Speed Dating With The Dead
Julie and I decided to close out Vampire Week with a short story we wrote together. We hope you enjoyed Vampire week!
I always liked a bad boy. But when bad went to worse, and worse still, until bad plunged straight into Hades, I made a decision.
Go straight to Hades to start with. Start with the guys that would literally bleed me dry, and I would have nowhere to go but up.
Happy to be back in the game, I cruised into the posh hotel lobby like a Mercedes of women. The lights twinkled off of my gray glittery dress, making me a showroom piece. My chocolate brown hair was piled high on top on my head in a twist for three reasons:
1. To display my new red streak of hair at the nape of my neck.
2. To frame my face perfectly with curling tendrils.
3. To make every pulse in my neck visible to the many…men…I would be meeting.
My friends and especially my family always had something to say about my taste in men, and none of it was ever complimentary. He doesn’t treat you right, when is he ever going to grow up, is ever going to get a job? Their words bounced around needlessly in my head. They’d faint if they knew what I was up to tonight. For that reason, I was working alone.
A quiet looking guy in a sweater vest handed me my tag, number sixteen, and I sat down, waiting for the festivities to begin. The chair was a supple, soft leather, high backed, giving a bit of privacy at the cafe table.
Privacy was needed. There were at least twenty five other people here, all looking at anything but each other.
Quiet sweater vest guy tinkled a little bell, and everyone else just seemed to know what to do. I realized they probably did. The people here hadn’t come because they’d had an easy time finding a soul mate.
Who knows how many lovers a vampire needs to go through to find the one?
Bachelor number one slid into the stool on the other side of my table. He wore a confident half smirk which would have normally been off putting if it wasn’t totally overshadowed by his outfit. He was actually wearing a frilly high necked white shirt and a velvet cape. I shit you not. He leaned down, taking my hand as I sat in stunned disbelief and kissed it, his sandy blonde hair falling on my wrist. He then reached into his cape (it must have had pockets) and produced a red rose, which he handed to me as if it were The Hope Diamond.
“For the lady,” he announced.
Oh, this was going to be a long night.
My eyebrow arched in disbelief and I couldn’t stop it. “My Lord,” I said, giving the fool the once over.
“What is milady’s name?” he asked, waving his hand like a god damned magician. Everything he said was in an Ed McMahon style announcer voice.
“Zoe. And you are….”
“I am known by many names. Zephron. Calmix–”
“Okay,” I had to stop him. “What do you do?” I winced, already regretting asking.
“I am in IT support for a major corporation. I’d tell you which one, but I’d have to kill you.” He winked at me. Ugh. “I’m on the night shift.”
Wasn’t he just full of ’em.
“And you…must be a model.” So he was that guy when he was alive.
“I’m a CFO…of a minor corporation.”
He grinned. “Stunning and witty as well? I could sit here until dawn,” he said leaning in. He smelled like Polo.
“Until we meet again–”
“Milady, yeah, yeah.”
I had exactly thirty seconds to catch my breath before my next customer sat his dead ass in the bar stool. My certainty of this plan was dwindling quick. What the hell had I thought I was going to find at a Vampire Speed Dating Service? Edward was already taken.
My second suitor swooshed in quickly and was staring at me hard. His eyes glowed with a barely bridled viciousness. His upper body was hunched over the table inhumanely, as if he was ready to pounce. He was a feral thing, not of this world, no trace of humanity about him. Head cocking side to side, sizing me up, he grumbled, “And you are?”
Anger and need hit me like a heatwave, and I coiled back, pressing desperately into the leather chair.
“Zoe,” I choked out. Fear rose in the form of bile in to my mouth. I was the mouse and he was the cobra. There was nowhere for me to turn.
His words punched me with their undercurrent of evil. “I have been looking for you. Only you. I could smell your heat miles away.”
“I think you’d better go,” I whispered.
Ferocious fangs gleamed in a cheshire smile that would never stop haunting my nightmares. I pulled my dress down to try to cover the goosebumps.
“I could kill you and nobody would ever see it happen. Your blood would taste better than the finest wine. And I will have it,” he spat, and was pinning me to the chair by both my wrists. I squealed and squirmed, but nobody seemed to notice. He buried his face in my neck and…
That was when door number tree opened.
“Buddy, didn’t you hear the bell? Time’s up.” My knight in shining….Oh, I didn’t even care what he was wearing…hissed at Dracula. As quickly as he had pinned me down, he was off of me and on to poor unsuspecting number seventeen.
My hero, as this man would forever be known, settled into the stool. He ran his hands through his dark hair and looked around the room before addressing me.
“This place is full of assholes.” He finally said, half apologetically, half in disgust.
I burst out laughing. “Yeah. So far I’m batting a thousand.”
God, this one was gorgeous. The shaggy hair that fell perfectly into place, the olive skin that hinted of some exotic upbringing, the black jacket and shirt that barely disguised a well chiseled physique. Whatever he had to say, I was listening.
What were you hoping for, coming here tonight, Zoe?” He caught me off guard, using my name. I hadn’t told him, but then again, I had no idea how long he’d been standing there, witnessing the last attack.
What did I want? It was a good question.
“If you were looking for danger, you found it and it didn’t suit you. You need someone who can take care of you.”
I scoffed. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
“Not like that,” Bachelor number three continued. “You are a beautiful woman, and I know just by watching you, you are smart and successful.” He leaned in, smelling spicy and unusual, in an enticing way. “You need someone who compliments you in every way. A worthy adversary.”
“And you think you’re that guy.”
“I would like a chance to show you that I think I am.”
I always did like a challenge.