Alexander and I were fixed on the movie. "How can we be together," Jenny asked, "if I'm not a vampire?"
Suddenly the TV screen went black. Alexander placed the remote he was holding on the coffee table.
He stood up and held his hand out for me.
"How can we be together?" I asked, rising.
"How can we not be?" he reassured me. Alexander grabbed my hand, and I reluctantly followed him out of the Mansion and toward my house. I felt like a kid at Disney World at closing time.
The night air in Dullsville felt fresher than ever, the dark sky clearer, the wet grass crisper. "So why was Jagger seeking revenge?" I asked.
"It's a long story," he said, with a yawn.
Alexander seemed so content forgetting the past, our hands entwined as we walked side by side. But I wouldn't rest until I knew.
"I have all night. And you have 'til sunrise."
"You're right," he said, as we walked down the street. "It was about a promise I never made."
"A promise?" I asked.
"To take a girl for all of eternity."
"Jagger's twin sister, Luna."
"He has a twin?"
"Well, who made the promise?" I questioned aloud. "My family did the year the three of us were born."
"Like an arranged marriage?"
"It's more than marriage."
"So why Luna?"
"When she was born, it was said she didn't respond to the darkness but seemed to flourish in the light. She refused to drink anything besides milk. Desperate, her family took her to a local underground doctor who pronounced her 'human.'"
I laughed. Alexander didn't seem to find it funny.
"It just sounds strange to me, that's all," I said, as we turned a corner.
"Well, it wasn't funny to the Maxwells. They were devastated. Luna had to live her life in daylight, while her family lived at night. She never even bonded with Jagger. At the time of the agreement, my family and his were very close. It was understood that when Luna was eighteen, we'd meet for a covenant ceremony and unite together for eternity, ensuring her a place in the vampire world."
"So what happened?" I asked, as we cut across the lawn through Oakley Woods.
"As I grew up, my family traveled and our families became distant. Because Luna and I lived in different worlds, I never even knew her. When it came time for the ceremony, I had seen her only a few times. She didn't know me, and she was going to be with me forever?"
"Well, you are quite handsome," I said coyly. "So what did you do?"
"When it came time to kiss her for eternity, I leaned over and kissed her good-bye." "That must have been hard for you, being a vampire and all," I whispered.
"I was doing it for both of us. Of course, the Maxwells didn't see it that way. They felt that I had spurned Luna, therefore offending her entire family. They were outraged. My parents quickly arranged for me to come here with Jameson and live in my grandmother's Mansion."
"Wow. It really had to have been tough following your heart when it went against your vampire community," I said. "And even more difficult to have been forced to leave Romania because of that decision."
"When I saw this raven-haired beauty trick-or-treating from my attic window, I knew I'd rather spend an eternity alone waiting to see her again than spend one with someone I didn't love."
Just then we reached my front door. Alexander gave me a long good-night kiss.
"Tomorrow after sunset," I reminded him.
"And not a second later," he said.
Alexander waved to me as I opened the front door. I walked inside and turned around to wave good-bye.
He had already disappeared, just as I knew he would.
Chapter 14 Changeling
"It's after midnight," my dad warned as I tiptoed past him watching ESPN in the family room.
"Dad, I'm sixteen. It's a weekend."
"But this is--" he began in a stern voice.
"I know, your house. And I'm your daughter, and until I'm on my own I'll live by your rules."
"Well, at least you were paying attention."
"You've been saying it to me since I was two."
"You've been sneaking out since you could walk."
"I'm sorry, it won't happen again," I said.
I handed him his soda that was sitting on the coffee table and gave him a good-night hug.
"I'm glad you had a good time at Aunt Libby's," he said. "But I'm also glad you're back home."
"Me, too, Dad. Me, too."
Exhausted, I crawled into bed without even removing my rain- dampened clothes. I switched off the Edward Scissorhands light on my nightstand and licked my lips. Alexander's kisses still lingered on my mouth. I curled up with my Mickey Malice plush, wishing I were holding Alexander instead. As I lay in bed, I tossed and turned. I couldn't wait for tomorrow's sunset.
Moments later, I felt a presence stirring in the quiet. I glanced around, but all the shadows were from the furniture. I checked under my bed; even a bat couldn't squeeze between all the junk I had stashed underneath it. I opened my closet door, but the only clothes I found were on hangers or strewn on the floor. I tiptoed to my window and pulled back the curtain, looking out into our backyard.
"Alexander?" I saw a darkened figure walking away from the house, into the night.
"Good night, my love," I said, pressing my hand to the window.
I returned to bed and fell asleep.
The next morning, I awoke with a jolt. Yesterday's events seemed like a dream.
When I rose in my stiffened clothes, I realized that those events were real.
"Why are you still in your outfit from yesterday?" my mom nagged when I entered the kitchen. "Don't they talk about proper hygiene in health class?"
I wiped my haggard eyes and stumbled to the bathroom. I peeled off my day-old clothes and stepped into the shower.
Warm water flowed over my pale skin. My black nail and toe polish looked stark against the clear white tub and tile that surrounded me.
I was back in Dullsville and Alexander was in his Mansion. We could finally live our lives together. But my boyfriend was a vampire and his nemesis had come to hunt him down. I'd never thought Dullsville could be so, well, not dull!
My whole life had changed in just a few days. For sixteen years I'd been living the same monotonous existence. My greatest concern had been finding black nail polish in a pastel town. Now it was getting through a sun-filled day alone while Alexander slept peacefully in his Mansion. We wouldn't be able to go for afternoon bike rides, meet after school, or spend our weekend days hanging out. It was hard to imagine that I wouldn't ever be able to share sunlight with him. I was beginning to have doubts that I could handle this new world.