I’m on the back deck, my usual spot, laptop on my lap, glass of wine, and thinking about what it means to be a Modern Vampire Mom. Wait…before you leave or unsubscribe to this blog hear me out (might take a bit because I have no idea where this might lead…then again neither do you…).
I close my eyes and savor the cool summer night Delta breeze. Bats dance around in the dark, while the last of the squirrels and birds curl into their night nests in the oak trees.
I type and delete, type and delete, type and delete…
I hear a throat clear and look up.
“Yes?” I say that to the apparition who stands in front of me translucent against the deck rail.
“You’re supposed to be writing about desires, not Animal Planet,” the Ghost said t me. “Well Juliette, show me some DESIRE.”
I started to key in the words as fast as my fingers would fly.
Ninety miles to the west of The Capitol, in the city of Meadow Creek, Richard Long, owner of the second largest newspaper in the Northwest Kingdom, was still steamed because he didn’t receive an exclusive invitation to the reception with potential Real Princess Candi.
The only invitation to a member of the press was given to The Capitol World, the largest and oldest news organization in the country. Richard scowled, knowing the spoiled, socially challenged daughter of the owner of The Capitol World, Miss Paullina Norbell, would attend.
Paullina had the social graces of a cow, the table manners of a pig and the fashions sense of a cheap whore. Then there was her laugh. It was like a cat coughing up a hairball mixed with vibrating high-pitched screams of something possessed by demons. Pity Prince Alexander if anything even slightly amusing happened at his big event.
For what seemed like forever, Richard had actively discouraged Paullina’s empty headed fantasies that one day she and Richard would combine their efforts and create a newspaper empire together. His steady rejections to the woman’s advances did nothing to stop her. In fact, it seemed to make her try even harder. The idea of having anything do with her made him nauseous to say the least. Then to top it all off the woman was all sickening sweetness to the public – a public which seemed to adore her. She was called “Joyfully genuine” and “a woman with her own unique style.” Sure he thought unique was a polite way of saying tacky.
Despite his public contempt for the woman, Paullina aggressively pursued Richard. The memory of her at major media events rubbing up against him in her size too tight dresses and inch thick make-up made him cringe. What was worse was how she’d manage to get her hands under his jacket or in his hair every chance she got. He’d never dare sit down when she was around in fear she’d try to plop her tacky bow covered butt into his lap.
Just a week before she told everyone who was anyone that she and Richard were soon to be lovers. Richard contacted Paullina and told her that he’d rather take a vow of celibacy and live out his life in a rat infested cave than spend a single minute alone with her.
The following morning he received a package of less than modest images of him and some of his more recent female companions, with the suggestion that if he didn’t play his cards right his fashionable female friends would be more than embarrassed. Richard was always discreet when it came to his private life so he did what he had to do.
That afternoon he’d made sure that all of the top fashion houses and technology firms in Meadow Creek and The Capitol would slam their doors in the face of any Capitol World reporter. He then published the pathetic account of how the putrid Paullina tried to blackmail “a well known, respectable Meadow Creek man” into a physical relationship. The next day a Meadow Creek judge signed a restraining order against her to stay away from Richard, and an order for all of the damning images to be immediately destroyed.
Unfortunately, Big Daddy Norbell had come to the rescue of his precious daughter and the reputation of his newspaper. Underestimating the long standing clout of The Capitol Word with certain members of King Florin’s staff, Richard’s invitation to the reception was retracted and all requests for him and his staff were ignored, except for one miserly press pass which was to be used specifically by his Capitol Bureau fashion and society columnist the lovely and popular 70 year old Kendra Catskeller. It was a hard blow to Richard, who considered himself a model of journalistic integrity and ethically superior to the owners of The Capitol World. He told Kendra to watch her back and made sure she was fitted in a stunning dress that would make her look 10 years younger than her actual age.
Despite his stellar record in support of Alexander and the Royal Family, even Simon Oliver, who was one of Richard’s closest friends, couldn’t get him an invitation to Princess Candi’s reception, but then again Simon Oliver wasn’t always in the good graces of the Royal Family.
All across the Northwestern Kingdom people were holding “engagement” parties in honor of Prince Alexander and his potential bride. The good news was that Richard had been invited to the most exclusive and fashionable party in Meadow Creek. This was the party his close friend Simon Oliver, the 12th Earl of Greenwood, had planned to attend. That was before Simon and his wife Ellie were summoned by King Florien and forced to attend the reception for Princess Candi.
Tonight Richard would be at Olivia Snowhawk’s fabulous party in her Greenwood mansion on the outskirts of Meadow Creek. Miss Snowhawk was Simon Oliver’s friend, next door neighbor and business partner. She was also President and owner of Universal Technologies International, the largest and fastest growing technology company in the Northwest Kingdom.
As with her business, Miss Snowhawk’s parties were always on an enormous scale, with an enormous budget, always successful and always talked about for years.
Having acquired an advance copy of the guest list, Richard was pleased to see that everyone who was anyone outside of the royal inner circle was going to be there. It was a mix of artists, writers, politicians, fashion designers, scientists, technology experts, business people, educators and a smattering of expatriates from the far ends of the globe. There were also an unusually large number of wizards. Six to be exact, including the hostess. It was going to be great.
Another discovery was that the hostess had managed to steal away Prince Alexander’s very own personal chef for her own use, a fact that didn’t set will with the Prince. If nothing else, the food at the party tonight would be incredible. Along with the food it was a known fact that Olivia Snowhawk had the best wine cellar in Meadow Creek, something Richard had taken full advantage of over the years.
Sometimes Richard felt sorry for Alexander and the stuffiness of court. The Prince would have enjoyed this party with the lavish libations and brilliant mix of guests. Aside from that, the mansion itself was built for over the top entertaining and comfort. The thought crossed Richard’s mind that Alexander had never attended any parties given by the hostess. It was odd considering she lived right next door to Simon Oliver, the 12th Earl of Greenwood, who also happened to be Alexander’s best friend and it just happened, Simon was Olivia Snowhawk’s closest friend as well.
Meadow Creek, the fashion and technology capital of the country was the perfect place for Richard Long. It was where the smartest and best looking people in the country resided. He considered himself to be in both categories. In fact for the past eight years he’d been on the most eligible bachelor list in “Stylish Lifestyle” magazine. To top that off he was also on the best dressed list every year since he’d graduated from college. He’d also received more journalism awards than he could count and interviewed most members of the Royal family, including the King and Queen, dozens of times. Aside from being oddly snubbed tonight by the Royal Press Secretary, he was always a smashing success.
He’d dressed in opulence for the evening in the perfect shades of blue to match his eyes. His golden sun kissed blond hair was tussled just so in a way that made most women wants to fuss with it. With his sparkling baby blue eyes and dimpled smile Richard Long was boyish charm personified. At 40 he was feeling at like a man in complete control of his life.
Richard’s date for the night, a tall shapely, dazzling beauty named Jaxey Devine, clearly adored him. Her red leather dress fit like a glove. He slid his hand over her amazing backside knowing, as usual, she had nothing on underneath. At age 26, Miss Devine was the same age as Princess Candi. Richard smiled knowing that Alexander would never get from perfect Real Princess Candi what his perfectly luscious date was willing to give.
Jaxey Devine had made a name for herself in the Adult Entertainment market. She wasn’t just another great body. She would and could do things that shocked and delighted her audiences unlike anyone else in her field. But she was more than just a professional exhibitionist – she was good with numbers. Jaxey had invested wisely and made a fortune investing in the financial markets. She’d be able to retire an obscenely wealthy woman by the time she was 30.
Jaxey was overjoyed to be Richard’s date to the classy party. It was an invitation of a lifetime for her and a way to be with people who might have the chance to discover that she was more than just an erotic artiste. Richard had to smile at her excitement. She was so sweet and tasty, and for now, all his. Maybe Jaxey wasn’t Miss Right, but she made a great Miss Right Now.
As they approached their destination Jaxey marveled at the house awash in twinkling lights suspended by wizard’s magic. Richard told her he couldn’t wait to see the new the chandelier, which was rumored to be made from a thousand luminous crystal dragonflies.
Olivia Snowhawk greeted him at the door with a kiss on the cheek and warmly welcomed Jaxey to her home. The hostess’s soft lilting accent both surprised and delighted Jaxey, who had rarely met anyone from outside the country. As they followed Olivia to the ballroom Jaxey looked around in wonder at the wide hallway lined with wooden panels carved like a living forest.
The hostess was dressed in a backless sparkling moss green dress with that showed off every great curve on her body. Her dark hair was piled on her head in careless ringlets, dotted with diamond stars. Richard was tempted to kiss the back of Olivia’s lovely neck, but restrained himself and just admired her glow. Pointing the pair towards the bar, Olivia told them to mingle, she then, as if by magic, disappeared into the crowd of “Engagement Party” guests.
During the small talk with other party guests Richard never questioned the Real Princess tradition. It wasn’t something people talked about. Everyone accepted the fact that the prince would marry a Real Princess the same as they accepted the change of seasons or major holidays. In private, Richard did wonder why Alexander never got his head out of his ass and found a woman on his own. Sure that cheating Real Princess Bitch Viola had broken his heart, a fact not made public, but there were a lot of great women out there who’d be happy to put up with Alexander.
In contrast to Viola, everything about Princess Candi seemed right. She was absolutely gorgeous, sweet and simple. Perfect for a prince who seemed to have lost his passion for romance ever since he broke off the engagement with Viola three years earlier. Alexander could do whatever he wanted with Candi, including ignoring her, which seemed to be his pattern with most women he became involved with lately.
One night about a year ago while dining and drinking a little too much with Simon and Richard, Prince Alexander had mentioned he wanted a woman who challenged him. He wanted a woman with passion. He wanted a woman who could take him to the edge and back. If anyone could take Alexander there it would be Olivia Snowhawk. Sure, take the Prince to the edge and over the brink to hell. Forget challenges, passion or going to the edge or getting back, in Richard’s opinion, Prince Alexander really needed someone nice and simple, with no complications like Candi. Someone he could marry and live happily ever after with.
Richard looked around the crowded house for Olivia but only caught glimpses of the sparkling green dress as she made her rounds to the 80 or so guests. A smile came to his face when he saw that most of the women were wearing black arm bands in sorrow that the charming and oh so handsome prince was soon to be engaged. That had to be Olivia’s idea. She was always one for fun and practical jokes. He caught her eye from across the room. She laughed then turned away and was once again lost in the crowd.
Richard and Olivia had been close friends for years. They’d found themselves in agreement on almost all social and political issues and formed an alliance in their shared passions. With her help he’d scored some of his greatest journalistic triumphs. As the owner and president of Universal Technologies International she’d been generous in giving him exclusives on breaking stories about communications and medical technologies, not to mention volumes of juicy information for the social and fashion pages.
Olivia was free with information but drove a hard bargain on exclusivity. When she and Simon gave Richard information he used to it the advantage of all of them. Simon was especially protective of making sure the Meadow Creek Recorder reporters received the information before any other media outlet, including The Capitol World.
Due to their outspoken views against the militant cults still allowed to flourish in the western regions of the country, and other social issues, Richard and Olivia had recently received threats in the form of mutilated animals left on their doorsteps, threatening letters and break-ins at their offices, plus attacks on their employees. Despite this he never stopped doing what was right, exposing injustices and small minded backwards thinking.
Despite the fact that any kind of violence scared the shit out of Richard, he continued to put his opinions to paper. As a mere man, he freely acknowledged to himself that he was a coward but as a journalist and a publisher he was invincible.
Catching a glimpse of Olivia talking to a young well-built male guest Richard’s stomach flipped. He had loved Olivia. He’d even told her he loved her. Hell, maybe he still did love her. In return, she told him almost everything he wanted to hear except the four words he wanted to hear the most: she never once said “I love you Richard.” Never once.
Olivia had been his friend for twelve years, but she had always been a mystery. Then one magical night, after a carefully planned perfect romantic evening, he finally got her into his bed – then got her to talk.
After making love to her, a sweet memory he’d never forget, he gently coaxed her into telling him the truth of her past. It was a nightmare. He learned she had come from a dark scary violent place and lived a life of dark scary violent secrets.
Looking at the angelic woman who lay sleeping quietly in his arms he thought in horror “she’s killed people.” People as in plural persons she’d put to death either with magic or by her own hand.
On her 17th birthday she had been more or less marked for death by the dark forces of the Crystal Mountains and by rival factions of the new Crystal Mountain Republic revolutionaries. There was no place for her to go but out of the country. She took with her the ugly physical scars of her own close calls with death and worse scars on her soul. Everything this smart, caring, funny, flirtatious woman had told him about her past life in the Crystal Mountains was violent and vile and frightening. It was nightmares of death and betrayal beyond anything he could have ever imagined.
He didn’t know what was worse, who her family had been, or what they had done to her, or what they planned on doing to her, or worst of all, what they might do to him if he continued the relationship.
He’d written and researched stories on violence against women and abusive families but nothing compared to her story. Like most abused people he’d known or interviewed over the years he was never sure if he was ever getting the entire truth. The one thing is known for sure was that his old friend Olivia Snowhawk was living a huge lie and doing a hell of a good job at it.
He’d never tell a soul what she had shared with him. He couldn’t. He’d break her heart by leaving her, but he’d never betray her trust.
Yes, now that he thought about it some more, he did still love her. But then again, he’d rather set his hair on fire than live with her past looming over his head.
Richard’s curious nature made him want to know more. Taking what he already knew, he investigated a few inside sources, and found Olivia had a disturbing connection to the Queen that could land him in a dungeon for the rest of his life or worse. As much as he liked to print the most scandalous, exciting and breaking news, Richard prided himself in his ability to keep secrets, even if it meant keeping those secrets to the grave
The party was better than Richard could have ever imagined.
The guests knew that whatever went on at Olivia Snowhawk’s parties stayed at her parties. They also knew that they could trust Richard. In the interest of protecting his sources Richard made sure the press was always kind to this elite social group.
Olivia gave a speech the musical lilt of her Crystal Mountain accent charming everyone there.
She stood at the far end of the ballroom, holding a crystal goblet of red wine.
“Where I come from we don’t have marriages which involve laws and contracts. Love between a woman and a man isn’t something to be legislated or confined to written rules of order. We choose a partner, vow our love forever, in private, and live together for the rest of our lives. It isn’t a public event. Friends and family aren’t involved. It is a bonding of two hearts and two souls for as long as they live, or even longer. It is the truth in its most pure form. It is absolute trust. It is complete and unconditional love.
I’m happy to say that most of my many married friends here in the Northwest Kingdom take their vows as serious as if they came from The Crystal Mountains. I toast to the commitment and happiness of you, my married friends, on this night of celebrating love and a hopeful happy future for Prince Alexander.”
Everyone cheered and downed their glasses. More wine was passed around. Olivia continued her speech.
‘However, before you cheer me more, I must say a few words about what is happening tonight in The Capitol.
Your barbaric custom of marrying off your dear prince to the highest bidder, to a REAL PRINCESS is both fascinating and appalling to me. Of course the choice of a woman of appropriate education and breeding is expected from Prince Alexander, but it should be his choice. If he meets the love of his soul and she doesn’t pass the real princess test, then what? Do they spend their lives in misery apart wondering what might have been? Do they lead clandestine lives together in secret?
And what exactly is a Real Princess? Nobody knows, nobody questions. That kind of blind trust my friends, is what started the revolution in the Crystal Mountains. It is what made waste of the southern half of our world. It is what keeps the far northern territories under the siege of criminal warlords.
On the other hand, it is a quaint tradition meant to help a man, our Prince Alexander to be exact, find the woman of his dreams with little or no effort. I’ll have to admit that while my Human Resources staff at Universal Technologies isn’t involved in my love life, they can find the perfect employees. Maybe the Royal powers that be used the same dynamic matrix in finding Princess Candi.
But then again most of your traditions are barbaric to me. All of you beautiful men wear such sort hair that there is nothing for your women to grab onto. You dress so plainly and simply never expressing yourselves through your appearance. And when all is said and done you put your dead in the ground to be eaten by bugs. So I can hardly expect you to pick your mates in a reasonable way.
Another thing I don’t understand is the way the men in this country always look for an enchanted maid, a girl in the woods to rescue, a real princess. Maybe they should stop searching for a dream and find that their bliss is right next door with the girl who works in the library or the research lab. Love is magic enough without making it into a fairy tale.
Our dear friends Simon and Ellie have been in love for their entire lives and married in bliss for 18 of those years. I wish that same happiness for Prince Alexander.
But your tradition of not drinking enough will end tonight and so, before I make myself into more of a fool than I already have, I wish you all a lifetime of happiness and love.
I wouldn’t want anyone else as our Prince. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, ever. This is my home; you are the people I choose to be with. You are the people I love, heart and soul.
Now let us all toast true love.
They all held up their glasses and said True Love in unison.
Twenty minutes later Richard found himself alone in the downstairs library with Olivia.
Despite the fact that he’d come with Jaxey, he kissed Olivia a long perfect kiss full of passion and promises of what might come later. His hand stroked her bare back and he almost became lost in his desire to want to touch all of her. Feeling she wanted the same thing, he stopped and backed away. At first she said that she’d been under the impression that he still loved her. When he made a lame excuse, she calmly stated she was done with him and that there was no chance that she would ever give him her romantic affections, never in a million years. He’d screwed up worse than he had imagined and she’d locked him out of her heart forever. That hit him like a punch in the stomach.
When he returned to the party Olivia’s friend Annie Hawthorne gave him a look that could kill.
“You’re such a shit head”. The words came out of her pretty pink lips like an electric shock to his system.
“What did I do?”
“You broke her heart.”
“I did no such thing. Olivia doesn’t have a heart.”
“You just don’t get it do you? So typical of your type.” Annie scowled at him and walked away.
His insides twisted up into a knot again. Waves of remorse passed over him. What was it with women? They always knew when you screwed up with one of their friends. Then they attacked with the ferocity of rabid mother wolves. No man was ever safe from the “girlfriends”.
He wished he could forget Olivia. He remembered the magical night she had told him that she needed him. She said she wanted to share her life with him. She shared everything with him, maybe in the hope that he, of all men, might be able to help her.
He’d never be able to help her, not in the way she needed help because she wouldn’t allow herself to love him in return. The sick feeling came back again. Now it all made sense. Olivia seemed to be unable to figure out the key to her salvation, but he, Richard Long, had just figured it all out.
Richard knew what Olivia had to do to save herself. The only problem was that he was too much of a coward to tell her. Another problem was that if he told her what she needed to do he might risk loosing everything, including his life and maybe hers.
Returning to the party he no longer felt like socializing or being around reminders of what could have been. Taking Jaxey’s hand he headed for the door.
“Come on Jax, let’s get out of here. I have plans for you tonight.”
Then he whispered something in her ear that made her giggle and purr, “Oh Richie baby, you’re such a naughty boy.”
He looked back at the house as he left. Olivia Snowhawk stood in an upstairs window watching him, their eyes met and then she turned away from him forever.
“Where are the Vampires? Your story was supposed to be about Vampire Desire,” said the Ghost his hands on his hips hovering slightly above me.
I rolled my eyes and sighed loud enough to show him I was annoyed. “I’m a Vampire and I wrote about desire. End of story. Anyway, there are Vampires inside.” I nodded towards the sliding glass door to the room where my Vampire brother and Vampire husband were watching TV with the kids.
“They’re watching Chopped. Jesus, Mary and Joseph you Vampires are strange.”
I thought they were watching AGT. Oh well. “Bite me Ghost.”
“You wish. Oh you wish I had a physical body and would take you into my arms. I can just imagine you pulling off my shirt, ripping the buttons and pulling it off of my fine body. Then I’d pull you close and as I kiss your blood red lips I’d zip down the back of your dress and slide it off your shoulders, and then, and only then would you sink your teeth into my neck as I sink into the chair pulling you onto my lap…”
“Wait, stop, please…” I took a deep breath. That was unexpected.
“Too much for you Vampire? Too much desire?” The ghost put his face close to mine and smiled a ghostly smile.
“I get your point Nigel. I get your point.”
We spoke a little longer, the ghost and I, then he vanished with a Cheshire Cat smile and I started to write again, but this time it really was a story of Vampire Desires.
Wishing you all the desires you want and deserve,
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman