April had the house to herself. Lilith had left on important business and despite her best efforts to convince him to stay, Caleb had departed to run around through the trees and look up at the moon with Melinda. April really didn’t understand what was so fascinating about an eclipse, especially a lunar one. It was clearly just a thinly-veiled excuse to get away from her for the evening.
Melinda said they’d be back within a couple of hours. Lilith didn’t say how long she’d be. She never really said much of anything. She had no idea where Faith was, but it wasn’t unlike Faith to disappear for a while. She’d probably come back with a wild story about something abhorrent she’d done with a random man somewhere. April usually hated those stories but it would certainly break up the dullness.
Goodness. Who knew that being an undead creature of the night on the run from committing the murder of the decade would be so… boring?
April had tried watching the movie alone for a while, but it wasn’t any fun without anyone she could pretend to be scared around. She knew how to play chess, she would occasionally play with Broof at the park when she was younger, but she couldn’t say she enjoyed it. Especially when she had no one to play with.
She’d seated herself at the organ and tried to play but Mother wouldn’t shut up from the second her fingers had graced the keys. Fifteen years of piano lessons and you’re still awful at it. Why do I waste my money on you?
April wandered upstairs. She lingered on the landing, looking at the door to Lilith’s room.
Strictly off-limits. As curious as she was, she really didn’t want to get on Lilith’s bad side.
April didn’t like her, didn’t like the way she treated Caleb, but Caleb adored her for some reason and she had been kind enough to let them live with her for a while. Oh and the whole saving her life thing was kind, too. Killing her own mother aside, April knew better than to bite the hand that fed her. Whatever Lilith was hiding in her room would remain hidden.
Caleb’s room however… Lilith hadn’t explicitly said this was off-limits. Surely it wouldn’t hurt to have a little peek inside?
She turned the handle and pushed the door open. How very bland it was, just like the rest of the house. If she didn’t know it was Caleb’s room, she wouldn’t have guessed. There were no personal artefacts, no pictures, nothing of interest.
April lay down on the bed and rested her head on the pillow. It didn’t smell anything like the cologne and decay scent of Caleb. It just smelled like detergent with the faintest hint of candied violets.
Melinda’s perfume smells like candied violets.
That was probably coincidence. She opened up the bedside drawer. It was empty except for a book called Unmasking The Face. Bizarre. She noticed that the bookmark was placed inside the front cover and the spine hadn’t been cracked. She flicked through but it looked incredibly dry. She replaced it and closed the drawer. There wasn’t anything in the other one.
What did Caleb do with all his free time? Did he really just go star-gazing every night? Is that something she was going to have to get into? Maybe Melinda could teach her a few things; her dad had been nurturing her love of astronomy since she was tiny. Melinda would often bore April with stories about constellations and galaxies until April physically shut her up.
She wished she’d listened, now.
April had often been jealous of Melinda’s relationship with her parents, with Faith. Even Lilith liked her. Now she was jealous of Melinda’s relationship with Caleb. The two of them got on so well with their stars and their running and their talking. Stupid Melinda, having interests.
She tried not to imagine the two of them in the woods. Alone.
A distraction. That’s what she needed. She opened up the closet and peered inside. She was hoping to see anything at all to show that Caleb had other hobbies that she could relate to. Books that she understood, a secret games console, music?
At this point she’d have even been relieved to see a dead body, at least that would give them something in common, but all that was inside was a rail of perfectly pressed clothing. It reminded her of her wardrobe back at the mansion; everything organised by colour, fabric, occasion. Broof was meticulous like that.
She thought of all her expensive clothing, poorly-folded and hastily stashed inside Marjorie’s suitcase and sighed. They didn’t even have similar levels of neatness. Maybe she should unpack. Hang things neatly in the wardrobe. Then they’d have something in common, however small. It would kill a few minutes. And hopefully stop these intrusive thoughts she was having of Caleb and Melinda.
Alone in the woods.
They’re not really looking at the moon.
Marjorie’s borrowed suitcase was battered and ancient and hadn’t been anywhere near large enough for all of April’s clothing, limiting her choice and meaning she’d had to leave a number of items behind. She didn’t understand how Melinda and Faith could happily get by with only a couple of outfits.
April and Faith were a similar dress size, so could swap clothes, but Melinda was so skinny that none of her things fit April. Melinda didn’t even need to wear a bra.
April wondered if her tiny frame was another thing Caleb preferred about Melinda.
He’s probably enjoying her bird-like bones and lack of bra right at this second.
April wondered if Caleb would have still chosen her if he’d met Melinda first.
This wasn’t helping. They were just looking at the moon. For some reason.
If you say so.
April started hanging her items in the wardrobe. This was even more boring than doing nothing. As a top slithered off its hanger she gave up and threw the balled up items in to the bottom of the wardrobe, along with her vampire book. She looked at the pile of clothing. Something was missing.
In her hungover state this morning she realised that she had neglected to pack the white dress that Caleb liked. Mother had bought it for her, for a recent awards show. April had struggled into it and thought it looked quite good, quite sexy, she felt very grown up in it.
The second Mother had laid eyes on her in it however, she had made her take it off. Trashy. Cheap. Desperate.
Mother had chosen instead a pink, frilly number that April had secretly hated. She hadn’t brought the pink, frilly dress but maybe she should have. Maybe Caleb would have wanted to rip that off for her.
She thought about the white dress, about what he had said. Seeing her in that dress just about finished me. Clearly he liked trashy, cheap and desperate.
It probably wasn’t a good idea to go back to the Davies’s house. That creep, Will, might be stalking around. But Caleb hadn’t shown any interest in any of her other outfits. They were probably too classy. And she was at a bit of a loose end. She could get the dress, doll herself up, wait for him on his bed…
She’d only be a short while. No one would ever know she’d gone.
Lilith was not having a great night. As amusing as it had been to wind up Caleb, it had stopped being fun the second she had seen Melinda’s face.
Seeing herself reflected badly in those big brown eyes had shaken her. The doubt, the disappointment. She felt that she had been here before.
That darn conscience was interfering again. She told herself that Caleb and April were capable adults, they had made their own decisions tonight, but she knew there was little truth in either of these points. She knew that she had made the decisions for them. But it was difficult to feel genuinely guilty knowing that her brother would be willingly spending his evening being stimulated by a woman’s mind rather than her body.
She would talk to Melinda later. Explain, apologise. Somehow. But right now, there was someone else who needed saving from themselves.
There was a time when simply knowing that Lilith was in the vicinity was enough to send Seth straight to her. He remembered once abandoning a kill midway through as her urgent request to see him travelled across the forest.
He could sense her lingering around Hook Corner, like he always could. Could hear her scanning for that one memory that haunted her, like she always did. Thinking that was what attracted him, like it always seemed to. She could have been thinking her worst thought, or her best one.
With Lilith, he had always been watching, waiting.
Lilith was trying her hardest, he could tell. He gained a certain satisfaction from knowing she was hurting herself in an effort to reach him. How things change.
Unfortunately for Lilith, the final threads of her noose had been well and truly severed from his neck. She played by his rules now. Whatever she wanted with him tonight, and he had an idea, it would have to wait.
Seth had a new obsession.
They hadn’t locked the door when they had left Marjorie’s house; it had felt more abandoned that way. April let herself in and made her way upstairs in the darkness. Everything seemed just as they left it; the bottles were still on the table and on the floor, alongside a selection of glasses with their various remnants. Nothing had changed.
She flicked on the bedside lamp and felt around under the bed. Her hand landed on various soft items, but none felt like her dress. As she groped blindly through the darkness, trying to identify the items by touch alone, her hand landed on something that felt like a shoebox.
How strange. She hadn’t thrown any shoes under. She managed to get a hold of the box and tugged it towards her, bringing with it the white dress and a cluster of dust bunnies.
It was heavy. It certainly didn’t contain shoes. April hesitated. She wasn’t really sure she wanted to open a box from underneath her horny, lonely old aunt’s bed. She brushed the thick layer of dust from the top, revealing a list of what appeared to be movie names written in romantic cursive.
How strange. April lifted the corner of the lid, peered inside. The box was full of books, each similar in its colours and appearance. She pulled one out and looked at the pristine cover. Not All Roses by Marjorie Davies, featuring a young, blonde woman in the passionate embrace of a vampire.
Where did a solitary woman get inspiration for those?
April felt sick and yet curiosity had a hold of her. Did she really want to read this knowing who it was based on? She should put it back, shove the box back, forget about it.
Was it all fantasy or did you get her in the sack?
April couldn’t compare to Melinda or any of Caleb’s other ten thousand lovers, but maybe she could learn something about him from a previous one.