The sun outside was so bright it was killing my eyes. We were standing on the front steps of the building waiting for Angela’s bus. It was always the last one, which almost always put us in the line of fire when it came to The Trumps and others who loved to sneer at us. As one bus was pulling away, some stupid jock hung his head out the window yelling, “Come on, kiss her.” We both flipped him off. People are so stupid.
“So you coming to my house?” Angela asked.
“Yeah, I’ll ride with you.”
“You don’t have to stroll the rest of the way. Mom can give you a ride ho…Oh My Freaking God!”
“What!?” I nearly screamed at her. I was facing away from the buses and looking right at her. She clutched her chest and nearly all the color went out of her face.
“I think I have freaking died and gone straight to St. Michael’s bosom.”
“What’s the matter? What’s wrong?”
“That is the most beautiful boy I have ever seen. I want to throw myself at his feet and thank Jesus.”
I turned and nearly dropped my backpack. It was the Asian boy from next door. He was standing at the bottom of the steps looking right up at us.
“Konnichiwa,” he said.
I didn’t know if he was still making fun of me or not, but I heard Angela whisper softly to herself, “dreamy.”
“Konnichiwa,” I finally replied. “What are you doing here?”
He came up a couple of steps and stopped. “I..uh..wanted to apologize.” He waited for a response and when I didn’t give one, he continued. “And possibly…maybe..if you would allow me..to um…walk you home.”
I crossed my arms. He wasn’t getting off the hook this easy; I didn’t care that he was wearing tight leather pants and a white pullover shirt that seemed to hug his frame in all the right places. “I guess it depends,” I answered. “What are you apologizing for?”
He looked around, taking in his surroundings and the fact other students had stopped to watch the exchange. He bowed his head and whole upper body. “I apologize for …being insensitive and having a joke at your expense. My humor was not appropriate for the occasion. I meant no…dishonor.”
I uncrossed my arms and was getting ready to say something when he turned and went back down the steps, walking away at a brisk pace as if he wanted nothing more than to get away. I looked around and noticed a considerable crowd had formed, including two of the three Trumps. They were smirking to themselves.
“Hey wait a minute,” I called out, to which he stopped so fast you’d think I’d threatened him. “What about that walk home?”
He looked up at me with dark eyes filled with surprise. The sad look on his lips turned into a boyish smile. “I would like that honor, Nora.”
“I don’t walk home with people I don’t know,” I said.
Again, he bowed. “I’m Haru.”
I turned around and saw Angela, her eyes gone wide. It had been a roundabout way but I had gotten his name after all. She mouthed ‘call me later’ as her bus pulled up. I noticed the Trumps were gone, too.
“Okay Haru,“ I said, walking up to join him. “You know where I live, don’t you?”
It wasn’t a short walk from school. It seemed even longer because I was walking home with a strange boy I had only spoken to once before, and even then I felt like I had done all the talking. If he was in his element at night, you wouldn’t have known it by his ease at walking home under the burning sun, which in itself was surprising to me. If he was a vampire, how could he stand to be out in the direct sunlight without burning to ash? Hell, he didn’t even sparkle.
“I am sorry about last night. It was very rude of me.”
“It’s okay,” I replied. “You can make up for it.”
He raised an eyebrow as we hit Market Street, just three blocks from the school. “Oh yeah? And how is that, I wonder?”
“What did you say to me last night?”
He grinned. “Oh, you mean when you were looking at my chest to see how my shirt was buttoned?”
I looked away for a moment, embarrassed that he had noticed. “Uh yes, I guess so.”
“I said, Koko Omotemuki.”
“In English, please.”
He stopped and looked at me. He touched his chin and said with a smile, “Face up here.”
My face turned red . I don’t think a guy had ever said anything to embarrass me that bad before. “Oh, was it obvious?” I asked, trying to play it off.
“Um…yes.” He gave me an inquisitive look. “I just wonder if you do a chest inspection with every guy you meet, or if I’m something special.”
“No, it’s nothing like that…” I started.
“What, you don’t think I’m special?”
This stunned me. “I…I’m…I don’t know..I”
Once again he was having a laugh at my expense, but I wasn’t so mad about it this time. In fact, I kind of liked it. His eyes seemed to dance in the light as he spoke. I couldn’t look at them for long; they were too intense, and he seemed to know this because he kept trying to make eye contact.
“Seriously,“ he said, “what was the big deal? Was my shirt dirty or something?”
“No, I was trying to figure out something,” I admitted.
“Oh really. And that was?”
“I was trying to see if you had a tattoo.”
He raised an eyebrow. “You’re not very forward, you know that?” He laughed at the expression on my face. “Yes, I have a tattoo.”
I knew I was being bold, but I had to know. “A moon with vines that says ‘Loveless’ across it?”
He stopped me with his hand on my arm and a look of concern. “No, that would be my cousin, Ryo.”
To be continued…
“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D. Aronson. All Rights Reserved.