The whole of winter passed slowly without an killiing on my half, and no sight of my friend on the seas. It was early March with no sightings of the ship, and I thought I'd never get a reply from my letters. I didn't care whether my friends and family knew if I was okay over here, but I did want information on my mothers whereabouts. Not having the distraction of whores filling every dreaming moment, taunting me and dripping their blood, my sweat on my mind and bed. I lost hope of seeing John again.
Then a week later, whilst fixing a particularly damaged rigging in the dry dock his ship sailed in. I climbed down as fast as the tangles would allow me and jumped onto the sand. I ran up the jetty ladder and could have hugged him. I suppose he was the closest thing I could call a friend. I obviously wasn't the friendly sort.
"Come here you old sea-dog! What took you so long!"
"Well, if we go to the nearest pub I'll tell you it all - and give you the bloody bunch of letters they piled on me... that girl was insistant that I took them all." He pulled a thick wad of paper from his coat pocket. There had to be about five fairly long letters there. "One of them's from your father and the other ones are from the girl."
"Thanks so much mate. So can I get you a beer?"
"Sounds a plan."
"So why exactly were you so bloody long?"
"Well, we got to Louisiana ok, but when we got there..."
What had happened was the captain has disappeared when they reached the port and never returned. It was a search that didn't even find a body and then another search for someone who could bring together the remainders of the crew to head back with the very late cargo.
That man was Dimitri. I never learned his last name. I suppose I never asked. He's quite an important figure in my early vampyric life, and much later as well. i should have known it. Last names weren't really important though.
But I didn't know any of this yet.
When I returned from the pub, a pint and a half of dark ale sloshing comfortably in my stomach I pulled the bundle of letters from my jacket and slinged them on the dresser.
I slept the sudden wet sleep of a drunk, although I know that the alcohol I'd had was not nearly enough to alter me. I think I was just tired and full.
I awoke to find John laying across my legs, giving them a dead feeling. When I managed to get the blood flowing through them again I kicked him off.
We were given a talking to by the wife of my landlord for waking their son when we came home although I can't remember being loud. I remember John singing this tune he'd heard in Louisiana when he'd been there. I'd never heard it before.
I apologised and asked how many breakfasts I had left on my rent this month. She usually allowed as many breakfasts as the abacus on their kitchen top allowed, which was fifteen.
It's odd to think in modern days of women being unintelligent creatures. Well, they were intelligent, if uneducated.
She came back and showed me seven fingers.
"That's seven Leah."
"Well, if you both have breakfast how many are left?"
"You take away two and you have five."
"OK!" I knew she'd never remember it. She wasn't the sort to defer from her trusty abacus. What I liked about that was sometimes she'd forget to move a bead over and it was an extra breakfast that month.
She disappeared again and John and I went back to my room in her house. I think the place suited me. Plus it was cheap. I was more than ok about that.