Blossoms In August
Chapter 15 Secrets in the Hallway
It was two weeks after Natasha had found herself being chased by a group of vampyres and yet another Friday had wound itself by. Craig, Timothy, Scott and she were still very much planning on visiting the Capitala Club. Unfortunately, Natasha was still tied to her promise to Faira that she would attend David's party that happened to be that same evening.
She had suggested that they reschedule the club thing that is, but Scott insisted that Friday night, over all nights, would be the best night because that was the night mortals normally waltzed in with their future sires.
Natasha shuddered as she recalled how that Thursday, as the three of them sat together in Timothy's living room, Scott explained that those being sired from human to vampyre was a process by which a mortal is chosen by a vampyre and then undergoes a sort of ritualistic cleansing; cleansing being anything that might render them weak throughout their eternal vampyre life. Vampyres would lead their mortal pets into the vampyre world little by little until they had forever shunned all that one held them to the world before. She surmised from Scott's explanation once before that he was one of those who had bypassed this training and cleansing seeing as how he was minutes before death before he was changed.
And that being the case, Natasha also now knew that she could not escape her invite to David's party as Faira made quite clear that very morning.
"No way! You are so not ditching me on this one!" she hissed from behind her Geography book at Natasha.
Natasha sighed. She looked away to the right of the classroom and found Scott gazing at her as usual. He sent her a wicked grin and she responded with her own shy smile and looked away. Her eyes then met Faira's again and Faira wiggled her eyebrows; she felt the flame rush to her cheeks before she turned her head to the front of the classroom.
"You'll come too, won't you…erm…"
"Scott," he offered blandly at Faira as they walked up the hallway to the next level.
Natasha noticed that Faira was extremely uneasy around Scott. Several times, she seemed to try to look him in the eye, but soon after she would look quickly away as if to catch her breath. Faira's smile was stretched. Natasha identified this behaviour as a form of nervousness.
"Yeah…Scott, you'll bring Peach to the party?"
He was holding her hand and a tiny squeeze sent little waves of electricity up her arm. She looked at him and saw he was looking at her again as if in entreaty. What was he supposed to say? Natasha laughed and turned to Faira. "Scott doesn't need to bring me; I'm bringing him."
Faira nodded, seemingly satisfied. As Craig and Timothy caught up with them, Faira seemed to lose track of the conversation and gazed distantly elsewhere. Natasha saw Craig shoot Faira a furtive glance before grinning at her.
"Just one more period left and then Tim and I are gonna head to his house."
"Make sure you don't carry anything expensive on you. It'll attract attention. Ease up on the khaki…" Scott explained quietly in Craig's direction.
Craig nodded in a slightly confused manner, glancing down at his khaki trousers.
"Oh, there's David! Peach, I'll see you tonight, ok?" Faira suddenly called, waving in the general direction of the group. Natasha couldn't help it; she glanced at Craig. He was frowning and keeping his eyes firmly fixed in one place.
"Why not khaki?" she asked, turning to Scott with renewed interest.
"Vampyres hate khaki," Scott replied.
A short silence followed.
"You serious?" Craig cried.
They all looked at Scott's expressionless gaze. The corner of his mouth twitched and a smirk contorted his features. "No, I'm not serious. Wouldn't it be weird if they did, though?"
Strewn on her bed and immersed in her Math homework, she didn't say anything when Scott suddenly walked into her room. It wasn't until he sat on the floor cross-legged in front of her that she glanced up and threw a smile at him.
His smile was quirked like on the first night she met him. He's good-looking, she thought, but in a different way. It occurred to her that some people would ungenerously say that his nose was a tad crooked and long and perhaps that his fox-like eyes tended to almost cross when he stared also that his mouth was thin and far too low. Natasha was not ungenerous when it came to him, though.
"What are you going to wear to our little sojourn this evening?" he asked nonchalantly.
She shrugged. For a fact, she had been worrying about it for over a week now. It had been a back-of-the-mind type of worry. It would come to mind the very moment that the subject of the Capitala Club would arise, but the very moment that it came, it would also fade, and she'd brush it away like dust.
"You mean you haven't chosen something?" he broke out. His incredulous tone made her look up again and she saw him sitting back with his hands stretched behind him on the carpet. His eyes were wide and confused. "Princess, this isn't gonna be like last time you showed up there. Sweaters and jeans just isn't how vampyres dress."
"I'll figure something out when I'm d-Scott, what are you doing?!"
Scott had jumped up and had stridden over to her closet. She watched as he opened the sliding doors and began rifling through sweaters, t-shirts, and blouses. "You finish with that and I'll find you something."
Her Math book forgotten, she sat up. She was pretty sure boyfriends didn't do what he was doing now. "You don't just go rummaging around in a girl's closet," she pointed out.
"You own too many turtlenecks. Don't you have any clubbing clothes?"
By then, she was off the bed and beside him in an instant. She seized the closet door as if to close it. "I don't have anything like that. I can probably find some dress pants or something…" she trailed off at the blank look on Scott's face. "What?"
She could see he was choosing his words carefully. She wondered if this might be considered their first "couple's argument". "Princess…this really isn't a matter of finding a pair of dress pants. This is incognito meaning you must try everything in your power to blend in. We need dark, eccentric, silks, laces, Lycra, and nylon!" he declared and Natasha felt tempted to laugh.
"Emo, you mean…" she muttered.
Natasha shook her head. "Never mind." She needn't have explained anyway because Scott was once more digging to the back of her closet. She sighed and moved away back toward her bed. She had only just replaced the book back to its place on her bed, when Scott immerged from the closet with a little crow of triumph. She spun around.
"What are these now?" he mused, lifting up a thin article of clothing.
Natasha's next eye-roll would have put Faira to shame. "Those are pyjama pants."
They were indeed; Natasha never wore them. They had been a birthday gift from one of Lucas's girlfriends. The top had gone missing ages ago, never worn, but it seemed the pant she once thought had long since gone missing had now turned up. They were Lycra enough to please with their flimsy satin strings and open liberating slits along the bottom. Worst yet, they were an electric blue. Looking at it now, Natasha wondered whether Lucas had lied to her when he said they were pyjamas. Then again, she didn't blame him. It would be a cold day in hell when she wore that out in public.
"I'm not wearing that out in public," she said firmly.
She expected him to look crestfallen and drop it, but a smile teased the end of his mouth. "You don't really have anything else…"
"Scott! You know we're stopping by at Faira's boyfriend's party before the club and I know people there."
He shrugged. "They'll think you've got night life."
She noted that he said night life like one would say "a good sense of humour". "No, they'll think I'm a-"
"Now, now, no need to be vulgar about it- now, all that's left…do you have a camisole or something?"
"Cami-what?" she sighed, gripping dolefully at her scattered papers.
"May I?" he asked, moving across the room. She followed him with her eyes as he opened her top right drawer…
Her own speed surprised her as she made it across the room and slammed the drawer shut. Scott gave a half-howl, half cry and Natasha gasped. In shock, she yanked the drawer open to free his fingers.
"Ahah! You do have one after all!" he exclaimed, pulling out a black silk thing she sometimes wore under her blazers.
Her mouth fell open. "I thought I hurt you!"
He blinked. "Well, having one's finger crushed between two pieces of wood isn't exactly spa treatment. This, however, is what caught my interest," he then declared, brandishing the clothing.
"I wasn't aware that that thing had a name," she only murmured.
Scott lifted his shoulders lazily. "I'll be downstairs; why not try making it work."
She watched him leave the room and frowned. "Yeah, why the hell not?" she muttered.
"After you mentioned the party to me, I've been watching for this David. There's something funny about him," Scott said as they walked along.
"At least I'm not the only one noticing. He gives me some serious creeps," she huffed, checking to make sure her coat was tightly buttoned. She still didn't feel comfortable with what she was wearing. Scott had told her that she would have to go coatless tonight due to the fact that it would be extremely conspicuous if she dressed according to the weather. She had argued that he should at least make allowances for while they were at the party. They intended to merely drop by or as her dad often use to say about corporate parties-save face.
Scott didn't reply to her statement as they walked up the driveway to the house. Several others were walking up along with them. The music was already playing near into the streets. Natasha knew immediately that had she continued to be a normal girl, she would probably have ended up at the police station before the night finished. Feeling a sudden gratitude, she slipped her arm in Scott's and smiled when he brushed his cheek against the top of her head.
The house was very warm and she could smell the beer the moment they were invited in. People were in the living room laughing, unearthing the drinks and talking with a greater degree of enthusiasm than usually applied at school. She recognized some faces and then some were completely new to her.
David's house was relatively big. It was one of the newer fashioned B.C houses with the Indo-Canadian style architecture of wide front windows before pastel stucco walls.
"I suppose we mostly wander around," she called into Scott's ear as the moved by the kitchen. He nodded tensely.
Since the weather was cold, hardly anyone was in backyard, but the tiny hot tub on the gazebo was already gaining a crowd as girls, longing to show off the bikini they bought for this particular night, perched themselves just on the edge.
As she suspected, it got boring very quickly-well-for her anyway. She couldn't help thinking so as boys called out the same lewd jokes and the occasional out-of-turn drunken action. She noted that it seemed a charade of sexual tension as people got together mainly because that's what one was expected to do at such a time. Young, naïve girls would lose their virginity here, boys with purpose would get completely plastered and if possible, a little high. The girls who'd done it all would show it off as the boys who were interested did their mating dance.
Natasha did not feel bad for the moue of disgust her mouth formed as she turned away, Scott still holding her arm. "I wish I could find Faira just so she sees me and I can go."
She gave a start when Scott laughed suddenly. "I can't believe they're playing this song!" he shouted to her.
She perked up her ears. It was a slow, almost languid song with a strong concentration of cymbals in the background. She looked up at him with a rueful smile, which he returned with his own smirk.
"There are people dancing there; why don't we?"
Her mouth fell open.
"Just to pass the time!" he reassured her at another shout.
A strong weakness for his tilted head, puppy look made her laugh and let him lead her to a little gap in the crowd. She felt him rest his hands on her waist and she only hugged him as he did the moving. The song turned from languid to metronomic rhythm as a male voice sang-shouted out oxymoron after metaphor.
He swayed her a little to the right before he rested his head on her shoulder. "Parce que tu es mon seul." She quivered a little as the words flowed into her ear. The words were familiar, but foreign in their indistinguishable nature.
They washed over her, indeed, but a few moments later they were forgotten as several other people crowded on the dance floor as another song jammed itself in with a pounding, popular beat. Natasha wasn't familiar as to how to dance confidently to this type of music so she froze in Scott's arms. There was a moment before it occurred to her that he too had frozen, become rigid. She pulled back and looked at him as his arms fell slack. He was suddenly breathing in short gasps and his pupil had begun to fill his entire eye like a gaping hole.
The other bodies around them pressed close and as Natasha felt stifled in their heat, she realised. With a firm grip on Scott's shirt sleeve, she pulled him out of the crowd and into the vacated hallway.
She could only watch as he leaned against the hall, his head back. "I almost…I nearly…" he breathed, his eyes were shut.
"I thought you were going to drink something before you came!" she cried, eyeing his now pasty colour.
"I-I figured since we were going to the club…"
"Oh God! How are people gonna believe you're human the way you look now. Your eyes…"
Scott rubbed the bridge of his nose anxiously. "I need a drink," he sighed plaintively.
She looked around at the passing figures and the distinct mischievous noises slipping from the cracks in the doors. "Maybe it's better if we go," she sighed, not really that sorry to come to the decision.
"What about Faira? She's expecting to see you, I suppose?"
Natasha's shoulders sagged. "I have to find her just so she sees me and I can go…but, we can't wander around with you looking like that."
Scott pushed himself off the wall, pressing his hand to his chest. "This is what we'll do."
He pursed his lips in thought. "You look for Faira, make your appearance, go as far as carrying a conversation. I'm going outside to find something to tie me over for the evening. How does that sound?"
"Are you OK alone?"
He gave her a long smouldering look. "I'm not that far gone, Princess."
She smiled grimly. "Ok, where can I find you?"
He shrugged. "I'll know when you're looking for me. I have drunk your blood before."
She wrinkled her nose and looked away and he chuckled indulgently.
"Be careful, Scott," she called as he cautiously stepped toward the front door.
He raised his hand and gave her a salute from behind.
"Where's he going?" a voice said.
Natasha turned her head, all the hairs on the back of her neck standing on end. David stood there, his arms at his side, looking down at her. It took a moment before she could recover her speech. "You're here!" she gasped.
He laughed as usual. "I do live here. You havin' fun?"
She forced a smile, pushing her bangs out of her eyes. She could hardly see him in the dark there, but there was no mistaking that velvety voice and bright flash of teeth. "Yeah, it's really…"
He shook his head. "You don't have to lie. I can tell; I can always tell if someone's having fun. Yours is not the face of someone in the midst of mirth."
She opened her mouth to reply but found that she couldn't think of anything witty or useful to say. Finally it occurred to her. "So where's Faira. It's really her I came looking for."
His next laugh was almost ironical. "Shows why you were lurking here in the dark with that fellow there."
She didn't like how his voice insinuated. "We were talking," she replied poignantly.
"No doubt," he returned, looking somewhere past her head. "About the seemingly Dark Conception?"
She hesitated. "Dark Conception?"
His eyes were on her again. "I'm sure you know what I mean."
She didn't hide her frown. "And if I don't?"
David folded his arms and she actually felt a moment's unease. "You're in over your head…then."
His slow smile made her uncomfortable, but he broke the silence before she could reply. "Should I tell you what I've been thinking since you walked into the house?"
"I doubt I could stop you," she bit back with no hesitation at asperity.
"I thought to myself, that guy shouldn't be here. Why would I be thinking that?"
She realised he seemed to be asking her in all honesty. His eyes were boring down on her and his darkened expression showed a degree of concern, he never really bothered with. It could be possible that David had a certain sense that most mortals had; an uneasiness toward all things preternatural. Or was he just being his expected shallow self?
"There's nothing wrong with Scott. Maybe it's just 'cause he's a new student."
"Maybe…" he nodded slowly. "You know, I hardly use anytime offering advice to people. They hardly take it as it is…"
"What do you mean?" she asked carefully, trying to read his eyes.
She felt him step closer, and she stumbled a bit as she stepped back. Her heart began to pound as the small of her back hit the wall. David raised his hand and rested it right beside her head, imprisoning her. Oh God, she thought, if someone sees me like this…
"Look, Flare; I like being nice. I think niceness suits me more than any other type of unpleasantness, so when you provoke my anger. I can't help feeling a little more disconcerted than I should be," his last words came out in a hiss.
She said nothing however; she only stared at him. Everything Timothy had taught her within the last weeks slipped slowly away and she stood frozen gripping the wall with the tips of her fingers.
"My first request is that you ask your friend to drop school. He's a smart guy; he sure as hell doesn't need the education that much."
"Wha-?" she began, but his glare silenced her.
"Second request is that you say absolutely nothing about our little tryst-if I can so freely call it that. Not even your now estranged friend Faira."
Her fear for Faira overcame her primitive fear for that moment. "What are you doing with her?"
He raised his hand and she flinched, but he merely rested his other hand on the other side of her head, leaning down. "Do you think if you ask, I'll tell you?"
A prickle of heat ran up her back at his words. He sounded exactly like Donovyn and she hated it. Her fists came up and she pushed sideways at his arms with a swipe. In his surprise, he could only look at her as she placed her hand flat on his chest and pushed him. His back hit the wall and he gave a gasp. His once confident look had been replaced by wariness. His hand reached out and grabbed her hand.
"Y-you…you're just like him…"
In confusion, she wrenched her hand from his and stepped back. "I-"
"Oh, David; you found her!"
The both whirled around quickly and met gaze with Faira standing at the entrance of the hall in mid-step. Natasha quickly stepped further away from David and walked toward Faira. "I was just coming from the bathroom when he intercepted me. I couldn't find you so I was about to leave."
Faira laughed and handed her a cup. Natasha looked down at the bubbly yellow fluid inside and handed it back. She felt all her senses flicker on as David stepped up behind her. "Your friend's not being completely honest," he announced, laughter she now identified as fake in his voice.
She looked around at him, and Faira smiled up at him.
"Her poor boyfriend's not well. She was leaving 'cause she had to go take care of him."
Faira turned a worried gaze on her as David side-stepped her and wrapped a quick arm around Faira's waist. Possessive, she thought. "Peach, I'm just glad you stopped by. I shouldn't have made you come in the first place," Faira cried.
"No! No! I was-I was having fun…I'm just really worried about Scott. I think he might have had a bit too much," she protested, avoiding David's gaze.
"Still, you should go. It's too crazy here for you…" David said in a sympathetic manner and Natasha had to resist a strong urge to throttle him.
Faira gave her a quick one-armed hug before she turned away to the door. "Have fun," were her last words to Faira before she gave David a glance, hoping it carried every single threat possible in it. She would later remember how he was looking at her again that time, a wide smile on his face and his earnest eyes searching her own, reading and reading every single thing she knew like a book.
Feeling an extra tingle of fear as she thought of Faira, she stepped out on the street, looking either way for any sign of Scott.