I hate having to pull an Emily.


He doesn't say anything. Dang.

"Daddy, I'm sorry. But we'll all be on our way tomorrow. A – Alright?"

I think I can hear his disbelief.

My mom didn't answer, and considering the fact that she hasn't come to speak to us (my dad's been mute for the last fifteen minutes) I think she's probably not home.

"Um… okay? I love you Daddy. Thanks, Daddy," I say for the third time. He doesn't respond, so I just hang up, but softly. Maybe that'll make a difference.

"What'd he say?" Emily asks nervously.


"I know, but –"

"Nothing. He didn't say anything."

Emily frowns. "Oh." Tell me about it.

"Where's Derek?" I ask vaguely.

"Downstairs, I think." Emily shrugs. Of course she wouldn't know; she never seems to know anything useful. I cover my face and say in a low voice, "Emily, if you were me, would you stay here or go back home?"

"What do you mean?"

"Would you live here with them and be a vampire – or at least age slowly… or not at all – or go back home and live normal?"

She doesn't seem to understand for a moment, but when she does Emily's eyebrows collide and her mouth hangs open.

"What about your friends?" she asks dryly. "And Mom and Dad? And Perce? And," she gulps loudly, "me?"

"I know," I mumble. "I love you guys." My throat starts itching. "I'd never get over it if I just left you all."

Emily starts blinking a lot, a giant tell that she might start crying, and whispers in a scratchy voice, "But don't you w-wanna stay with Derek, too?"

I nod.

"So you stay with him and b-be h-h-happ-py," she starts whimpering at the thought of not having me to fall back on. Aw, jeez.

"I'm already happy with you guys, though," I say tearfully.

"But then you can be reeeally happy," she whines.

"I am really happy!"

The downside to having a twin is the fact that we cry together; it's inherent. While we bawl onto each other senselessly, someone knocks on the door and opens it; it's Shane.

"What's wrong?" he asks, positively alarmed.

Emily blubbers something incomprehensible, crying uncontrollably and triggering an automatic sob in Shane.

"What?" he asks, unable to understand but looking distressed all the same. "What? What?"

Despite his best attempts at comprehension and keeping a straight face, Shane starts to cry. Oh, Lord.

First day back at school. Emily, Bella and I missed the first half-week and are already somehow behind. Our respective friends all greeted us excitedly, buzzing about the little bit of our adventure that they'd heard of, and even though I'm glad to see everybody, my insides hurt and more oft than not, it's clear on my face that I'm not completely happy right now.

"You alright?" Emily asks in a low voice as we walk to class together. I shake my head somberly. "Thinking about him?"

"Yeah," I mutter.

"You can write him when we get home, Purp."

"I know," I admit under my breath. "But I miss him." And I've already got a letter out in the mail right now.

My parents are, while somewhat sympathetic, not hearing my problems. Or at least my dad isn't.

"No car," he says when we get home, "no T.V. No games. No boyfriends – no boyfriends, ever. No shopping. No school!" He turns away, flustered, and shakes his head. "No – school, yes school, no shopping, no hanging out, no car, no boyfriend, no sweets, no dessert, no dinner!"

Emily and I nod in unison, absorbing our punishment. Emily knows that later tonight she'll be climbing from her window. At her own home, Bella's mom is asking how she thought Germany and the Netherlands were; she has no concept of punishment. I cross my arms in frustration, knowing that for the next few months I'll be the only one facing any actual repercussions for our actions.

Because she can't handle any kind of discontent in her children, Mom decides to take on the role of good cop and finds me in my room after our grocery list of consequences was delivered.

"Honey," she pets me while I lie in bed, moaning my loss of privileges and boyfriend. "You have to admit, Daddy didn't really have a choice."

"I know," I moan into the pillow.

"So what's wrong?"

"I miss Derek so much."

Four days ago, when he kissed me on the forehead and asked that I not die on the way back in a plane crash, I never expected to miss him this much. Half of me is gone. It's like walking into the sunlight and not seeing a shadow; going out with a sweater, in a crowd and still feeling naked and alone.

"I can tell," my mom says hopelessly. "I'm sure you'll find a way to see him again." The unavoidable bitterness in her voice screams at me. "Just wait, honey."

Percy finds his own way to make me feel better.

"He's not coming back, is he?" Percy asks me dryly.

"I don't know," I tell him as I lie in bed, still a vegetable.

"Why'd you come back?"

I pull my head from my pillow and scoff. "Because I missed you guys, retard. Why wouldn't I ever come back? You're my family."

"Oh… I thought you'd wanna stay with him."

"I did. But I can't leave you guys behind, you're my family. Same as how he can't leave his family behind."

"He's going to live with his mom, then?"

That sounds more pathetic than I want it to. It only makes me more miserable.

Later at dinner, while I watch my food idly, Percy asks, "Can I live with you and Dad forever?" only to be promptly sent to his room by our father.

And so September wanes, slowly, in a circular scheme of no car, no TV, no dessert, no boys, no friends over, no hanging out, and Emily breaking every single one of these numerous rules. All I have to tell about it is a heavy heart and the consequences of the hardest decision I've ever had to make. Meanwhile, Derek hasn't inked a single note or made a single phone call my way. His poor correspondence skills really irk me.

Emily knocks on my door around eleven, mid-October, when the chills have hit the air.

"Yeah," I say quietly, staring at the ceiling with my hands behind my head.

"Vi," she pokes her head in my room; she's dressed to go out and looks fairly confident. "I'm going out, a'ight?"


"With Cleveland and my crew."


Emily grins and gives me a thumbs-up before shutting the door. She's my sister, and I love her and I wish her well but I want her to die right now because that bitch can see her boyfriend whenever she damn well pleases.


The door pops open again and Emily steps in a second time.

"You don't think any of them followed us back here, right?" she asks anxiously.


"Oh… oh, okay," she shuts the door again.

No matter what I thought a month ago, this is my life and this is what it will always be.

"So… what do you girls plan to do for Halloween?" Mom asks during breakfast.

I shrug and swirl my spoon around the bowl of cereal while Emily shakes her head, a clear sign that she's lying and plans to creep from the window to hang out with her friends unless Mom and Dad cave; then she can use the front door.

"How about coming with me to the Recreational Center and helping out with the Halloween Bash, hmm?"

I wrinkle my nose reflexively.

"What's wrong with that?" Mom asks, her face falling.

"Only losers go to that," I say in a low voice.

"Well you two haven't gone to any parties in two months." Not completely true. "I'm sure the 'losers' have done more than that." Also not true. "Emily? You coming?"

"Hmm? Oh no, Mom – I've… I'm reading that night, sorry. Can't make it."

"You've been reading a lot lately."

"Well, punishment does that."

My mom smiles softly.

"Well you keep that up, alright? It's about time you've picked up a good habit."

Yeah, right.

"Are you coming to Ryan's on Halloween?" Bella asks as we walk to French class together. "This year he said he's going to start changing the water between apple-dunks. About time, too – I mean, what with AIDS and all."

Of course. "Can't. Mom's making me help with the Rec Center."

"Oh," Bella grimaces, "Ew, yucky, ack." We take our seats towards the back of the class and set our things on the desk. "Why's she making you do that?"

"I'm grounded, remember?"

"But Emily's out every night."

"Since when has she been the good kid?"

Bella shrugs and asks, "But you'll catch Lame from those losers at the Rec Center. God, they're so lame, gah," she rolls her eyes and pretends to gag. "The only people who go to the Rec Center are losers and eight-year-olds."

"Tell me about it."

"Pssh… if it was me¸ I'd go out somewhere else anyway. Whatever, though, you can be a wimp of you want. At least you can go out. Hey, you know what you should be dressed as?"


Bella stifles a laugh as she whispers, "A pair of two very good shoes!"

Oh, oh, oh… how clever my friend is.

Indeed, on Friday night, Halloween, I leave my house dressed like a Kandy Korn Witch, the only costume left in Party City when I ran by after school. I'm allowed to drive tonight because my mom managed to soften Dad into some kind of leniency.

"You ready?" I call to Percy at seven. He comes down the stairs with a fake limp and cherry-red blood 'dripping' down his face, dressed as a zombie – I think.

"Uuuuuuuurgh," he moans, confirming my suspicion. Percy slides past me with his arms held out in front of him and a stupid look on his face.

"Let's go," I tell him quickly, ushering him out the front door.

"Percy…want…chicken…nuggets," he grunts as we go to the car.

"Percy eats when we get there," I mutter.

"Percy doesn't like their food."

"Percy will survive."

The drive to the Rec Center is tedious because we pass a Wendy's and Percy starts to moan – then cry – for chicken nuggets, even though he knows I won't get him any. After he throws a tantrum and I shout at him to get in the backseat, we reach the Rec Center and he's let out.

"I hate you!" Percy squeals, slamming the door shut. Little turd.

I climb from the driver's seat and lock the door when someone taps my shoulder; I jump.


I spin to face a tall man in jeans, a t-shirt and a gruesome looking mask on his head that has me making a face and stepping back.

"Derek?" I ask in a low voice. He tilts his head to the side slightly; wistful thinking, I guess. This only makes him creepier, though. "Yes?"

"You got anything sweet?" I frown and grab my things before walking in the opposite direction. What a weirdo, ugh.

Inside, the head honcho, Roxanne (hardcore soccer mom), wants the older volunteers – basically me and two fourteen-year old girls – to help organize games for the younger kids. Being the oldest, she left me in charge of changing the water for the apple-dunk (which makes me very jealous of Bella at Ryan's party, right about now) and handing out hotdogs and Tang.

"Little kids get one hotdog," Roxanne repeats while I unpack a third bag of buns – she likes to say things over and over as if I've forgotten that quickly. "Make sure the adults don't get their fill before the kids do."

I nod and watch her bustle away to annoy the younger volunteers.


I glance up and see the man in the mask again. He holds his hands out, expecting a hotdog.

"Kids first," I say curtly.

"But I'm hungry," he whines.

"Well that's too bad."

"How 'bout givin' me a bite, then," he sticks his tongue through the mouth of the mask. Oh, ew.

"How about growing up?" I ask nastily, handing a little fat kid his third hotdog even though they're supposed to get seconds, tops.

"Can I have my Tang?" a tiny girl asks loudly. I hand her a cup that she immediately slops onto her costume. "It spilt! It spilt! IT SPILT! And my BREAD BROKE!" she screams, waving a broken hotdog bun that couldn't handle the amount of ketchup she drowned it in.

Jesus Christ!

The girl keeps screaming, so I immediately turn from her and hand food to the next child while the mask-man struts away like God's gift to women

Once I'm done feeding the little brats, I have about fifteen minutes of free time. Roxanne reluctantly said that I could rest, but hinted that, if I felt at all impelled, I could help her clean up the mess from those triplets who threw up when they saw the fake skeleton.

Not a chance in Hell.

Now I'm sitting with Robbie, Neville and Percy as they play – I mean duel – with their Yu-Gi-Oh cards.

"…thirteen hundred attack points!" Neville moans dramatically as Robbie's magical swordsman thingy attacks his pretty pony. This game is really not that exciting, I must admit. It seems like tons of fun on television, but, in reality, two nerdy little boys swinging cards at each other and holding them like cigarettes is not that awesome.

"Percy," I drawl, grabbing his arm and leaning against him, "this is so boring."

"No it's not!" he snaps.

"Yes it is! Why don't you guys do anything more exciting?"

Percy rolls his eyes and tries to make it seem like he doesn't really know me, but Neville perks up and drops his cards.

"You wanna do something more exciting?" he asks brightly.

"Yeah – but with the whole group," I add carefully. Neville's grin evaporates. Desperate little bugger.


The masked man jumps me from behind, squeezing my shoulders. I jerk forward and turn around, furious. Even though I can't see his face, I can tell he's smirking.

"Leave me alone!" I hiss. "I have a boyfriend!"

Neville looks affronted and Percy looks downright annoyed as I march away.

"Violet – Violet, help here, there's a –"

"I have eight minutes left!" I say quickly, skirting away from Roxanne as she waves her arms. I hurry towards the door and slide outside.

The chilly air outside makes me grateful for my regained driving privileges. Under the full moon, I walk to the car, eager to sit inside and warm up in front of the heater, when I hear it behind me. Oh, snap. I think someone's following me. My first instinct is to run away and scream, but before I get to that and risk overreacting, which is entirely plausible, I turn around. Rule number one: turn around and make it clear that you've seen your attacker's face. This should dissuade any sensible human being.

Oh, shit!

It's the dude in the mask.

"Ah," I gulp noisily and wave a clumsy hand at him as he keeps up his pace, prompting me to turn right around and click the lock on my dad's car. It beeps from four spots down; the next twenty feet seem like a mile as I rush to my car. As my steps quicken, so do his; my heart rate jumps and I can hear every heavy thud behind my ribcage as I recognize the dangers that could be waiting for me if he gets to my car before I do; rapists, kidnappers, nutcases, and now I can say that it may even be a goddamn werewolf or something like that.

I reach my car. Hallelujah. And he's still far enough behind me. I stretch out for the door handle; as my fingers close around in, half a second passes and there's a fist over mine. My heart stops.

"AAAAARGH! I HAVE MACE!" I shriek stupidly, even though the Mace is inside the car right now and he's pressing against me outside the car. I shove my elbow into his face and try to kick him in his nads, all to keep him from getting closer while his hands grip my sides and I know I'm going to end up being one of those hussies who're judged after being kidnapped and found dead on the side of the interstate. "LEGGGOOOOO!" I cry, biting one of his arms as hard as I can. He doesn't seem at all affected and I even hear him laugh before he reaches up and tears the mask off his face.

Oh, shoot.

"Gimme a kiss."

"No way!" I shout, pulling my face back as far as I can while Derek holds me, trying hard to not hurt me while I push him off. "You asshole!"

"Ah ha," Derek keeps his grip while I keep shoving him, and snorts. "C'mon, this is a 'boo' minute, hmm? I'm back. You know, gimme some sugar kinda thing. Happy Halloween, if I may."

"You're so mean to me," I moan, rubbing my eyes.

"You're so good to me, I know, I know. I don't deserve you, really."

"Why can't you be nice, Derek?" I start sobbing and try holding him back with my hand, but all that gets me is a fistful of his abs, which isn't really helping.

"Why can't you dress like this when we're alone?"

Oh my God.

"Don't kiss me," I say wetly, holding my finger up. "Don't you touch me, you big lug of turds." I slap his hands away and lock the car before walking purposefully, back into the Rec Center, Derek tailing me closely, like some horny dog.

He doesn't touch me – at least I know he'll respect my wishes – but watches me closely while I go around helping for the next hour.

Roxanne has no drop in her constant string of orders. Get the candy wrappers, clean the vomit, get that fat boy another hot dog, make sure he stops choking on that Snickers! No more Tang for the six-year-olds, no more Tang for the ten-year-olds, no more Tang.

At ten o'clock, when this was supposed to end, I'm still mopping up pee. Roxanne has decided to make ten-thirty the real leaving time because these kids, high as little kites from all the candy, won't get the hell out. Even though I'm very annoyed with this overtime, I can relish privately in the fact that Derek hasn't stopped staring since I had to bend over and pick up a cup of spilt Tang. I hate to admit that even though he's a total douchebag, Derek's interest is a bit flattering.

Knowing that I can impress someone who's been alive for seventy years (and pubescent for about forty) is actually extremely flattering.

By eleven fifteen, when Roxanne finally lets me go, I gather Percy, Robbie and Neville (both of their mothers love leaving them in my care for some strange reason) and head outside. Derek stands outside where my car had been parked; it's been replaced by a black Cadillac, which is a far cry from my dad's white Jaguar.

"Where's my car?" I ask nervously.


"No, it's not, I –" I reach into my pocket to get my keys; dang. Derek holds them up lazily. "That's stealing!"

"Big deal."

Percy, Robbie and Neville all have their gay little boygasms and hop into the backseat while Derek tries to kiss me. I sidestep him and get into the passenger seat.

"When did you get back?" Percy asks importantly; he feels very special because Derek's dating his sister and not Robbie's or Neville's.

"This morning," Derek says lightly.

"Did you ride a plane?" Robbie asks.

"I rode a flying dragon in exchange for prostituting my hot redheaded ass across all of Poland."

The boys all go, "Ahhh," in unison.

"And why'd you come back?" Neville asks.

"To give my baby a huge French fry," Derek laughs at this, making the three in the back laugh, too, even though they have no clue what he just said. I frown and cross my arms in the passenger seat.

I hate boys.

"Just go to sleep then!" I say crossly, shutting Percy's door at last. I can hear him calling me a butthead through the door as I walk over to my own; he wanted to stay up late and play with Derek, and couldn't get the hint I dropped when I mentioned that Derek is my boyfriend, not his playmate. My mom and dad are both still out and probably won't be back for a while; they left the county to visit my aunt, who lives about two hours away. Emily's room is empty, as I expected, so I told Derek that if he insisted upon spending the night he might as well sleep in there because I don't want him near me.

His prank really bothered me. Most boyfriends say 'boo,' they don't pretend to be rapists.

Naturally, Derek didn't listen.

"You're so annoying." Derek smirks at my scoffing and stretches out across my bed lazily. "You wanna be helpful?"

"Not really," he mumbles, shutting his eyes. "I prefer to watch you suffer. Then gag on your own guts."

"Is that so? Well I guess I can just go in the bathroom and try reaching the zipper on my own, then." His swift response is more than I could have asked for. I let him put his hands on my back and push my hair out of the way so he can get his fingers on the zipper. While he drags it down, slower than is necessary, I can tell – he's trying to savor this, I suppose – and can see his stupefied face in the mirror. I want to laugh.

"Thanks," I mumble, moving from the bed. As I shake my arm from the costume, Derek's back stiffens very visibly and he looks at the window. "What is it?" He ignores me, prompting a reflexive tooth-sucking on my part that, I'll admit, is uncalled for. "Are you sure you're not just being paranoid, there's noth –"



My window smashes open and a furry boy lands on my bedroom floor, wailing.

"Jack!" I gasp loudly and try to pull the zipper on my costume up again while Jack sputters on the floor, moaning.

"Baba! Baba! Baba!"

"What?" I ask hopelessly.

When Derek gets to his feet a ball flies through the broken glass and rolls to me. Jack and I both look up. Oh, God, I wanna throw up.

The pallid, dirty head of Momma, Jack's caretaker, stops in front of me. I jump back, yelping, while Jack breaks out into a fit of tears, unable to control the flow of water bursting from his eyes and nose.

"Get up!" Derek snaps at us crossly. "Get up!"

I want to comfort Jack, but right now my hands won't stop shaking and I can't stop staring at the ground because if I look up I'll see Momma, who seems to have some peanut soup dripping from the side of her mouth.

"Momma! Momma! Momma!"

"GET UP, YOU FILTHY LITTLE PUPPY!" Derek roars, grabbing Jack by the collar and heading towards the window. "Stop crying and go bring your dad h –" he stops and glances out the window; half a second passes before a massive dog hurtles into my bedroom. I duck instinctively to avoid the barrage of feet, glass and claws that swing around on the floor.

Derek fell on impact with the dog, but Jack was chucked across the room.

"Derek!" I call, shaking my head and looking up. The dust in my room clears while some sound like slurping resounds off the wall. To my right, Jack shivers and whimpers with his hands over his head. "D-Derek?"

Something wet touches my ankle and makes me jump. As I look up in the clearing air, I see a humongous animal, like some monstrous dog with a sickeningly elongated face and tongue. On the other side of the room lies Derek, coughing and bleeding profusely, spitting blood. I can't tell from where most of the blood on him is coming from, though. Next to me, Jack wails and keeps his face covered.

"I's not meant to!" Jack cries when the dog turns to him. "Is a mistake! Mistake! Violeeeeeeeet!" Jack screams when the dog takes his wrist and starts to drag him to the window.

"Jack!" I jump from where I lay and try to grab Jack's whimpering hand, but Derek takes my leg and pulls me away. "Hey!" I try to push Derek off, but I may as well be holding a conversation with a brick. "Derek, Jack –"

"Go on, boy!" Derek snaps, sounding thoroughly exhausted. "Go on! This is your life, face it!"

Jack moans and covers his face while the dog gruffly handles him and starts to climb from my window.

"Violet will see you again, don't worry! Now get out and stay outta my hair!" Derek grabs his bleeding side and roars out, "Your dad – urgh – that fucking isn't COOL, you little ASS LICKER!""

The dog leaps from the window, into the dark night, dragging my friend with him. Derek holds me firmly when I begin to get to my feet and go to the window.

"Leave them be," Derek grumbles, putting his face into the carpet.

"What's going on?" I ask nervously. "Why was that – that thing here? Was that a werewolf?"

"One of 'em, yeah."

I shudder and stand up with Derek, who stretches out and grabs Momma's forgotten head, which lies in the middle of the floor. I look away while he chucks it out of the window.

"Why – what was that, though? Why did he just take Jack?"

"Jack probably killed his grandmother – or whatever the hell she was – by mistake… thinks he's in trouble, that's all."

"By mistake?"

"He turned into a werewolf. Didn't realize it. Probably his first time… this shit is like puberty to them; kid probably had no clue what'd happen."

"He's not in trouble, right?"


I sigh with relief and look at the blood on my floor and on my boyfriend. Through his bitten shirt, I can see a giant hole in his side, already healing and looking more like a deep burn. Even though he probably didn't feel it and is in no real pain, I cover my mouth instinctively.

"Are you alright?"

"Yeah." Derek sits down and rubs his head angrily; I follow him. "Just sorta tired."


"Sometimes losing a lot of blood that quick makes me tired. It's good, though, that's fine. Tomorrow I'll go do me some pedophile hunting. Maybe I'll get butt-raped, if I'm lucky." He perks up a bit and shoots me a mischievous smirk, "Maybe some huge guy will finally wanna pop my ass."

"If you're lucky," I mumble.

"If I'm lucky."

I nod and help pull Derek's shirt over his head so he doesn't get blood all over my bedspread. His fingers creep around my back and start pulling my costume off for the second time tonight, and, although my window is broken open and cold air is blowing so strong that I'd think God put his own personal fan outside my room, I'm completely fine with this.

Even though Derek would never admit it, something about his unnatural curiosity regarding mortality leads me to believe that it provokes some kind of keenness in him. He seems to enjoy the concept of pain and not in some sadistic way (but he is definitely not a saint); rather, Derek likes to play on every human sensation that he lacks. He tries to make me laugh, shudder, twitch or lose my breath; any reaction he can get, he does. While Derek's not the first boy I've made out with, he's definitely the most obsessed with my body. To top it off, his habitual neck-sniffing is simultaneously sexy and nerve-wracking.

This is like making out with an experimental anatomy teacher.

"Derek," I say his name against his lips minutes later while he tries to unbutton his pants and wrap my legs around him. It's about damn time. "Derek, did you get a condom?"

"Hmm? No."

I am going to slit his stupid throat.

"Then –" I shove him back and move my legs, "Derek, get off!"

"WHAT? No way, okay, okay, how about we just –"

"STOOOOOOOOP!" I scream shrilly when I feel him trying to mount me like some horny dog. "I am NOT getting pregnant you buffoon!"

"But I – AM – HARD!"

"Well so am I, but you're so effing irresponsible –"


"Oh, Jesus!" I yank the sheet over myself and shout, angrily, "You will never see me naked again until you have the brains to buy a condom!"

" – Oh shit, my nuts are turning blue –"

"Grow up!"

"I'm gonna go beat off in the bathroom, you fucking tease!"

Oh, gross, tell me about lack of romanticism. Derek stumbles into the hallway, for the restroom, and comes back, six minutes later, looking grumpy and bent out of shape.

"Jerk," I snap. He rolls his eyes and climbs into bed beside me.


"I thought you wanted to do it finally, and you don't even have protection?"

"Hop your ass on birth control, then. Or shove a monkey fist in your poontang to catch it or something."

"Pssh, like that'd work."

Derek glares at me and I return it seriously before he hops right back into my arms. Regardless of the sex – or lack thereof – we're still active kissers.

I guess.

Emily lies in her bed right now, dead asleep; she crept in late last night – or, better yet, this morning. Mom and Dad came in and didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. Even my nosy little Percy, who left around nine o'clock this morning to play with Robbie and Neville, noticed nothing. Bell called a few minutes ago and expects me to give her a play-by-play of any gossip that happened last night at the Rec Center (most of which would be dirt on nerds that she hates for no real reason). She'll be calling back in a few minutes.

Now is time for me and my big red cat.

"Where's your family?" I whisper against Derek's neck, twirling my finger in a lock of his flaming hair.

"Sweden for now."

Derek yawns before replacing his hand on my shoulder and playing with a pencil between his fingers.

"Are you going back?"

"Not unless you want to."

I bury my face into his neck and feel his cool breath over me.

"What are you going to do, then?"

"Whatever you want to."

"So… you're not staying with your parents forever, then?"

Derek shakes his head and mutters, "What kinda man lives with his folks when he's got his own girl?"

"But you're seventeen."

"I look seventeen. Purp, I'm a grown ass man, I make my own decisions."

"Sorry," I mumble. "You'd think a maggot crawled up your ass sometimes."

"I caught him from your mouth, you maggot-nugget monkey."

"That was a piece of shit," I murmur, giggling like a little kid and holding Derek's face close. He grins, appreciating his own sense of humor coming from my mouth. "I spit it down your throat, you albino piggy."

"You're turning me on."

"Well then let me introduce you to my fat prisoner, Snugglybunny."

"Stop talking dirty or I'll get hard."

"That's not my problem, chunky monkey." Derek laughs at me before we kiss.

Lying in bed with this 'grown ass man' who can make his own decisions (which don't include doing the laundry but do include fixing my window and cleaning my carpet) is somewhat humbling, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I can have such a profound effect on people who've existed so long without me? I'm not sure. Maybe this is all a lot less of a big deal than I think it is… after all, even with the apparent immortality that these vampires have, they're still just specks in this constantly-changing universe – aren't they? I dunno.


"You still waiting on that condom?"

This is probably less of a universal thing; less of a dramatic, dreamy situation; more of a testament to the fact that sometimes love is found in the most uncommon places and can be crazy, just like a fruitcake.

Author's Note: if they ever were that normal, anyway.