Vampire Moon Chapter 58 60
It was 8:30 p.m. and Danny had just left.
I gave him the extra thirty minutes out of the goodness of my cold heart, since, after all, he had been working so hard to get his shit moved out. The kids were off eating pizza with Mary Lou, my sister. They would come home to find their daddy gone. Traumatic for them, I know, but they would adjust. They had to adjust.
Before Danny drove off, with his Cadillac Escalade filled with all his crap, he informed me that he had talked Sugar out of pressing charges, mostly by offering her a massive raise. I reminded Danny that I wanted a massive raise, too, in the form of a butt-load of alimony and child support.
As he sat behind the wheel, looking utterly exhausted, he leveled a glare at me that was supposed to make me curl into the fetal position. I didn't curl.
’’This isn't over, Sam.’’
’’I certainly hope not,’’ I said. ’’I'm having too much fun.’’
He shook his head and drove off. I watched him make a left turn and disappear out of sight, and I realized I didn't even care where he ended up.
Smell you later, asshole.
I flipped the phone open and called my sister. ’’Bring them home,’’ I said.
* * *
We were all eating hot fudge sundaes that were oozing with whipped cream and chocolate syrup. And, yes, some of us were only pretending to eat. So far, my kids had not caught on that I could not eat like them. Mostly, they just saw mommy not eating at all, and when I did, the spitting-it-back-into-a-cup routine worked wonders.
Even with all the spitting, some of the ice cream and fudge made it down my esophagus, which caused some seriously uncomfortable cramps. After a few minutes of pretending to eat my ice cream, I finally ditched the bowl and emptied the cup-o'-spit down the garbage disposal. Mostly, no one noticed me, and I just sat there, glowing, watching my kids eat ice cream and laugh with their aunt...in the comfort of my own home with Danny not watching over me.
The kids had asked repeatedly where their dad was, and I told them that it was mommy's turn to have the house, and that daddy was going to stay with a friend of his for a while, and that everything was going to be okay.
Tammy later came over and held my hand for nearly the entire night. She told me again and again how sorry she was for yelling at me on the phone. I told her again and again that it didn't matter and that I loved her with all my heart.
When we were done with the ice cream, I grabbed a clean comforter from the hall closet and we all snuggled together on the living room couch and watched an illegal copy of Toy Story 3 that Mary Lou had purchased at a liquor store. I told her I couldn't condone such illicit behavior and vowed to purchase a real copy when the movie hit the DVD stands. Mary Joe stuck her tongue out at me.
About halfway through the movie, Anthony giggled. I knew that giggle.
’’Oh, no you didn't!’’ I cried out.
He laughed harder and lifted up the comforter. ’’Dutch oven!’’ he shouted and a wave of stink hit us.
We all piled out of the living room, laughing and tumbling over ourselves.
And later, after the room had cleared and after we had finished the movie, while Mary Lou was twisting Tammy's long hair into a braid and while Anthony was showering, I found myself crying tears of joy.
It was the next night and I was getting ready for my big date. I didn't often get nervous these days, but I was nervous as hell now. And while I got ready, my AOL account twirped. It was Fang.
See you in one hour, Moon Dance?
Are you nervous? he asked.
More than you know.
Don't worry. I don't bite.
I would have laughed if my stomach wasn't doing somersaults. I took a deep, shuddering breath. I really didn't need such deep breaths, but they did help to calm me.
How do I find you? I wrote when I had calmed myself down enough to focus on the keyboard.
Look for the man with a twinkle in his eye.
Trust me, Moon Dance, there will be no mistaking me tonight.
What's your name? I wrote. I mean, your real name?
I will tell you my name tonight, Moon Dance. Deal?
Okay, deal. I have to get ready.
See you in fifty-six minutes.
So we're really doing this?
Yes, wrote Fang. We're really doing this.
I shut down my laptop and went back to work on my hair. My hands, I noticed, were shaking.
* * *
I was driving down Chapman Avenue when my cell rang. I looked at the faceplate. Another restricted Number. At this late hour, it could only be a cop. I even had a sneaking suspicion who it was. I clicked on.
’’It wasn't me, officer, I swear. Please don't use the rubber hose again.’’
’’We don't use rubber hoses any more,’’ said Sherbet.
’’So what do you use?’’
’’Proper interrogation techniques.’’
’’And if that doesn't work?’’
’’We dig out the rubber hoses.’’ He paused. ’’Do you have a couple of minutes?’’
’’Anything for you, detective.’’
’’I'll remember that. Anyway, we had numerous eyewitness reports of something running through the streets of Fullerton a couple of nights ago, and I want your opinion.’’
’’And because I have a rare skin disease and I'm forced to stay out of the light of day, that makes me an expert in all things that go bump-in-the-night?’’
’’Something like that.’’
’’Was this something about nine feet tall and covered in fur?’’
’’How did you know?’’
’’Was there also a grave defiled?’’
’’Yes, over on Beacon Street, but - ’’
’’Just a lucky guess, Detective.’’
’’Don't give me that bullshit, Sam. What the hell is going on in my city?’’
’’You would never believe it, Detective.’’
’’Soon. I promise.’’
He was silent on his end of the phone. Finally, he said, ’’How soon?’’
He sighed. ’’I can be your best friend, Sam. Or your worst enemy. I have a city to protect.’’
’’We will talk soon, Detective. I promise.’’
He didn't like it, but accepted it.
’’Get some sleep, Detective.’’
’’With a nine-foot creature running around? Hardly.’’
’’You're safe,’’ I said. ’’At least until the next full moon.’’
’’You're shitting me.’’
’’We'll talk later, Detective.’’
And we clicked off just as I pulled into the Downtown Bar &Grill parking lot.
I was in the same parking lot where a young lady had been killed not too long ago in connection with a case of mine. A case that had involved Kingsley.
The parking lot was mostly empty. It was late Sunday night, so no surprise there. I was in a spot that afforded me a perfect view of the parking lot's entrance.
I'm really doing this, I thought.
I was a few minutes early. To my right was an alley that ran behind the restaurant. The alley was clean and dimly lit and led to the back entrances to the stores that ran along Harbor Boulevard. Potted plants were arranged outside the bar's back door, and a nearby fire escape appeared freshly painted. The alley itself was composed of cobblestones, like something you would see in an English village. I remembered the way the girl's blood had soaked between the stones, zigzagging rapidly away from her dying body.
The moon was bright, but not full. Clouds were scattered thinly across the glowing sky. Glowing, at least, to my eyes. A small wind made its way through my partially opened driver's side window. I couldn't keep my hands from shaking, and so I kept them there on the steering wheel, gripping tightly, my knuckles glowing white.
A car turned slowly into the parking lot, making a left from Chapman Avenue. Its headlights bounced as the vehicle angled up the slight driveway and into the parking lot.
I'm really doing this.
I hadn't expected to be this nervous. Fang knew everything about me. He knew my dirtiest secrets. So what did I know about him? I knew he was a lady's man. I knew he had a massive fascination for vampires. I knew he was mortal.
And that was it.
In a way, I loved Fang. He was always, always there for me. In my darkest hours, he consoled me. He lifted me up and reminded me that I was not a monster. I shared with him my heart, and in return he accepted it with tenderness and compassion. He was the perfect man. The perfect confidant.
I didn't want to lose what I had with Fang.
The car continued moving through the parking lot. I could hear its tires crunching. The car, I soon saw, was an old muscle car. A beautiful thing. Not quite cherried, but obviously well taken care of. It gave off a throaty growl, not unlike the growl of the werewolf the other night.
I didn't want to lose Fang. I love what we have. Our connection was so rare, so helpful, so loving, so sweet, so important to me.
I can't lose that.
I wrapped my hands around my keys, which were still hanging in the ignition.
This was a bad idea. I should never have agreed to this.
’’What am I doing?’’ I whispered, feeling real panic, perhaps the first panic I had felt in a long time. Far worse panic than when a nine-foot-tall werewolf approached me in my hotel room.
And what if Fang isn't who he says he is? What if he's someone completely different? Someone untrustworthy?
What if I have to silence him?
I started rocking in the driver's seat. The throaty growl of a muscle car reverberated through the empty lot, bouncing off the surrounding dark buildings. The car pulled slowly into a parking space two rows in front of me.
We were now facing each other. The windshield was tinted enough for me to have a hard time seeing inside. Still, I could see a single figure. A man.
The driver turned the car off and the parking lot fell silent again. A moment later, the muscle car's headlights flashed twice.
My heart slammed inside me. My right hand was still holding the keys. I could start the car now and get the hell out of here and forget this night ever happened, and Fang and I could go back to what we had.
I could. But I didn't.
I reached down and flashed my headlights twice in return. A moment later, the muscle car's driver's side door opened. A booted foot stepped out.
Close to hyperventilating, I went to open my door but stopped short. Shit, I had forgotten about my seat belt. I hastily unfastened it and opened the door.
I'm really doing this.
As I stepped out of my van completely, the person oppsite me did the same. The night air was cool. Sounds from the nearby bar reached us. Laughter. Music. The low murmur of a handful of conversations going on at once.
I stepped around to the front of my minivan, and the figure in front me did the same. He leaned a hip casually against the front fender. When I saw him, I stopped and gasped and covered my mouth with both hands.
Fang grinned at me. ’’Hello, Moon Dance.’’