Karen rolled her foot on the empty coke bottle. Pushing it away. Pulling it close. Pushing it away. Pulling it close. Eventually, her foot slipped on the plastic and the bottle rolled away to hide underneath her bed. Karen let her head fall back on the wall with a thud. She heard an owl hoot outside the window. The moon lit up her room, she hadn't bothered turning on the light that night, or any night. She enjoyed sitting in the darkness by herself. She was sitting on the floor, fast food containers littered everywhere, empty bottles, the place was a mess. It was a wonder her mother let her keep her old room like this. But then again, her mother had been busy lately and her father never came up here.
She rubbed her forehead. The thundering headache didn't help her sour mood. A few of the empty bottles were to blame for that. She tried standing up, clawing her way up the wall. Her legs shook, she couldn't feel her toes. The inside of her mouth felt fuzzy to her tongue, it didn't taste very good either. She wobbled her way through her room, trying hard not to step on plastic containers, bottles or old Chinese food. She failed miserably and ended up with stir fried noodles between her toes.
"Gross," she whispered to herself and tried wiping her foot on her carpet. She would clean it tomorrow. Definitely. Or the day after that. If she didn't forget.
The need to pee forced her to wobbled into the hallway. She desperately tried not making too much noise, it was super late, her parents wouldn't be happy being woken up at this hour. They were already a bit annoyed at their adult daughter coming home to crash in her old room. Stumbling down the hallway towards the bathroom, she noticed the light shining out from the bathroom door left ajar. Did she forget to turn it off last time? She couldn't remember. But then again, she couldn't remember a lot of things from these last months living at home again. She stepped into the bathroom, adjusting to the bright light. The shower was running, steaming up the place. Was anyone in there? Her parents had their own bathroom and would never walk up the stairs in the middle of the night to use the upstairs one. Had she showered earlier and forgot to turn it off? Her father would be so angry, the water bill would be sky high. She quickly tore the shower curtain aside, wanting to turn it off as fast as she could, but she was not prepared for what she found.
Water cascading down a pale naked back, over a perfectly shaped ass and down long slim legs. Lean arms flexing as long fingers ran through white hair, rinsing out Karen's cheap lavender shampoo. "Good evening, Karen," Sylvester greeted her without turning around.
Karen quickly pulled the shower curtain shut again, walked backwards and sat down on the toilet seat. "You're in the shower?" she coughed out. She started rubbing her throbbing head once again. Why was the light so bright? "What are you doing here? In my shower?"
The water was turned off and the curtain opened again. Sylvester stepped out, water dripping off him creating a little pool on the floor. He didn't bother covering himself, or dry himself off, as he stood there, looking as casual and at home as ever with his hands on his hips. "You look like shit," he finally said after having stared her down for several seconds. Karen found it hard to meet his gaze. She felt a sudden lump in her throat at the sight of the very naked Vamp in front of her, looking as perfect as ever, the fact that he was wet wasn't helping. "Another pajamas?" he asked and laughed at her, "I didn't think I would ever see a more horrible one than the one you wore at Vein."
Karen looked down at herself and the zebra printed pajamas. "It's my moms," she answered quietly.
"Must have driven Cef wild, that one," Sylvester shook his head and laughed again.
Karen's head snapped back up straight away. "Don't mention him!" she warned. "Don't mention that damn demon to me, never again!" she sneered.
"Whatever," Sylvester shrugged, he marched out of the bathroom and walked down the dark hallway.
Karen jumped up, regretted it immediately when her thundering headache made her feel like a hammer connected with her forehead, but stumbled after him anyway. "Sly!" she hissed, "Sly, you can't just walk around my house naked! Sly! My parents might see." She ran after him, followed him into her bedroom and then landed on her ass as her foot collided with yet another empty bottle.
"Wow, Karen," Sylvester breathed as he turned on the light and saw the state her room was in. "You need to clean up in here, or better yet, you need to burn this whole room down and rebuild, I'm not sure it can be saved."
Karen groaned but didn't have the strength to stand up again. "What the fuck are you doing here? Why are you naked in my room? This is the last thing my mom needs to see." She could just imagine her mother walking in now, a man in her room at this hour, a naked man. She would have a fit.
Sylvester didn't answer, but walked around, kicking random bottles with his feet, exploring the things on Karen's shelves. Her pictures, her trophies, her old dvd's. His hand rested on her bookshelf and a smile curved on his lips. "Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, Queen of the Damned, The Tale of the Body Thief," he read the titles out loud and gave her a wicked smile, "Anne Rice? Oh I very much approve, sweet Karen." He continued searching through her books until he found something and let out a snort of disapproval. "Twilight? Piss off." He picked out the book and threw it in her trashcan.
Karen didn't care, just rested her poor throbbing head on the wall behind her. "What do you want, Sly? Why are you here?"
"Karen, it's been six months, don't you think it's time to clean yourself up and come back to work?" he asked. Sylvester walked over to the unmade bed and sat down, thankfully he crossed his legs, she did not need a sight full of him at that moment. "It stinks in here," he grunted.
"I don't work there anymore," Karen scoffed at him. "I told you already, I told both of you, I handed in my resignation months ago."
"You were hurting, we didn't take you seriously of course," Sylvester shrugged, "Go, clean up. Shower, please, for all of ours' sake shower. Brush your teeth. You're coming with me."
"I am not," Karen rolled her eyes. "How did you even get here? Why are you still naked? Where are your clothes?" she hissed at him. She hadn't spoken to him in months, she hadn't been back to the city in months. Hiding back at her parents' place hadn't been a first choice but she felt like she had no where else to go.
"I got caught up in chimney smoke, I had to wash the stench off somehow," Sylvester reasoned.
"Chimney smoke?" Karen questioned.
"I flew," Sylvester explained.
"You fly?" Karen snorted in disbelief at him. That was ridiculous. "Wait, don't tell me, you turned into a bat and flapped here." She couldn't hold back her laughter at the thought.
Sylvester gave her a hard stare. "You've seen Weres change, Alyssa walk out of thin air, Demons come out of a rift to another world, and Vampires turning into bats is the one old myth you chose not to believe?"
"Please tell me you're kidding," Karen begged.
"I don't turn into a bat," Sylvester explained. Karen breathed a sigh of relief. But then Sylvester continued: "I turn into a colony of them, although they are all single animals they all share my conscience." He shook his head dismissively. "It's a weird feeling, having your mind spread amongst several beings, quite confusing, but it does make travel easier." Karen just stared at him. "It's not a practice much used anymore."
"Why are you naked?"
"Have you ever seen bats with clothes on?"
"What happens if one of the bats are trapped or killed during?" Karen asked.
"Then I lose an ear, or a toe, or something much more important," he explained and winked at her. "That is why it's not a practice much used anymore. However, I had no other means of transport at the moment. Now, are you going to get off this disgusting floor and clean yourself up or am I going to have to do it for you?" He wiggled his eyebrow suggestively at her. "Trust me, it's for your own good. And you may even enjoy it."
Karen scoffed at him again. "Don't you dare touch me," she huffed and kicked the nearest fast food container.
"Bloody hell, what did Cef do to you?" Sylvester said in a laugh. "Pull yourself together, Karen, it's not as if you loved him, did you?"
"Maybe I-" Karen stopped herself. She didn't know what she had felt, everything happened a million years ago. Nothing made sense anymore. She missed him dearly, but she had never considered love. "I think I could have, maybe, I don't think I had the time to find out," she eventually said and sighed. "I wanted to find out."
"So you continue to torture yourself with that?" Sylvester pointed to the painting in the corner of the room. The one Cef had painted of her. She couldn't let it go, she hadn't wanted to hang it up on the wall, tried convincing herself to pack it away, but she couldn't do that either. So it stood there, in the corner of the room, on the floor, staring her in the face day in and day out. Her sister had raised a couple of questions but Karen had dismissed them. Cef was her memory and she would never share him with anybody. "You're basically sitting in a huge pile of self pity every day, it's devouring you."
Karen nodded. She knew that. "It's not just Cef, it's everything. They all think I'm going crazy, you know," she said in a sigh. "They think I snapped after Colin and joined a gang, and now they think I'm crazy making up stories of vampires and werewolves running around town, not to mention ghosts." She remembered the pitiful expression on her parents faces when she had broken down one night and told them everything. She knew she shouldn't have, she knew they wouldn't believe her, but she had cracked. She was so desperate to make them understand her, so desperate to make them see why she had changed from the Karen she used to be, so desperate for them to see her new understanding of the world. But they just thought she was crazy. Left her alone in her room to recover from whatever they thought was wrong. Her mother had fussed a bit in the beginning, tried to encourage her to rejoin the world. But then her sister, miraculously, fell pregnant, and every waking hour after that her mother had been busy with baby preparations. Karen couldn't join in, not that she wasn't happy for Dani. She knew she was being selfish. She should be celebrating this new life. But it just reminded her of what she was missing, what she could have, perhaps, had one day with Cef. The thought made her roll her eyes and snort at herself. Family life with a demon, yeah that's rich, she scolded herself, That's not even possible.
"There are many reason's you shouldn't tell, and it's not just to protect us you know," Sylvester said.
"I'm sorry," Karen coughed out. "I don't know what I was thinking."
"I get it, you're still hurting, you miss him. Trust me, we all do." Sylvester stood up from the bed, crouching down next to her and ran his hand through her oily black hair. She focused on a shoe on the floor in the other direction, he was too naked to be crouching down next to her this close. "But it's time to move on," he said, "You can't spend your life being hung up an a demon that's never coming back. It's not good for you."
Karen breathed out in annoyance. "Demons are dumb anyway," she exclaimed, throwing her hands in the air. "Have you noticed how they only ever have just one name? Who do they think they are? Cher? Madonna? Adele? Get real names you dumb fucks!" she yelled out, forgetting all about the noise level.
Sylvester stood up, his usual amused smile played on his lips as he reached out for her hand, ready to pull her up with him. "Yes, I'm sure it's every demon's dream to become a diva," he remarked as she reached out her hand and he effortlessly pulled her up.
"You know what?" Karen asked, holding on tight to the naked man, her legs didn't work anymore and Sylvester was like pillar, unmoved by her weight on him. "Cef was a total diva! He was all 'Ooo look at me, I'm all mysterious and handsome, look at me I'm all sexy and fucking amazing in bed, you can't help but want me' and then when you finally get him, when he finally gets under your skin, he's all 'Ooo look at me, I'm leaving, look at me'. He was such a dumbass, making me all fond of him, only to leave before- before- before anything!"
Sylvester ran his hand down her cheek, his thumb gently caressing her bottom lip. "Poor little Karen," he whispered with a dangerous smile. His grip tightened around her waist. She swallowed hard, realizing he was too close, and way too naked. "You fell hard, didn't you?" he continued and placed a little, almost nonexistent, kiss on her forehead.
"Sly, don't," she pleaded, pulling his hand away from her face. "I just, I just miss him, that's all. Haven't you ever just missed someone so much it hurts?"
"I have," Sylvester nodded, his ice blue eyes turned hard, his black brows lowered on his forehead. "I've said goodbye to many, many friends, Karen. I know what you're going through, believe me. I'm old, older than anyone should be allowed to be."
She felt stupid for asking. Of course he had. He was too old not to. "I'm sorry," she offered, "I know you miss him too, he was your friend." Sylvester nodded and let her go, released her from his arms so fast she had to steady herself against the wall. "I take it Jake still comes around?" she asked in hope of lifting the conversation to a much more pleasant level.
Sylvester broke into a charming grin. "I see him from time to time, yes. He is another good friend."
"Yeah I bet," Karen breathed. "I'm sure he's a very good friend."
"Jealousy is a dangerous thing, my delicious little human, I've told you that before," he pointed out and sat back down on the bed. "I know what you're hinting, and no, there is nothing more to it than that. It is the way it is."
"That's disappointing," Karen said, "I got the feeling he likes you, very much."
"What's not to like?" Sylvester turned to her, knowing full well he was showing off his beautiful body in the best way, posing as if he didn't know he was doing it. "Vampires do not do monogamy," he said as if the word was a disease, "Why would we? Jake will find a mate and he will stop coming to see me, it happens to all of them. Besides, it's borderline beastiality," he said and made a show of shuddering at the thought, "I only tolerate it because his human form is so bloody tantalizing. It's toned to perfection and I want to run my tongue up and down him. And I do," he purred.
"And sleeping with you is probably considered necrophilia, you realize," Karen countered, deciding to overhear his remarks.
"Point well made." Sylvester nodded. "Do I have to tell you again to get cleaned up?"
"What do you need me for anyway? What about your new employees?" Karen huffed. She had only met them briefly before leaving, but hadn't warmed up to them. She couldn't, they weren't Zac and they never would be.
"I need you because out of all the people I miss right now, you're the only one I can get back," Sylvester snapped at her, "And I will not let you sit here and waste away in self fucking pity when we could be having fun at the diner." He shrugged at her other question. "As for the others? They are not my Kare-bear. Besides," he huffed in bored annoyance, "Ever since you left Pete has been sulking."
"How does a poltergeist sulk?"
Sylvester snorted in disgust. "That damn radio of his is stuck on station only playing horribly sad, old country songs, it's bloody frustrating to listen to. I tried changing it one night but then he flat out refused to cook." He snorted again and folded his arms gracefully across his chest. "It's driving me crazy."
Just hearing about the diner made her long for it again. She shouldn't, she knew. It was only a job, but she had felt so at home there. Oddly enough. Karen was tempted to return with Sylvester, but there were too many things she felt standing in her way. She didn't know if she could face Alyssa again. "How is-" She swallowed before forcing herself to continue. "How is Alyssa?"
Sylvester shrugged again. "Same old, same old. There has been no change since you left."
"I can't believe The Witches did that to her," Karen murmured, mostly to herself.
"She made her choice, she knew she would be punished." Sylvester started picking off imaginary lint from his bare legs.
"But, like that?" Karen breathed out.
"She's fine, Karen, she'll live, it's only an adjustment she has to deal with," Sylvester said as if it was the most natural thing in the world. "Now, please, dear sweet Karen, if you don't jump into that shower right now with a toothbrush then I will personally strip you and push you in there myself." He turned on his dangerous smile, Karen felt her breath get caught in her throat under his intense stare and pressed herself up against the wall. He wasn't joking, she knew him too well.
"I- I- I-," Karen stuttered out, "Oh fine," she breathed out in annoyance, feeling genuinely defeated.
Sylvester nodded. "Good, let's get you back where you belong."