Somehow, someway, Bruno Mars was thankful of one aspect of his new death; no more restless sleep. When he was down for the day, nothing could stir him. Had he been human, there would have been a lot of tossing and turning.
The feeling of waking up was difficult to explain. There was no excitement, no jarring, his body would just turn on. He opened his eyes and sat up in his bed, his fingers unmatting the tangled hair on back of his head from rest.
With a yawn, he began humming a melody to himself as he showered and got dressed. When he was finished, he decided against a hat that evening, opting instead to fix his own hair. He didn't need to wear shades; it was night, and he only planned to go to the studio.
When he arrived, Ari Levine buzzed him inside the building. "Hey man, what's up?" He asked, greeting his friend and partner.
"Business as usual. We've got something good going tonight, I think you'll dig it." Ari replied, following a normal-paced Bruno upstairs to the studio. Muffled sounds of heavy bass and drums could be heard, becoming clearer as soon as he opened the door.
Phil turned around, "Hey you! What's good!" He said. Bruno dapped his friend up and sat on the couch near the soundboard. Ari fooled around with the knobs on the board, looking closely at the monitor as he did so.
"Ready to make magic?" Bruno asked.
"I beat you to it, check this out." Phil turned back around with an excited grin, his dimples showing.
"Wait wait, now who's this for?"
Ari remained expressionless and just turned away. There was a heavy pause before Phil finally said quietly, "Just listen to it."
Bruno's brow furrowed, "Alright...." he said warily. He could tell they were hiding something, it didn't take a vampire's senses to see that. Phil pressed play and the instrumental came through the high quality speakers loudly. It was fast paced, synth and pad heavy, definitely pop. Intense pop. Slightly rock influenced He listened closely, closing his eyes and nodding his head to the rhythm.
"Its not finished, what do you think?" Phil turned the volume down.
"Who's it for?" Bruno raised an eyebrow, his expression serious.
Ari stepped forward, unable to take the tension that was building in the room. "Come on man, you know she's signed to Elektra so when the Execs came to us--"
"Its business, Ari." Bruno already suspected the song was for Roxanne, clearly he was correct in his assumptions. "That's what this is, a business."
He stood up and put his hands in his pockets, walking slowly around the room. "Alright, play it again."
"If it makes you uncomfortable..." Phil began, but Bruno shook his head.
Ari played the track and later on, Bruno added a few more instruments to the melody line. He knew his woman better than anyone, and he knew what sounded best for her voice and style. It was second nature to him. They spent hours working on finishing the instrumental, and left it to Ari for mixing while Phil and Bruno started writing.
"You're off your game bro." Phil observed quietly.
Bruno sighed. "I know."
"You miss her. Go get your woman."
"She's all the way in Europe and I fucked up. I shouldn't have blamed her, I know how bad her attacks can get." Bruno set his notebook aside and leaned back on the couch, his eyes focusing on a spot on the floor absentmindedly.
"I'm not taking sides, or justifying anything but...you're a vampire and this is new to you...you're gonna fuck up sometimes." Phil explained. "But if you love her, you gotta go get her. Come on, pull out the Cassanova and fly over there and run across a field into her arms or somethin."
Bruno laughed at the ridiculousness of the idea. Phil smiled, seeing his old friend shining through his new, cold exterior.
"We need to finish this song." Bruno said. Although the idea was tempting, he knew it would take a lot more than his perfectly thought-out romantic sayings and running across a field. Roxanne was the one woman who didn't fall for his bullshit when he tried to get out of conflict. It was what attracted him to her in the first place.
"Oh! I meant to show you this other song I was workin on, the lyrics are dope, I think you'd--" Phil flipped through the notebook quickly, but drew his hand back as he cursed, feeling the sting of the paper cut. "Damn it."
Bruno's fangs ejected into view before he could even process that he smelled blood. He covered his mouth in irritation. "My bad Phil." He mumbled.
Phil kept his hand far from Bruno, but that didn't conceal the smell. "You good?"
"Yeah, I can control myself I'm straight, I just haven't eaten in two weeks." He shrugged, trying to retract his fangs, but the scent was too strong. He had no desire to feed from his best friend, but this part of him he couldn't control. He could tell it was making everyone feel uncomfortable now.
"I should go."
He vamped off before anyone could even argue.
Minutes later, he was at the start of the dark, damp alley that he had to go down every more often than he would have liked. It was routine now. The shred of humanity he had left hated this, but the vampire instincts he was getting used to, loved this. He realized he couldn't starve himself forever or he might accidentally kill an innocent person.
There was a thick, steel door that was unmarked and rusted on the corners. He stood and waited until he heard heels clicking down the alley. She didn't have to walk, she could have easily used her supernatural speed, but it was clearly for show.
"Need somethin' sugar?" She asked. She was tall with long, dark black hair and vibrant blue eyes. Her lips were painted red and she wore a black corset and a short, leather skirt. She looked like she was part of a BDSM club.
Her nostrils flared when she stood in front of him, she could smell him, his blood. He was dead. "Your creator?" It was her job to ask every undead visitor this question. Some of them were VIP of course.
Bruno didn't feel like being bothered with the antics, "Jason Hendrickson."
"Your wrist." She held out her hand. He obliged with his wrist and her fangs extended into view. She sunk them into his veins only for a few seconds, testing the validity of his statement before letting his arm go. The punctures healed within seconds. "You'll be on the second floor. Only the best for Hendrickson's creations."
She used the key around her neck to unlock the steel door, and watched closely as Bruno emerged inside. He vamped upstairs and strode into the "Cafeteria". It was dark inside and swarming with humans who decide to put their lives on the line just to get close to vampires. Of course they're glamoured into forgetting everytime they leave, and some of them don't even make it out alive...
A large cage in the center of the room held a live Leopard and two scantily clad vampire dancers who would twist and grind to the rhythm of the rock music, whispering seductive words to anyone who got close.
Bruno edged past people, gaining longing glances from a few shy human women, and even some vampires licked their fangs watching him walk by. "Hey." A daring woman pressed her hand against his chest, stopping him.
He smirked, "Yeah?"
"Starving." He played her little game.
Feeling confident, she moved closer to him and pulled her hair to her other shoulder, exposing the creamy flesh of her neck. "I got what you need right here baby."
Amused, he leaned close to her ear and he heard her heartrate pick up. "Sorry sweetheart, you're not my flavor." He said, his voice low. Swiftly, he enclosed his hand around her neck tightly, which made her gasp for breath, afraid she was going to be killed.
"And I'm not your baby." He whispered, letting her go. The girl nodded and apologized quickly. "Now run along." She dashed off and he looked around the club again.
"Bruno Mars! Come, come." A man called from a long sofa over in the corner. It was a private feeding area. He was tall and young looking, only about twenty something was how he appeared. His hair was dark brown and curly, falling beneath his ears, and his eyes were just as dark.
Bruno knew exactly who this man was. He was the first person Bruno could turn to as a vampire. The first one to guide him, to teach him. It was his creator, Jason Hendrickson. He vamped over and sat down.
"Its been months, my child...how have you been?" Jason inquired, studying his creation closely.
"To be honest, not good." Bruno knew that if anyone knew how to help, Jason would. Jason was a thousand years old himself, and had many many creations walking about.
"Oh? Has something gone wrong?"
"Its Roxanne. I screwed up and lost my temper with her and she was really hurt. See, we rarely argue, so when we do its serious. I haven't spoken to her in a month." Bruno explained. Jason snapped his fingers to someone across the room before he spoke.
"Humans and their emotions." He shook his head in sympathy. "Well, my child, I believe now is the time I taught you something."
"I don't wanna use any of my abilities to get her back, that's not cool." Bruno quickly replied.
"Trust me." Jason assured him. "You've fed from her, correct?" Bruno nodded. "Has she fed from you?"
Jason pondered this for a bit before speaking again, "It'll be a little more complex but its able to be done. You two have a blood bond now. You can use that to figure her out, but you mustn't abuse it, understand?"
Again, he nodded.
"Here, you need to drink." Jason held out his wrist. Bruno had gone through this the last few times he had to learn a new ability. Because his creator was so old, he was extremely powerful too. His blood was what gave his creations more power, but Jason was careful about which vampires to feed, some could abuse this privilege. But there was something about Bruno Mars that made Jason believe he was a very unique and essential vampire, and he was proud to have created him. Especially because of what he had planned...
Bruno sunk his fangs into the veins of his creator, drawing the sweet crimson liquid. It did nothing to satisfy his hunger, only human blood could do that, but it was an addictive syrup, the power was mindblowing as it strengthened every part of him.
"That's enough." Jason removed his wrist and wiped the excess blood with a napkin, the wounds healing. "I've taught you to feed cleaner than that, my child." He frowned at the jagged roughness of the bite marks that were now invisible.
"I'm hungry Jason, I can't help it."
"I've got an AB Negative human on the way for you." Jason faced Bruno, getting serious. "Now, close your eyes. Can you feel your blood bond?"
Bruno tried hard to focus. "She's so far away. I know she's alive, but that's it."
"Focus, child. Focus on the bond and try to pull it to the front of your mind." Jason watched his creation tap into his vampiric abilities.
"I can feel her more."
"Hold onto that."
He concentrated harder on the essence of her. The more he tried, the warmer he felt, as though he were pulling her into his arms. It was like a faint song that was becoming clearer to decipher. All the details and workings getting louder. "She's confused."
"You're feeling long distance emotion, excellent, keep prying." Jason instructed.
Finally, Bruno broke down the door to their bond within his mind and he was swamped with her feelings one after the other. It was overwhelming, he didn't know what to do.
"Speak what you see." Jason commanded.
"Confusion, hurt, worry, anxiety, frustration, excitement. I see words....Robyn, dancing, singing, wrong, London, Ashley..." He opened his eyes and froze, sideswept by the onslaught of thoughts.
"Rupert." He growled.
"Relax. Why are you angry?" Jason asked, motioning for someone. A woman came over and took a seat next to Bruno, glowing with excitement.
"She's with her ex boyfriend."
"I forbid you to murder him." Jason said immediately. He knew all too well the wrath of a baby vampire, and before Bruno could object, he ushered his command. It was impossible for a baby vampire to disobey their creator.
"Jason..." Bruno curled his fists.
"Not another word." Jason quieted him fiercely, "Feed."
Unable to argue, Bruno pulled the nameless woman closer to him and he sunk his fangs into her neck, devouring her blood. She gasped, wincing at the pain from his rushed puncture of her artery.
The sun poured into my room, and I felt unusual. I felt unusual because I was within the arms of a warm, masculine body. I opened my eyes and blinked a few times, looking up to see Rupert, fast asleep. His breathing was long and deep, his blond eyelashes twitching slightly as he dreamed. It felt good to be held from the night into the morning. I was still fully clothed, as was he…we were just comfortable in each other’s company.
Maybe this was what I needed? A regular human. I ran my hand across his cheekbone, I loved how unique he was, he was rare, and he loved me. But why did I feel so empty? I wriggled out of his hold and managed to not stir him too much. He stretched himself out and turned over, but was still asleep. His body rose and fell with his breaths, and I was enthralled with how alive he was. Life is a beautiful thing.
I slipped into the shower and brushed my teeth. I wrapped the towel around my body and emerged to see him fishing around and getting dressed.
“Hey you.” I smiled.
“Morning.” He replied, noticing I had entered the room. He continued getting dressed. “Sleep good last night?”
I nodded cheerily, making my way over to my suitcase, though I only needed to put on comfortable clothes. I would be getting prepared for my second concert in London tonight. Luckily today I had some free time. “Better than I have in a long while. I feel bad though, I didn’t mean to stop you from your life just to give in to my girlish needs.”
“You’re fine Roxanne, honestly it didn’t bother me. I’ve wanted to hold you again for a while now.” His phone rang, and since it was near me, I reached out to get it for him, but he quickly got to it before I did and answered the call.
It struck me as a little odd, but I allowed him his privacy and got dressed. My hair was still wet, but I let it air dry as I put my sunglasses on. Soon Rupert entered the other room that I was in.
“Have any plans for today?” He asked.
I eyed him curiously, “I don’t know…do I?”
“Now you do.” He replied. “There’s a little cafe not far from here, it’s nice and private and the food is bloody good. You’ll fancy it.”
“Cafe it is then.” I agreed. We rode together in his little sports car, blasting all kinds of downtempo music that we used to listen to together. He raved about all the new artists that were coming out in underground in europe. I was thrilled, I always loved a good underground downtempo artist…those were usually the best quality ones.
We entered the cafe together and chose to sit outside because of how nice the weather was…plus, he assured me it was private, which made me feel so much more comfortable. Not that I didn’t want to be seen with him…but I wanted to take a break from the magazines for a bit so I could be off everyone’s radar. Nobody likes an attention whore, and that’s a fact.
“So besides your awesome taste in music…what have you been up to?” I asked, scanning over the menu.
He toyed with his straw in his glass of ice water, “I’m working on a new film actually…it’s called When The Angels Sleep. Man is it brilliant Roxanne….it’s a paranormal thriller.”
I laughed at how excited he was getting as he explained it. “Those are all the rage nowadays! I’m just glad you're out of the wizard rut. What about the others?"
He gave it some thought, “Dan's in a musicial. Em is in graduate school. I think Tom was some evil villian in some movie.” He shook his head, “Anyway, I’ve gotten better with interviews too.”
“You’ve always been good at that Rupert, you're good at talking.”
“Your kidding right? I’m good at mumblin is what I’m good at! But ever since your little lessons…”
“Oh God…” I sipped from my drink, smiling ear to ear at the sheer thought of my little “tutoring” sessions. It was a mixture of role-play and interview presence tutoring. I was quite the explorer in my youth. Suddenly, a flash went off.
“Not again…” I moaned, dropping my head instantly.
Rupert looked confused, “This place never has Paps!” He exclaimed, looking around at the emerging photographers.
I hid behind a menu, “It’s me, I’m cursed or something I swear.”
“Roxanne are you and Rupert dating again!?”
“Welcome to London Roxanne!”
“Guess you’ve moved on from Bruno huh?”
“How’s your date going?”
I stood up, “Let’s go.”
“You sure? We haven’t even ordered yet.”
I gestured to the flourishing photographers, “Does it look like we’ll be able to eat? Come on.” I took his hand in my own and we left together. Once safely in the car and traveling down the road, I put my head into my hands and closed my eyes, trying to regain my calm.
“I thought you said that place was private!”
“It usually is Roxanne, I had no idea.” He said, turning down another road. He reached over and rubbed my back soothingly, “I’m sorry.”
I sat up. “At least you tried.” I said with a polite smile. I didn’t want him to feel like it was his fault or anything. Staff at the cafe must have ratted us out for money or something. Shit happens. There was a pregnant pause in the car as he drove. I noticed he was doing his nervous habit of tapping his fingers on the steering wheel and chewing on his lower lip.
“Roxanne…” He finally said, “Why did you leave?”
Instead of evading the question, I honestly gave it some thought. I knew it was going to come up at some point. “I couldn’t do the distance.”
“We could’ve fixed that. I would have moved–”
“And give up all of your British movie success? I couldn’t be so selfish to ask that of you Rupe. I’d never forgive myself.” I glanced over at him. He met my gaze for a few seconds before returning his eyes to the road.
“Can we go back to what we had?”
“I don’t know Rupert. I don’t think I’m ready to move on yet.”
“You are, you just aren’t letting yourself.”
“Let’s get this straight…you don’t tell me what I’m feeling, alright?” I snapped.
He pulled up in front of the venue for my performance that evening and shifted the gear into park. “I’m trying to pull you back into reality. And if I’m wrong for that, bloody sue me then but dammit I love you. Good luck on your set tonight.”
I started to get out of the car, but I stopped mid-way, glancing over my shoulder at him. “It’s my last night in London.”
“Will I see you?”
He gave me a quirky, shy smile. “You gotta make up your mind Roxanne.”
“My mind is made up. I need to be with you tonight.” I said softly. I leaned across the seat and placed a sweet kiss on his lips. I pushed his hair out of his face and kissed his cheek, and with that, I left.
“Another night, another show baby! It’s all you superstar!” Robyn yelled as I stood on the platform, getting ready to open my set for the night.
“Rockstar status!” I threw up the rockstar sign and seconds later, the platform rose into the air. But once I was met with the hysteria of my fans, I had that sick feeling in my gut. It’s unexplainable, my intuition. When you know something isn’t right, but you can’t quite figure it out. And for some unearthly reason, I felt like it had to do with Rupert.
I pushed it to the back of my brain in order to put on the best show for my fans. After the concert was over, I was toweling off my sweat in my dressing room when Robyn and Ashley came bombarding into my room.
“Super long line of fans for the meet and greet! Let’s go…” Robyn pulled on my arm.
“What’s the rush? I’m so gross right now!”
“It’s our last night in London and we’re taking you to Aura!” Ashley exclaimed as they both teamed up to drag me out to the waiting fans. I couldn’t help but to be in high spirits around these two. I hadn’t been clubbing in about a month, I couldn’t lie…I definitely wanted to have some fun.
Once I stepped outside, the crowd started cheering and security flocked me on both sides as I took my seat at a table and began greeting my fans one at a time. I felt so blessed by the things they said to me, it really let me know that outside of the ugly parts of the industry…people genuinely loved me.
I always felt loved by my fans, and that was why I went out of my way for them. But I couldn’t lie, once that line ended, I couldn’t have been happier than to be rushed to my van that was waiting outside to take me back to the hotel. Ashley texted me and said she and Robyn would be waiting for me there.
I stepped out of the van and my phone started ringing. While I entered the hotel, I answered. “Hello?”
“What time did you want me over?” It was Rupert. Shit. I had successfully forgotten all about him.
“Um…in about an hour, and get dressed to go out.” I broke the news to him early.
“Go out…?” He said wearily.
“Yeah, we’re uh–going to Aura tonight.” I bit my lip, ready to hear him back out of our plans when I really wanted to spend the night with him.
To my dismay, he replied, “Alright. I’ll be there in an hour.”