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Explain Yourself

It didn’t take long for Vincent to find a client—a plum older man who was too handsy and even asked Vincent if I was working and was willing to join for some extra cash. Vincent had spoken to him before I could, explaining that I was just tagging along for a ride.

When in the local gay bar, the two went up to one of the rentable upstairs rooms, and I waited for Vincent to finish eating by a small table as I listened to the house music that filled the air. Sometimes a person would take interest in me, walking over to the little space I had carved out for myself, asking if they could sit with me or buy me a drink.

“No thank you,” I muttered to one of the men, watching and his flirtatious smile had turned into an ugly scowl.

“Young dudes like you always think you are hot shit,” he said, slamming his hand down on the wooden table stained with years worth of beets before turning and walking away. I was too tired to respond to him, and I didn’t want to draw my attention to myself.

I wonder if his reaction would be different if he had known how close he’d been to death.

I had come to the bar with Vincent with an intention to eat, but I hadn’t seen anything that I liked, most people were snuggly held by the shoulder by partners, and those who weren’t were either staff or looked too difficult to approach. There was no poor soul that seemed to be worth the fuss, so I gave up, deciding to just wait for Vincent.

I wondered what was taking so long, but my worry for my friend was soon pushed to the back of my mind when I spotted a figure with familiar dark shoulder-length hair.

Is that... Haruto?

My mouth went dry as I watched the man in the distance look from pillar to post. I caught a glimpse of his face when he looked in my direction briefly, I looked away, looking up to see that he had turned again. That was indeed Haruto, and it didn’t seem like he had recognized me. He looked out of place—lost.

He was in his usual plain clothes—not dressed up like most people would be when coming in to look for some fun at a bar. I wondered if he had come in here by mistake. It was possible. The bar didn’t scream its LGBT + status with flashy lights and flags. It wasn’t for hip youths proud of who they were. It as geared towards older folks that had chosen to hide that part of themselves to keep their families and their jobs.

Haruto looked towards my direction again, and I looked away, raising the drinks menu that had been dropped off with me hours ago. My heart started beating fast, and I started to go through ways that I could leave the bar without him seeing me, but when I dropped the menu and looked over at him to figure out how to make my exit, I changed my mind. Someone was latching on to Haruto now, holding his shoulder, and resisting his attempts to shake him off.

I wouldn’t be as worried if it was a human. I might have even left, figuring out that Haruto could deal with things himself, but this was a vampire—a trauma vampire just like me. He looked desperate to eat. His eyes kept flashing red from time to time, and it looked like he wasn’t going to let Haruto go.

No. I thought, getting up from my chair as I broke into a cold sweat. No. I thought again, making my way through the crowd when I noticed that the man had somehow convinced Haruto to follow him.

I managed to trail behind them but moving through the horde of men was getting distressing, considering all the memories that were slithering into my head from the close contact and distracting me from my current task at hand. My throat felt clogged up, and there was a pressure in my eyes that hinted to me that I might cry if I didn’t catch up.

I don’t want Haruto to die.

The desperation of my own thoughts had shocked me so much that I hadn’t realized that I had said that I had shouted, and now Haruto and the vampire were staring straight at me. Haruto with a look of perplex on his face, and the vampire with an expression of annoyance. Understandably, I had just interrupted his hunt.

“Wern?” Haruto said in a small voice.

I simply smiled, trying my best not to look away from him. “Hey, I thought I should say hello,” I said through gritted teeth. “Do you mind? I want to talk to him,” I said, looking over at the hawkish red-haired vampire that still had a grip on Haruto’s shoulder. The man frowned, but he let Haruto go and disappeared into the crowd. My shoulders relaxed, and I felt brief relief until a hand reached out to grab my arm.

“Wern,” Haruto said, turning me so that I could look into his dark eyes. “What are you doing here?”

I opened my mouth, closing it when I didn’t have anything to say as the weight of the realization that I was in a gay bar with Haruto sunk it.

I had to explain myself, didn’t I?

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