ALSO BY LOLA PRIDEMORE
The Other Girls
Young Forever. Copyright © 2013 by Lola Pridemore.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the publisher. For more information, email [email protected]
Published by Reverberator Books.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental.
For those who are young forever.
It was dark and it was lonely. And I waited. I waited by the grave I’d dug for my beloved and I waited for him to claw his way through the dirt and into my arms. I waited, wondering what the new him would be like, how we’d live our lives together, young forever, together always.
It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. I hadn’t wanted to turn him into a vampire but I had no choice. Once it all started, there was nothing I could do but submit to the process. But it had all started out quite differently than from where it had ended up. If I had been able to look into the future, I might have handled the situation differently. I might have backed off and ran from it, from him. But I’d been bitten by love. And him? He had been bitten by me.
He was younger than me. By about a thousand years. Wait a minute. That’s not right. No, about three to four hundred years. That was about right. Yet, it seemed as though I had loved him that long, for at least a thousand years. Well, not really. I loved him from the moment I laid eyes on him. It took all I had to keep from eating him up, quite literally. He smelled so yummy.
I hid the love I felt from him. I did. I admit that. It wasn’t right. I should have been more upfront but I didn’t want him to see me like that, like some love-sick fool. I didn’t want him to know. It might have frightened him off. My being a vampire would have been even more damaging. He might have run had he known. Besides, I didn’t want him to be afraid that I might bite him. But he’d bitten me already. Yes, I’d been bitten by love. And it hurt in the most delicious way possible.
It’s just that he was just so… Oh, he was the best. He was such a good young man. He was better than good; he was a doctor, a young doctor, but a doctor nonetheless. He was fresh out of medical school, starting his residency. That was very impressive, yes? And I’d never had a doctor before.
That’s where I met him, at the hospital where he worked, several months ago. It was this whole thing. I’m a vampire and I needed some blood. Where better than a hospital to get it? So, yes, I was there to get some blood, dressed in nursing scrubs, in disguise. He just assumed I worked there, that I was a nurse, even convincing me. But once I looked into his eyes, I knew life would never be the same. I was lost, lost from myself, from my past, un-tethered from what I was. He made me feel like someone else, someone who could have a different life, a better one. He was handsome and manly and well-groomed. And good-hearted. I only had good things to say about him at first.
His name was Otis. That’s a really cool name, yes?
My family couldn’t stand him. Well, they’re not really my family. We’re not related by blood. But then again, I suppose we were.
and I have been together for a long time. We’re stuck with each other. We’ve all exchanged blood, that’s how each of us became vampires in the first place, a long time ago in Europe. We still have thick accents, too, though I try to blend in by using American slang and what-have-you. I have worked on lessening my accent throughout the years, but, while it was more toned-down than theirs, I still sounded a little foreign sometimes. It doesn’t really work and people look at me like I’m crazy most of the time, like when I said, “Totally
!” or “Dude!” or even “OMG! I love your cool kicks!” But I love the slang. It just does not love me.
But my family… Ugh. It’s this whole thing. Sometimes, they really got on my nerves.
“Have you told him the story of how you came to be a vampire?”
asked once. “Or how we became vampires,
I had not. It wasn’t a story I wanted to bring up anytime soon. “No, and I do not plan on it, either.”
He considered this, his dark features growing even darker. He was a handsome man/vampire. He turned heads. He was strong and tall and, well, good looking, as they say.
was equally beautiful, with long, black hair and super white skin. They looked to be in their early twenties but were, obviously, much, much older than that. Like me, they would be young forever.
stepped in and stated, “It was the biggest mistake of my life, turning
“Hey!” he shouted.
She shrugged. “Well, it was.”
“How could you?” he asked, aghast. “We have been the best companions. We are blood, cousins.”
“True,” she said. “I knew you before I was a vampire. However, I should have known better. But I did not.”
,” he groaned. “We are a good team. Look at how long we have survived together.”
“Well, in your mind, at least,” she retorted.
“Enough!” I said, my voice rising. “I don’t want to get this started.” They backed down, then turned to stare at me. I stared back. “What?”
“This boy, this Otis,”
said smoothly. “He is going to be big trouble.”
“No more than you,” I said.
“Perhaps,” he replied and glanced sideways at
. “But we do not think that you should pursue this one. Leave him alone, to his life, to his mother.”
To his mother? What did that mean? He was a grown man.
“Let me find you a nice young man, a younger one, one more…
said. “I will turn him for you. He will fit into the family better. I just don’t think this Otis is suited for this.”
I shook my head. No. Otis was mine. From the moment I laid eyes on him, I knew he was mine. And I was not about to let him go. They would just have to accept that. Besides, we’d tried it their way once or twice or several times before with disastrous results. I told her that.
“That is inconsequential,” she said.
“What does that mean?”
“It means it doesn’t matter. He is not the one.”
I guess it didn’t matter. Not anymore, anyway. But I knew I was right about Otis. He was the one for me.
I bit him once. Accidentally. Yes, right after we met and started “working” together at the hospital. It was an accident. I accidentally bit him because his arm was bleeding because a patient had grabbed him and dug her nails into his skin. For some reason, I thought I should bandage it. But the smell got to me. It’s always the smell! It just overpowers you and takes over and forces you to do something crazy, like bite the guy you like.
That’s what I said to him.
Like some idiot! Ugh! Sometimes I can’t believe what a dork I am. You’d think being so old would have its advantages but I got turned when I was still quite young. I hadn’t had time to fully mature yet. It’s hard to explain. It’s like part of me is really, really old. That’s the vampire part, the hunter part, the blood-thirsty part. But then I have this other side, this young woman side where I giggle and bat my eyes and act like… Well, almost like a teenage girl. Sometimes I get my words mixed up. Sometimes I roll my eyes a lot. Sometimes I just want to be left alone. Sometimes I scream when I get upset. And sometimes I buy way too many clothes and shoes. (I get in trouble a lot because of this but what is money if not to spend?) And, as a vampire, I need to look good. And, sometimes, I do stupid stuff that really threatens my survival like dating a young, handsome doctor.
But still. I wished I could have been cooler around him, around Otis. But I wasn’t. I was a little starry-eyed, as they say, probably due to the fact that I was still a bit immature. But I’m stuck at this age though a big part of me yearns to mature and act like a grown woman. But in a lot of ways, it’s good to be this young. It means I am young forever and that doesn’t suck.
And now it was all coming out in the wash. Months later, months after I bit him for the first time on accident, now I’d have to bite him again for other reasons, for real this time. We were overcome by other vampires too quickly for me to get him out of the way so I could fight them off. But the details didn’t matter now because now he was really, really hurt. Like, physically hurt. Maybe his feeling were hurt too. But that didn’t matter, not now, not when his wounds were so deep, not now that he was about to die.
I don’t know why it had to happen on this night but I guess that’s fate. Now it was time to tell him what I was and to let him in on what I was going to make him. I just wished it hadn’t turned out like this. We’d had such a good romance, such a whirlwind of events that all led up to this, to me and him staring at each other as we were now. Him, barely hanging onto life and me there, able to make him just like me—a blood-thirsty vampire. But, no, I didn’t want to do that. I wanted him to stay who he was. He was such a great guy. It was really unfair when you got right down to it.
The way he was looking at me now made my heart break. He was moaning softly, in pain and in fear. He was cowering away from me. He was hurt, he was bleeding and he was
close to death. And that’s when the fangs had to come out. Now he saw me for what I truly was. He didn’t seem to like it very much and his face became animated, frightened.
He managed to sputter, “
…. What are you?”
Was he serious? I was a vampire. I mean, hadn’t he ever heard of a vampire before? There were, like, many books and TV shows and movies about vampires. Wasn’t he required to read
in school? Wasn’t that a classic? I’d read it and I’d never even been inside a school before. Hadn’t he connected the dots before now? I only “worked” nights at the hospital. I only met him for dates at night. I wore, mostly, black. Sometimes white, though. My skin was luminous. My straight blonde hair shimmering. My body was tall, thin and perfect. Humans just didn’t look like me. There was neither a wrinkle nor imperfection to be found on my face. And my skin was cold.
But maybe the reason he didn’t connect the dots was because humans didn’t know of our existence. Yes, there was a lot of mythology about us vampires but no real proof. And we liked it that way, keeping ourselves separated, cut off from “normal” society. However, I think that if he’d looked just a little closer, he might have noticed that there was something amiss. I was
perfect. I looked preserved. But maybe he hadn’t looked because he liked what he saw. Maybe he was blinded by love. Yeah, that could have been it. They say that love is blind and now that I looked at him, I realized how true that is.
?” he breathed.
was my name. It’s an old name. He shorted it for me to
. I liked that. It was cool. It meant he liked me enough to give me a little nickname, to make me feel special, like I was special to him. It really appealed to the young woman inside of me.
He coughed and all this blood came out of his mouth. I held his chin as he did so. He was terrified. He was about to die. I’d have to turn him soon. I felt bad about that, too. I wanted him to stay human but I had no choice.
“I do not like him,”
had said right after he left our house one night after I started dating him.
“You don’t like anyone,” I replied because it was true.
“No,” she said. “I just do not like humans.”
I rolled my eyes in response but offered no words. She turned to me, trying to understand my fascination with this young man. I stared back at her, at her beautiful face and creamy yet icy ivory skin. Her blue eyes were enough to frighten anyone. They just pierced right through you. I’d seen humans run from her at a single glance but not knowing why they were afraid. It was funny when that happened.
“Leave him,” she said. “He will be trouble.”
She said that a lot. Maybe it was because he was the son of a wealthy, well-known doctor and that would bring us some unwanted attention. He was a prodigy, completing medical school in record time, as if he was born to be a doctor and, probably, he was. People talked about him, wanted to know more about him. They
him a lot. On the surface, I got her point. We were creatures of the night, after all, and really shouldn’t be interacting with humans like that. Even so, I was not about to be swayed. I loved him I wanted him. He would be mine. It was that simple.
“He’s not trouble,” I said.
“You are too old for this one,” she said.
I groaned. “So what? I still look young.”
“That is true and it is only because you are a vampire,” she said. “And, oh, he is not. He is not a vampire. Can you not understand the problem here?”
“I’ve dated others that are not vampires,” I said.
“Not like this one,” she said. “And not often. You must admit that.”
I glared at her, refusing to give in to logic. No, it wasn’t a great idea to date Otis. Yes, I understood that. However, I was stubborn and I was in love, a deadly combination. We were a perfect match even if
refused to see that. And his family loved me! They invited me to dinner and, while I could not really eat that much, I really did enjoy the company. It was almost like I was normal, a human, being accepted into society, being loved for who I was. And, maybe, just maybe, that’s why I loved Otis like I did. He made me feel human and for a vampire that is huge.
“He’s dumb,” she said. “I can see that.”
“He is not dumb!” I exclaimed. “Stop talking about him like that! He’s a doctor, so how could he be dumb?”
“Get yourself another nice boy,” she said, ignoring me. “One that is better suited for you. Pick one out in this village and we will turn him. He will be good companion for you.”
I stared at her. She wanted to pick out my companion. That’s all she wanted to do, to control whatever I did. This time, I wasn’t budging, not like before.
,” she said. “We can find someone soon, someone who will be better for you. Someone who will not be noticed. The village is vast. It will not be hard.”
“First of all, we don’t live in a village,” I said. “We live in a city. Secondly, we can’t just do that anymore. This is modern times. They have, like, CSI stuff to figure out how people die. It would be too risky.”