I am so over him right now. My heels are caked in mud, I have two broken nails and I missed Dr. Oz., all because my old tutor has a hunch. A ridiculous hunch that I am going to be killed.
To that I say, whatever, I’m not worried. I’ve taken Tae Bo. I know how to defend myself.
We met last week at the arcade–I thought because it was the last place someone would suspect to find a vampire. Well, let’s just say the guy still enjoys a good game of laser tag.
I recognized him right away, standing in front of the old-school Pac Man game. He got me to play a couple of rounds and I’m pretty sure he let me win, twice. He never used to let me win.
After another win for me, this time at air hockey, we got a pizza and sat at a table in the middle of the snack area. He insisted on getting extra cheese.
“You know I love cheese,” he said grinning. “And being a vampire I can eat as much as I want.”
“Shh.” My gaze shifted to the pre-teens around us. No need to worry, they were all on their phones.
He folded his slice in half and took a huge bite.
“So, Brian,” I straightened the napkin on my lap, “I’m so sorry for what happened. You know, in school.”
He pulled the ends of his pizza slice apart and poured more Parmesan on top. “Needs more cheese.”
“Uh, yeah.” My hands smoothed the edges of the thin paper napkin. “Like I said, I’m really sorry. I was a terrible friend.”
I watched him chew a disgustingly gooey bite, his throat struggling to choke down greasy blob.
“No worries, Libby. We were kids then. I don’t hold any grudges.” He took my hand and squeezed it. “I’ve moved on.”
He was just as sweet as I’d remembered. But now his geeky T-shirt and dark-framed glasses made him look cool. And he was young. The jerk hadn’t aged at all. I was suddenly annoyed. How dare he age better than me? Or I guess not age.
“So what happened to you?” I asked, pushing gobs of cheese to the side of my plate.
He took a long sip off his straw, his eyes fixed on mine. “I came to the party to say goodbye. We were leaving that night and I didn’t know if I’d ever see you again.”
“Oh, I didn’t know… I mean, where were you going?”
“I never told you about him, my vampire friend. We met soon after you and I started our tutoring sessions. He was impressed with my computer skills and asked if I wanted a job. He offered me the chance of a lifetime.”
My brain latched on to the most confusing piece of his story. “Computers? I didn’t know you were good with computers. You were a philosophy tutor.”
He shook his head and leaned forward. “I sucked at philosophy. I hated it. I was just better at it than you.” His hand grabbed mine and squeezed it again. “I was there when you signed up. I volunteered so I could be with you.”
I didn’t pull my hand away.
“So you left with this vampire? Just walked away from your life?”
“I was young, Libby. All I wanted was to be with you and I knew that wouldn’t happen. So, I ran away.” He cleared his throat. “When I came to say goodbye, I was hoping you would ask me to stay, tell me you cared for me, but instead those meatheads beat the crap out of me. A few hours later, my friend found me, scraped me off the ground and I never looked back.”
“So you’ve been working for him ever since?”
He slid a fourth slice of pizza to his plate. “Yeah, it’s been great. I’ve never regretted it once. And it’s been great to see you, Libby. How’s vampire life treating you?”
I struggled to answer his question honestly. My vampire life was pathetic compared to his. He was confident and composed and I was still trying to figure out why coffee still burned my tongue.
And then today he dragged me through the cemetery, over the back gate and then another half a mile through the woods. Some warning about proper attire would have been nice. My Jimmy Choos can only take so much.
He stopped suddenly and pointed at a tree. “There.”
There were two letters carved into it. “So?”
“Libby, I think you’ve been marked. This,” he circled around pointing to the forest around him, “this is where Erasmus buries his kills. Each tree is marked with the initials of the vampire buried below it.”
My initials were carved into the tree, but so? There could be tons of vampires with the same initials. Then I saw the date below it.
“Libby, that’s your birthday.” He rubbed his fingers across the wood. “Erasmus takes pride in tracking the birthdates of his victims. He kills without regard, the young and the old. His goal is to have a kill born from each decade.” His gaze moved to the woods behind me. “Back there he has some of his oldest victims. Vampires from the 1300s.”
I drove home muddy and tired, pondering the possibility that the next door to door salesman could be a killer, ready to stake me dead. Like I said, I’m not worried. I’m just annoyed Brian went through all that just to tell me something I already know.
I mean, my friend Emme’s dog already told me.
**Why not start the series from the beginning? Click here to read about Libby’s first day as a vampire**