In true Melinda fashion, she lost her composed demeanour the second there was blood.
As she flapped her arm and freaked out, April watched, torn somewhere between horror and amusement. She’d barely sunk her fangs in, hardly had a taste.
“April! What the hell?!” Melinda clutched her wrist, the colour draining from her face. “What have you done?!”
April tried to reach for Melinda’s hand but she recoiled and backed away. “I told you, Mel. I’m a vampire.”
“Vampires don’t exist!” Melinda screeched. “You’ve… you’ve cut me!”
April tried to grab for Melinda’s arm, her shoulder, anything but she was flailing like an octopus on a mechanical bull. “I bit you, Mel. With my fangs? You did agree!”
Melinda was hysterical, “I thought this was just some weird fantasy! I thought you were, I thought…” Melinda leaned against a chair, her head spinning. “I didn’t expect you to freaking stab me! I’m bleeding!”
“Well that was sort of the idea…” April didn’t know what to do. She wished Faith had come along; she had a much stronger stomach. Melinda looked like she was going to faint and if she let her pressure off her wrist… well, they were standing on a very expensive rug.
“I’m dying.” Melinda swayed, her eyes spinning.
April reached out and finally found contact with her friend. “Not here you’re not,” she said and guided Melinda out of the room.
“Oh he is cute.” Faith waved flirtatiously at the guy walking past but he barely acknowledged her. She huffed, “I never have any luck with men.”
“At least that one sort of looked at you.”
“I think he was looking at you. Probably thinking ‘who’s that miserable cow?'” she teased.
Melinda sighed. “I told you, I’m fine.”
“Tell your face, Mel.” Faith leaned over. “Is that a self-portrait? Your nose is wrong.” Melinda snapped her sketchbook shut. Faith backed off. “Touchy! Has this got something to do with April?”
Melinda didn’t say anything, but Faith nodded, a knowing smile. “It’s always something to do with April. I told you not to go by yourself. What did she want this time?”
“She had another encounter with some jerk,” Melinda began.
“Ugh! So unfair! I’m gasping for action over here and poor little Boulevard Blondie is just drowning in it.”
“She was pretty upset, Faith. She said he attacked her.”
Faith was serious for a moment. “What, like, attacked her or attacked her?”
Melinda genuinely didn’t know how to answer that.
“Hmm.” Faith leaned forward and rested her elbows on the table. “The queen of mixed signals gets attacked. What did she do this time, I wonder.”
Sympathy for April was never one of Faith’s strong suits, but this time Melinda found herself wondering the same thing. She shook her head, “it wasn’t her fault.”
“No, it never is.”
Melinda wanted to tell Faith the rest but didn’t think she even understood herself.
The two sat in easy silence for a while, enjoying the afternoon sunlight on their faces. Faith was still waving at strange men who were still ignoring her.
“Maybe I’m invisible,” she whispered. “Maybe I died in my sleep and now no-one can see me. Oh, that reminds me.” Faith reached into her rucksack and pulled out a small brown bag. “My mum decided to waste some money and made cake. You want some?”
Melinda’s stomach tumbled at Faith’s words. “Please.” Faith broke her piece in half, handed it to Mel and they each took a bite.
“Ugh,” Faith grimaced. “I think she mixed up the sugar and salt again.”
Melinda nodded, although her piece tasted less like salt and more like ash.