AT LAST

Scene: Castle Dracula, Transylvania… Mina sings of her feelings for the monster Dracula. The audience sat still as she sang. Everything was hushed, the only sound in the auditorium: her voice.

At last there are no questions
I know all there is for me to know
My heart and I have all of the answers
I know how I want my life to goAt last the mist has lifted
It's all so simple, so crystal clear
Why did I fight what was meant to happen?
The fight is over, at last I'm here.I don't need the sun to make me shine inside
I have your eyes
And I don't need the light for me to see what's right

From the other end of the stage, Dracula entered, singing with her, coming closer and closer. Closer. Closer.

At last there are no questions
You know all there is for you to know
My heart and I have all of the answers
I know how I want our lives to go

Then they sang in unison, their voices blending perfectly like lovers in each other's arms at night.

At last, the mist has lifted
It's all so simple, so crystal clear
Why did we fight what was meant to happen?
The fight is over, at last you're here

The next song was the last song, the finale—the saddest song of all. Dracula begs Mina to kill him and free him from his curse—the curse of being a vampire, Nosferatu. Mina was the first to sing…

I step across the line for you
I plunge myself in mortal sin
I sacrifice my soul to be your bride
I give in to the feelings I can't hide
I leave my guilt behind
Who cares if love is blind?
This certainty is bliss
At last I know my mind

The vampire sang with her. At this point, Sam Carver began to cry. He knew what was coming next.

We'll live our lives and then
We'll live them once again
There's always a tomorrow
There's always a tomorrow
There's always one more night

"I hear you before you speak," Mina sang, "I'm with you wherever you are."

"When you sleep I'm in your dreams," Dracula responded, caressing her cheek, "I can read your thoughts from afar."

He continued to sing.

The first time I saw your face
I knew I would make you mine
I felt a quickening of the pulse
I felt a shiver down my spine

Mina,you're the chosen one out of all the loves I've known
And all my centuries alone

"I hear you before you speak," she sang, overlapping with him, "I'm with you wherever you are."

She sang on.

Ever since I saw your face
I've been trying to deny that I was hopelessly in love
That I could ever say good-bye
Now I know this can't be done
Now I'll turn away from light
And embrace your endless night

"When you sleep I'm in your dreams," came Dracula's soothing voice, overlapping with hers, "I can read your thoughts from afar."

The song went on.

But every time I see your face
I'm tormented by this doubt
Can I deprive you of your death?
Can I condemn you to live out this dark circle of despair?
Or should I not set you free and let you do the same for me?

Here, he produced a wooden stake from his bosom, giving it to her. Mina gasped and took two steps back, shaking her head, realizing what he was asking her to do. More tears flowed down Sam's face as he watched. He always hated—and yet at the same time loved—this part of the show. Mina sang.

I was born to love you
I was born to need you
These are simple truths that I try to betray

And then Dracula…

If you truly love me

Prove to me you love me

Free me and go back to

The beauties of day

I can't poison your life

I can't drive you insane

I can't drag you into my world

Of bloodlust and pain

My life is no life at all

It's bleak and unforgiving

Feeding on a stranger's blood

Imprisoned by the night

What's the use prolonging life

If life is not worth living

If you love me, set me free

And let me touch the light

"Please don't make me end this before it's begun," Mina sang, giving him back the stake and closing his fingers over it, her hands on his. The Count shook his head, opening his fist again, giving it back to her.

Give me a true nightfall

Give me back to darkness

Give me back my soul and step into the sun

"I was born to love you," they sang together, as Mina plunged the mercy-bearing stake into her lover's heart, releasing him from the curse.

"Lived and died to love you," Dracula sang.

"I was born to love you, and need you, and let you go free," they sing together for one last time.

The vampire hunters entered to find Mina cradling the Count's dead body, and then the coffin closed. So did the curtain.

No one in the auditorium was left with a dry eye. Every eye glistened with tears; every cheek was stained and wet for the unhappy pair.

"Well, at least she set him free," Sam said, with a sniffle, as the Carver family filed out of the auditorium, along with Mark, one of Sam's best friends. "I wish I was Dracula… If there was a production of Dracula, I would jump at the chance to audition."

"Please!" Dominique, Sam's twin sister taunted, "Dracula was emotional. You're overemotional. You'd overdo it and it would—excuse the horrible pun—suck."

"There's no greater feeling in the world than proving someone wrong," their little sister Nikki said, championing her big brother's cause.

"That's my little sister right there!" Sam said, laughing. "At least someone has faith in me," he teased. The Carver siblings always enjoyed friendly banter and teasing, such as the one started by Dominique.

"If Dawson was alive, he'd side with you," Dominique said, chuckling.

"If Ron was alive, he'd side with you," Sam said, nodding.

"Whose side are you on, Wes?" Nikki asked, directing the question at their cousin Westley.

"Nobody's. I hate this side of the family," he teased.

"Grumpy Cat much?" Sam said.

"Grumpy Cat is a girl. I'm a guy."

"With your attitude, you might as well be Grumpy Cat."

"Whose side are you on, Mark?" Dominique asked.

"I'm actually on the fence on this one," Mark said, laughing nervously.

"So basically, you're Switzerland," Nikki said with a smile.

"Nikki!" Sam mock reprimanded, "You know better than to make a Twilight reference in the presence of the great 'King-Vampire,' as Van Helsing put it."

"Unless you want to end up like poor Renfield," Mark said, chuckling.

"Fine!" she said, faking being offended.

"Alright. Friendly banter's over," Dominique said. "Mom and Dad are here."

"Time for some Baskin Robbins," Sam said, rubbing his hands in glee.

"You know, maybe something good will come of you playing Dracula," Dominique thought out loud.

"What?" Sam asked.

"Maybe you'll find your Mina," she said, smiling. "I've heard of costars falling in love."

"Maybe," Sam said, nodding.


Three weeks later… Frazer Hall, Landoll University, San Francisco…

"Very nice place," Nikki said, looking around. "I hope my dorm would be as good as this when it's my turn."

"No, you're staying at home with us, young miss," Helena Carver said in mock seriousness. "You'll be going to community college. We'll keep an eye on you."

"Mom!" Nikki whined.

"Don't worry, Mom," Sam said, laughing. You can send her here. Dom and I will keep an eye on her for you."

"Yeah, will keep an eye on you, Your Highness," Dominique teased.

"Shut up," Nikki mumbled.

"Alright, here we are," William Carver said, opening the door to Sam's dorm room. "Room 24. This is it, kid. You're on your own."

"Sayonara, Dad! Finally!" Sam said, laughing, plopping down on the bed. Mr. Carver carried in the rest of Sam's stuff.

"Remember, I want A's. Nothing less than an A," Sam's dad reminded him.

"Yes, sir."

"And don't come home unless it's an A," Mr. Carver warned.

"Yes, sir."

"Now, we have to go. We still need to catch our flight back to Michigan tomorrow. We need to get enough sleep."

"Remember to take your vitamins and supplements," Mrs. Carver reminded Sam, raising an eyebrow.

"Yes, ma'am."

"Is your toothbrush here? Your toothpaste? Your shampoo?"

"Yep," Sam said, impatient.

"Your towel—"

"Helen!" Mr. Carver said, cutting her. "Let's go."

"I'll be there in a bit! Now, you need to take your vitam—"

"Yes, Mom, twice a day. I know," Sam said, sighing.

"Just making sure," Mrs. Carver said, smiling. "Alright. Now, make your bed, young man. And put your clothes in the dresser."

"Helen!" came a shout from the corridor.

"Alright! I'm coming!"

Sam laughed to himself and proceeded to empty his bags and arrange them in his dresser. After taking care of that, he hung his shirts in the closet, then arranged his shoes on the bottom. Next on his agenda was the bed. He put the beddings on—bed sheet, blanket, pillowcase. When that was done, he arranged his books on the shelves—pleasure books like novels, and school textbooks. Then came the DVDs and games. After arranging his books, movies, and games, he arranged his toiletries in a basket. That was the difficulty with a common bathroom. You had to carry your stuff, as opposed to having a permanent place for it on the sink in a personal bathroom.

Next came the supplements and vitamins, which he arranged in a row on his desk and on the shelves. When all that was done, he proceeded to decorate his side of the room, taping his Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith posters on the wall beside his bed. On the wall opposite the bed, he hung his blue and gold Landoll University pennant and Assassin's Creed poster. He plugged his laptop charger and connected it to his laptop. He was all set for a great freshman year.

After looking around the room and being satisfied with how everything looked, Sam lay down on the bed, a smile on his face. He was daydreaming about Frank Wildhorn's Dracula, the Musical, with him in the title role. He was humming the songs, eyes closed. The musical in his head, however, was interrupted by a knock. Startled, he sat bolt upright.

"Come in!" he called.

The door opened and in stepped David Andrews, Sam's roommate and the man who would be his good friend for as long as he lived.

"Here," Sam said, getting up. "Let me help you with that."

After helping his new roommate with his stuff, Sam introduced himself.

"I'm Sam," he said, putting his hand out for a shake.

"David. Pleased to meet you," David said.

"Likewise," Sam said, nodding. "Tonight is the first volleyball game of the semester. Are you watching? I'd hate to go down there alone, not knowing anybody."

"Sure, I'll come," David said, smiling. "I heard it's a rival school we're pwning tonight."

"So I heard."

David looked around and saw Sam's posters.

"Dude! Cool! You're a Star Wars fan too? Just my luck!" he said laughing. "This is great!"

"Oh, it's going to be grand," Sam said, nodding, smiling. "How about watching that volleyball game, huh?"

"Let's go."

The two walked out of the room and down the corridor, down the stairs to the first floor, out of Frazer Hall, and into the cool San Francisco night air. The dormitories were situated on a hill and they had to take three flights of stairs to get the lower end of the campus. As they were walking down the stairs, a brown-haired girl was walking up. She noticed Sam and David and said hi, flashing them a gorgeous smile, then continued on her way.

"Who is she?" David asked, surprised, intrigued.

"No idea," Sam said, smiling. "But I know she's pretty."

"Was she smiling at you?" David asked.

"No, I think she was smiling at you." Sam said,

"Dude. She was definitely smiling at you."

Was this the girl destined to be his Mina? Sam wondered.