Chapter 11: New Year, New Life
Daniel didn’t come around after that; I knew he was still in Avery though. I guess he couldn’t go home if his parents were mad at him for not convincing me of this marriage thing. So the week between Christmas and New Year’s was spent with Todd and Gigi. Todd and I went on a double date with Gigi and Kevin at one point, which was pretty nice, and I finally made it over to Todd’s house and met his parents.
Now we were standing in the main square of Avery waiting for the clock to strike midnight. It was a tradition of our little town, Time’s Square had its ball drop and we had our big clock tower. It was a big event, restaurants and stores would set up booths in the square in the afternoon and pretty much the whole town would show up. This winter seemed especially cold and snowy as it was snowing yet again, just flurries though. I pulled my knit cap farther down my head to keep my ears from freezing.
“Are you cold?” Todd asked. His cheeks were rosy from the cold and it was super adorable. I nodded and he wrapped his arms around my waist, shielding my back from the cold. “Better?”
“Much, thanks,” I craned my head back and smiled up at him. In two weeks we’ll have been together for a month and up until Daniel happened, it had been so easy to be with him. He was such a sweetheart all of the time. Todd leaned down and kissed me quickly and smiled at me.
“You know, I don’t think I’ve been out to this since Middle School.” He said.
“Really? How come?” I asked.
“I didn’t have very many friends, and what friends I did have were studying or whatever.” He said. “So it’s really great to be here with you, Gigi and Kevin.” Todd smiled and kissed me again. “Guess it’s a good thing I ran into you in the library huh?” He smirked and I nodded with a smile.
“Sorry to interrupt your little moment, but Kev and I are going to get hot chocolate, you guys want to come?” Gigi asked. I looked to Todd for a response and he nodded. “Okay, c’mon!” Gigi and Kevin bounded off into the throng of people with us close behind.
“Man they move fast,” Todd said a little out of breath.
“It’s marching band, they’re used to having to navigate a field of people.” I laughed. “Plus Gigi does track and she’s pretty good at it.” I added. Of course the hot chocolate stand was all the way across the square and it took us a few minutes to catch up to them. The hot chocolate was super chocolatey and delicious, it was from a local coffee shop and they made theirs from scratch, not some cheap powder.
“This is sooo good,” said Gigi before taking another big sip. “This was a great idea Kev,” Kevin smiled triumphantly and Gigi rolled her eyes. “Okay calm down, don’t get too cocky.” The two of them laughed together, they were so cute, they complimented each other perfectly. I wanted Todd and I to have the kind of relationship that they did and I guess we could if we dated longer. Gigi and Kevin have been together since October after all, while it’s only been a few weeks for Todd and I.
Todd nudged my side with his elbow and brought me back to the real world. “What are you thinking about?” He asked me. I blinked at him a few times. “You’ve been lost in thought for the past couple of minutes,” He laughed a little.
“Oh, I was thinking about how great Kevin and Gigi are together, and how cold it’s been this year. Usually it stays in the low 50’s but it’s gotten really cold.” I said.
“I was thinking that earlier too! I’m all for the snow and everything, but this is a little much.” Todd and I laughed together and then walked with Gigi and Kevin back to the center of the square to continue waiting for the clock. It was still only 10:30 so we had another hour and a half to go.
We went back to school the following Monday and switched to next semesters classes. This semester I was taking AP Literature, German IV, Studio Art and AP Biology. Unfortunately, Gigi and I didn’t share any classes this semester, but I did track with her in the spring. Todd and I, however, shared AP Lit and Bio so that was good at least. The first day of semesters were always super easy and I was thankful for that because I was not feeling school after the break. I already missed sleeping in.
“Hey,” Todd came up to my locker and kissed my forehead good morning. “How are you?”
“Tired, I really didn’t want to get up this morning, my bed and I had such a good relationship over break.” Todd laughed and took my hand as we headed to AP Lit together. “I hope we get to sit next to each other in Lit,” I said. Luckily our Lit teacher, Mrs. Powell, let all of us choose our seats so Todd and I sat together in the middle row. After English I was off to German IV.
“Guten Morgen, Klasse,” Mr. Nacht greeted us. “I hope you all had a good break, but now it’s time to get to work.” He had already started the lecture when Daniel sauntered through the door.
Are you kidding me? This again? I groaned and put my head on my desk. Maybe he wouldn’t notice me.
“Entschuldigung Lehrer,” Daniel handed Mr. Nacht a slip of paper.
“Ah, I see you’ve transferred classes. German III was too easy for you huh?” Mr. Nacht joked.
“Well, I studied German back home in Romania, I guess they underestimated my abilities.” Daniel said with a smirk.
“Quite, well please take a seat next to Theo so we can continue class.” The teacher said. Mr. Nacht resumed his opening lecture and Daniel made his way towards the empty seat next to Theo. I sighed out of relief, thank God I had sat next to Vera. Why did he keep having to show up everywhere? I bet he somehow found out that I was in this class and purposefully transferred in, or maybe he figured it out after me being in German III last semester. But still, he wasn’t even in school for half of last semester so it was kind of weird that he was coming back now.
At the end of class, I tried to get out as quickly as possible without being seen, but Daniel caught up with me in a matter of seconds.
“Elisabeth wait up!” Daniel said. No point in waiting up though, his long legs caught up to mine in no time. “Why are you trying to walk so fast? What lunch shift are you on?” He asked. Ugh.
“I’m on the second lunch shift,” I said.
“Really? So am I, we can sit together at lunch.” Daniel said happily. We may have kissed and everything, but that didn’t mean I was automatically his BFF. “What class do you have next?”
“Studio art, you?” I said.
“Let’s see, I have band with Gigi. I cannot wait to play the trumpet with a whole band. I’ve never done that before.” Daniel said. Well at least that meant that Gigi was on the same lunch shift with me, too bad Todd was on the first lunch shift again. Daniel walked with me until we reached the art room. “See you at lunch,” He waved goodbye and bounded off to Band, that band geek. I sighed and went into the classroom to set up for the day. Studio art was full of a bunch of artsy people like me so the teacher didn’t bother with first day lectures.
I chose an easel in the back and grabbed some paints. Our exercise for that day was to paint whatever we wanted, so I just let my hands do what they wanted, I wasn’t even really paying attention to what I was doing.
“Wow! Very good Elisabeth, is that your boyfriend?” Mr. Smith asked.
“Huh?” I said coming back into focus. Oh my God. I had painted Daniel without even realizing it. “Oh, uh…” I panicked. “No that’s…a musician I’m really into right now.”
“Oh, well you did a great job on it. Your details are on pointe.” He said and then walked over to the next person. I sighed with relief and stared at what I had done; it wasn’t anywhere near finished. So far I only had the outline of everything and his hair. I picked up my brush to continue and then the lunch bell rang. I rushed out of the room and away from the painting as fast as I could. Maybe Gigi could talk some sense into me.
Except I forgot that Daniel was on this lunch shift too…crap. That meant he would probably sit with us. She can’t talk sense into me if he’s there too! Oh, I know! I’ll just send Gigi a text asking to meet me in the library. Yes, that will work, she can tell him that she just needs to grab something really quick and that we’ll meet him there. Perfect. I sent Gigi the text and then raced to the library before Daniel saw me.
Gigi walked into the library a few minutes later and I waved to her from my old bean bag chair in the mystery section. “Over here,” I called out.
“What’s going on, why are we meeting here?” She asked.
“I just wanted to talk to you without Daniel being here.” I said. “He’s in my German class and on our lunch shift again. I can’t get away from him!”
“He’s in your German class?”
“Yeah, and in Studio Art I started painting him without even realizing it! Talk some sense into me Gigi.” I begged. “Smack me or something, get him out of my head.” All Gigi did was laugh at me. “What?”
“Sorry, you’re just kind of funny when you freak out,” She continued to giggle. “Maybe you just need to show him that you have a boyfriend, maybe he’ll back off then.” She said. “Next time he’s around you and Todd just pull Todd over and start making out or whatever.”
“I…suppose that could work.” I said. “I’ll try that next time, see what happens.” I said. Gigi smirked at me. “Don’t get too cocky now, let’s go eat lunch.” I stood from my corner and Gigi and I went up to the lunch room. There he was sitting alone, sipping from his thermos. Maybe he would make some new friends this time around instead of being alone all of the time, I felt a little sorry for him.
“Hello,” He greeted us when we sat down.
“Still drinking out of that thermos huh?” I asked. Now that I knew what was in it, it grossed me out a little bit. He was drinking blood right under all of these people’s noses.
“Well I must,” He said. “I can get by a little while on human food, but in the end I still need to drink. One day you will understand Elisabeth.” Daniel said.
“Um, what? No way Elisabeth is going to do that!” Gigi exclaimed. “She’s not one of you.” She was getting all protective again.
“She is one of us, Gigi,” Daniel insisted.
“But she isn’t! She’ll pretty much stay human so long as you don’t bite her, right?” Gigi said in a hushed voice. Daniel narrowed his eyes and glared at me.
“What?” I asked.
“You told her? Why would you do that, she shouldn’t know this kind of information.” Daniel scowled.
“She’s my best friend Daniel, of course I told her. I’ve told her everything.” I crossed my arms in defiance. “You’re not the boss of me, it’s not like we’re married, I can do what I want.” I said. Daniel massaged his temple above his eyes.
“Americans,” he sighed. “Let me put it to you this way Elisabeth, if my parents ever found out just how much she knows, they would have her killed.” Daniel said. “Unlike humans, vampires do not play around, we are a secretive species and they want it to stay that way.”
“Where are your fangs anyway, Daniel? We’ve never seen them.” Gigi challenged. Daniel glared at Gigi even more.
“They only come out when we need them,” He said through clenched teeth. “I’m just drinking out of a thermos right now so I do not need them, therefore, they are retracted into my gums.” He paused. “I suppose if I never bit her then yes, she would stay human for the most part. Her lifespan would be longer but other than that she would be normal.”
“Then leave her alone,” Gigi said bluntly. Jeez, Gigi, calm down.
“Gigi, it’s okay, just let it go for now okay?” I piped up.
“No way! We’ve been best friends since Elementary school, I don’t want to lose you now.” Gigi’s face turned red with upset.
“I’m not leaving you, Gigi, everything is fine.” I patted her back.
“But he almost bit you on Christmas,” She hissed. “What if he actually does it?”
Daniel threw up his arms. “You really do tell her everything,” He said. This lunch had escalated quickly, I think it’s time to abort.
“I’m going back to the art room,” I stood abruptly and walked away from the table.
“Elisabeth!” Gigi ran after me. “Wait up!” Gigi caught up to me and walked next to me. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have gotten so defensive, he just makes me so mad.”
“I know, he makes me angry too. He talks like he’s going to bite me regardless of whether I want it or not. I like my life here with you and Todd, I don’t want that to change. It’s not fair, I didn’t sign up for this.” I said. At this point we were back at the art room and I invited Gigi in to see my painting.
“Wow, this is really good so far. What are you going to do with it when you’re done?” She asked. I shrugged. “We should burn it,” She said. “That way we can figuratively burn the real Daniel.” I rolled my eyes at her.
“We could,” I paused. “Let’s do it this weekend! I think it’s supposed to be nicer.” Gigi’s eyes sparkled with mischief and she nodded vigorously.
“Oh, does Todd know that Daniel is back yet?” She asked. Shit, I hadn’t even thought to tell him yet.
“Uh, no. I hadn’t even thought about telling him honestly. I probably should though.” I said. She nodded in agreement. “I’ll tell him after school.”
“Good,” She said right as the bell rang. “Guess I’ll see you later, have a good rest of your day.” Gigi bounded out of the room and into band.
“Ugh,” I said to myself. “Why does this year have to suck?” I had so many plans for senior year and everything seemed to be going to hell.
At the end of the school day I made my way over to Todd’s locker and waited for him to get there. He showed up a few minutes later with Daniel a little ways behind him. Both of their faces lit up when they saw me standing there and I suddenly felt like a deer in headlights. Todd got to me first but I had to talk quickly.
“Okay, so Daniel is back in town and he’s still going after that whole arranged marriage thing and I don’t want him to scare you off, but here he comes so kiss me.” I said in a blur. I pulled Todd’s face down to mine and kissed him hard. He seemed rather surprised by all of this.
“Wait. What?” He said between kisses. I glanced up to see Daniel stopped in the hallway staring at us, betrayal written all over his face. No seriously, he actually looked really hurt. Todd followed my gaze and saw Daniel as well and they made eye contact with each other. Daniel’s hurt turned to anger and he turned away storming off in the opposite direction. “What’s up with that? When did he get back, why didn’t you tell me sooner?” Todd fired off questions at me.
I took a deep breath. “He came back a few days before Christmas, I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want you to worry about it. For the most part he hasn’t been causing trouble so I didn’t think it was that big of a deal.” I said.
“For the most part?” Todd gave me a concerned look. I blushed and looked away.
“Well he did come over to my house a few days before Christmas because he was avoiding Gigi. Apparently she’s been bombarding him with questions lately and she’s annoying him. But all we did was watch a James Bond movie.” I said. “So even that wasn’t really trouble. He just keeps showing up when I don’t want him to.” I whined. Todd wrapped his arms around me and hugged me.
“It will be okay; you have me around now. So just let me know if he ever causes you real trouble, okay?”
I nodded. “Okay,” Todd smiled and reached down for my hand and we left the school together. Lucky for me that he drove to school now so he could take me home.
Daniel didn’t mutter a single word to me the next few days at school, he didn’t even say good morning to me when we passed by each other in the hallway. At lunch he was sitting at a table all by himself.
“Is it bad that I feel sorry for him?” I asked Gigi. I took a bite of my sandwich and glanced over at him. He looked sad, he was dressed in all black just sitting there sipping from his thermos.
“Yes, yes it is. But I was right about the Todd thing, he’s staying away from you now.” She said matter of fact like.
“But you didn’t see the look on his face Gigi, he looked like I had stabbed him.” I said. Ever since Monday I had been feeling really guilty about the whole Todd thing. “Maybe I should go see him after school and try to fix it, I don’t want him to hate me…” I muttered. Gigi rolled her eyes and ate her lunch.
“Isn’t this what you wanted Elisabeth? To be left alone? To live your life the way you wanted? If he’s leaving you alone then you can do that.” She said. “So I don’t see what the problem is.” Gigi was getting frustrated with me.
“I know, I’m sorry. I guess I’m just going soft…” I said.
“I think you are. You need to figure out what you want. It’s fine to want Daniel, but you have to be okay with all of his…baggage too.” She said. “He’ll want to bite you and make you an actual vampire. He’ll want to take you home to Romania and marry you and uphold the marriage pact or whatever. You won’t be human anymore…” Gigi trailed off. “So if that’s what you want, then okay. But otherwise you should just accept what’s happening.”
“Yeah…you’re right, I’m being stupid.” I said. “How’s band? Is Daniel any good?” This perked Gigi up a little bit.
“He’s awesome! Our band director made him first chair trumpet on the spot. He might be weird, but the kid can play.” Gigi said. “We’ll have an awesome concert for sure this year with him around.” She grinned.
Soon after the bell rang and we had to get back to class. “See you around, Gigi. Have fun in band.” I called out to her. Daniel walked past me without even looking at me as I was about to walk into the art room. He kept his head low and his hands in his pockets, all I really caught was his scent as he walked by. Talk about giving me the cold shoulder. I sighed and walked into the classroom in a huff.
Friday after dinner Gigi came over and we had a little bonfire, just us girls, and we burned my painting of Daniel. I still felt really bad about the whole Todd thing, Daniel never did break his silence. Gigi spent the night that night but I couldn’t sleep. At around 3 in the morning I said screw it and got out of bed. I threw on sweat pants and a sweat shirt and snuck downstairs; if I jogged I could be there in 10 minutes.
It was kind of creepy jogging in the middle of the night in January, a little chilly too, but once I got warmed up it was fine and at least the moon was bright. His house was only about a mile away anyway. As I predicted I was there in about 10 minutes and I could see a little light on in his room, he must have put the candle back in there. I stopped for a few minutes to catch my breath before trying to get his attention. I grabbed a small rock and threw it at his window, missing on the first try. I got it on the second though. I saw the light flicker and then there was his face staring out at me. He pointed towards the door, I walked over to it to find it unlocked. I guess vampires don’t need to worry about burglars. You know, since he could probably drain them in a matter of minutes.
When I stepped into the living room Daniel was there waiting for me. “Don’t you need to sleep?” He asked, his arms crossed across his chest.
“Says the guy also awake at 3:15 in the morning,” I retorted. “I…I couldn’t sleep, I can’t get my mind to shut up.” I said. I hugged myself and stared down at the ground. “I feel really bad…” I mumbled.
“What is there to feel bad about? You only kissed me and then kissed another boy a few weeks later,” Daniel said angrily. His anger only sparked a fire inside of me. Here I was trying to apologize to him and this is what I get?
“Look, you can be angry, you have every right to be. But here I am at 3 freaking 30 in the morning and you won’t even give me the chance to apologize to you!” I said. “You’re more emotional than a girl on her period, do you know that? God, you wouldn’t even look at me all this week. I’m sorry okay? I’m really sorry! I shouldn’t have done it and now I feel awful. Are you happy?” My voice kept getting louder and louder with every passing second.
Daniel didn’t say anything for a few seconds, simply stared at me dumbfounded. I was really fired up now, I felt like I wanted to yell at the top of my lungs.
“Do you really think I’m the only one at fault here anyway? You just left back in October without even saying goodbye. Yeah you left a letter, but I didn’t even find that until about a month ago! Then I ate lunch alone in the library for a week until Todd showed up because Gigi was so mad at me. She didn’t talk to me for like two weeks. And who do you think was there to help me feel better? To get my life back on track since you weren’t here? Todd was.
“Maybe if you had stayed longer then things could have been different. Maybe if you had taken the whole vampire/ arranged marriage thing one step at a time I wouldn’t be so freaked out about it all. I had never even known I was born in Romania until you showed up! I always thought I was Austrian since that’s where they adopted me from. So you didn’t talk to me for months and then just show up out of the blue and expect everything to be how it was three months ago? Maybe things don’t change that often in the vampire world, but you’re in my world now, baby, and in the human world things are constantly changing, capiche?”
I took a deep satisfying breath after my rant, I felt so much better. I probably shouldn’t have let all of this build up, but better late than never right? I hadn’t felt this good in a while actually, I sighed and walked over to the couch, collapsing on it. I felt relieved, but I also felt very exhausted all of a sudden.
“I…I don’t know what to say,” Daniel stuttered. Good, he should be flustered. “I guess, I did not expect things to be the same, but I did not expect you to be with someone else already. I really just don’t know what to say.” Daniel said speechless for once. Daniel sat down on the couch next to me. “I’m sorry Luminita, I should have said goodbye at least, but you were so upset after the dance, I did not think that you would want to see me. I know I should have gone slower with you being a vampire, I was so headstrong and I thought it would be easy to convince you of vampires, but I was wrong; obviously. My parents really want this arrangement to work out, it would benefit both of our families greatly, I let that get the best of me.” He gave me a serious look and ran his hand through his hair.
“I’m sorry, Elisabeth, I’ll try to be better from now on.” He said.
“I’m sorry too,” I sighed. “I should have told you about Todd but I felt like things were sort of normal between us finally and I didn’t want to ruin it. And then we kissed and everything just seemed to go to hell after that.” I blushed. “I only did what I did because Gigi suggested it anyway.”
“Why did she tell you to do that?” He asked suspiciously,
“Well I complained about how you kept showing up when and where I didn’t want you to, so she said that maybe if I showed you that Todd and I were together, it would scare you off. And it did, but I felt so bad about it… I don’t want you to hate me, I just want a normal life, but that seems almost impossible at this point.” I said. “Can you forgive me Daniel?” I asked him.
“Only If you can forgive me as well,” He said after a moment. “I do not hate you Elisabeth, I don’t think I could. I just felt so betrayed and angry when I saw you, but that may be partially our fault. Vampires are territorial and possessive, when we kissed and I almost bit you, to me that meant that you were mine at that point, but I never asked how you felt about it. I keep forgetting that you were raised as a human and not a vampire, if you had been then it would probably be different.” He said.
“If I had been raised in Romania we wouldn’t even be in this mess,” I muttered. “I would know exactly what to do just like you do. I wouldn’t find drinking blood to be so gross and I would want to go through with the marriage; I would want you to bite me.” I sighed and leaned my head back on the couch. “This kind of sucks you know?” Puns! Daniel nodded in agreement.
“I should probably head home and try to sleep, it’s going on 4 O’ clock and I need to be there in case Gigi wakes up and sees that I’m gone.” I said. I stood from the couch and made my way to the door. “Sorry for bothering you so late, I’ll see you in school on Monday.” Daniel stopped me at the door.
“Maybe I should walk you home, a girl like you shouldn’t walk around alone in the dark.” Daniel didn’t give me a chance to protest because he pushed me out the door and shut it behind us. “You do not live that far away anyway, and vampires don’t always need to sleep.” He said. He reached for my hand and entwined our fingers together.
“Daniel,” I protested.
“Just let me have this Luminita,” He said quickly. “This isn’t so bad is it?”
“Well, no, but,”
“No one is around to see it, it will be our secret, okay?” He pleaded.
“I suppose so…” I trailed off. We walked the rest of the way in silence and when we reached my house Daniel kissed the top of my head before bounding off towards Oak Street. I sighed before going inside. “This life of mine is too weird,” I said to myself and then went inside and up to bed without ever being noticed.