The light of the full moon guided my steps as I walked to The Hollow, a popular teen hangout. The streets were crowded with punks, Goths, preps, freaks, geeks and gangsters. Thankfully, one thing you learn in high school is how to navigate such a crowd. Even if I had not been what I was, I still would have gotten through with little effort. I slipped into the club after flashing my invitation to the bodyguard.
Inside, the music was deafening. Hard, cutting beats throbbed from the speakers. The air smelled of sweat and smoke. I snaked through the dancers with feline ease, searching for the host. My eyes paused on a boy with green hair and a ripped, black t-shirt. He smiled viciously, flashed red eyes, and disappeared into the crowd.
I recognized a few people, celebrities with their faces perpetually plastered on the tabloids. I sighed with mock frustration. It’s amazing how much Daddy’s money can help.
At last, I spotted the host of this little soiree. Lyndsey sat on top of the bar, her short skirt riding high, to the delight of her admirers. She saw me and smiled, jumping off the bar. Her mass of red curls danced excitedly as she walked.
“Alecz!” she squeaked, capturing me in a tight hug. “Omigawd, I can’t believe you made it.” Then, in the same breath, “What are you wearing?” I looked down at myself: black tank, leather pants and ankle-breaking stilettos. The usual. By the time I looked back at her, Lyndsey was already on another topic. She took my arm and gushed about the people at her party.
She stopped suddenly. “Omigawd, Lecz, you so have to introduce yourself to him.” She pointed at the boy with the green hair. Figures.
“Lynds,” I said. “No, if you like him so much ... ”
“Like I would date a reject from Green Day! He’s your type, though.”
I let the unintentional insult pass. It was just Lyndsey being Lyndsey. Anyway, judging from the guy’s flash of red eyes, he was pre-Green Day and maybe pre-Ramones. Heck, he could be pre-Jesus for all I knew.
“Right,” I replied. “Because I go for vampires.”
Lyndsey rolled her eyes. “Your humor is lost to the rest of the world, Aleczandria.” I forced away the urge to pout. Not the whole world. Only the majority. Besides, I could just picture it: “Hey, Mom and Dad! I know how you feel about the undead, but gee, he’s so cute I had to bring him home where he could rip out our throats in our sleep.” No, I wouldn’t be disowned or anything. Believe me, I have thought about it, only that guy lacks green hair.
“Go,” Lyndsey urged, punctuating the thought with a shove. “I am the birthday girl. This is my day to be happy. Am I happy? No. I want to be happy. What I say goes. You and Green Hair will get with the friendly. Now.”
When Lyndsey puts her mind to something, there is no changing it. I glared at the guy, then stomped toward him. I would keep it simple. I’d state my name and see his reaction.
I slipped past the dancers, managing to knock into only one until I reached Green Hair, who was leaning against the bar. He looked at me with a vaguely amused expression. To one side was a gorgeous leggy blonde with more hair spray than a beauty parlor and on the other a very attractive man who’d just walked off an Armani runway. Blondie was trying to get Green Hair’s attention, but he was too busy staring at the dance floor. Correction, I noted, he was too busy staring at me. I didn’t know whether to be flattered or grossed out.
“Hi,” I said with no kindness. “I’m Aleczandria Auryon De la Fender.” Oh, yeah. I went hardcore with the name.
“Zev,” he replied. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. Wolf in Hebrew. Don’t ask me how I knew. I know odd facts.
“Nice to meet you, Zev,” I drawled.
He just smiled. “Somehow I don’t think you’re genuine.”
This time I could not keep my eyes from rolling. “Look, my best friend happens to be the birthday girl and she suckered me into introducing myself because she seems to think it is her life’s work to set me up with strangers.” I noticed Blondie growing cold. Oh, please. Yeah, the guy was attractive, but he was a little too undead for my taste.
But who was I to complain? I am not exactly human myself. De la Fenders derive from an ancient line of human-like hunters who search for and destroy vampires. We were never actually human. We’re just their protectors. Don’t ask why. I do what I’m told, like a good little hunter.
“So, Aleczandria,” Zev said. “Why did you really come over here? You must be at least a little attracted to me.”
“Keyword being little,” I replied.
His eyes lit up. “Ah, so you admit it. Shall we dance?” Even if I didn’t know he was a vampire, I would have to know that something was fishy. What kind of guy dyes his hair green and uses the word “shall?” Honestly.
“I’m thinking no,” I said.
He took a short, menacing step toward me. “And why not?”
“Sorry, mate,” a voice behind me replied. “This one’s taken.”
My eyes widened, my heart sped up, and my stomach jumped. I hated him. He always managed to sneak up on me, which is very hard to do. I turned slowly, careful to check my movements and expressions. I played it cool, calm and annoyed.
“You would be here,” I said, wishing my pulse would slow.
Blade Blooddragon smiled his lazy, lopsided grin and shrugged. “It’s the party of the century. Says so on the invitation.”
“You got an invite?”
“Not exactly,” he said, and left it at that. I didn’t want to know. Besides, he was pulling me away from a disappointed Zev, who wouldn’t have done anything anyway once Blade showed up. Blade’s just old and powerful like that. I did mention that he’s a vampire, right?
I couldn’t resist, “Jealous?”
He snorted. “Of a young one? Hardly.”
“How young?” I was intrigued. Vampires could always tell how old other vampires were.
“1930s, at most.” Huh. It’s amazing what old to vampires and old to humans meant.
“I could have taken him, you know,” I said.
Blade grinned. “Oh, of course, love.” He still held my hand. It was cool, yet strong. I liked it too much. “But he’s not worth your time.”
“And you are?”
He led me to a corner and pushed me against the cold, moist wall. “You tell me.”
Danger. Danger, Will Robinson.
I swallowed. I’m a hunter. I can fight anything and everything and win. I’m one of the best, and I’m only 18. A De la Fender’s first lesson: Vampires are the enemy. It’s the cardinal rule. Vampires are evil. They kill innocent humans. So, why was I having the warm fuzzies for one?
“What do you want from me?” I whispered, unable to do much else.
Blade looked at me with his ocean eyes completely still. I wanted him to do something, anything. Spit in my face, rip my throat apart with his teeth, do the hokey pokey. Anything but stare at me like that. Then he did. He slowly leaned toward me. I knew - hoped - wished - prayed he would do the one thing I had wanted him to do for such a long time. I’ve actually known him my whole life, but not in a good way. No one can seem to kill him. Research shows that he was turned sometime during the 1200s, and he was a warrior when he was human, which makes him very powerful. So, he sticks around. My hormones like it way too much.
“It’s not what I want, love,” he whispered. “What do you want?”
Nothing ... everything.
A brief touch of lips, then he was gone.
“Alecz,” Lyndsey said, materializing in front of me. I blinked. “You okay?”
I was in a daze. “Um,” I mumbled. “Sure.”
It could not have been a bigger lie.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.