Festivals and concerts seem to attract all kinds...ALL KINDS!
The fall arts festival was soon coming, and Jean-Claude, with Anjou, went over to Maki’s to rehearse after homework. Maki had also been working on the costumes. Since it was around Halloween, and since they were calling themselves “D’amphile and the Bats,” Maki had something ready for everyone. Jean-Claude and Anjou were the first of the band to show up, and Maki was all pleased as punch to have them try on the outfits. She gave both of them the outfits and Jean-Claude retired to the other room to change. For her and Anjou, she had made open, flowing black skirts with the scalloped edges, and black tops with bat wings that would still allow them to play. For the guys, she had make what could best be described as bellhop jackets, in black, with the wings and black trousers. There were also silver threads that ran in the cloth here and there, that were visible when the light hit it just right. The girls put on their outfits, and they were enjoying playing dress-up. However, Anjou kept wincing, and Maki then remembered the light, so she shut down the overhead, and turned on a lamp in the corner. However, from the other room came a muffled, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”
Maki said, “Come on out, I want to see it!”
“No,” he said.
“Why,” she asked.
“I look like a dork!” he said frankly.
“Aw, come on,” she begged, “I want to see!”
He opened the door and looked at the two of them with a “you can’t be for real” look on his face. He was wearing what the other boys would be wearing, but his was white with black trim. He was about to speak, but before he could, Maki said, “Wait, there’s something else.”
With that, she put on his head a tiara with bat ears on them on top of his head. Anjou was having no problem with this, but Jean-Claude was not so sure. She said, “Now that will wow them!”
“Okay, I know here in Japan, this would be considered a cool gimmick,” said Jean-Claude, “But where I am from, I might as well tattoo the word ‘dork’ on my forehead!”
“Are you saying you don’t like it?” asked Maki?
Before he could answer, the rest of the band arrived, and said, “Hey, cool outfit, Jean-Claude!”
He raised an eyebrow, uncertain if they either were honest, or were ribbing him. Maki gave them theirs, and they also went and changed. Maki gave him a look that seemed to say, “I told you so,” a sort of a smug look. Jean-Claude just sighed as the others returned, and she handed out the ears. Jean-Claude was about to go and change, but Maki said, “Um…actually, I was thinking that we should rehearse like this, because we do have to get used to it.”
Jean-Claude said nothing as he picked up his guitars, heading for the music room to rehearse, steam pouring out of his ears. “Don’t worry, big sister,” said Anjou, “He’ll come around.”
Then it came the day for the concert, and the band was juiced. Initially, it was going to just be the band, but for the first two numbers, the school chorus and the string quartet wanted to get involved. After that, a special effects club wanted to help. This was turning from a small jam session into a huge concert. There was potential for this to be the act of the night. Therefore, they were anxious for things to happen. However, Jean-Claude still had a bit of trepidation on the outfit. It was okay to play in, but he wondered what everyone would think. What did surprise him was that everyone in the house, (except for Ren,) wanted to go. “Henry, Calera, I didn’t think that this was your thing?” said Jean-Claude.
“Nonsense,” said Calera, “We have to do more as a family, don’t we? Did you not suggest this?”
“That’s true,” said Jean-Claude, “I just hope that…”
He stopped himself short as he saw Elda emerge. She looked dressed to kill. “Grandmamma,” said Jean-Claude, “What are you thinking?”
“A night like this is great!” she said, “I’m hungry…”
She stopped, and said, “…um…for some…ah…fun, yeah, that’s it, fun.”
“Does Karin know you’re going to be there?” asked Calera.
She said nothing, hoping to avoid the question, and said, “I hope you kids do well.”
“Remember,” said Calera, “Kenta’s off limits!”
Elda knew that they knew, and she said, “You’re no fun!”
Henry just sighed, and said, “Just be discreet!”
“Of course I will,” she said, giving a sideward glance to Henry and a smile.
However, the pure bloods could not say much at her, because they all hoped that they would run into their preferences that night, and it would save them from the hunt later, depending on how late the festival ran. It was indeed going to be an interesting evening.
The arts festival covered everything from traditional Japanese things to modern arts, dancing, singing, theatre and skits, and so forth. The band would the one of the highlights of the evening. When it came time for the first set, they were going to open with ELO’s Fire on High, and the effects crew had fire strips and pyrotechnics ready, as well as Leko and Fernell lights ready to go. They had already received the song list, and they were ready. The sounds of the song opening were eerie, and set the tone for the first song. Different lights were coming up, highlighting different band members. Then the strings ripped in, and the lights were dancing all over the place. The keyboard player shouted to Jean-Claude that this was looking like a Kiss concert, and Jean-Claude, “Except we’re not Kabuki metal!”
He laughed at this as the fast drums ripped in, and the two of them were augmenting the stings. Everyone wondered if the small girl in the front had any skill until she started in on the lead licks. There were moments when they thought she was playing classical style. In a sense, she was, but she was not really trying. The reason for this was the fact that she was not using a guitar pick, but her own vampire nails to play, and it gave that effect. In the darkened state on stage, along with perspective from the platform to the dance floor, no one noticed. Right before a tempo change in the song, Jean-Claude stepped away from the keys, and whipped around his acoustic 12-string to play the main theme of the piece. The base joined him, then Anjou added her electric to the mix, and the place was now rocking. The fire strips flashed and flared as the piece continued, but Anjou had all she could do to keep from bolting considering how close to the flames she had to stand. When that was finished, Jean-Claude set down the guitar, and sat at the piano. The quartet then jumped into Beethoven’s fifth, and then Anjou ripped into Roll over Beethoven, as Jean-Claude joined in his lead vocals and piano. That changed the mood, and showed that there was going to be some variety to the music that night. The only thing that Jean-Claude did not like was the first number, because he felt that it would send the wrong spirit out, and he wanted to insure that, if he had to do secular, it was not going to be anything that was negative or a downer. At least they got that one out of the way first. The only thing he liked about the song was the fast guitar riffs, which he did play with relish. However, he did have to open up the shirt to cool off. He was wearing a tee shirt underneath, but some of the girls screamed, thinking that he was trying to look sexy. He realized, “Bad idea,” but he could not take it back. Despite that, the set was going well. The climax of the first set, however, was when Anjou did her thing in Circle Sky, and then when she stepped up to the mike to sing a song. She said, “I want to sing this song in dedication to my sister, Karin, and the doll of her blood, Kenta.”
Everyone thought it was some kind of Halloween term of endearment, but it truly meant something else. It did not matter, because, when she began to sing Love Song for a Vampire, the mood was beautiful, explosive, and romantic all at the same time. Kenta and Karin were dancing very close, not ceasing to gaze into one another’s eyes. This did not escape the gaze of Henry, as he danced with his wife, who was beginning to feel the aggravation that any father feels when he sees his daughter like this. However, Calera said, “Mind your own business!”, and planted a big kiss on him. Karin used that chance to plant a big one of her own on Kenta. Elda, however, was having a time of things, trying not to go crazy, because the love in the air was electric, and everyone thought her fangs were a great Halloween look. Finally, she could not stand it anymore, and followed one couple who were leaving the dance floor for more private digs, and when out of sight, she popped them both! Not satisfied, she went back, hoping to find more. This marked the end of the first set, and the others spread out as a DJ took over.
Jean-Claude came off stage, and there were conversations going on about three couples that had not been seen since the start of the dancing. Jean-Claude asked who they were, and it was three couples that were known for being the most romantic on campus. Jean-Claude rolled his eyes, and excused himself. At this, Yuriya joined up with him and said, smiling, “What do you think?”
“You know what I’m thinking!” he said.
Sure enough, they found Elda heading back to the crowd, looking quite happy, and looking as if she had had one too many. “Honestly, Grandmamma, we can’t take you anywhere!”
“Aw,” she said, “Don’t be a party pooper—just one more couple…please?”
“You’re done!” he said, and ran into Henry, saying, “Can you do something about her?”
He sighed as he guided his mother to a place where she could sleep it off, and where he could keep an eye on her. However, she was not the only one in action. What no one knew was that Ren had come on his own, and he had already found a stressed out girl, and took her away. Meanwhile, Anjou had found a jealous girl between the sets, and it happened to be a girl that was jealous of one of the missing couples. “I can’t believe them,” she snapped, “They’re off doing God knows what!”
She did not notice the little batgirl slip up to her and say, “It sounds to me like you would love to be in her place.”
Now she looked embarrassed, and said, “Well, maybe you’re right, but, still, he deserves better than her.”
She was so engrossed on that couple that she did not notice how Anjou was guiding her away, saying, “You can talk to me, I listen well.”
They sat on the stairs of the school, and she began to open up to Anjou. However, Anjou was inching up to her, and said, “Relax, dear woman, I can take that away from you.”
Before she could react, Anjou was already feeding. Some minutes later, Anjou returned for the second set, and Jean-Claude was tapping his wristwatch saying, “Where were you?”
She just said, “I’m sorry, I was just grabbing a bite.”
After their first song, there was a bit of a stir with some of the people, because three normally tight couples were grousing and fussing. What was more interesting that there was a girl who everyone thought would jump all over this chance to take away that man, and she just acted as if she did not care. No one knew what to make of it, but they just tried their best to ignore the fuss, and enjoy the rest of the night. Everything seemed to be going well, but they had no idea that they were being watched.
Boris had sent Ivan to check out the concert, bringing about three other vampires with him that were more skilled than either the first probing mission, or the three fools that risked blowing it all from the club. They moved amongst the crowd unnoticed, and discovered that the Markers were in force that night. They still did not know who the blood cow was, but they were going to try some things to see if they could not dig out that information. What was more interesting was the fact that one of the Markers were on stage, acting as if she was one of the humans, playing that god-awful music. However, Ivan began to get a glint in his eye, and after looking things over, figured that she would be the best target. She was young and probably not all that developed in her abilities, and they were not even sure if she was fully awakened yet. One thing they figured was this: Henry knew who the blood cow was, and they could use this girl to get that information, one way, or another. All they had to do was wait for things to break up, wait for her to be alone with that human that seemed to like to be with her all the time, (maybe her blood doll, or maybe her g’hul, they were not sure,) get him out of the way, and snatch her up. They just had to be patient.