What to do about Jack? The immediate satisfaction of just tracking him to his home and eating him wars with the desire for the greater satisfaction of a real hunt.
An hour of that and I am just as undecided.
Better question, or at least a question I could likely come up with a real answer for: what to do about Billy? He is kind of cute...
Okay, stop it right there. This is not a YA paranormal romance. Do you sleep with your food? No! You don’t. (And if you do, I don’t want to hear about it. That’s a bit kinkier than I want to get, and my own tastes on the subject are already pretty damn broad.) Do you fall in love with your food and expect to have a long-term relationship with it? No! You don’t. I am a vampire. He’s a human. Basically, to put it in human terms, he’s a steer. Steer may be cute, they may, on rare occasions, make good pets, but really, the reason you keep them around is to get them nice and fat so you can eat them.
But, I do kind of like him. And, there is something to be said about occasionally breaking in an eager virgin. There’s a certain look on a guy’s face the first time… Anyway… We’ve way too far into TMI territory here.
Okay, it’s true that some of the young vamps do sleep with humans for fun. And it’s true that these days the humans more or less expect us to have sex with them before or during eating them. From what I can see, that’s about as exciting for the vamp as kissing your 97-year-old great-grandmother is for most humans. (And yet another reason I don’t go after humans anymore. I wear most male vamps out. What the hell am I going to do with a human? Please!) Usually, if we’re looking for a bedmate, we’ll turn them because humans just don’t have the stamina to keep up with us.
Oh, and for all you paranormal romance reading girls out there, heads up: sex is a learned skill. Turning into a vamp does not suddenly make you Mr. Romance or particularly good in the sack. Just like any other learned skill, you need time and practice. Expecting a vamp to be good at sex is like expecting him to be able to speak perfect French. If he’s put the time and effort into it, he’ll probably be better at it than anything you’ve
ever seen. If he hasn’t…
Here’s the thing; I’ve let several of the ones that hang out at high schools ‘seduce’ me, and they were pretty damn lame. I don’t know if they were still pretending to be teen boys, or they were holding back because they thought I was a human girl, but, even if I wasn’t dead, those few kisses wouldn’t have gotten my heart pounding.
Likewise, I’m pretty damn sure Anne Rice never met a real vampire. We don’t get off on eating. Even the best meal of your life wasn’t a literally orgasmic experience. It’s not for us either.
Okay, all clear now? Good.
Back to Billy. I do sort of like him, the kind of fondness one might have for a particularly cute kitten.
But now that I know what is up with him, keeping him around could only mess up my chances of catching Jack. One thing most vamps don’t go for is the girl who already has a visible boyfriend.
Of course, keeping him around might be fun, and that’s also the point of this. After all, there’s nothing that says I can’t outright hunt a vamp, instead of letting him think he was hunting me.
But just a straight, outright hunt would be awfully fast. Find vamp. Follow him home. Break in. Kill him. In, out, and done—not a lot of finesse there.
And not a lot of finesse is boring. I might as well eat humans if I’m not going to bother with finesse.
I can try seducing the vamp. Try being so fabulous that he’ll want to be seen with me. Make him decide to drop Evie and move up the food chain.
Well, it’ll be a challenge. And, if I’m going to be popular and cool, I could have friends, like Billy.
Might be interesting.
It would certainly be different.
It’s pretty close to midnight. Time for me to go to sleep. Yes, we do sleep. Just like with humans, as we get older we need less of it. Three, four hours does me just fine.
Tomorrow, I’ll be fabulous.
“You look nice,” Billy says as he slides into his seat.
“Thanks. Wanted to be pretty today.”
I am pretty today. I skipped the black clothing and went with a pink cheongsam, white leggings, and cute, little pink pumps. I left off my Goth makeup and went for something that emphasizes how good my skin really is.
I have my hair in its usual bun, hair sticks at the ready, with a few artfully curled tendrils wisping about, looking soft and romantic. I’m so damn cute it would make a puppy cry. With any luck, it will also intrigue Jack.
It seems to be working. He’d checked me out three times by lunch. That was a start. Give it a while longer and he might actually decide to talk to me.
I set my glamour so that everyone near me will feel a desire to get a little closer. They’ll look in my direction and want to know who I am and what I’m doing. It’s subtle; most of the humans won’t even notice they aren’t the ones generating the desire to go check out the new girl.
By the end of the day, I’ve said hi to close to fifty people. There’s a small clot of them chatting with me in each class. Jack’s in my sixth period class, and he did look my way when I walked in with a collection of teen girls all babbling away about my outfit. I look back at him and smile. One of the other girls saw him and starts cooing about how cute he was.
I agree with her and let the wash of blather rush around me.
A brief fantasy of glamouring them all into shutting up and just following me around flits through my mind. I smile at the image and dismiss it. I’ve never had a herd of minions, though I’ve met some vamps who have. Herds of minions are for the people who don’t like hunting.
When the final bell rang, I’m sure of one thing: I am not cut out to be popular in high school. The vast vapidness of it is killing off IQ points at close to fifty an hour. Too much more of it and I’ll be a talking monkey.
So, back to plan A? It’s a bit late for that. I can just ditch this town and go looking for the next one. Maybe head back to Charleston and go for a different sort of hunt. Been a long time since I’ve done an urban hunt with prey that acted like an adult.
That sounded good. Catch Jack. Eat him. And then get out of high school for a while.
I was sure of one other thing: the crowd of kids kept Billy away. He vanished shortly after English.
No point on being here if I’m going to be surrounded by morons.
So, tomorrow I’ll be me again. I’ll hang with Billy. And at the end of the day, I’ll track Jack to his lair. In, out, and done. So much for finesse. The day after tomorrow, or the day after that, I’ll head home: back to warm air, soft breezes, blue, blue skies, and my Charleston single.
My cell buzzes, pulling me away from my image of home.
“Helen Grace?” I don’t recognize the voice. It’s an adult woman.
“Hello. This is Rebecca Price, Billy’s mom. We’ve had to take him back to the hospital, and he wanted me to call you.” For a second, I wonder how he’s got my number, but then I remember that I friended him on Facebook and my cell number is listed there.
“Oh. What’s happened?”
She sounds like she’s in danger of starting to cry, but holds it together to say to me, dispassionately, “He got a nap this afternoon. He woke up with a massive headache, unable to see.”
“What room is he in?”
“I’ll be there to see him as soon as I can.”
She didn’t say anything, but I get the feeling she’s relieved to know her son has a friend who wants to visit him.
I’m not a huge fan of hospitals, but they’re way, way better than they ever were in the old days (defined as any time before 1980). Sick humans smell bad and taste worse. And, of course, the vast majority of people in a hospital are sick. So, for comparison purposes, imagine going to a grocery store where all the food is going off. Some of it minutes from rancid, some of it barely past its prime.
What, you don’t want to visit? Amazing.
The cancer ward isn’t all that bad. The chemicals sort of mask the smell of dying human.
I poke my head into Billy’s room.
“It’s not looking all that good for you, is it?” I say it like a joke, and he responds in kind.
“Nope.” He smiles in my direction, but I can see from the tilt of his head that he can’t actually see where I am. “Worse and worse by the minute.” His voice goes serious. “I turn eighteen day after tomorrow, and as long as I’m not in a coma by then, I’m going DNR. My parents don’t want me to, but… This is futile. It’s not worth a few extra days.”
I enter the room and stand next to his bed. “I didn’t press your mom for details. She sounded like she was about to start crying on the phone.”
“Tumor’s so big it’s pressing on the nerves that let me see. So no vision. It’s growing fast, so obviously the chemo isn’t doing its job.”
“Are you in pain?” I can’t smell it, but like I said, the cancer ward smells chemical.
“Nah. Got all the morphine I could possibly want.” He fumbles around for a switch on the bed. “Hit this little button and I’m just dandy.”
“So, you weren’t kidding about doing morphine for fun?”
“Only a little. It’s pretty nice. Nothing hurts; my mood is good; if my skin would stop itching, all would be zippy.”
“So what happens now?”
“Now… I’m here. I keep pumping myself full of drugs. Eventually, my brain stops functioning, I slip into a coma, and then…”
He smiles at me. “You know what they say: live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse. Would have liked a little more fast living, but you take what you can get.”
“That you do. Can I do anything for you?”
“This’ll sound dumb, but, can you read me my Facebook feed and update it?”
“Sure.” And that’s how we spend the next hour.