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￭ in return for your navy blue shirt
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2008-06-23 | |
Vampires in the family Chapter 6 "Unpleasant Rendezvous"
Micah's house was the same as it always was. I could see his older brother's legs sticking out from one of the broken down cars that rested on their front lawn. Micah knocked on the hood of the car in greeting - "Hey, Vinnie!" - and marched onwards, towards the back of the house where a ramshackle playset was built.
It was our favorite place to hang out. Before Micah's father had left them, he'd built it with his bare hands out of the wood and scrap metal lying around. It was a pretty neat place. It had two different levels to it. The lowest was just a simple A-frame with three swings hanging from it. The frame was connected to a two-story fort, built complete with ladders and a bright blue tarp for a roof. A homemade slide was connected to the upper part of the fort. It was really fun to slide down, even though it shook pretty badly when the wind blew.
Since our high school let us out an hour before the elementary and middle schools, we got the playset to ourselves before Micah's numerous, screaming siblings could take over.
"Hey!" I called to him, propping myself down on a swing.
"Yeah?" Micah came trotting over.
"Give me a push," I ordered. Obligingly, Micah ran behind me and shoved as hard as he could, but instead of moving forward, like the swing was supposed to go, I ended up spinning around and twisting the two chains.
"Well, that didn't work," he laughed.
"Admit it," I said. "You're just a bad pusher."
"You caught me. I tried to hide it, but you found me out, babe."
He faked looking sad, pushing out his cute lower lip in an attempt to win my sympathy.
"But you're an excellent spinner," I comforted him, grinning. "Just look at this swing! It's already in a twist and you barely even made an effort."
"Well, if you think that was impressive," Micah said. He leapt forward and, grabbing my shoulders, began spinning me around on the swing. I laughed - I'd always loved the 'dizzy' rides in the amusement parks - and held on for dear life.
Micah tugged at the swing, twirling it as far as it could go, until the chains were so twisted that they came together right above my chest.
I was still giggling. "Don't let go! It'll start spinning really fast."
"Wouldn't want that," agreed Micah. He looked at the chains, smirking. They were wound really tightly together. If I wanted to get out of the swing without spinning around, I'd have to get up and sort of shimmy my way out of it.
"You look like you're all tied up there, babe."
"I'm trapped forever," I joked. "Oh woe is me, I'll never get out of here."
"That doesn't sound too bad to me," said Micah. He stood in front of me and leaned forward, kissing me as I sat there, ensnared in the chains.
That was one of my favorite parts about having a boyfriend. I loved kissing him. I loved the smell of his skin and the flavor of his lips. I loved how smooth his lips were and how soft they felt whenever I'd trail my fingers over them.
The best thing was that he liked kissing me. I couldn't get over that. In school, even now, I was always known as the weird girl. I didn't take offense to that or anything - I mean, what's wrong with being weird? - but I'd never even expected to get a boyfriend.
Then, one day during lunch, Micah had asked to sit with me. It was so random, so completely out of the blue, that I'd said yes before I could even think about it. We'd started talking, and the conversation had come so easily. It was weird - I'd always had problems talking to guys before Micah. But with him, it'd been like we'd been friends since kindergarten.
The only problem with making out with my boyfriend, though, was that sometimes we forgot about everything else while we were doing it. Including holding onto the swing.
Micah's grip loosened as he leaned into the kiss, but that was all the incentive the swing needed. The chains immediately began to unwind, and I started spinning around super rapidly.
I began to laugh hysterically. Micah had been leaning towards me, but when the swing started to spin, he had to jump about two feet straight backwards just to avoid getting accidentally kicked.
"Careful!" I giggled as I held on to the chains with a death grip. Micah got his balance and watched me, grinning, as the swing finally stopped moving.
"Hey, come here," he said. I stood up from the swing - or, at least, tried to stand up; the entire world was moving around crazily - and stumbled towards him. He caught me in his arms and together we fell into the soft grass.
"It sucks that we couldn't hang out this weekend. I hated being stuck at school, away from you," he told me.
Even though Micah was in the same grade I was, he got really bad grades. He took all the basic classes and I helped him with his homework every day after school, but he still had to attend supplementary tutoring during the weekends. Since he also worked at his part-time job in the evenings, we rarely got to see each other on Saturday and Sunday.
His reminder of the weekend immediately made me feel guilty. Anise was right; I had to tell him about Emmanuel, if only so that I wouldn't have to feel like crap every time I was reminded of him.
"Hey, Micah?" I said.
"If I tell you something, will you promise not to get mad?"
He blinked at me, obviously confused. "Um, okay."
"Okay, you remember last week when I snuck you into my house and Mother caught us?"
"Well, she was kinda angry at me for that, since that was majorly against the rules."
"Really?" said Micah. "Why?"
I shrugged and looked down, ashamed that I had to lie to him. "I don't know. Just one of Mother's weird rules.
"But anyway," I continued, "Mother gave me a choice as to how I could be punished; I could either be grounded for a month, or..."
"Or...." echoed Micah.
"Or I could go out on a blind date for just one night."
I said the words in a rush, trying to get them out all at once.
"Babe, you went on a date with some other guy?" Micah cried, looking really, really hurt.
"Yeah, okay, I did, but Emmanuel was a total loser and...."
"I can't believe you!" Micah yelled, shoving himself off the ground and away from me. I followed his lead and stood up, wondering why in the world I'd ever thought this was a good idea.
"I hated it the entire time!" I protested. "I left the date early and I'm never even going to talk to him again and...."
"Did he kiss you?" Micah demanded, interrupting my pathetic-sounded excuses.
"Did he kiss you?" he repeated, his face turning red.
"No!" I cried. "Ew! Definitely not! I wouldn't even let him hold my hand!"
Micah walked away, shaking his head, looking disgusted. "I can't believe you, babe. I thought we were exclusive."
"We are exclusive," I argued. "I just agreed to go on one blind date so that I could see you more. I didn't want to stay inside, trapped for a month without you! I thought this was the better way."
"Yeah? Well, it wasn't," Micah said, storming back to his house. I followed behind him pathetically, feeling like a complete idiot. I really hadn't thought he'd take it this hard. He was really hurt and it was all my fault and I was such a jerk! What had I been thinking?
"Micah, I am so sorry," I said, half-running to keep up with him. "But you have to believe me that nothing happened. I didn't even like him at all."
"Seriously, Micah. I like you. Not him. You."
He paused at his back door, stopping with his hand on the knob. "Look, Sylvia. I need to go inside. Alone, okay?" He didn't look at me when he spoke. He kept his head facing away, so that I couldn't even see his expression.
I backed away. "Yeah, sure. All right."
He opened the door and stepped inside. Before he could close it behind him, I couldn't help myself. "Micah!"
He stopped right before the door was completely shut. "What?"
"Can I call you tonight? Later?"
He paused, filling the air with a horrible, overwhelming silence. I was almost ready to speak again, if only just to make some sort of noise, when he answered me.
"I'll call you later. Okay? When I've had some time to, you know, think. I'll call you."
The door clicked shut behind him.
I stood in his yard for a moment longer, berating myself for being such an idiot. Screw what Anise's magazines had advised; Micah would have never found out about the blind date if I'd kept my big mouth shut. Now he hated me and it was all my fault for being so friggin' brainless.
I grabbed my backpack. Micah only lived about a ten-minute walk from my house, which really wasn't bad at all, but I didn't feel like taking even that long.
Sliding on both of the straps, I took a deep breath and ran, as fast as I could, the entire way home.
I decided to take a nap as soon as I reached my room. I wasn't really that tired, but I was still really upset and I didn't want to keep replaying Micah's conversation in my head, which I knew I'd do if I stayed awake.
I'd thought about it during the run back home and decided that this was just as much Micah's fault as it was mine. Okay, so maybe I shouldn't have taken the easy way out and went out on the blind date. Fine. I knew that now. But Micah was taking the whole thing way too seriously. It wasn't like I'd even liked Emmanuel, and I certainly didn't kiss him or do anything that could actually be interpreted as cheating.
Micah needed to lighten up.
I plopped down on my mattress and stared at the phone on my bedside table.
No, what Micah really needed to do was call me, so we could talk about it like normal people instead of yelling at each other.
I buried my head under my pillow, feeling the beginnings of a headache.
The entire situation was stupid, so stupid. I shouldn't even be the one feeling guilty. Micah was acting like a jerk this time. Not me....
Mid-thought, I succumbed to the darkness and fell, deeply, into a dreamless sleep.
When it came to naps, I was never able to stay asleep for longer than a couple of hours. I woke up around 8 pm, which was weird, since I'd gotten home at 4. I'd really been asleep for four hours? Jeez.
I could probably have blamed Micah for that, too, but I decided not to, since that seemed a little petty.
The nap really helped. My head felt a lot clearer and I wasn't nearly so upset now. I wasn't even resentful that Micah hadn't called me yet.
He'd better call me by tomorrow, I thought to myself, or else I'm marching over there and knocking on his door until he talks to me. After all, Mother had always told me never to take any flak from a man.
Speaking of Mother...
I left my bedroom and wandered the upper floor, looking for her. She wasn't in the library or the game room. Her bedroom was empty, which didn't surprise me. She very rarely slept at night, preferring to do so during the daylight hours.
I didn't have any luck downstairs either. The kitchen was empty, as was the weaponry room and the sauna. All the other rooms were empty, too, except for the furniture.
Wandering aimlessly, I stopped by the basement door. Maybe Mother was out hunting? I'd thought there'd still been a man down in the basement, but maybe I'd made a mistake.
Curious now, I pulled open the heavy, steel-reinforced, soundproofed door that led to the basement stairs. The hallway light beamed down brightly, casting a wave of light over the figure dangling limply from the wall-mounted manacles.
I could see everything so clearly.
His wrists had been naturally pale, but now they were practically translucent. The pale blue veins running the length of his arms looked almost bright blue by comparison, like someone had taken a marker and drawn them in.
He was fresh, caught no later than this morning. Mother hadn't started the wrist-drain yet, but instead had merely cut him lightly on the neck and sucked the blood from there until coagulation had taken effect and scabbed over the wound.
From the light in the hallway, I could see his dyed, black hair hanging long and stringy down the course of his back. I could see his proud roman nose and his pouty lips. His narrow face and delicate cheekbones looked just as handsome as the first time I'd seen them.
Making quiet moans, Emmanuel raised his head weakly up from against his arms and stared at me, slowly trying to process what he was seeing.
"Hello?" he rasped. "Who's there?"
I couldn't say anything. I couldn't even move. I replayed in my mind the conversation Mother and I had had this morning, when I'd been too sleepy to really think about what I was saying. I recalled the things I'd said and then winced, realizing what had happened.
Mother had hunted down Emmanuel, all because he'd abandoned me at the restaurant. She'd trapped him in the basement where so many other men had died.
She was going to kill him, all because of me. All because I'd complained about him to her this morning, without even thinking about it.
"Sylvia?" Emmanuel's eyes grew wide as he recognized me. "Oh my god, it is you! Please! Please, for the love of god, help me!"
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