Libby’s Post: Meeting Camden Scott

Brian parked his BMW in front of the single story nursing home.

Nerdo Vamp opened his door first, letting the cool, damp air in. “I think it would be best if just Libby and I went in.”

Brian nodded and turned the car off.

nursing home

Image courtesy Sara Star NS via Flickr.

“She works at a nursing home?” I whispered, trying not to look too closely at the residents gathered in the dining hall. They were so gray and fragile and worn. Their skin, their hair, their clothes, everything about them looked tired.

“I do believe Ms. Scott has a fondness for the elderly, if I remember correctly.” Nerdo Vamp turned his attention to the bubble-gum chewing, twenty year old manning the front desk. “Come, let’s check in.”

“Name,” the girl said without taking her eyes from her phone.

Nerdo Vamp laced his fingers behind his back. “This is Libby and I’m–”

“No, not your name. Who are you here to see?” The girl set the phone down and smiled sweetly. But the smile was fake. I would know. I’ve used that smile to get more than a few free martinis.

“Ah, yes. We are friends of Camden Scott. We’d like to surprise her, for her birthday.” Nerdo Vamp adjusted his glasses and tried to smile sweetly. Also fake, but not nearly as good as the gum chewer’s.

calendar

Image courtesy Ebelien via Flickr.

The girl’s eyes became huge. She tore down the “Tranquility of Nature” calendar that was hanging on the bulletin board to her right. “I didn’t know it was Camden’s birthday. I’m in charge of birthdays. Shit. I mean damn. I mean phooey. Whatever old people say.”

Nerdo Vamp cleared his throat. “Not to worry, Miss. I know Camden is quite private about her birthday. She wouldn’t want a big affair in her honor, just cocktails with a couple of her dear friends.”

“Should I at least get a cake? Cookies? No, not cookies. No sweets. Camden doesn’t eat sweets, except that weird cake she brought in for Easter.” The girl pretended to gag. “It was awful. Oh, what was it? Something with an S.”

“I believe what you are referring to is Simnel cake, a type of fruit cake.”

The girl nodded and puckered her face. “It definitely had fruit. Blech. I’ll be sticking with Peeps and Cadbury Eggs next year.”

peeps

Image courtesy Kate Ter Haar via Flickr.

“Well there’s no accounting for taste.” Nerdo Vamp smiled again. “Now if you don’t mind directing us to where we might find Camden.”

“Yeah, sure. Her office is down the hall, that way, on the right. Her name’s on the door.” The girl picked her phone up and turned away.

We passed the dining hall and stopped when we saw her name: “Camden Scott, Volunteer Coordinator.” Nerdo Vamp gave the door two hard knocks.

“Come in,” a cheerful voice responded.

Nerdo Vamp pushed the door open, revealing a woman in a black suit I recognized straight from an Ann Taylor catalog. Her reddish-brown hair was in a loose bun, dark framed glasses highlighted her green eyes. I wondered if the glasses were just to make her look smart. I tried the fake glasses thing once, but ended up getting less free martinis.

The woman rose and held her hand out. “Hi Libby. I’m Camden and I’m so glad you’ve found me.” Her gaze shifted to Nerdo Vamp. She looked him up and down, with her eyebrows raised, before turning back to me. “We have a lot of work to do and not a lot of time. How long has it been since you last spoke to the man who turned you?”

I fidgeted with my ponytail. “Uh, never. I’ve never spoken to him. I just woke up one afternoon, with a killer headache and a crazy note.”

Camden rolled her eyes. “Figures. Colin can be such an ass sometimes.”

“Excuse me, Camden. What exactly is it that you want from Libby?” Nerdo Vamp asked.

She removed her purse from the bottom desk drawer and nodded toward the door. “The question isn’t what I want from Libby. It’s what can I do for Libby.” She closed the door behind us. “I understand you have a little problem with Erasmus.”

I nodded. “Little is one way to put it.”

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Libby’s Post – What’s up with this chick anyway?

I left Evan at the Waffle House and went straight to Nerdo Vamp’s office. This was important. It had to be taken care of, like now.

I pushed open the heavy wooden door and stopped at Nerdo Vamp’s desk.

“Yes, yes, Mr. Alexander. To be certain. Although, one must remember that these are uncertain times in which we live.” Nerdo Vamp dropped his pen and turned away from me.

I marched around the desk and stood in front of him again, this time flailing my arms overhead.

office

Courtesy Chris Meller via Flickr

He shooed me away and swiveled around to face the front door

“What’s got you so worked up?”

That voice–it was Brian. He would surely take me seriously.

“Oh my god, Brian.” I flung myself into a chair and let my arms drop lifelessly over the armrests. “I am in sooo much trouble. My husband, you know, Evan, he had this woman follow me. And she knows. She knows it all. And now she’s after me. She’s going to tell everyone… about me… us…all of us. I don’t know what I’m going to do. Do I kill her? Do I turn–“

“Libby,” Brian bent over and grabbed my shoulders, “it’s fine. We’ll take care of it.”

“Take care of what?” Nerdo Vamp was now standing beside me.

Brian opened his desk drawer and pulled out a bag of potato chips. “Some woman found about Libby and is demanding to be turned, or else.”

“Right.” Nerdo Vamp adjusted his bow tie. “Libby, you will learn that there are many reasons a vampire may turn someone, and blackmail is not among them. What do you know about this woman?”

“Uh, oops.” I winced.  “Nothing, except that Evan hired her to follow me. She must be some sort of private detective.”

“Well, Libby, I suggest you inquire further. We may be supernatural, but we are not miracle workers.” He went back to his desk and turned off the computer. “Brian, get the bag.”

I found my phone and dialed Evan’s number.

“Hi, Libby, I–“

“I need to know her name,” I said before he could say anything else.

“What? You aren’t going to turn her?”

“Her name, Evan. I need to know.”

He was silent for a moment and then whispered, “Camden Scott. Her name is Camden Scott.”

“All right. And where does she work?”

I got the address hung up the phone. I looked from Brian to Nerdo Vamp. “Camden Scott.”

Brian dropped his bag and laughed.

“What?”

pretzels

Courtesy David Lofink via Flickr

Nerdo Vamp sighed and sat back down, restarting his computer. “Camden Scott, also known as Fiona Ridgeway, Sunshine Pierce and Beulah Taylor, is already a vampire.”

“Her real name is Mary Billingsley.” Brian opened a bag of pretzels and offered me a bag of Doritos. “Want some?”

I shook my head.

He rubbed some of the salt off a pretzel before popping it in his mouth. “I’ve helped her change names twice now. She’s always into something, causing trouble, creating drama.”

“And sticking her nose where it does not belong,” Nerdo Vamp added.

Brian ripped open the bag of Doritos. “She claims she’s a vampire rights activist. What was her last cause?”

doritos

Courtesy Sean MacEntee via Flickr

“I believe it was ‘Blood Bags are for Brooders’ or something along those lines.”

“That’s right.” Brian licked the cheese powder from his thumb. “She’s anti-blood bag because she believes it’s in a vampire’s nature to hunt, to kill. And if vampires deprive themselves of that basic need, the vampire becomes emotionally disturbed, anxious, depressed, what have you. They then become more likely to commit suicide or kill another vampire… and obviously, more broody.”

I held out my hand for a Dorito. “Is that true?”

“There’s some data to support the theory, but you know, there’s not a lot of vampire centered research out there.”

“I think my all time favorite has to be ‘Humans, Not Housecats’.” Nerdo Vamp nodded at Brian, “Wouldn’t you say?”

“That was a few years ago, after a certain movie came out. She had different versions: ‘Humans, Not Housecats’ and ‘Humans, Not Horses’ and my favorite, ‘Humans, Not Hamsters’. Remember the bumper stickers she handed out at the last conference?”

“Quite silly, they were.” Nerdo Vamp spun his chair back around and began typing. “Like anyone would place something so ridiculous on their automobile.”

Brian moved on to a bag of Fritos. “Yeah, I stuck mine on the refrigerator.”

fritos

Courtesy austinboardman via Flickr

“Okay, this is fascinating and all, but why is she messing with me?” I folded my arms and tried to look pouty.

“Good question, Libby,” Nerdo Vamp said, picking up his phone. “That’s what we’re about to find out.”

**Why not start the series from the beginning? Click here to read about Libby’s first day as a vampire**

Libby’s Post – What has Evan done?

Waffle House Interior

Image courtesy rpavich via Flickr

So I met Evan at the Waffle House today, at 1:00 p.m., just like he asked. I did my best not to cringe as I walked inside. And as I expected, I was BY FAR the best-dressed person there. I’m not sure why people think it’s acceptable to go out in their pajamas and oversized Tweety bird shirts, but they do.

It didn’t used to be like this, at least not that I can remember.

Evan and I practically lived at the Waffle House when we were younger. It was around the corner, had good eats and was open 24 hours a day–perfect for our secret late night rendezvous.

We would sit, side by side in a corner booth, and plot and plan and scheme. We were going to make it be big. We had to. We had to be better than our middle class parents. We weren’t going to struggle to pay the bills or put our kids through college.  And we were going to have a huge house and fancy cars and designer clothing. We’d finally be able to stop pretending to be the people our friends thought we were. I could stop searching for Guess jeans at the Goodwill and buy them new and with a credit card of my own. Soon, we would be envied. People would be jealous of us, and all the things that we had. It was just a matter of time.

Today, we sat across from each other in our old corner booth. It had been more than ten years since I’d eaten there, but really, are you surprised? Once I had more than a few dollars to my name, I was schmoozing the society ladies at Antoine’s. I couldn’t be seen at a Waffle House, even if they did make amazing waffles and hash browns.

“Where’d you stay last night?” I asked, wiping a suspicious looking smear near my water glass.

“The Hilton.”

“Sounds nice.”

“It was pleasant enough.” He squirted a swirl of ketchup on top of his hash browns. “How’s your head?”

“Better,” I took a large gulp of water and tried to ignore the toddler kicking the back of my seat. “One vodka cranberry too many, you know?”

He raised his eyebrows and set down his fork. “I figured. You always drink when you’re upset.”

“When I’m upset, happy, bored. Pretty much whenever. But we don’t have to worry about that anymore, you know. I guess I get to be immune from things like liver damage.”

Image courtesy Joshua Heller via Flickr

Image courtesy Joshua Heller via Flickr

Evan cleared his throat and leaned forward. “Yeah, about that.” He looked to either side and then back at me. “That’s what I need to talk about.”

My mouth full of waffle, I nodded for him to continue.

Still leaning forward, he whispered, “I don’t want you to be mad, but I had you followed. You were acting weird and I became suspicious.”

“What?” I said as nastily as I could. I was annoyed, even angry, but honestly I’d done the same thing to him. He was acting weird, like he did when he was cheating, so I sent someone to make sure he wasn’t doing it again. He wasn’t. This was a couple of months ago and he was still acting weird. I stirred my coffee, letting the spoon clang loudly against the mug. “Please… continue.”

Image courtesy Sam Howzit via Flickr.

Image courtesy Sam Howzit via Flickr.

“I’m sorry. I just had to know what was going on and, well, now we have another problem.”

The spoon slipped from my hand. “Oh god, Evan. What have you done?”

“The lady. The one who followed you. She knows. And now she’s threatening me. She wants you to turn her or she said she’d go public. She saw you feed on at least three people.”

My heart began to race. I took a deep breath and pushed my plate away. “Well that’s just great. Way to make things way worse, Evan.”  I grabbed my purse and started sliding out of the booth.

“Wait. There’s one more thing.” Evan looked down at his plate. He pushed the remaining hash browns in and out of a puddle of egg yolk. “I’m going to lose my job. That’s why I’ve been gone so much. I’ve been trying to get interviews anywhere I can. My list of connections is almost exhausted.” He lifted his gaze and reached out his hand. “Libby, I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Now my heart was really racing. I pulled my hand away and stood up. “Evan, I have to go deal with the first mess you created. I assume you’ll be staying at home tonight. The Hilton can be expensive when you don’t have a job.”

He nodded and began to talk, but I turned and stormed out. Dealing with this lady should be easy. At least with Nerdo Vamp’s help. The thought of not having money–that was making me sick.

**Why not start the series from the beginning? Click here to read about Libby’s first day as a vampire**

Libby’s Post – At least I got my pirate

Halloween candy

Image courtesy Luke Jones via Flickr

So, I woke up this morning with a hangover. Yep, a vampire hangover.

The day began like any other Halloween. I had plenty of candy for the kids. My yard was decorated with a couple of uncarved pumpkins and a sign that said, ‘boo’ on the door. It was a step up from last year and I didn’t want to call attention to myself, you know.

After the last of the rug rats came by, I planned to head to the bar down the street. They have a costume contest every year.

And that’s where I was stuck. What was I going to be? A vampire is a total cop out. It’s like when a doctor or a nurse dresses as a doctor or a nurse. Seriously, the point is to be something you’re not. Then there’s the slayer option. I’d make an awesome Buffy Summers, but I had a feeling plenty of vamps had already been there, done that.

I strolled the makeshift aisles of the Halloween store. Some of the costumes were immediately placed in the ‘no’ category. A wicked witch costume? Not enough leg. A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle? I didn’t even know an adult woman would dress as such a thing.

And I ruled out anything with face makeup. All of that greasy, comedogenic crap on your face. No thank you.

Halloween Store

Image courtesy Kimco Realty via Flickr

My eyes went from package to package, really just looking for the word sexy. Anything can be made sexy nowadays. I’m pretty sure I once saw a sexy lobster costume.

I settled on a sexy mermaid. I guess I wanted to see how well I could walk dressed as a fish. And I thought it would be quite the sight. A vampire mermaid feeding off Batman or a pirate. Yes, I would have to find a pirate to feed on.

I was beginning to get in the spirit, so I quickly took a drink from one of the clerks behind the store. Don’t worry. She’ll be all right. I left her with plenty of blood and a couple of no nonsense fashion tips.

It was around 5:00 p.m. when I heard my front door open. I ran, well shimmied, downstairs and there was Evan, home early.

“Nice costume,” he said, dropping his bag with a thud.

“Oh thanks, I’m a mermaid.” I gave him a hug that hardly felt reciprocated.

“Really? I thought you were a vampire.” He pulled away and gave a small smile.

I adjusted my seashells. “Oh, right. I’ve always loved your sarcasm.”

He sat on the couch and folded his hands in his lap. “Guess what, my dear Libby. We’re having a party. Tonight.”

“Uh, what?”

“Don’t worry. I’ve already invited everyone. Some co-workers, some friends. I went through your phone contacts to make sure I got everyone.”

“My phone contacts?” Crap. Why was I stupid enough to have Nerdo Vamp and Brian in there?

Garlic cloves

Image courtesy Crispin Semmens via Flickr

He pointed to his bag sitting by the door. “I even got some chips and dip. It’s garlic. Everyone loves garlic.” He looked at his watch and then back at me. “People should be arriving any minute.”

I began to freak out. I tried to protest, make excuses. Evan just kept saying something along the lines of: “Well, Libby, is there a reason we can’t have a party? Is there something you need to tell me? You better say something before everyone gets here.”

My brain scrambled to come up with something. I was usually a great liar.

Then the doorbell rang. It was Zed. Zed from the Yoga Spot dressed as a marijuana leaf.

Evan ran to the door and greeted the leaf. “The wine goes in the kitchen,” he said.

“Uh, okay.” Zed slipped through the door and started toward the kitchen. “Bummer, am I the first one here?”

“Yep,” I said, giving Evan the nastiest look I could.

Zed came back into the living room looking confused. “I thought this was supposed to be a surprise party.”

“Well it still is.” I took Zed’s arm. “I’m surprised. Come on. Let’s get you a glass of wine.”

The doorbell rang again and I hoped it was one of Evan’s friends. Or not. I wasn’t sure what to hope for.

I peeked around the corner. Now Nerdo Vamp, Brian and Mr. Brown Eyes were all standing at the door. That’s when I knew Evan knew. He was on his third attempt at inviting them in, without actually inviting them in.

“Please come in,” I yelled from the kitchen.

Nerdo Vamp rounded the corner and whispered in my ear.

I replied under my breath, “He knows.”

“Knows what?” Evan said loudly. “That you’ve been talking to animals and having an affair with this vampire?” He pointed at Brian.

The room went silent. Zed was the first to speak up. “Dude. He’s not a vampire. He’s like a zombie or something.”

“Goblin,” Brian corrected him.

Nerdo Vamp cleared his throat. “Well, everyone, it seems Libby and her husband have some personal matters to attend to.” He took Zed and led him out of the kitchen. “We should give them some privacy, don’t you think?”

Brian squeezed my arm on the way out and whispered, “Call me.”

So then Evan and I had the talk. At first he seemed to take it okay, but then the truth finally settled in. It’s one thing to think you know something and another for it to be confirmed. He left around 10:30. Said he needed time to think and be alone.

He left still believing I was having an affair. Probably because he was once a cheater. It’s hard when you’ve broken someone’s trust. You end up certain they’ll do the same to you.

Pirate

Image courtesy Frank Kovalchek via Flickr

So, I went to the bar and had a few drinks. I didn’t call Brian. I drank alone. After a sexy alligator won the costume contest, I went outside and fed on my pirate. He was tasty, but almost too intoxicated to hold himself upright. I left him next to the dumpster and walked home, stumbling over my fishtail.

There was a note taped to the front door. It was from Evan. I put it on the coffee table and went to bed.

And now that I’ve taken my ibuprofen and forced like a gallon of water down my throat, I’m ready to read it. It said that he had a secret too. He was going to tell me last night, but lost the courage. He wanted to meet at the Waffle House at 1:00 p.m. How considerate. He must have known I’d be too hung over to meet any earlier.  And I do love waffles.

**Why not start the series from the beginning? Click here to read about Libby’s first day as a vampire**

Evan’s post – I won’t be kept in the dark any longer

My wife is a vampire. And I’ve known for some time. Because I know when she is lying. I might be a frat boy turned investment banker, but I’m not stupid.

Courtesy SickestFame via Flickr

Courtesy SickestFame via Flickr

She was lying the first time we met, that day by the lockers, when she was harassing my sister. Her nose crinkled up and her eyes searched for a believable story. She was beautiful. A beautiful liar.

I’m not mad. I’m not. I’m frustrated. Why do our lives have to be a charade, an act hidden behind a perfectly constructed façade? I’m tired of it. But she never seems to grow weary, at least that I can tell. She goes on, day to day, like everything is a damn 80’s sitcom.

Then there’s her “friend” that keeps coming by. I’m assuming he’s a vampire too. Maybe he’s the one who turned her or maybe he’s just some guy she met at a vampire potluck. Either way I’m not happy about it. But what can I do? I couldn’t control her when she was human. And now I feel even more powerless. Trapped in my own world of lies and now hers.

But I love her. I always will. As long as she lets me. As long as time and circumstance allow me.

We’ll get through this. I know we will. She’s my Libby. She’s the reason I became who I am. She’s the reason I keep fighting. She’s the reason I lie, the reason I keep secrets–mine, hers and ours.

I guess it could be worse. At least she’s not leaving dead bodies everywhere. I already pay Lucille far more than she’s worth to scrub a toilet and mop some floors. I can’t imagine the fee for dead body removal.

Courtesy Sam Pullara via Flickr

Courtesy Sam Pullara via Flickr

I do have a plan though–for Halloween night. Secrets are going to be shared. I’m dead set on it.

**Why not start the series from the beginning? Click here to read about Libby’s first day as a vampire**

Libby’s Post – I chose the zoo over the mall, I must be bored

Courtesy of FotoSleuth via Flickr

Courtesy of FotoSleuth via Flickr

On Wednesday we went out again. Brian picked me up this time, arriving in a shiny BMW sedan–a car far cooler than he ever was. The car was freezing when I got in and the cold leather shocked my bare thighs. I pulled my shorts down to protect what skin I could.

“Why is like Antarctica in here?” I asked trying to smooth the goose bumps on my arms.

“Oh, sorry,” he replied turning the AC setting from ‘wicked ice age’ to ‘a polar bear would probably still be comfortable’. “I guess I just run hot.”

We were on our way to the zoo. A place I hadn’t been since I was 12. It was Brian’s idea. He called me up yesterday and asked if I wanted to go.

My new vampire life oddly seeming more boring than my human one, I figured it was the zoo with Brian or another shopping trip to Nordys, alone.

I’ll be honest; things have been kind of sucky since I turned. I can’t tell anyone my secret, not my husband, my best friend Emme or even Zed at the Yoga Spot, who by the way, has been super psyched by my recent performance in class.

I also have to regularly suck on strangers’ necks and you all know how I feel about that. And I’ve been forced into this whole Lost Colony drama with Emme. And what do I think about history? BORING.

So that is how my days have been spent: a little yoga, some blood sucking, a trip to the mall, more blood sucking and then a visit to Emme’s house to hear her blabber on about that stupid colony. And I have to pretend to be interested. God, I am such a good friend.

Courtesy Chris Christner via Flickr

Courtesy Chris Christner via Flickr

Brian led me through the turnstile and stopped in front of the snack shop.

“Not more pizza,” I said, pretending to gag.

He grabbed my arm and yanked me inside. “No, even better. They have nachos, with that liquid cheese.”

Courtesy Gabriel Flores Romero via Flickr

Courtesy Gabriel Flores Romero via Flickr

A few minutes later we walked past the camels and into a section with all sorts of antelopey like things. Brian ate his nachos and I drank my cherry slushie.

“So, how have you been holding up?” he asked.

“Good.”

“Are you sure? Because last week I told you that you were marked for death.”

Courtesy Rob Bulmahn via Flickr

Courtesy Rob Bulmahn via Flickr

I stopped to read about one of the striped antelopey things. It was a Lesser Kudo. “Yep, I’m sure. Thanks for the warning though.”

“Libby,” he stood squarely in front of me, his eyes boring into mine, “I told you someone is trying to kill you and you aren’t the slightest bit concerned?”

“Uh, I am concerned,” my eyes focused on the tray of soggy tortilla chips, “but it’s not something I want you to worry about.”

“How, can I not worry? You’re my friend.” He kept talking but my mind wandered.

I wanted to tell him. Tell him everything I knew. Tell him this was all much bigger than he could imagine. But I didn’t want to put him danger. Erasmus was dead set on getting his way. It didn’t matter who died along the way.

“Libby, are you even listening?” Brian waved his nacho tray in the air and leaned his face close to mine.

“Um, sort of.”

“It’s all a joke, Libby. I made it up.”

My brow furrowed. “What do you mean a joke?”

“After I became a vampire I sort of found everyone who was involved that night and got back at them. Nothing terrible. Just some practical jokes.”

Courtesy Martin Pettitt via Flickr

Courtesy Martin Pettitt via Flickr

“And my practical joke was to tell me I’m going to be killed.”

He started toward the giraffes, talking under his breath. But I could still hear him. “It probably wasn’t the best idea. It’s just hard to freak out a vampire. You have to go a little bigger. I was going to tell you right then and there, as soon as you freaked out, but you never did. Then I waited for you to call and you never did. So, here we are.” His eyes got all puppy dog like.  “I’m sorry, Libby.”

“So you added my initials to that tree?”

“All of the trees.”

“All of the initials, on all the trees?”

He stopped and looked to the ground. “There is no burial ground back there. I made it all up.”

“Wow,” I tried not to laugh. “You must be even more bored than I am.”

“I do have a lot of time on my hands.”

He chucked the plastic nacho container in the trash. “So, you’re not mad at me?”

I handed him my empty slushie cup. “I don’t know about mad, but you’d better watch your back. I can be vindictive.” I stood back and tried to look sinister.

We went from one exhibit to the next, talking (quietly of course) about what he’d learned so far about being a vampire. I tried to stay focused on his stories, but one thought kept creeping back into my mind–Brian’s confession only changed one thing: my burial site.

**Why not start the series from the beginning? Click here to read about Libby’s first day as a vampire**

Libby’s Post: What’s with all the cheese?

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.

Courtesy Rob Boudon via Flickr

Courtesy Rob Boudon via Flickr

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.”

Courtesy British Mum via Flickr

Courtesy British Mum via Flickr

“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.

Courtesy Stephen Boisvert via Flickr

Courtesy Stephen Boisvert via Flickr

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.

Courtesy Stuart Heath via Flickr

Courtesy Stuart Heath via Flickr

“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**