I made a decision. I decided that everything had logical explanations. Logically, Bob was a midget who belonged in a mental institution. Logically, I was low on iron and my body only wanted raw meat for nutritional value. Logically, the paranoia was just my active imagination, stimulated by watching re-runs of The Twilight Zone alone late at night. Logically, the blonde hair…well…maybe I dyed my hair in a momentary lapse of judgement and then suffered from twenty-four hour amnesia which made me forget that I dyed it. Yeah, that’s it.
So, feeling refreshingly confident with my new logical explanations, I held my head high and did what any red-blooded female in my shoes would do. I marched down to the nearest drugstore to buy a box of brown hair dye, and maybe some iron supplements.
As soon as I turned the corner and started to walk down the alleyway, the feeling of paranoia hit me again. My heart started racing involuntarily and it felt like my stomach pressed an internal panic button. Alleys in big cities like New York might be worrisome, but here in Bar Harbor, the worst thing you could encounter might be a stray cat searching dumpsters for leftover seafood.
My brain was telling my body not to worry, but my body wasn’t listening. My eyes darted everywhere and I instinctively walked with my back against the wall, sideways through the alley. I flung my long (and still blonde!) hair over my left shoulder about one second before the streak of flames hit the wall beside me. I could feel the heat on my eyebrows and lashes and I shrieked out in terror. I couldn’t see who was behind the yellow dumpster to my right but they must be using a blowtorch as their weapon. Whatever happened to good ol’ knives and guns?
I ran beside the green dumpster on my left just as another whoosh of flames hit the wall where I was just standing moments before. This time I focused on the source of the flames behind the yellow dumpster. It wasn’t a blowtorch. Or a person. It was a tiny…rat? No wait, it didn’t have fur, only scales. Maybe it was a baby crocodile? That shot fire? And had wings? I squinted my eyes a little more. Or maybe it was a…
I jumped back and hit my shoulder against the corner of the dumpster. The man on my left was beautiful. Seriously, he could be a model for Abercrombie and Fitch. But he was damn sneaky. I hadn’t heard him in the alley at all.
“Who the hell are you? Where did you come from?” I snapped at him.
He didn’t respond. Instead, he reached into the canvas messenger bag he was wearing and pulled out an orange cardboard box of baking soda. He winked at me before tossing the contents of the box at the mini-rat-crocodile-with-wings-thing. There was a poof, a cloud of white powder, a sound that resembled a hamster choking, and then the tiny flame-thrower disappeared. Literally.
“Well, that was interesting.” I mumbled as I stared at the pile of white dust on the ground next to the dumpster for a moment before remembering the hot guy standing beside me.
As soon as I turned towards him, he stuck out his hand. “I’m Finn.”
I tentatively shook his hand. “Melanie.” I rolled my eyes and muttered to myself. “Or maybe Tianna, I really don’t know anymore.”
“Wait, did you say Tianna? As in Queen Tianna?”
“Well that’s what an insane midget guy named Bobby Boy told me this morning when he popped up inside my apartment. Which was after my hair went all peroxide on it’s own. And before the…dragon…attack.” Speaking of insane, why was I spurting out random info about my freakish life to a stranger?? “So um, who are you exactly Finn?”
“Your Majesty, I just knew you weren’t a myth! Oh, I’m so excited!” Finn did what I could only describe as a happy dance, complete with clapping and hip wiggling.
“Ya, it’s thrilling. Listen, can you tell me how you know about all of this? You don’t look like a gnome to me.”
“Well I’m a Nos, Your Majesty, just like you.”
“Riiiiiiiiight. A dragon-killing vampire that walks around in broad daylight.”
“Actually I didn’t kill him Your Majesty, I only put his flames out for a bit. He disappeared back to our world once I made him defenseless.”
“So that’s what the baking soda was for? To put out his flames?”
“It’s a lot easier to be prepared with a box of BS than to find water whenever you need it.”
“A box of BS huh? This whole day sounds like a big box of BS to me. Okay Dracula, tell me how you are walking around in sunlight if you’re a vampire.”
“That’s just a myth. I mean, it’s easier to hide who we are if we sleep during the day and avoid people, but it’s not like the sun will burn us or anything. You should know that, you’re outside right now and you’re fine.”
“Why on earth would you think I’m a vampire??”
Finn gasped loudly, covering his mouth with his hand for extra drama. “Your Majesty, please tell me that Bob explained who your parents were?”
I remembered the swift kick I gave Bob on his way out earlier that morning and grimaced a little.
“No, we didn’t quite get a chance to discuss my family tree.”
A gust of wind blew through the alley and I caught a glimpse of my long blonde hair, making me remember the reason for going through the alley in the first place. A part of me wanted to pursue this vampire family tree topic, but I pushed that thought aside and focused on the most important thing—getting my brunette hair back! A girl has priorities, you know.
“Well Drac, it was nice meeting you. Best of luck in the dragon-busting biz, but I’ve got to get going now.”
“Wait,” His hand pulled my arm firmly. “Your Majesty, I cannot let you roam these streets alone again. What if the dragon comes back?”
“Hrm. Good point.” God, he’s cute. “I’ll make sure to buy a box of baking soda while I’m at the drugstore.”
I tried to move forward but his (rather strong) hand was still on my arm and he was giving a me a look that clearly said I was losing this battle and he would be following me regardless of what excuses I gave him. I sighed. “All right Drac, you can escort me to the drugstore, but you’re buying your own dragon busting powder.”
We came out of the store a few minutes later with a box of Soft Mahogany Brown and a case of Arm and Hammer. Finn kept talking about how the world was saved and stuff, but I just ignored him. He was cute, but he wasn’t that cute and frankly I was stressed. My logical explanations of all the weird shit weren’t really holding up, and that was worrisome to say the least. I was never one of those people who believed in gnomes or dragons or vampires…hell, I didn’t even believe in Santa Claus when I was a kid. So how come Bob and Finn’s explanations were starting to make more sense than my own practical logic? My brain was starting to hurt.
Thankfully, no dragons tried to attack again and we made it to my apartment door sans charring.
“Well, we made it safe and sound vamp boy. Thanks for your escort service.” I tilted my head sideways. Somehow that last line didn’t sound right.
He stood on my doorstep and watched me unlock the door and then step inside my apartment. “Aren’t you going to invite me in?”
I rolled my eyes. “Ohhhhhhh right, the vampire needs to be invited into the home before he can step across the threshold, right?”
“No. But it is rude if you don’t invite me in.”
The I’m-smarter-than-you smirk on his face is what made me lose my temper. I grabbed the box out of the shopping bag and waved it in his face. “Well, maybe I’ll just take my rude self inside and dye my rude hair and choose not to invite you in. How does that sound, fang boy?”
“Wow, you really are something special aren’t you? Well, no matter, I’ll just make myself at home then?” He stepped inside and started to make his way to the living room with the baking soda in his arms.
“Argh! Do whatever you want, I don’t care anymore! All I want is for my life to be normal and my hair to be brown again. Is that too much to ask??” Throwing my hands up in exasperation, I stomped to the bathroom and slammed the door shut.
Thirty-five minutes later I had glorious, shiny brown locks once again. After admiring my reflection in the mirror, I opened the bathroom door and stepped out with a big smile on my face.
“Ha! See? I win! Buh-bye Barbie, hello Vixen!” I stroked my long, smooth hair and posed for Finn. He looked amused, which was not the reaction I was hoping for. Any other guy would’ve been dropping their jaw and trying to get my cell number to text me later. Which I may or may not reply to, depending on my mood.
But Finn was just standing near the kitchen table with that silly smirk on his face again. This guy was totally killing my good mood.
“What? You only like blondes or something? Do vampires not feel attracted to hot girls after they start drinking the red juice?” I tried another pose. No reaction.
“I’m sure that some vampires feel very attracted to hot girls Your Majesty, but I am not one of them. Please don’t be offended, you are a very beautiful young woman, but I play for the other team.”
I scanned him again from top to bottom. Hair immaculately styled, well shaven, perfect complexion (not to mention a jawline and cheekbones designed to melt hearts), trendy clothes, man-bag with Prada sunglasses attached to the side, brown leather flip flops and feet that looked like they recently had a pedicure. Yep, the signs were all there. My gay-dar must’ve been on the fritz.
“A gay vampire who walks around in sunlight, can enter human homes at any time and carries a box of baking soda around in case there is a need to extinguish a dragon the size of my fist? Fuck. Soooooo, does that mean that you only drink blood from guys then?”
That got him giggling. Yes, giggling like a school girl. Honestly.
“Your Majesty, drinking blood is food. It’s breakfast, lunch and dinner all wrapped up in a couple of veins.”
“Ew. Spare me the gory details Drac.”
“It would be like ordering salmon at a restaurant but asking the waiter to only bring you a hot, young male salmon. It’s just food. I don’t date food.”
Mmmm…salmon. Better yet, raw salmon, freshly cut with juices and—
“Oh my God! I want sushi!”
“Hello?? ADHD much? Did you forget to take your Adderall today? Are you even capable of focusing on a subject for more than five seconds??”
“Sorry dude, I know you thought your gay vampire dating restaurant story was important, but this is a craving! This is like super PMS.” I ran over to him and grabbed him by his Dolce and Gabbana shirt.
“I. Need. Sushi. Now.”
“What the hell was that?” I let go of model-boy and spun around to see the top of a red pointy hat. “Oh, great.”
“Hey Bob, what’s up?” Finn didn’t seem surprised to see a gnome pop up out of nowhere.
“What are you doing here Bob?” I could feel a headache coming on. Actually it was more of a toothache. Odd.
Bob bowed towards me and then handed me a box. “Your Majesty. Here is your new cell phone.”
I looked at the box. There was a hand-written note that said “Beta Gen X” on it.
“What kind of phone is this exactly?”
“MacIntosh Apple’s latest generation of the…what do they call it? MyPhone?”
I rolled my eyes. Was this guy for real? “An iPhone perhaps? God, Bob, do you live under a rock? IPhones have been around for years now.”
“Not this one, Your Majesty. I believe mortals have only seen up to generation six, you have generation ten. Of course, when Apple develops a generation eleven I’ll be sure to get you one as a replacement.”
“A generation ten? When did they invent it, like last night? Wait a minute. Bob, did you steal this?”
Finn cleared his throat and began to straighten out his shirt from where I grabbed him. Bob stared down at the floor.
“Not steal, Your Majesty. I just borrowed it.”
“Do the super-smart geeks at Apple know that you borrowed it?”
“Not exactly, Your Majesty.”
“Great. Just add “stolen iPhone” to my “today sucks because” list.” My jaw was throbbing and I could feel my heartbeat pounding through my teeth. I grabbed my black Chanel purse off the counter and hunted around for a bottle of Advil. “Well, since you’re here Bob, maybe you could steal—I mean, borrow—some sushi? I have a craving in the worst way, and WHERE THE HELL IS MY ADVIL?”