Slowly tapping a finger on my pursed lips, I wanted to make that childish invisible key twist, lock and toss gesture with my fingertips. Resisting that impulse was hard because I really wanted to seal my words and not reply to this creature. Babette was waiting for me to give her permission of some sorts about Billy. I didn't want to make a mistake. The vampire had a smirk on her face that gave me pause. My stomach plunged as I tried to figure out the best reply.
"Josie, it's not a tough question," she purred while Billy looked at me with fearful eyes. I was happy he wasn't as confident of me as he'd been when he called me to dump a body earlier. It was stupid, but the small victory pulled me up. Then Babette's fangs peeked out of her lips, and her eyes weren't flat but dancing. The thoughts rolling behind them were greatly amused. That mocking amusement was keeping me quiet and my feelings of victory felt like ashes in my throat.
"Honey, she's just kidding," Billy was pleading from the floor. The blood still trailed down from his split lip over his chin and dripped onto his bare chest and his eyes were broken. Suddenly I wasn't happy and he wasn't helping. "Josie, my darling, you don't need to say anything. Just help me up and we'll work all of this out."
I had no desire to let my husband work anything out much less any need left for him. I was free for the first time in my life. Babette watched us both with a decidedly predatory gleam in her eyes. She wasn't looking weak in any way. That wound from Billy had healed up and if the evidence of the bloody spoon and sheets had been removed nobody would ever figure anything had occurred.
"To hell with you, Billy," not clever but that was what I was feeling.
"That can be arranged. Is that your decision?" She positively hissed at me for a choice.
Something changed in the house. I felt a stillness that wasn't normal. I cocked my head ignoring the two players in the room. I wasn't sure what had shifted. It had nothing to do with Babette. A breeze played at my back and I spun to the doorway. Someone was here besides of us three in my bedroom.
"Who else did you call, Billy? Did you ask one of your asshole friends to come over before you broke down and called me?" I snarled. It made sense, and then I saw the whipped look out of the corner of my eye from Billy, and knew that I'd guessed true.
"Billster, buddy where the fuck are you?" The loud boisterous voice bounced up the staircase as the thumping announced Oliver's presence. Naturally it was Oliver, who was my absolute least favorite of Billy's asshole buddies, and since he was also usually the one Billy turned to first I should have expected it. If nothing else, it further pushed the events of day into the realm of Billy's worldview. That would be the one with him dead center and the rest of us mere humans just nodding and bowing at his command. As I'd been the first string cheerleader for so many of those years I knew the dance steps by heart.
Babette wasn't smiling anymore. She'd launched herself back into the bed and pulled up the bed sheet, finally covering up her perfect breasts. The blood was still spattered visibly around the bedding but her fangs had disappeared. I leaned back against wall just off to the side of the bedroom door. Oliver didn't disappoint me. He rocketed into our bedroom and looked right at the bed where Babette lounged.
"She's not dead!" He sounded disappointed. He'd yet to register me standing behind him. Billy struggled to get up from the ground.
Babette said, "Did I say you could get up?" Billy dropped back and Oliver's mouth gaped open.
"Okay, the clown is here. You all can play amongst yourselves. I don't need to keep you company. Billy, the bed and Babette better be out of here when I get back. Oliver, help your playmate clean up and take him with you on the way out." I snarled and left. Nobody stopped me. I could feel a tingle in-between my shoulder blades as I heard Oliver ask, "Well, why the hell did you call the Bitch? You knew I'd get here as soon as I could."
Yeah, Oliver had a great grasp of timing. I knew he had no respect for me but hadn't heard his cute little nickname for me. There was no love lost between us, but then he'd been Billy's friend nearly as long as I had. Disgusted, I headed back to my job.
I never felt less like working in my life. My co-workers were unaware why I'd been called away, and the expression on my face must have offset any prying questions. I finished up the day in a complete daze. As a manager I wasn't held to the same hours as most of the office but usually I was 'there' just the same. Nobody seemed to notice that I wasn't one hundred percent there because I faked work well enough. Thankfully it was Friday so I had a few days to find my foothold again. If that was even possible any more -- I wasn't in the least sure. If someone had told me that by nightfall I'd believe in vampires and want my husband dead, I would have laughed and asked what they'd been drinking. Something had scooped out my stomach and replaced it with a ball of fire and pain.
The drive home was a blur. I really should have gone somewhere else, I decided as I pulled into the garage. Billy's car was gone and the house was dark. I sat in the driver's seat listening to my engine tick and gurgle, frozen in place. Everything that I'd seen and heard was busy tormenting its Byzantine way through my mind. The light was on when I'd first parked, from the automatic garage door opener overhead, and it blinked off, making me realize that I'd been sitting in my car far longer than I knew. I pushed the button on my garage door mechanism clipped to the visor, decisively starting the door's motion for shutting my car and me inside, then I reluctantly opened my car door.
Something blurred out of the corner of my eye and I wheeled around slamming my purse into a solid figure. A hand forcefully grabbed my wrist preventing me from smacking the intruder with the bag again. Dark hair and blue eyes was the first impression. The second was this damned creature had fangs. Another vampire? So much for them having to be invited into someone's home, I thought angrily while the garage door finished its job and rolled down to the cement with a thud shutting me inside with the vampire.
Rough laughter and the man said, "This isn't a home. It's just a garage. They don't technically count."
He got to see up close my eyes and their brown irises, as that bolt sunk home along with the fact he seemed to have read my mind. The explicit swear words left unsaid weren't polite in any company and the vampire laughed harder. I guess he could hear those words,too.
"Nice mouth." He dryly said to my unspoken thoughts.
"Glad you like my mouth," I said as I pushed my face into his and clamped down with my teeth on his lower lip and yanked. I already knew vampires bled, and this new one was using my previously unspoken swearing aloud, and profusely bleeding. Wet, surprisingly warm and coppery blood splashed into my mouth. I found myself automatically swallowing, another talent I learned at my husband's knee so to speak, and then horrified I tried to spit out the blood. Was that going to make me a vampire?
The man had stopped cursing and begun chuckling. Oh great, I amused the bitten vampire. That couldn't be good.
"No, drinking just a bit of my blood won't change you," he was amused and rapidly healing. That alone scared me -- he didn't care that I knew he could read my mind. I tried to think numbers and complex work-related crap that had nothing to do with vampires. I instinctively knew that I wanted to block him out of my head. I felt inadequate and under-informed. I really hadn't spent the afternoon very well by just sitting like a lump at work signing paperwork and approving forms. Looking back I realized that I should have been busy researching vampires. Nevertheless both emotions served to remind me I didn't know anything about the man much less the vampire. I felt like it was the first day of class and the professor had sprung a pop quiz on us.
Naturally that fear leaked out and the vampire said, "You know enough to be afraid, which is good. Don't worry, I'll help you with the rest."
Good witch or bad witch -- or vampires as the case seemed to be -- left me pondering what new hell was being offered. He stood differently than Babette and wasn't nearly as frightening to me. I wondered at that. I usually deferred to Billy, my weakness, and found myself questioning that and why this vampire drew the same feelings. I wanted to stroke his hair back and ask him if he wanted anything.
"Oh, wait a damn second here. You're messing with my mind!" I began to think of how I made my favorite cookies, and then I filled my mind with all the cleaning and cooking that I did afterwards, carefully flooding out any other stray thoughts or impulses. It seemed vampires did have a few mind tricks like they showed in movies. His gaze caught mine and I saw his quick smile. We still were entwined by my purse and each other's arms. I yanked myself free and he allowed it. His mouth showed no marks or even scars from my bite. If I still didn't have that coppery flavor in my mouth I would have thought I never bit him. A bitter penny taste on my tongue reminded me of my failings. And my fears were pushing at the back of my brain wondering if I was now going to become a vampire -- it wasn't like I was ready to take his word for what caused the fang faced features to pop up.
He smiled and said, "Jocelyn, you seem surprised."
I hated my first name. Josie had been the default nickname Billy had come up with when I was about fifteen. It'd stuck and nobody even asked what my 'real' name was. This vampire pulled it out of my head with seemingly little effort. Disquieted, I shrugged.
"Babette won't be back. She overstepped her boundary yet again. No need to fear heading inside." His tone was soft and he pleaded with me to say something. He wasn't in my head, I didn't think, but his eyes were very warm and his expression accepting. That was nearly my undoing.
The flicker of the overhead light from the garage door opener reminded me that we were going to be in the dark in a few seconds. Somehow I didn't think that was the best of my options. I was now distracted, as I began cataloging all the slasher vampire movies I'd ever seen through my brain. I pretty much believed they had some possible vampiric traits and weaknesses correct, and the one where they could see in the dark seemed pretty much like a bad one to have true.
"Whatever," I spun from him and headed for the door leading into the house. I toggled the car alarm and watched him jump as the beep beep tones chirped behind him. That gave me a few more paces away from him towards the door. I grasped the knob and cursed, finding it unlocked. Billy didn't care how many times I told him to lock the door he simply figured that the garage door was safety enough. And now I had a vampire at my back it seemed that wasn't a good assumption on old Billy's part. But then it was pretty obvious to me that dear Billy hadn't been making very many good decisions lately.
A chuckle, "You are asking me in aren't you?"
I wasn't even sure that was required given how little I truly knew about vampires. For all I knew it was all just fake information they fed writers to make vampires seem less in control and more vulnerable. I didn't doubt that vampires were higher on the food chain and over humans, but I also didn't think Babette had been a shining example of the toothy creatures. With all my musing inside my head at work -- not online -- they all pretty much had led me to the conclusion that Babette was a loser sort of vampire. Add in that Billy had temporarily killed her -- which I figured meant that she wasn't exactly unstoppable. Thinking about it during work I figured had I used my electric knife, the one I used for cutting up the turkey during the holidays, and sliced off her head -- she wouldn't have been getting up later. I shoved that further inside my brain for a future date. It was something worth trying if I ever got the chance.
"Whatever," I repeated, not even bothering to see if that was enough or if I had to say something more formal for him to come inside the house. I didn't much care. I was exhausted. I flipped the switch inside the door and the lights flickered hesitantly as if they too were worn out. The laundry room led to the kitchen and then to the formal dining room. I just walked into my home dropping my purse on a counter top and kicking off my shoes as I headed for the stairs. I could hear the vampire following at a slower pace. He was looking around -- I could sense from the motions behind me and I heard him mumble something. I didn't say anything and turned on the lights as I went to see if Billy had done what I asked. Part of me was prepared to find his corpse and Oliver's sprawled on the bed, left by Babette as a going away present for me despite the smiling vampire's presence.
Once I hit the bedroom I saw that Billy hadn't taken me seriously about the bed. His body wasn't gracing the furniture either. Either he or Oliver had taken off the sheets and blankets but little more. The comforter was at the foot of the bed wadded up on the floor where it'd been tossed aside. Babette didn't impress me as being overly domestic. Besides I could still see Babette in my mind naked on my bed and Billy pleading for my help. He hadn't needed my help at all, it turned out. Part of what tortured me about earlier wasn't his infidelity, but that he wanted me to see how hot his lover had been. When he'd called me, he didn't know she wasn't dead and his idiot friend Oliver had been called also -- before me as I had discovered. So Billy hadn't really needed to call me away from work to help him get rid of Babette's body. It was just as simple as the fact that he hadn't outgrown the childish desire to be seen as the top dog and brag to his friends about how great he was. Bitterness spiked my heart and I methodically began to gather up some clothes and roughly pack them into a large gray duffle bag. The vampire had followed me into the room.
"Jocelyn, you don't have to leave. They won't be coming back anytime soon." It wasn't said loudly but the voice was strong. He seemed certain and I shuddered softly inside. Everything was wrong.
"I don't care. And stop calling me by that name. It's pretty rude given I don't even know yours." I wearily replied. I was pretty much beyond caring but I couldn't resist calling him on his manners.
"Fine, Josie, you can call me Joel." I wondered if that was his first name or last, hell even his middle name not just same fake name he made up when I asked. He didn't add anything more to clear up the matter.
He grinned and thankfully no fangs graced his smile. I kept packing my bags. I didn't like my home anymore.