We were moving. It was impossible! I just got used to being here. Everything was going right... then, boom, it all changes. I told Lee and the others. I understood, it is the vampire way to move, like nomads, moving when food runs low.
Mandy was devastated. I gave her a big hug. I told Lee to be really nice to her for me. I gave him the number for the place where I was moving and I told him I'd call him when I got there. We moved a week later. Not even out of the state, just out of the city, so no one would recognize us, for another sixteen years or so. I did as I promised, and called Lee once we were settled in. We talked awhile before I brought up the topic of what would happen to our relationship. I told him I didn't want to hold him back and that we should try friendship. I didn't mention that I knew that Sarah would jump on this opportunity.
After that I called Lee once a week and told him how school was. I made a few friends, but no vampires were among them. Lee told me that Mandy hadn't been doing well since I left. She had been moping and separating herself from the group, and of course, Sarah wasn't being a big help. After that, I made a point of calling her every few days.
Eventually, as expected, Sarah took over Lee's social calendar. Every week, I would hear about how she as trying to control him. He wanted to tell her that she needed to leave him alone, but he was too kind of a person to do that. The worst thing of all was that Sarah was doing everything in her power to keep Lee away from Mandy. Lee told me that he did talk to Mandy when he had a chance, but also that that was not often.
It was two months later when I got the worst news of my life. Mandy had committed suicide. I didn't ask for details. I quietly said into the phone that I would be over shortly. I yelled to my mom when I was going and why while I was packing. I finished packing and ran to the bus stop in time to catch the bus twenty minutes later.
When I knocked on the door to the house that I had been to so many times over the years. Suddenly it seemed like the house of a dark stranger. Lee answered the door; in the back I could see Andrea with teary eyes. It was right then that the reality of the situation hit me and similar tears poured out of my own eyes. Lee encompassed me in a hug, and I could feel that he had been crying as well. I came inside drying my eyes.
"Why?" was all that came out of my mouth. Why she would ever want to kill herself, why she would hurt us this much. Lee saw the lost look and the questions in my eyes and squeezed my hands.
"I want you to read something," Lee said. Still holding my hand, he led me to a couch. He sat me down on one end by a table and sat on the other side of me. There was a small leather bound book on the table. I picked it up. "Read it," Lee's voice said in my mind. He sent me warmth, but I could feel the pain behind it.
I opened the book, and I could almost feel hurt pouring out of the book itself. It was Mandy's diary. The first entry was from a year before I met her, right before her test, and read as follows:
I am due for my test to become a true vampire in a few days. I understand that it is my nature to kill. I just can't live it. My nature or my heart; one will have to go. My mom tells me that all animals kill, and we are animals and they are animals. But it is not right. It can't be.
And the next:
I couldn't do it. I spent all night outside, trying to convince myself that it was what I had to do. I couldn't. There are so many similarities between them and I that it seemed as if I would be killing a piece of myself. I sat by a corner store and cried myself to sleep. I woke up this morning and came home. By then my parents knew that I had failed in my quest. They greeted me graciously but I could see the disappointment in their eyes.
Then I flipped some pages ahead and saw my name. I stopped.
I met a new girl at school today her name is Claudia. She is a vampire like my sister, but she seems nice enough. She doesn't think I am a disgrace like Sarah does. She and Lee are the first vampire friends I have had. Sarah seems to think that to impress these people she has to act horrible to me. She told me today that I shouldn't hang out with vampires since I am just a reject. I think it is up to Claudia. If she wants to be my friend (and I hope she does) then I will stick around. If she does not, I won't bother Sarah and her new friends.
I flipped through a few more pages to the next to last page. I began to read, this time whispering the words,
I don't know what I can do, Claudia is moving. She was my only friend. Sarah says that she is moving because of me, because I am a disgrace. It seems more real now, what a failure I am if I can chase even a wonderful person such as Claudia away.
"Oh God.." I whispered aloud and began to read the last entry.
I can't live like this anymore.
Vampires shun me, and humans could never understand me. My own sister has disowned me. Claudia moved away and Sarah leaves Lee
no time for anyone else, and my parents are of no comfort either. I can't live like this, not really any definable one or thing. I have gone months now without defiling a human by drinking from him. So now I leave this Earth in hopes of someplace where I am accepted.
There were bloodstains on that page, and seeing them, I began to cry anew. Lee took me in his arms and held me for a minute. When I looked up, both Andrea and Lee were looking at me.
" It wasn't your fault you know.." Lee said, but I wasn't sure he meant it. "If it wasn't for Sarah, none of this would have happened." I looked at Andrea, and she was staring at me as if she could see through my soul. I excused myself to go to the restroom nearby. I washed my face and began to walk out. When I was back the conversation that had been taking place ended.
"I'm sorry, you can keep talking," I said looking embarrassed.
"Actually," Andrea said in her quiet tone. " I have to go." She let herself out while Lee and I watched.
I turned to Lee questioningly, and he shook his head. "Andrea is very upset, she is trying to place the blame on someone else. I didn't want you to read Mandy's diary to make you feel guilty, I wanted you to read it so that you would understand what a bright point you were in her life. All during the adversity, you were what kept her going on; you were her lighthouse on a foggy night."
I turned to him, " And then I left! If I was such a great friend, why wasn't I there for her?" I cried out. Lee looked down; I sat watching him. "You don't even know for sure that this isn't my fault."
Lee looked up, and I could see the tears streaking his own face again. "I'm sorry," he whispered, "I don't know anything right now." I held him in my arms and let my tears mix with his.
After we had gained a degree of composure, Lee stood up. "The funeral is in a little over an hour, do you have something to wear?" I nodded silently. I stood up and picked up my suitcase. Lee showed me to a guest room upstairs. I closed the door and proceeded to change and get ready for the funeral.
20 minutes later, Lee knocked on the door. "Just a moment," I called. I stepped out of the room in a black dress, with my hair done up, and rather little makeup on, but with little emotion showing, except through my eyes, which were still watery. Lee took my hand and led me downstairs.
The drive to the funeral was silent, yet so many emotions seemed to float through the air: Loss, frustration, and... a twinge of betrayal? I sent a very light probe into Lee's mind, and found a wall, a barrier between his thoughts and I. I sat silently, chastened for my disrespect, and disappointed at the gap between Lee and I.
When we arrived at the funeral, I was amazed at the amount of people. It took a few minutes and a keen ear to realize that the Bloods were using the funeral as nothing more than another social gathering. I wanted to lash out at them, to make them understand what was going on. I instead contented myself with following Lee to a table and looking at the surroundings. It was a beautiful gothic church, the kind in horror movies where the vampire dwells during daylight hours. The irony was not lost on me.
In a corner, talking to some well-known Blood Children, was Sarah. Lee saw her as well, and he frowned. "Come," I said quietly, "Let's pay our respects."