Caleb had carried April at superspeed past the ticket booth and April had mesmerised the usher. No one knew that theatre three at the Llama Lagoon Cinema was currently occupied by two lawless vampires on their very first date.
The movie that they had selected, Bloodthirsty Bunny, was promised to be a ‘gruesome romp through the darkness’, according to the poster. Very much suitable for setting the mood for the unconventional romantic dinner that was planned afterwards.
April had never been on a date, unchaperoned. Her previous dating experience comprised of a few accompanied meals in fancy restaurants with boys who had been personally selected by Mother. April never asked to go on these dates and couldn’t say that she enjoyed them. Sandy would announce them out of the blue, but they seemed to coincide with the mid-point between the release of her movies, when her name was mentioned slightly less than usual, and there would be paparazzi circling like vultures as they dined.
Sandy would send Broof along on these dates; she’d ensure that the butler had an adjacent table and he would often livestream, thus ensuring that Sandy could orchestrate, that no ‘funny business’ occurred and that April didn’t bring shame on the Moss name.
April would sip wine, nibble tiny bits of her salad garnish, nod politely and ask conversation-lubricating questions about her companion as they would alternate between staring at her and boasting about themselves. She would laugh at their jokes, feign attraction and wouldn’t show how hurt she was when they’d ask a hundred questions about her mother but none about her.
They would end the date exactly as they started it; not knowing a single thing about April Moss.
Every now and then, the press would encourage her date to give her a cute kiss on the cheek, but that was as close as she ever got to any kind of intimacy. Except for a few pats on the bottom from bigwig movie directors at after show parties. Or kissing Melinda, but that didn’t count because she was a girl.
Caleb shifted beside her in an uncomfortable way, distracting her.
April had never really been that into anyone until she met Caleb. She wasn’t really sure what had happened. She didn’t think their first meeting was particularly romantic. Although she had found him mysteriously attractive, she had offered him a drink purely out of politeness and was somewhat mortified that he’d been manhandling her as he drank. Then, when she’d woken up, every moment was spent thinking about him.
All this desire was completely new for her. She wondered if it was simply being a vampire that was suddenly bringing out all these physical feelings she’d not really experienced before. Although perhaps all that pent-up lust was finally out of her system; now that she’d actually had sex with Caleb she wasn’t really that bothered about doing it again.
Maybe she was more like Faith than she wanted to think; bored with a man once she’d had her way and ready for the next one. Or maybe it was because the overall experience had not been very fun.
Caleb cleared his throat but didn’t say anything.
She hoped it wasn’t going to be expected of her at the end of the date, but she was common now and that’s how it worked with common people, right? They were pretty much just animals who smelled bad, ate chips and humped all day. She’d once seen a couple getting it on in a dumpster behind this very cinema. Would she do that, if Caleb asked?
Oh goodness. Yes, she would.
What was wrong with her? Mother would’ve wept to know that April was even thinking these things. April never would have thought these things. Before.
It must be the vampirism making her crazy. Or maybe it was because she was so pathetic that just knowing that Caleb liked her made her want to do everything he asked. Hopefully he wouldn’t ask for sex. Not for a while, at least. Everything still hurt a bit.
She tried not to think of how many women he’d probably brought to the cinema over the years. Hundreds, probably. This was the nearest cinema to his house so he’d probably brought them here. He’d guided her directly to this corner so maybe this was where he always sat with his ‘dates’. She could picture them getting hot and heavy on these very seats.
She wondered if he’d had dumpster sex with them, too. Did he have a favourite dumpster?
As if he’d heard her thoughts, he turned to her, took her hand.
“Ap- Amy, stop over-thinking everything and enjoy the movie.”
April completely lost her train of thought and turned her face towards the screen.
When Melinda had said she was going to find a payphone, she’d forgotten that in the modern world those things were rare. The first phone box she found contained a defibrillator which was not much use to her. The second had been vandalised. Eventually, after wandering the streets for an hour, worrying about being outside on her own in the dark, in a shady part of town, she located a functioning phone.
Now she had a different problem. She was so used to simply tapping an icon to call someone that she didn’t actually remember any phone numbers. She wanted to call the house to speak to both her parents who would probably be sick with worry and slightly angry at her, but the only one she could remember off by heart was her father’s mobile and that’s only because he had made it into a little song once that had stuck in her head.
She sang it to herself as she dialled, hoping that he had it with him. He had a tendency to put it down when he did things then not pick it back up.
She felt a wave of sadness as she heard the robotic voice of his answerphone rather than his warm, bear-like tone, but maybe this was the best scenario. She waited for the beep.
“Hi Dad. I wanted to call you to let you know that I’m sorry I lied to you, and I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch, but I’m OK. Faith is OK. You probably know that we’re with April and she’s OK too.” Melinda paused, wondering what else to say. “Something has happened to the three of us and we can’t come home right now. Please try not to worry about us. We’re safe. We’ll be home as soon as we can. I love you.”
She hoped that was enough.
As they strolled along the waterfront, hand-in-hand through the smog, Caleb and April were chatting animatedly about the movie.
“My favourite part was definitely when that man who was dressed as a rabbit leapt out with his chainsaw,” Caleb said.
“Mine too!” April gushed. “How he brazenly whizzed off the head of the guy who was peeing?”
“That was brilliant. The only bit of the whole movie that actually made me almost afraid.” He rubbed his neck. “Ouch, poor guy.”
“We probably shouldn’t find flippant murder so amusing, should we?” April asked.
“It’s acceptable when it’s fiction,” Caleb replied. “It’s not like we’re going on killing sprees or anything and we certainly could if we wished to. We’re good vampires.”
“Well, I did kill my own mother,” April said uneasily. “Started this whole mess.”
Caleb took her hands. “It’s alright. I nearly drank from her, that night at yours. I wouldn’t have held back if I’d known what she did to you.”
“You would have killed her for me?”
“Not intentionally. But as I said, I lack restraint so fatalities are usually inevitable for me if I drink unsupervised,” he said with regret.
“Well, you know, blood is super yummy and you need a lot,” April said softly. “So how is dinner going to work? Are you going to hunt someone and I time you or something?”
“Yes. If you can approach them and mesmerise them for me that will keep them calm and certainly help me to stay in control. Then you’ll need to stop me after about three minutes, if I haven’t successfully managed to stop myself. That’s what Lilith used to do and that always worked well.”
“Three minutes, got it. How should I stop you?”
“Shout at me, hit me, distract me… however you wish.”
“Right, so now to find our first target!” April said excitedly. “Do you have any preferences?”
“No, I’m not fussy.” He spotted a woman strolling past. “How about that one?”
“Are you winding me up? No. No way. Not happening. I’m not having you putting your hands on her.“
Caleb was getting a headache. He wasn’t sure if it was his thirst or April’s racing, jealous thoughts. “I’m not going to touch her any more than I absolutely have to. She would just be food, Amy. Go and get her.”
“Gah!” April turned, reluctantly, towards the woman. “Hey you, pink skirt! Come here!”
The woman wandered over, looking between the gothic couple with interest. “Everything OK? Heard you two bickering. Do you need me to settle an argument? I’m gonna side with you, babes whatever it is because guys are such huge jerks! I really like your glasses, babes! You look super smart. You look a bit familiar too. Have we met?”
April swiftly mesmerised the woman and watched Caleb’s face as she sank her fangs into his dish, drawing out a couple of pints.
“Eww! She tastes as trashy as she looks!” April said, delicately dabbing her lips. “I guess you can’t have this one, now.”
Caleb caught the young woman as she sank to the floor. “That was uncalled for, Amy.”
“Well, you said she was just food, you didn’t say who’s food.”
Caleb carried the unconscious woman from the path and deposited her gently next to the pirate ship before returning.
“Petty. I expect better from you,” Caleb hissed.
“Sorry,” April muttered, feeling ashamed. “The next one is yours, even if it’s a supermodel. I promise. Oh, here comes someone now.”
“Jessica!” The human who had appeared on the path called out. “Come on babe, don’t be like this. I was only kidding. I love your mother, really.”
April stepped out on the path in front of this man who looked somewhat irritated to see her there. “Hi! I’m Amy outta Willow Creek!”
“Why do you sound like a gangster pirate?” The man asked, scowling. “What do you want?”
“I would please like a shittin’ lemonade,” April said, in a mixture of accents.
“What the—? Have you escaped from The Tower? Do I need to call someone?”
April hadn’t rehearsed any other lines so she stood and blinked for a while.
The man sighed. “Have you seen my girl come past here? She’s tall, I think she has red hair? Maybe brown? She definitely has two eyes—“
Before he could finish his sentence, or notice that his girlfriend was lying unconscious on the playground apparatus, April cast her trance.
Woah, this guy smelled really good. She was slightly jealous that Caleb would get to sink his teeth into this appetising human rather than that floozy who was not only anaemic, but also tasted like cheap makeup and even cheaper perfume.
“All yours, Thor! Three minutes starting… now!”