Dinner Date with a Vampire

Summary; Because you never know what sort of strange (non)human could answer your personal ad.

-Take one-

Tall hunky man looking for *Love*

7 ft 1, muscular build straight man, 32, looking for fit female, 27-37 for romance and fun. 03648 369538

"Oh, I know Marge. Doesn't he just sound like a total dreamboat?" salivated Janice, sat in the fitted chequered kitchen with the French chequered tiles, the Ikea chequered table cloth and the designer chequered curtains. She wound the phone cord round and round her little finger, then looked down in puzzlement, wondering why she was all tangled up.

"Yes, well, he does," said Marge, sighing hesitantly. "But I'd be careful if I were you, not everyone tells the truth on these ads you know. I wouldn't be surprised if you turned up and he was… I don't know, a dwarf!"

Janice giggled, covering her mouth with her hand. "Oh Marge, you are terribly silly sometimes," she said, and she shook the phone wire, which had now wrapped its way all down her arm, from her hand. She drew up her most serious voice. "But you know… I just have to take a chance. I'm thirty-five and not getting any younger. I'm tired of being a housewife without a man."

A loud 'hmm'ing vibrated down the line. "Well, just take care of yourself Jan. A lot of men have tried to take advantage of you in the past; don't let them have that chance again."

"Ah, I'll be fine," said Janice, waving the idea away with her free hand. It hit the phone, and knocked it off the table. The dial tone sang lamentfully up from the floor.

-

Seven o' clock, Saturday, and Janice sat in Fantasy Cuisine restaurant in the window seat. She folded her hands daintily on her lap, her dark hair curled, lipstick freshly applied, dress on inside out.

And she waited.

She watched, curiously, as a small man, who must have only reached above her knee, walked into the restaurant. He had ginger hair and a long beard like a bird's nest, with what looked like the baby bird's food inside.

How thoughtful, she commented to herself, and smiled out the window.

To her surprise, the man approached her, and tugged at her sleeve.

"Can I help you?" Janice asked, her eyes owlish and blank.

"You're Janice right? We talked on the phone- it's Lrag."

She looked him up and down, though she didn't get much higher than the down.

"You don't look like seven foot two," she said bluntly.

Lrag seemed to ignore this, and instead sat down on the chair opposite, struggling up onto it and heaving himself onto the seat. From where she was sat, Janice could only see the top of his head.

"Damn it!" exclaimed the man violently. "This always happens- waitress!"

A young woman hesitantly sidled up to the couple. "Uh, could I… help?"

"Get me a high chair!" snapped Lrag.

A yellow and red highchair was plunked down, decorated with shining stars and a big smiley face. Her date clambered up onto it, a mountaineer conquering Everest.

She stared at him.

"Are you sure you're seven foot two?" she asked again.

"Quite," said Lrag.

Janice scratched her head, her face scrunched up in a terrible expression of confusion. It really was as if the man was a dwarf, she thought to herself, and she laughed aloud.

"You know, it's funny, my friend Marge was talking to me earlier, and she said I ought to watch out, because you might be a dwarf," said Janice with a huge smile, "of course you're not, because that's silly, and dwarfs kidnap their mates and throw them in huge sacks before dragging them back to their underground lairs."

In front of her, the small man shifted uncomfortably in his seat, and pushed the brown cloth sack further behind him and out of view.

"I'm just vertically challenged…" he muttered.

"Oh yes, I'm not implying you're a dwarf. It's just you're so incredibly short that you could be- I mean, a six-year-old is taller than you!" She laughed, as though she'd just made an extremely funny joke, though in actuality meaning no real harm. Her companion's eyebrows descended.

"I told you, I'm not short," he said, looking ruffled.

"Now, now, no need to get mad," said Janice, patting him on the head. "Your secret's safe with me. I won't tell anyone else about how small you are."

The hesitant young waitress approached again, eyeing Janice's not-so-metrosexual date with very barberish thoughts in hand. Indeed, one twitched as she spotted him, her index and middle fingers snapping the motion of scissors.

"Are you ready to order- uh- now?" she asked, thrusting her uncontrollable hand behind her back, "our special today is- um- the swordfish. It comes with custard and shortbread as pudding."

"Shortbread?" asked Lrag, looking surprised. "In custard?"

"It's quite a delicacy- and our shortbread is top quality. A man was in here yesterday- he looked a little bit like you sir- and he called me over to tell me he really enjoyed it- oh, not that I mean- umn, that short people like shorbread, or um, anything like that. Sorry." She flushed pink, and covered her mouth to stop herself causing anymore damage.

Janice threw down her menu onto the table and fixed the waitress with a condescending stare.

"How dare you speak to Lrag like that?" she said, an impervious look skipping over her blank features, "just because he's as short as an Oompa-Loompa- you know, from that film, Waldo and the Wonky Willy Factory, something like that- doesn't mean you can insult him. Honestly- short at shorbread. You can't just can't go around saying things like that, it's terribly rude."

"Forget it…" said Lrag, his voice strained.

"No- you shouldn't have to take this from her! Listen here girl; Lrag is proud of being short. He doesn't have to bow down to any of your preconceived ideas about height. Being a shorty makes him what he is- and nothing else!"

The waitress gaped at her like the swordfish the waiter behind her was serving, and Lrag banged his head on the table, his eyes filled with that 'What do I live for?' look that was so prominent with people who dealt with Janice.

"I'm sorry," said the waitress profoundly, flapping fishily, "I- well- I didn't intend to insult anyone. Please, don't call the manager- you can have drinks on the house."

Janice nodded seriously. "And I should think so too."

She turned back to Lrag, who was frantically stuffing the cutlery and napkins into his pockets.

"Something the matter?" she asked, as he dropped a fork into his trousers.

"I need to go to the bathroom. I'll…I'll be back in a minute."

Janice smiled widely at him. "Okay then," she said.

Lrag scurried to the bathroom, before climbing the urinal and promptly throwing himself out the window. It was a two storey drop- but in his eyes, completely worth it.

-Take two-

Furry Animal Awaiting Your Call

Armed and hairy, man, 32, an animal in bed. Call 46940 484003 for a wild time, my foxy young ladies

"Don't you worry Marge- I tell you, this one will be different." Janice sat at the kitchen table, the phone, which had been glued to her face all afternoon, still stuck fast. Her eight-year-old son, whom she affectionately nicknamed Pudding, sat opposite her, munching down a packet of crisps, before running off outside, bits of crisp still stuck to his face to chase the neighbourhood girls and pull down their skirts.

"Surely that last date was a warning though Jan. I told you, you shouldn't fall for what guys say in their personal ads, they always emphasise something if not lie completely about it. I'm telling you this for your own good, you know," said Marge.

"Once is only once, I shouldn't let that put me off. I just know there's a perfect man waiting for me somewhere!" she leant back in her chair and sighed dramatically, her fluttering hand on her chest.

"Jan, your last date was a midget who ended up being wheeled away in an ambulance."

"Yeah," said Janice, her voice loud and slow, "I don't get that bit. He was only going to the toilet, and then I looked outside and saw him being handled by paramedics. I don't know what could have happened to him, unless he fell down the toilet. He was pretty small." She followed this with a giggle.

"Just… just be careful, all right Janice?" said Marge with a very long sigh.

"No worries, Marge, I'll be-"

A young girl's scream erupted from outside, and Janice stood up and yelled "PUDDING!!!"

-

Unlike Janice's first date, her second fit the bill perfectly. He was hairy, very hairy. He ambled into the restaurant (Fantasy Cuisine) just a few minutes before seven and sat down opposite Janice, kissing her hand. He was of average height, stocky, had beautifully brilliant gold-green eyes and was much hairier than the normal man. Janice found she was feeling rather hot, and began fanning herself with her hand.

"Hey," said her date, in a cool but almost growlish voice. "I'm Garrath, we spoke on the phone."

"H-hi," melted Janice, flopping down her chair onto her floor. She quickly picked herself up again, and Garrath eyed her oddly. She wiped the drool off on the tablecloth.

A waiter soon approached, and asked them what they wanted.

"Oh… I don't know," said dazzled Janice, "I'll just have whatever you are Garrath."

He looked up from the menu, "I'll have the extra rare steak- without any vegetables or potatoes, if you don't mind."

"Just the steak?" said the waiter, eyebrows waving hello to his hair.

"That's right," said Garrath. "Is that okay for you Janice?"

"Yes," floated Janice's dreamy voice from her empty body.

The waiter quickly returned with their food, and set their plates down in front of them, along with a silver dish laden with bread. Janice giggled at Garrath, and looked down at her plate. Her dizzy smile faded, and she looked up at the waiter.

"I'm a vegetarian," she said.

The waiter's eyes bulged. "Then why did you just order steak?" he asked in a low voice.

"Who ordered steak?" said Janice, looking around her, "I never ordered steak. You must have been hearing things."

"Fine," said the waiter through gritted teeth. "What is it you want?"

Janice ostentatiously fingered her chin. "I'm not too sure," she said, "leave me to think for a moment."

The waiter threw his arms up into the air hopelessly and stalked away, leaving Janice to ponder. Garrath gnawed on his steak, knife and fork abandoned by the side of the plate, ripping the meat apart with his surprisingly strong teeth. When he was finished, he looked up at Janice, blood dripping down his chin, and fixed her with a hungry stare. She felt herself blush under the intensity of it.

"I always like an appetiser before the main course," he said lustily, and he took her hands in his. "Forget this," he said, gesturing to the restaurant around them. "Come back to my cave now and I promise you the wildest night of your life. Now, Janice."

She was surprised to see that even the palms of his hands were hairy. "All right," she said breathlessly, and they stood up together, Janice knocking the chair backwards onto the floor.

The waiter rushed towards them, irritated and angry. "Hold on!" he called, "you haven't paid yet!"

Garrath impatiently dropped some notes and coins into the waiter's open palm, his intense eyes still on Janice.

She gave a soft "Oh!" and picked up the silver tray of bread from the middle of the table. "You might as well have this back- we haven't touched it."

Janice stepped forward to hand the tray to the waiter, but as she did so, her high heel caught on the fallen chair. She tripped, and the tray flew out of her hands, hitting Garrath directly in the face.

Ka-smack!

Garrath screamed as though a bucket of boiling water had been thrown over his head, his hairy hands clawing at his face. He leapt up onto a neighbouring table on all fours, teacups crashing to the ground, a young couple screaming and yelling, and let out an ear-splitting howl. He leapt off again, and made for the door, hands and feet pounding on the carpet.

Janice stood stunned.

"Bit of a sensitive chap, isn't he?" said a man from across the room.

-Take three-

Cultured sensitive thirty-five-year old seeks dinner-partner

Slim, good fashion sense. Searching for an intelligent and interesting woman 30-39 to romance. 34689 296380

Janice scrubbed at the table in the kitchen, the tablecloth tossed to the side, phone clamped between her ear and shoulder.

"Well, I suppose you might get third time lucky Jan, but why risk it after all that?" said Marge, who was, once again, on the line.

"But this is too good to miss," Janice said, scouring at a particular stubborn stain. "I mean- cultured, good fashion sense… you don't often get a guy come along like that. At least, not a straight one anyway. I ought to jump at the chance."

"…Maybe you're right. That is pretty rare- good luck to you this time. Perhaps it'll all go well and you'll find a brilliant guy."

"Oh, I do hope so," said Janice, distracted, pouring half the bottle of cleaning fluid onto the table, and rubbing at it with her cloth. She looked down and let out a little "Oh!" as she realised she'd tipped Toilet Duck all over it.

"Hey Marge," she said with a smile, "I've got a blue table now."

-

When Janice turned up at Fantasy Cuisine that night, the staff looked positively faint. They sat her in a nice secluded table in the corner, and constructed a barrier of high chairs around it, shifting the other tables further away. They left an empty trench of carpet for any grenades or bombs she and her next date might happen to throw out.

He himself arrived soon enough, the statue of culture in his posture, stylishness in his step, and a swish in his cloak. He danced between the high chairs and sat with Janice, practically flying into his seat. He swept the cloak behind him as he sat, and pushed a strand of long dark hair out of his eyes.

"I," he announced, "am Vorias."

He had a pale face and a very handsome jaw, which made Janice think it must be good for biting.

No mincing of words for him! she thought, and giggled, holding out her hand for him to kiss. He did so, and led a trail of petite pecks up her arm, stopping before he reached the line of indecency.

"Janice," she said, gesturing to herself. "It's nice to meet you in the flesh at last Vorias."

"Indeed, though of course... that can never be completely true, for I am both flesh and darkness combined…" said Vorias, tilting his head upwards and raising a dramatic hand.

Janice balanced her own head in her hands, elbows caressing the table. She sighed lovingly.

"You're so poetic Vorias," she said, "I love guys like you. You're all so mysterious…"

Vorias placed a hand over his heart, taking Janice's with the other. "Mystery is a shroud, wrapping and concealing, never once giving the viewer a glimpse of what lies inside…"

Janice sighed again, and the waiters ducked as she did it, covering their heads with their trays.

Vorias ordered haggis for his first course, and black pudding for afters, while Janice stuck with the soup special.

"I've got to keep my weight down," she informed him, patting her flat stomach.

"Nonsense," Vorias cried, clutching at Janice's arm. "You are beautiful the way you are. An angel in disguise, you're almost good enough to eat."

He stood and playfully took her neck in his hands, bending down to lay his teeth on it. They were rather sharp, and tickled. Janice giggled and flipped her hair out of the way, accidentally catching the chain of her cross necklace and tossing it towards Vorias. He hissed, and backed away, returning to his seat.

"You know Vorias, you're exactly like my son Pudding," said Janice with a grin, "he has a thing with necks too- he loves having his scratched. He'll sit there for hours content if he gets a good neck scratch."

The previously ruffled Vorias now suitably unruffled, he leant seductively down on the table, resting his head on the palms of his open hands, and murmured, "If your son is pudding, then perhaps the mother is dessert?"

Janice turned pink. "Oh, you're awful, you make me blush so much you know."

Vorias cringed as their food was delivered, slitting his red eyes at the soup that now sat innocently upon the table. "What's in that?" he fizzed.

"I'm not entirely sure," said Janice, poking it with a spoon, "it was just labelled as the soup special on the menu. Looks like there are all kinds of things in there."

"Try some," said Vorias, visibly agitated. She dipped her spoon down and plopped it delicately in her mouth.

"Tomato," she said, "and onion. Something else too, it gives it a slight tang… I think it might be garlic."

Vorias flinched, and drew his legs up into his chair a little. "Just… keep it away from me, yes?" he said. "I'm allergic to it."

"You can be allergic to garlic?" asked Janice queerly. "That's strange."

"Yessssssss," hissed Vorias, his demeanour almost snakelike. He pressed himself back in his chair and stared at the bowl of soup like a cat watching a mouse. Janice cheerfully spooned in her soup, oblivious to Vorias's strange mood.

When she had finished and the bowl was gratefully empty, wiping her hands on her napkin, Vorias gave a silent sigh of relief. He leant forward on his elbow once more, pulling on his seductive voice.

"So…" he said, "how about coming back to my castle? We can… have another bite to eat, there." He wriggled his eyebrows at her.

Janice giggled, and leant forward to take his hand. "I'd love to," she said, and she moved closer to kiss him.

Their lips touched, and Vorias jumped back, screaming. "Garlic!" he cried, picking up a glass of red wine and splashing it over his face. "Your lips-" he screeched, "they had garlic still on them!"

He picked up the ice bucket the wine bottle was resting in, tossed the bottle aside, and threw the ice on his face.

"Oh no!" exclaimed Janice in horror, standing up and holding a hand to her heart. "I'm so sorry Vorias! I forgot you were allergic, here, let me help-"

She picked up her napkin, and dabbed it at Vorias's mouth. He screamed again, "There's more garlic on that, you stupid human!"

"Oh, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry!" she said, trying to take his arm, her soup-flavoured fingers burning him even more.

He pulled away, whipping his cloak behind his back awkwardly and without his normal grace. "Janice, this isn't going to work- I need to go-"

"Please don't leave me!" cried Janice, trying to take hold of him again. "You were the best of the bunch! You're the man I want, Vorias!"

Vorias swept away out of the restaurant, leaving Janice in tears. The waiters and waitresses tried to console her, wearing their bomb-proof jackets, their nuclear resistant gloves, but it was no use.

and… Cut!

Marge's two screaming five-year-olds ran around the flower-patterned table, her husband sitting by her side, the morning paper in his hands. The front page proclaimed in large letters-

Fantasy creatures escape parallel dimension- be on your guard!

"It's terrible, isn't it?" sighed Marge, "all these warnings to stay inside- I can't even go out to the shop to buy the milk."

"They have a point though," said her husband, looking at her from above the paper. "There've been over sixty bitings already, and that's just the vampires. Apparently once one sets eyes on you, you're toast. There's no way to escape them."

"Really?"

"No one's got away so far. And those werewolves- they've been tearing people apart."

"I do hope Janice is alright," said Marge worriedly, stirring her coffee with one hand. "I haven't heard from her since Thursday, and it'd be just like her to stumble into something like this." Marge paused, and smiled secretively at her husband.

"She's a lovely woman, but… well, let's just say she's not exactly the sharpest tool in the box."