I never intended to go back to the club.
Really, I thought about that evening afterwards and was more than a little freaked out about the whole way it had gone and how I had felt. My life went back to the usual work and play cycle.
My mom blew into my world because the holidays were upon us, and she had to have at least one photo op with me looking somewhat thrilled to be so close to dear old mom. Her publicist called a day before Thanksgiving to say I had to be down at a local radio station for an interview -- they had finally figured a way around my Goth look. Since I knew we would be on air, not film, I dressed somewhat more conservatively. I left off most of the clubware, only leaving an earring or two on; no leather studded armbands or dog collars to scare the straights. When I reached the studio, I was less than delighted to be ambushed by some lowlife paparazzi when someone shouted out I was Petra Lake's daughter. Snap, crackle and pop went the flash photography while some talking heads called out to me. I kept a perfectly vague look and pretended to not hear them. I had always treated the press nicely and never rudely, so they allowed me to pass. Once inside my mom was ecstatic to see me, since there was a reporter nearby. After we answered the pre-scripted questions and inserted laughter at all the bad jokes, we left together. The crowd outside the studio was much larger than when I had arrived.
"Petra! Look over here," one photographer called.
"Lilac, are you going to become an actress like your mom?"
"Petra, when will you do another movie?"
We both smiled and answered nearly none of the questions fired at us. Once we reached her car she pulled me inside while waving to her fans.
"Petra, drop the act, they can't hear you in here." I hadn't called her 'mom' since I was about five or so. In public I always referred to her as Mom or Mother Dear, depending on the forum, but in private I had no need to keep up the appearances.
Through a thinly pressed set of lips she bit out, "Excuse me, dear, they have taken to lip reading when need be. So I need to continue the act unless inside my own home."
She had that lovely paranoia down only true actresses could attain. I asked her, "Have you taken your meds today?"
"My what?" She threw me a vile look unseen by her adoring public.
"Please, Petra, we know you have your happy day pills and your unhappy day pills. What's today's flavor?" I was cruel, but then she pretty much had earned it and more.
"Lilac, I need you to stop tormenting me."
Ah, today's mood was Tragic Misunderstood Actress With a Devil Child. Devil Child would be my role in this day's drama. I didn't like playing her games and cut to the chase. "Whatever, just tell me why I had to be dragged out for this latest dog-and-pony show?"
Her eyes flashed anger at my tone, but she didn't deny my charge. She turned to me and I could see she was upset. Oh, no! This was going to be one of those conversations. Tragedy ensues, actress isn't being offered any roles she likes. Cyclic and mildly predictable, but whenever her soap role got carved down for new story lines or show arcs that didn't have her character in it, she would look outside for other work. As she got older, the roles she was offered tended to fall into less desirable pieces. I figured she would head back to her pet plastic surgeon and either have more body parts carved or botox injected, again.
We still were seated in her car and she had made no moves to drive anywhere. The press had grown bored with snapping us sitting there talking, and driven off. She lit a cigarette and turned to me.
"You need to come home," Petra said in her overwrought mother voice. That was the one that grated on me the most, I think. It wasn't like she ever parented me. She had me on a whim with hubby number three or four, and he was kicked to the curb while I was chained to dear mom. I had nannies and private schools, sure, but true parenting skills were at a minus ten points on an average. She really had no idea what to do with me once I got my own opinions and didn't need her for anything. The sperm donor father was long gone, leaving me with a nice sizeable trust fund which I think was just to make sure I could escape whenever I needed to, which I did. Since I was eighteen I had been on my own. The bank sent me a statement every month sharing how much money we had made. The trust fund attorney had made sure I wasn't able to touch the principle and they automatically paid my rent on my apartment, the utilities and whatever I ran up on my credit card. It was sweet, but at times boring. Petra hated it and would seasonally throw a fit for me to move back to her lovely home. Not going to happen, ever, as long as I kept conservative with my spending, I could pretty much go my whole life without working.
"Please, give it a rest. You must be between husbands again. Which one are you up to now? It must be at least seven. Wait, you married that last boyfriend just a year ago. Is he gone already?" If it weren't for the tabloids I never would have been able to keep track of her men.
She pouted and blew out the smoke in rings. It was entertaining when I was four but somehow had lost the charm. She looked over at me and said, "No, Eric is still my husband. He is home waiting for you to come back."
"Eric is what, four or five years older than me? I somehow seriously doubt he is waiting to have me visit much less move in with you. Petra, I came and did the radio bit -- can't you just say thanks and let me go back to my life?" I avoided rolling my eyes knowing it would just irritate her and prolong this event.
I waited to see if she was listening or just waiting to say her lines. I realized at a very early age most of our conversations were nearly verbatim dialogues she had said in one of her many television programs. I rarely followed the script, but she always tried to get me to say the appropriate lines. This current one had the sound of one of the made-for-television movies of the week where her character was dying of some horrible disease and trying to make amends before fading into the credits.
"Well, are you at least coming for Thanksgiving tomorrow?"
"No, I have plans already." I didn't but couldn't see making the four hour drive to her current home.
She pouted some more and tapped her ash out into the full ashtray. She had been chain smoking again and I was mildly curious how she kept the lines from creeping in around her lips, but if I asked, I'd end up being lectured on how I needed something tightened or realigned. Not worth the time and I was in no mood to be told how I looked.
"Fine, then I will expect you for Christmas Eve." She air kissed near my head and told me, "Thank you for at least showing up today. Lilac, you are coming for Christmas Eve. No excuses."
I sighed and exited the car saying, "I'll see what I can do." But I knew I would be there since I was allowed to blow off one holiday but never two in a row.
"Bring Eric something nice. He thinks you hate him." She called out.
"Sure, whatever. Nice." I made a mental note to dig up something hideous he would have to wear. I waved to her goodbye and headed back to my home.
~ ~ ~
Thanksgiving Day passed uneventfully but too quickly. I did the post turkey day kamikaze shopping trip and found a particularly festive holiday sweater. I had it shipped to Eric for with a note to please be wearing it for me when I came next month. The reindeer on it had a flashing nose and velvet antlers. The suede patches on the elbows were a definite plus. For Petra I ordered a delivery of flowers and a wreath which was pretty much all she would ever accept from me, since she felt like she was taking money from my mouth if I bought her anything. It was approaching evening when I found myself near Dark Whispers. I was going to drive by when I saw Donnie at the door. He noticed me and waved for me to stop.
"Hey, pretty girl, why haven't you been back?" Donnie was leaning in the passenger side window I had rolled down when he approached.
"Dunno, busy. I guess." Okay, that was a lie but his face fell and he said, "Park around back and come in for a drink. It's pretty dead tonight with it being a holiday weekend."
I felt sorry for the big guy and said, "Sure, why not."
Ten minutes later I was in front of the club to find that Kenyon had joined Donnie. I nearly turned around, but didn't have it in me to be rude. They both greeted me with a smile and Kenyon called out, "Great, you're back. We were worried you got too busy to visit. What with the holidays and all the usual chaos with families. Nice interview the other day, Lilac. Funny to think you are somewhat a celebrity." He seemed to find that amusing. I smiled weakly and followed him inside. Jane was manning the cashier's booth and Kenyon waved off the stamp saying, "I know who she is and no need to mark up that lovely skin."
Jane grinned and said, "Great interview with your mom the other day. It must be so cool to have her for a mom."
I nodded and didn't reply. I was disturbed by the skin remark from Kenyon. I wasn't dressed for going out but for casual shopping. Black jeans, shirt and boots, no makeup or anything remarkable, I was surprised Donnie even noticed me.
Kenyon walked through the club nodding to the few people around, but Donnie was right, it was totally dead inside, maybe thirty people at the most. Gabriella was seated at the bar and when she saw me she jumped up and ran over saying, "Oh, my god, I never thought I would see you again, Lilac. You left so suddenly I didn't have time to get your numbers."
Pretty much why I had left so quickly -- just to avoid that sort of exchange.
Kenyon said, "Let's head back to my office and talk. Okay?"
"Lilac, you didn't get to see his office last time. It's way cool." Gabriella was trying too hard to impress me. Distracted, they led me back to the office. I was still trying to figure out what was going on.
Once in the office Gabriella said, "Sit down, Lilac."
She and Kenyon stood in front of me and said, "We want you to join us."
"Excuse me?" I hadn't sat yet and turned to look at them.
"You are into the Goth thing. So it shouldn't freak you too much. But we are vampires." Gabriella said hurriedly.
I started laughing. This was too much.
"Okay, time to go." I turned and began to head out. Gabriella was between me and the door in a flash. It was then I noticed her smile had grown. Too Hollywood for me, they had put in fake fangs!
They both crowded near me and said, "We want you to be part of us. Your family is perfect and you would love the freedom you would get."
I was still laughing when Kenyon turned my face to his.
"Lilac, you will love the power." He leaned down and kissed me.
I began to pull away when I felt the pinprick of his fake fangs on my lower lip. His kiss was sweet at first, but I gasped when he reached up and traced my throat with his fingers. He took that opening to deepen the kiss. His tongue entwined mine. I tried to draw away but I was growing aware of his hand running down my side. Then Gabriella was behind me pushing me closer to Kenyon. I felt a flush of sexual tension between us three when he bit my tongue softly. My blood mingled with his as I bit the hell out of his lip trying to tear away from his kiss. Gabriella was there to lap at his face with her kiss. With them busy with each other I tried to slide away. My tongue throbbed as well as tingled.
"No, don't leave." Kenyon said softly.
I stumbled for the door. He was in front of me saying, "I need you."
His hands were supporting me. I felt thick and unable to move. Then I wanted him. As he pulled me closer, Gabriella had gone and got a glass, filled it with red wine. She handed it to me and began to speak in another language. Confused, I let Kenyon hold me up and bring the cup to my lips. He kissed me first. I took a sip and said, "Wait, this doesn't taste like wine." The coppery flavor of my own blood was not flushed with the sip but filled with a thicker taste of blood. My head pounded and I began to sway. They both were holding me up, talking. Whatever was in that glass was more than wine was my last conscious thought.
~ ~ ~
I awoke on the couch in Kenyon's office covered with a blanket. Kenyon was at his desk. I felt different. I felt good.
"You should, you are a vampire now. People would kill to be given what we gifted you." He sounded pleased with himself.
"I didn't ask for anything." I really needed something to drink.
Gabriella pulled a bottle of water out from the cupboard. It was then I saw she was in the room. She brought it to me.
"Okay, what did you do to me? GHB?" I thought I had been given some drug in that wine. I didn't have a hangover, but was confused to what had happened. Nowhere did I feel violated other than my mouth. But I had sort of allowed that, I vaguely remembered.
"No, we told you, we are vampires. We needed you and didn't have the time to train you or talk you into it. So we made you one anyway."
Gabriella was pleased with that little statement.
"Sure, I am a vampire. Well, you definitely are one whacked out couple, but I think I had better be going now." I pulled myself upwards to find I really was feeling great. I stood up and Kenyon came around his desk to join me.
He put his arms around me and said, "No, you aren't going anywhere. Gabriella can teach you to hunt or you can go with me. Either way, you are ours now."
I growled and found my mouth felt too full. My tongue quickly noticed I now had fangs. Awareness washed over me. I really was one. I found out I didn't mind. I looked to Kenyon and said, "You can teach me."
The next month was a whole new set of rules. I was pleased to find I learned quickly. Even though they had made me without asking, I really didn't mind. I kept my apartment and set it up so I would be safe. Everything was going along so nicely when I got the call from my mom. She reminded me I needed to be there for Christmas Eve. I asked if I could bring a friend or two. She said it would be wonderful.
Kenyon and Gabriella made the trip with me. The four hour drive was lovely. Christmas Eve dinner was to have been a small cozy dinner with just Petra, Eric and myself. Petra had it catered, and was so happy that I had decided to share my friends with her. We reached the house about ten, late, but I had called and claimed car troubles.
Over the doorway Petra had hung my wreath. We knocked and Eric opened the door wearing the ridiculous sweater I had bought for him. It took us maybe ten minutes to subdue them and a bit longer to drain them dry. One doesn't rush a good meal. It was then I found out that my mother tasted like vanilla to me. Or maybe it was just the season.