Chapter 2 Backto School Blues
That night, I was torn as I sat cross-legged on my beanbag chair watching reruns ofTheMunsters , Though I was anxious to finally meet Alexander's parents, I was sad the black lace curtains were being closed on our independence.
I'd never felt more at home than I did hanging out in the Mansion with Alexander over the summer. It was a dream come true to get a taste of the vampire lifestyle.Waking up at sunset, celebrating the Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter,darkness, living by candlelight. I was certain I could exist that way for an eternity.
But our summer of love was about to end.
Alexander was right. Things were about to change. His parents would be arriving shortly, and I'd be returning to school in a few days. No more late nights, no more remodeling the Mansion. Studying would replace painting, and I'd be home with my parents, Alexander with his.
I switched off my TV and joined my own odd relatives downstairs in our family room. My mom was foldinglaun -dry, and my dad was filing work papers.Typical suburban parents. The exact opposite, I was sure, of Alexander's. I wondered what Alexander's parents were like. Were they ghoulishly great like Herman and Lily Munster? I recalled storiesofDullsvillian sightings of theSterlings when they first moved to town, but I'd never caught a glimpse.
I was sure they had to be fantastic-everything my parents were not. Reading theTransylvanian Times instead of Dullsville'sLedger.Changing into bats instead of plaid golf pants.Resting in a coffin instead of a sleigh bed.I bet they were the coolest parents in the world-or Underworld.
"I'm finally going to meet Alexander's parents!" I burst out to Becky the next day atHatsy's Diner. When I slunk into the booth, Becky was flipping through the tabletop jukebox and sippinga strawberry malt. A chocolate one was kindly waiting for me.
Since summer began, Becky and I had both spent time with our true loves and not as much with each other. Though I did see her occasionally, we weren't as glued together as we'd been during past summers. I would have resented our separation if I didn't have a boyfriend, too. But since we were both guilty of trading lipstick for lip locks, it made it all right. I still missed my best friend and was excited to make up for lost time. I was in desperate need of some girl talk.
"Since I met Alexander, he's been parent-free. I'm not surehow this will change our relationship", I explained to Becky.
"Maybe it will make it better."
"How?We had the whole run of the Mansion. I'm sure his mother wouldn't have approved of me being its interior designer."
"I'm sure they will be just fine."
"What if they're really strict and Alexander can't go out at night?"
"I can't imagine that," Becky said. "He lives for the night!"
"He'll probably have to do family things now."
"And chores," she added. "Matt has to constantly cut the grass. I grew up on a farm-obviously I know way more than he does about a lawn mower. But I act dumb as I watch him try to figure out how to put gas in it. Then I jump in and I'm all Bob Vila."
"Jameson does the chores. But cutting the grass? I think they add poison to the soil." We both laughed. "Besides, Alexander is responsible. He isn't like me in that way; he doesn't need to be nagged."
"I think you're worrying for nothing. I'm sure you'll all get along,"
I slurped on my chocolate malt and stared off. "I wonder if Alexander looks like his mother or his father."
"Haven't you seen a picture?"
No. They are vampires!I wanted to say. In fact, the only images I'd seen were a few portraits Alexander had painted.
There were no family albums, no screen savers, no frames the mantel.
"It's different in person," I said instead. "One thing is certain - I'm sure they are way cooler than my parents."
So many things were still new to me-having a boyfriend, discovering he was a vampire, and now meeting his vampireparents. I wondered how I'd fare.
I had always prided myself on being the one to give advice to Becky, but this time she was the experienced one.
"Isn't it strange when Matt's family is around?" I asked.
"Totally.He's a different person. No PDA. No holding hands. He even sits in his own chair instead of next to me on the sofa."
"That's what I'm afraid of.An end to my love life." "You just have to make up for it when they aren't home. Or save it for school. But Alexander doesn't go to school..."
"Don't remind me."
"So in your case plan more dates at the cemetery."
"What was it like when you first met Matt's parents?" I asked.
"I thought it would be fancy-like meeting them at the country club. Instead I was hanging out in Matt's family room when his mom came home from work. He said, 'Hey, Mom, this is Becky.' And she said, 'Hi, Becky, nice to meet you.' Then she disappeared. And it was pretty much the same with his father. It was different when Matt came to my house," Becky rambled on. "My mom made him.sit down in the kitchen and she baked him a whole apple pie. I was so embarrassed."
"Yes, I remember you telling me that. But how did youfeel with Matt's parents?"
"I was so nervous. I thought since I don't live in the 'burbsthat they'd view me as this unkempt farm girl. But they are always happy to see me. I'm still waiting for them to give me my walking papers."
I stopped slurping my malt. I didn't live in a Mansion. And more important, I wasn't a vampire. I'd been so focused on how Alexander said things would change. Maybe he was alluding to more than a few pewter vases. Maybe he meantme.
"What if they don't accept me?" I blurted out.
"Why wouldn't they accept you?"
"I'm not like them."
"What do you mean?"
I'm not a vampire! I'm a mortal. I'm not even like Luna Maxwell, who came from a vampire family. InRomania , Alexander had an arranged covenant ceremony with her, but since he wasn't in love with her, he couldn't go through with it.
"You're not what?" Becky asked.
"I'm not fromRomania!"
"Duh," she said. "I think they know that."
"But maybe they want their son to date someone from Romania."
"Why would they want that when they live here?"
Because a girl fromRomania would be like them, instead of like ... us, I wanted to say.
"Listen, his grandmother built a mansion here. IfRomania was so great, why would she move to this town?"
"But his grandmother was a baroness. My grandmother is a retiree."
"Alexander doesn't remind me of the snobby type.In fact, just the opposite. He's an outsider like..."
"Well... us," Becky admitted.
Maybe Becky was right. But I wasn't so easily convinced. I wasn't just from the wrong side of the tracks, I was from a different world.
Becky tapped her fork against my malt.
"Don't worry. Alexander is in love with you. That's all that matters. When Mr. and Mrs. Sterling see how happy lie is, they'll be happy, too."
I smiled at my best friend's words.
"See, this is why we need to hang out together more," I said. "We can't let our boyfriends get in the way of our schedules-as hot as they may be."
"Well, we'll get to see each other every day now that school will be starting."
"Don't remind me. Summer is over."
"Can you believe we'll be juniors?" she asked like she'd won the lottery.
Becky was lucky. She had an interest in school. Her best friend and boyfriend were by her side. I would have been excited to go back to school, too, if I were going to be seeing Alexander instead of my lifelong nuisance, Trevor Mitchell.