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Toxic #36: Never Bet Good Money on Bad Monsters

Nov 19, 2014

“Okay. What’s the main theme of ‘Romeo and Juliet’?”

I doodled on the back on my notebook, more than ready for school to be over. The stupid clock hands refused to move, though. “Love. Could you have possibly asked an easier question?”

Scott raised an eyebrow. “Putting love down on the test won’t get you shit for credit, you know. Every idiot puts love.”

“Fine. The inevitability of fate. Can we give it a break now?” I was working on no sleep and an acid stomach. Having your father slip something into your soda will do that to you.

“You asked me to help you get ready for the test, so suck it up, Buttercup. We’re going talk about Montagues and Capulets until the bell rings.”

According to the clock on the wall, there were twenty minutes left. I rested my head on my notebook and groaned. “You’re a sadist.”

He laughed, proving my point. “I’m giving up time with the girls for this, you know. Show some appreciation.”

I raised my head just enough to glare at him. “I only asked you to help me because I was desperate for a conversation with someone who wasn’t Kim.”

“You’re the one who went into her shop.”

“Like I knew her mom was still living in the sixties.”

“I’m pretty sure she wasn’t alive in the sixties. Weren’t crystals a thing in the eighties, too?”

“My entire knowledge of the twentieth century is from horror flicks. How the hell would I know?” I muttered.

He shut the Shakespeare book and tossed it on the table in front of me. “Look, I know the lockdown Vincent has you on sucks, but lighten up. It hasn’t been much fun at the Dragon, either. Those stupid fairies have been meeting there all week and scaring away the regulars. And they’re lousy tippers.”

I stuffed the book into my bag. “When are they going to give up and get over it, anyway?” They hadn’t figured anything out yet because no one had come knocking on my door with a pitchfork or a torch.

“Vincent set up a meeting between them and the vampires this afternoon. If we’re lucky, that’ll make ‘em pissed off enough to leave.” He gave me a grin that was all teeth. “We’re taking bets on how long they manage to go without starting a fight.”

“They hate each other that much?”

Scott rolled his eyes. “You have no idea. It’s like Heaven versus Hell, but no one can agree on who the angels are.”

“In that case I’ll put a five down on ten minutes. I’ve seen how short a fuse some of Rorbauch’s crew have.” I flipped through my notebook, wondering if that’s why Damian had wanted me to meet him and Arabus tonight. With his dad as the head of the vampires and him the prince or heir or whatever they called him, wouldn’t he have to be in the meeting? He just better not be setting me up to run into the fairies because he was bored or something.

“You know if they’re going to be at each other’s throats you could try to sneak in. No one would see you if you hid in the kitchen and kept me company.”

“Since when did you decide risking the wrath of Vincent was okay? Besides, I’m already supposed to sneak in. Damian is sending Barnabus for me after school.”

Scott pretended to groan. “Why are you still hanging out with his royal badness? I thought we went over this.”

“Tell you what—when you ditch Julia and her coven, I’ll stop hanging with her brother. In the meantime, I’m out. I have to go to the bathroom.”

“Slacker.”

“Alpo breath.” I waved him off and headed to the nearest girl’s room.

If I was hoping for some peace and quiet, though, I didn’t find it. Julia and her minion were there, hogging up the limited shelf space with their junk.

“What are you going to tell him?” Amber was half-sitting on a sink watching Julia fix her makeup.

“My dad doesn’t give a shit about me,” Julia sneered. “Why tell him anything?”

“Seriously? My mom would go ballistic if there were a hickey like that on my neck.”

I swallowed a curse at my luck and went up to the sinks. They had to know I was here. They just didn’t give a crap.

Julie tugged the collar of her turtleneck down and stared at her neck, a sappy smile oozing onto her face. And unless I was completely dense, she wasn’t sporting a hickey so much as a puncture wound. “It’s not like it’s the first time a guy has ever sucked on me. Chill, okay?” She smoothed the collar of her turtleneck back into place and twisted around to glare at me. As acknowledgments went from her, it wasn’t that bad. “This is a private conversation. Go find another bathroom to dork out in.”

“Like I care who chews on you.” I got my brush out and tried to make my hair do something other than fall into my face. Luckily ‘chew’ in this case could mean a few things.

Julie packed up her makeup. “Whatever. Just keep out of my way.” They brushed past me in a cloud of perfume and went out the door.

I dropped my brush back into my bag and stared at myself in the mirror. She had fang marks. Julia’s “hickey” was two little round holes with some bruising. She had been bitten by a vampire and was proud of it, and it shouldn’t have surprised me—look who her dad was—but it did. And for some reason it bugged me. Julia was a fly in my soup, the gum stuck on the bottom of a favorite pair of sneakers, but I cared that she’d been bitten. Or maybe I cared that Damian might care.

Either way it was annoying. I didn’t want anything Julia did or said to even register. I had more important things, like my dad slipping shit in my food, to stress about. I just hoped Arabus had some answers on what it might’ve been, in addition to why my fairy marker didn’t work. Because the way my life was going? The two would be related. The only good news, if they were, was that Julia’s thirsty boyfriend would be the least of my problems.

© A.M. Schilling  2014. All Rights Reserved.

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