Chapter 10: The Holidays
After reading Gigi’s conversation with Daniel I figured that I still wouldn’t contact him, I did stalk him on Facebook though since Gigi had sent me the link. Apparently he liked burgers which I found kind of funny. I just wished that he had answered the questions about vampires, because that I really was curious about. Also, he had called Gigi by her real name and I knew how much she hated that; she really didn’t like the name Genevieve hence the nickname Gigi.
Anyway, it was almost Christmas now and I wasn’t planning on talking to him anytime soon. Who needs a crazy vampire when you have a sweet guy like Todd? It was the last day of school before break and I still had to figure out what to get Todd for Christmas because I really had no idea. Luckily Gigi and I were going to the mall together after school so hopefully she could help me out, I think she had to get something for Kevin anyway. I met Gigi over at her car after the last bell and we headed out.
“So do you have any ideas?” I asked her.
“For Kevin? No. For Todd? Nope.” Gigi smirked. “I know, I’m not much help.” I rolled my eyes and nodded. “I usually just walk around the mall until inspiration hits me.”
“And how does that strategy work out for you?”
“Pretty decent most of the time actually,” She said. “You’d be surprised,” Once at the mall we stalked around for about an hour before either of us came up with anything good.
“I think Kevin will really like this game, plus we can play it together.” Gigi said showing it to me. It was some new action horror game that had just come out a couple of weeks ago.
“I don’t know how you do those horror games; they give me nightmares.” I said. Gigi laughed at me as she made her way to the register to check out. “But I still don’t know what to get Todd,” I mumbled to myself. I waited for Gigi outside of the store on a bench. “Maybe I’ll get him a nice new shirt, or a puzzle or something, I know he likes brainteasers.” I said softly to myself.
A pair of feet stopped in front of me on the bench. Black boots with lots of buckles; goth looking boots. Under the boots I could see black jeans and slender legs. I slowly raised my head to take in the rest of the body. Halfway up I started to see the bottom hem and buttons of a navy blue pea coat and pale masculine hands. My heart started to beat faster as my brain put together who it was.
My eyes finally met his and I had to blink a couple of times. Nope, he was still there so I wasn’t imagining it this time. Daniel’s mouth was set in a stiff line and his blue eyes seemed cloudy and not very happy. “Daniel,” I managed to breathe out. He was actually here standing in front of me. After three months of no contact whatsoever here he was out of the blue, and right before Christmas no less. Well shit.
“What…what are you doing here?” I asked, my voice cracking. Where the hell was Gigi? Like the first time I had met him back in August he looked very tired with patches of purple under his eyes, only now his hair was a little shorter than it was before. He didn’t seem like a threat, but he definitely didn’t seem happy to be here. Gigi still hadn’t come out of the store, the line had been long but even so, it was taking her forever.
“Can we please talk Elisabeth?” He finally asked. Without waiting for a reply he grabbed my elbow and pulled me to my feet practically dragging me behind him.
“Wait, what’s going on? Why are you here? Daniel!” I stumbled behind him while he continued to walk quickly and draw attention to us. The cheery Christmas carols playing over the speakers certainly didn’t match his current mood. “Where are we going?” He didn’t say anything, just kept walking until we were outside in the cold and snow. We came to a stop under a tree away from other people, away from Gigi.
I ripped my arm out of his grasp and took a big step away from him. “What do you want Daniel?” I asked. I wrapped my arms around myself to keep warm in the snow.
“Can you please tell Gigi to leave me alone? I can’t take it anymore!” He finally said exasperated throwing his arms up in the air. “Every day it’s a new message with more and more questions, my God that girl is relentless.” Daniel narrowed his eyes and stared down at the ground. I was a little taken aback, was that really the only reason he came back? To tell me to stop Gigi from annoying him?
“Um,” I started. “That’s all you want?” I couldn’t help myself, I burst out laughing. “You just want me to keep Gigi from pestering you? Do you know how ridiculous that is? You came all the way from Romania for that? Wow.” I smiled and swiped a tear from my eye, I had been worried over this? Daniel glared and flushed out of embarrassment but I couldn’t stop laughing at him.
“Well that is not the only reason I came back,” He said softly. I stopped laughing and looked up at him with a smirk still on my face. “I…also wanted to see you,” Daniel stared down at the ground. “And my parents are not happy with how I left things here so I had to come back.” Oh. Daniel’s eyes finally met mine and a shiver went up my spine. “I am sorry; do you want to go back inside where it is warm?” He asked me.
“You know I’m here with Gigi right?” I asked him. His face told me that, no, he did not know she was here. I thought with him being a vampire and all that maybe he would have been able to smell her. “You didn’t? Then maybe you should go first, otherwise you’ll be interrogated on the spot, and if you think she’s relentless via IM, she’s much worse in person. Take it from someone who knows.” I said with a chuckle. Daniel looked down at the snowy sidewalk with disappointment. “What?”
“It’s nothing,” He said with small smile. “At least let me walk you back inside.” Daniel turned on his heel and started walking towards the nearest mall entrance with me close behind. We reached the door within a couple of moments, he reached down for my hand and brought it to his lips like he had in the parking lot months ago. “Good night, Elisabeth, I hope to see you again soon.”
“Goodnight,” I said breathlessly, I could feel my cheeks filling with heat while he smiled down at me. With one last glance he turned away from me and walked out into the flurries.
Back inside the mall I went to the puzzle/toy store and found a brain teaser that I thought Todd would like, then I texted Gigi asking where she was. At least now I had an alibi for where I had disappeared to. She texted back saying that she was in the bookstore so that’s where I headed.
“There you are!” She came bounding towards me. “One second you were on the bench and then the next you were gone. Where did you go?”
“I went to the puzzle store and bought a brainteaser for Todd, he’s a nerd that’s into that kind of stuff.” I said with a laugh.
“Ah, yeah I can totally see that. So are we ready to leave then?” She asked. I nodded. “Okay, let’s get going before the roads get too slick.” So we left the mall and Gigi took me home, but all I could think about was Daniel.
Why did he have to show up now when I finally stopped thinking about him? His timing is impeccable. And should I tell Gigi? I mean, she’ll find out eventually. I decided not to tell her, I would keep it a secret for now, for his sake.
“See you later, Elisa,” Gigi said.
“Bye,” I waved her off. I went inside and decided to wrap Todd’s gift while I was thinking about it, otherwise I might just forget. I walked back to my room and dropped it off on my bed before going to get the wrapping paper. When I returned to my room I noticed it was colder and Daniel’s letter and the picture of my mother were on my bed, I didn’t remember them being there before. I noticed that there was another piece of paper with them so I sat down and picked it up. This one was a picture of both my father and mother and the way they were looking at each other…you could see how much they cared for one another. The softness in my father’s eyes when he looked into hers... I flipped it over and there was a note on the back in Daniel’s handwriting.
Something you may not know, Luminita, but your parents had an arranged marriage as well. Can you not see how happy they are with each other? Not everything in this world ends badly. Just say that you will think about it.
He had been here? When was he here? Did my parents see him? But they did look happy, in love even. I was so caught up in the repulsiveness of being in an arranged marriage that I never stopped to think that we could grow to love each other. He had said in his letter that he had started to feel for me, and even at the mall he said he wanted to see me. Perhaps I had been too hard on him, but it didn’t matter now. There was nothing to think about, to even consider now that Todd and I were dating.
I put the letter and two photos in my underwear drawer and got started on wrapping Todd’s gift. I hope he liked it.
The next morning was the first morning that I could sleep in for the rest of the break. I did enjoy sleeping in, now I had two weeks to do it. I stretched and yawned before getting out of bed. I had dreamt of Daniel again last night, I dreamt that I was over at his house and we were cuddling on that bronze couch with him stroking my hair. I really needed to get him out of my head. I walked over to my window and everything was covered in snow, I had hoped I could see Todd today, but not with this weather.
“Bleh,” I said to myself. “Looks like I’ll be staying in all day.” However, Mom and Dad had still gone to work, so at least I had the house to myself. Padding downstairs in my pajamas I grabbed oatmeal out of the cupboard and made myself some breakfast. I was cleaning up my dishes when I heard an urgent knock at the front door. It’s only 8 in the morning, who’s here this early?
I opened the door and Daniel was standing in front of me again. My eyes widened and I started to shut the door but he stopped me. “Please let me in.” He begged. “She knows,” He said. Daniel barged past me and into the living room.
“Do you know how early it is? Who cares if Gigi knows? She was going to find out eventually anyway. I’m still in my pajamas for God’s sake!” Oh God, I was still in my pajamas and I probably looked like a mess. “I’ll, uh, I’ll be right back,” I rushed upstairs and threw on the first clothes I got my hands on and quickly brushed my hair and teeth before going back down to Daniel.
“You looked fine you know,” Daniel said when I came back down. Could he read minds or something? “Look, please let me stay here for a while, I do not want to deal with her right now. She is so protective of you, which is very honorable, but I just got back here yesterday.” I glowered at him for a few seconds while I decided what to do until my phone rang.
“Hi, Gigi,” I said answering the phone. Daniel’s eyes grew wide as he silently pleaded with me.
“Elisa! Did you know that Daniel is back here?! He actually responded to a message I sent him last night and his location was back in Avery!” She said quickly.
“Slow down Gigi.” I paused and glanced over at his tired face and inwardly sighed. “Why would he come back here? He said in his letter that he wasn’t coming back.” Relief flashed across his face and he slumped into the couch.
“I know! But that’s what the computer said and when I messaged him back asking him about it he didn’t respond, but I know he’s here and when I find him, oh boy, I have a lot of questions for him.” She rambled.
“Oh Gigi, I’m sure if he’s really back here you’ll see him eventually and then you can question him all you want.” I said. “Now, it’s still early and you interrupted my breakfast, we can talk more later okay?”
“Fine,” Gigi sighed. “See you later,”
“Bye, Gigi,” I hung up the phone and then looked to Daniel. “You owe me big time,” I said, although he didn’t hear because he had passed out and was already asleep. “He must really be tired,” I said softly. I’ll just let him sleep. I thought to myself. I grabbed a spare blanket out of the closet and laid it over him. He looks so peaceful. A small smile played on my lips and I made my way upstairs to my room. I’ll do a little homework while he’s sleeping and maybe I’ll text Todd.
Homework was always boring, and Todd wasn’t even awake yet. I sighed and pushed the papers away from me. “I’m just not into this right now.” I said. I plopped down on my bed and stretched out. “I’m not into anything today,” Except the cute vampire downstairs sleeping on my couch, I was into him. “Ugh, what’s wrong with me?” I covered my face with my hands and rolled around on my bed. I stood up and walked over to my underwear drawer pulling out his letter. He left without even saying goodbye to me. Yeah I thought he was crazy, but still. I thought we had been making progress, I thought we were getting closer. I reread his letter for probably the hundredth time since I first found it. He sounded like he really did care.
“Stop thinking about this Elisabeth!” I scolded myself. “You’re dating Todd now,” Placing the letter back in my drawer I switched my jeans for sweat pants and went back downstairs to see how Daniel was doing. He was still asleep on the couch breathing deeply. He’s totally out. I sat down on the opposite end of the sofa and watched him sleep. I hope Gigi doesn’t show up while he’s still here. If he just got here yesterday that must be why he looked so tired at the mall. He let out a soft snore and I smiled to myself. You know when he isn’t dumping blood in his mouth, or opening his mouth for that matter, he looks really innocent. I reached out towards him tentatively and lightly stroked his jawline from his ear to his chin; he had that whole 5 O’ clock shadow thing going on. His stubble lightly prickled my fingers before I pulled away. He mumbled something in his sleep and leaned into my fingertips.
Sighing after a moment, I turned away and picked a book off of the shelf and started reading while he slept.
Daniel didn’t even wake up until almost 11, I was staring out the window watching the snow plows when he finally did wake up. “Good morning again,” I said. Daniel rubbed his eyes and ran his fingers through his dark hair. “You must have been tired,” I pulled my knees into my chest and watched him come out of his sleep.
“Yes,” he yawned. “I did not sleep very well last night, and those long flights always mess up my schedule.” It was quiet for a few minutes while Daniel stretched and yawned a few more times.
“Why did you come back Daniel?” I asked him softly. “In your letter and your message to Gigi you said you wouldn’t come back…” Daniel’s eyes softened and he looked out the window briefly.
“My parents wish for me to honor the contract, to honor the marriage. I did not intend to come back but I can’t disobey them.” Daniel said. “I don’t want to upset you anymore than I already have.” He whispered.
“But…you were trying to honor the contract; it was me that wasn’t cooperating. It’s not your fault. Did I get you into trouble?”
“A little bit, yes, but nothing that I could not handle. Please do not blame yourself Elisabeth. It was naive of us to think that you would go along with something like this so easily, especially when you did not even know where you came from.” Daniel said. “Did you get the photograph I left for you last night?” He asked.
“Of my biological parents?” He nodded. “Yes, how did you get it here? My parents didn’t say anything about you coming by.”
“I…may have come in through your bedroom window.” He admitted with a blush. Well that explained why my room had been cold last night. “I didn’t think that you would want to see me again so soon after.”
“I see,” I said. It was quiet again for a few minutes.
“Should I leave Elisabeth?” Daniel asked. “If you wish for me to go home then I will.”
“No, it’s okay. You can stay longer if you want too. It’s not like I have anything better to do what with all of the snow outside.” I said. “We can watch a movie or some TV if you’d like.”
“A movie sounds good. Do you have any James Bond movies? I really like those.”
“Yeah, I think we have the most recent ones, our movies and stuff are in the basement so follow me.” I led Daniel downstairs and showed him our movie collection. He picked out a James Bond movie and I set up the DVD player. Daniel patted the spot on the couch next to him and I sat down, not right next to him, but on the cushion next to his, I figured that this was close enough for now. Daniel seemed a little dismayed at the distance but this was my house after all, and I still wasn’t sure what to think of him being back.
The movie was pretty good, James Bond was okay, but he wasn’t my favorite. “Is there anything else you’d like to do? You might want to leave soon though; my parents will be getting home in a few hours.” I said.
“I think I will head home,” He stood from the sofa and we went back upstairs to the living room. “Thank you for letting me inside earlier, and telling Gigi that you did not know anything. After everything my family and I have put you through, you are still so nice to me. There must be something I can do for you.” He said.
“It’s really okay, Daniel. I know how she can be, just know that you’ll have to face the music one of these days.” I chuckled. “But you’re a big, bad vampire, I’m sure you can handle whatever she comes at you with.” Daniel’s lips quirked up into a little smile.
“This is the first time that you have called me a vampire without calling me crazy in the same sentence,” I blushed and looked away from him.
“Yeah, well don’t read too much into it,” Daniel laughed softly and then reached out towards me, pulling me into his chest. My eyes widened with surprise but I didn’t push him away. “What are you doing?” I asked. He wrapped his arms around me and stroked my hair with his fingers. “Daniel?”
“Luminita,” He said softly. “Would it really be so bad to be with me?” He asked. My mind immediately thought no, but I didn’t respond verbally to the question. Daniel sighed and released me from his grasp. “I will see you later, yes?” I nodded in response, my brain was having a hard time making my mouth work. “Okay, until next time Elisabeth,” He kissed my hand like he had the day before and with a flourish of his coat he was out of the door on his way home.
“What just happened?” I asked myself when he was out of eyesight.
A few days later it was Christmas and Todd came over for dinner. He got there early and we exchanged gifts, he gave me a lovely necklace that sparkled in the light.
“It’s lovely, Todd,” I smiled and leaned over to kiss him. “I love it! Put it on me?” Todd nodded and clasped the necklace around me. I grinned at him and handed him his present. “I hope you like it,” I said. Todd ripped the paper off of the box and smiled.
“This looks pretty cool,” He said. “I’ll have to work on it when I get home.” Todd leaned over and kissed me, then continued to kiss me until we were pretty much making out on the sofa in the basement.
“Kids, dinner is ready!” Dad called down to us. I pulled away from Todd and smirked at him.
“We can continue after dinner,” I winked and pulled him off the couch. “Let’s go eat.” We made our way upstairs and sat down for ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, homemade bread, deviled eggs and pumpkin pie for dessert. While I didn’t eat as much as I did at Thanksgiving, I still came away from the table very full.
Todd left shortly after dinner so we never had a chance to resume our make out session, but we had all the rest of break to do that.
“See you later Elisabeth,”
“Goodnight Todd,” We kissed each other goodbye and he got into his car to go home. I sighed in content and went back inside to the warm.
“Todd seems like a good guy,” My dad said. “And that’s a very nice gift that he got you.”
“Yes, I think he’s a keeper,” Mom added. I blushed and nodded then went upstairs into my room to put my pajamas on for the night. I flicked the lights on my room to be greeted by tapping on my window. I peered into the darkness outside only to see Daniel staring back at me.
“Daniel? What are you doing here?” Daniel sat perched on the window ledge outside with a box in his lap and covered in snow. I opened the window and moved aside to let him in, he covered my desk in slush as he scrambled through the window. “Why are you here?” I asked. Daniel walked over to my bed and sat down, gesturing for me to come over. I rolled my eyes at him but did as he asked.
“I am here because it is Christmas!” He said finally. “You humans make a much bigger deal of it than us vampires do, but I bought you a gift.” Daniel smiled and handed me the box. “I do hope that you like it.”
“But I didn’t get you anything,” I trailed off when Daniel gave me a stern look. “Okay, okay,” I gave in. I unwrapped the wrapping paper carefully and lifted the box lid off revealing a beautiful blue dress. “Oh my God, Daniel,” I breathed. The dress was gorgeous, Swarovski crystals were scattered across the bodice making it look like ice, the skirt was flowy with all shades of the blue sky, from midday blue to midnight blue. “This dress…it’s beautiful.” I said in disbelief. “But this is too much!” I locked eyes with him and he reached over and brushed my bangs out of my face.
“Nothing is too much for you Luminita,” He whispered. I blushed wildly and broke eye contact with him. “Now,” he started. “why don’t you try it on?” He asked, his eyes sparkling.
“What? Now?” I asked. He nodded obviously excited. “Okay, fine, but turn around or something.” I said. He rolled his eyes but turned on my bed so that he was facing the wall. Holding the dress up to my body in the mirror I couldn’t help but think that it was too beautiful for me.
I slipped my pants and shirt off and then stepped into the dress pulling it up over my breasts. I reached around my back and pulled the zipper up slowly. Holy shit. I thought. This dress fits me perfectly. It hugged every curve just right without being too tight. I couldn’t stop staring at myself in the mirror. Gigi had told me once that red was my color, but I changed my mind right then and there; blue was definitely my color. Daniel must have realized I was done because he chose that moment to turn around and look at me.
His eyes went wide but he didn’t say anything, just stood from my bed and came to stand behind me. “I knew that this dress would look good on you but,” He paused. “You look stunning Luminita.” He said breathlessly. I felt hot under his gaze and blushed, he really needed to stop doing this to me, making me feel this way.
“Oh, stop it,” I said softly looking away from him out of embarrassment. Daniel moved so that he was standing in front of me and cupped my chin in his hand, raising my face to look at him, which only made me blush more.
“Stop what?” He asked. I tried to avoid his gaze but he was so close that it was impossible. “What should I stop Elisabeth?” His face was so close to mine that I couldn’t keep my heart from pounding and within a matter of seconds I found myself kissing him. Me kissing Daniel Florescu, the vampire prince of Transylvania, and him kissing me, Elisabeth Hayes, a nobody of Avery.
“Daniel,” I breathed out. Daniel wrapped his arms around me tight and pulled me in closer to him, kissing me harder. I hated to admit it, but he was way better than Todd at kissing. Daniel’s lips trailed from my mouth down to my neck. God that felt good. He kissed my neck a few times until I felt something scratching my skin and a shudder went up my spine and into my gums where my upper canines sat.
“Ah,” I let out a yelp and pushed him away from me. “What…what was that?” My gums felt really sore all of a sudden, like they were about to burst. I looked to him with wide eyes and ran a finger across my teeth, they still felt normal, but my gums sure didn’t. Daniel blushed and looked away from me. “Daniel, what’s going on?”
“I am sorry,” he apologized. “I got carried away. What you felt just now were your teeth, your fangs.” He said. “You see, men are born with their fangs, but women need to be bitten for theirs to show.” He said softly. Um, what?
“My teeth? Vampire teeth?” I asked, I think I was losing it. Daniel nodded and stroked my neck where his mouth had been, where there was now a red mark from his teeth. I slapped his hand away from me and stepped back.
“Elisabeth,” Daniel sighed. “You cannot keep pulling away from me every time something strange happens. You have already accepted that I am a vampire.” He said.
“Yes, that you are a vampire Daniel, not me. How can I accept something like that when I am essentially human? I was raised by humans, I look human. And then you go and try and bite me? You didn’t even bother to ask,” I said incredulously. “And now my gums really hurt,” I felt a tear trickle down my cheek and I wiped my eyes looking away from him. Why did all of this weird stuff have to happen to me?
“Elisabeth,” Daniel whispered. He closed to distance between us and wrapped me in his arms. “I am sorry, I wasn’t thinking, please do not cry.” I let him hold me and apologize over and over again, even though I was scared, I still felt kind of safe in his arms. “Please forgive me,” Daniel said into my hair. “I didn’t mean to hurt you. And your gums will stop hurting after a bit, just give it time.” He kissed the top of my head and hugged me tighter. “I’m sorry I ruined our moment,” He apologized again.
I stopped myself from crying and stepped out of his arms. “Maybe you should go home Daniel…” I said softly. “I need some time to process this,” Daniel nodded sadly and walked over to my window. I hugged myself tightly and couldn’t bring myself to look at him, it wasn’t his fault that we were from different worlds.
“You know where to find me if you want to talk or see me again,” He said. Daniel opened the window and was gone in a flash. The only evidence that he had even been here was the dress I was wearing and the red mark on my neck. Oh, and my slush covered desk, I hope he didn’t get any of my school papers wet.
“Why can’t he just be a normal person? If he were human everything would be so much easier,” I said. “I’m sorry it has to be this way Daniel…” I closed my window and took the dress off carefully then hung it up in my closet. Who knew when I would get to wear it anyway?
Elisabest: I saw Daniel tonight.
Gigi1340: Really?! How was he?
Elisabest: Actually, I first saw him when we went Christmas shopping at the mall.
Gigi1340: What? Why didn’t you tell me?
Elisabest: Because he said that you were annoying him and he looked tired. Then he came over the first day of break saying that you knew he was back. I was actually standing right in front of him when you called me Wednesday morning.
Gigi1340: Seriously? I went all the way over to Oak Street on Wednesday looking for him. But you told me you didn’t know!
Elisabest: I know, I know. But like I said, he looked really tired, by the time I was off the phone with you he was passed out on my couch.
Gigi1340: And you saw him again tonight? What did he want?
Elisabest: He came over to give me a Christmas gift. It’s so beautiful, Gigi, I’ll send you a picture of it.
Gigi1340: Damn, that is a really pretty dress. He got that for you?
Elisabest: Yeah, it’s almost too pretty for me, but I look so good in it. But idk what to do Gigi. Daniel…we kissed tonight, like really kissed. He’s such a great kisser, better than Todd and now everything in my brain is so confused.
Gigi1340: You guys kissed? After everything that has happened?
Elisabest: I know it’s stupid but it just sort of happened. One minute he was looking at me in a way no one has ever looked at me and then we were kissing. And…I found out why I don’t have fangs.
Gigi1340: Really?? That’s one of the things I could never get him to tell me!
Elisabest: He has to bite me Gigi. He almost did it tonight but I pushed him away. He started scratching my neck with his teeth and this weird sensation went up my back into my gums. My gums are really sore and they feel full now. So if Daniel bites me then I guess I’ll be a legit vampire at that point. It was...a little too much, so I asked him to leave after that.
Gigi1340: Curiouser and curiouser. What about Todd?
Elisabest: I don’t know! I really like Todd, but for some reason whenever Daniel is around, all of that doesn’t seem to matter. You should have seen the way he was looking at me in that dress. Even Todd hasn’t looked at me like that before. Maybe I should just give him a chance? Let him explain everything to me and if things are still super weird then I’ll pull out.
Gigi1340: It’s up to you chickpea, you need to do what’s best for you. Just don’t lead poor Todd on, he’s such a sweet kid.
Elisabest: I know, thanks Gigi. I’ll talk to you later, night.
Gigi1340: Goodnight. And merry Christmas!