A/N: This was supposed to be a Halloween story; however, due to a freak pre-Halloween snowstorm and loss of power for 4 days and counting, I wasn't able to post it in a timely manner. Please enjoy anyway, if a little late!
The Real Deal
"This is a bad idea."
"Oh come on, it will be fun," Crystal wheedled, grabbing Johnny's hands. "Please?"
Johnny scowled, but the temptation of fresh blood proved stronger than his good sense. "All right," he said reluctantly.
Crystal gave him a quick kiss on the lips. "It will be great, you'll see!" she promised, breaking off to go get changed.
Johnny licked his lips, and sighed.
Crystal came out of their bedroom in a long black gown with a high collar and ragged, wispy sleeves. She had streaked her blonde hair with red highlights and done up her cheekbones with enough blush to paint a room, or maybe it was just the contrast with the white paint she had smeared all over the rest of her face that made it look so red.
"What are you supposed to be?" Johnny asked.
Crystal grinned. "Can't you guess? I'm a vampire!" She flashed her fangs.
"Oh yeah—real original."
She slapped him playfully. "Hurry up and put on your costume. I laid it out on the bed."
Count Dracula. He should have known. Red-lined cape, make-up kit complete with instructions on how to make a widow's peak hairline, and red—red!—lipstick! "I'm not wearing the lipstick," he said stubbornly.
Crystal took it out of his hand and traced it around his mouth and hers. "See? We match."
"Great," Johnny muttered.
They took the car, a small blessing considering how far they had to travel. It could have been worse. Lockwood was having its own Halloween Party tonight, too, but there were too many people there who knew Johnny and Crystal. She might be adventurous, but not that adventurous. They still had to live here.
Worcester was another story. The parking lot was full by the time they got there, and the party was in full swing.
"I feel stupid," Johnny whispered as they paid their $20 and entered a dim orange hall where scores of other adults in costume had already staked out tables and were lining up at the bar in the back for refreshments. The music, dee-jayed, blasted into all corners of the darkened hall.
"Why? You look perfect—scary," Crystal said, leading him by the arm to an empty spot at one of the tables decorated with black and orange streamers, with a leering jack-o-lantern for a centerpiece. Johnny eyed her dolefully.
They weren't the only vampires at the party. Elvira and another Count Dracula, this one looking sinisterly handsome without the red lipstick, were seated at the same table.
"Blood?" the other Dracula inquired, holding up a red plastic cup.
"What?" Johnny asked, startled.
"Would you like some 'blood?'" Elvira waggled her eyebrows at Johnny, leaning suggestively close.
"Uh, sure," he said, and she poured him some red stuff from a pitcher on the table. Johnny wrinkled his nose when he got a good whiff of it.
"I love it—a blonde vampire!" Elvira gushed, pouring Crystal a glass, too. "That's a new twist!" She fluffed her own trademark black wig.
"Isn't it?" Crystal smiled politely, but waved away the glass of 'blood.' "I prefer mine straight from the vein." Everyone laughed.
Crystal turned to the woman sitting next to her wearing a barmaid's costume. She picked up the woman's wrist, turning it over and pressing it to her lips. The barmaid gasped softly and swooned in her chair. Crystal folded the girl's hands back in her lap and helped her to lean forward and lay her head on the table.
"And that's how it's done," Crystal said, to a round of applause. The barmaid slept on, oblivious. Crystal met Johnny's eyes in challenge. He pushed back his chair, swept his cape gracefully over his shoulder, and strode off towards the back of the hall where the restrooms and the bar were.
Crystal held out her hand to the barmaid's date. "Let's dance," she said, giving him no chance to decline as she pulled him up and onto the dance floor.
He was a pirate, complete with eye patch and fake parrot. "Won't your date mind you dancing with strangers?"
"Oh, no, he can get his own," Crystal replied, catching her dance partner for a slow dance. "You date doesn't seem to mind either."
They both glanced back at their table, shrouded in darkness, where the barmaid still had her head on the table. The pirate shrugged. "She must have had too much to drink," he said.
"Speaking of drinks," Crystal said, stretching up on tiptoes to nuzzle the pirate's neck. He faltered for a minute, before continuing to dance. "Thank you," Crystal whispered, as the song ended. She left him rubbing absently at his neck while she headed towards the ladies room to reapply her lipstick.
In the hallway by the restrooms, Johnny had a young biker chick pressed up against the wall. From behind, it looked like he was kissing her at the very least. Crystal tapped him on the shoulder.
Johnny let the girl slide bonelessly to the floor. Her neck was covered in red lipstick, although his own lips were still plenty red. He grinned. "That is how it's done," he commented, blowing his wife a kiss as he brushed past her.
"No fair!" she called softly after him. "Nobody saw you do it."
Johnny turned. His eyes shifted to pure black. "Is that how it is?" he asked darkly.
"That's right," Crystal said. Her lips flickered in a ghost of a smile.
Quicker than thought, Johnny was on her, kissing her hungrily. Crystal kissed him back just as hungrily.
"Just watch," Johnny promised, striding away.
"Fix your face first!" Crystal called back. "Your make-up's smudged."
Johnny was already back at their table when Crystal came out of the ladies room. The barmaid was awake again, and her pirate boyfriend was rubbing her back, and handing her a red plastic cup of 'blood.'
"What did I miss?" Crystal asked, sliding in beside Johnny. He hadn't bothered to re-do his red vampire lips, but his eyes still gleamed black.
"We were just discussing techniques," Elvira answered. She had switched places with the other Count Dracula and now sat beside Johnny rather than across from him.
"Techniques?" Crystal raised her eyebrow.
"You know, vampire seduction techniques," Elvira elaborated. "How we enthrall our victims so we can suck their blood." Elvira leaned across Johnny's lap to talk to Crystal. "Your little trick was novel, but I prefer straight sex appeal." She sat back in her chair. "How do you do it, Johnny?"
Oh, so they had progressed to first-name stage! Crystal raised her eyebrow again, this time at Johnny. "Yes, how do you do it, Johnny?" she asked sweetly.
Johnny's hand shot out like lightning and pulled Elvira's head close to him, revealing just a flash of sharp fangs as he buried his teeth in the startled Elvira's neck. Everyone at the table stared, mesmerized at how real it looked!
Satisfied, Johnny thrust Elvira away. She collapsed against Red Riding Hood, and her head lolled back, revealing for all to see her ravaged neck.
"He gave her a hickey! Red Riding Hood said with a nervous laugh.
"How's that?" Johnny asked Crystal, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. Elvira stirred and groaned, struggling up into a sitting position. She touched her neck gingerly, as if expecting to find her fingers come away bloody, and stared at Johnny wide-eyed when her fingers came away clean.
"Not bad," Crystal replied.
"What did you do?" Elvira croaked. "I feel like shit."
Johnny grinned so she'd be sure to see his two sharp teeth. "I drank your blood, of course."
The other Dracula barked a short, loud laugh. "Yeah, right!"
After an awkward pause, everyone else at the table laughed too.
"How do you do that with your eyes?" asked the barmaid, seemingly recovered from her earlier drunken lapse. Her red cup sat untouched in front of her. "Are they inserts? Contacts?"
"Do what?" Crystal asked, looking straight at her. The barmaid shrank back just a little. Crystal's eyes had taken on a midnight blue tinge that swallowed up all the white.
"Okay, okay it's my turn!" The other Dracula stood, knocking his folding chair back into the table behind theirs. "Oh, sorry." He swayed, the effects of having had too many cups of 'blood' already. "If I was going to do it for real, I'd be a little more classic," he said, sweeping his cape up across his face. "I vant to dreenk your blood," he intoned, then flared out his cape with a hiss, baring plastic fangs. "And I'd leave my mark on her, not just a hickey," he said pointedly.
"Is that so?" Johnny's voice was flat, bored. "By mark, do you mean the traditional two puncture wounds, or do you mean a throat completely torn out and bloody? Because I can do either."
There was a dead silence at the table.
Slowly, the other Dracula began to chuckle, and soon the entire table followed suit.
"Enough talk about vampires," Red Riding Hood said. "I personally think the whole vampire thing has been overdone."
"Vampires have lost their scare appeal," agreed the pirate. "Today it's all about sex, sex, sex."
"What's wrong with that?" Elvira asked. "I'll take a sexy vampire over a creepy one any day." She glanced quickly at Johnny, then away.
Johnny looked at Crystal. "Who won?" he asked quietly, as the converation, on safer ground, burbled around them.
"It's a tie," Crystal decided. "Had enough?"
"I'm ready to go home," Johnny admitted. Crystal shot him a knowing grin. They made their good-byes and headed for the door.
"They haven't even announced the Best Costume yet!" Big Bad Witch protested.
"It doesn't matter. Ours aren't unique enough to win," Crystal said, smiling.
The other Count Dracula came to his feet. "I'll go out with you. I want to have a smoke." There were groans and jokes about tobacco being a bigger killer than vampires, which got a last laugh out of everyone at the table.
The other Dracula shuffled unsteadily behind Crystal and Johnny as they made their way to the parking lot. Their car was at the far end, away from the knot of people gathered outside the door, and out of the bright spotlights that lit the nearer parking spaces.
"Johnny, isn't it?" Count Dracula slurred, as he fumbled in his pockets for a pack of cigarettes. "No hard feelings man, right?"
Johnny sighed and stopped walking. "No, no hard feelings." He curled his arm. "Come on with us to our car."
Just like that, Count Dracula followed them. Johnny shook his head in disbelief. Crystal giggled. Johnny led the way past the last few cars to the very edge of the parking lot before he turned on Count Dracula. "Your choice," he said succinctly. "Puncture or tear?"
"What?" Cigarette hanging from slack lips, the other Dracula stared at Johnny.
"Forget it. My choice," Johnny answered his own question. "It's gonna hurt." That was all the warning he gave before he descended upon the other man, savagely ripping at his neck. He drank more than he had from all the other partygoers tonight, and wasn't surprised when Crystal joined him, drinking from the man's thigh as Johnny stretched him out along the ground. When he sat back, it was with a happy grin. "I went with throat-ripping," he said. "Not all-out, I didn't think you'd approve if I killed the guy, but still, I thought puncture wounds might give him too much to think about."
Crystal surveyed her own handiwork, which was healing over into a nice red rash. "Probably for the best," she said in agreement. "Frankly, I'm surprised you showed this much restraint."
Johnny eyed her darkly. "That can be changed," he said.
Crystal laughed. "No, no. We've had enough fun for one night. Let's go home, Count."
"So I won?"
Crystal's laughter echoed around the parking lot, as they stepped over their latest victim on their way to their car.