To burn with desire and keep quiet about it is the greatest punishment we can bring on ourselves.Frederico Lorca
Anastasia 18 years, Riordan 19 years
Ana looked over at Riordan, standing away from the rest of the group of young people. Everyone was laughing and visibly having fun, except Riordan. He looked lost and forgotten.
It was the old group, once named “The A-Team” even though everyone just always referred to it as ‘Ana and her Boys’. They all were off to different colleges, made new friends, busy with their new lives as young adults, so they hardly ever saw each other anymore. When they did, it was a lot of catching up and tales from college. Naturally that already excluded Riordan. While most of them sort of knew why he was different, it was never spoken about, as vampires just did not exist. Officially. Kind of the ‘can’t be what should not be’ approach. Only Ana would talk about it, and only ever if alone with Ri.
Anastasia now walked over to him.
“Hey.” she offered softly.
“Hey.” he responded with a faint and fleeting smile.
“Want something to drink? It’s punch, but with some extra seasoning, if you catch my drift, courtesy Fabrizio.”
“Be careful with that. Fabulous Fabrizio has been taking your clothes off with his eyes all night.”
“Oh come on now, Ri. Paranoid much? We’ve all known each other for ages!”
Riordan shot her a certain glance, reminding her of their own bent boundaries, she blushed.
“Okay, fine. He can undress all he wants. All of you have seen me in bikinis before. Not that much left to surprise. I mean, most of us have human anatomy classes. So what?”
“Is that why Sven asked you out for a date the other night? To discuss your human anatomy in greater detail?”
“What the hell? We went out for dinner, as friends. Can you please chill? This isn’t the Victorian times where a lady could not talk to a man without a chaperone, you may get your youth confused here.”
“I am barely a year older than you, Ana. You are thinking of my uncle. Good to know that it’s all become such a blur of everything vampire mixed together to you now. On that note, maybe I should go.”
“No Ri! Stay. Please. Okay look, thanks for worrying about me, but no need. I can take care of myself. Remember, I got full bitch mode. That’ll send any guy running in no time.” she smiled, his serious face lightened up.
“No need to tell me about that, but I thought that was your default setting not just a mode.”
“We all got one.”
“Is that an invitation?” he teased.
“Not if you like having fangs and want to keep them!”
“Ana! You gotta see this! Come over here, look at those pics, they are hilarious.” Clay called over at her from a cluster of boys hunched over Edward Landgraab’s cell phone, laughing.
“Come on, Ri. Let’s see what’s so funny.” Ana nudged him, pointing at the guys.
“They called you, not me. Just go. I’ll try some of that punch.”
“Don’t you dare leave though. If I see any black clouds I will find you and spank you till you bleed! Vampires do bleed, right?”
“Hmmm …” Riordan made and disappeared in a black cloud only to reappear by the punch, grinning back at Ana, who flipped him off.
Once the hangout was over, Riordan offered to walk Ana home. She had taken the bus out to Newcrest in anticipation of one of the boys spiking the beverages, and declined the other boys’ offers to drive her home. She wanted some alone time with Ri.
“So, has any lucky guy won the firsts lottery with you yet?”
“To be your first man.”
“Ugh, are we on with that again? What about you, Riordan? Any lucky ladies win a ride on your magic wand yet, huh?”
“Nope. See how easy that was? Question – answer. No drama.”
“Fine. No, still a virgin. Probably the only one on the entire uni campus. Laugh it up now. Go ahead.”
“Why would I? Firstly, it would be hypocritical and secondly, I think it’s smart, to wait until you’re certain it’s the right one.”
“Well, except, the right one may not be available to be my first.”
“Hey, we’re talking frank here or what? You wanted me to show you mine, why not get it all out there. Nothing has changed, Ri. I am not sure it ever will. We need a new approach. Maybe I should try talk to your uncle.”
“Do that and we will never see each other again. Ana, I am not guessing here. I know. I am sure one day you’ll meet someone and forget all about me. We just have to get through this rough spot now.”
“What if we are like my mom and dad? Dad thought he was wrong for her, and he was a douche and a criminal when he was our age. They were both miserable apart and totally belong. Let me tell you, their romance is definitely not dead. I can 100% confirm that, please just don’t ask me how.”
“Your dad is not the legacy to some vampire Grand Master dynasty though. And no need to elaborate on your parents’ passion, I have seen them. Being creepy sometimes backfires. Yeah .. don’t ask me for details either.”
“I won’t, no thanks, I know my parents, I can imagine.” Ana said.
“You were my first kiss, Ana.” Riordan offered up quietly after a pause.
“What? How is that even possible? What about all those beautiful vampire chicks at your training?”
“Slight embellishment of the truth. There are no girls, let alone beautiful ones, only an ugly ancient Grand Master vampire at least twice my uncle’s age, rude as hell. Remember what I told you about me not being allowed distractions? Uncle is already not too crazy about you still being in my life, but I think he is afraid to pull me away completely without any reason, because of your mom. I am trying hard not to give him that reason.”
“That’s it! My mom! We’ll go to her, she is such a romantic, she’ll remember how she felt without dad, and she’ll pussywhip your uncle into shape. We both know he listens to her. Then we can be together.”
“It won’t work. Please don’t. I know it will not work.”
“You really never kissed a girl before me? Well, you must be a natural then, could have fooled me into thinking you knew what you were doing. But then … why would you have a condom when we … you know?”
“It’s one of your dad’s. I saw a box once in you guys’ bathroom and took one many months ago and just happened to still have it in my pocket. Wishful thinking I guess.”
“Oh my God! You almost deflowered me in my old teen bed, with my dad at the door, while using one of his condoms. We should be on some talk show with that.”
“It would be hilarious if it weren’t also so sad.”
“Ri, I have an idea. Do you trust me?”
“Okay, fine. What?”
“Are you available Monday afternoon?”
“As long as it’s dark …”
The young couple walked up to the receptionist desk of the cheap motel.
“Hi, we’re newlyweds and would like a room.” the young woman addressed the clerk behind the counter.
“Yeah, got married … just now. I mean, earlier we did. To each other.” added the young man.
“Congrats. 50 bucks for a night. Take cash or credit, no checks. Last name?” was the incompassionate response from the clerk.
“Uh … Potter. This is my husband … Harry.” the young woman replied.
“And she’s my wife, Stacy!” the young man added.
“I don’t care if you were Bonnie and Clyde, all I needed was a last name to put down in the book. Some legal bullshit. Anyway, got 105 for ya. Down the hall, left. Keep it down, please, walls are like paper. Here’s the key. Be out by 11 AM tomorrow or it’ll be another 50.” the clerk barked.
Giggling they hurried down the hall in the indicated direction.
Once in the room they stood there.
“My husband, Harry Potter? Are you for real? You really could not think of anything better?! Like this ridiculous wig and glasses weren’t stupid enough!” Riordan groaned, frowing.
“I told you, that was all they had left in my price range. I wanted to be a fiery redhead, but all that had was black, and we already both have black hair. And seriously, ‘my wife Stacy’? You just couldn’t help it, could you? And then you stood there stuttering like a fool ‘we got married to each other’. Luckily that guy doesn’t care if it’s true or not, he didn’t even notice we don’t have rings.”
“What would we have done if he had asked for IDs … or a marriage certificate?! Remember, I don’t even officially exist, so no papers …?! I have no ID.”
“Puh-leeese Ri, look around. As if! The clerk knew we were lying, that we are not married and certainly neither Harry nor Stacy, let alone Potter. We could be siblings for all he cared, as long as we paid him and don’t cause trouble.”
“True. Are we really gonna do it like this? Here? Not the most romantic place on earth.”
“Cold feet, Harry?”
“Of course not, Stacy. I was born ready for that fake honeymoon of our imaginary wedding.”
“I don’t know if I can do this for laughter. You look so ridiculous!” Ana laughed.
“You think you look much better? That guy probably thought I picked you up at some street corner before taking you here. That’s total hooker hair if you ask me. Looks like we’re filming a remake of ‘Pretty Woman – Trailer Park edition’ in this place.” Riordan chuckled.
“Well … how’s this then?” Ana pulled off her wig and tossed it aside, then pulled the dress over her head, facing Riordan’s glances calmly.
“Gorgeous.” he said, his voice low and husky.
“I think you need to take off your clothes to for this to happen. And that wig and the glasses, please, unless you want me to laugh through it all. And chop, chop, I am getting cold.”
He smirked at her bossiness, then in less than a second was in his underwear.
“I hate that vampire speed bullshit. Where is the fun in that?” she complained.
“If you want a show that’ll cost extra, Stacy. I am not a Salvation Army Chippendale.”
“Sounds like you’ll be doing this by yourself then, Harry ‘non-Chippendale’ Potter.” she turned to get her dress, but found herself on the bed beneath Riordan instead.
“Is that your final answer? And isn’t vampire speed fun sometimes?” he winked down at her, smirking.
“Just shut up and kiss me already!”
“Or what? Always so bossy.” he told her as they both just got lost in each other’s eyes.
He kissed her, she kissed him back and both removed the last items of clothing from each other, then experienced uncharted territory together. This time it really happened, and without any interruptions.
Curled up with each other afterwards, quiet for a while, both processing the experience, when Ana spoke first.
“Ri … ? Please tell me that wasn’t the condom you stole from my dad.”
“Whatever makes you happy.”
“OMG – it was. That is so ….. wrong.”
“THAT is wrong? You do realize that we just gambled really high here, right? You know that if my uncle even guessed we did what we just did I would be so gone from your life for good … and you have a problem with how I protected us from even more trouble?”
“You know I am on the pill, right? So, you hero, all you did was double up. And I thought vamps don’t conceive easily anyway.”
“The old ones don’t. I am your age, Ana. I’d wager you and I could power-breed babies like every other young couple at this point if we wanted to.”
“Well, that is not something we need to worry about.”
“Maybe the only thing we don’t have to worry about.”
“Okay you buzzkill, can you not just be some normal dude and ask me ‘hey baby, was it good for you?’ or something like that instead of ruining the mood with your dystopian vampire shit?”
“What’s the point? It was your first time, you wouldn’t even know if it was bad. I wouldn’t. From where I sit it was awesome and definitely worth repeating, so I just assume since we both attended the same game you felt the same way about it.”
“UGH! You are hopeless! I am going to take a shower.” she pulled away from him and sat up.
“Any normal man with a pulse would try to join me.” she told him on her way to the bathroom.
“I don’t have a pulse, sooo…”
“Oh whatever. I really don’t know why I bother with you, you can be so aggravating!”
Ana reached to turn on the water but suddenly Riordan was behind her.
“I really hate that vampire speed crap! Not as much as your vanishing act BS, but it’s up there!”
“I know, which makes it infinitely more fun. The two things I mastered first in my training, just because I use them so much to piss you off. Hey, at least I didn’t use the speed while we … did it.”
“Uh, thanks, I guess? You took it slow that one time. Wow. Where is that calendar?’
He didn’t speak, just kept kissing her while slowly pushing her into the shower.
Later on, they were dressed – omitting the wigs for now – and about to leave, both quiet, thinking about the rite of passage they experienced together.
“Just wanted to say, I never used any vampire speed during any of the times we did it.”
“Yeah, you are a rock star. I’d give you a cookie for that if you could eat it.”
“Why so grumpy?”
“Because it’s over. I hate that. I want to spend the entire night with you, even if it had to be in this dump. Wake up together, have breakfast together, watch the sunrise together …”
“…watch me burn to ashes as the sun rises …. while I puke my guts out from eating that breakfast. Ana, you see now how this is complicated at best? Even if we were to forget about my uncle’s rules for a second?”
“I know all that. But a girl can dream, can’t she?”
“But a dream is all it can ever be. So, does this mean you regret it? Making me your first?”
“No, Ri. That’s not what I meant. I hate everything BUT that part.”
“Me too. We may not get to live the fairy-tale, but at least we got a glimpse, which is more than some people are ever allowed. And we can still see each other. As friends. Oh – and Ana, you have to promise me you won’t try to fix this. I need you to believe me that uncle won’t budge. Not with this.”
“Good, I saw those wheels spinning and smoking.”
“I hate that you know me so well.” she mumbled into their embrace.
“I love that I know you so well, especially as well as I do now. For as long as I may exist, this night I will never forget. Never.”
“I guess we just have to live with being a modern day Romeo and Juliet.”
“Except the ending. Not sure I like that comparison. I’d rather be Harry and Stacy again. Oh, Ana, there is something else I have been meaning to tell you, something I have been wanting to say to you for a very long time. I love you, Anastasia.”
“I know.” she grinned and winked at him.
“Wow. Stood up at the altar. I feel so used. Like some cheap piece of ass.” he smirked.
“Well, you’re definitely not a cheap date, Riordan. The hotel room, the wigs I had to buy and all that as a poor college student. Maybe that’s why I love you so much, you’re like a truffle, hard to get and pricey when you do. At least that’s one of the million reasons I love you, too, Ri. Even though I know you already knew that.”
“Goddamn, finally, woman! Thought you were never gonna say it back. Even if you did it while comparing me to fungii.”
“But very special fungii.”
They kissed one last time before they both had to go their different ways, the same as before, yet also changed forever.
Once they left the hotel, they had to go back to acting as if nothing ever happened, go back to being just friends, inconspicuous, while suppressing the truth and holding on to the memory.