her. I can’t believe I kissed a chick. I can’t believe I kissed someone who wasn’t my husband, period; but let alone someone as conniving and evil as her. What she did to Bruno was straight up wrong, and the more I thought about it, the more upset I got.
It made me wonder why he was so quick to rush to her aid. I mean, I get what Pres was saying, people were filming so he had his his image to worry about, but he could have at least asked me was I alright, or looked at me, or said where he would be.
No, he just rushed over to her and then left.
He was really worried about her too, I could tell because I felt it. Being his Creation, it was one big open tunnel of emotions between our brains and everything he felt, I could feel.
“I’ve got good news and bad news.” Presley announced as she returned to the bedroom, leaning against the doorframe.
“Unless I’m getting a divorce, I don’t think this night can get any worse.” I looked up at her as I sat on the floor.
“Don’t be like that Poprox. The good news is that Leilani is okay, and um you kissed her??”
“I know she’s a raging bisexual but are you….?”
I laid on my back in frustration. “No, apparently newborn vampires have this compelling brainwashing desire to fuck and eat almost anything. She was all in my face and I heard her heart beating and lost it.”
Presley took a couple steps backwards.
“You’re good Pres, just don’t be all up on me and I’ll be fine. I can’t fuck anything, I can’t eat anything…but I’m fucking fine. Ugh!” I covered my face and kicked my feet in the air in a mini tantrum. 22 years old and shameless.
“Backpedal for a sec here. It grosses me to ask but shouldn’t he be taking care of that?”
“DO. NOT. ASK.”
She held her hands up, “Don’t gotta tell me twice. Just don’t bite or rape me in my sleep ‘cause you’re stayin’ here tonight.”
I sat up straight, “What?”
“That’s the bad news.” Presley walked over and sat down in front of me, crossing her legs Indian style. “Bru doesn’t want you at the hospital for obvious reasons: Leilani, and the blood everywhere.”
“He can’t be there though, what about when the sun rises?”
“He says he’s got it taken care of. But he told me to lock you in my basement and silver the door.”
I frowned, “Why? I’d be fine on your couch just so you block the light out.”
“He said he’s not taking any chances, I guess ‘cause I’m family. But I’ll make it comfy for you, I have an air mattress and there’s no windows down there.”
I narrowed my eyes, “He’s just being dick’ish because he’s mad. That’s so basic, making me sleep in the basement. What the fuck am I? A dog? Bark bark motherfucker.”
“Hey hey hey now, relax girl…we gotta make sure we’re as safe about this as possible.”
“I give up.” Presley threw her hands up and stood up angrily.
“Pres, wait.” I grabbed her wrist, feeling bad that I upset her.
“Nah I can’t with you right now, you’re way out of line. You were in the wrong tonight in every way shape and form. Newborn vampire or not, Bruno told me that he kept warning you but you kept pushing ‘till you got what you wanted and now that it turned around for the worst you’re mad at him?! Listen to how much sense that makes, he has every right to be upset with you, and he didn’t even sound mad on the phone…he just sounded tired. Like straight up tired of everything. You’re twenty two years old, married with a great career…so when are you gonna grow up?” She vented.
“I’m supposed to be cool with sleeping in a basement?!”
“It’s not about the basement Roxanne!” Presley said desperately. “It’s about the fact that Bruno didn’t sign up to be Superman! He shouldn’t be spendin’ every waking moment of the night worried about what fight he’s gonna have to separate you from, worried about who you’re gonna snap on next, worried about how stubborn you are! He told me he wants to make your transition as easy as possible for you; he doesn’t want you to feel like he’s controlling you just because he has the power to. He’s sacrificing a lot for you and it’s like you don’t care!”
“I didn’t ask him to make me into a vampire! I didn’t ask to be a part of this! He came to me and told me what he was and I accepted him and look what it did! It took away my life! My future!” I stood up and yelled. The vampire in me was beginning to awaken and I didn’t like that at all, but I couldn’t stop.
“He didn’t ask for this either! How selfish can you possibly be?! Don’t you think he had a future he wanted too? A life he valued? But what did we do after his death?! We all forgave you at the funeral, we told you we loved you and we would be there for you whenever you needed us. The way you’re actin’ is a big ‘fuck you’ to us!”
“Well fuck you then. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck you. You and the entire Hernandez family can suck my dick.”
“Watch yourself sweetie, that includes you too!”
“All it takes is a signature to end that.” I threatened.
She nodded slowly, “So it’s like that? Whenever someone tells you somethin’ you don’t wanna hear, you just hit below the belt and run away. Go ahead and break my brother’s heart you soulless bitch. If it’s that easy for you, then the love was never there to begin with.”
“I need to go before I kill you.” I vamped from the house, and I didn’t know my way around Hawaii, but someone around this place had to have heard of the Hana Rainforest and could get me back. Granted, we flew by jet and then were chauffeured; but if I can get someone to get me halfway there by car then I can just vamp the rest of the way to the bungalow and have time to myself to think about all the things Presley told me.
I hated that every single one was true.
“I’m surprised you came with me here.”
“I knocked you out Lani, of course I came. I wanted to make sure you were alright, and I wanted to apologize for that mess.” I fixed the flowers in the vase on her bedside nightstand.
I felt her watching me before she finally spoke. “I’m sorry for everything too…and for kissing your wife, but she’s hot though.”
I laughed, “I know she is, that’s why I wifed her! But what the hell was up with that? Are you still bi or what?”
She shrugged, “I’m just all for whoever I fall in love with, or whoever I wanna have sex with…whichever I’m in the mood for.”
“You have…not changed.” I scratched the back of my head with a chuckle as I sat down in the chair next to her bed.
“So did my wedding invite get lost in the mail, or what?”
“Hah. That would’ve been awkward for you Lani.”
“We were best friends before we dated, I want you to be happy, and I can see that you are. I bet you cried, you cried didn’t you?” She teased.
I couldn’t help but to smile. “I might have shed a tear or two, don’t judge me! What was that, one of my three allotted man crying situations? The other two are reserved for family deaths and childbirth.”
I didn’t mean for my last statement to have any depth in meaning, but I saw Leilani’s expression change to a slight sadness as she looked down at her hospital bracelet and readjusted it, her forehead crinkling in thought before she began to speak. “I never got to say I’m sorry…about…you know.”
“Seriously ku`uipo...I think about it a lot and I don’t only feel horrible about hurting you, but I feel horrible about killing an innocent child.” I noticed tears brimming in the rims of her eyes.
“Lani…” I reached out and took her hand and she quickly wiped her tears away. “I already forgave you a long time ago.”
She smiled with a sniffle, “Thanks Bruno…and tell Roxanne I’m sorry about the fight. I just didn’t know how to act when I realized who she was.”
Knowing Rox, she would reply that Leilani could take her apology and shove it up her ass…but of course I wasn’t gonna tell her that.
“I’ll tell her.”
My cell started buzzing and I answered it, recognizing the ringtone as my sister Presley. “Sup midget?”
“I got into an argument with Poprox-“
I immediately grew alarmed, “Are you alright?!”
“I’m fine…but she’s not. She left here pretty upset and I thought I should give you a heads up. She was threatening divorce and shit…”
“Pres what the fuck did you say?!”
“Everything she needed to hear.”
I loved my sister and her honesty; but sometimes she could go overboard and get her delivery mixed up, having her come across as rude when she means well. Of course I knew this, I grew up with her, but Rox on the other hand didn’t react well to being “read”.
I knew Pres was upset about the blow up, especially since I ask her for advice so often so she knew almost all the in’s and out’s of my relationship. She knew how stressed I had been recently and I suppose she called herself defending me.
“Did she say where she was going?”
“No she just said ‘I need to go before I kill you’, and she left.”