Charlotte was getting directions from the little club gal, Amber, so they could go over to Beverly's parents place. Beverly may or may not remember more about Giselle and Theo's escape and only by seeing her face to face would Charlotte be able to read the child. The neighborhood was working class. Some folks had completely given up trying to keep up with even a semblance of caring. Charlotte felt much better about her gardener's hard work. She hadn't realized she was so house-proud until she began to snarl at the lack of lawns, plants or even a reasonable amount of the same color of paint. Penny was justified in her semi-stalking of Charlotte for good plants and shrubs. As they drove past another yard filled with dandelions and ugly crab grass she shuddered. Thankfully there were no cars parked on the lawn up on blocks. She had seen plenty of that during her drive out to Florida. If Penny was still alive when she got home she would make sure her gardener offered some 'spare' plants. It would be the least she could do. If Penny was still alive. That was a real question that pushed at her and made her edgier.
Amber had the typical teenager self-absorption and was completely unaware of her surroundings. Since they had got in the car Amber had continuously been clicking and messaging her friends. After a few more corners she looked up, pointed and said, "Oh, that's her house. Stop here!" She shrieked and frantically pulled at Charlotte's arm. Charlotte swerved, just missing a very red fire hydrant. She was not pleased.
"What the hell was that?" Charlotte was unhappy at having Amber touch her much less scream at her. Her skin rolled with energy and her mind spun. Humans were so impulsive -- so were vampires, but at least they had the fangs to back it. She reigned in her anger and waited for Amber to explain.
"Oh, well you see it's like this, Beverly's parents are a bit overprotective and she doesn't want to explain why we're hanging out with some old lady. They might like think you're a perv or something." Amber snapped the gum that had worked its way into her mouth in one of the quieter moments. Not that there had been many of those since they got in the car.
Charlotte wanted to smack the gum right out of her mouth just on principle alone. She barely resisted and waited for Amber to hang up her cell -- yet again. When she thought about it, all she had done was blink and Amber had begun clicking buttons and talking. It was amazingly rude, but this seemed to be what kids were like nowadays. She was thankful she hadn't fanged into any of them. Their toxic energy was nearly as draining as a bad master vampire. How Jim had even got his little fledgling to worship him was the real question. She sighed and watched Amber flip the locks while sliding out of the car saying, "I'll be right back."
Lightning quick, Charlotte snagged the girl's arm and said, "No."
Nothing more. Amber flared up for a minute and then seemed to remember that Charlotte wasn't just some random adult. She didn't even have to flash her teeth.
"Oh, yeah. That." Amber flipped open her phone clicked and said, "Meet me at the old crappy ass black Mercedes three doors down."
"Amber, do you really not like your life?" Charlotte was not enjoying the snide comments she was making. She had allowed this human to get a bit too comfortable. The vampire council frowned on killing and draining of children but she wondered if she had enough money to pay the fines without truly getting staked. It was nearly worth the potential loss of being a vampire and dying. Nearly, but not quite enough to risk the death sentence she could possibly earn. Something in her thoughts must have leaked out since Amber stayed in the seat.
"Sorry," Amber didn't sound sorry in the least but she knew something verbal was expected.
Charlotte just wanted this whole thing to be over soon. She had to find out about her friends and then get the hell out of Florida before Jim got himself free from the wall in the hotel and drained enough idiots to top off his tank. Then she needed to get back to Kenyon before Jim did or she wasn't going to be able to get the right story told! She bit her lip softly and heard Amber moan. Oops, she was flying too much vampiric energy. Amber leaned closer inhaling deeply and said, "What is your perfume? You smell so awesome."
That would be her basic vampire aroma. Vampires used the scent to relax their blood prey and make nice with the general regular folks wandering around clueless. It was a well-honed defense mechanism against humans recognizing vampires as 'not' them. She certainly didn't share that information with Amber. Humans were easily swayed by the vampire scents. Horny teens weren't able to keep fear up for long given their natures. Yet they would all want sex until they passed out. With their little hands in places not recommended for public displays.
When she inadvertently bit her lip she drew a little of her blood with the puncture and that was what had scented the air. Charlotte was lucky Amber was too clueless to catch on to her subtext and figure out that it was part of being a vampire. As a Goth chick she was already pre-imprinted to be extremely interested in the darker side of the world and having fanged out in front of her, Charlotte was lucky Amber wasn't picking up the potential for more drama and trauma. The last thing she needed was a teenager nagging her to become a vampire.
There was a quick tap on the window and Amber jumped out of the car squealing. The sound caused the dogs in the area to howl. Charlotte just barely avoided joining them. And she didn't much care for dogs. It had something to do with the fact they tended to go nuts when vampires were nearby -- that competition for fresh meat and all. She waited. Amber began to talk to her friend in a whisper, erroneously thinking she was not being overheard by Charlotte. Her mistake, yes -- the door was shut, but hello? Vampires had very good hearing. Part of that whole 'otherly' vampire stuff that came with the fangs.
"Oh my fucking god, Beverly, you so picked the wrong night to skip hanging out with us! That lady inside the car is like wickedly bad. She knows those weird green-eyed freaks that ran the club! That is the 'Charlotte' they were talking about when they left!" Amber was trying for bored jaded tones but badly failing. Her excitement laced the words, nearly swaying Charlotte to drain the kid just to shut her up.
Charlotte kept her thought to herself and tried herself to look bored. She could feel both girls' gaze on her while she pretended interest in her fingertips. A small fissure on one of the nails caught her eye. She really did need to get a manicure soon. The nail polish never lasted very long no matter what they did. She did tend to use her nails to puncture into flesh when needed and that was pretty hard on the polish. Distracted, she mentally shook her head and listened to the girls' half-whispered conversation.
Amber continued saying, "And Bev, she is like not happy about the club being closed. You better tell her everything you know. She scared Bobby. You know I am the only person who scares Bobby. He ran and left me with her. He is so totally dead."
Charlotte had no intention of killing Bobby so she figured Amber was going to do the damage. She continued to look off like she wasn't listening to them while actively monitoring every word and emotion flowing from the two teens. Beverly was very short. She did look about twelve and was dressed in the usual sweats and t-shirt combo it seemed most kids wore at home. Her face was pale and freckled coupled with auburn hair, making Charlotte guess she was nearly all Irish. Also Beverly giggled. The giggling was starting to wear on Charlotte but she kept looking off into space when she wasn't preoccupied by her nails. Was that another crack? Her manicurist was going to kill her.
Beverly's voice live was different than over the cell phone. She didn't sound as shrill and nervous. But then she was looking at Amber with major cow eyes. Charlotte bit back her own chuckle at the knowledge that Beverly had a girl-crush on Amber and would do anything she asked without question. That would definitely work in her favor.
"So like she is that Charlotte?" Beverly was properly submissive to Amber. She was a victim-in-training. It was all Charlotte could do to keep her fangs in check. Amber was obviously used to being worshipped and simply said, "Yes, she is. And tell her what she wants. I don't wanna piss her off. You hearing me?"
Beverly nodded and slid into the front seat. Amber stood outside and waited to see what was going to happen. Charlotte figured she was also ready to run so softly said, "Amber, why don't you get into the back seat so Beverly doesn't feel so scared."
Beverly beamed at Charlotte while Amber glared and popped into the back seat while punching in messages on her cell phone. Charlotte didn't have to read the messages to know they were to Bobby and her group. A beep let Amber know she had a reply.
"Oh, Charlotte, Bobby is coming to pick me up." Amber defiantly announced while continuing to click and send.
"You think so?" With that Charlotte reached around and snagged Amber's cell phone while putting the car in drive.
She drove off while both girls flipped out. The cell phone continued to beep and chime in her lap as she drove around the neighborhood. She didn't bother to look over at Beverly but simply commanded, "Your cell phone, please." She really didn't mean the "please," but Beverly had just begun to fidget with her phone and Charlotte wanted to nip that in the bud. Beverly handed over the cell phone and whimpered just a bit. Charlotte bit back her desire to sup on the two. It was raw energy. Youths were so delicious.
A few fast turns and some innate sense of self-preservation put them into a park a few block away from where they had picked Beverly up on her street. Charlotte jammed the car in park and shut it off. With some minor fangs and major attitude Charlotte turned on Amber in the back seat saying, "I am in control -- NOT you. Do you both understand?"
Amber went even more dead white than makeup allowed. She nodded saying, "Whatever." But it lacked the usual droll sarcasm. Beverly, on the other hand, looked at Charlotte with large wide fear filled eyes. Just like that, she transferred her allegiance to the vampire.
Charlotte felt the shift and her fangs pricked at her lips reminding her why she didn't hang out with underage humans. The waves of sex, fear and teenage drama nearly overwhelmed her. She seriously needed to get back home. Thankfully, Beverly began to spill what she knew; all the while she was staring at her. Amber was grumbling in the back seat and trying to feign disinterest. She was failing.
Slowly Charlotte heard the story that Beverly had to tell. It wasn't pretty, but it was the typical pain and death tale for the masses. She had seen more than she had told Amber on the phone. Charlotte didn't allow any of her feelings to roll across her face while she listened. Beverly looked at Charlotte like she was a box of Godiva chocolates. She was going to have problems getting this human away from her once she cut these two kids loose.
Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2006-12-04