Inspired by: Something in the Water by The Jealous Girlfriends and Less Talk More Rokk by Freezepop.

A new, optimistic take on what it's like to be a vampire.


Metro


Caelia set the remote down and scratched Jam's white head. Purring filled the air while the week's forecast passed by. She smiled when the UV ratings came on. It was to be a cloudy, obscure day. "Oh, thank God!" She met Jam's disinterested gaze. "It's been a while since we've went daywalking."

Jam yawned and stretched out onto her sides. Her fur was an indecisive shade between white and orange, with faint stripes sketched down her ribs. Her tail flicked ponderously. Caelia shook her head and stood up. She surveyed the room and its fresh coat of desert blue paint. It was an old house, but it was beginning to look like her home. She walked to the window and peeped outside. The sudden pain was still new, but she shaded her eyes against the sunlight. The street was quiet and glittered with snow.

Caelia looked at her watch. It read 11:39 AM. She grabbed her scarf, wound it around her neck just so, and then shrugged on her jacket. She checked her pockets, which were full of change, her cell, and her epi pen. Though the sunlight was weak, her acquired allergy to UV light merited caution. She lifted her purse, surprised to see Jam by her ankle. The kitten released a prrt of suspicion and gave her an "I know you're not leaving without me" stare. Caelia lifted her up and placed her in the new purse she had bought for (mostly) that purpose.

"Alright, Jam. Are you ready?" Caelia asked, belly full of butterflies. Jam sat up in her make-shift seat, whiskers flexed forward. "I take that as a yes," she said and slipped her feet into her heeled Mary-Janes. Keys in one hand, purse in the other, she opened the front door and locked it behind her. The morning air was sharp but refreshing. Her exposed skin tingled faintly, but the sunscreen prevented any serious discomfort.

Her mailbox was full. There were two bills, a letter that was the wrong address, and five fliers from the local grocery stores. Caelia looked them over and stuck the two bills into her purse, much to Jam's displeasure. She left the rest where it was, and continued down the street. She walked three blocks to The Stone Tree: an expensive, pretentious café where many of the local students gathered. Ben's hunched profile stood out from the haggard crowd of tweenagers surrounding him. She smiled to herself and pushed the glass door open. Her shoes clacked across the wood floor.

Ben glanced at her from over his shoulder. Though he had hunted vampires for 23 years, he looked glad to see her.

"Hey." Caelia sighed and sat down with a sniffle. She placed her purse on the counter, but took care to keep Jam out of sight. "Wow it's cold out there! Sorry I'm late," she smiled awkwardly, "I was watching the weather on TV."

Ben looked disconcerted. He studied her for a moment. "The Council ruled in your favour. As long as you follow our conditions, you are under our protection. You've made history, congratulations." He hurried on before she could interrupt. "And that…issue you brought up, about your Maker." His voice fell to a whisper. "He's vanished."

Caelia's sunny expression dimmed. "Oh," she said and toyed with a stray crumb on the counter. "Thanks for looking into it."

"Don't thank me. It's my job." At Caelia's startled expression, he relented. "He's a criminal at heart. We'll get him sooner or later."

"Good. He shouldn't be able to…do what he does." Caelia gazed her hand, at her pale fingers. She used to have freckles. "I appreciate everything you've done, Ben. I know it's not easy because of…well, you know." She smiled ruefully.

"Yeah," Ben replied gruffly and drank the rest of his coffee in one effortless gulp. "There's zero tolerance for hunting. Understand?"

"This is the twenty-first century. I am not hunting for my food." Caelia leaned close. "Especially people. Ben, that's gross."

"Umm hmm." He hunched over his empty cup. "You have to stop thinking like a human."

"I'm still human," she retorted, "I'm merely a nocturnal cousin."

"Umm hmm."

"Besides, it boils down to biology." She patted Jam when the waitress' back was turned. "Your doctors were very supportive."

Ben pursed his lips. "They're paid to be."

Caelia rolled her eyes. "This isn't the Dark Ages." She rubbed her nose and sniffed. "Vampiric anaemia is controllable with the right medicines and diet. Besides," her lip curled, "drinking someone else'sblood is just not sanitary. Think of all the diseases you would be exposed to."

Ben regarded her incredulously. He glanced around the café, but the anonymous murmur of conversation hid their unorthodox topic. "Have you ever bitten someone?"

"No," she said. "What does that matter? I already eat lots of broccoli and red meat." At his blank look she added, "they have two different types of iron my body needs." She fiddled with her coat zipper. "Besides, being bitten wasn't a pleasant experience." In fact, it had been the most painful and humiliating experience of her entire life.

"Oh," he said awkwardly. "Well…good."

Caelia smiled when a huge cup of cappuccino was set by her wrist. It was crowned by an absurd amount of cream, and she took a long, belly-warming sip. "Ah, that's it." She caught Ben's disapproving look and wiped her cream moustache from her lip. "I'm not giving this up." Her eyes surveyed the room. "None of it."

"You're not the first to say that."

"Do I strike you as your typical Emo vampire?" She laughed. Jam's tiny ears peeked from the inside of her purse. The waitress—Samantha?— patted her head as she walked by. Disaster averted.

Ben watched her walk past. "What's Emo?"

"It's…" Caelia's eyes fastened to a point on the ceiling, "well, to me it comes from emo rock, which is like a distortion of emotional rock. Nowadays it's not that complimentary. It's got that tortured adolescent thing going, which wasn't how it had started out."

"Ah."

"So…" Caelia traced her finger around the cup's lip. "I heard rumours you're going to retire. Is that true?" She smiled as the waitress came by a second time, patted Jam with one hand, and set down Ben's second coffee with the other.

"Thanks," he muttered, then regarded Caelia with frank appraisal. After a long moment he raised his mug and smiled at her for the first time. "Here's hoping."

Caelia raised her cup, eyes twinkling.


R+R is appreciated.