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Vampire Boys Of Summer: Chapter 28

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CHAPTER 28: Guidance Counselor & A Dangerous Lunch
If I thought the rest of the school day would be without event, I was mistaken. After the bizarre attack from the math teacher, Chinatsu wandered off down the hall, and Mrs Thomas went back to her office, leaving Angela and I alone. We watched the other students eye us warily and go to their classes.

“That was a good kick,” I finally told Angela.

She grinned. “I don’t know what came over me. Good thing I’m not in his class.”

“Yeah, me neither.”

“I don’t know what’s weirder, him eating a rat or trying to attack you. What’s he have against you anyway?”

“I don’t know,” I replied. I didn’t say as much, but I felt it was connected to last night’s assault. That’s not what puzzled me though. It was the few words he said to me. Icarus. This wasn’t the first occasion I’d heard it, but this time It had sounded almost derogatory. Was he calling me a name, or was it a code word, a clue to the vampire master’s identity? What did Icarus even mean anyway? And why did he say soon it would be my turn? My turn for what? The slave and master thing didn’t sound too promising either. After all, I didn’t think he was talking about Fifty Shades Of Grey.

“Things are definitely getting strange in Chelsea Valley,” Angela said, as we headed to our classes. Her Spanish Class was on the second floor so we climbed the stairs, neither of us very anxious to get there.

“What do you mean, strange?” I asked.

“Just people. Acting all funky and weird and shit. Guys hanging outside my house.”

I stopped. “What?”

She shook her head. “Yeah. Last night there were like three guys sitting on the low wall across the street. Just chilling. They kept looking up at my house like Lana Del Rey lived there or something. I looked out the window one time and they even waved at me. I shot them the finger and they all laughed.”

“Do you know who they were?”

“No, never seen them before. They were older, like college guys or something. Normally, I’d find that inviting, but last night it was creepy. The last time I looked out they had come off the wall and were in the middle of the street. Then this other guy came walking down the street and they took off. I guess they didn’t want anyone but me to notice them. Bunch of freaks.”

“Yeah, that’s freaky.” I wanted to tell her what had happened to me but I couldn’t. I felt like I would regret it later, but I had to keep my silence.

“But hey, my night was nowhere as bad as yours,” Ang added.

“What do you mean?”

“You know, your dad.”

I hung my head. “Yeah, it doesn’t get much worse than that.”

But actually it does. A worse notion is an invasion of evil vampires taking over the school and all of Chelsea Valley. I was hoping that Haru and Ryo were having some luck today finding Bram.

While Angela was stuck in Spanish Class, I had to endure Art. Normally it was one of my favorite classes, but I couldn’t quite concentrate on the assignment. The class was halfway over when Miss Thomas came looking for me and asked that I accompany her to her office.

Once there, we sat for a few moments in silence, her at her desk, me in the sofa chair across from it. Finally, she sighed.

“I am so sorry about your father, Nora. You and your mother have my deepest sympathies.”

“Thank you.”

“If there’s anything I can do…”

“No, I think we’re okay,” I said , trying to head her off from the typical spate of condolences that come at time likes this.

She nodded her head and seemed to be contemplating saying anything further. She picked up a pen and nervously twirled it between her fingers. After a moment, she set it down and said what was really on her mind.

“Mr. Sharp has been taken into police custody. He will be taken to the hospital to be evaluated. Detectives will want to question you eventually, I imagine. Are you okay with that? “

“Yeah, no problem.”

“The school will have to notify your mother as to what happened. But before we do, is there anything you’d like to tell me? Something the school should know?”

“No.”

“You don’t know why Mr. Sharp attacked you?”

“No. He’s not even one of my teachers. I’ve never spoken to him or acknowledged him in any way before. I mean, I know who he is. He’s a popular teacher, but I wasn’t aware he knew me.”

“So what exactly happened?”

“Angela and I were walking down the hall. We saw some people outside the classroom and when we got there and looked in, he was at his desk foaming at the mouth. Then he got up and attacked me.”

She nodded, picked up her pen and jotted something down on a notepad in front of her.

“Did he say anything to you ?”

“No, mam,” I lied . I didn’t think she’d understand any of his words to me. There was no point in divulging them to anyone except my Asian vampire friends.

She made another note. “Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

She sighed as if she knew I was lying. “Anything else unusual about him?”

“No.”

“Eating a rat isn’t unusual?”

I didn’t look at her. Instead I tried focusing my attention at the window, wishing I could will myself out of the room.

“Look, Nora. You can talk to me. It’s okay. You can trust me.”

I wasn’t so sure about that. I mean, could I really trust her enough to say there were vampires in Chelsea Valley? No, I didn’t think so. It was best that the less she knew, the better off she would be. Ignorance is bliss.

“I know the things you go through as a teenager,” she continued. “I was there myself once. I know that the culture may be different than when I grew up, but the feelings are the same. I will understand anything you tell me and try my best to help you through it.”

I doubted very seriously she’d understand anything I was going through, but I decided to go out on a limb.

“What does Icarus mean?” I asked .

This threw her off big time. “Excuse me?”

“The word, Icarus. What does it mean?”

She still seemed thrown off, as if she couldn’t understand what my question had to do with anything, let alone teen insecurities or problems.

“Well…um….Icarus I believe, if this is what you are referring to…he was a figure in Greek Mythology. He flew too close to the sun. Um, I never was much into mythology myself. Perhaps you should ask your history teacher about it. I believe they may….”

“Okay, thank you,” I replied, heading her off from rambling even further. I didn’t think she’d be much help, but she had asked for me to talk, so there you go.

I got up from my chair. “Is that all? Can I go back to class now?”

“Yes, that’s it for now. I’ll talk to your mom about the incident soon.”

I didn’t know if she meant it as a threat, but it didn’t scare me half as much as the thought of evil vampires running up and down the halls.

“Okay, I’ll tell her,” I replied, and headed for the door.

“Uh, Nora?”

I stopped, but only half turned to her. “Yes?”

“See you in summer school.”

“Yeah, great.”

I didn’t know it, but it would be the last time we’d have a somewhat friendly conversation.

At lunch, I met up with Angela and told her about Miss Thomas calling me into her office like she was the principal or something.

“Does she think you did something to make Sharp attack you?” She asked. “Because that’s stupid.”

“I don’t know, Ang. She was like trying to be my friend and stuff. It was kind of weird, the more I think about it.”

“She always seems weird to me. But then again most teachers do.”

That reminded me of something Miss Thomas had said. “Hey Angela, you seen Miss Lazenby today?”

She looked at me and frowned, as if the mention of our history teacher was another bone of contention between us. “No. We had a substitute first period. Probably stuck up Ryo’s ass.”

“Yeah I saw her there the other day too,” I agreed.

“I don’t know what he sees in her,” Angela lamented. “She’s moved in with him. I mean, Jesus, she may be dressing like she’s twenty these days, but she’s old enough to be his mom.”

I wanted to tell her I wasn’t so sure about that assumption, but I shut up and let her talk. The relationship between Lazenby and Ryo obviously upset her, even though I didn’t think there was anything to it. From my viewpoint, she seemed more like a servant or helper than a lover. But knowing Ryo, who could tell?

“I went by there this morning,” she continued. “He hadn’t called me since I went over the other night. The night you and I argued.”

“How did that go?”

She smiled. “Oh, he was gracious enough. Walked around shirtless most of the time. Yay for me.” She grinned and leaned close. “He has an awesome tattoo on his chest.”

Part of me almost told her I had seen it before, but that wouldn’t have turned out too well. I could tell she had fallen for him big time.

“Unfortunately nothing happened,” she said in a disappointed tone. “We watched some TV, talked about school and living in Chelsea Valley. I tried to snuggle up close, but then Miss Lazenby came in with some sodas for us and she kissed him.”

“She did what?”

“It wasn’t on the mouth or anything. But she kissed him on the neck and put her hand right on his chest. I could have killed her. The only thing that made me feel better was the irritated look he gave her. He said something to her like, ‘I have a guest,’ and she backed out of the room as if he said he was going to rip her head off or something. It was weird, but I got the impression something was going on between them. Still, the night went pretty well afterward. I just wish he would have made some kind of move on me. I mean hell, I was wearing my slutty best.”

She sighed as if remembering the night and all the things she had hoped that would happen but never did. “Anyway, I haven’t heard from him since then, so I went over before school. I didn’t make it past the door. She was there. I can’t compete with an older woman. Especially when she looks stunning in her low cut vampire dress.”

“Her what?”

Angela frowned. “Yeah, she was dressed like Morticia from The Adams Family, but revealing a lot more skin. Not what I wanted to see this morning.”

I didn’t know what to say. “I’m sorry, Ang. I know you really like him a lot.”

For a moment I thought she was going to cry. “He’s a freaking dream,“ she said. “I just wish he would notice me as someone other than a guest.”

I felt bad for my friend. I knew she had it bad for him, but if Chi was right, Ryo was quite loveless, just like his tattoo said. I couldn’t tell her this though. I couldn’t dash her dreams like that. “Give it time,” I said. “He’ll come around eventually.”

“I hope so. I won’t be young and insatiable forever.”

I grinned. Now this was sounding like Angela again. I reached over and patted her hand. “You’ve got nothing to worry about. You are fun to be around, you have a loving heart and a rocking body, and you don’t give up, and…”

She pulled her hand away, a fake shock look on her face. “I knew it! The rumors are true. You are trying to hit on me!”

I laughed at her joke. “Don’t you wish!”

“What does she wish? That she could be as hot as she thinks she is?”

We both turned to the new voice. Someone had obviously approached the table while we were having our laugh. But neither of us were smiling now. Before us stood The Trumps, all three of them. Amanda grinned.

“I couldn’t let the school year end without returning a favor,” she snarled, right before her fist connected with my face. There wasn’t time to avoid the blow, but her aim was off. Instead of getting me in the nose like Chi had done to her, her fist met my eye.

The world spun and threatened to go dark for a second. I saw Angela try to get to her feet, but Amanda’s cronies shoved her back down in her chair. I shook my head, trying to throw the pain and dizziness off of me. Out of my good eye, I saw Amanda lean down until her face was level with mine. I noticed her nose was still a little off, as if it hadn’t quite healed right.

“I hear you are a cutter,” she whispered, so no one else could hear. She grabbed my arm and with a sharp jerk stretched it out on the table. “So, let’s cut.”

I tried to pull my arm away, but she kept it pinned to the table. With a devilish grin Amanda pulled something out of her back pocket. At first, I thought it was a knife, but I quickly realized it was something worse. It was a jagged piece of metal that had apparently been broken off of something much larger. As a result, it had a jagged edge and I could imagine the damage it would bring if it should slice through the skin of my arm. I feared not only the painful and bloody mess it would make, but also the possibility of infection, like tetanus or something.

I struggled against her grip. She had the advantage, as I was seated and she was hovering over me, allowing her full weight to come to bear on holding my arm in place.

“No, don’t,” Angela pleaded on my behalf.

The weapon hovered over my arm.

“You can beg for mercy,” Amanda snarled at me.

“You wouldn’t give it,” I replied between clenched teeth.

She laughed. “You’re right. I wouldn’t.”

My other arm was still free, but the positioning of Amanda’s body prevented me from reaching her with it. Instead I gripped the edge of the table, intending to shove my chair back in hopes I could break free of my assailant.

Chrissie Trump prevented me from doing so. While her cousin Kari had hold of Angela’s struggling form, she grabbed my free arm pulling it behind my back and holding it there. I grimaced from the pull of the muscle in my shoulder. Pain erupted in my arm and back, and it felt like it was shooting straight for my head and the already hurting of my punched eye.

I wondered why no one was helping me. Maybe I’d gotten used to being rescued, but I found it odd no one was coming to my aid. Haru had promised to protect me, to make sure nothing bad happened to me, and yet here I was fighting for my life with an insane for revenge Amanda Trump. And where was Chi? Luhan? They both had been looking out for me during school, so why was I now on my own?

As I was being held in place, and Amanda taunted me with the prospect of opening up my arm from wrist to shoulder, I managed to twist my head around. I noticed nearly everyone had scattered to the four winds. While a few onlookers remained, those who would grow up to be the kind to stop at fatal car crashes and gawk, everyone else had made themselves scarce. It reminded me of the old westerns dad used to watch. Bad guy walks into the saloon and everyone backs out of the way or hides behind something so as not to get struck by stray bullets.

“Not going to beg?” Amanda hissed, bringing me back to the immediacy of my plight. The jagged piece of metal hovered over my arm.

“No,” I muttered weakly.

I felt the sharp metal touch my arm. It rested lightly against my flesh, not cutting into it. Yet.

“How about now?”

She leaned closer and I could almost hear Angela whisper in her head for me to go ahead and beg. But I was done with this. I was tired of living in fear of the Trump bitches. They had terrorized the school, and I was determined my days of running and hiding from them were coming to an end right now. I shook my head and mumbled something anguished under my breath.

With an evil grin and a vain flip of her long blond hair, she leaned so far down her ear was nearly at my mouth. She laughed between gritted teeth. “What did you say? I don’t think I heard that.”

“I said, bite me,” I spat and turned my head towards her, sinking my teeth into her scrawny little neck.

She screamed and let go of my arm, trying to pull away. Chrissie let me go too, backing up enough that I could scoot my chair away from the table. I reached up with my once imprisoned arm and grabbed the slut by her hair, pulling her towards me. I bit down harder. I felt the tearing of her skin. I tasted blood in my mouth. It was pretty nasty and I spit it out, back onto her mauled neck. I let her go and shoved her away from me. She had dropped the jagged metal on the table top. I picked it up and pounced on top of her in an animalistic rage. She was holding her bloody neck with one hand and started to shriek at the top of her lungs, “Help! She’s killing me!”

I felt someone grab my arm and try to pull me off of her. It was Angela. “Don’t do it, Nora,” she begged, and managed to twist the metal shard out of my hand.

Something collided with my head. Kari had picked up one of the cafeteria chairs and hit me with it. The room spun and threatened to go black.

Amanda was still screaming her head off when I fell over, my head hitting the cold school floor. I could hear footsteps running towards us. Looking up, I discovered someone had finally come to save me, but with my fading vision I couldn’t tell who. I couldn’t even find the voice to declare they were too late. Through my hazy view I could see Angela, dumbfounded and maybe a little angry, looking at me as someone knelt by my side. Their features were a blur, but the concerned, worried look told me Haru had come to save me at last.

I closed my eyes, knowing I was safe now. He wrapped his protective arms around me and cradled my head to his chest. I could feel his heart beating against my ear, but it didn’t sound right. The beat was off slightly, sounding stronger than I remembered from our intimate times together. I managed to open up my good eye as he scooped me up and cradled my body to carry me away.

“Haru?” I asked.

He smiled. I could see his beautiful white teeth through the haze. His intense dark eyes. His long black hair with the purple streak through it. It wasn’t Haru. It was Ryo.

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2017, 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Vampire Boys Of Summer: Chapter 27

Vampire Boys Of Summer  Main Page

Chapter 27: Angela & Rabid Arithmetic

As I dressed for school, Haru gave me the rest of the details of my father’s murder. After all, that’s what it was. Cold, calculated murder designed to send the message: Those who hunt vampires will die. They had strung up my father in his room, looped the rope up through the ceiling and wrapped it around the heating duct. According to Haru, they had also bit him in the neck and wrists in order to bleed him out, but they didn’t drink his blood. This made me think of my jigsaw man dream days ago with dad hanging on a cross in the school auditorium. In the vision, vampires had drunk from the students but wouldn’t touch his blood, as if it would leave a bad taste in their mouths. It was then I thought of Mom in a dead sleep having some of her blood sucked out by Jake.

“Where’s my mother?”

“She’s okay,” Haru replied. “Tomoko stitched her up. Told her she took a fall.”

“How do you pass off vampire bites as a fall?”

Haru grinned. “My uncle’s powers of persuasion are unmatched.”

He didn’t need to explain further. If Ryo could almost get into my head and make me do and feel things, then the older vampires probably had it honed to an art.

“She won’t become a vampire, will she?”

Haru raised an eyebrow, as if to say, what’s wrong with being a vampire, and then smiled. “No, she’ll still be human. They didn’t take enough blood from her. She might be physically weak for awhile, but it will pass. I can’t say the same for her attacker.”

I shuddered at the memory of Jake exploding when the vampire poison had passed to him through my mother’s blood.

“You should shudder for Ryo,” Haru said. “He’s the one who had to clean up the mess.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Not your fault, Nora. You’re not the one who sent them after you.”

“Who did?”

“We don’t know yet. Finding the master of a vampire clan is not always easy.”

I looked at him. “Well, they found your uncle Tomoko easy enough.”

He smirked. “He’s not the master of our clan.”

I was surprised. “Can I ask who is?”

He hesitated a moment, as if weighing his options. “It’s best you don’t know. The name could be coaxed out of you by your father’s killers, and then we’d all be in jeopardy.”

I was disappointed he couldn’t trust me with this, but I understood. I sat on the edge of my bed and laced up my Chucks. I wondered what in the hell I was doing. I mean, dad had just been killed by vampires and I was getting ready to trudge off to school as if it were nothing. I wasn’t even sure if mother would let me out the door considering the circumstances. She wasn’t aware I had bad bloodsuckers after me, but despite that I needed time to mourn. Everyone who has ever lost someone knows it takes time before you can move beyond the death and carry on. Perhaps Haru had seen so much of it that it was just another day to him. Maybe death didn’t faze him or his kind for they had cheated it.

I tried to tell him how I was feeling. He seemed sympathetic to my feelings of loss, but he did take mild exception to how I perceived his family. “We didn’t cheat death. No one does. It catches up to us all one day.”

“Your vampirism doesn’t give you immortality?”

“It gives us the illusion of it. I will die someday, of this I’m sure. Perhaps it may be at the hands of enemies, or maybe even my own, but the truth is no one lives forever. Through our curse, death is held at bay, and we live longer than humanity should allow, but God will not be mocked. Our judgement will come eventually.”

I didn’t know what to say. I guess I assumed Haru, Ryo, and the others were eternal creatures. To know they would all die one day made me sadder than I had been before.

“Oh don’t fret for us, Nora. In this sense we are just like you and want to live life to the fullest.” He approached me on the bed and knelt in front of me. He took my hand in his. “I’d like to live mine with you , if you don’t mind.”

My breath caught in my throat. There’s a certain tone that overcomes his voice when he is talking of romantic things. I can’t explain it, but it sends a rush through me, a warmth that courses through my body, making me want his kisses more than anything.

“I want that, too,” I whispered. I closed my eyes and welcomed his gentle kiss. Going to school was forgotten. You see, time stands still for lovers, even if they are on the brink of their own destruction.

I did make it for the last day of school, but I was a little late. Time may stand still sometimes, but it speeds to catch up eventually. Because of that, I missed the bus. I probably could have gotten mom to take me, but Haru offered to give me a ride. I don’t think he was worried I would run into trouble on the way. I think he just thought it was the gentlemanly thing to do. He may have embraced a modern attitude about some things, but he still had this old world way of thought. I really liked that about him. It was a quality that no one else had, not even Ryo.

Haru kissed me when we pulled up in front of school and told me I didn’t really have to be here if I didn’t want to. We could just as easily go back home. He seemed to understand the dilemma of going to classes the morning after a parent had died.

“No,” I told him. “I need to do this. Dad wouldn’t want me to be sitting around and moping. He’d want to me to be preparing for the invasion he was talking about. We need to know if anything else happened last night and if any of the others involved in the attack show up for school.”

He smiled and nodded. “You always impress me, Nora. Your resilience and strength is to be commended.”

“I wouldn’t be strong without you,” I replied, getting out of the car. I walked around to the driver’s side and leaned inside his window. “A kiss for luck, please.”

He obliged me, his lips full upon my own. With Haru’s kisses I felt like I could face anything. But it made me wonder what he was going to face.

“What are you going to do today?” I asked.

“Ryo and I are going grocery shopping.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Grocery shopping?”

“Yes. It’s time to find that Bram guy your dad was talking about. It all started with that confrontation. If we can find him, maybe we can find the one behind your father’s killing and the attack on you.”

“Please be careful.”

“I will. Say hello to Angela for me.”

Angela. In all the madness of last night, I had forgotten about her. Last time we had spoke it hadn’t ended on good terms. I hadn’t wanted her to go see Ryo, but she had misunderstood my reasons. Even now though, I thought my reasons had been stupid. I wanted to protect her, but I should have stayed out of her attempts at a love life. Maybe I was jealous in a way. Maybe for once I had wanted to be the one to have a boyfriend, and for her to be the loner. I needed to stop being selfish and let her do exactly as she wanted. She’d find out Ryo was a vampire soon enough. How she handled that when the time comes would be up to her.

I smiled at Haru. “I’ll tell her hi, but I don’t know if she’ll show up today. She’s notorious for skipping.”

“I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that.” He turned his head towards the school and nodded.

I followed his gaze and saw Angela come out the front doors to stand at the top of the stairs, as if she had been waiting for me to arrive. I gave Haru a quick kiss and walked around the car to start up the walk towards her. She came down the steps, a sympathetic look on her face. At first there were no words, just a hug followed by tears. I cried in her long blond hair, and she in turn wet the side of my cheek.

“I’m so sorry,” she said. “Mom saw it on the news this morning.”

I didn’t know what to say. “Thank you,” was all I could come up with.

“I should have been there for you,” she continued.

I pulled away from her. “I should have been there for you, too,” I replied, wiping my tears with the back of my hand. “I was a jerk to you the other day. I’m sorry.”

“I was a bigger jerk,” she replied. “Forgive me?”

“No, you forgive me first,” she insisted.

“Uh-uh, you first.”

She grinned. “No way, bitch. Forgive me first.”

We both laughed at our playful argument and knew there was no forgiveness necessary. We’d always be besties. Nothing was going to change that, not even boys.
Entering school together, we both noticed something was off. I mean we knew it was the last day of school, and some of our peers and classmates would be trying to start summer break early, but there was now a large number of students that were absent. I knew the most likely reason for this, but I couldn’t confide in Angela about it, bestie or not. I had promised Haru I’d keep their secrets.

The first ones we noticed missing were the football team. Of course, I knew that at least some of them had been part of last night’s attack on Haru’s house, but today the whole team was absent, including the coach and his assistant.

“That’s weird,” Angela said, and at first I thought she was talking about the jocks, but she pointed down the hall to Mr. Sharp’s math class. A bunch of students were standing out in the hall talking in curious, worried tones, strange bewildered looks on their faces. A few of them, girls mostly, looked like they would hurl up their breakfast any moment. We hurried down the hall to see what was happening.

Maneuvering through the crowd in the doorway, I managed to get a look inside the room. Mr. Sharp sat behind his desk. On your average day he was a well dressed, perfectly groomed kind of man. Suit, tie, clean shaven, not a hair out of place. Young and good looking, he was popular with the female students. Today however, he was different. He looked rough. Clothes disheveled, hair a mess as if he had pulled clumps of it out, unshaven beard with what looked to be bits of food clumped in it. But perhaps it wasn’t food in the normal sense, for he sat there with a half eaten rat hanging out of his mouth, gnawing on it like a ravenous, rabies infested dog.

“Oh My God,” Angela whispered under her breath, coming up alongside me. “What the hell is wrong with him?”

“I don’t know,” I muttered in reply, but all I could think of was Renfield in Dracula. Had Mr. Sharp been turned into a vampire’s servant? Or was this the ugly process of turning into a bloodsucker? First rats, then humans?

As if he knew my thoughts, the math teacher looked up and made eye contact. His pupils clouded over and a slow grin began to spread across his face. “Nora,” he garbled, his voice sounding like he was drowning in water.

“Uh oh,” I said and backed out of the doorway, just as he leaped on top of his desk. With a big gulp, he swallowed the rest of the rat and jumped off the desktop, heading for me. Students screamed and bolted in every direction. He came out into the hallway, snarling and foaming at the mouth. Angela shoved me out of the way and snarled back at him, like you would a dog that had run out of its yard to chase you on your bike. He was distracted long enough for me to get my back pack off and swing it at him. Laden with books, it connected with his head. The force was enough to knock him off his feet. He nearly did a somersault on his way to the floor. Angela took several steps towards him, her short black skirt swirling about her legs. She put a well placed kick right in his groin, and while it may have slowed him down, he soon recovered and was getting to his feet again.

“Icarus,” he growled in a tone of contempt, pushing her to the side and launching himself towards me again. This time however, he was taken down by two teachers who had come running up the hallway. They tackled him and pinned him to the floor. He writhed and squirmed in their grasp, snapping his teeth at them. I figured it wouldn’t be long before he was up again and coming for me. The teachers were strong, but there was no holding a madman. He needed a sedative and I didn’t think the school nurse had anything like that. Still, she came running, along with our guidance counselor, Miss Thomas.

“What is going on here?!”

I turned to answer Miss Thomas, and the rabid math teacher broke free. Flinging the other teachers from him as if they were fifty pound weaklings, he was at me before I even knew it. He grabbed me by my shoulders and shook me. “Soon it will be your turn,” he snarled in a low voice only I could hear. “You will be the slave, groveling at the feet of my master.”

“Your master is a coward,” a voice said from behind him. Before anybody knew what was happening, the speaker wrapped their arms around Sharp’s head and squeezed. His eyes started to roll up in his head and he let me go. Chi tightened her grip, enfolding him within her arms so much you could barely see his face. You could almost hear the air escaping his body in a gasp for breath. Within seconds his body went limp and he collapsed in her arms. She eased him to the ground where he lay still and unconscious. Chi wiped her hands on her skin tight leather pants and with a toss of her long shimmering tresses said, “You’re getting to be high maintenance, Nora.”

Everyone in the hallway was stunned. Rendered mute, they all just stared at Chinatsu, until finally she shrugged and explained with a playful smirk, “I watch wrestling on the weekends.”

Miss Thomas regained her composure and began to take charge, telling the students to go on to their classes, now that the excitement was over. Then she approached us, her eyes taking in Chi in a suspicious manner.

“Thank you, young lady,” she said. “That was some quick thinking and a very brave thing to do. I don’t believe I have seen you here before. What’s your name?”

The Japanese vampire put on her most gracious smile without showing her fangs. “I just started last week. I’m Chinatsu, but my friends call me Chi. You can call me Chi, too.”

I didn’t know if she used some kind of vampiric hypnosis, but her response and tone seemed to take the suspicion right out of the guidance counselor.

“Oh well, thank you for your assistance in handling….” She looked at the unconscious Mr. Sharp, who was now being lifted from the ground by the two teachers, and didn’t know how to finish her sentence.

“No problem,” Chi replied. “It’s surprising what you pick up after eight hundred years of high school.”

I didn’t know if she was making a crack at the middle aged Miss Thomas or poking fun at her own experience as one of the undead, but either way, everyone couldn’t help but laugh. It was especially good for me having feared for my life just minutes ago.
“Vampire Boys Of Summer”  2016, 2017 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Vampire Boys Of Summer: Chapter 24


Chapter 24: Haru’s Room & Mother’s Alone

We were still lying on the porch deck, Haru over top of me, his dreamy, dark eyes peering into my own, when I heard someone coming up the porch steps.

“Hmm, looks like someone forgot to sweep off the porch this evening,” a deep voice said. “I’ll need to fire the maid for sure.”

Haru grinned and turned his head to the intruder of our privacy. “Hello Uncle,” he said.

I was a little embarrassed and tried to hide my face. Mr. Tomoko laughed.

“No need to hide, young lady. I know who you are. He won’t shut up about you no matter how much I plead him to stop.” He leaned down towards us and grinned. In his arms, he held two bags of groceries. “I would ask you two to help me with these, but I can see you’re otherwise busy. Well, never mind, stay prostrate as you like. The air is probably livelier down there anyway.”

As he opened the back door and went inside, he shook his head and muttered something mirthful to himself. Haru shook his head, too.

“Tomoko has a certain sense of humor. It may take you awhile to get used to it.”

I smiled. “It’s okay. I like it. Should we go help?”

Haru got up from his prone position and helped me to my feet. “He probably doesn’t need it, but we can be civil. What I wanted to show you is inside anyway.”

In the kitchen, Uncle Tomoko had set the bags on the dining table. Coming through the back door, we both proceeded to unload the groceries so he could put them up. From the looks of things, everything had its place. Tomoko ran a tight, organized kitchen.

“Do you really have a maid?”

The older man laughed. “Miss Williams, no maid would be able to take our brand of madness for long. But don’t think we haven’t considered it. You interested?”

I had to laugh. “I can’t even keep my own room clean.”

“Well then. Looks like you and Haru are a perfect match, because his room looks like a cyclone touched down.”

“You’re just too much of a clean freak, uncle,” Haru jibed.

“There is nothing wrong with order. Everything has its place in the world, and that should reflect itself in the home as well.”

“Okay, I get it,” Haru said, “I’ll go clean my room.” He turned to me. “You want to help?”

I smiled. “Sure, why not?” In that moment, I felt like we were typical teenagers, rather than a centuries old vampire and his human girlfriend.

We left Tomoko in the kitchen and moved through the house. If I was expecting sparse furnishings, I was wrong. It could have been a show house, one of those places you find in homes magazines. It reminded me of a trip around the world with stops in Egypt, France, England, and of course, Japan. Everywhere you looked, there was something representing a different country. This was not a gothic vampire house, this was a suburban castle of a world traveler.

We went up the main staircase, a twisting set of steps whose balustrade was decorated in black and gold silk ribbons. My hand tried to grasp the railing, but slipped on the slick material.

“Sorry,” he said. “Left overs from our housewarming party.”

I wanted to ask him where all the party goers had come from if they had just moved in. And why had the Trumps been there, yet the girl next door hadn’t been invited.

As always, he seemed to know where my thoughts lie. “I’m sorry we didn’t invite your family,” he said. “We’d been told you were vampire hunters. That wasn’t quite the atmosphere my uncles wanted.”

I understood. Yes, it kind of hurt, but I would have done the same thing in his shoes, not knowing who I really was at that point.

“If we had the party today, you’d be at the top of the list, trust me.”

“And the Trumps?”

He smirked. “Oh well, it was Ryo who wanted them to come. He saw them outside Amanda’s house when we arrived in town. They got the first invite, even before a party was even planned.”

I tried not to be jealous. The idea of him at the same party with The Trumps was enough to make me glad Chi had broken Amanda’s nose.

“Hey, you’re here with me now, not them.”

He kissed me on the cheek, and we paused outside his bedroom door.

“You’re my girl, Nora. No one else. Just you.”

And then he opened the door.

His room wasn’t at all what I expected. If I was thinking it would be painted black with pinups of Vampirella, Bloodrayne, or Alice Cullen I was mistaken. And it didn’t have the appearance of a teenage boy’s room, either. At first glance, it looked more like a template for a hotel room. Sparse and generic, it held a bed, dresser, mirror on the wall, and a small, open closet. A divider ran through the back half of the room, separating it from a toilet and shower. The simple furnishings helped remind me that though he had the look of a teenage boy, Haru had lived hundreds of years. I imagine having to follow the latest, ever changing trends for that long would get old. Trying to keep up with what kids found popular would be maddening, so instead he had settled for a room that reflected none of those flighty things.

He did, however, have a wall mounted television, under which sat a shelf of DVD’s and Blu-Ray discs. A quick perusal gave me insight to his various interests and likes. As he had already told me, he had the Suspiria movie, in several editions, as well as other Italian horror films. I hadn’t heard of any of them, but the covers looked quite terrifying. On the American side of things, he had foregone Twilight and Vampire Diaries for American Horror Story and the original Dark Shadows, a black and white TV show dad had gotten me hooked on when I was little. From Japan, he had a small collection of ghost story movies, like Ringu and Ju-On. Despite his apparent love of horror, which endeared me to him even more, a few movies in his collection looked out of place: The Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink. When I raised an eyebrow and looked at him, he just shrugged and said, “Ducky should have got the girl.”

I didn’t see any computers or laptops around, and the only decorations on the wall were two framed photographs, one of a creepy looking forest, the other of a woman in white sleeping on top of a mausoleum. There were no rock and roll posters, girly pinups, or any other things a young man would have in his room. There wasn’t even a stereo, as far as I could tell, though I did notice a small clock radio on an end table at his bedside.

The bed was small, made for only a single occupant, and I imagined if I ever slept over here, one of us would have to sleep on top of the other. I didn’t mind such a thought, and almost told him so, but decided to keep it to myself until the time came.

We ordered in pizza, and I used Haru’s cell to call Angela. She didn’t answer, but I figured she didn’t recognize the number. If I’d used mine, she might not have answered either after our argument the night before.

My boyfriend was sympathetic. “I’ll go over and check on her in a minute. That’s if she is even with Ryo.”

I smiled and gave him a quick kiss. “Okay, thank you. I won’t lie. I’m still worried, even though you said he wouldn’t turn her.”

“I know. It will be okay.” He put his hands on my hips. “Come here.”

I let him draw me close. As his lips met mine, I swore I heard singing from somewhere in the house. The lilting voice seemed to be butchering an Adele song in wonderful ways. It was a nice serenade, and with Haru’s mouth on mine, my fingers fumbling with the removal of his shirt, we fell back on the bed. I half expected an explosion of roses to erupt from the mattress, as Rolling In The Deep became Tearing Up The Sheets.

An hour later, we lay in bed, the covers tossed about us, clothes laying on the floor. He cradled me in one arm. His free hand played with my hair, as if he were fascinated with every strand on my head. He leaned close and breathed me in. He sighed as if he had just caught a whiff of grandma’s freshly baked Christmas cookies. I had to smile. It was wonderful having a boy make over me like this. All the little moments a girl dreams of, all the things she wishes a boy to be, it was right here in this bed, where space was so tight the only thing keeping me on the mattress was Haru’s strong arm around me.

“This is perfect,” I whispered.

“Yes, it is,” he agreed, nibbling at my ear. “Is it wrong that I want you all the time?”

“No, it’s not,” I answered with confidence. After all, I had been asking myself the same thing. We had been making love like a brush fire out of control. Our lovemaking was intense and often, as if today was all we had. I think we both knew we would have to slow it down soon, but right now it was fresh, exciting, and we were so insatiable for each other we couldn’t stand it. To not be able to touch Haru, or to feel his body next to mine, was now my biggest fear. I wanted him all the time and was not ashamed.

“I just want to make sure this isn’t too much, too soon, too fast. I love you and don’t want to chase you away.”

“You couldn’t chase me off if you tried. I would stalk you.”

He laughed. “My stalker. I like that.”

I kissed him and threw my bare leg over his thighs. I lay my head on his chest and breathed in his scent. I was going to hate going back to school tomorrow. It was the last week until summer break, but I really didn’t….

A loud knock on the door startled me from my contentment and thoughts. Disappointed at the interruption, it got worse when the person didn’t wait for an answer but just barged on in.

Chinatsu was dressed all in black. Tight fitting spandex and high turtleneck. Hair pinned back. She looked like a ninja assassin in a Marvel comic book. She didn’t seem surprised to find us in bed together, but instead got straight to the point for her interruption.

“We have a problem.”

Haru sat up, while I remained under the covers. “What’s wrong?”

She looked at me, then back at him. “I’m not sure this is a public matter. If we could speak in private.”

“You can speak in front of Nora.”

“Are you sure?”

This was the first time Chi had seemed to be wary of involving me in their world, and Haru looked to me for confirmation of trust, as well. I nodded to reassure him it wouldn’t be spread beyond the room.

“Yes, I’m sure,” Haru replied. “Go ahead.”

“Okay.” She didn’t seem comfortable of this, but she came out with it anyway. “There’s been a vampire attack.”

“Here in Chelsea Valley?”

“The custodian at the high school was the first victim it looks like. Happened last night sometime. Trail of bodies through town, heading out to the highway and beyond. We don’t know how far the trail leads. Luhan sent me back for you and Ryo. We don’t know how many we’re dealing with.”

“How many bodies so far?”

“Seven. I’m sure there’s more. No apparent connections. Looks pretty random. Just people in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Haru got out of bed. His state of undress didn’t faze Chi.

“I’ll wait outside,“ she said. She stepped back through the doorway and then stopped. “I know parting is such sweet sorrow, but make it a quick goodbye.”

When she was gone, I came out from under the covers. Haru was almost dressed by the time my feet touched the floor. “You can stay here if you like,” he said. “You’ll be protected under this roof.”

“Can I go with you? Maybe I can help identify…”

“It’s too dangerous. You need to stay here until we know what’s going on.”

I knew there was no point in arguing, no matter how bad I wanted to be part of their clan. The truth of the matter was that I’m human. I would be a distraction and a liability. My fear alone would alter the playing field.

“What about mom? She’ll be by herself.”

“You can bring her over here, “ he answered.

“She’ll want to know why.”

“You can’t tell her. If she won’t come, let my uncles know. They can keep a watch on the house.”

I nodded. “Okay.”

He stepped towards me and I threw myself into his arms. “Please be careful. I just found you.”

“And I found you, love.”

His kiss was soft and tender that my worried brain told me this could be our last kiss ever.

“There will be many more,” he whispered, as if he were in my head seeing all those fears. “I am forever and always yours. I will always return from the hunt.”

“Is that what this is?”

He shook his head. “No. This isn’t a hunt. It’s something else. I’m just not sure what.”

“Be safe.”

He smiled and kissed me again. “I will.” And then he was out the door, leaving me standing there , fearing for not only his safety, but my own.

I sat in his room for a little bit, perched on the edge of his bed, debating on what to do. I knew I couldn’t follow them; there was no way I’d be able to keep up. But to stay here holed up inside the vampire’s suburban fortress wasn’t much of an option either. Not while mom was next door alone and unprotected. I still had dad’s vampire slaying kit in my closet if I needed it, but mom would be clueless how to react in the event of a bloodsucker home invasion.

I looked around Haru’s room. Once he had gone it seemed devoid of anything, like a blank canvas in which the painter forgot how to even mix the paints. It was as if Haru had been the very thing that brought life to the bleak surroundings, and without him it was more like a crypt than a bedroom. The stifling atmosphere was too much, so I got up and left the room.

The rest of the house seemed just as lonely. I could still hear singing coming from somewhere within the house, but it was softer now. There was no sign of the vampire uncles, but I didn’t feel I was alone. They were here somewhere. I thought of calling out a goodbye to let them know I was leaving, but I figured they already knew, so I left by the back door and crossed the yard towards my house.

I looked across the street to the Winston house. All looked quiet over there. I assumed Ryo had taken off with Haru and Chi, and so now the house looked the way it used to in the days before Mrs. Winston was turned into a vampire. It was crazy how so much had changed in just a short amount of time. The vampire boys had arrived, and with them had come a whole new world. Before, my worries had been about being bullied, passing grades, and what new rumors about me were being spread. Now my head was filled with new, different series of worries. Were we under a vampire attack? How long would I have with Haru before he moved on or I wasted away from age? What was mom going to think when she found out not only was I having sex, but I was having it with a vampire?

With that thought, my mind returned to home and mother. She was by herself, and somewhere vampires were killing people. I had to get in there and be ready to protect my family if need be. It would be the thing my father would do if he were here. And since he was locked up, it was up to me to step up and be the ‘man’ of the house.

I walked up the porch and opened the front door. It was quiet in the house, which was not that unusual, as mom preferred silence when she was drinking, cooking dinner, or trying to sleep. She didn’t watch television much, but did keep the stereo turned on in the living room. Usually it was just set on a local radio station and turned down low as a whisper, but now there was dead silence.

I walked into the kitchen. “Mom,” I called out, thinking that was where she would be, but the room was empty. A half eaten plate of food sat on the counter, as well as an empty glass. I bent down and took a whiff. Rum and Coke.

I left the kitchen and went back out into the hallway. I hesitated at the stairs, figuring what I would find if I went up to her room. Mom passed out on her bed, or drinking in the tub, most likely. I took a deep breath and started up the steps. That’s when I heard it. A quiet sobbing underneath the silence. Was mom crying? Had she gotten so drunk now it was time for a sobfest? She wasn’t one who got that way much when drinking, but I had seen it on occasion after an argument with myself or dad.

On the landing, I paused. The sobbing wasn’t right. It was louder now, going from sniffles and sad moans to a loud anguished wail, as if someone was being tortured to their very soul. I bolted down the hallway. For a brief moment, I considered stopping at my room to retrieve the stake from the vampire slaying kit, but there wasn’t time. The cacophony of pain was increasing, and if there was an enemy vampire in my mom’s room I was going to have to take it on bare handed.

I burst into the room. Mom was on her bed, her face red, tears streaming down her face. I cast my gaze back and forth across the length of the room, looking for the invader, but I saw no one. Perhaps he had fled, scared off by footsteps or her screaming.

“Where is he?” I cried out, running to my mom’s side to protect her in case the vampire charged from the shadows.

Mom looked up at me, horror and devastation in her eyes. “He’s dead.”

“Who’s dead?”

Before she answered I knew. There was no vampire in her room. Her wails had not been born of physical pain, but the deepest emotional loss.

“Your father,” she cried. “Your father is dead.”

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2017 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Vampire Boys Of Summer: Chapter 21


Chapter 21: Ryo’s Offer & One More Lost

I knew she had been acting out of character in class, dressing a little more provocative, wearing dark glasses, popping pills, but nothing prepared me for seeing Mrs. Lazenby in Ryo’s doorway. My jaw must have dropped so far flies were buzzing in..

“Mrs. Lazenby?” I stammered.

“Nora child, you look absolutely adorable.”

“You do, too, Mrs. Lazenby.”

“Oh please, call me Aggie.”

I nearly laughed. “Aggie?”

 “It’s short for Agatha. But I don’t like that. Sounds too old and stuffy.”

She smiled and I noticed her teeth were pearly white. Almost too white to be natural. But that wasn’t the only thing off about her. The way she was dressed was not quite screaming chaste single school teacher. She was wearing a crimson cocktail dress, low cut in the front, and high up the sides of the leg. To say it was sexy would be an understatement. She was revealing so much cleavage her breasts were barely contained by the fabric. And all this coming from a woman who I thought of as so prim and proper she would one day die a virgin. Now however, she was looking like one of those half clad girls you’d see in an old 80’s rock video. Any minute now, I expected the music would change from Miyavi to “She’s my cherry pie.”

“Want to come in?” she asked, stepping aside in the doorway.

“Um, yes. Is Ryo here?”

“I think he’s a little busy at the moment, but I’m sure he’d take the time to see the likes of you.”

She looked me up and down, and her gaze was so lingering it was uncomfortable. Despite this, I accepted her invitation and stepped over the threshold. “Is Haru still here, too?” I asked.

She hesitated, and I got the impression she was weighing in her head whether to say anything or not. “I’m not sure,” she replied after a moment. “I just got up.”

Got up? Did she live here, too? It was then I noticed what topped off her sultry ensemble; a silk scarf loosely tied around her neck. No wonder she’d been acting strange in class lately. Ryo had turned her and it hadn’t quite taken hold yet. I guess the strange boy I’d seen in the driveway when they first moved in was a turn of his also. If that was the case, then Mrs. Winston, transformed from old and feeble to working out in the yard, was yet another of Ryo’s growing conquests. But why? That’s three people he had turned already. The diverse group was no way to start an army. My mind returned to why I’d come over. For whatever reason, Angela seemed to be next.

The music was overbearing in the background. It was almost too loud to speak over, as if it were designed to hypnotize the listener, or otherwise make them forget why they were here. Just as I was about to say something about the volume, the song stopped.

“Well, well, what have we here? Nora Williams?”

I turned to the voice. Coming down the staircase was Ryo. His movements were sleek and calculated, like a jungle cat sizing up its prey. He looked me over, his eyes trailing up and down the height of my body, and I felt like I was wearing clear cellophane instead of clothes.

“What do I owe the…pleasure?” He asked in a teasing tone.

“I..I wanted to talk to you.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Talk? Whatever would you want to talk to me about?”

His ignorance was an act. His eyes told me he knew why I was here. “Angela,” I replied.

He smiled, and it reminded me of an animated character from Disney’s Jungle Book movie: Kaa, the snake. “Ah, Angela. Yes,“ he said. “I think I may have been mistaken about her. First impressions aren’t always best, but perhaps I was too much in thrall of you at the time to notice. But, she is…delightful.”

“I’ve come to ask you to leave her alone.”

“Leave her alone? What is it you think I’m going to do to her?”

“You know very well what you plan to do.”

He grinned. “Yes, but a gentleman doesn’t discuss those kind of things with a girl who is not his partner.”

“Please, Ryo. Don’t. Just do me this one favor.”

Again, he looked me over, his eyes lingering long on my tank top, though I do not believe he was admiring the two vampires on the front. “Favor? You already owe me a favor. A pretty big one at that.”

“What for?”

“I saved your boyfriend’s life. I’d say that counts as a favor owed.”

“What do you want?”

“Ah, now we come to the crux of the matter. After all the times I’ve tried to get your attention, now you come over here dressed to distract. That itself is going to cost you.” He paced back and forth in front of me, glancing every now and then at the quiet Mrs. Lazenby. “I was prepared to, let us say, indulge myself this evening with the graceful shape of history, but I suppose I could put that off for a night, if perhaps you would like to spend the evening with me instead.”

I looked at my history teacher. Her face was immobile, as if he hadn’t just said, ‘hey, your teacher is hot, but I’d take you over her any day.’

“Spend the evening?” I asked.

He shrugged. “You know, stay the night.”

I looked at him like he was out of his mind. But maybe it was me who was out of mind. After all, I had gotten all dressed up and come over here thinking the sight of me alone would make him change his mind. I was getting to be just like Amanda Trump, walking around thinking I was God’s gift to everybody.

“Stay the night?” I asked.

He sighed in exasperation. “Do you always have to answer me with a question? You know what I mean.”

“No,” I replied.

“No, you won’t stay the night, or no, you don’t know what I mean?”

“No, I wont stay the night with you.”

“Well then. I guess Angela and I will have a great time together after all.”

I didn’t know what to say. I loved my friend, and I told myself I would do anything for her, but to allow Ryo to have me however he wanted pushed my loyalty a little too far. Maybe some girls would sleep with a guy for their best friend, but not me. Angela herself would have been like, ‘ oh I could endure that kind of punishment easy.’ For me however, there was only one boy I wanted touching me.

“Where’s Haru?”

He laughed. “Yes, Haru. I knew your friend wasn’t the real reason you’d come. Everything is all about Haru, now isn’t it?” For a moment, I thought he was going to spit at my feet, as if his cousin’s name was a poison he wanted out of his mouth. “Haru is not here.”

“Where is he?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. Luhan came and got him.”

I didn’t know if he was telling the truth or just trying to mess with me. “Okay. Where’s Luhan live?”

He spread his arms in a mock gesture. “Luhan lives wherever he pleases. And he tells no one his place of rest. So, I guess you’re stuck, Nora Williams.” Again, a lecherous smile. “Unless, you wish to change your mind..save your friends…be with me.”

“You don’t really want me, Ryo. You just want me because Haru does.”

Something crossed his face. A sudden change that was like a match to gasoline. “Haru doesn’t want you!” He screamed. “If he wanted you so bad, why hasn’t he come to you already? He drank from me hours ago, got up and left with Luhan, and you still haven’t seen him? You must be really important to him.” Then his face changed again, from anger to calm. “But I’m right here. I’ve always been here waiting for you. I have even come to you. You always have to go to Haru. He’s never there when you need him. When you really, really need him. Like right now.” He stepped closer to me, and I thought for a moment that Mrs. Lazenby was retreating to the shadows, as if she was wishing herself away from the scene. “When are you going to wake up, little girl? Haru is not your hero, your savior, or any of that crap. You are one among hundreds. Do you really think he’s been all alone for centuries? For people like him and me, you are nothing more than a warm body…”

I slapped him. I still can’t believe I did it. It was just a natural reaction, one which I would have taken with any boy who talked to me like that. My fury lashed out, and my open palm came back for another swing, but he caught me by the wrist. His cheek was a slight pink where I’d made contact the first time, but I know I didn’t hurt him. Not in a physical sense anyway.

“Nora, I could take you anytime I wanted to. I’ve done it many, many times before. I could have you any way I want, but I’ve tried to be nice about it. I’ve tried to make you feel like you have a choice when a vampire wants you. The truth is you don’t have a choice. I will eventually get what I want, whether it’s you, Haru, or your flirty little friend, Angela. “

He let me go. “But not today. I’ll just let you reflect on what’s coming.” He turned away from me and took a step up the staircase, before turning back to me. “Think about this. Where is your vampire protection now. I don’t see Haru running to your aid. He didn’t even think enough of you to let you know he’s okay. And where is Chinatsu? Luhan? They don’t care about you, Nora. I could bite you right now, and they wouldn’t even bat a lash.”

If I thought Haru was going to suddenly appear, come around the corner, and save me from Ryo, I was wrong. I was on my own. No one was coming to help. I was in the vampire’s lair, and I had two choices. Let him have me, or run crying like the little child I now saw I was.

I ran crying. I went out the door, bounded down the steps and into the yard. I didn’t look back, for fear I’d see him laughing. How could he be like this? It was one thing to have him showing up in my room to flirt without ceasing, but this was just plain mean. And where were the others? Last time there was a problem with Ryo, Luhan showed up to stare him down so bad Ryo had nearly fled from his sight. And what of my Haru? How could he just take off and not let me know he was alright? Are the vampire boys that unfeeling?

I sprinted across the street to my house. Up on the front porch, I dared to look back. The front door of Mrs. Winston’s was closed. All the lights were off, except the front porch, and soon I imagined I would see, if I stayed outside long enough, Angela arriving. I looked over at Haru’s house. It was just as dark, with no sign of activity. I unlocked my front door and went inside, to where it was just mom and me, and a big empty life. And that life was falling apart fast. It seemed the closer it edged to summer break, the more things came to pieces.

Up in my room I plopped myself down on my bed, going over all the things wrong about me. For the first time I was flunking school so bad I would be taking summer school to avoid being held back. My dad was in a psychiatric hospital and it looked like my parents would be divorcing soon. The school bully was gunning for me, and even though right now she was suffering a broken nose, she would be back with a vengeance. My best friend ever was mad at me and would soon be vampire food. But the worst of all these was the possibility that I had lost Haru somehow.

What had I done so wrong that I was now left in the dark? Hadn’t I rushed to save his life? Even offered up my own blood so that he would live? Wasn’t my love enough? And yet, he couldn’t come to me and tell me he was okay. After all his sweet words about living inside my breath, and he couldn’t even be considerate enough to regard my feelings. Instead of walking across the street to say, ‘hey I’m ok,’ he’d went with Luhan somewhere and nobody knew where that was. I couldn’t even ask Chi. She’d taken off, too.

I guess I could go over to Haru’s, maybe see if he and Luhan were there, but no, I thought, I’m not going to beg anyone for their affection. Either they want me or they don’t. I will never let anyone see how desperate I long for their touch. Haru had been a hard lesson for me. Very hard.

I cried. I couldn’t help it. What if Ryo was right? Why wasn’t Haru with me right now? He had to know how scared and worried I was about him. Perhaps vampire boys are no different than human ones. Give you sweet words, gentle kisses, and a bunch of bullshit.

“Nora,” I heard a voice call from outside my door. I stopped my sobs the best I could with my pillow. It was mom, of course.

“I left you dinner in the oven,“ she said. “It won’t stay warm long, so don’t forget to eat it, ok?”

“Okay, mom.”

“I got called into work. Somebody didn’t show, I’m sorry. Maybe…maybe we can go to church tomorrow, take in a movie after.”

“That’s fine, mom. Don’t work too hard.”

I heard her retreat down the hall. Church tomorrow. Right. Like something there is going to help me. I was finding my belief in God, or my ‘God Thing’, as Angela called it, slipping. I mean, come on, nothing was going right, and no one had time for me. Even my mom. She was always running out to work or whatever. For once, I wish she’d just tell them no whenever they called her to cover someone’s shift. It’s like I’m dying here, and no one really cares.

I heard the front door close, and in a few minutes, the sound of her car pulling out the driveway. Now, I was truly alone. ‘And truly alone is what you’ll always be,’ the tiny voice in my head said.

I got up from the bed and went over to my desk. I pulled out the drawer and dug under my drawings and stuff to seek the only solace I knew. The only thing in my life that was guaranteed to never let me down. It always did what I expected it to do. I pulled the razor from the drawer and it gleamed in the dim light of the room. It was like a friend that never disappointed me. I carried it over to the bed and sat down. Hiking my skirt up my thigh, I set the razor to my leg, and in a slow motion drew it across the skin. The cut wasn’t deep, but it drew blood, and I brought the razor back for a second slice. In these moments, it was strange. Tears rarely came forth in my act of cutting, but the blood always did. No wonder the vampire boys loved it so much; sometimes it was the only way to feel anything.

I closed my eyes, and took a third draw against my leg.

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2017 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Vampire Boys Of Summer: Chapter 20


Chapter 20: Home Alone & Angela

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 bet.”

“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.”

“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.”

“Why not?”

“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.

Vampire Boys Of Summer: Chapter 17


Chapter 17: Road Trips & Girl Killers

When I awoke on Saturday morning, I was alone. Haru was not there. I knew he had been when I had drifted off to sleep, and I could only assume he watched me for a while as I slept. I guess he had gotten tired and went on home. I stretched and woke up my cellphone. No messages, no calls. Typical life for me. I often wondered what it would be like to be real popular, but in a way I was glad I wasn’t. At least this way there wasn’t someone always demanding my attention. I could take my time getting dressed , go downstairs and fix a light breakfast, all without someone calling to say, “Let’s hang.”

I thought I had heard mom in the kitchen, but when I got down there she was gone. I assumed she was avoiding me, because she didn’t want to feel guilty. The truth was, she should feel guilty, and not over me either. She should feel guilty for dad, for not wanting to visit him when she has the chance. Before I had much time to dwell on it, or even wonder where mom was, Haru arrived. He let himself in the back door, but I didn’t mind. He could make himself at home here in any shape or form, as far I was concerned.

“Ready for our road trip?” he asked.

I smiled. “You betcha.”

He leaned close and kissed my cheek. “I’ll wait for you outside then.”

“Let’s go,“ I replied and followed him out the door. I didn’t yell for Mom to say goodbye or anything. Let her live with her own guilty ass.

I didn’t know what Haru would be driving, but the Hyundai was a little unexpected. After all, in all the vampire movies, videos, and books I had read, the vamps always had hot cars. Something flashy, sleek, fast, like one of those cars out of The Fast & the Furious. Not a gray tone Hyundai four door with dings and dents in the side. Seeing the slight damage, I began to wonder if it was safe to be going riding with him. But the fact he held the door open for me, and even strapped my seat belt, made all that worry pointless. He had to be the only guy I knew who could make putting your seat belt on feel sensuous. With his gentle hands pulling the belt and strapping it across my chest, his fingers making sure there were no twists in the fabric, even down to the slow click as he slid the buckle into place, I almost felt this was something like being undressed with the eyes. It was uncomfortable, but in a very nice and blushing kind of way.

Sliding into the driver’s seat, he took the same care in fastening himself in and it kind of disappointed me. He started the car and looked over at me. “I hope you know the way,“ he said.

I pulled out my cellphone. “GPS,“ I replied with a grin, and pulled up the bookmarked destination. “Just tell me when you are ready to start.”

He put his hand on my leg. “Ready,“ he said in a low voice. I felt the nerve in my leg jump, as if it were responding to his touch. Leaning over, he kissed a bare spot on my neck. “Set.” I felt the butterflies returning. His lips grazed my ear lobe and I closed my eyes. “Go,“ he whispered.

I pressed the start button on the GPS and heard it direct us to go down the street. I leaned forward in my seat as his mouth found the back of my neck, and it sent chills all over me. His lips did not leave my skin, but I felt the car moving, slowly rolling out the driveway and onto the pavement. The car did a slight lurch as we went down the road, and I wondered how he could drive with his playful mouth sucking at the nape of my neck. I made a low noise in my throat and the GPS said to turn right, so I did, my lips so desperate for Haru that I turned in my seat and nearly forced his mouth on mine. I braced myself for the crash, as I was sure we were going to hit something, but we never did. We rolled down the road, and then realizing he hadn’t followed the GPS’ directions, he pulled his face away and checked out the street before making the next right to get back on track. We both settled in our seats, feeling a little lighter, and smiling somewhat bigger than when we’d first got in the car.

“How far away is it?” he asked.

“Um, we should be there in about an hour. Maybe ninety minutes.”

“Cool. You want some tunes?”

“Yeah, that would be awesome. What you got?”

“CD’s are in the visor. Pick something out.”

I pulled the visor down and saw there were about a dozen CD’s in a binder strapped to it. I didn’t spend too much time looking through them, because Angela once told me guys want you to be more interested in them than their music collection. So I just grabbed one and slid it out of the binder. Before I put it in the deck, I glanced to see what it was. Across the surface of it were emblazoned the words “Keeper of the Flame.”Just under it, in bolder letters, was what I assumed was the name of the band, “The Hiatus.” I had never heard of them to be honest, but I slid it in the deck anyway. I really wanted to know all I could about Haru. Not just the romantic side of him, but all his likes and dislikes, his preferences in music, food, movies, books, everything. I never thought I’d meet someone I wanted to just drown myself in; to know all there was to know about them until they felt like my second skin. But here I was, with Haru driving down the road, listening to The Hiatus and trying to figure out where to catalogue this memory.

The CD itself sounded pretty good, and I cranked it up. It reminded me of early emo, but with a J-rock edge. “That one is called Thirst, “ Haru explained. “But my absolute favorite is the next track.”

 I didn’t hesitate, but pressed the skip button on the deck so his song would come on. He started nodding his head, and rocking back and forth to the music. “This one is called Something Ever After,” he said.

I smiled. Just the title alone revealed Haru’s hopes and dreams to me. He was sensual, charismatic, an insatiable romantic who wanted a love just as forever as his vampirism. Or at least that’s what I hoped.

We’d driven maybe thirty minutes and made small talk about school and stuff when he unloaded the question I’d been dreading today. “So, if you don’t mind me asking, why is your dad in a psych ward?”

I hesitated. How in the world was I supposed to tell him? Did I say, ‘Hey, he tried to kill someone different than him’ or perhaps ‘he has trouble getting along with certain types of people?’ That would make it seem racially motivated, to say the least. I decided to just go on and tell him the truth.

“He tried to kill a vampire.”

He turned his head to look at me, both eyebrows raised in a look that said, ‘No shit?’ And though it was just his look that said it, and not his lips, I answered it anyway.

“No shit. He attacked this guy he believed was a vampire.”

For a moment he didn’t say anything, but just turned his eyes back to the road. “Well, that makes things interesting,“ he replied. “Asking for your hand in marriage is really going to be awkward now.”

I punched him in the arm. “Stupid. You weren’t going to ask him that.”

“Well no, not yet at least. Maybe one day, hmm.”

I looked at him, trying to gauge if he meant this or not. “Are you being serious?”

“Do you want me to be?”

“I want you to be honest.”

He nodded and smiled. “The honest truth is I was trying to lighten the mood, but if we were together for a time, I imagine I would want to make our togetherness more permanent.”

“You don’t need marriage for that,” I teased. “Just bite me on the neck and turn me into one of you.”

His smile went away in an instant and he hung his head. “It doesn’t quite work that way,“ he half mumbled. I thought I saw his eyes turning glassy. “It would only kill you.”

A lightbulb went off in my head; a piece of conversation with Ryo in which he stated Haru had killed a girl. But whether it was callous as he suggested or without remorse didn’t matter. All that mattered is someone died at his hands. Ryo hated him for it and he wanted me to do the same, but I didn’t think of Haru as evil. Even if a murder had happened, I couldn’t bring my heart to think of this gorgeous vampire boy as malicious. I decided to take charge of this conversation and approach the subject that he would not.

“Did you love her?” I asked in a weak voice.

He didn’t look at me or say anything. He just nodded.

“What happened?”

“She died,“ he answered in a solemn voice. “Out of my own selfishness, pride, and greed, I killed her.”

“Ryo told me you…”

“Ryo loved her too,“ he interrupted. “If I’d just let him have her, she’d still be around. But I guess the heart wants what it wants. And I wanted her to be mine for always.”

 “I don’t understand. What happened?”

His sigh was heavy and he took a deep breath, as if what he were about to say was some kind of game changer or something.

“There are two kinds of vampires, Nora. We’ll call them Alphas and Betas. Ryo is an Alpha. The Alphas can make other vampires. They are your typical creatures of legend. You know, bite you on the neck, suck your blood, get you to drink theirs, and pow! You’re on your way to being a vampire yourself. But, Betas can’t do this. From their bite comes only death. They do not have the ability to turn others into vampires. And the great cosmic joke in all this is you don’t know which vampire you are until you make the attempt to turn someone. Maybe this is how nature balances herself. In the evolution of vampirism, something was needed to keep it all in check. If every vampire could create more vampires, the world would probably be overrun with them by now. So, there’s this check and balance to ensure that doesn’t happen.”

“So you tried to turn someone, not realizing it would kill her?”

He pulled the car over and parked it under the shade of the tree. “Are you sure you want do this?” he asked.

“I..I want to know you. And to really know you I have to know the truth. I can’t live by Ryo’s version. I want yours.”

He looked away for a moment as if he were considering what to do. After a few seconds, he turned back to me and put this finger to my eye. He traced a line from my bottom lash to my upper lip, and then put the finger to his own lips as if he somehow could taste the very oils from my skin.

“Everyone has their own scent,“ he explained. “Yours is sweet. Like cherry blossoms that have been overrun by honeysuckle. Have you ever tasted honeysuckle?”

“No,“ I confessed.

He smiled. “To me it’s very sweet. That first taste from the flower is like rich butter from the earth. It’s savory, but one drop is not enough. You have to have more. The taste lingers, and before you know it you are drinking the nectar again and again. Chiyo was like that too. Once I laid eyes on her, I couldn’t tear myself away. Do you know what the name means? Chiyo? In the best English translation, it means A Thousand Sparkles. You know, like something that shines forever. The irony in that is she was like a thousand sparkles, but I put every one of them out through my own pitiful romantic scheming. See, she was betrothed, or promised, to Ryo, who was the son of a samurai, part of the ruling class of the territory. I was the son of an artisan, the lowest class among our society. Even peasant farmers were above my station. In those days, poets, artists, even musicians, were deemed the lowest, because in the mindset of the day they were not necessary to life and human survival. They were entertainment, and yes, that could make one happy and productive, but they were not essential to living in the way growing food or protecting the villages was.’

‘In any case, she was his, and in that era it meant she was like property. If one were to steal her away, that person would be treated the same as a thief, and depending on the value the owner placed on the theft, thieves were often met with death. I didn’t think of these things when I fell in love with her, but she was very aware of her place in society. For this reason, though she loved me back, she would not challenge the betrothal her parents had arranged. But I thought if I turned her into one of us, the rules would change. The intimacy of the turning would make it near impossible for Ryo to lay claim to her anymore. It would override any human promise, for nothing is more powerful and binding than the exchanging of one’s lifeblood. But I didn’t know I was a Beta. You can still exchange blood as a Beta, but you can’t create new life, and if you drink for too long you can kill the person. Which is what happened with Chiyo. In my vampiric ecstasy, I was so excited to be spending eternity with her that I didn’t notice it was killing her until it was too late. She couldn’t be saved.”

I wanted to hang my head and not look at Haru. I was afraid if I saw those eyes in that moment of confession, I too would be helpless and lost. Something within me would have wanted to prove his curse false. I was afraid I would offer myself up to him in any fashion he wanted; to drink from me until I too was passing from this world. After all, until he had come along, I felt like I hadn’t much to live for anyway. I couldn’t explain the effect his honesty had on me. Any other time, I would have been jealous of his love for Chiyo, but instead I was enchanted by it. To want someone so bad you would do anything to make them yours. Perhaps this is the true lure of the vampire for us girls. Knowing that they would risk everything to be with you for eternity. I found myself in a daze thinking these thoughts, and the spell was only broken when Haru spoke again.

“Ryo was beyond grieved after the loss of Chiyo. Not only had she lost her heart to me, she had lost her life to the same kind of darkness that had changed us years earlier. Except it didn’t embrace her as it had us. It didn’t spit her back out as a sister of the blood. No, it kept her for all eternity.”

Haru wiped a tear from his cheek, and I noticed it was pink, as if the tear was mixed with his blood. I wanted to wipe it away, but didn’t dare.

“We had never been real cousins, Ryo and I, but we are of the same vampire family, turned by the same father. For this reason, he couldn’t kill me without enduring our master’s wrath. He pledged to make me spend the rest of our existence in the same kind of misery as he. In the beginning, that meant he would end every relationship I tried to have. If I got close to a girl, he would reveal my nature to them, and if that didn’t break us up, he would attempt to steal her heart away. Again, if that failed, he would arrange for her to disappear. For good.”

“You mean, since Chiyo, he has killed every girlfriend you’ve had?” I asked in alarm.

“No, he has only killed two girls I took a liking to. Most are run off when he reveals what I did to Chiyo. And if they didn’t leave then, if it didn’t bother them I was a bloodsucking vampire, they left when they found out I couldn’t make them one, too.”

He pulled the car back out into the road. “I guess we should be heading to see your dad, rather than just sitting here and listening to my pathetic life.”

“No, Haru. Your life isn’t pathetic. You were only doing what you thought was the best for both of you. You aren’t a cold blooded killer or anything. You loved her. I could only hope someone loved me as much.”

He turned his head to me. “Are you serious? You would die for love. You would die for just one moment of ecstasy?”

“People have died for less, Haru. In Chiyo’s defense, she didn’t know she would have just one moment, but she risked it. She gave herself to you, and maybe I’m wrong in saying this, but because of that she will always be yours. Even if it’s just in memory.”

For a moment I thought he was either going to wreck the car into a tree, or turn it around and go back home. A look crossed his face, born of anguish and his tortured soul. He shook his head as if that would shake the past from his very frame.

“Well, anyway, I guess after today you will want to forget about me and move on.”

“Why is that?” I asked.

“I’m a disappointment. Poor excuse for a vampire. I can’t make you into one of us. All the nights we spend are limited. Every moment is just the same as everyone else. I’m not special. I’m just like any other boy.”

“You are special, Haru. Don’t sell yourself short. In some ways, maybe you are like any other boy. But any other boy wouldn’t have looked at me twice.”

“Now look who’s selling themselves short.” He took one hand off the steering wheel and touched my cheek. “For the record, I can’t stop looking at you. But if you see me differently now, I understand.”

“The only way I’ll see you any different is if you don’t keep this car on the road.”

He returned his attention to driving and realized he was about to run us into a ditch. He swerved the car and gave me a bashful “Sorry.” I thought it was the cutest thing ever.

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2017 All Rights Reserved.