I sat in the guidance counselor’s office awaiting my turn. When we arrived, Chinatsu had marched right into the inner office and declared in a loud, cheery voice, “I did it,” which I’m sure threw Mrs. Grayson off her guidance game. I looked over at Angela, who raised both eyebrows and made a gesture that let me know she thought our new friend was crazy. When she emerged from the room, Chi was feigning sadness with a drawn down frown, but as she passed me she gave me a thumbs up and said, “I got summer school, too! Isn’t that killer?!”
At first I thought, who uses phrases like ‘killer’ these days? When was the last time Chi was in school anyway? I mean, come on, she was obviously Asian, and the fact that I just recently met two Asian guys, my mind was screaming she was of the same family. Did that mean she was a vampire, too? And how in the hell were they all walking around in the daytime like all they had to worry about was a light suntan?
“Cool,” I replied, as she passed by heading towards the hall. She threw her hand up in a wave and smiled so bright you‘d think she was advertising for a toothpaste commercial.
Mrs. Grayson poked her head out of her office and saw me. “Ah, Mrs. Williams, come on in.“ I got up while Angela fumbled with her cellphone . I knew she was probably watching YouTube videos, probably some new Korean boy band. “Have we made a decision?” Grayson asked, as I sat down in front of her desk.
“Yes, Ma’m. I’ll do the summer school.”
She clapped her hands together. “That’s great, Nora. I know you can pull your grades together with this. You are a smart girl.”
She opened her desk drawer and pulled out a folder. She rummaged through the papers it held, making sure everything was there, and then handed it over. “You’ll find everything you need to know right here. You won’t be alone. Several students will be attending this summer. Just concentrate on your work and we’ll see you pass this grade.”
I took the folder and got up to go.
I looked at her and waited for it.
“Do you know the young lady who was here before you? The tall Japanese girl?”
“Yes, I suppose so. Her name is Chinatsu.”
Mrs. Grayson paused a moment as if turning over information in her head. “Hmm, okay,“ she finally said. “Something about her seemed strange.”
“Like what, Mrs. Grayson?”
She shook her head. “Oh, I don’t know. She just seemed to be playing at this. Like she doesn’t really want to go to school, but has to.” She paused for a beat. “Oh well, since you know her, please tell her that study is important, and nothing goes further than a good education. “
“Yes, I will. Thank you.”
Angela was out in the hall getting impatient. We had first period together and it was getting late. We both ran down the hall to our class. If I thought the beating of Amanda Trump would be the only highlight of the day, I was mistaken, for something bizarre awaited us in our first class.
Odd enough, I have never done well in World History. Until a certain thousand year old vampire showed up, I didn’t even think much about it. It was just a class to try and breeze through the best I could. Angela didn’t do too bad in it. That’s one thing I could say about her: she may be boy crazy, but she got excellent grades in every class she was in. No summer school for her.
When we both strolled into history class, word had already spread about Amanda Trump. A lot of people were in awe of Chinatsu’s knockout punch, but there were still a lot of students who were concerned about the famous Trump retaliation. Many were saying Chi was going to have one messed up face when Amanda was done with her. Angela and I had our seats next to each other by the window. We tried to get there without anyone saying anything, but because Chi had come to my defense, it was assumed we were best friends. Everyone reasoned that the Trumps were going to ruin me so bad no one would ever associate with me again. I hadn’t thought of that, but now it was clear it may have been better for me to take an ass kicking from Amanda.
A couple girls we knew kept looking at us in the same way people looked at car accidents. It was a little awkward, but I had to keep a brave face about me. I wondered if people would have behaved this way if Chinatsu had this class. Other kids were snickering behind their hands in almost anticipation of the upcoming slaughter. But everything went silent when the door slammed and a feminine voice cleared its throat. “Front and center,“ it said.
Miss Lazenby, our teacher, stood at the front of the class facing us, her hands flat on the desk. Something wasn’t right about her this morning. On a normal day, she was all about posture; today she was slouching. Her makeup on most days was impeccable, making her appear much younger than her forty something years, but today her makeup was nearly nonexistent, and it made her look like she had missed out on sleep for about a month. Her outfit was different, too. Normally, she dressed in what I would call casual formal, a long dress with a sweater slung over her shoulders, something she could wrap about her to hide her figure. Today she didn’t care about her figure being hidden. She looked poured into her dress and the length of it was shorter than her normal attire. The boys enjoyed the new Miss Lazenby, but I found it plain weird.
“Today, class,” she intoned in a monosyllabic voice, “we are going to read in our books the chapter on Japanese expansion to the west after the arrival of Commodore Perry in 1853.” She flipped open her own book so hard it nearly flipped off her desk. “Please read silently at your desk the remainder of this class.” She then opened her purse and emptied the contents on the desktop. She grabbed a pill bottle from the pile and popped a couple in her mouth. She didn’t have any water so she just tilted her head back and swallowed. Then she removed a pair of sunglasses from the pile and put them on.
I looked over at Angela. Her mouth was wide open, like most of us in class, looking on the unbelievable scene. Our teacher, in the space of a day, now acted like a drunk or drug addict who had run out of money and was just trying to make it without going to rehab. I don’t think anyone suspected what I did, though. In my mind all, I could wonder is which vampire had gotten to her last night.
“Well, that was like the strangest class ever,“ Angela said once we were out in the hall.
“Yeah.” I still wondered what had gotten into Miss Lazenby. She had all the earmarks of a vampire victim. Who had visited her, Haru or Ryo? I couldn’t see Chinatsu doing that, but if she too were a vampire, perhaps she had. Or maybe it was the creepy jigsaw man. I shuddered at that thought. He was downright terrifying, if you asked me.
“Maybe she went bar hopping and got lucky last night,” Angela joked. We both knew that Lazenby was about as prim and proper as they come. A club was about the last place you’d see her. Angela must have been thinking the same thing because she launched into an excitable newsflash about Spiros, our local teen club. “You won’t believe who’s going to be DJ there this Saturday!” Before I could even answer she blurted it out. “Jonny Faze!”
Jonny Faze was a popular DJ and mixer out of New York. He grew up here and was the closest thing that Chelsea Valley had for a celebrity. The fact he was in his early twenties and was also an underwear model made him Angela’s number one choice of eye candy. We both knew him; his little brother went to Chelsea Valley High and was loosely acquainted with us. We didn’t hang out or anything, but we sometimes spoke in the hall, or he’d see us at lunch and throw stuff at us. He hadn’t quite gotten out of the pick-on-all-the-girls stage, but once he did, I’m sure he’d be a real cutie like his DJ brother.
“That’s a bummer,“ I said, as we moved down the hall toward our lockers.
“A bummer? No way! You know, I heard he had this new thing where he takes the record off one turntable, twirls it on the end of his finger, and then lets it drop on the other one, before ripping his shirt off! It doesn’t get any better than that, girl!”
That would be a sight to see, I suppose, though I couldn’t even picture it. Instead, I was picturing the vampire Ryo ripping off his shirt, his abs tight as a brick, and his chest emblazoned with a sweaty “Loveless” tattoo. Why I thought of him instead of Haru, I hadn’t a clue. Maybe it was because of what Ryo had said about his cousin. It’s hard to get dreamy about someone who may have killed another dreamy eyed girl just like me.
“I’m sorry Ang, you’ll have to go alone.”
“What? No way! This is going to be so wild! You can’t ditch me.”
“I’m going to go see my dad this weekend.”
Her face fell. “Oh.” She took a look around us to see if anyone had heard me. When she saw they hadn’t, she tried to give me a little reassuring smile. “Well, I hope he’s okay.”
“Yeah, me too.” There was an awkward silence between us for a moment. “Well, maybe if I get back in time I can come.”
“That would be great! You should go see your dad early. I’d hate for you to miss out on the party and have to see Jonny Faze on YouTube instead of in person. “
I smiled, but it was a little weak. I wasn’t thinking of Faze at all, but instead was wondering how vampires behaved on the dance floor.
My locker was at the end of the hall, close to the stairwell that led either up to the second floor or down to the boiler room. Angela’s wasn’t right next to mine, but was only a few lockers away. There was a post- it note stuck to the outside of mine. I pulled it off and read it. Written with a red sharpie, it spelled out two words: “Your Dead.” Never mind the grammar was wrong. The message was quite clear and I knew it was from the Trumps. I shook my head. Now it was on. I might as well have been on death row. I could almost hear the rest of the student body chanting, “Dead girl walking.”
Angela snatched the note out of my hand. “Oh crap,“ she said after seeing what it was. “Maybe you’ll get lucky and Amanda won’t be back until after school ends.”
“Damn it,“ I muttered. “I hope she doesn’t have to take summer school.”
I worked the combination on my lock and threw the door open. Angela squealed, and I jumped back in alarm. There was a boy inside my locker. At first, I thought it was a little kid. He was only about four foot tall, though he looked even shorter squeezed into my locker. His curly blond hair was half in his eyes, which were a bright baby blue, and he was so thin I thought even a strong breeze would bowl him over. He almost reminded me of a leprechaun when he jumped out of the locker and nearly danced around us.
“It’s about time you got here,“ he cried. “I thought I was going to suffocate in there.”
“Who are you?” I asked. “And what the heck are you doing in my locker?”
“Well, I was waiting outside of it, but I saw some ugly girls coming so I hid inside. I think they stuck something to the door.”
“Yeah, I got it.”
“But hey, I’m Luhan. Luhan Kai.”
He held out his hand. I must have looked at it funny. After all, who shook hands in greeting anymore? And in high school? The guy looked young enough to know this. He also looked too young for high school, but his eyes and attitude said he was old enough. And the fact he was Asian gave me enough pause to consider the fact that Chelsea Valley’s Asian community was growing in leaps and bounds.
“So what were you doing outside my locker?”
“My sister told me to wait here for her. Locker number SS501.”
Angela spoke up. “Well, that’s her locker, not your sisters, so why don’t you get lost?”
“I’m tired of being lost,“ he replied. “Oh, what am I going to do?”
The boy began to cry and I gave Angela a stern look. Then I looked back to the kid. “Hey, don’t cry. We’ll help you find your sister. What’s her name?”
He looked at me and sniffled as he said it. “Chinatsu.”
Angela and I led Luhan down the hall, each of us holding a hand so he wouldn’t get lost in the crowd. Because he was so young and short, we didn’t feel high school hallways was the proper place for him to be wandering. He was definitely a weird kid. His hair was so curly it looked like something you’d find on an old porcelain doll, skin so flawless he was either too young for acne or had the most perfect skin tone ever. And if that wasn’t enough, when I took hold of his hand, to which he looked up at me and smiled, I noticed his fingernails were painted a light violet.
Chinatsu wasn’t very hard to find. A girl like that can’t hide very well in the crowd; she tends to attract onlookers. Word had spread about her, so girls looked to her in awe, and the boys stood by with mouths hanging open as if transfixed by Venus herself. I found this kind of strange, because in my experience the super pretty girls were always bitches. Chi seemed to be likable, friendly, and didn’t carry herself like she was the Belle of the ball, to coin a phrase of my dad’s. We came across her outside the cafeteria where it seemed she was holding court with her new fans.
“Chi!“ I yelled, trying to be heard over the crowd. She had excellent hearing, for her head turned in my direction. She flashed a smile that if I had been a boy, or gay as the Facebook rumors suggested, you would have been trying to find smelling salts to revive me. She pushed her way past her admirers, which brought out more than several exclamations of disappointment.
“Nora,“ she happily called. “Angela! Luhan!” She stopped, looked at Luhan, and then at the both of us. “Forgive me for asking, but why are you girls holding hands with Luhan?”
“We didn’t want him to get lost,“ I explained. “This isn’t a place for little kids.”
She laughed. “Lost? You couldn’t lose Luhan if you tried. He’s like a heat seeking missile. Literally. Especially with girls.”
Angela and I looked at Luhan, and then back at each other.
“And also,“ Chi added with a mirthful grin, “Luhan isn’t exactly what I would call a little kid. He has five children of his own.”
We both jerked our hands away from him. “Gross!” Angela exclaimed, and for me the feeling was mutual. I gave Luhan a stern look, but he just shrugged with a mischievous smile.
“Sorry, one has to use his size and looks to his advantage with high school girls.”
Chi was still grinning over his ruse. “Don’t worry about him ladies; he’s harmless. Flirty as hell maybe, but he wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
“Killed my first this morning,“ he joked.
“Well, Luhan, you found your sister,“ I said. “But we have to get to class.”
“Aww, and I was going to try and entice you to skip classes with me..” He gave me a wink, and I thought, Oh my god , I’m being hit on by a fourth grader. The last week of school had gone mad…
“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2017 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.