Chapter One First Sight

"Do you believe in vampires?"

Elise sat on the end of the bed painting her fingernails. She shook her head like she was bored and answered drolly, "You have got to be kidding me. Who actually believes in something like that?"

Juliet hadn't been expecting Elise to be very enthusiastic, but her tone was much less than that. "I guess nobody does." Disappointed, Juliet got up and headed back to her own dorm room.

"Wait!" Elise shouted after her. "Why are you asking? Is some sicko trying to take advantage of you by saying he's a vampire or something?"

Juliet stopped at the door and thought for a second. Something interesting had happened that afternoon—not what Elise thought—but something. Juliet had been gearing herself up to share the story, but now she was uncertain. She didn't want to be ridiculed. For her, it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance and if she told Elise, who obviously would not understand the uniqueness of it, the experience would lose its sparkle. It wasn't like they knew each other very well. It was their first year in university and Elise's room was next door to Juliet's in their dormitory, Lister Hall. It was nice that they got along well enough to support each other through the hectic month of September, especially living in dorms, but once they had settled into their respective grooves, Juliet wasn't sure if they were very compatible after all. Elise was on the volleyball team, while Juliet was trying to find a different kind of group to join.

"Come on," Elise urged. "Did you meet somebody?"

Juliet frowned. She didn't want to tell Elise anymore, but she had to tell someone. The story was a like a hundred dollar bill burning a hole in her pocket. She had to spend it. She sat back down on the bed. "Well, I went down to the Student Group office after class to see if there was an interesting group I could join."

"Huh," Elise said, perking up a little. "Did you find anything?"

"Sort of," Juliet said, chewing on her cheek. "There are a lot more student groups here than I thought there were. So, I was sitting in the Student Group's office perusing the list."

"And?" Elise asked impatiently. "What does this have to do with vampires?"

"And this guy came in."

Elise screwed the lid back on her nail polish. "As I thought. There's always a guy."

"Fine. Yes, there is always a guy," Juliet said, sorry that she had even begun to confide in Elise. She had been absolutely right, the fun of telling the story was lost and she hadn't even got to the good part. "Yep, that's right," Juliet continued, getting up and heading back to the door. "I saw a guy in the Student Group office that was so hot I was totally reminded of Louis in Interview with the Vampire. End of story. Thanks for listening."

"Hey!" Elise called after Juliet, who closed the door behind her.

Once safely back in her own room, Juliet locked the door and sat down at her desk. Sometimes no one understood her. No one except her precious laptop.

She pulled it out of her school bag and set it up on her desk. She opened her email and went straight to her blog.

Juliet loved her blog. It was called 'Moonlight Reflections' and it was a wonderful place where she could talk about her life without fear of misunderstanding. Her screen name was 01Pearl_Moon. The black screen loaded showing her stunning banner which was a picture of the moon and stark white text on a pitch black background.

Her last post had been about her fascination with tarot cards. She scrolled to the bottom to see if anyone had commented. She still got comments from her high school friends, but they didn't visit often since, apparently, they all had thrilling lives outside of their own laptops. However, Juliet wasn't bothered too much by their inconsistency. Recently she'd begun getting comments from someone new, someone refreshing.

She didn't know their real name. He or she called themselves ReadyEyes808 and while none of her friends commented on her blog, this person had.

"I have never had my fortune told, but to hear you describe it, it sounds like I'm missing out. I made a blog. Come visit me sometime." Then the web address was keyed in below.

Juliet had every intention to go visit the blog, but first she had to write down her experience with the vampire she'd met that afternoon. She clicked to enter her account and pulled up the window.

"Today I saw a vampire. Don't get me wrong, he didn't introduce himself to me as a vamp, but you should have seen the absolute beauty of this man. I was sitting on the couch in the Student Groups' office trying to find an occult group to join at my school when this guy came in. His hair was perfectly black and straight. It was just long enough to fall into his eyes, which were also perfect by the way. Everything about his face was fascinating; the way his nose tilted up, the way the muscles in his jaw flexed when he talked, the way he searched for what he was looking for. Now, I haven't said what made him look like a vampire, but his skin was so pale it looked like he had powdered it. Even his lips were white. If only his eyes were green like Louis de Pointe du Lac, but instead they were brown like blackness had warmed.

"I wanted to talk to him, but I couldn't rally up enough composure to close my gaping mouth. So, I was staring at him with my tongue hanging out when he turned and looked directly at me. My mouth snapped shut. I wanted to look away, but his gaze was so compelling, almost like he knew what I was thinking (that I was seeing a real vampire for the first time), and it amused him. I think his expression might have been a smile. Then he finished talking to the Student Groups director and headed out, but you will not believe what he did before he left. He winked at me!

"Do you think he thought I was crazy?"

Juliet stopped typing and read over her post. Yeah, that had done justice to her feelings. Not like talking to Elise. Bah!

She posted it and went to check out ReadyEyes808's new blog. When the page came up, it was not black like hers, but the layout for the screen was white and all the text displayed was a deep blood red. The banner was a pair of red anime-like eyes. The design of it was stylish. Juliet could have chosen it for herself. But somehow that red struck her as darker than her black. She shook her head. It was just a color.

Before she read the first post, she looked at the 'About Me' section. It read: "It fills my mind and caresses my body. It kills my spirit and makes me move... so I move... And it makes me prove what I am and where I lie each time I die." Juliet's heart beat kicked up a few notches. She scrolled down the page madly, searching for more information about this person. With a few clicks, she found the bio information he had listed. It said that he was a man in his early twenties.

"Thank goodness," she exhaled as she moved back to the first page to read his blog.

"Today I saw a goddess. I was at work—bored as usual. She was hanging out at the university after hours. My guess is that she was waiting for her loser boyfriend. Who would keep a woman like that waiting? But maybe 'woman' is too strong a word for her, since she barely looked eighteen. She smelled like the ocean surf and flower petals blowing in the wind. She was utterly bewitching. I'm probably dreaming, but I can't get her out of my mind.

"If I introduced myself to her, do you think she'd be interested in me? Nah, I didn't think so either. Even if she is single, I'm too devilish for a girl like that."

Juliet smiled and scrolled to the bottom. She was going to comment, but when she got there she was surprised at how many people had already commented. There were comments from at least seven girls, all gushing at the sweetness of this guy.

Juliet wasn't sure if she wanted to comment after all, but he was one of the few people who consistently visited her blog, so she opened the window to send her comment. "You met a goddess today? Well, I met a vampire. Watch, those two will hook up and you and I will stay single. LOL! Thanks for visiting my blog."

Over the next couple of days, Juliet went back to the Student Group office several times. She asked the director if he remembered who he spoke to after her the first time she came in. Unfortunately, he had no idea.

"I talk to a lot of people, so sorry, I can't remember," he explained.

Juliet decided not to bother going back there since she had already found a student group to join. It was called the Occult's Addict and they met every Friday night at midnight, always at a different location. They had an office and Juliet went there after class one afternoon to find out where their next meeting would be held.

The door to their office was decorated in black paper with papier-mâché skulls attached to it. Lucky for Juliet, someone was home. The door was wide open and inside, a couple of people were talking.

She knocked and said, "Hi. Is this the Occult's Addict club room?"

There was a young man and a young woman in the room. Both the boy and the girl had white-blond hair that struck Juliet as almost unnatural, but at the same time she couldn't spot even a millimeter of root to indicate it was bleached. The blond went right to their scalps. The girl had blue eyes surrounded by black lashes, the boy had red eyes surrounded by white lashes, and both their eyebrows were white. Maybe it was natural after all. The boy stood up to greet her.

"Hello. How can I help you?" he asked lightly.

"I am interested in this club," Juliet explained.

"Well, come in," he said, making room for her to enter. "Have a seat," he indicated a bucket chair covered in an orange and black tiger print. "I'm Rylan and this is my twin sister, Taylor. She's the treasurer and I'm the secretary."

"Who's the president?" Juliet asked.

"Another set of twins. Well, one is the president and the other one is the vice president. Their names are Fiona and Halona. You don't have a twin, do you?"

"That's not a prerequisite, is it?"

"No," Taylor said, "But it is more fun that way. Interesting backgrounds make for interesting research."

"What kind of research?" Juliet asked.

"Well, what sort of things are you interested in, or rather, what activities would you be interested in participating in?" Taylor continued.

"Tarot cards," Juliet said.

Rylan laughed, "Tarot cards and horoscopes, eh? You're a first year, aren't you? Please tell me you don't have a teen girl magazine in your bag."

"I don't!" Juliet hotly defended. "I'm interested in other things, too."

"Like what?"

"Vampires, crop circles, demons, psychics... you know. Those sorts of things," she stuttered.

Rylan rolled his eyes, "Vampires, eh?" He seemed to be looking at something on the back of the club room door. Juliet couldn't see it from where she was sitting. "Yeah, we've got a few people we're investigating on campus, who we think could be vamps."

"I saw a guy yesterday that I thought might be one."

"Is this him?" Rylan asked as he turned his back to the door and kicked it shut.

As the door closed, the poster on the back came into view. It was a black and white picture of the guy she had seen in the Student Group office. He wasn't looking at the camera. It was a shot that accentuated his jaw and the vein that ran down his neck. There, in plain sight, were three perfect sets of bite marks.

"Has this photo been meddled with?" Juliet asked, getting up and touching the photograph with her fingertips.

"No," Taylor said.

"Is he part of this club?" Juliet continued, very excited.

"No. We house freaks, but not his kind."

"You wouldn't want a vampire to join you?" Juliet asked. She didn't understand.

"If he wanted to join, we'd be thrilled to have him, but," Rylan paused. "He wouldn't want to. None of the people we've tried to recruit have ever wanted to join. They like their secrets and more than anything else, they like to pretend like there is nothing wrong with them."

"Anyway," Taylor interrupted. "We're having our next meeting tomorrow night at midnight at the observatory. It'll be a nearly full moon and we're going to memorize the names of the craters and learn what the different phases mean when predicting the future. Do you want to come?"

Juliet's eyes almost bugged out of her head. "Of course I want to come," she blurted.

"Great," Taylor said, pulling out a membership application form. "Have this filled out when you come and don't forget the registration fee. We have to pay to rent some of the venues we have our meetings at, as well as this club room, so your fifty dollar fee is very important to our survival as a club. Please don't forget it."

"Thanks," Juliet said as she took the paper.

"We'll look forward to seeing you," Rylan said, opening the door for Juliet.

"Wait!" she exclaimed. "Aren't you going to tell me who this guy is?"

Taylor shrugged. "He's one of our pet projects. We really wouldn't appreciate you running to him and telling him that we've been watching him. He probably wouldn't like it and if he reported us, we would get in trouble with University security, if not the police, for stalking him."

"I wasn't going to tell him, or anyone else. If you're investigating paranormal activities, doesn't that involve studying people most of the time?"

Rylan smiled. "You've got it exactly right, Juliet. Do show up tomorrow and we'll make you an official member. Besides, you're interested in fortune telling, right? Tomorrow should be right up your alley."

"Are you sure you can't at least tell me his name?" she begged. "I've been completely obsessed with him since I first saw him."

Taylor frowned and shook her hair. "His name is Seth Halkias."

Juliet grabbed the door and swung it so that she could see his picture again. "Seth, huh?" she said out loud, thinking of how completely captivating he looked. "Hey, can I write on this poster?" she suddenly asked. Her time spent in art class made her want to write and draw on anything that sparked her imagination.

"Go nuts," Rylan said as he threw her a set of markers. "He's probably just an ordinary guy who has a girlfriend with a vampire fetish."

"I hate how you always assume that everything is commonplace and boring," Taylor remarked.

Juliet couldn't take her eyes off the picture of Seth. She opened the set of markers and fumbled around until she found what she wanted—the red. She uncapped the felt pen with her teeth and began coloring on the paper.

"Think she's in love with him?" Rylan whispered behind Juliet's back.

"If she's not, it probably won't be long before she is," Taylor murmured.

Juliet didn't care what they were saying. She finished up and stepped away from her handiwork. She hadn't done much. She'd only colored his iris red, but in her mind, it was a vast improvement.

Taylor walked up behind Juliet and put her arm on Juliet's shoulder. "It looks better that way. Red eyes look the best, right Rylan? I think Fiona and Halona are going to love it."

Juliet pushed Taylor off and put the lid back on the marker. "If you ever decide that you don't want this picture anymore, I'll buy it." She turned over the bottom corner and wrote her email address with the black marker.

"How much?" Taylor asked.

Juliet looked at it. She wanted it in her dorm room so badly her mouth was watering. "A hundred," Juliet said.

"S-O-L-D!" Rylan and Taylor said together as they playfully slapped her on the back in unison.

She should have tried to bargain more before she said that grandiose amount. Since they took the picture, they could obviously make another copy if they wanted to.

"I'll even gift wrap it for you, so bring the money and you can pick it up tomorrow night," Taylor said, smiling.

"Now, you had better show up tomorrow!"

Juliet said good-bye to the twins and headed out of the clubroom and toward the elevators. She pressed the button and ruffled her hair. Life had just gotten unexpectedly interesting.

Author's Notes: This is a freshly edited copy of this story for ya'll. I hope you enjoy it!