Vampire Boys Of Summer
28: Steamed Ryo
Ryo was mad. No, scratch that. He was crazed. A shadow came over his eyes as if something was clouding up within him. His lips curled back and I was afforded a good long look at his fangs as he snarled. “What did you do that for?”
I didn’t know what his problem was. He acted like I cut him, when in fact it was me who was hurting. The blade had gone clean through my pants leg and taken a huge slice across my skin. The cut was deep and the blood was beginning to stain my clothes.
I guess Ryo was enraged that I had severed the mental connection he had worked hard to establish with me. Now I knew what it was like for the girls in all those vampire movies where they just fell into the vampire’s embrace and let him do whatever he wanted as if they were hypnotized.
I put the chair between us. Using the back of the chair, I held myself up, because my leg was on fire. He paced back and forth in front of the chair. I thought at any moment his hands would reach out and fling it away from between us.
“Do you think you are too good for me? Is that it?” he growled.
“No, that’s not it. I’m not ready for this. I’m not ready for your kind.”
His eyes grew wide as if he couldn’t believe what I just said. “My kind?!”
“I mean your kind of personality,“ I stammered.
He wasn’t buying it. “I was trying to be nice,“ he said. “But now I’m going to show you what my kind is capable of.”
All of a sudden there was a knock on the door. We both stopped. My mom wasn’t home, we both knew that.
Ryo half turned to the door.
“Who is it?” I asked.
There was no answer, but when the knock came again it was a little louder.
This distracted me, and Ryo knew it. The window of opportunity had opened up for him. He lunged forward just as the door was blown inward and knocked off its hinges. The door collided with his charging feral frame and it shattered against him, splinters shooting outwards. I ducked so as not to get hit. I turned to the doorway to see what the hell had just happened and saw Luhan standing there.
His short stature and youthful age made him look about as menacing as an elementary school crossing guard on a big wheel, which is why it weirded me out to see Ryo look up from his position on the floor and scoot backwards across the room, trying to put distance between himself and the kid. He stood up and held his hands out in surrender. “Luhan, I was just..,” he tried to explain with definite fear in his voice.
Luhan lounged against the busted door frame, his arms crossed, and shaking his head. “Ryo, you know this isn’t the way we do things,“ he said in his boyish voice. “You know better than this.”
“Yes,“ Ryo replied in a meek voice. I was in shock over how humbled he had become. And at the scolding from a little kid, no less.
Luhan looked at me and said, “Please forgive Ryo, and indeed all of us. We sometimes forget ourselves and succumb to our, let us say, baser natures. I’m sure he is sorry, aren’t you Ryo?”
Ryo looked at me, and though his eyes didn’t say it, his voice did. “I’m sorry, Nora.” He bowed his head and backed towards the window. His face was twitching as if he were fighting an urge to cry. Then he let out a remorseful wail and was gone out the window, as if he were a child trying to escape fierce punishment .
Luhan bowed before me. “Again, my apologies.” He looked at the splintered door. “I’ll see that you get a new door before your mother gets home. I hope you will refrain from explaining this incident to her.”
He turned around and was down the hallway before I could say a word. “Hey wait!” I yelled. “What the hell just happened here?”
There was no answer because he was gone already, leaving me with hundreds of questions about Ryo, vampires, and indeed himself.
I had just gotten out of the shower and managed to dress when I heard the doorbell ring downstairs. I slipped on my sandals and went down to answer it. I had no idea who it could be. No one ever came to visit me without a phone call first. I bounded across the front foyer and looked out the peephole in the door. It was Chinatsu. I breathed a sigh of relief and opened it to let her in. To my surprise, she wasn’t alone; she had the jigsaw puzzle man with her.
“Hey girlfriend,“ she said with a smile. “Heard you need a new door.”
I stepped aside to let them in, but I looked at her with a wary eye. Chi noticed my trepidation and put her hand on her shoulder. “Don’t worry, girl,” she said. “We got this. He’s an excellent carpenter. Been building and repairing homes since Kubla Khan was a baby.”
I didn’t get the reference, but if he could fix the door, and as long as Chi was here with me, I was okay with that. “Mom may be home soon, I’m not sure.”
“Don’t you worry about that. My other handsome uncle is on his way to distract her as we speak. We have enough time.”
“Yes. You know vampire men have an irresistible charm. Don’t worry, he’s not like Ryo; he’ll behave himself like a gentleman. I think he may be kind of sweet on her anyway.”
I didn’t know if I liked that or not. “I already have a dad, so I hope he’s not getting any ideas.”
“No, girl, it’s not like that. He would consider it more like self-preservation than romance. I think most of us have problems in the romance department, but I think Ryo is the worst.“ She shook her head and laughed. “He tends to either break stuff or cause other people to break stuff. So hey, let’s get started. Where’s the offending door?”
“Upstairs. My bedroom. “
“Well of course it would be your bedroom,“ she said with a smirk. “Why he can’t be like Haru, I’ll never know.”
“What do you mean?” I asked, as we headed up the stairs, her speechless companion following behind.
“Ryo is a chaser, and a relentless one at that. He doesn’t like being pursued, but prefers at all times to be the one who takes charge of the relationship. But Haru, is the exact opposite. He waits for you to come to him in most cases. He doesn’t really chase anyone; hasn’t for as long as I’ve known him anyway. If a girl likes him she has to hit him with a brick just to get him to notice her as a woman.” She shook her head. “For years I have been enjoying the show with those two.”
We walked down the hall and into my room. The splintered door still lay where it had smashed against Ryo. “I don’t think it’s repairable,“ I offered.
“Ooh yeah. Looks like you might be right. What do you think, Unc?”
The jigsaw man stepped forward. The door itself looked like a scattered puzzle with a lot of missing pieces. He shook his head and opened his mouth to speak. The sound that came out sent chills up my spine. It sounded like speech on a movie reel that had been cut up and reassembled wrong, so that nothing was understood. But Chi seemed to.
“Yeah, I guess that could be the case,“ she answered him. “I’d go over and check it myself, but I’m liable to slap him for interrupting my date night. Nice young man named Colin.”
My jaw dropped. Could she mean Angela’s creeper, Colin? I guess nerd boys can have their appeal, but that was pushing it a little. She was gorgeous. She could have her pick of the boys, and perhaps the men too. But Colin?
The Jigsaw man nodded and left. I heard him clomping down the stairs and going out the front door.
“He’s going across the street. The Winston house, I believe. Most houses in these suburban neighborhoods are modeled the same. Floor plans, building materials, dimensions. As long as no one has broken this door previously we may be able to get an identical one from over there.”
“What about Mrs. Winston?” I asked, wondering what Ryo had done to the old woman.
“Oh, I doubt she’ll mind. Nothing much bothers her these days.”
“Why is that?”
“Well… Just nothing bothers her.”
It wasn’t much of an answer and didn’t reveal why I hadn’t seen her since the vampires came to the neighborhood, but I didn’t push it.
“He’ll be back soon,“ Chi said, and it took me a moment to realize she was talking about the jigsaw man. “You don’t have to be so afraid of him.”
“I’m not afraid.”
She smiled. “Yes, you are. I can smell the scent of your fear. Unless you’re afraid of me?”
“No, I’m not afraid of you, Chi. You saved my butt today. “
“Good. I really want us to be friends.” She cast a look at me that appeared to be one part flirtatious and two parts mischievous. “Girl hug!” she yelled and grabbed me by my shoulders, pulling me to her. She threw her arms around me and gave me a hug that nearly lifted me off my feet. I didn’t know how to react so I just hugged her back. Her long black hair brushed the side of my face and I caught the scent of honeysuckle and dirt. When she set me down, she seemed to realize I’d caught it. “I hope he hurries, I left Colin out in the woods,” she explained.
My face must have showed surprise because she giggled. “Don’t let the nerd boys fool you, girl. A Nerd on the ground is worth ten quarterbacks in a locker room shower.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at her analogy. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to picture Colin, president of the unbathed and weird club, as a guy any girl would want to be with. Before I could ponder it, thank god, the jigsaw man returned with the replacement door from Mrs. Winston’s. By the time he was done, it looked identical to the original. Mom would never know the difference, and as Luhan wished, I never said a word about it to her.
“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.