“Not once have I missed my old way of life.”
In the early morning light, at a small table by the window, in the neighborhood coffee shop, Elizabeth listened to her friend. She guessed she could call him a friend. They’d known each other for over a hundred years. He was still wearing a dark formal suit, his cashmere coat and silk scarf folded on a chair next to him. She was wearing jeans, with a pink sweater over a button up white shirt. He could pass for a Vampire. She could pass for just another pretty girl having coffee with a handsome but weird friend.
“Where were you last night Sebastian?”
He smiled a lovely Vampire smile with only a hint of fang for his friend. “Nowhere and everywhere. I was headed for a party and ended up with a flat tire in a dark alley that smelled like urine and garbage. I found myself at the doorstep of a club featuring a jazz band. They were improvising. The way they were dressed, and the way they acted reminded me of the clubs in France. You know, the ones that were part of the resistance, sort of zoot suits and crazy dancing. They were young, mostly white with some East Asians, a few black kids, a beautiful Mexican girl dressed like Freda Kahlo…you aren’t listening to a word I’ve said.”
Elizabeth looked him straight in the eye. “It was a diverse group. We live in a diverse city. Benjamin was part of that group in France after the German’s came in, no before they came in. Remember? God, you two were tight. What happened to him?”
“He was captured and put to death. Actually he killed himself before he let them, the Nazis, touch him and send him off for experiments and… I miss him. I thought Bernadette would die when she heard. I didn’t see her for years after. She joined a group of hunters. It wasn’t like her, but sometimes one must go beyond their comfort zones.”
“Where is she now?”
“London. She owns an art gallery specializing in Degenerate Art. She called it Benjamin’s Lush Gallery. An odd name but it works. She is really happy. I’m happy for her.”
“I’m happy for her too, but now I feel sad. Poor Ben.”
“You always feel sad. You should come out with me. Be a real Vampire again. It will do you a world of good.”
Elizabeth smiled. “Sounds like fun. Maybe later this week if you’re open. Love you Sebbie. I have to go.” She kissed him on his cold smooth cheek and started to leave. Sebastian grabbed her hand.
“Are you still with your lover?”
“No. He wants to be with me but…,” Elizabeth started but Sebastian cut her off.
“No buts. It doesn’t matter that he is not a Vampire. If he loves you, then rejoice in your time together. He knows who and what you are.”
“No Sebastian, you don’t understand.”
“Elizabeth, he brought your smile back.”
She kissed him again and dropped his hand, then left without turning back.
Walking through the neighborhood she wished she had a dog. Maybe she’d go to the shelter on Tuesday, or look on Craigslist for a dog. She kept so calm and cool for so long. It was difficult to keep so much control for such a long time. Now she lived in a world of normal people with warm blood, and short lives. Everything made her sad, or maybe it was just that nothing made her happy.
She arrived at her front door and checked her watch. It was 7:34 a.m. Early but not too early. Sitting on her front porch step she pulled out her phone and dialed a number. Before she could hang up he answered.
“Elizabeth,” he said, as if surprised. Of course he was surprised. She hadn’t talked to him in months.
“I didn’t think I’d ever hear from you again.”
“I love you Austin. I love you so much, and so true, and with my entire unbeating heart.”
“Are you home?”
“Yes. I’m home. Come over.”
“I’ll be over in 45 minutes. I love you.”
“Don’t be late.”
She put the phone in her pocket and sat for a bit. The neighbor’s orange cat Hector came by and rubbed against her legs. Small birds shuttled around in the trees. Elizabeth rubbed the cat’s head and went inside.
Going into the kitchen she went to the refrigerator and poured a tall glass of blood and downed it. Then she rinsed her mouth out and waited for Austin, and for her undead life to start.