***I saw Sunee walk a limping and weak Kai into the dining room where everyone was waiting for them. Kai was covered in bandages from head to toe and I was still getting used to everyone bowing when he walked in the room.
“You all don’t have to do that.” Kai’s voice was low
Clide frowned “It’s a habit.”
Kai rolled his eyes and looked towards me. “Do you want to come with me to drop Mikayla off?”
We had already took Catherine back but Kai wanted to stay
Kai got out the car, meeting Derek’s stare. Derek mouthed something that made Kai growl. Mikayla walked Derek to where we were and Kai growled at Derek right in front of him. Mikayla gasped and looked at Derek but all he did was stare him down while holding Mikayla behind his back.
“Stay away from my sister.” Derek warned him
Kai’s fingers scraped the car while he tried to hold himself back. His growls got louder and Derek backed down.
“I can easily snap you in half.”
“You think I don’t know that?”
“What’s going on!?” Mikayla screamed
“Nothing just go inside for a minute.” Derek was calm for a minute but as soon as she was in the house he pinned Kai’s neck to the car. Kai bit his shoulder and held on until he had brought tears to Derek’s eyes. I could see Derek’s arm freezing as the venom went through.
“Kai, what is wrong with you?”
“Get in the car.”
He growled at me and Derek.
“Your on my territory, bloodsucker.”
Kai got back in the car and rolled down the window. He stuck his head out and whispered something in Derek’s ear. Derek’s face got red with anger and Kai drove off laughing, flipping him off as he went.
“What was with you two?”
“Nothing just drop it.”
“What did you say?”
“Something that will most likely get Mikayla yelled at.”
“Did you mention what happened between you two?”
“Is it okay for you to drive?”
“Most likely not but what’s the worst that could happen?”
“You could hurt yourself even more.”
“Stop worrying about me.” He put his hand in mine. “In a few days though all the vampires will be down in the valleys it’s sort of tradition. They won’t hurt you but I want you to blend in when we go. You know, act like a vampire and fake everything. Just go along with it like you are one of us.”
“So you’re asking me to follow you around all day and lie to everyone I see?”
“I don’t want you to follow me around I want you to mix and mingle.”
“I’d rather not.”
“I have three days to make you look like a vampire so don’t do anything stupid.”
“What are you going to do, put a spell on me?”
“Very funny. Just some makeup.”
We were at the house and the first thing I noticed was everyone’s blue eyes. Kai had me sit at the table and he pulled out a box of makeup. The first object out the box was blueberries and a paint brush.
“I forgot how old this box was.” Kai chuckled
“What is that for?”
“I’m going to paint your eyes since anyone who’s around you would be able to tell you were wearing contacts.”
“I don’t want my eyes painted!”
He pulled back my eyelids and put the blueberry paint on the brush. It surprised me that the paint didn’t burn my eyes or even irritate them but I found it hard to blink.
“I’m going to have to put a lot of coats of different colors so it has the full effect.”
I nodded and let him continue but midway I had to rest and blink.
“How many colors do you have to do?”
We finished the eyes but he led me into the bathroom where they was plastic covering everywhere and a spray tan bottle. I was instructed to put on a two piece bathing suit but since I didn’t own one I had to strip to my underwear. He sprayed me but instead of getting darker my skin turned white like his. Taking a closer look I could see little beads in it.
“Does your skin have beads like this?”
“No but when we change moods our eyes and our temperature change. So the beads help with that part.”
Leading me out of the bathroom Kai sprayed me with perfume before facing me towards a mirror. I looked exactly like a one of them I thought.
“Now you need to sleep with a towel over the bed and make sure you don’t do anything to wipe all of this off so lay low for a few days while it sets in. Don’t worry though I can wash it off when I need to.”
“How many will be there again?”
“All of them.”
“Better get to bed then? I need to relax.”
“Wake up we need to go.”
“What day is it?”
“Three days after the day you went to bed.”
“Do I still look like you?”
He laughed “Yes.”
“Are you having a mood swing.”
He sat on the bed. “Why would you think that?”
“You’ve been really happy for a long time.”
“I’ve been taking my medication that’s why.”
“It’s weird when you’re all happy and stuff.”
“I’m just good at hiding the pain.”
We stared at each other for a moment before I got up to get dressed. Kai made us walk there but he carried Sunee the whole fifteen miles. When we walked over the last hill my jaw dropped. I couldn’t see anything other than people. They seemed to stretch for miles and miles before stopping. I didn’t find it possible to mingle with all of them. Sunee got off her brother’s back and held his hand as they walked down the hill. When the crowd saw the duo they all bowed, reminding me of The Lion King. After about three minutes everyone rose and gasped as Kai and Sunee bowed back to them for the same amount of time if not longer. Everyone walked around and talked so I decided to blend in as one of them. The first couple I talked to came all the way from Africa.
“So why is everyone here exactly?”
They stared at me.
“Um…I’m a newer vampire so I don’t really know.”
They nodded and the woman smiled at me. “We come here to celebrate the new king and his birth family.”
“Only the birth family?”
“They are considered royalty also.”
They continued walking and I figured that’s how this works. You have a quick conversation with someone and walk away to find someone else. I had already talked to six people before I met up with Kai. The man he faced was much taller than him even if he didn’t have the hat on. His hair was red and tangled almost identical to his beard and mustache. The man looked like he was tired and in his mid-forties.
“You know that with all these people this little town’s population is going to drop real bad.” His Texas accent was overbearing.
“If they want to eat they would use common sense and walk the two miles to farm land instead of the fifteen miles to the city.”
“Maybe your right but maybe we just need to go with what we want to do.”
“They would find out and hunt us to extinction then all that would be left of us is two pages in mortal children’s history books.”
“I didn’t think about it that way. Ha I guess that’s why they made you king and not me, squirt.” He patted the top of Kai’s head and walked away but then turned around. “I can tell that you’re different, that you’re good for us.” He left to talk to a Swiss family
Kai ran to a group of people and jumped on a man’s back laughing. I walked to them and they all turned around. There was a short girl with cropped blonde hair and an almost invisible braid in the back. She had a skin-tight orange outfit and clung tightly to a man’s leg. I looked up at the man who had a hat on to where I couldn’t see his face. He was only a few inches taller than Kai but something about him made me scared. I stared at the guy Kai was on. His hair was longer than most guys but His face seemed warm and kind. All their hair was black except the girl’s hair.
“Are you going to introduce me?” I asked Kai
“Oh ya, the girl is Kekee, The guy she’s holding is Ken short for Kendall, and the one that I’m holding on to is Moon.”
“Nice to meet you all.”
“I grew up with them except for Kekee I met her when I ran away.”
“Where’s Eileen?” Kai asked them
“She wants you to come back home for a visit so we promised not to say anything about how she’s doing. But I will tell you that she is healthy and well and not dead.” Moon smiled
“Maybe you all should go out to eat and catch up.” I offered
“Then I would have to bring you with me.” Kai laughed
It was dark outside before We were able to leave and Kai warned me everyone would stick around for a few more days. The restaurant was warm inside and the booth we got was one of my favorites as a child. I sat by Kekee and Kai. Across from us was Moon, Sunee, and Ken. As the waitress came and went I noticed Kai looking down at his legs.
The waitress came back with the drinks “So what do you want to order?”
Kekee was the first to speak “Um…I want the house salad. He wants the grilled fish with broccoli. He wants the Asian styled chicken salad. She wants chicken tenders with sweet potato fries. She wants the creamy Alfredo pasta and chicken. Then he wants ribs-a full rack- with regular fries and sweet potato fries. That’s all, thank you for your patience.” She smiled
The girl looked shocked at the big order but nodded and walked off. Everyone stared at Kekee.
“You know Kai’s not going to eat that.” Moon played with his drink while he spoke
“I don’t care because if he doesn’t I will shove it down his throat and besides we all know he will just run to the bathroom and throw it all back up.”
Ken sighed “Don’t make fun of him, Kekee.”
“I’m not! I’m just saying he needs to learn to keep his food down!”
“It’s not my fault I’m bulimic/anorexic/whatever is wrong with me.” Kai was still looking down at his legs when I heard a gasp and everyone stared at me.
“There’s nothing wrong with you.” Moon said it as though it was a recording
Kekee threw her hands in the air “He weighs as much a an elementary school kid of course there is something wrong with him!”
All of us stopped fighting when the food came out and once again I gasped when I saw Kekee eat so much and not even appear to be nauseated. On the other hand though Kai was just staring at his food and seemed to want to vomit. Moon cut up the pieces of meat off the bones and even cut up the fries in little pieces. Kai shoved all the food in his mouth then got up from the table. His friends looked at each other, played rock paper scissors, argued in a different language, then sent Ken after Kai.
“You got to pray for the poor boy.” Moon told himself
“Talking to yourself is a sign of insanity.” I gave him a rude smirk
“I was talking to you.” His face was straight
“Oh…will he be alright?”
“He does it until he’s throwing up his own blood or at least until he faints. We can’t watch him everyday of his life so after we leave please make sure he eats like he should. He will starve himself after this and most likely not eat for a few more months. It scares me but I guess I should just let him do what he wants and let him learn the lesson on his own. I just hope he doesn’t die before that happens.”
Kai and Ken came back and sat down. Kai was doubled over and clutching his stomach. “Moon, I don’t feel good.”
“That’s what happens when you stick your fingers down your throat.”
“Did blood come up?”
“Kai you need to stop.”
“No! I don’t want to be fat.”
“Can we stop talking about this?”
“Let me see your fingers.”
I caught a glimpse of his bloody fingers and knuckles. Moon rubbed his fingers against the cuts and sighed once again. We paid for the food and left to walk home. I noticed that somehow I ended up being next to Ken and the trees while Moon carried Kai and Kekee carried Sunee. I looked up at Ken wondering if I should start a conversation with him.
“You look confused.” He said bluntly
“Just wondering why you haven’t taken off your hat yet.”
“Well for one my hair goes halfway down my back in a braid-it’s tradition. Another reason is my eyes, they tend to scare people.”
“What’s wrong with your-”
He took off his hat and I stared at his face. One eyes was blue and one was green. The worse part was that he had no white in his eyes. The background was a lighter shade and the pupil was a darker shade.
“I was born with green eyes but I went completely blind in my left eye and it turned blue. My right eye is going blind but the vision in it is just blurred so I can still see things just not with a lot of detail.”
I looked at his long jet black braided hair with a blue feather braided into the bottom.
“What number did you dye your hair?”
“Dye? This is my natural hair color.”
“It’s so beautiful it‘s almost unreal.”
All he did was chuckle and put his hat back on.
“Your wondering why my hair is so long aren’t you?”
“It’s sort of a family tradition for the boys to grow their hair out long and then the girls cut their hair short. Moon and Kai’s family did the same thing. Kai’s hair goes down to his shoulders if not longer. It doesn’t really look weird though, it just looks normal to us.”
“So you all naturally keep your hair long? That’s a little strange if you think about it.”
“Hmm. Well we would dye it but we aren’t allowed to.”
“You would never think that someone could have so many laws about what to do with your hair.”
He chuckled again and looked at the moon. “Maybe I’ll see you if you ever come to Thailand.”
Everyone hugged and when I got to hugging Moon he whispered into my ear. “Make sure you take care of Kai please.”
They left and we walked to our quiet house.
Kai was in his bedroom when I came up the steps. I didn’t quite care to open the door yet so I just peeped through the keyhole. He had his shirt off, staring in a mirror, and sucking in his stomach. I walked in the room to hug him but noticed his expression. It registered to late that I should have stayed outside and as I braced myself for what was going to happen, I felt his shoulder move and heard the mirror break. He turned around to me.
“Do you think I’m…fat.” His voice trembled
“No…you…you’re a little too skinny.”
“What do you mean skinny I’m freaking eight hundred pounds.”
“No you aren’t now just get to bed.”
He turned out the lights and laid in the bed shaking and holding his stomach. Sometime in the middle of the night I heard the door open and close then another door open and close. I ran to the door with the light under it which happened to be the bathroom. Praying before I opened the door I turned the knob and about let out a scream. Kai had an automatic razor in his hand and blood running down his arm which happened to be covered with a sleeve. His eyes were wet while his cheeks were sunken in. I ran to him to hug him but he had his head over the toilet first.
I must have scared him enough to make him vomit. I tried to touch his arm but he moved it slowly and painfully so I rubbed his back instead. He stuck his fingers in his mouth then quickly pulled them out as a fountain of blood poured out.
“What do you want me to do?” I started to panic
He coughed “Leave.”
“Anything except that.”
“Please leave me alone.” He whined
I was about to say something but he fell over silent. I made a pillow out of towels and got him a blanket-too scared to move him. I stayed there with him the whole night cleaning up the blood and vomit with bleach. In the morning he woke up with a headache but he seemed to be fine or at least as fine as his sickly body allowed him to be.
“Why do this to yourself?”
“I’m not happy. I’ve done this for so long and no one ever knew about it that I thought I could keep doing it.”
“I’m calling you some help.”
“Please don’t! I beg you not to! Nobody can know that I do this to myself.”
“Fine but you need to take care of your body.”
“I will, I promise.”
“You don’t sound very sure of that.”
“I’m not.” He frowned
At school we had to say hello to Mrs. English then went to music class.
“Today we will have a music contest. Singing and all that wonderful good stuff.” Mr. Mann was our new music teacher who seemed to love Kai for some reason.
The class didn’t seem that excited about it but after the first few people sang and we realized we would be spending the whole day doing this, possibly become famous, maybe win the full ride scholarship, and be on youtube, we loved it. Only about three people could sing and two of them were girls. Kai was the last one to sing and he kept refusing to and making sure that no one would force him to. After talking to Mr. Mann he finally gave in to the idea and sang. When he did everyone stopped what they were doing, their jaws dropped, and they seemed to relax some. Since we had to pick from a random pile of songs Kai got Pumped up Kicks by Foster the People. He ended up getting a standing ovation but then when we had to pick our partners for a project due next week everyone swarmed around him, giving Mr. Mann no choice but to make Kai pick his own partner. He picked a Mexican girl-who was apparently new to the school-in the back of the class I had never seen.
She seemed to be surprised when he picked her and so did everyone else in the room. There was a wave of sighs before the room cleared and we went to lunch. The new girl sat with us only to fumble with an old looking diary the whole time. Kai didn’t seem the least bit annoyed but instead kept trying to see what she was reading in it.
“So what’s your name?” I asked rudely.
“Lily. It’s a tradition in my family to name their kids after flowers.”
“Well isn’t that fascinating.” I barked
Kai gave me a sharp look before trying again to look at the diary. After school was over I noticed Kai following Lily through the snow covered woods (global warming has really messed up Cali). I was going to ask what he was doing but instead decided to follow him. The whole family seemed to follow Sunee who somehow came in front of me. Lily stopped in a clearing and turned to Kai.
“I’m very surprised you didn’t seem to notice that I resemble someone you know.”
He tilted his head like a confused dog. “What?”
“This diary was my many many greats ago grandmother’s.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“I know that you are a vampire but you are a very close family friend. We aren’t supposed to hurt you but instead make sure you are safe. Her name was Mannita but since you couldn’t pronounce her name and you thought she smelled like roses you called her Rosie.”
“Rosie had children?”
“Mhmm and her diary was passed on through our family so that if we were to ever meet you we would know that it is you and not to harm you.”
Kai laid down in the clearing and she sat near his side reading the diary. Everyone seemed tensed except for Sunee who just sat down and started working on her homework. I watched as Lily rubbed places on Kai’s neck which either made him almost pass out, moan, or growl at her. We seemed to be perfectly fine until a beagle came barking at us. An old man followed, looking up at the sky.
“You kids should get going, there is a storm coming and it’s going to be bad.”
“Thank you for the message.” Kai got up to walk home.
“No problem.” The old man tipped his hat and walked his dog back where they came.
Kai let Lily come home with us until the storm passed and she helped him with an art project so he could get a full ride to college. He drew a tree on her back with Henna and I never knew how well of an artist he was. The tree was beautiful and as he drew they talked about Rosie and Kai’s past life with her. I left them alone, waking up to find Rosie gone and everyone except Kai and James at school for the night program. I rushed to my class when I got there and as soon I sat down I had to get back up because all of us were needed at the hospital for some reason.
When we got there I was shocked and crying to see James and Kai covered in blood. James only had a few cuts on his head that were stitched up already but Kai was covered from head to toe in blood. The doctors told us they had been in a car wreck with a semi truck and that Kai was in a coma when they had found them. He was going to have to go with four surgeries before we would be able to see him. Sunee was screaming and they had to give her a shot to calm down. I was the first in James’s room so I got the best seat.
“What happened!” I was delirious already
“Kai was driving and he froze up in the middle of the road. He wouldn’t snap out of it and the truck came and it hit us on Kai’s side. The car spun we hit the railing fell down the hill and Kai snapped out of the trance. He got his foot caught under the engine and our phones were gone somewhere so we couldn’t call anybody then Kai went into a coma and I fainted. When I woke up we were here that’s all that I remember.”
“Oh my God you poor boys!” Maria grabbed his cheeks and kissed his head, hugging him.
It took days before we were able to see Kai but he was still unconscious. Sunee always came and laid in the bed with him but I almost always cried when she asked why he was always sleeping. It seemed all the nurses and doctors knew to lie to her about her brother’s condition. We were in the hospital one night and it was my turn to take her to see Kai. She ran to his room and shut the door behind her, closing all the curtains so I couldn’t see. I looked for a way in and found a little peep hole. She was on top of him pulling down the collar of his shirt. She bit his neck but after a few minutes she collapsed and fell beside him in the bed. The only thing I could do was wait there until morning since she locked the door behind her. When we got to school the next day she seemed worn out but energetic every time someone asked about Kai.
“How is Kai today sweetie?” Mr. Mann smiled at her
Her face lit up “I don’t really know. They say that I can’t see him yet and that he’s in limbo. I guess that if he’s playing limbo then he must be doing alright. I asked when I could see him and they said they would tell me as soon as possible.”
“Do you know what that is?”
“Duh it’s a game where you slide under a stick.”
He looked at me and I shook my head no. A soon as we took our seat a swarm of questions were already going on. She ignored most of them and smiled at the people instead. After a week of this happening everyday I was glad when the hospital called telling us that Kai had woken up and that we could see him now. Sunee rushed to his room and jumped on the bed. Maria yelled at her but Kai just hugged her.
He hugged Sunee tighter “Thank you.”
“You think I wouldn’t notice bite marks on my neck?”
“I didn’t think that I could do that.”
“Do what?” I interrupted
“Give blood instead of take it.”
“You can do that?”
“I guess so.”
We turned to see a woman walk in the room.
“Kai, how are you doing?” She asked
“Good I guess? My leg hurts and my arm is numb.”
“That’s good it’s completely normal. Do you want to talk about what made you freeze up?”
“Alright but we need to know so that we can find something that might prevent this from happening again.”
She sat at the end of the bed holding a light into his eyes. As soon as it hit his eyes he hid his face shaking. The nurse kept grabbing his face trying to look into his eyes. I had to grab Sunee and take her outside since she kept screaming at the nurse to stop hurting him. Even sitting outside I could see headlights every time the nurse put the light in front of his eyes. When the nurse walked out Sunee started to scream at her but i took her back to her brother. Tears were streaming down her face while Kai just seemed dazed and confused. The nurse came back in with a clipboard causing Sunee to growl. The nurse grabbed her in her mouth to pull her aside.
“Any more questions?” Kai asked
“Are you sexually active?”
“What type of question is that?”
“It’s just something I need to know.”
“You need to know?”
“Well it’s a medical question we need to know for your medications.”
“Oh…um…I haven’t been in a while.”
“Yes you have, you did yesterday.” Sunee was peering over the edge of the bed.
“Excuse me.” I crossed my arms across my chest.
“No I didn’t.” He glared down at her.
“Yes you did it was with m-”
“SUNEE! That doesn‘t count.” He started to grind his teeth
“I want to know.” My arms were still crossed
“It doesn’t matter anymore so it’s not important.” She put her lips into a pout
“I’ll give you a cookie.”
“Well sometimes when he’s upset then-”
“Sweetie I will give you a box of cookies if you don’t tell her.” Kai was staring me down
“I’ll give you a cookie cake.”
“I’ll give you two.”
“I’m sold. My lips are shut.” She smiled and pretended to throw away a key.
Kai’s phone rang but Sunee had to answer it since he couldn’t. She put it on speaker so we knew it was Moon.
“Kai, I can not believe I leave you alone for a few weeks and you are already in the hospital. Ugh I might as well go live down there if it keeps you out of trouble.”
“Kai’s fine but you should still stay down here for a few days” Sunee’s smile was wide
“Maybe I will. It doesn’t sound like a bad idea but I can only be there a few weeks at the most.”
“Why can’t you live down here?” Kai had grabbed the phone from Sunee
“I can’t because I have a life here and I can’t just go back and forth to see you all. Maybe you should just come back home since it would be easier for everybody.”
“Maybe one day I’ll come and stay but I doubt it will ever happen.”
“You know you miss Eileen. You haven’t seen her since she was pregnant.”
“Ya that was a while ago too.”
“You should bring Sunee and that one strawberry blonde girl-Kekee wants to see them.”
“I might see you if and when I get out the hospital. They told me I don’t weigh a normal amount so I have to gain weight before they can let me leave.”
“How much to you have to gain? Your only forty pounds.”
“I have to be at least one hundred. Do you know how fat that will make me?”
“I’m two twenty and I don’t look fat. Even you don’t think so.”
“Well I have to go get fat. Any suggestions?”
“Deep dish pizza should be good enough.”
“Thanks. Bye I love you.”
“Love you too, bye.”
“You say I love you to him?” My face probably looked disgusted
“I’ve known him since I was born, he’s like my brother.” Kai didn’t seem effected
As soon as he saw the platter of food on his plate the look on his face turned sick and worried. Sunee saw him and her face turned the same as his.
He turned to me “I can’t eat this.”
“If you want to leave then you have to eat this.”
“I can’t.” He whined
I grabbed the fork and shoved the food in his mouth. He spit it out as soon as it touched his tongue. I tried again but this time putting my hand in front if his mouth so he couldn’t vomit. Every time he tried to swallow he’d gag and it’d come back up. I didn’t know if it was because he couldn’t chew it or if he couldn’t swallow it. He eventually went down his throat but the pizza wasn’t easy to give him. It wasn’t the most pleasant feeling when he spit the food back onto my hand. Shoving it back into his mouth wasn’t as hard as having to watch his miserable face. He kept coughing and gagging but eventually swallowed. On the last bite he vomited the food onto my hand allowing me to feel the goopy blood in it.
“Spit it out.”
I let him use my hand to spit out the cinnamon roll but the nurse was able to tell me he had already gained six pounds from the meal. Everyday I came to the hospital he seemed to gain six pounds. The nurse said it was because they gave him food that would make him gain ten but he throws up the last bit so it’s only six. He was on medication so he could gain more in less time but he seemed to look worse every time I saw him. He would be laying on his side clutching his stomach. They put a machine on him to make sure he couldn’t vomit out the food or put his fingers in his mouth. His skin color was darker, he seemed weaker, and smaller. Kai seemed to glow when he saw Sunee though. He whispered something to her that seemed to make her so excited that she actually shrieked. The nurse had to get on to her when she started bouncing on the bed. After a few more weeks of hearing Sunee scream in joy, we got to take Kai home with us. He had crutches and could barely walk but we were happy to see him smile for once.
School was weird since everyone was gathered around Kai and wanting to sign his cast. It was a different story when he got home though. He would always go vanish upstairs and not come back down until the next morning. It had been two days since Kai had actually stayed downstairs and around everybody.
James played with a straw “He’s most likely just tired.”
“Than why does Sunee keep disappearing with him?”
“She probably just wanted to be around him. She is his sister after all.”
“Well I want to find out.”
“So go look under the door and tell me what you see. Even though it will most likely just be nothing.”
“Maybe I will!”