Saint Theresa

By Whispering X. Blue

Summary: Tess wants fun. Angel wants Tess. And Jordan just wants to get some. Life at an ordinary high school, except, oh my! This one is inhabited by vampires with a bone to pick. Someone pass the pitcher of blood.

Prologue – The Saint of the Sick(ly Minded)

The cool evening wind brushed past my exposed arms, raising goose bumps along the length of pale skin. I shivered and pulled the long knit tunic closer around my icy shoulders.

I was always cold. It wasn't abnormal or dangerous - just poor blood circulation from a preternaturally weak heart - genetics and nothing more. Yet, despite this, or perhaps because of this, I was always inexplicably drawn towards the chill of autumn nights and the intense vitality that vibrated in the dense twilight. Right now, I was fulfilling my favorite idiosyncrasy as I watched inky black supplant the gray of minutes earlier, pretending that the night was drawing me in and that I was melting, changing, into an obscure shadow in the greatest of shadows. Reluctantly, I stepped into the yellow light of the garage as I felt my nose begin to run and I shut out the inviting yet frightening night.

Tomorrow would be different. And the days that followed. I would no longer have the luxury of unemployed nights and vacant schedules in which my dreams were spun out in fanciful webs of imagination. Instead, these selfsame hours would be filled with phone calls and IMs in between endless piles of assignments. Tomorrow I return to high school.

For the past two years, I had been home-schooled as my single mother dragged me across the globe in a frenzy of journalism. My mother, Claire, was a journalist of wayward instincts which often led her and, consequently me, into the most dangerous situations. When my grandmother was alive, she used to often joke, half serious, that my mother and I were magnets for danger - Claire never needed to go searching for news, news found her. Her latest project had been a worldwide investigation on mysterious disappearances, mostly of young children with rare AB- blood and an African lineage, which had found the pair of us in a variety of compromising situations. When I was little, I used to tell her that my father must have been Superman because she most definitely was Lois Lane - inquisitive, recklessly courageous, and absolutely irrepressible. Finally, the advice of an old family friend, who also happened to be her editor, convinced Claire to conclude the investigations and settle down again in our abandoned house so I could finally have some semblance of a normal school life again. Not that I exactly minded the rootless nature of my existence - life on the road with my mother had been exciting and eye-opening - but I missed some of the monotonous routine that accompanied public schooling.

During my travels, I had kept in minimal touch with my old school friends, so, although they had welcomed me back willingly enough, I had few social engagements during the past week as Claire and I were settling in. Everyone, myself included, was waiting to see how I would fit into the lock that was high school life.

I pulled out the hair tie that held my long black hair in a messy knot at the nape of my neck and shook the dark strands out. Since I entered my awkward adolescence, I had always been painfully aware of how sickly my appearance was. While my classmates sported healthy tans and sun-bleached hair, my skin maintained its obstinate pallor and my hair stubbornly refused to become anything but the inkiest black. My minimal stature did not help matters nor did my inability to keep from killing both myself and my teammates in Phys. Ed. That was why, when my mother announced that I was going to be home schooled two years ago, I had felt more relief than anything else. I sighed and splashed my face with icy water, staring at my ghostly reflection in the shadowy mirror as water dripped off both our faces. The pair of violet eyes that stared back into mine was vaguely amused and the chapped lips were twisted into a cynical smile. I shook my head. That wouldn't do. My expression was closer to that of a jaded prisoner being led to the gallows than a seventeen year old girl about to see her friends for the first time in almost two years. Rinsing out the remains of Listerine which burned on my tongue, I switched off the lights and slipped into the top bunk of my bunk bed. It had been a birthday present from my mother over nine years ago when I had wanted to sleep in a bunk bed. Even after I had become too old for that childish fancy, we had never bothered to switch beds. The night seeped in through my open window and I shivered, suddenly very cold.