I tried my best to stay busy, so I wouldn’t think of Haru so much. I lay up in bed, streaming movies and trying to get lost in someone else’s story, but it wasn’t working. Every story on the television reminded me of my own. Or at least, every guy on the screen made me long for Haru. I couldn’t lose him from my mind, and the worry overtook me no matter how I tried to focus on something else.
I turned off the TV and went to my desk. I brought out some paper and pencils and began to doodle. I thought maybe I’d sketch Black Butler or another favorite anime, but the face I drew was not of Sebastian, or some other anime character. It was all Haru. The piercing dark eyes. Slightly flushed cheeks, pouting lips. Pale, flawless skin. I closed my eyes . I could almost feel his lips full against mine, his strong arms lifting me from my chair to carry me to the bed where he would lay his hands gentle upon me. I opened my eyes. I was alone. The beautiful vision of Haru had been just that. My longings for him and his touch invading my very thoughts.
I put the drawing away and got up from the desk. Walking to the window, I looked across the yard to the other house. Haru’s room and the widow’s walk was dark. No sign of life, not even a candle in the window. I turned away, trying not to think sad thoughts, but once the mind gets to dwelling on worry, it seems all kinds of images play hell with you. Horrible thoughts like, what if Haru doesn’t recover? What if he died in Ryo’s arms after I had run out of there?
I had to admit seeing him drink from Ryo like that made me a little jealous. I didn’t think they were lovers or anything, but something stirred within me, demanding it should be my arms holding Haru, offering my skin to him, being the lifeblood he craved more than anyone. But that’s right, I couldn’t be his lifeblood. To drink from me for a lengthy time would kill me. I would not arise as one of the undead, either. I would be just like his first love, Chiyo; cold, lifeless, never to feel the warmth of his kiss again.
A tear threatened to escape my eyes while thinking of these things, and I had to get out of my room. It was starting to feel claustrophobic and way too lonely. I crossed the hall and went into the bathroom. I didn’t bother shutting the door behind me. I turned on the shower and got undressed. Testing the water, I stepped under it and let it wash over my body. The water cascading down my frame soon became Haru’s fingers in my mind, and I slumped against the shower wall and cried.
“Please come to me,” I pleaded to the empty room, before sliding down to sit on the floor, the hot water pouring over me to mingle with my own tears.
There comes a time in a relationship when you realize you can’t live without the one who has come into your life. They are so much a part of you that you wonder how you even existed before them, as if life began with them, and the old life before belonged to someone else. That’s not to say the old sorrows and loneliness go away, but you know what can stop it now. You know the touch, the kiss, the very warmth that can save you. Haru, to others who didn’t know him, would perhaps seem a cold, undead vampire. But to me he was a warm, loving boy, and I craved him more than I craved anything before. And I hoped he yearned for me, too. I worried that maybe he didn’t, at least not in the same way. I felt like he liked me, even loved me perhaps, but what was it like for a vampire? What did they think of when they were resting? Did they dream of love and passion, wanting someone with an insatiable desire so bad they’d wake bathed in sweat amid soiled sheets?
I stood up and turned off the shower. Wrapping a towel around me, I stood there a few minutes, berating myself for my worries and wanting. The bathroom had a small window, a half window really, that allowed light to filter into the otherwise private room. It was dark out now though, and the only light came from star shine and the glow of the moon. I looked out the window, and saw it afforded me a view of the house across the street. The Winston House.
Of course I thought of Haru. Was he still over there, being nursed back to health? Or was he home now, resting and recuperating? How long did it take a vampire to get their strength back when they have neglected to feed anyway? I wished in that moment that I knew something of his fate. Even a phone call to let me know would be welcome at this point. And then my cell phone went off in the bedroom.
Haru! I sprinted from the bathroom and into the bedroom. My cell was on the desk and I snatched it up. Across the screen was an unknown number. I pressed answer. “Hello?”
There were a series of crackles and pops on the line, and then someone cleared their throat, much in the same way one does before making a public announcement. But there was no announcement; only silence. Another crackle and pop, and I thought I could hear a faint something, but couldn’t determine what it was.
“Hello,” I repeated, and this time there was an answer. It was barely discernible, but there it was. A giggle. Like a child’s mischievous laugh without the innocence. It repeated itself to make sure it was heard, then an exhale of breath and a word rendered in three syllables: Ic-a-rus.
“Excuse me?” I asked, not sure that I heard it right. It had been faint, and in a childlike voice, but it sent chills up my spine. I don’t know why. Perhaps the tone, as it did seem to be of sinister intent. “Who is this?”
Whomever it was, they hung up. I heard the click, louder in my ear than the voice had been, and I wondered if the person had called from a landline. The clicks on a cell were not as loud or prominent in my experience. I looked at my handset. Unknown caller. I thought about hitting redial, but before I could, it went off again in my hand. I almost dropped the phone, but then I saw Angela’s name on the screen. I answered it.
“Hey,” I said.
She was a bit surprised. I never said hey; I always answered with hello, even with her. “Hey yourself, “ she replied. “Everything alright over there?”
I sat down on the edge of the bed. “Yeah, Ang. Just a little freaked out. Had a prank call or something.”
“Lucky you. Was he a heavy breather? Did he talk smut?”
I laughed and it was a relief. Angela always had a way of cheering me up with her perverted sense of everything. “No, I don’t think so,” I replied. “If he did, it was garbled.”
“Too bad. I’d kill for a smut call.”
“I’m sure. So, how’s it going?”
“It would be better if that hot neighbor of yours would crawl through my window and bite me.”
I froze. Did she know something already? “What do you mean by that?”
“It means just what I said. That Ryo has such a gorgeous mouth, I wish he’d put it all over me.”
I sighed, but I was smiling. “You got it bad, Ang.”
“Yes I do. And when I saw him at the club last night I was like, holy shit! I have to have that man! You should have seen him. My god, he looked like he had been poured into his clothes.”
“I tried to take his picture with my cell, but the lights kept screwing it up.”
“Did you talk to him?”
“Oh god, yes. He has such an amazing voice. He could talk to me for hours about automotive parts and my panties would still fall off. Damn, he is so sexy.”
“Well, I don’t think automotive parts are his thing.”
“Oh, they aren’t. He told me he liked old horror movies, and Manson, and saucy blondes.” I heard her giggle on the line, and I thought, uh-oh, that’s her ‘I’m getting ready to do something crazy’ laugh.
“Ang, be careful,” I said. “You hardly know the guy. Don’t do anything you’ll regret later.”
“I wouldn’t regret anything with him. And anyway, you barely know Haru, and you guys are already making out in the grass and stuff.”
“Yeah I know. Just be careful, that’s all I’m saying.”
She sighed. “Yes, mommy. I’ll be careful tonight.”
“Yeah, can you believe it? He asked me to his house tonight. Man, I am so ready for this!”
The excitement was unmistakable. Her voice alone let me know what she was hoping to happen. I, however, wondered if something else was going on. The other day, Ryo acted like she was the most annoying girl ever, and now he was asking her to come visit him at his house. Something didn’t ring right. I know vampires can probably be fickle and change their minds about people too, but it didn’t fit what I knew of Ryo’s character. What I did know however, was last time I was over there, Haru was laying at the point of death, drinking blood from Ryo’s chest. But, what if that hadn’t been enough. Maybe it took more than just vampire blood. Maybe it was required from another, more human, source. They couldn’t take mine without something bad happening to me, but if it came from someone else maybe it would not matter that much to them.
“Angela, I don’t know if it’s a good idea for you to go over there right now.”
“I just don’t think it’s a good thing. You are there by yourself.”
“Well, I don’t want to share him with anyone, dummy. What’s up with you anyway?” She hesitated. “Oh, I get it. You want Ryo, too. Don’t be greedy, girlfriend.”
“No, it’s not that. I just don’t trust…”
“You don’t have to. And I don’t have to either, for that matter. I’m not going over to get married or meet the reverend.”
I didn’t know how to warn her. I couldn’t tell her the truth, that they were vampires. While she thought she was wanted for her and her body, it may have been the blood they were after. I didn’t think Haru was that way. I couldn’t see him ever doing such a thing, but Ryo, I could see it, especially after Chi’s take on him being so loveless inside.
“I know, Ang. I’m not trying to be preachy. I just want you to be careful.”
A vision popped into my head. A vampire army with Angela as its queen. Problem was, I could see her sliding right into that role, to rule beside a ruthless Vampire King. But, who was the king? Could it be Ryo? Is he the one building an army for takeover? I mean, there is an animosity, or rivalry of sorts, between he and Haru, and Chi said she thought she knew who it was. Had Ryo been in Chelsea Valley for awhile, making plans without the other vampire’s knowledge?
“Look, drop it Nora. Okay? I’m going to hang out with Ryo tonight. Stop being so envious and jealous.”
“I’m not jealous. I just know things you don’t about…”
“You know nothing, Nora,” she replied in an angry tone. “Absolutely nothing. Just shut up and let me have this, damn it. Don’t come between Ryo and I or I swear I’ll forget we’re friends.”
Before I could say anything else, she hung up. Click. Just like that. Frustrated, I tossed the cell onto the bed. I couldn’t believe this. How many people were I going to lose today? First, Haru’s on his deathbed, and now Angela, for the first time ever, hangs up on me in anger. I felt that in the space of just a few minutes, I lost her. My best friend. Who else was there to lose? Sometimes it’s best not to ask such questions, as fate has a way of answering.
I sat on the edge of the bed, lost in my thoughts. If Angela wasn’t going to protect herself, it was up to me to do it. But what could I do? Anything would make a bigger mess of things, but I couldn’t sit here idle, waiting for Haru and watching Angela step right into a bloodsucking trap. So I did what all girls do when they want to distract someone. Go for the eyes.
I went to the closet to pick out an outfit I thought would appeal most to vampire boys on the prowl. I chose a black and red checkered skirt that came down to just above the knee. Some sheer black leggings from my dresser. A ‘Queen Of The Damned’ tank top, whose image of two lovers in a bathtub of blood was sure to catch any vampire’s eye. I topped it off with an open white jacket with coat tails and no buttons. Oh, and the shoes. One can’t wear chucks around vampires. They may be comfortable, cute, and cool, but they scream ‘unsexy’ unless the chucks are ALL you have on. So slipped into some black boots dad had bought for me. At the time, he had joked he’d got them from a s&m shop. I giggled at the memory. I couldn’t see my dad in a place like that, but then again I couldn’t see me dressing like this to distract a boy either. This was my basic concert or clubbing attire, and I didn’t wear it to impress guys. One thing boys didn’t get was that girls don’t always dress to turn them on; most of the time they dress to show other girls up.
I stood in front of the mirror, admiring the look. For once, I thought I looked kind of hot. Well, except for the hair and makeup, which I set about to fix. I applied dark eyeshadow, black lipstick lines, a dash of foundation to make me look paler than I was. For the hair, I really didn’t know what to do, so I got out my straightener and went for the Morticia Adams look, straight down my back and off the neck. I smiled. Now if only I knew what to do with all this.
When I walked outside, across the yard, and into the street, I wondered if anyone was watching. A neighbor looking out their window would have thought one of two things. Either, Halloween had come early, or there was a goth hooker convention happening close by. Still, I strutted with confidence into Mrs. Winston’s yard, hoping that somehow Ryo had seen me coming and wouldn’t hesitate to invite me in. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do after that. Talk him out of Angela, offer myself to him in exchange, or some other stupid shit. All I knew is I had to try and distract him from my friend. That would make her more angry than she already was, but someone had to stop this thing from happening. Sure, the vampire life seems appealing to most, but today I had the seen one of the flip sides; the horrible state that overcomes the vamp when they haven’t fed. Haru had been close to dying. I know I downplayed it a lot in my mind, so I could get him back home, but the truth was I almost lost him. And even now, I didn’t know of his fate. I didn’t want to see Angela like that, deprived of the things that give her life and left to suffer.
Up on the porch, I raised my hand to knock. I hesitated. What the hell was I doing? I heard sounds from behind the front door. It was faint, as if the heavy wood was masking the sound. Music. Exciting and fast, it seemed to race as much as my heartbeat was. My fist met the door and the sound seemed to echo in time to the music, which seemed to be growing louder. The door opened and I was assaulted by the energetic and sexual beat of the song. It was by Miyavi, another favorite Japanese artist of mine, and it’s title, “Secret”, seemed perfect for this moment. What wasn’t perfect however, is it wasn’t Ryo who opened the door. It was my World History teacher, Mrs. Lazenby.
“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2017 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.