“Oh, right — Please, come in.” I said and he stepped in and smiled as he passed me. The scent coming off him was enough to make me almost hyperventilate, but I was going to be in control tonight. Or at least try.
“Do you like my ride?” he asked and glanced back out the door. I followed his gaze and saw the red Ferrari parked right behind my Xterra. I looked back at him, fluttered my lashes, rolled my eyes slightly.
“What’s wrong with my car?” I asked him as he handed me my keys.
“Well, I just thought that if they walked to the door with us when I left and they saw that I didn’t have a car, they’d get suspicious.” he said, still grinning and then he linked my arm in his and we walked out of the foyer and into the living room. As soon as my parents saw us, they stood up and walked over.
“Mom, Dad. This is Connelly. Connelly, Mom and Dad.” I said, indicating them to each other. I noticed then that they weren’t just staring at Connelly, but at his eyes. I glanced over and saw his red eyes staring pleasantly back at them, like he didn’t realize that they were looking at him like he was some kind of freaky person. I had totally forgotten about his eyes and how my parents would react.
“Hello Mr. and Mrs. Riley, nice to meet you.” Connelly said, holding out his hand.
Dad was the first to grab his hand and said, “You too Connelly…?”
“Connelly Peters.” he said and smiled flawlessly.
“Peters.” Dad said, nodding and then Mom took his hand.
“It’s so nice to meet you, Connelly. We’ve heard so much about you.” she said, smiling sweetly. I looked at my mother. Until tonight, I hadn’t even mentioned him to her or my dad, but I guess that line was almost supposed to be used when meeting someone you’re supposed to know something about.
“So,” Dad said as we all headed to the chairs and couch. Connelly and I exchanged a glance while their backs were turned and I shook my head, telling him that I hadn’t told them anything about him. “That was a nice solid handshake there, Connelly. You work out much?” Dad asked as he and my mom sat in their chairs and we sat on the couch.
“Not much.” he said and glanced at me as they sat in their chairs and we sat on the couch.
“Steroids?” Dad asked, sounding displeased at seeing our exchange.
“Never.” Connelly said, taken aback by his assumption. “Those things are terrible. No, but what I meant was that I don’t work out in like a gym or use weights very much. I’m a very active person.” Connelly clarified, using his hand to gesture friendly.
“Oh? What do you do?” Dad asked.
“Oh, anything that will get me outside. We hike a lot and love to go rock climbing.” Connelly smiled.
“‘We’ being your family?” Mom asked.
“Yes, I have three brothers and two sisters.” Connelly said.
“Are they in high school also?” she asked.
“Yes, all of them.” Connelly answered. My mother nodded and then there was a short silence. I looked over at Connelly and we exchanged smiles. I thought he was doing really good. My dad was behaving himself and was actually having a pleasant conversation. And another good thing was that they weren’t staring at Connelly’s eyes anymore. Well, really they were trying not to look at them almost at all, which I guess was better than staring at them stupidly. At least they were trying to be nice, and that’s what really mattered.
“Well, let’s watch that movie, shall we?” said Dad, smiling and pushing a button on the remote. The TV screen colored up to show the main menu to the movie Flushed Away.
“Do you want some popcorn?” Mom asked, getting up and looking at us.
“No thank you, Mrs. Riley. I ate just before I came over and I’m still pretty full.” Connelly declined politely. My mom smiled, but still went to the kitchen and came out a few minutes later with a big bowl of popcorn for her and Dad. She settled against his side, leaning her head on his chest, his arm wrapping around her.
I sighed in desperation and looked down. There were two loveseats in the living room and we were in both, Connelly and I in one and my parents in the other. They seemed so cute, so close… so happy. I wanted to be that happy. Then a long pale finger lifted my sad face to look at Connelly.
“What’s wrong?” he whispered, his cherry red eyes staring into mine piercingly. I saw worry in them and regretted feeling those things since Connelly could feel them too. I didn’t want him to know I was this sad. I shook my head a fraction to each side, but he didn’t buy it. His eyes narrowed, knowing I wasn’t telling the truth, but then something clicked in his eyes. He smiled softly and then he stood up and went to sit on the other side of me.
I furrowed my brow confusedly at him, but he just leaned on the couch arm and put his arm up on the back of the sofa. I grinned excitedly at him and his smile widened. I scooted over to him and settle into his side just like my mom and he wrapped his arm softly around me like my dad.
The movie had already started playing, but I didn’t really notice because I was too overwhelmed by Connelly’s big step in getting closer to me. I put my hand on his chest and felt his stone hard chest moving with his breath. I could hear his heart beating underneath his chest and I smiled, but then it vanished.
What? A heartbeat! What the –He couldn’t have a heartbeat! He was a vampire and vampires didn’t have heartbeats! I tensed at the surprise and then quickly relaxed, not wanting to alert Connelly.
“Uh, Kota?” Connelly asked in his normal voice. I looked up at him. Dang it. I thought. It was too late. “Um, could you show me where your restroom is?” he asked, smiling down at me and acting like it was awkward to ask.
“Uh, yeah sure.” I said, standing up. “It’s right up here.” I said, leading him out of the living room, into the foyer and up the stairs. When we got to the top of the stairs, I continued down to the end of the hall and into my room. Now that we were in here, I wished I would have cleaned up. My room was a mess; clothes everywhere, books, notebooks, and pens and pencils laying all over the floor and my bed. I looked at him, blushing and smiling with embarrassment. “It’s right through there.” I said, pointing to the right of us where a white door was.
“What’s wrong? Why did you tense up down there? I was doing good wasn’t I?” he asked and then looked up slightly, and I knew he was going through everything he’d done.
“You have a heartbeat.” I said.
“Of course I have a heartbeat. Why wouldn’t I?” he asked, not understanding my reaction to it.
“Another vampire myth I guess.” I said and shrugged, but there was still a little bit of shock running through me. Then he smiled and chuckled.
“You scared me down there Kota. I thought I had done something wrong. Yes, that is a myth. The kind of vampire I am, the ones who are born vampires, have heartbeats and can bleed and all that, just like a human. The only difference is, we have stronger skin and bones, and a lot of other stuff it would take too long to name and then your dad would wonder why we had been up here so long. Come on.” he said, taking my hand and opening the door.