Life used to be simple for me. I used to be able to walk with freedom, void of fear. And then he came into my life. He was the one who opened the door to all things scary. He was the one that showed me there were monsters in the night. He was the one I fell in love with.
He told me life would be simpler without him in it. I didn’t understand at the time what he meant by this. I understand now. And I wish that I could go back to the day I met him. I wish I could do it all over again and tell him no. But regrets solve nothing and time travel has yet to be invented.
“Have you ever thought about starring in your own fairy tale?” He asked me from across the table. I just stared at the newcomer, wondering how to respond.
“You mean like a movie?” I asked, stirring my drink.
“No, I mean like a real-life genuine love story.” His smile was perfect in the crowded room.
“I don’t think those exist,” I said, looking around for my friends. They seemed to have disappeared, leaving us all alone in the crowded restaurant.
“They can if you allow them to.” He picked up the menu in front of him, shielding his face.
“Right.” My voice dripped with hesitation, but I had no escape plan for this situation.
“So, what’s good here?” He dropped the menu and smiled at me. He didn’t seem to be going anywhere.
“I don’t know. Depends on who’s paying.” I watched as his eyes lit up.
“I think you should,” he replied, laying the menu down on the table in front of him.
“I should?” I asked, surprised by his response.
“Yes,” he replied. “And I’ll cover the next check. I promise it’ll be a nicer restaurant.”
“The next check?” I asked, regretting bringing up the topic of the check.
“Yes, the next check.”
“Are you asking me out?”
“Are you accepting?” His smile was getting wider by the second.
“Depends on when and where.”
“Tomorrow night,” he replied, looking around. “Meet me here and we’ll venture forth from there.”
“And you’re paying?”
“And picking the location.” He stood to leave. “I’ll see you then.” He was gone before I could give him a straight answer.
This mysterious guy was the first thing I discussed with my friends when I returned home. They were the ones that encouraged me to meet him the following night. I wish I hadn’t listened to them.
He was standing outside of the restaurant when I arrived ten minutes early. I had been hoping to use those ten minutes to gather my thoughts and prepare myself for the night. Instead, I seemed to have gained ten minutes of a date.
“You’re early,” was the first thing he said when I walked up.
“So are you,” was my reply.
“You ruined the surprise.”
“What surprise?” I was curious to know what this stranger could have possibly planned for a surprise.
“I was going to be romantic and leave you a trail of something. It was going to lead you to the restaurant,” he replied, gesturing to a pile of cards in his hand.
“Where did you get the idea to do that?” I asked, wondering why this guy was so strange.
“The movies. And books. It’s really been used in quite a few places,” he replied, smiling.
“But rarely ever is it used on a first date,” I replied, thinking of the few instances I could recall from favorite books and movies.
“True. Which would have made it an even bigger surprise.” His smile was wide again and glowing white in the night.
“I suppose so,” I replied, stepping closer to him to avoid being in the walkway of the sidewalk. “Why would you want to waste so much effort on a girl you don’t even know?”
“Because you’re perfect.” His smile softened. “I can already tell that you’re right for me.”
“That’s just a tad bit creepy,” I replied, stepping away.
“I’m sorry,” he replied, his voice even and smooth. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“You didn’t,” I replied, looking around. “Let’s just get to dinner, okay?”
“Okay,” he replied. I watched as his hand reached for mine. I shoved mine into my pocket and hoped the night would become smoother as it progressed.
The night did become smoother. But, the weeks to follow only became more complex.
That was the beginning of a rocky road that led me to the world of monsters. It led me to the moment when he told me the truth.
“I’m a vampire.” He said it plain and simple under the glow of a full moon. I looked at him and accused him of joking. He insisted that I believe the truth.
“You can’t be a vampire. They don’t exist,” I told him, looking up at his dark eyes. “They are just a myth told to children to keep them in at night. They’re not real.”
“They are real.” His voice was even and extremely calm.
“Prove it,” I retorted, with my hands positioned carefully on my hips.
“Okay,” he said, curling his lips into a smile. His smile widened, revealing his teeth. Among them were pointy incisors, extended beyond the rest of the teeth. He looked like the perfect vampire, with his teeth gleaming in the moonlight.
“You really are a…?” I let my voice trail off as I took in the sight before me. Andrew was wearing a dark tux from our formal date that night. Add a cape to his ensemble and he would have been the poster boy for Dracula. It was an eerie sight.
“I really am,” he replied, his voice huskier than before.
“I have to go.” I ran and stumbled until I found my way home. He didn’t follow me.