Sor cursed under her breath angrily, something she realized she picked up from Rena and threw her large coat over her shoulders and placing a dark green knit beanie on her head.
She was furious at her father for agreeing to this dinner, not only did she have to cancel plans with Kaiden, but she’d have to spend her evening with the one person who’s been on her nerves for the past few weeks. She knew her Papa didn’t know what was going on but couldn’t help being annoyed “Let’s get this over with.” She grumbled leaving her room.
Her father was standing in front of the dorm building, seemingly unfazed by the cold weather. He smiled as she approached “Floarea mea, are you ready for dinner?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be.” She grumbled under her breath.
Gabriel chuckled before frowning “You have your wooden stakes?”
Sor shook her head “Papa, I don’t think I’ll-“
“Sorina. With a vampire on the loose, you can’t afford to walk around unprotected. You must always be ready for anything. ” He pulled stakes from the holder around his waist and handed her a few with a hard stare before it softened. “At least to ease my worry fiică , take them.”
Sor sighed taking the stakes and placing them in her pocket. He nodded and ushered her along “Come on floarea, we cannot keep our hosts waiting.”
“Boyo! Is the table set and ready?” Ted yelled out to his son while chopping up that last of the green peppers and red onions to toss into a stew. The garlic and herb aroma filled the home giving it a warm feeling.
“Yesss, Pap,” Ali responded while climbing the steps from the basement. “Why are you freakin, aye? Thought you and the fella go way back.”
“Always an occasion to make a good impression, hm.” Ali tried his best to not let his father see how flustered he was by this whole affair. Not only was he missing out on going to town with friends, he was going to have to sit around with someone who, very clearly, was not on the best of terms with him. “Well, I think whatever you’re making there should be good impression enough.” Ali laughed as he put a basket of bread at the table’s center. The two joked around and put on the finishing touches as the doorbell rang.
Sor stood behind her father as he rung the doorbell to the O’Malley home, nervously fiddling with the sleeves of her jacket. It was odd having to wait for the door to be answered, she and the group usually just walk in, not that Professor O’Malley minded.
“Gabriel, my friend! Come in!” Ted hugged his friend before ushering the pair inside. “Ms. Dalca, always good to see you hm.” Ali shook hands with the stout man and then offered a slight, awkward smile to Sor. Sor nodded her head in acknowledgement before looking away from Ali and took her coat off.
“It’s good to see you Ted!” Gabriel greets as he admired the home “Is that an Irish stew I smell?”
“That it is! Enough to feed a group twice our size!” Ted took the duos coats and hung them by the entryway hanger. “Go ahead and make yourself at home. Just a wee bit longer on the stew, hm.”
The house was filled with jazz music, coming from a record player in the living area by the fireplace. A roaring fire had been lit giving the home a warm glow. It really was a nice home; it’s a wonder why Ali and his friends didn’t spend more time up here.
Gabriel whistled appreciatively as he walks through the living room “Great place huh floarea?.” Sor nodded and followed quietly behind her father before stopping to look at the pictures of Ted and Ali that hung on the walls. She noticed there was none of his mother and wondered where she was. She realized in that moment that Ali never really spoke about her.
“So Ted, tell me, what has happened in your life all these years? It’s been too long since we’ve talked my friend.” Gabriel asks Ted walking into the kitchen leaving Sor alone.
“Ohhh boy,” Ted laughed out the phrase. “Many things. Teaching, mostly! Raising a son. I became a headmaster...hm, 7 years now? Time flies.” He made each of them a glass of Irish whiskey. “And you? How is the hunt, hm?”
Gabriel let out a deep sigh before taking a drink “I believe I have a lead, but this creature is smart, it’s unusual. It doesn’t leave much to be able to track it. I’m having Violetta do some on research ancient vampires in some old scripts I’ve accumulated over the years. Theodore, I don’t believe we are dealing with a normal vampire here.”
Bart and Hope walked through the crowds looking at all the stands and food trailers. Dry Ridge didn’t mess around with their festivals. Their parade was just the beginning with over a dozen floats. There were different stands set up all along the roads. One tent had a dozen cauldrons lined up in side of it. Over the entrance a large hand-painted sign read “Build-a-Brew: Potions And Elixirs.”
A smaller sign under it said “Brew your own potions. 130 Kr.”
Hope laced her fingers in Bart’s. “This is all so cool. I’m glad you brought me here.” She was beaming with joy. Bart could feel her warmth even in the freezing cold and their layers of scarves and jacket.
They walked past a pop up Forge shop that sold handcrafted swords and weapons. Everything here was so interesting to Bart. He wanted to look at it all.
Bart was most impressed with the food though. Any type of food you can think of, and there was a trailer for it.
All of the neon lights from the trailers made a rainbow of colors on the crowds. “No way.” Hope pulled Bart towards one of the trailers. “I haven’t had these in years.” She said beaming. Bart read the menu signs that covered the trailer. “Foot long corn dogs, funnel cakes, chicken on a stick.”
Bart gave Hope a confused look. “What is a corn dog?”
Hope started at him dumbfounded. “YOUVE NEVER HAD A CORN DOG!?”
“That’s it, we’re having one.” She pulled him to the trailer window. “Two corn dogs please.” Bart paid the cashier and he handed them what appeared to Bart to be two long pieces of bread on sticks. Bart raised his eyebrow at Hope. “This is what I just paid 87 krones for?”
Hope nudged him. “Just trust me Hawkeye. When I was little, my dad would always take Trevor and I to the Tennessee state fair and they had dozens of trailers just like these. I can’t believe Germany doesn’t have corn dogs. Go on then, try it.” Hope said expectantly.
Bart looked at his bread stick apprehensively. He sighed and took a bite. The flavor caught him off guard. He wasn’t expecting these kinds of tastes. “Is that a sausage in the middle?”
Hope rolled her eyes. “It’s a hot dog. You sure you didn’t live under a bridge like, your whole life.”
Bart looked at the meat in the middle. “A hot dog.” He thought to himself. He smiled at her “Okay okay it’s not bad.”
Hope took a large bite out of hers. “You’re dang right it’s not. Wait til you have a funnel cake.”
“Are there hot dogs in that too?” Hope let out a loud laugh as they took a seat at some picnic tables.
Sor peeked her head from around the wall to listen to her father and Professor O’Malley’s conversation. She didn’t mean to eavesdrop but she was very curious. Papa had been tight lipped about this hunt and refused to share any information with her. She furrowed her eyebrows listening to the conversation, what had her father meant by no ordinary vampire? All vampires were the same...right? She was so engrossed in the conversation she didn’t hear the approaching footsteps behind her.
“What are you doing bean?”
Sor jumped up in shock letting out a yelp. She turned around to face Ali who was staring at her with a raised eyebrow “Ali! You scared me! Don’t you know not to go around sneaking up on people.” She held a hand to her chest.
“Aye, how would I be sneaking around in me own home?” He laughed to himself. “What are you doing over this way? I could have given you a tour ya know?”
Sor moved away from the wall nervously, hoping the two men didn’t notice her presence “I just wanted to know what’s going on with the vampire. Now come on before my father catches me eavesdropping.” She quickly brushed past him to head back into the living room not waiting to hear his reply.
Ali threw his head back and followed. “Did you hear anything good?” Conversation between them seemed so difficult. Every interaction they’d had since the semester started had been ready to explode at any moment. Why would the next be any different? Still, Ali hoped to get back to normal sooner rather than later. “Surely your father has a good grip on the situation.”
Sor shrugged placing herself on the couch “He mentioned something about not dealing with an ordinary vampire. It could be nothing, he’s easily paranoid when it comes to hunts.” She fiddled with the sleeves of her sweater nervously, trying to ignore the tense vibe of the room. ”But I’m sure he has things under control.”
“Cool cool...” he said leaning back in his seat. “How’s...hows class and what not?”
Sor sighed and crossed her arms “Ali, we don’t need to do this. The whole small talk thing isn’t necessary. Let’s just act civil in front of our dads and call it a night.”
She didn’t know why she said that but it was true. He had really been a jerk to her lately and didn’t even seem sorry about it. She couldn’t go back to how they were if he didn’t at least apologize for the way he’s been acting.
Ali looked confused. She acted like he had robbed her or lost her dog. All he had done was speak his mind. How is that a bad thing? “Yeah. Alright.”