Ryan likes Brendon, and Ryan likes Madeline, but the two of them together? He's not so sure about that.
I glanced at Brendon in an attempt to forget about everyone surrounding us. It helped. He looked handsome in his white t-shirt and washed out blue jeans. It was actually Ryan that had gathered clothing for me. It was comfortable and I looked relatively at home in them. I just had to stop myself from thinking of where they’d come from.
“It’s a cute place.” I answered, failing to directly answer his question.
“Cute?” Brendon smirked.
“Yeah, cute.” I responded, smiling in return. “The entire set up is just cute. It’s not overly fancy, or rundown… it’s just cute. I like it.”
“This is the first time I’ve actually had a date here.” Brendon admitted, “Usually Ryan and I come here to talk.”
“What do you guys usually talk about?” I was surprised at the admission but I didn’t show it. Brendon was attractive. I figured girls would be lining up to date him, though just because he hadn’t had dates here didn’t mean that wasn’t true. He could have an actual special date place, where he took girls who weren’t supposed to be dead- but maybe they were dead, because he was dead. Breath.
“Music.” Brendon answered, “But that’s Ryan, not you. Do you see anything on the menu that you want? The steak here is to die for.”
“I was thinking I’d start with an iced latte.” I glanced down at the menu, “Coffee is to live for.” I teased, lamely.
Brendon cracked a smile. “Please tell me that you’re going to eat as well.”
“You know that I love food.” I responded.
“Then why don’t you eat more?” Brendon asked.
“I eat as much as I should eat, in order to be healthy.” I awkwardly answered, “Why don’t you… drink more?” That sounded wrong either way.
Brendon chuckled, “I drink enough, believe me.”
“I believe you.” I gazed at the menu again, “I was actually thinking that the grilled chicken salad sounded good, with a side of… Hmm, mashed potatoes?”
“That’s a weird side dish to have with a salad.” Brendon commented. “I was going to have the steak, cooked rare.”
“Is that all?”
“That will be enough.” Brendon said, sounding amused. “Are you okay? You look uncomfortable.”
I was a little uncomfortable. “I’m fine. I’m going to um, run to the restroom. I’ll be right back.” Before he could even respond I was out of my seat and looking for the restroom.
I just needed a moment to compose myself.
I’d probably take a few extra minutes to figure out why I needed to compose myself too, because I honestly had no idea why my palms were suddenly a little sweaty.
It wasn’t like I hadn’t been around Brendon before.
He was just… Brendon, and this was just… a date.
“Are you okay?” Brendon stood up quickly as I approached, and I was surprised as he pulled my chair out for me.
“I just got lost.” I blushed as I sat down. I tried to scoot forward as Brendon pushed my chair forward. It was just weird how nice he was being. I appreciated every minute of it but I didn’t know how to relay that gratitude without sounding like a total idiot. I’d just never really been on a nice date before, and this was nice.
Brendon was being nice.
Brendon chuckled, “You’re such a bad liar.”
I gazed across the table at him, finding it a little unnerving that he seemed so good at reading me. “Why’s that?”
“You’re not even going to try to deny lying to me?” Brendon teased.
“I’ve learned that arguing with you is pointless and irritating.”
“It’s good to know that you’ve learned something.” Brendon laughed easily, “It’s obvious that you’re lying because whenever you do your nose lights up like Rudolph and you always look away.”
“I do not always look away.” And my nose lit up? I awkwardly shifted in my seat as I wondered just what color my nose currently was.
“You just looked away.” Brendon pointed out, “You couldn’t be more obvious unless your pants actually caught on fire.”
“I hope if they did that you’d put me out.”
Brendon laughed again and I found that I was really starting to like the noise. “Of course I would.”
“I thought…” I still found that I lowered my voice when I used the ‘taboo’ word, despite our current surroundings. “…/vampires/ had an aversion to fire.” I was pretty sure I’d read that somewhere, or seen it in some action movie.
“I have a stronger aversion to my girlfriend burning to death.” Brendon answered in such a matter-of-fact tone that I was too surprised to even catch what he called me at first.
Then it hit.
“I’m your girlfriend?” The waiter interrupted us as our food arrived.
My latte was placed in front of me, and in front of Brendon a clear glass of something red was placed. “Is that…” I trailed off, letting my eyes fall to my food instead.
Once the waiter disappeared from view Brendon placed his hand upon mine and I forced myself to look up at him again. “It’s red wine, would you like a taste?”
“Uh, sure…” Brendon scooted the glass closer to me and I picked it up, awkwardly bringing it to my lips. Before I took a sip I glanced at him, “You wouldn’t trick me in to drinking blood, would you?” I just had to make sure.
Brendon chuckled and shook his head, “No, I wouldn’t. Why would I waste good blood on you, when you obviously wouldn’t appreciate it?”
“Good enough point.” I let a small amount of the red liquid trickle down my throat. It was sweet but bitter at the same time, and I didn’t really like it. I wasn’t much of an alcohol drinker though.
I scooted the glass back towards Brendon.
He picked it up and took a long appreciative drink, “Yes, you are my girlfriend.” He finally answered my previous question. “Unless you object. Then this would be a little awkward.” Awkward… that word was being thrown around a lot tonight, but I found that it fit so perfectly.
And weirdly enough, I did not object.
I actually kind of liked when he called me his girlfriend. I liked him, but I also didn’t like him. It was an awkward relationship, but it was still a relationship.
“Can I uh, try a bite?” I gestured to Brendon’s steak.
He seemed surprised. “Well, sure.” He slowly cut a bite off from his steak and dipped it in barbeque sauce. “Here.” He leaned across the table and extended his fork to my mouth.
I closed the distance and tried to romantically take the bite of steak in to my mouth. Unfortunately, I liked my steak well done- and his was rare. Yuck.
I fought to smile but quickly grabbed my napkin so that I could spit the piece of meat in to it. Brendon laughed but mercifully said nothing.
“So, do you think we could try that whole movie thing again tonight?”
“Sure.” Brendon nodded, “Horror again, or shall we try an actual romance?”
“Do you like romantic movies?” As I thought about it I actually didn’t know much about him.
“I like romantic comedies.” Brendon answered, “All of those horror movies are actually Ryan’s. He’s a sucker for gore.”
“He didn’t seem all that fond of my bleeding neck, and that was pretty gory.”
Brendon laughed, as if it were a joke. I wasn’t actually trying to be funny. I was just making an observation. “He thinks that you and I are a domestic violence case waiting to happen. That’s why he didn’t really approve of me biting you.”
“Well, how do most human/vampire relationships generally go?” For what we had to work with I didn’t think our relationship was all that weird or violent. Brendon hadn’t killed me yet.
Brendon shifted around, obviously uncomfortable with the question. “Well, uh there are blood donors… but as for actual relationships? It’s actually pretty rare. I don’t know any other… uh, mixed couples.”
“Yeah.” Brendon took another bite of his steak. “I’m sure there are others. It’s just not all out in the open, seeing as how vampires don’t generally make their existence known what with the blood drinking thing being frowned upon. Ryan is just paranoid though. He’s forever the pessimist, don’t let it bother you.”
“I think we do pretty well.”
Brendon grinned, “Even though your neck is still all bandaged from when I bit you?”
“It could have been worse.” I subconsciously touched the bandage on my neck. “I could be dead.”
“Being dead isn’t actually all that bad.” Brendon commented, though his eyes did darken. “Plus, if it still hurts I can fix it for you.”
“Fix… it?” I gazed at him in confusion, “Like go get stitches? I don’t want stitches. Ryan suggested stitches already.”
“Drink my blood.” Brendon suggested, which was in fact worse than Ryan’s suggestion.
“I think that maybe I should go ahead and establish the fact that I’m not very kinky and just to let you know… that sounds very kinky.”
Brendon laughed again, “You’re not at all kinky? That’s a shame.”
“Not that kind of kinky.” I awkwardly commented.
“What kind of kinky are you then?” Brendon teased.
“Uh, I’m just not.” I never really thought in terms of kink when it came to sex. “I just like things to be nice and normal. Is that weird?”
“I think it’s pretty damn kinky.” Brendon continued to tease me and I could feel my cheeks heating, “But I think I can handle it.”
I laughed and blushed, as I thought of Brendon in bed… with me. Suddenly, that seemed nice. “You better not be in my head, messing with me.” I warned. I found my acceptance of ‘us’ happening so quickly that it was a little confusing- and my first suspicion was that Brendon was forcing me to feel this way about him.
Brendon held his hands up in surrender, “I promise I’m not. Every single sexual thought you’re having about me right now is courtesy of your own perverted mind.”
I rolled my eyes but found that I was looking at anything but Brendon as the truth of his words washed over me. “So, why do you want me to drink your blood then? If you think it’s something along the lines of ‘an eye for an eye’ I can assure you that it is not necessary. I would gain no satisfaction from biting you, and I probably wouldn’t even be able to break skin. I don’t really sharpen my teeth often.”
“I’m not interested in metaphorically blinding the world.” Brendon smirked. “But if you were to drink my blood it would significantly lessen the amount of time it would take for your neck wound to heal.”
“How do you figure that?”
“Healing properties.” Brendon simply stated, as if it were obvious. It wasn’t obvious to me though.
“So, you’re magical? Like a unicorn?”
Brendon spit out the small sip of red wine he had just taken in to his mouth. “I’m not anything like a unicorn.” He said, while chuckling. “And really, to you… my entire existence is magical. We have two very different definitions of that term.”
“Damn.” But did I want to drink Brendon’s blood? Not really. “I’ll think about it.”
“Fair enough.” Brendon glanced at my nearly empty plate, “So how’s the salad?”
“Delicious.” I took another bite. “And my latte is a lot better than your wine.”
“In your opinion.” Brendon corrected me with a stern tone, though his amusement was clear.
“In my opinion.” I agreed.
“I happen to value your opinion, so may I try your latte?” Brendon asked.
“Sure.” I scooted my drink towards him.
After taking a long drink that nearly emptied my cup Brendon scooted my drink back towards me, “You happen to be right. That is quite delicious.”
I had some witty comment in mind but it evaporated along with my ability to speak as Brendon leaned across the table and kissed me. It wasn’t a demanding kiss. It was very short and sweet, and all too soon he was pulling away.
All I could do was smile like an idiot as Brendon starting discussing movie choices for the continuation of our date at home.
Ryan was sitting at the kitchen table when I came down to grab popcorn for my movie date with Madeline. He didn’t say a word. Typical Ryan. “How was dinner?” I mimicked his voice teasingly and immediately continued in my own normal voice, “Oh, thank you so much for asking Ryan. You’re such a good friend. It was wonderful. I had steak and Madeline had chicken salad. Both of which were delicious. Oh, and we made things a little more official.”
“Uh, what?” Ryan glanced up. “How was your steak? Rare?”
I chuckled, “You’re still hungry, even though you ate like three helpings of the chicken Madeline cooked earlier? I could barely even eat my steak honestly but it was delicious, and of course it was rare.”
“I’m really hungry today.” Ryan shrugged, “I’ve been… working out more than usual, and you know how hungry that makes me.”
“What’s the new workout routine?” Ryan and I hadn’t worked out together in over a month.
“You wouldn’t be interested.”
“The hell I wouldn’t be. Fess up. What have you been doing?” The popcorn stopped popping but I was dead set on getting the inside scoop on Ryan’s new work out.
“It’s called sex Brendon.” Ryan calmly and quietly explained. “Something you can’t have any more since you’re all hung up on Madeline.”
“Sex?” Whoa! “Who are you having sex with?” Then his words set in and I frowned, well actually I pouted. “Wait, why can’t I have sex anymore?”
“Wait…” Ryan’s eyes narrowed, “What did you mean earlier, about you and Madeline making things a little more official?”
“Well, I called her my girlfriend and she didn’t run away.” I shrugged, “That’s a little more official, right? Now answer my questions!”
“Yeah Brendon… that’s like the definition of official. Good job buddy.” Ryan promptly rolled his eyes. “I’m seeing Megan again.”
“I hate that bitch.” Well, I did. She was a nasty infection that spread through Ryan like wildfire. Last time he dated her she went all psycho, not that she wasn’t completely psycho beforehand. It just became more obvious.
Ryan shrugged, “I don’t really like her either but she’s excellent in bed.”
“You make me feel all warm and fuzzy.” Again, I rolled my eyes.
“I try.” Ryan commented.
I pulled the popcorn out of the microwave but paused as I realized Ryan hadn’t answered my other question, “Wait, why can’t I have sex anymore?”
Ryan laughed, “Because you’re dating a human, you idiot.”
“So?” I shrugged, “Madeline is just as capable of having sex as any vampire.”
“You really don’t get it Brendon?” Ryan stood and took the popcorn from my hands, quickly tossing it in to the garbage can. “And Madeline won’t want cold popcorn. Try again.”
“I really don’t get it.” I grabbed another package of popcorn and tore the plastic off so that I could put it in the microwave.
“When we are most passionate we are also most deadly.” Ryan explained. “So, don’t you see how sex could be a little dangerous between yourself and dear Madeline?”
“You think I’d end up hurting her?” You would think that my best friend would have a little faith in me.
“I know you would.” Ryan answered. “Bring her something to drink too. Popcorn makes girls thirsty.”
“I’m not like you.” I whispered, “I can control myself.”
“Even the most controlled creature cannot change its nature.” Ryan reminded me.
“So what if I bite her? She didn’t mind so much last time.”
“By the time you stopped she was openly sobbing.” Ryan’s eyebrow rose in disbelief as I tried to stand up for my unconventional relationship with Madeline.
“I’m not going to live the rest of my very long life without sex.”
“You don’t have to abstain from sex for the rest of your life, just for the rest of Madeline’s life.”
“You’re fucking nuts.” The microwave notified me that my popcorn was done and Ryan reached in to the fridge and grabbed two Pepsi’s to hand to me.
“For someone who hates my relationship… you’re awfully helpful.” I commented as I balanced the items in my hands.
Ryan shrugged, “I like Madeline, and I like you. I just don’t think it’s normal for you guys to be together. It’s a very trying situation. Don’t worry though. I work out all my stress with Megan.”
“That is disgusting.” I closed my eyes in horror, “Please don’t think about me or Madeline while you’re fucking that skank.”
Ryan just laughed as he left the kitchen at a casual pace.
I forced my nausea back and left the kitchen so that I could go to Madeline, who was probably wondering where the hell I was.