“Beef miso soup with medium noodles and lots of flavour, please!” I order happily and plonk myself onto the stool at the front. Drake sits beside me.
“You, sir?” The cook asks. I love the small ness of this place.
“Urh, what he’s having.” Drake says simply.
“Sure.” The cook starts our meals in front of us, the cooking equipment sizzling and bubbling with ours and others orders. “Two beef miso coming right up!”
Service is fast and Yatagoratsu. Within two minutes our food is put in front of, steaming. I break a pair of chopsticks and dig in.
“Mm-mm-mm~!” I sound, my stomach at last ecstatic with this brilliant meal. Drake smiles at me, chuckling at my happiness.
He looks seriously at me now, though. “Now, tell me why you were late. I know you, you’re never late. You can’t afford to be.”
I stare at Drake dumbly, noodles hanging gracelessly out of my mouth. I slurp it quickly. “What do you mean?”
Drake rolls his eyes. “I mean, something’s going on. Just tell me what.”
Realization seeps into my mind slowly, He wants to know about Renir. The vampire. I groan and bore my eyes into the bowl before me. Should I tell him everything, or lie through my teeth and deny that anything happened?
“Nothing happened, really.” I start tentatively, “I’ve just…thoughtI’dgetkilledbysomeonewho’snowlivinginmyhouse.”
“You what? I didn’t get any of that.”
That’s the whole point, I plead in my head. I opt for an acceptable answer-or so I think. “There’s someone living in my house.” Maybe I should just top myself right now.
Drake ponders for a second. “Who is it? Is it Lill?” He asks finally, but is WAY off the mark.
“N-no.” What the hell am I saying?! I could so easily put this all behind me if I say it’s Lillian. I am such an idiot. “His name’s Renir.”
The man beside me doesn’t look amused. “Does that explain why you were late?” Does he think I’m gay?!
“What? No way. It’s only temporary, anyway. He works nights.” Now I’m sticking up for a vampire. Maybe I am insane.
“Does he contribute to the rent?” demands Drake, clearly unhappy. “Is he nice?” His voice becomes darker, “Is he threatening you?”
“No!” I protest, pushing him away a little. “He’s not threatening me!”
“He’s only been one night.” I mumble. I don’t actually know if he has money to pay for anything. Maybe he sponged off those women he lived with before.
“One night? Do you even know him?”
“Of course I do. Do you really think I’d let some guy live with me just because he asks?” I am so going to regret this conversation, I just know-
“-I want to meet him.” Drake state, folding his arms and leaning on the back of his seat.
My face drops. “You want to meet Renir?”
Drake nods defiantly. “Since this Renir is living in your house with you, I want to meet him.”
What have I done? Why did it have to be me? I’m such a major idiot. I can’t stop my brain from pummeling itself in my head on the drive back to my place. I tell Drake that I’ll see when Renir’s free from work.
“Like I told you, I’ll call you when he’s free.” I protest against Drake. I get out of the car, feeling the cold air hit me, full on. “AIEEE!” I squeal, shuddering.
Drake gets out, but I don’t plan on letting him into my home, not today. He thinks differently, however. “Well, there’s a light on up there. I thought you said he works nights?” Drake eyes me, scrutinizing.
“He does,” I say quickly, “He just usually sets off at…” Shit. I don’t know the time right now. I sneak a glance at my watch. I four forty-four. “He sets off at ten to. Five, that is.”
My friend looks fairly defeated. “Fine,” He says, exasperated. “Call me when you can.” He gets back into his car and leaves me in the freezing air. It’s so obvious that he’s not happy with me, but to be truthful, I’m just relieved that I pulled it off.
My teeth chatter whilst I cart myself up the stairs to my apartment. Like Drake had said, there is a light in the window. There’s no working elevator in the block, and my apartment is on the seventh floor, so I’m pretty much dying by the time I reach the front door. I open it, panting, to be greeted with a massive bear hug from you-know-who.
“Gerrorf!” I manage to blurt out as I get lifted from the ground and twirled into my home.
“Welcome back.” I can feel Renir smirking into my hair.
Renir’s warm. A comfy warm. Sanity leaves me for a second as my teeth stop chattering because of this unexpected greeting. It floods back, thankfully, and I protest again for him to let me down. “Put me down, you idiot!” I hate being so little. “Put me down!”
“Let me hold you just a little longer.” Renir smiles. He likes teasing me like, this, I can tell.
I struggle against him and he finally lets me go. I glare at him. “I said no touching. That means no hugging.”
The vampire just smirks. “But you’re so little and easy to hold. It’s cute.”
I could just punch him because of what he said right now. But I’m a useless fighter, and he would probably be able to break every bone in my body without breaking a sweat. For my won safety, I start on a different topic.
“The fan heater’s on.” I say, surprised with the amount of thanks in my voice. There’s no central heating in the block, so I’ve had to fork out for a heater to keep me from freezing.
Renir nods but is still smirking at me as I park myself near the heater. “I made dinner, too.”
“Really?” Maybe having him around isn’t so bad after all.
Renir seems proud of himself. “I went outside and got food, since there’s almost nothing in your fridge. Macaroni cheese.”
I love macaroni cheese. Absolutely adore it. In all honesty, I’m still full from the miso soup, but I think it’s good to be polite. Especially when food’s involved. “Sounds great.” I say, smiling at the vampire for the first time today.
He fetches me a plate, and it smells divine. My stomach immediately forces itself to make room as I gulp it down. Renir watches me as I eat. He seems as though he’s working up to something. “What is it?” I ask after my last forkful and take my plate to the sink. “Is there something on my face, or something?”
“No, no.” The vampire replies, shaking his head of black hair. He doesn’t say anything else, but turns on the tiny TV I own and sits on my still unmade bed. It’s still a futon, not a sofa, but Renir doesn’t seem to mind as he relaxes.
“There’s a chair right there.” I say, pointing at the bedraggled armchair I swiped from a tip. It doesn’t smell anymore-thankfully-but…it was from a tip.
“Can’t see telly.” H reasons and looks at me. “You need to get satellite. The terrestrial shows are a bit...well, rubbish. Except a few. I rather like Loose Women and Paul O’Grady show.” He sniggers. “He likes the same shows as my mother. “Oh yeah, someone called…What was it? Hale. Nathan Hale called.”
“Mmm, what’d he want?” I ask, fixing myself a drink. “You want anything?”
Renir declines, “No thanks,” and changes the channel. “Anyway, not a lot. Just said that you’d better get some sort of story or you’re fired.”
How could he take my career so lightly? “What? Is that it?” I ask. He nods. “That’s it? That’s my career! I admit, not a great one, and I suck at it, but I need the money!” I calm down and take a sip of water. “Crap,” I hiss. “What the hell am I going to do? There’s nothing going on around here.” I sigh and take a seat on the armchair. “And I missed the last press conference by a few minutes.”
Resting my head on the back of the chair, I look at Renir out of the corner of my eye. He’s watching me again. He stretches out on the futon. My futon. His hair isn’t tied up now, so it sprawls behind him. I think he deliberately tries to make me uncomfortable. But at least he’s not kissing me anymore. That bear hug was unexpected though, and he was warm. I shake my head to blot thoughts from my mind. Renir smirks at me as if he knows what’s going on the vacuous space that once was my brain.
The clock on the wall clicks onto seven. Since it’s almost winter, the sun has already gone below the horizon and night has claimed the town. Renir stands and puts on a long black coat before opening the front door. He pauses and kisses me swiftly on the cheek, me protesting loudly. He just smiles and waltzes into the night say, “Don’t wait up for me.”
My face is bright red when he leaves. “Stupid bloody idiot.” I mutter and heave myself out of the chair. I decide to make my futon acceptable and sort it out, with the One Show blaring out. “I should kick him out.” I tell myself. But if I did, then he would probably drain me of blood and leave me on some other warehouse floor. Either that or murder me on the spot. To be honest, I don’t fancy either consequence, so stay Renir shall have to!
I want some hot chocolate. Why do I have a choccy craving now? I’m not entirely sure I have any so I traipse through the cupboards until I eventually find a sachet. “Yay!2 I cheer triumphantly, the spot the best before date. The sachet’s about two months overdue. Ooh. I flap for a minute, wanting hot chocolate, but not wanting some weird fungi in my mug. Eventually I make up my mind and pour it into a mug and stick the kettle on. I use this time, since it’s a super-slow, crappy kettle, to get changed to my pajamas. The kettle clicks off and I waddle over in a pair of cookie monster slippers. “I made my hot chocolate! The world is happy!” I slurp as I curl up inside my sofabed and watch whatever nonsense is on telly.