So, it’s been quite some time since I’ve been out and about with people. I just haven’t felt like it…I’m still miserable. I miss him. I shouldn’t have allowed myself to get that close to him, or to anyone. I knew better. I won’t let myself do it again.
I should keep to myself. I know I should. Yet when his name flashed across my phone screen…I couldn’t help but answer.
“Look…I need to tell you something Sally. Will you meet me in Sulani?”
“Jaxen, I don’t think that’s a good idea…”
“Just one time, please? Just hear me out, and then if you never want to see me again afterwards, so be it.”
Just once more…then I could be done with him completely. I should say no. I should have said no. But as they say, curiosity killed the cat…
“Where in Sulani?”
So here I am, after following his instructions and paying someone to boat me out here. It’s not a cheap trip let me tell you but it’s stunning here. Now if only I can find Jaxen and get this over with, I might spend some time here exploring…once he says what he has to say.
I eventually found him napping at a bench near a bar. I didn’t want to disturb him, and I did want a cream cola…so that’s exactly what I got. It seemed as if he’d been rolling in the sand, and he looked as though he hadn’t showered in weeks. I had never considered maybe he was homeless…surely not. He spent lots of money on my artwork at least, so he couldn’t be homeless.
Eventually I walked back over and roused him from his near death-like slumber. “Hey sleepyhead, wake up.”
“Sally, you’re here.” He seemed surprised.
“Yep, and so are you…are you a beach bum now or something? You haven’t showered in days…or at least washed your clothes.” His clothes reeked!
He grinned. “Yeah I smell worse than a dung pit, don’t I? Eh, I’ll head back home soon, just need to wrap things up here…after we talk.”
“I’m sorry for pushing the whole papers thing on you. I shouldn’t have…it’s truly none of my business. It’s just..” Jaxen had an odd look about his face, and I knew what he would say next was not said lightly.
“You are my only friend, the only one I’ve allowed to get this close…” He grimaced. “It’s probably a stupid mistake…you’d be better off not knowing me but…well, here we are. So…I…ugh. Words aren’t helping me here. What I am trying to say is, I trust you enough to let you in…do you trust me in return?”
I stared at him, concerned but curious. I thought about it. We’d only known each other for a season, one very cold winter that wasn’t even nearly done…but did I trust him? Without a shadow of a doubt, despite my head telling me otherwise.
“I do.” Those words felt heavy and filled with meaning, because that’s exactly what they were.
He sucked in a deep breath. “Alright. Well…I need to tell you the truth then. I’m not human, I never have been human. I am a vampire…and I know you are not exactly human, and that you are Fractured. I’ve been watching you for several years…but curiosity had me get closer. And when I got closer…I liked you more and more, we became friends, and now…here we are.”
I blinked once, then twice. I took a swig of my cola and processed what he said. Was I surprised? Yes. Did it make sense? Also yes. It filled in some holes and opened up more questions. Was I offended or terrified? Also no. It was as if I had known, deep down, that he wasn’t human. Perhaps…perhaps whatever I had been before, whatever part of me that was, knew from the start that he wasn’t human. Maybe that’s what I had been, once.
“Okay.” Was what I eventually said.
“Okay? That’s it?” He seemed relieved and humored, as if he had expected me to run.
“Yep…I mean, I’m surprised, but at the same time not, so…okay.” It might take a bit of time to get used to the thought, but it was more of what that meant for our relationship. It would all take some thought.
“Alright, I was expecting you to be more…scared? Running away? Talkative? But this works too.” He chuckled and I drank more of my cola, finally putting down the empty glass.
“I mean, I’m not afraid of you for several reasons, the biggest reason is likely because I’m not afraid of death, so…eh?” I laughed along with him. “It will take some getting used to though. But…well, you said you know I’m Fractured, and maybe you can explain it more to me another time, but…it’s as if whatever I was before kinda recognized you? It’s weird.” He shrugged.
“Perhaps, but…you don’t know what you were before?”
“I have no clue!” I didn’t feel comfortable sharing in my mission with him yet…to watch them grow in this world. Maybe another time. This new aspect was just too new, even though I just knew I could trust him. I would tell him, but not yet.
“Well that kinda sucks, but still, cool. So, you don’t want to run away screaming in terror, I don’t want to suck your blood, and we can stay friends…or, whatever we are?” He seemed hopeful.
Wow, what a day. “I…think so, yes. And you’ve never drank my blood before, right?” Surely whatever I was before would protect me from that just in case.
He shook his head. “No, never. I made sure the others of my kind have left you alone…except Caleb. He found out about you a while ago, but I had already known about you for a good bit longer.”
Ah yes, Caleb. “I remember him. He seemed odd, old fashioned even. Not too mean though.”
“Yeah, he needs to ditch the coat.” He paused for a moment, happy that this had gone over so well. “Well, I hate to leave you, but I gotta go finish things, but I’ll call you as soon as I’m back home, maybe we can go out somewhere…like a date or something. See you around Sally.”
“Bye Jaxen.” He disappeared in a cloud of dark mist just as the words left my lips. He was in a hurry, but he had taken the time to tell me his truth…and I felt special because of that.
So instead of exploring Sulani like I had intended, I made a sand sculpture and pondered on what this all meant. Was it okay I was friends with a vampire? Would he pose a threat to the Brooks? Could I truly trust him? One thing was for sure…that was not at all what I was expecting to come out of today and I was looking forward to his call.
What a day…