My neighbors are vampires. Calista still couldn’t get over the news announced to her at the karaoke bar. She really thought a prank was being played on her; but seeing the strange plasma substance, and the serious looks on the faces of the men she spoke to made her feel otherwise. Are they telling the truth?
She returned home later that evening, dragging her feet and wondering if she still wanted to live in Forgotten Hollow; she wasn’t paying attention to where she was walking, and she almost bumped into someone. Calista looked up and noticed a lovely young lady with a striking sense of fashion. “Oh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you there,” exclaimed Calista apologetically. The woman smiled mysteriously. “No need to apologize, darling. I wasn’t really watching where I was going either. Say, you aren’t from around here, are you?” she questioned curiously. Calista shook her head. “Only recently. I moved into the area not long ago. Are you from Forgotten Hollow?” she asked, as the lady nodded. She pointed to a house directly next to Calista’s, and Calista tried not to gulp too loudly when she realized who this woman could potentially be. The woman observed Calista’s face carefully and smiled again. “Oh, wait! You must be my neighbor! I’ve been dying to meet you, I heard you write about fashion! Please, come inside, I’d like you to meet someone,” she insisted.
Calista flinched and smiled forcefully, unsure how to decline the proposal. This woman is a vampire, isn’t she? Does she want to drink from me? She hesitated, but her mind couldn’t think fast enough to save her. Calista found no way out of the situation: she followed the woman into her creepy, tall home.
As they entered the house – and Calista’s mind was racing, hoping to find a way to escape – the woman explained that her name was Lilith Vatore, and that she had lived in the area for quite some time, and knew Calista’s relative who owned her house previously. “And this is my brother, Caleb Vatore,” continued Lilith as she showed Calista into the main living room. Calista’s eyes stopped on a handsome, dashing young man who was sitting on a chair, and who immediately stood up when the two women entered the room. He waltzed over to Calista and kissed her hand. “And who do I have the pleasure of meeting this evening, Lilith?” he asked, his voice smoother than velvet. Calista felt her body melt and was forgetting about her plans to escape.
She took a deep breath. “I am Calista Romero, and I am your neighbor,” she said softly, hoping she didn’t sound too girly or childish. There was an aura around Caleb that made her body weak, and she wondered if it was because he was a vampire, or just because he was drop-dead gorgeous. He flashed a daring smile and wiped some hair from his forehead. “Ah, the fashionista. My sister has been obsessed with your blog and knew of your name, but we had no idea what you looked like. It’s nice to finally meet you, Calista,” he breathed, and Calista needed to sit down before her knees gave out.
She attempted to smile politely, but knew she looked hideous and exhausted. “I didn’t realize I was so famous already,” she giggled, and Caleb’s grin made her unbelievably faint. As if he read her mind, he led her to one of the couches to sit. “Please, do tell me all about yourself. My sister and I very much like to get to know our neighbors. We’re friendly, no matter what the rumors may say,” he commented, and Calista tried not to frown, suddenly being brought back to reality. He is a vampire, Calista. Be careful.
“You have no need to fear me, or my sister,” started Caleb suddenly, making Calista wonder if she gave off a scared vibe. He shook his head. “Clearly, you arrived here knowing more about us than we know about you. Give us the benefit of the doubt, and we might surprise you,” he continued. Calista gulped. Can he read my mind? Caleb nodded, and Calista instantly gasped. “I can read certain thoughts and I can sense certain things, yes. I can tell that you’re fearful and weary of me, and I knew when you walked in here that you were aware of what I am. Of what my sister is. Yes, Calista, we are vampires,” he stated calmly. Calista dared to look at Caleb and was shocked to find that she was still impressed with him, and though she was afraid, there was something about him that brought reassurance to her mind as she stared into his eyes. “Lilith and I do not feed on humans, you see. Nor do we drink animals. We’re those vampires that only drink and eat plasma fruit. Basically vampire vegans, if you will. We never drink from humans and we never will. So therefore, you have nothing to fear from us,” he explained, and Calista understood why Caleb wasn’t threatening or terrifying. He wasn’t evil.
From then on, Calista revealed a little bit about herself. She detailed the area where she came from – though not the name of the town – and some information about her childhood. She talked about her schooling, her family and her passions, and what brought her to be a fashion blogger. Lilith showed her her enormous closet – Calista was floored – and gave her tips on the vampire fashion scene, which was completely different from the human’s; and though Calista wasn’t sure she could use any of the information in her blog, it was surely interesting and relevant.
She left the Vatore home a few hours later, her curiosity somewhat satisfied but with a strange void in her heart: she knew she would miss chatting with Lilith and sitting close to Caleb, feeling his body beside hers. It was a strange feeling of needing, almost of desire; Calista didn’t want to leave their house, yet she knew she had to go home and get some rest. She wasn’t a vampire, and she needed to be awake during the daylight hours.
Calista woke up late the next morning; she didn’t feel refreshed or awake, and instead felt even more exhausted and confused than the night before. Her dreams were so vivid and adventurous that she wondered if she even slept at all. Images of Caleb Vatore haunted her mind and she couldn’t get him out of her head, no matter how hard she tried. Why am I so obsessed with him? Why can’t I get over him? she wondered, as she made her bed and prepared for her day.
She showered, ate breakfast and went straight to her computer to type up some paragraphs for a juicy blog post. But she kept getting interrupted by her thoughts of Caleb, and other random ideas that came into her head. In the middle of the afternoon, she found herself thinking of ice cream and needing to satisfy her craving – which she usually never had.
As she prepared her ice cream, Calista tried to shake herself. What is wrong with me? she asked internally. She had never become so quickly infatuated with anyone in her entire life. She didn’t believe in love at first sight, nor did she easily crush on men; she was extremely independent and wasn’t one to seek out relationships or even affection, for that matter.
So why the hell can’t I get Caleb Vatore out of my head? she wondered, as she moved on to make coffee also, needing a jolt of caffeine. Why do I see his face, gleaming and glowing as he looks at me? Why do I see his beautiful body walking towards me, reaching out a hand, twirling me around in a crazy dance? Why do I feel his breath on my neck while we waltz? She suddenly thought that maybe he had put some sort of spell on her; she had no idea if vampires had powers of that sort, but she couldn’t rule out the possibility. After all, he was able to read her thoughts and sense her feelings…
So who was to say he didn’t make Calista become obsessed with him?
Enough was enough. Calista slammed the coffee pot back into its machine, spritzed some perfume on and grabbed her purse; she was going out to explore the town, in order to rid her mind of the incessant visions of Caleb. She didn’t want to know just how far her imagination could take her with this man – vampire – that she didn’t even truly know.
A few hours later, as the sun was setting, Calista was merrily walking around towards the edges of Windenburg when she heard a quiet whistle and some noise behind her. She turned, and gasped: Caleb Vatore was standing right there, his beautiful eyes and perfect face just the way Calista had remembered them. “What brings you around here?” she questioned as she approached the vampire, attempting to remain cool and collected. She knew Caleb could see right through her act, but she tried nonetheless. He smiled. “There is a really nice bar not far from here, and I love to go there from time to time. Would you care to join me? You seem like you need a drink,” he replied simply, with a voice that blew Calista’s mind away. She nodded before she even had time to think of an answer.
The bar was a quaint and neighborhood-like joint, full of life and music. It was overly crowded, yet Caleb had two reserved spots at the bar – making Calista suspicious about his intentions. Did he know he would find me? Or did he just know he’d be bringing someone with him to the bar? She shook herself, remembering that Caleb could read her thoughts.
“I will never intrude in on your thoughts without permission, Calista. I did last night only to confirm your suspicions about me, and let me invade only once more now to tell you that I did not plan this. I actually was supposed to bring my sister here tonight, but she bailed on me last minute and I forgot to call the bar to let them know,” he specified softly. Calista could barely hear him over the sound of the music and the chattering, but she nodded, acknowledging his words.
Calista ordered a glass of red wine, and then looked over at Caleb, curious at what his drink order would be. He surprised her by ordering the same wine. “I didn’t think you drank alcohol, Caleb,” she spoke as the bartender poured their beverages. Caleb giggled. “Oh, it doesn’t do anything to satisfy my hunger, unfortunately. I drink it strictly for its delicate taste. Only red wine or cocktails based off of plasma juice, that is,” he detailed as Calista nodded. Caleb was so intriguing to her, and so was his life as a vampire. It was hard to remember who – or what – he was when speaking to him, and it confused Calista easily as she took her first sip of wine.
They shared memories, anecdotes, stories and jokes, entertaining each other as they drank together. Caleb explained a little more about his lifestyle – and how difficult it was to adjust to it. “My sister and I were turned a very long time ago. We don’t turn others, but we are always around for moral support for the new vampires in our community. Lilith is a little more social than I am, but we’re both similarly oriented towards helping others. That’s how some of the inhabitants here know what we are; we don’t like to lie, though we won’t publicize it,” he clarified, as they both started their second glass of wine. Calista was truly fascinated by her neighbors and wanted to know even more.
Throughout the evening, she heard whispers and banters from some of the people in the bar. Some pointed fingers, others hid and gossipped, likely referring to Caleb and now, to Calista. Am I making myself look bad by talking to this guy? Could this ruin my new reputation as a fashion blogger? Calista was unsure that her attraction to Caleb would be good for her career, as it seemed to warrant a lot of attention – and not the good kind.
She then remembered that not everyone knew her face just yet; and Windenburg wasn’t really a part of town that she had thoroughly explored for fashion information yet. Maybe I’ll go unnoticed. Maybe no one knows who I am, she hoped. She continued to drink her wine, and feigned interest in what Caleb was talking about, but her heart and spirit were no longer in the conversation. She had always known that sometimes, making friends would be a good way to get connections in the fashion business; but some friends weren’t worth making and could ruin a career before it was even built.
Calista gulped, breathed in and smiled, pretending to have a good time.
Without a word, Caleb suddenly got up and walked away from the bar. It took a moment for Calista to understand what happened, but she eventually got up and followed him. “What’s wrong?” she asked simply, as Caleb frowned at her. Even with an upset face, he still looked like the handsome prince any woman would be waiting for. “You’re embarrassed by me, Calista. And you’re scared, still. I can tell. I don’t need to read your mind to know that you really don’t want to be here,” he said quietly. His tone was so disappointed that it almost made Calista want to cry. Have I offended him, or hurt him? She felt awful.
“Oh Caleb, no, it isn’t that at all. I’m just a little distracted tonight,” she lied, hoping he wouldn’t realize that he actually knew exactly how she was feeling. Calista gulped loudly.
He paused, and frowned deeper. “There’s no fooling me, Calista. I cannot be lied to. I know that you’re ashamed and afraid. Being friends with a vampire is not going to destroy you, on the contrary,” he started, as Calista looked around herself nervously. No one seemed to be paying attention to them now, and she wondered if maybe she was being paranoid earlier, thinking everyone was pointing at them. “I’m not ashamed, Caleb. It’s just weird, that’s all. This is new to me, okay? Before you and your sister, I’d never even met a vampire, nor did I know that they even existed,” she replied, realizing it was no use hiding her real emotions.
Caleb closed his eyes and nodded. “I see. You’re not ready. Come find me when you are,” he whispered, and within an instant he was gone.
Just like that? wondered Calista, blinking, looking around and trying to find Caleb.
Find him when I’m ready? Ready for what? Calista was beyond confused and now, she was completely alone in an overcrowded bar. She tried to return to her seat, but it was now taken by a few people dressed in bear costumes. She looked around and realized that everyone was wearing a bear costume.
Bears? In a bar? What the hell is happening? she panicked, as she snatched her purse from under the bar and looked around for an escape route. She wondered if it was some kind of trick from Caleb; if he used a diversion with bear costumes to get out of the bar before Calista could run after him; or if it was another spell, another form of special powers that he may or may not have and may or may not be using against Calista.
Ready for what? questioned Calista, feeling faint. I need to get out of this bar.
She finally saw an opening in the crowd and immediately took it; she turned back to see that there were other normal people in the bar still, but the majority had magically changed into bear costumes. She was beyond weirded out and ran, faster than she ever had, promising herself to never visit this bar again. Whether Caleb did place a spell on it – or her – or it was just full of weird, furry obsessed weirdos, Calista wanted to stay as far away from it as possible.
And she needed to figure out the meaning of Caleb’s last words.
When she arrived home, Calista went straight to her shower, to wash away the craziness of the night. But no matter how hard she tried, the images of the bears and the sound of Caleb’s words wouldn’t leave her head. “You’re not ready. Come find me when you are.”
She jumped out of her shower and put her clothes back on, her hair dripping wet on the tile and her body freezing from the water.
“What the HELL did you mean, Caleb? Can you hear me now? Can you read my thoughts now? Tell me: when I’m ready for what?” she squealed at herself in her mirror, as if somehow expecting it to respond.
She stormed upstairs to her bedroom and fell onto her bed. Meeting Caleb was more than she could handle at the moment, and she wished she had never bumped into Lilith the night before. My life didn’t need this kind of excitement. I’m just a fashionista.