I slept there on the bed for several hours before she drove me home. On the 163 freeway heading out of downtown San Diego by Balboa Park there was such a lush green forest of ferns, ivy and Eucalyptus trees.
My eyes seemed to see it for the first time. Not that my vision was particularly enhanced, but for the first time since I was about 12, I wasn’t particularly concerned with where I was going. If I were going to live forever then I didn’t have to be so concerned with making money, there was plenty of time to do it. Not to mention it sounded like her family had plenty.
Then I heard a man’s voice, speaking to me from the back seat. Of course there was no one in the back seat. I sat bolt upright looking for the man who was just prattling on about nothing, like he was just saying out loud everything that crossed his mind, “Did I forget to lock the front door, at least I don’t have to worry if I left the iron on like mom always did. Ha! She said I’d turn out just like her and look at me now, in more ways than she’d imagined. L-O-L to that one mom, may you rest in little pieces all over the inside of your coffin. Still you would have loved the show if you could have seen it, at least, you could have loved it if I hadn’t been in it. And you could have loved Jeffrey if you’d given him half a chance but that’s okay mom because I’ll love ‘im enough for both of us.”
Finally, I saw him, a young brown skinned man in a convertible white Mercedes pulling up from the back on the right side of our car. As he passed he was putting on lipstick. Seeing me staring, I could hear him saying as plain as can be, “what are you staring at short, dark and chubby?” So, I stuck my tongue out at him and he replied with, “oh put that away, gross, do you know where that thing’s been, and I’ll be she doesn’t either, double gross. Man.” I could feel his foot stretching to floor it to get away. As he sped forward I could feel my leg’s sympathetic tension subside and hear his voice fade.
“Annika?” I asked.
“Yes,” she answered without using her lips.
“Can you read people’s thoughts?” I asked.
“No, only bonded vampires can do that and only with each other.” She said.
“So spiritual mediums can’t really read your mind?” I asked.
“No, and they can’t speak to the dead or predict the future either. They should be called psychic minimums.”
“I think I’m a psychic maximum then.” I said.
“What does that mean?” She asked me.
I didn’t really know how to answer so I decided to go with a movie quote. “I’m sorry but all questions must be submitted in writing.” Willy Wonka had been one of my favorite movies when I was a kid.
She pulled out her phone and sent me a text message reading, “W R U Tlk Abt?”
“The thing that might not have happened and I’ll have to let you know later if it happens again.”
“What are you talking about?” She asked again with a special emphasis on the questioning intonation.
“Can Grandma Sissel read people’s thoughts?” I asked. “Change lanes.”
Annika changed lanes. The car which had been right in front of us slammed on its brakes and we sped passed it in the number 2 lane. Annika stared forward and said, “I think she can, or at least sometimes she can a little bit. What just happened?”
“Is she the only one?” I asked.
“Well, it’s not altogether unheard of but it’s rare. Men fan! I mean . . . you mean you can do it?”
“I’m not sure yet.” I said sheepishly. “So how is that I’m not undead but you froze me to death?” I leaned my seat back and closed my eyes.
“How did you know that car was going to stop?”
“I didn’t, I just knew that it was time to change lanes but I think my question is a hell of a lot more important, why am I not an undead?”
“Because you didn’t die, no wait, yes you did but not for long. Besides I brought you back to life, I didn’t bring you back to undeath, there’s a huge difference. But how did you know to change lanes?” She said.
“Difference? What does that mean?” I asked, this made me sit back up but since I hadn’t raised my seat, when we hit a small bump in the road it made me fall back down. “Do you mean there are people who are undead?”
“They’re not really people anymore.” She made a half smile that looked unenthusiastically happy. “I’ll tell you all about that what you need to know later.”
As we pulled into my driveway I asked what I thought of as an obvious question, “So, let’s see how fast we can pack!”
“What?” She asked.
“For Vegas Baby.” I said.
“Oh Jonjon, we’re not going to Vegas, that was a rouse so that Anita wouldn’t know what we were really doing. Nope, we’re going to the Coronado Wedding Chapel.”
As we entered the house, I said, “well we’re bonded anyway, so why bother with Vegas or any Chapel? Aren’t we already married enough to start the honeymoon I don’t know, maybe now?” I asked.
“Tomorrow you’re going with me to pick up the dress, pick out the invitations and drop off your names and addresses, the printers already have mine, and of course we have to pick out a cake.”
“Red velvet for the humans and a nice blood pudding for the vampires?” I plopped down on the couch and clicked on the tube. “The whole idea is starting to sound stupid. You’re a vampire and you want a traditional wedding?”
“I’m a traditional girl and while I may have special dietary needs and a longer life span, I’m no different than anyone else.”
“Than anyone else born during the first world war.” She walked to the back bedroom and came back with my pillows and blankets. “We’re getting married first and that’s that.”
I clicked off the TV and watched her peeling her shirt off as she went. Stopping she looked over her left shoulder at me. Holding the shirt in front of her she marched back down the hallway, leaned over the back of the couch, kissed me and smiled. “I’m glad to feel that you feel the way you do about me.”
I nestled into the couch and fell dead asleep. About 3ish I woke up terribly hungry. I felt like I could eat my arm off or maybe a hospital nurse. Just at that moment, I heard Annika’s voice saying, “Rise, Jonjon; kill, and eat.”
I said, “No way you savage little beast; I have never eaten any thing that I had to kill first and there’s no way I’m ever eating blood again, its a nasty body fluid rife with disease. It’s unclean.”
Her voice spoke to me again a second time saying “What God hath cleansed, that call not unclean.”
In the morning I remembered the freaky dream. Maybe I’d just keep that one to myself. If it turns out that I’m nuts and none of this is real I’d rather not add that one to my patient chart. Immediately I was in the kitchen opening every cupboard and finding nothing that sounded good or even smelled good.
From behind me Annika said, “special dietary needs?”
“Yes, I’m craving Swedish pancakes with Lingonberry and some of those wonderful sausages. Can we go to Dansk?” I turned around, she was wearing one of my dress shirts and fuzzy socks.
“Well, I can’t go like this. Are you craving anything else?”
“Blood pudding or red velvet cake?”
“No . . but I’m craving a bite of your neck. There are some particularly juicy veins running up the inner thigh. So if you’re wanting a traditional wedding maybe you’d better go change.” I could feel the love well up inside me, not just passion but a warmth of love was almost overwhelming.
“Can’t do that right now, I’m very busy.”
“Doing what?” I asked.
Flying across the kitchen, she was in my arms. With her arms wrapped around my neck and her lips touching mine she whispered, “Bonded means I feel everything you do, I hadn’t expected that.”
Looking into her eyes, I could feel her excitement and passion welling up inside of me. For a moment I thought of the double mint gum commercial. Then I remembered old Fred Baxter from across the street. Back in the early 80s when he was about 90 he told me that I must never sleep with any girlfriend because if I did, I’d never know if I found the right one when I finally did.
I thought of baseball because it was the sport that I least liked. My passionate urges subsided. “Awe, did it have to end so soon?” she asked.
“Can we move the wedding date up?” I begged with a grin.
“Yes!” she screamed.
“Great, grab some pants, let’s go eat.” She turned to talk about away but spun around.
“Um, about that . . .”
“Well it’s a vampire thing.” And she leaned in close and caressed my cheek with hers.
“What is?” And I could feel my will draining into the floor through my feet.
“Your first meal after mother’s milk, so to speak.” I didn’t understand and shook my head. “Well, you’ve had milk now it’s time for meat. It’s a simple thing really, it’s time for your first kill.”
Stay tuned until next time . . .