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Mystery High part 3

7 Jul

I really need a new name for the story…mystery high sounds so, well, mysterious. It’s really not meant to be–I just couldn’t find a high school that fit my description…anywho. Until there’s a new name, Mystery High it remains….

The idea that I had turned into a fully fledged stalker didn’t escape my notice.  To try and catch a glimpse of him again, I lingered in the halls well past second bell so that I was late to every class.   And in every class, I took a bathroom break and wandered, slyly looking into every class window I walked by.  The guy was nowhere to be seen.  I let out a frustrated Argh during my final period’s washroom break. This was absolutely unnecessary.  I really shouldn’t have been hunting the guy down like a tiger an antelope.  He’d turned out to be one tricky antelope.   Arie. Stop. In my last turn of the hall, I bent down to take a drink from the water fountain and heard footsteps approaching.

My heart and imagination leapt into overdrive as I imagined it was he, coming down the hall, because he was looking for me too! And when I stood up I would feel him behind me.  In slow motion, I would turn and see that we’re so close that a kiss was the only possible move.  His breath would smell of spicy cinnamon gum and his chocolate eyes would gleam in the dimming hall sunlight.

“Hey,” he’d say.

In my most suave moment, I’d smile at him in a heartbreaking way and he’d know it was okay to kiss me.  He’d lean in with a dimpled half smile and…

A throat was cleared behind me. I double blinked and realized that I’d been leaning over the water fountain this entire time.  My cheeks flared red and I straightened, turning slightly to see my teacher, arms folded behind me.  If I didn’t say anything, maybe he wouldn’t know it was me? Or maybe it wouldn’t matter that I’d been loitering for the last, what?..I looked down at my watch, holy crap! I’d been out of class for 20 minutes.

“Miss Huston. I think you’ve had enough water this period, don’t you?” my movements were slow and showed my humiliation.   When I faced him, I kept my eyes to the ground and tried to let my wavy hair drape over my face.

“Yes sir.”

“Get back to class.”

“Yes sir.”

But I had a problem following this simple obedience: in my stalk-age, I didn’t even use the bathroom.  And as I just drank a gallon of water, and my bladder was the size of a peach pit, I’d actually have to use the restroom soon. Very very soon-or there would be mortification to pay with.  It would be just another item to cross off of my “humiliations in high school” list: peed myself in eighth period.

Back in class, I groaned as I resumed my seat and spent the next 7 minutes and 38 seconds shaking my leg to distract my bladder from its function in life.  When the leg wasn’t enough, I took to tapping my pencil like an idiot.  I was distracting everyone around me but I didn’t dare ask to be excused again.  By the time the final bell rang there were tears in my eyes from the sting of a crying bladder.  I bolted out of class as fast as my legs would let me and I rammed right into someone.  What the hell.

I excused myself without really registering who it was and I was ready to football it through the hordes of teens spilling out into the hallway when the person’s hand grabbed my arm.


Ugh crap.

“Luke? What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be getting ready for football practice?” I was dancing in place and his blue eyes watched me with some amusement.  For a moment, I was lost in those eyes and as he answered me, the volume of his voice faded to mute.  The tiny voice of my bladder rose to cover his and was urgently bellowing in my brain.  Damn. Couldn’t catch a break today.

“Luke listen, I gotta go pee.” And I ran.


It was the longest pee of my life.  The sensation went from pain to satisfaction and kept going. Soon, other girls filled the restroom, their high pitched or snarly voices intermingling with one another.  After a few seconds and some exiting, I could discern who it was who was left talking.  They were two girls from Tiffany’s cheerleading squad, Ashley and Madison.

“So yeah! I totally heard that Jenny saw Luke, like, all over Arie.”

“Oh my god. No way.”


“Like when?”

“I don’t know. Does it matter?” My eyes were wide with the news that Luke was “all over me” and I leaned forward to look through the crack of the door.  I watched as Ashley applied lip gloss and Madison fiddled with her bangs.

“What about Tiff?”

“What about Tiff?” In between smacks of her lips, Ashley continued saying, “Tiffany obviously knows something’s up otherwise she wouldn’t have said something to Kayla in aesthetics.” Tiff had aesthetics after lunch.  I leaned back in disbelief as I was bombarded with more information and speculation.  I listened to them debate on how long Luke was cheating on Tiffany with me and if I’d always had a thing for him, and if he was doing it to pity me.  That one hurt. What hurt more was when they said that Tiff was only my friend because she’d known me so long, and it was about time she ‘cut the cord’.  I listened as a few tears made their way onto my cheeks and I firmly brushed them away.  When they’d left I zipped up my jeans and cautiously stepped out of the blue painted stall.

My eyes didn’t betray me with red rims. I was surprised at that, but I still splashed some cold water on my face to wake me up from self pity. I’d lived with the “no self pity” mantra for so long that I forgot I’d need it when it came to things other than hospital visits and bad news.  Self pity could strike even on the best of days, helping add them to your worst. And that’s not where they belonged.

“It’s been a good day,” I told myself, wishing that I actually really believed it.


I was outside, having a staring match with my car. Her name was Daisy.  We were in a showdown, Daisy and I.  She, a white, ‘95 Accord, and I, a 16 year old brunette.  It was a constant battle between the two of us, but I couldn’t help but love her.  She was just as damaged as me, and if I couldn’t love something so damaged, how could I expect someone to love me?  My dad had sat me down a few times to try and get me to get rid of the car, and he even offered to get me a new one. It was a moot point though-why get one when I wouldn’t need it for long and they’d be stuck paying it off?  I couldn’t do that to them.  But today, with the heat being 90 and my AC non-existent, I seriously considered the offer.

From across the lot, I begged her silently to start and take me home with no complications. But when I stepped out onto the scorching pavement, I knew there was no way in this infernal heat that she would do me a solid and start.  It was too damn hot.  I jingled my keys in my pocket and continued towards my car.  As I grabbed the handle and swung the door open, a blast of heat escaped, laughing at my misfortune. Dropping my book bag on the cement, I gingerly seated myself in the driver’s seat.  Inserting my key, the lights all flashed on and as I turned on the ignition there was a simple whine that told me she wasn’t going anywhere.

I hung my head, letting it touch the steering wheel when I felt the little hairs on my forehead burn away. It was scalding hot, and I jerked my head back, letting the headrest catch me.

I didn’t see him approach so when I heard his familiar voice sound, I jumped a mile into the tiny space of my car.

“Sorry I, ugh, didn’t mean to scare you,” Luke said, a worried frown on his forehead.  I scoffed back, “yeah right.”

“You need a ride?”

“Not from you-don’t you have anything better to do? How about football?”

He got intense there, for a second, like there were serious thoughts running through his head.

“Shut up Arie and get in my car.” He was exasperated, from what I had no idea, but I hadn’t heard that tone in a long while so I gave up my fight and said,



Mystery High Part 2

12 May

continued from “Pick a high school, any high school you want”…posted May 10, 2010….

“Arie?…You awake?…” a voice called from the distance, and it sounded suspiciously like Luke…and not the one I was currently dreaming of…wait. What is that smell??

“Ugh..what the eff?” My nose scrunched up and I continued to let the curses roam free out of my mouth while I tried to escape the horrible stench.

“Language Miss Huston, language,” a stern yet laughing voice commanded from beyond the disgustingness of smell. Hey, I know that voice…

“Nurse Dillon?” The smell, those were smelling salts. And… Omg. I passed out in front of Luke, on Luke. My eyes shot open and I blushed furiously at what had happened. I sat up with the speed of a rebounding Dodo Clown and looked around, searching for the calling voice from my dream. A wave of dizziness slapped over me and Nurse Dillon held my arm while she continued to talk,

“He’s gone Miss Huston, I sent him back to class. Said yintz gave him a right scare. He carried you to the office he did, right like a knight.” I gently laid back down, well, I wasn’t given much of a choice what with Nurse Dillon’s one hand now pushing me back down and the other one setting aside the smelling salts. “That’s one nice boyfriend you’ve got yourself there. He refused to leave, but I said I’d give you both detention if he didn’t get hisself back to class, and what with exams right around the corner he mumbled about you not being pleased if you got a detention.” Yep, darn tooting I wouldn’t be pleased. I would’ve cursed him to high devil’s home if he got me stuck with detention because he was trying to play white knight.  Stupid do-gooder. Still, I couldn’t help but smile. It was nice of him.

“Now, Miss Huston. Not to be all digging n all, but have you eaten today?”  Her brown eyes were flecked with amber and bored into mine. She must’ve been really pretty when she was young and she still had this way of charming any information out of you. She was also one of the only people I’d let touch me, or know the truth about what’s going on.

“No ma’am.” With an unnatural speed for a woman her age, she bent down and was back up in a flash with a tray of food.

“Well, that’s what Mr. Goodman and I thought.  Before I sent him back to class, I made him get you a full tray of food.”

At the sound of Luke’s name I blushed.  I reached for the tray and was surprised when she held it out of my reach, “Arie. You be good to that one. And make sure you thank him for all he did.” Again, her eyes searched mine for any semblance that a lie was going to pass my lips.

“I will ma’am. And thank you.” He wasn’t mine anyways.

She assessed me once more, this time with one eye closed (which totally made me giggle) and then the tray was in my lap.

“You finish off every last bite then go to class.”

I nodded, a granny smith apple in my mouth.

By the time I was released from the caring clutches of Nurse Dillon, I’d missed first period. Although Luke was a year older, we had shared some classes last semester because I took almost all AP classes.  This semester though, we didn’t have any together. All the better. I pulled the straps to my backpack tighter so that I felt suffocatingly cocooned.  I exhaled and continued onto my second class: Trig.  Tiffany was only in my first period soc class.

I’d have to see her, and him, at lunch which meant I had until then to figure out what I was going to say I bought her, and how I could repay him.

♥ ♥ ♥

“Toodles!” I saw her blonde curls waving some of her flock away from down the hall and I rolled my eyes. Of course Tiff would have her hair done for her birthday.  She was probably at the salon at 6 am…ie. 2 hours before it opened. I mean, not that the curls do anything to really take away from her personality, she’s super nice.

“Hey biatch!” well, Wtheck? She’d never called me that before, I swear. New fad? Maybe. It’s probably because I didn’t decorate her locker. Damn high school politics.  As she approached me I thought I saw a flash of steel in those keen grey eyes of hers. Then again, maybe I just imagined it.  After all, I did pass out this morning.

“Happy birthday girl! You look fantabulous.”  My perma-headache had subsided somewhat so I actually smiled fully at her.

“You think?” Again I rolled my eyes and watched her spin, giving her a polite yet dignified clap. It’s us. The role we play is set. I’m the best friend and she’s my best friend. She really was wearing a cute little spring/summer number…if I’m not mistaken, by Marc Jacobs.  She’s a queen of Saks, preferring the New York Saks to the downtown Pittsburgh one.   She’ll tell anyone who’ll listen about the preference and which designers make NY better. Tiffany is Old Pittsburgh money. I am No Pittsburgh money.  But I know all the designers out there and vow to one day go to school to become a clothing designer. Tiff’s been a mannequin for more than one of my designs and I run the fashion show every year as one of the many artists being showcased.

Looking past me her eyes lit up, and I started to blush right away. I knew who was behind me.

“Are those for me?” she squealed in delight and I was happy for her. I swear. Luke walked right past me and picked her up in a bear hug, spinning her around while making out. This was a feat only a prize star athlete could achieve and was usually reserved for the movies.  Not in Tiffany’s world though. In hers, everything was possible.

On one of their rotations I saw he was holding a dozen lavender coloured roses in his hands. I inhaled deeply and walked past the love birds.  I wish she saw what I saw in him. I wish she would stop messing this relationship up.  Walking to the cafeteria, the side of my mouth quirked up.  He’d messed up though. Lavender roses were my favourite. Calla lilies were hers- “of course they’re my favourite, I want them all over the place at our wedding!”  That was something she’d said before the whole assistant makeout-and-more session.   I sighed, I would just have to make it up to both of them that I didn’t remind him what her favourite flowers were.  And chances are, knowing Tiff, she wouldn’t have remembered mine.

Outside of the cafeteria, and between the library, there was a kind of “modern” empty space, also known as a waste of space.  Along the library windows though, was a seating ledge where all the senior jocks sat and on many a day, held up numbers to rate chicks as they walked by.  Once the principal, Mrs. Gorgan, caught whiff, she’d given them all detention.  It hadn’t stopped them yet though.   They just do it infrequently, with no pattern except maybe mimicking a play in football.  Today was one of those days-totally just my friggen luck.

They clapped for me, pretty much just as I had for Tiff.  I turned just long enough to send them a scathing “I HATE YOU ALL.” look. And before I could avert my gaze, so I didn’t look at what my score was (shudder), I saw one that made me stumble.  He held up a 10 and was looking at me with THE most intense look I’d ever seen. Shit I didn’t even know if I’ve ever been looked at like that.  After I stumbled, I tripped over my own feet and landed in an inelegant pile right there.  Serves me right. I don’t know what serves me right but something must.  When he saw me stumble he dropped the number and did a light jog over. The rest of the jocks were laughing their butts off, like it was the funniest thing they’d seen since The Hangover.  His hair was dark brown and cut pretty short, like he wasn’t trying to be cool or anything.   He had deep set brown eyes and a look about him that screamed, “I know more than I let on.”  Okay, so this day was just plain fabulous.  Note the sarcasm here. It wasn’t fabulous. But it did keep getting weirder and weirder.

When he reached me he had this soft half smile going on that made my stomach do fluttery flip flops.  I hadn’t moved, I mean really, I was in a no win situation here, so I could at least make sure I would stand with some grace.  Slow and steady wins the race.  He stretched out a huge hand down towards me.

“Need some help up?” Just then, there was a flurry of steps in our direction with a hollering voice leading the way,

“Arie! Arie!!!!” My eyes widened and the mystery guy stood up straighter to see what all the commotion was about. His eyes narrowed as he watched a frantic Luke practically throw himself down at my side.  Luke grabbed my shoulders and looked into my eyes, “Are you okay? Arie are you okay?” I didn’t really know what the heck was going on this twilight zone of a day.  I nodded and he did something that really shocked me, he pulled me into a hug and rocked me gently.  His hands were in my hair and as my arms tentatively went around shoulders he whispered, “I thought I lost you. Oh my God. I thought you were gone again.”

I looked past him to see an unsure Tiff standing by, now a few people circling us. I cleared my throat, this was totally awkward. I patted his back saying, “Luke, I’m okay, I promise. I just tripped.” It was a bit of a maneuver but I managed to twist a bit to see the guy who thought I was a 10 still standing there, not knowing his role anymore.  We locked eyes and he gave me a one handed wave as he backed up and away from this little scene. Before he turned away from me though, he held his hands up, showing me 10 fingers spread apart and gave me a wink.   I blushed and smiled to myself, finally extracting Luke from me we stood up.  He was talking as the three of us, me, Tiff, and him, walked into the cafeteria to get some food but I wasn’t listening.  I thought about the guy, why I’d never seen him, who he was, and if he was kidding about thinking I was a 10. And jeeze, what if he said every girl was a 10 and I was stupid enough to believe it was just me? Meh. I shrugged and smiled even more. I looked back to where the jocks were seated and he was gone. Oh well, our school was only 3000 students large, there must be some chance that we’ll bump into one another again. When I tuned back into the convo, I realized that Luke was telling Tiff about our early morning meeting and what happened.  She was looking at me strangely and he was looking at me with something akin to pity. But I couldn’t wipe the stupid grin off my face.

“Whatever guys. I’m okay and lunch is on me. It’s the least I can do.” I smiled at both of them and as I picked up the tab, I almost forgot I hadn’t gotten paid yet and I’d be broke till Friday. Pay day. Oh well, who needs money anyways…especially when someone thinks you’re a 10?

To be continued….

ev·o·lu·tion   [ev-uh-loo-shuhn]

11 May

Def’n: development: a process in which something passes by degrees to a different stage (especially a more advanced or mature stage) —from:

I’m evolving…sometimes words aren’t enough to explain love…especially on a rainy day…

Have a happy rainy love filled day Pittsburgh…

ps. the next part to a high school story is almost done…and pps. don’t you just plain ♥ how the woman with the umbrella looks miserable (yet dry??) ah, l’amour. nothing like it.

Pick a high school…any high school ya want….

10 May

I’ve never been in a high school in Pittsburgh, so I’m not sure which would fit the bill here… I had a dream I wrote about it last night and so, set out to do so today…if anyone feels like enlightening me about any high school that could fit, feel free to leave it in a comment…

I slammed my locker shut, much to the chagrin of my steadily pounding brain.  I’d been having these headaches that last a few days…nothing like a migraine or anything, just a steady hum of torture. The torture was a lingering shadow on everything I did.  I kept on forgetting things, and even my oh-so-handy lists weren’t helping me out because reading was killing my skull. Had to keep any extracurricular reading to a minimum to make sure I had enough brain juice to get my homework done. This morning was just the same. I had to go back into the house twice to pick up much needed homework and text books. Then my ‘88 Chevy Nova wouldn’t start and although I wanted to scream, I couldn’t-my head would have probably exploded. It had been a morning of heavy breathing trying to hold back frustrated tears. In short, as of today, I hated my life.

I got to school late and my car’s engine gave out just as I rolled into a parking spot. I wanted to slash my own tires, take a bat to my windows and key my doors.  And did I do any of those dramatic Carrie Underwood things? Nope. I hung my head and walked dejectectedly into school.  Just thinking about all the crap that happened since I’d woken up made my head hurt just that much more, and now, the slam on the locker echoed in my brain and upped my headache a notch.  My hands automatically went up on either side of my blue top locker and I rested my forehead head against its coolness. The locker face was just as comforting as my mother’s touch…everything was just too blimey bright, loud, annoying and well, everything, today.  I turned my head to one side and noticed that the brightness included my best friend’s locker.

Oh shit. It’s not…I walked over to the festive locker about 8 lockers down, feeling like every step was leading me closer to doomsday. When I reached her fully decorated locker, my heart plummeted to my stomach.  It was Tiffany’s birthday. And I forgot.  Thank the lord someone remembered to decorate it. Regardless, I’m sure I’ll be eaten for her lunch for this. Man, knowing her, she might’ve decorated it herself to save herself the mortification of accepting a terrible best friend.

Could this day get any worse? COULD IT?

Breathe, breathe, and breathe some more.

I scowled to myself and fingered the loose, frantically happy orange and yellow ribbon on her locker and the second bell sounded.  So I’m not as late as I thought. I closed my eyes and let my hand drop, breathing again.  All that heavy breathing obviously wasn’t helping out my hearing because I didn’t hear someone walk up, and when I turned to head to class, I walked right into them. Them being a very big muscular someone. Oh. No. I squeezed my eyes shut. This is just a bad dream. This whole day is just one bad dream.

My hands fumbled to make their way up to show I didn’t mean to walk into them. I opened one eye cautiously to look straight into a wide chest and I silently prayed that it wasn’t who I thought it was (although I knew).  I shrugged slowly, kinda looking more like a cringe, and the chest took a tiny step back.  My gaze traveled up to meet two very bright blue eyes. Hubida mushy brain blue umm yum. I honestly thought today couldn’t get any worse, but fate had a TOTALLY different opinion on the matter.

“Hey, you need this?” He was holding something…but my brain (as previously mentioned) wasn’t working up to any sort of par. Plus, I had dreamt of those blue eyes every night for the past 2 weeks.  Heck, way longer than that if I wanted to be honest with myself.  It was surreal to see them looking at me, even if they had an amused glitter to them. Although I mean, I saw him all the time and talked to him, albeit, only when I spoken to. It was an unsaid rule of mine.

Today my guard was down and I responded with some sort of infantile gurgle instead of my usual sarcastic cruel snap of verbal abuse.

ARH#&@#$*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Work brain! WORK!

“Ugh, what?” I shook my head to get those cogs and gears spinning, and I’m pretty sure I looked like a shaggy dog.  My “cool-meter” firmly commanded me: Easy there Beethoven, stop moving your head. I froze and his expression went from amused to confused. He slowly, I guess not to frighten me (in my head, I rolled my eyes, I’m such a moron), lifted his hand up to show me a black sharpie marker. My face showed just how little my brain was registering and I tried to put up my usual scowl only reserved for him but he responded only by looking somewhere between amused and confused as he uncapped the lid and mimicked signing Tiffany’s locker.  He turned back to me to tentatively hand me the black marker.  Heat infused my cheeks and now I had no idea if my next step should be to go play on the I-579 or jump off the Liberty Bridge. Either one would save me from this. I looked at the marker which he was waving in front of my face and the toxic smell reached my nose. I inhaled and reached for it begrudgingly (he must’ve been the one to decorate) as a thought drifted into my fuzzy brain…oh no, I’m gonna pass out. I quickly did a rundown of the food I ate. There wasn’t enough-I didn’t eat today yet, and I barely ate dinner yesterday. Nope. There was no stopping it. I had a bit of a problem with fainting. Yep. There goes the cherry to my bad day sundae…

I passed out, but not before I registered that I was fainting into Luke’s arms while his voice was raised in panic calling my name…the Luke who Tiffany was supposed to be dating (and was being cheated on with some assistant of her dad’s… “hey it’s not like we’re getting married or anything” she’d told me when I caught her making out with the much older blonde guy in her library), the Luke who completely haunted my dreams, the Luke who was VERY off limits and I tried my hardest to make those limits as fortified as the Great Wall of China.

Hey, it wasn’t a bad way to go down- at least I had a legit reason to be in his arms. I smiled for the first time that day. Yep. Legit is simply legit.

♥ ♥ ♥

10 minutes later and a trip to the nurses office:

“Arie?…You awake?…”

To be continued….

I had a dream…about Christian Louboutin shoes and Vampires….

6 Apr

This isn’t about an area of Pittsburgh, but my hometown Mississauga and Surrey (really. beats me what it’s doing in my dream). It’s in point form because really, it could be a wicked little short story/novella. Too much other stuff to do today.

The Cast

She: Main girl character

She/he=he/she: A vampire who captures her

Scar man: not sure if he’s wonderful yet. But I think he is.

Out shopping and it starts to pour (some kind of Holt Renfrew-Saks deal). She’s with her mom, aunt and cousin. The three leave and she tries to quickly exit the store

Christian Laboutin boots capture her attention

A woman keeps on telling her she should buy them

It’s easter (why they’re shopping I don’t know)

She asks in a trance if she can get a ride—but doesn’t specify church or to her car. Her car is actually in the next parking lot…so why she’d need a ride is beyond her.

The woman I think offers it first—I’m hazy on the strict deets

She runs around trying to get ready, like, put her own clothes back on and when she’s finally done she is wearing her black leather jacket in the car with the lady

Has a sinking feeling that she shouldn’t be in the car

The lady puts her arm around the girl and touches the jacket. ‘Oh you like this right?’

‘Yes, I like the skin. (shit, what am I thinking) the (what the hell is that word)’

Laugh from the lady who now looks like a man…a she/he

‘Yes I’m sure you do’

‘Where are we going?’


‘Is that close to Mississauga? Is it a street or a place?’

Laugh, ‘It is a street’


Driving, rain has stopped.

This sure as hell doesn’t look like Mississauga…rolling hillside, colourful houses…no cookie cutter here.

‘Where did you say this was again? Are we south of Mississauga?’

Laugh, ‘Yes.’

The girl was compelled (controlled) by the vampire and they actually left the sense of time

They’re in the vamps house. Dark, flashes of wood furniture

She remembers images of the vampire explaining that she doesn’t smell right. And slowly the compulsion wears off. The images are clearer. The vampire is running her/his hand along a table saying we’re all animals but you, don’t seem to be one. An abomination. Then he/she bites the girl sucking blood.  Disgusting, but I can’t let go of you yet. The first person who gets you is the prince.

Days go by, the compulsion wears on and off and she realizes that she’s wearing the Christian Louboutin boots that she tried on. Strange. It’s almost like a cow bell, the she/he vamp can hear the girl whenever she walks…not that she wants to take them off. On a particularly lucid day though, she says, biting into the peach she was given, to her captor, “you know I remember stories from home about vampires. Maybe I’m meant for only one vampire which is why I don’t taste good to you, or smell good for that matter.  And when he finds you, he won’t be happy.”  She’s never stepped outside of the house or seen anyone. Someone knocks.

‘Shit. Sit down and shut up you wench’

She stands stock still and listens to the conversation

‘Who do you have here?’


‘Don’t lie to me Balthazar’

In a moment her lucidity is replaced with a blast of hazy vision.

‘You owe me and you’ve been holding THIS here? She’s mine.’

‘Fine. You won’t like the way she tastes.’

Slam. There’s a sickening thud on the floor

‘Be glad I didn’t kill you’

He picks her up and takes her out.

The sunlight hurts so much.

She is taken to new vampire’s house. And when they get far enough away from old She/he she becomes lucid again and turns to see that he’s preparing the space, remaining very silent. She finally gets to look down and she realizes that she’s lost about 40 pounds, she’s almost skin and bone. And she’s wearing rags and the Louboutin boots. Then when she turns to look at him, he compels her/ controls her gaze such that she cannot ever look at his face.   She’s never allowed to look at him.

She becomes his housekeeper.

He explains one day that she can’t look at him because he’s ugly..he’s marred by a HUGE ass scar down one side of his face. A wolf attack.

Then one day he is summoned to the royal court

He has to take her

They go

She belongs to the prince—her smell compels him

But this dude is the prince’s older brother and actually heir to the throne

The prince woos her in court and then I woke up thinking I think the girl fell in love with scar vampire, and the question of the day is ‘do I go with the one I love or the one who loves me?’

Here’s a bit of Vampire Weekend to enhance the vampire theme:

(Before you go. Know they’re not dark and mysterious, but light and wonderful).

And here’s Surrey (from Google…someone can straighten me out if they want)…not as hilly as in my dream…

Crepes Parisiennes

1 Apr

April 1, 2010

The sun is shining in my eyeballs, the birds are assaulting my ears and my nose has already started its leaking.  (Shudder) It’s Spring.  Ie. An allergy sufferer’s personal hell once a year.

I step outside to see that hell really is upon me this holiest of holy weeks.  Oh Easter. Why did you have to be marred by a change in weather?  I reach into my pocket and whip out my sony ear buds (like a super star…yes. Here I’ll say it again), I whip out my sony ear buds (and this time imagine me doing it in slow motion) so I can lose myself in music while trying to maintain a “green life”.  What am I going to listen to??…hm…I settle for a play list reminding me of better days of Bens. Harper, Lee, Kweller, Folds 5.

I’m walking up the streets of the illustrious Shadyside.  Every few steps I have to gently take out the crumbling Kleenex from my pocket and wipe my faucet of a nose. The reason why it’s crumbling is because I didn’t step out of my house this morning. I stepped out of Aubrey’s who is a, uhh, friend with a good amount of benefit?

Fine, I see your snarky face looking all snarky like. She’s a paramour of mine, better?

…don’t judge.

You’ve all been there at one time or another.

I make my way up to Walnut Street, the hub of all rich white people wanting to be bohemian hubs.

The Coffee Tree is booming with Mac-user-business on this blissful (once again, can I tell you how I spit on Spring bliss?) sunny day. I order my usual and gaze (rather un-cooly…as everyone knows if you’re in the Coffee Tree you don’t actually look out the massive windows. That makes you a pervert) out the windows onto Walnut waiting for my Mac to boot up.  I’m 37 years old and I’m living the dream.  Again, I see you snarking out there. Yes, I am unmarried. Yes, I have an i-phone, i-touch and Mac.  Yes I still write in a journal (I did attend school when pens were in avid use), yes, like nice shiny cars and yes, you’re just jealous. I was a smart one, investing in the right stocks, helping build the right empire and now I’m rich and lonely as can be, except for my nights with my uhh, paramours. I crack my journal open again,

Things to do:

  1. Tell Aubrey it’s over. Maybe hook her up with Jimmy.
  2. Contact Hannah to book appt with Brady
  3. Call is EASTER this weekend

Hannah’s my secretary, not a paramour (I don’t mix business with business). I take a sip of my delicious beverage and again take to looking out the window when I see a familiar head of dark hair walk by. My head cocks to the side. It can’t be. I like risk, even if it means making a fool of myself, so I don’t even bother to double think it, I pack my stuff hastily into my bag and I’m running after her.  Thank God I’ve taken to living green, my lungs might not be able to take it. Her raven head has disappeared.

She went into a store? She turned the corner? WHERE. DID. SHE. GO?! ARGH. I lost her. Dammit. Dammit. Dammit.  I throw my hands dramatically into the air and drop them to run through my blonde hair. My insides reel from the jog and shattered hope.  I slowly walk back to the Coffee Tree, utterly defeated. I feel like a puppy who just got kicked. Seated now at the same table, I take out my journal and flip to the page entitled

“Michelle you broke my bloody Heart.”

Michelle, your beauty, your personality and the way you make me a better person are gifts from God.  You don’t even know it.  I don’t know why you left me but know, you’re the only woman I’ve ever and will ever, love.

And that was the last entry made about Michelle. She ended it when we ended our undergrad and I haven’t seen her since. In fact, I haven’t even wanted to look for her because of all the bitterness that settled in my heart and digestive system after she left. Okay fine, I looked her up on Facebook and Linked-in. Nada. Like she never existed, at least for anyone other than me.  It was not a good breakup…I couldn’t eat for a while. Doesn’t sound normal for a guy does it? Well, it happened and it’s more normal than you think. Actually, I turned to alcohol for a bit.  Needless to say, it was not a happy-go-lucky time in my life, and that time lasted from graduating year to a few blurry years later. There was a time when I thought I saw her EVERYWHERE. It’s like your heart breaking a tad bit every day, being chipped away with every dark haired petite girl who walks by.  And now, well, just now, I thought I saw her.

I pause at the table and spread my palms out flat.  I need to breathe.

Last I heard she ended up doing some post-grad degree in interior design…and that was from a friend of a friend of a friend. That sort of unreliable thing.

I wipe my sweaty palms on my jeans and look out the window again. Holy mac. There she is! This is God’s way of torturing me. I swear on all that is holy, this is not funny. She’s walking on the other side of the street.

I jump up and plaster myself on the window. I DON’T CARE THAT I’M 37! You don’t get second chances every day!  I watch as she turns into a shop with blue awnings. She’s going into the Creperie.

Done. There’s no way I’m losing this chance.

About 80 steps later, k, maybe 30, I’m in the Creperie place, heart pounding, ready to rid itself of it’s external casing.   Years, it’s been years and years. She might not even remember me if it is her. Bradley, breathe, breathe.

I scan the tiny space, take in the aging tables and furniture…You’re KIDDING ME. WHERE IS SH…oh! There she is. Walking out of the bathroom. I almost pass out. Faint like a school girl. It’s her. It’s Michelle. Albeit a much older Michelle. It’s been what, now I do a quick calculation, more than 10 years since I saw her. She’s still so beautiful. I debate what to do for about 20 seconds; just as long as it takes for her to order, then I step up behind her and say,

“It’s on me.  And can I get a banana nutella crepe too?”

She turns slowly, her loose hair inching its way across her back.

“Thank you.”  She faces me and I lock my brown eyes on her hazel ones. Then she says something that actually makes me want to cry and die. “Do I know you?”

“Um. Well.” My hands start to move erratically and I fist them to make them stop, “are you Michelle by any chance?”

“No actually,” she flashes me a quarter smile, and there’s that heart of mine cracking again. “My name’s Bridget.” I close my eyes to block out her twinkling ones. I swear to you though, it’s her. Maybe I’ve been looking for so long that I forgot what she looked like. Maybe I’m an idiot. Maybe..


I open my eyes a crack to see her watching me with curiosity befitting a mischievous cat, “sorry for your mistake…if you want I can pay for my own crepe.”

“No, no, it’s alright. I got this one.”  I let the fists go and exhale.

We both get our crepes and sit as far away from one another as possible. I can’t even taste the deliciousness of the nutella infused bananas. I’m moping in my brain, sloshing in the remains of my heart when she comes and plops herself down at my table.

“So tell me about yourself? I mean, thank you for the crepe. I figure you have to enjoy it with someone to REALLY enjoy it you know?”

I’m silent. Do I really want to do this to myself? I throw caution to the wind, and prepare myself for torture of the worst kind.

She flicks her hair back over her shoulder, and my stomach wobbles a little. Michelle used to do that.  Then she leans in.

“What do you do?” she asks, conspiratorially.

“I uhh. Do nothing.” Her gaze is knocking me out of this planetary sphere.

“No way? Nothing you say. Well, I’m an international spy and have been for a while.” She smirks, and says, “Actually, I’m in interior design.”

Again, imagine knives slowly entering separate parts of your body, inflicting an even amount of pain.

I clear my throat and find my voice hoarse as anything, “I’m so sorry, but you remind me so much of someone I once knew.”

“Oh yeah? An old girlfriend?”

“Yes actually.” She cuts her crepe and brings this HEAP of food towards her mouth. My mouth drops as I watch her and my brain screams out trodden heart Shakespeare soliloquies. That’s how she ate. Always too much for her little body.  I was super nervous that she’d choke and die all the time. Her fork stops, hovering in front of her mouth.


“Nope. You?”

I still haven’t taken a bite of food since she sat down. She’s dumped that shovel of crepe, strawberries and cream in her mouth and she says, mouth full, “no…” She pauses while she chews then once again stares me down, searching for non-pained places in my soul to ravage, and boy does she succeed, “You miss her?” This is definitely going down as one of the strangest conversations of my life. But since I’m going all in, I say,

“Yeah, a lot.” She looks hard into my eyes and then abruptly stands.

“Sorry to eat and run. Catch you later lover boy.” Then she turns and jogs up the 4 stairs and is out the door before I can process what she just said.

I run after her.

“MICHELLEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” She’s gone and this time I slam my fist into the brick wall. Stupid I know, and my hand smarts. I slowly walk back into the Creperie and throw myself back onto the green ripped booth seat. I rest my head in my hands and look down at the table to see a napkin sitting there with writing on it.

April fools Brad!!!

Missed you so much.

I have so much to explain. Come for Easter? Love always and forever. Miche.

Ps. Get some allergy pills or something, you look like crap.

PPS. Rip this Kleenex up and throw it out k?

Her number is scrawled on the napkin under it.  It’s a dream, it must be. I almost wipe my nose with the Kleenex she left behind and I shake my head at my stupidity.  I take out my phone and text her immediately, “YES FOR EASTER. ADDRESS? TIME?”  Instead of doing as she asked and destroying the last remnant of knowing she existed, I pocket the Kleenex and leave.

Miche’s back. My love. A spy? Interior design? I don’t know or care, but damn am I glad she’s back.  I whistle the tune to The Beatles hit: Michelle, ma belle, these are words which go together well….my Michelle…..

Hofbräuhaus, Southside Works

11 Feb

Snow is falling in a way that can only be described as romantic.  Well, would be if there wasn’t approximately 90 inches on the ground already.  Gazing out the window of her high rise office building on Wood St., Mary sighs and starts tapping her pen, absolutely oblivious to the eyes locked on her.

From across the room, Thomas watches her from his desk like she’s his last hope for redemption on earth. She very well might be, but she doesn’t know it.  He doesn’t have that much time left in Pittsburgh.  But before any conclusions are jumped to, he’s not dying; he just needs to go home. Back to duty, back to responsibility, and back to a life so unlike this one.  This vacation is nearly over.  He too sighs as he takes in her curly brown hair pulled away from her porcelain face with one of the many headbands she wears. He watches as her dark sultry eyes turn away from the window and she looks back at her computer.  His heart thuds a little harder every day he sees her, and breaks a smidgen every day he doesn’t tell her.

She stops tapping and puts the end of the pen in her mouth so she can rub her eyes with both hands.  “Shoot”. She often forgets that she is wearing makeup, and today, like many others, has smeared her mascara all under her eyes.  She throws her pen on her desk and bends to get the Kleenex box out, wiping the black away. Pens, in Mary’s world, are frivolous; she just keeps them around out of habit.  Their function is strictly reserved to tapping, chewing and throwing.  Everything she does, from to do lists, to clandestine messages is through Google.  Or on a headset.

That God-forsaken headset.

The one that leaves her hair with an unfortunate line every day unless she has a headband in. The one that she ruins and makes some client’s days with.  The one that, once a day, she contemplates dropping in a toilet and watching it flush out of her life.  Working in customer service is a serious emotional hazard, but they don’t post that as a part of the job summary.

It’s been 3 years, 4 days, 5 hours and 32, no 33 minutes.

She also gets a kick in numbers and counting. Why not? Everyone has a weird habit, right?

Every morning, as of recent, has her gazing into her Starbucks latte, wondering if she’ll ever leave Pittsburgh. She can’t shake the dreams of New York and the Hamptons and some old money handsome stranger sweeping her away.  Or the one where she’s stopped at a T station by a military looking man, and is told she looks exactly like a princess from some far away country in the former USSR (because who knows all of those countries anyways). The princess has run away, and now they need Mary to take her spot and marry the most handsome of princes (who will turn out to be her true love).

Yes. She’s 28 and still thinks like a teenager.

Maybe it’s because all of her relationships to date have been less than fruitful.  The string started at a very young engagement broken by a cheating fiancée and most recently ended with her boyfriend being sent to jail on charges of fraud. How was she to know that a bank teller didn’t make enough money to finance a Porche? They were all mistakes, from the first to the last. Deep down, she knows that she didn’t pay enough attention to them because she didn’t love any of them.

She folds the Kleenex once over and wipes under the other eye.  She looks at the calendar on her computer desktop and sees that it’s the week of Valentine’s Day.  OMG. Valentine’s Day. She quickly glances over at Thomas when she hears a:


Opening the Google window, she sees Thomas has sent her a message. She smiles and thinks, Kismet. She doesn’t hide this time as she stretches her neck up to see him focused on his own computer, his light hair and high forehead all that is visible.


Happy hour? Hofbrauhaus?

Thomas had made an immediate impression on her, and every other female in the office, when he first came to the company.  He now works in sales and his perfect posture, high cheek bones, light blue eyes, accented speech and less than clear past have always had her wondering if he is a prince from Germany; but with her luck in men, he’s more likely be an escaped convict or even gay. In either case, he is a beautiful specimen of a man, and reminds her of everything she’s ever wanted.  Many a night in the last 2 years, 9 days, and 4 hours with a less than clear minute count (because she’d taken to day-dreaming about him when he first came) she’d dreamt of him taking her in his arms and kissing her like she mattered.  But, no matter how many soft advances she’d put out there (in the first year), he didn’t so much as budge romantically in her direction, or anyone’s, except to go to happy hours with the office. More recently though (8 months, 3 weeks, 2 days and maybe 6 hours), starting with random coffee or sushi outings, they’d taken to hanging out, just the two of them. But no kissy kissy.

In her scrutinizing of him, she’s learned that he’s hiding something, and his face twists just so when he catches himself about to tell her about his past.  Hence, the idea that he’s an escaped prince convict.  She’s decided that she doesn’t care either way.  She’s also noticed that he rarely talks with his hands, but when he tells a funny story, a dimple in his right cheek comes out and his hands fly about. He can make her laugh like no other. Sadly though, a common product of their going out is an intense loneliness which hits when they eventually part for the evening.  She isn’t sure if it is general loneliness or missing him specifically, but more often than not, she has a sinking feeling it is just him.

She puts her hands down, and twists the blackened Kleenex in her hands, wondering if she feels like torturing herself tonight. She reaches up and touches her hair. It looks decent today. So yeah, Heck, why not?



He sees the response and a slow blush runs its way from his neck to the top of his head. Tonight’s the night he’s going to tell her. Now it’s just a matter of how.

Later on that day- Pre-happy hour

Mary hums to herself, that Tonight’s gonna be a good night, ‘night’s gonna be a good good night,  as she fixes her lip gloss and adds some color to her face. She lines and mascaras her eyes, looking good as new. Even if he doesn’t want her for any kind of, well, relationship, that doesn’t mean that he has to sit there looking at her looking like crap.  As she’s brushing her hair she hears a tinkering voice, one that puts her on edge no matter what hour of the day,

“Hey Mar, where you heading?”

She looks behind her in the mirror to see Linda, and her insides growl with possessiveness.  Linda with her perfect blue eyes and perfect curly hair and perfect manicured nails.  Linda, in Mary’s head, is everything she is not.  And in her head, a battle rages:

What do I say?

Tell her the truth.

But then, what if she comes?


What if he falls madly in love with her and asks me to be his best man?

Wait isn’t that a movie? Yes totally, it is a movie, the one with Patrick Dempsey.

I didn’t like it.

No, neither did I…

Does she want my Thomas? Does he want her?

My Thomas?

My Thomas.

“My Thomas.” The words are out of her mouth in a whisper before she can slap her hand on it to keep them in. The look on Linda’s face screams, This chick is Crazzzzzyyyy. Then with one perfectly waxed eyebrow cocked up, she says,

“I’m sorry, what? My Thomas? Is it new?”  In her head, Mary slaps her own forehead with enough power to knock her eyeballs to the back of her occipital lobe.

“Jeeze sorry, no, I mean, we’re going to Hofbrauhaus. You’re more than welcome to come.” Linda takes on a mischievous ‘I was once a cheerleader and thus am still better than you’ look.

“You know. I think I will, and I’ll see if anyone else wants in.”  She pivots on her heel and whirls out, “Toodles!”

Mary has a sinking feeling that tonight will most definitely NOT be a good night.

Southside Works is completely dead and the sidewalks are piled up to heaven with snow. Thomas is despairing. Mary asked nearly half of the office to come with them to happy hour. What is up with that? She’s trudging next to him silently as they walk with nearly 12 other people from the office, including the witch, Linda. Seeing Linda and hearing her high pitched voice makes him want to vomit on a regular basis. It’s dramatic but true.  She’s thrown herself at him a few times; well, to be honest, more than a few times. At first it was flattering, then he caught whiff of her low self esteem and cattiness and made sure she understood under no uncertain terms that “there’s no way in hell Linda that we’ll ever be anything except co-workers”.  It was the most firm he’d been with anyone in America, and it left him reminded that one day he’d have to return home to the islands.  He looks over at the woman he’s grown to love everything about and takes in her furrowed eyebrows.  A feeling of tenderness fills him and he wants to kiss away the frown.  Repressing the urge, they walk on.

Entering the first set of doors, a stream of German drinking songs assaults their ears. Mary is still wearing the frown and the others have just found a table in the surprisingly filled hall.  Half of Pittsburgh is shut down because of the snow and it looks like the entire population is here. Linda waves over to them and Mary abruptly turns away from her with a deeper scowl.

“Let’s grab drinks at the bar.”

Stifling a smile, Thomas follows her.

“I want the special. Uhh. Adulterator.” Mary blushes as she says it. This modesty is something he originally thought was fake, for who in America is truly modest? But from watching and listening to her, he learned that it wasn’t fake, and now it’s something he absolutely adores about her.  February’s special is a particularly strong doppelbock, served only in half pints because of the alcohol level.  He debates for a moment, and settles for an old favorite,

“I’ll take the Dunkel.” As they wait for their pours, they watch as their sales/customer service departments, go up for shotskis.

7 shotskis later, the count is up 2 pints for Mary and 4 four Thomas. All of their company is a little worse for wear and a little looser for tongue.

Linda drunkenly saunters over, “You know Thoooommasssss, Mary here has got quite. Ahhhh thing. Foryou.” She stabs him in the chest with her wavering finger and Mary doesn’t blink. Instead, she tells Linda to go away with a number of explicative words tucked in here and there. Linda eyes her like a wet cat, and shrugs.

“Whatever, My. Thomas.” And as cruel Linda spits out those words, Mary realizes she’d like to die. Right now. Melt into a puddle and drain away into the snow to be thawed in spring.  A shocked Thomas and a now teary eyed Mary watch as blonde curls bounce away from their spot at the bar.  Mary turns back to the bar, staring at the copper vessels and having no idea what to say.

“Mary.” Thomas is gently shaking her arm to get her attention.  “Mare, look at me please.”

She turns and in a terse tone says, “What?”


“Well what?” She’s angry at Linda or maybe at herself. In either case, she’s not totally sober enough to be polite.

He stands, assessing her with a sobered expression.  Before she understands what is happening, he puts his right hand on her left cheek, cupping it with the most delicate touch. He takes a step closer and bends down and kisses her. Sheer shock runs through her body, leaving her fizzing with excitement and hope. He breaks away and she inhales his scent.  Beer and Burberry. It will forever be stamped into her head as being her favorite smell ever.

“Well, if I’m your Thomas, then you’re my Mary.”

She looks up at him and smiles, having no idea she was kissed by the future Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands. She also has no idea that in a few short months (4 months, 3 days, 2 hours and 27 minutes), she will be going with him, as his fiancée, to be presented to Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, the reigning monarch of the Faroe Islands.

All she knows, is that tonight wasn’t a good night, it was a great one.

She hears the drinking song start again and without a response, she reaches up and kisses him, letting him know that he’s the only thing that matters.

Thai Cuisine, Bloomfield

29 Jan

It was late by the time Aiden Romely stepped out of Thai cuisine in Bloomfield. “Shit, it’s cold” he muttered as he flipped up his collar up. Once, a long time ago, Thai cuisine had the best curry in the greater Pittsburgh area. That was when it still sold human food, and if he thought long and hard about it, he could remember very human details from all of those years ago. The taste of spicy green curry as it flooded his mouth, the always busy lunch time, the fan splayed across the back wall. Yes, he could remember. What he remembered the most though, was that that was where he met Brinela.

Now it sold a delicacy of a different sort, and she was long gone.   He let his thumb linger on the corner of his mouth, and then he wiped away reminiscent blood from dinner, wondering why he kept torturing himself all these years later.

Brinela, “I insist you call me B. Everyone does,” was a striking girl. The most striking he’d ever seen. Long wavy brown hair, laughing blue-green eyes, and a body to kill for- wasn’t that the truth. He could still hear her voice contemplating the lunch menu out loud and blocking the nearly 7 person queue behind her.  Even the ever patient staff seemed to be getting antsy.  He remembered reaching out after approximately 4 minutes and tapping her on the shoulder with the intent of asking her to stand aside so the rest of the line could order their fantastic takeout.  What happened was totally different. His bright blue eyes met hers, and after a split second, he asked if she wanted to eat lunch with him.  It was that simple. And he’d been paying for that memory for nearly 80 years.

He stood at the corner of Pearl St. and Liberty Ave. and lit a cigarette, a past habit he wasn’t willing to rid himself of, just like the memories of B.  He took a long drag and eyed the street; it was almost dead at this near dawn hour.  Every day at this hour he tempted fate. Every day he’d contemplated waiting for the sun to rise.  Every day he thought of ending the pain. And every day, he realized that there was hope that she was still alive and would come back to him.

No one knew where they came from, but they came with such force that the general population figured that all the world’s governing bodies had hid their existence, and they felt like morons for it. It was of no matter though.  They came and that was that. The day the Cruentus Vorares (Cruvores, as they were soon to be known) rolled into da ‘Burgh, their presence was all over the news.  Taking over every capital city in the world, they, via streaming, made it known that they were here to stay. If you didn’t like it, you died.  The English translation of their title was Blood Devourers.  The vamps were real, and the stories told about them had little to do with the truth-except that they fed off of blood and the sun was their enemy.

“Oh come on!” Aiden shook his head of shaggy dark hair, offering a big toothy smile. B, once again exclaimed, “Come on! You’ve got to be joking me! My parents are way worse than yours. That story can’t be true!”  Aiden picked up his fresh spring roll and waved it in her direction, “Oh my dear, it’s true, and you do not know the half of it.”  He dipped it slowly into the sweet sticky sauce and just like that, B had captured it and popped the entire thing in her mouth.  His disbelief was mixed with erotic amazement, “WHAT?! I can’t believe you just did that! That was MY spring roll you know!”  It was this moment that he watched her eyes laugh as her overly stuffed mouth couldn’t, and this moment that he knew he wanted to be with her forever.  He was 29, she was 26.  The cruvores hadn’t come yet, and he had no idea that his idea of forever was limited.

He inhaled his cigarette again and stuck his hand out for a cab, one of the last to be out until day break.   The world in which he lived was a bleak one, and not just because B wasn’t in it. One which, if you weren’t born a Cruvore, you had little say in what became of you. Slavery was back, and any ex-human was immediately made a slave to a Master.  There were only three possibilities to what your future looked like, and each was bleak. The first was nearly the worst, and that was to remain a food source. Pending on the wealth of the Cruvore, you might be cryogenically frozen, placed in a refrigerator (to stay alive but cold), bled to death, or kept alive and warm to be bitten at least twice a day, which was none too pleasant.  The second was being turned into a cru member.  These lucky folk (like Aiden) were errand runners. Fed only by their masters, they would be put to death if they got too strong, as would anyone caught feeding them.  And finally, there were those few who were shipped away.  Rumors flew about what they were needed for.  Most said it was to feed other Cruvores in those areas of the world where humanity was sparse.  Others watched the patterns and fought to keep their human memories alive.  These memories told cru members that Cruvores had criteria for those going over.  That only the best looking and fittest members of humanity were on those ships.  The theory was that they were the ones used to give birth to other Cruvores.  B was one of those.

It took a lot of effort to remember. It took slicing up his arms, bleeding his own life out to keep his mind clear. It took finding any type of writing utensil and paper, which was always dangerous, and then reading until re-committed to memory, after which the precious piece of paper had to be destroyed. Aiden could recall the day the raids started in Pittsburgh.

Brinela it seemed, was all for Aiden’s version of forever. They’d been living together for 8 months and he was to propose the next day, at Thai Cuisine.  He got the ring put into a fortune cookie worried that if he’d gotten it put into a spring roll, she’d have eaten it.  It was winter, and yet the sun was shining. She was wearing her favorite knitted hat and their hands were gloved and linked.  They’d stopped for cappuccinos and he could only foresee the brightest of futures, after all, the Cruvores had done nothing to change the way regular people lived.  When the attack came, it was like a dark fog, penetrating every street corner. Only black could be seen from satellite cameras. Wearing some type of protective material to keep their sensitive skin from burning, the Cruvores managed to bag and snag almost all humans around in less than 30 minutes. It was chaos. People were herded into pens like pigs. Aiden and Brinela were separated close to the start of the segregation.  These beings knew who they wanted and where they wanted them. They had a meticulous attack prepared.

It took Aiden nearly 30 years to build up the courage to escape his Master, and it was surprisingly easy to escape. When he’d run as far from the Shadyside prision his Master called home, he laughed out loud. Then, a single thought crushed his spirits: what if Brinela came back?  So he lingered in Pittsburgh, finding others like him, other refugees.  They built up a community and had their own restaurants opened (albeit in the back way).  Their mission was to understand the enemy.  Trying to see if they could sustain themselves on anything other than human blood, they experimented with all forms of life on earth.   It was a sad day when they realized they must have human blood. Next was creation of weapons to kill the Cruvores. The logic was based on the only two facts the Cruvores had let known- they needed blood and couldn’t go into sunlight. The cru members weren’t sure if it was UV which affected the monsters, or some other element of sun.   Again they took to experimenting on themselves.  It turned out it was simply vitamin D. They had allergies to the vitamin and their reaction was of epic proportions, they seize up and die with the right amount. There was an abandoned warehouse on the Allegheney that they used to stockpile the stuff and another which they used for a lab.  It was just about biding their time and learning enough Latin to be fluent.  Aiden had a pretty good hold on the language, having been one of the first to be turned.  They listened to the Cruvore’s news, whispered conversations, and internet feeds.  It seemed that the higher race expected no resistance from the ex- humans, or if they did they were smart about not posting it all over the news.

Aiden looked like a Cruvore proper.  Generally, the slaves were undernourished and had markings from being whipped.  For some reason, his Master’s chain whip never touched his face, only his back.  He was lucky because all Cruvores were sickeningly beautiful and he had been very good looking in his human days.  So, once he managed to escape his life of slavery, only the oldest of Cruvores could tell there was something off about him.  Stealing clothes from Masters, setting up a home in various lofts and apartments, never staying too long, he managed to do quite well for himself. It was this last move when he had felt particularly nostalgic, that he moved back to Aspinwall into the condo that he and B lived in. They always left a key hidden and those seemingly smart Cruvores had been none the wiser.

When he got out of the cab, the first rays of color could be seen streaking across the horizon.  He paid the cabby swathed in black with stolen money and he let himself into the condo.  Immediately, he knew something was amiss. Upon a cursory glance he saw that nothing had been moved, but there was a smell in the apartment. A, human smell?  He tried to be quiet, but as the scent filled his nostrils, and yes, it was most definitely a human smell, his black blood flowed with intensity. Tracking the scent through every room in the small apartment, he did stop to wonder what the hell the human was doing.  He found her hunched in a ball on the floor of in his walk in closet.

Of their walk-in closet.

His voice croaked out her name, “Brinela” and she looked up at him with those very human eyes, the ones who used to laugh and all he saw there was fear.

Her heart beat slowed and almost faltered at his beauty. He hadn’t aged a day since they last saw one another.  He was a bit leaner, but that had not taken away from his enormous frame, his hair still had a dark gloss to it and his eyes, although still bright blue, were now outlined in red. He was a cru member and she had no idea what was coming next. He reached out to touch her and she cringed into the wall. Aiden was so shocked at seeing her, he barely registered her cringe.  He thought he was hallucinating again.  There were times in the early days of his escape when he starved himself and saw visions of B. Now that she was here, he would do anything to keep her. He swept her up and hugged her.  Inhaling her smell, he recognized she didn’t smell the same, but failed to recognize she didn’t hug him back but stood stiffly in his thick arms.

“B, B, my B. Are you really here?”  He was looking at here face, running his hand up and down the length of her spine, feeling her body pressed against his. She gently pushed him away and saw that he was crying. Cruvore tears looked metallic, as there was limited salt in their bodies, so the discharge was silvery. Reaching up she wiped them away and slowly tilted her face up to his.  She gently kissed him on the lips, and his response was hesitant, like he was still dreaming, then, he deepened the kiss. They came away panting and he thanked heaven that he had just come from dinner.

“Aiden,” she took his hands in hers, “I have to tell you something.” He watched her eyes now fill and brim over with tears. Human ones at first, but the more she cried, the more they became tinged with silver.  He already knew what she was going to say, already knew what was happening to her. “I have one of them in me.” She hiccupped. This was the first time since she’d been woken from a cryogenically frozen state, since she’d been inseminated with one of their sperm, that she’d let herself acknowledge what was going on. Aiden pulled her back in and held her tightly, crooning to her, “Shhh. It will be okay…. We will be okay…. I won’t let anything hurt you, not anymore.” They stood this way for a long while, rocking back and forth.  He told her his plan. He’d contemplated any and every state she could have possibly come back to him in. There was a plan for the three of them, and he was almost 100% sure it would work. She looked at him with hopeful eyes and felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted from her shoulders.  A fear of his rejection had plagued her thoughts these few years, and it finally gave way to the true love she hoped would still be present.

He picked her up in his arms like a child and went to the mattress that he left in the condo. Placing her down, he said, “I should never have waited this long, and it might seem futile now, but I’ve been waiting, and dreaming and hoping you’d find a way back to me.” She looked at him with tired happy eyes and he put his hand into his pocket pulling a small thing out, “Marry me Brinela.”

Aldo Coffee Co.

27 Jan

**I’m not sure if I’m breaking any kinds of laws by writing about fictional people and events, but real places…so if I am, someone kindly let me know before I get sued. **

The general crew who sat the day away at Aldo Coffee Co. varied from tiny Acer netbooks to those all fancy cool kid Macbooks- From people taking meetings to kids being tutored. Actually, today was the first time that she’d ever seen people being tutored at the Mt. Lebanon coffee shop.  Shouldn’t these kids being tutored be in school? It was 2:00pm when the thought came to her and it made her eyebrows furrow together. Seemed a bit backwards if you asked her.

Jenna Malone sat with her Dell notebook and gazed out onto Washington Road. Her thoughts drifted to the man hesitating outside of the door on the phone. Wondering if the balding tall man was talking to his wife on the phone or maybe it was his mistress, she shook herself from her morbid reverie (who wants to think about people cheating anyways?), and looked back at her screen.  She was on a deadline and really needed to get the article for the Trib done and emailed by 5.  Rubbing her hands together, she flipped her long bronze hair like a commercial model for a well known “P” shampoo and got to work.

Jenna, the typical late twenty-something (31), was a bit of an anomaly to her very typical parents. Their daughter was “beautiful, an excellent cook, willing-to-please and smart.” Note that “smart” came last. Not that she’s less smart than those other attributes, just that’s how her traditional parents tended to rank them.  The anomaly came from the fact that she didn’t have children yet. The fact that she wasn’t yet married was blasphemous, and should have been completed “almost ten years ago Jenna dear.”   They were “what do you young people say Jenna? Oh yes, ‘over it’” and now they were onto the other milestone of life, children.

Half listening to the frustrated tutor behind, Jenna smiled and continued writing her article on the hot topic of the week: The Haiti Crisis and the orphanage kids being brought over. She briefly wondered what it’d take to adopt a child, and what adopted kids must feel like.  If raising a hormonal teenager of your own was difficult, imagine the hormones and words that must be spewed by kids who are adopted.  She took a sip of her latte and shrugged to herself. Well, I’ll never know, will I? she thought.

It’s not that she didn’t want to marry and have children. She’d just never felt that, that, moment with a guy. The moment that your hormones and endorphins take over and tell your brain it’s okay to want to be with him for the rest of your life, that they want to too.

Sure there was lust. And she’d had that. She also knew that there was more to the end of your life as an “I” and the beginning of it as a “we”, and she knew that it didn’t start with the letter “s”. That dreadful word that no one wants to hear applied to them, the one that invariably raises dirty bile from the pit of their stomach while their eyesight is slowly tinged with enraged red.  Yes, that word. Settle.

A new book came out recently all about settling and Jenna was loathe to admit that she was a little bit curious about it.  What single late twenty-something (31) year old, wasn’t a bit confused about whether the S word applied to them and what the logic was behind it? Logic, more sound than the idea that “your biological clock is ticking Jenna. Tick-tock-tick -tock” while having her belly tapped at each tick and every tock.  But these thoughts didn’t completely enter her head, if they did, she’d have switched up her locale and claimed a seat at Molly Brannigan’s pub for a stiff drink.  As it was, the pressing in her bladder did enter her head and she decided to make a trip to the restroom.  Standing up, she left her coat and closed her laptop, leaving them cautiously on her chair and darting to the always drafty restroom.

Grant Whitcombe strode purposefully up to the Aldo Coffee shop and cursed his ill luck on having to work at a coffee shop versus home. For some inexplicable reason (to him), his wireless was down, and after 2 hours of impatiently waiting for Vonnage to kick it back into gear, he donned his coat and threw his laptop into his bag, slamming his door shut on the way out. What he didn’t realize is that he’d accidentally switched off the power button with his foot while he was stretching. Thus Vonnage was switched off and his computer had been draining power for at least two hours.  Not being the most observant man when his mind was preoccupied, he completely disregarded the little battery in the corner showing him less than half a life of work time remaining.

He really was generally a fairly focused man, except that on this day, he’d just heard his high school sweetheart, and his best friend, were getting married. “You know Grant, I’m so sorry honey, I ran into Tricia’s mom at Giant Eagle in the Italian section” and the just of it was that his girlfriend (well, ex-girlfriend) of 10 years was now marrying his best friend of 20 years, and he’d heard the news from his mother. They’d broken up a number of years ago, but since then, Grant hadn’t felt any spark between himself and another woman. Heck, he wasn’t even sure he had felt a spark with Tricia it was so long ago. But the news that they were to be married still hit him hard.  The day couldn’t have gotten any worse except for the internet going down and well, there it was.  And here he was walking up Washington Road when he’d rather have been crawling into a hole.

When he reached the shop he groaned out loud- it was chock full of people.  This will never work he thought, how am I going to get ANYTHING done? He paced in front of the door (somewhat looking like a mad man) trying to decide what to do. In his musings, he almost knocked over an elderly woman who was trying to get into the shop.  She gave him a delightfully dirty look (one which only age perfects) and he apologized, holding the door open for her. Two seconds later, he pushed his glasses up his nose and walked in after her.

He settled down with his expertly made cappuccino and flipped open his laptop. Taking a sip while the comp booted up, he thought of the latest code he had to write.  He was a gamer. He also happened to own his own company: Night World Studios.  Right now they landed a commission from a big company to make a game for the Dragon Lance series of books.  He was stuck on what one of the main characters should look like, that her hair color wasn’t turning out right.  When his eyes focused back on the screen he nearly dropped his coffee. Only a quarter battery life was left. Not a problem, he did some heavy breathing yoga master techniques to lower the speed of his pounding heart.  Let’s just plug it in, he thought, but that proved harder than he’d imagined as there were no outlets to be found around his table. Not to mention any around any open tables on this side of the shop.  He spotted a seemingly empty table across the room and thanked the stars that there was an outlet there.

She was totally and utterly confused.   What on Earth? Where’d my stuff go? Jenna looked around, scanning the faces to see where hers should have fit. Yes. The tutor was still there, and yes, the older lady was still chatting away…she should be right between them, right where that dark haired guy was sitting. Taking cautious steps towards the table, she saw that her stuff was indeed still there.  Was this guy blind? She cleared her throat once, and then once more when he proved unresponsive. Still nothing. Her eyebrows furrowed and she thought that he was deliberately ignoring her. Well, she’d fix that.

“Excuse me.” She knocked on the table next to his laptop. He turned his head up to her with a startled expression. Reaching for his headphones, he plucked the right one out and blinked at her a few times, feeling like he was blinded by a flash of bright light.  His first impression was holy crap, that’s the hair I’ve been looking for.  His second impression was that she was beautiful.

Clearing his throat he said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t order anything else.” His deep voice rang through Jenna’s ears and moved straight to the pit of her stomach. Her blood was electrified and she seemed stuck admiring his full mouth and the stubble on his cheek accenting his prominent cheekbones. Grant’s eyebrows raised and his mouth quirked up into a half smile as he watched her take him in.  It was that smile that brought Jenna back, and raised color in her cheeks.

“Oh I know you didn’t, it’s just that you’re sitting at my table.” She pointed to her laptop and coat on the chair.  Embarrassment welled through him. How could I be so blind? Grant stood as quickly as he could, “I’m so sorry. I just needed the outlet.” Although he really didn’t see the clothes on the chair, he would have felt like a bigger moron if he had tried to correct the statement. She reached out and laid a hand on his arm, there was an electric spark of awareness and she replied, “Oh it’s okay as long as you don’t mind sharing.” And then, and then she smiled at him.

Her smile was one which eased old aches in his heart. It sent every endorphin flying through his brain. It calmed and sped up his blood at the same time. In short, it was the end of his life as “I” and hopefully the start of his life as “we”.  He smiled back and she felt the same way.