© By Stacey McCoy
Some people are worth dying for…
“Rylan. Can you please go to the cellar and hook up another keg? We’ve run out again.”
Kady yells her request over the thumping music.
The band playing tonight are louder than the usual ones she schedules on a Thursday night, but they’ve brought a legion of fans with them who like to drink. Last Drinks and Kady’s bank account are both benefiting big time from this particular pop rock band.
Kady has spent the last two years busting her ass in this place. There’s hardly a day goes by when she’s not here. There’s always something that needs to be done, whether it’s working out the roster, ordering stock and inventory or checking in on the kitchen.
Kady renovated the small kitchen in the back, hired a chef and waitresses, and they’re busily pumping out meals five nights a week now. It’s taken time, but it’s become a very successful business decision.
All of the staff have respect for her, now. She found it hard going at the start. Being such a young boss, it was hard for her to overcome the stigma of her youth. But Mick, her old boss and previous owner of this place, helped teach her how to deal with all of that. She’s learnt quickly how to be a fair and confident business owner. I’m so proud of her.
I do what I can to help, so I’m here most days too.
I’m not sure which direction I want my working life to head yet. It’s not like we need the money, but it’d be good to occupy my time and brain power with something other than pouring beers.
This is Kady’s thing, that’s why I bought this place for her. She’s so good at running it. Profits are up 20% since Mick had it.
We do work well together though. Well if you believe that then you’ll believe anything. Yes, we argue. Doesn’t every couple?
Kady can sometimes be a hard ass, but in this industry, you have to be. And besides, if she does get snappy with me, she’s quick to apologize. Example: All I said the other day was “Why don’t you move a few tables around so we can put more diners in?”
I thought it seemed like a good idea, but Kady didn’t think so. She told me the dining area is small enough as it is and she likes that the people who do eat here enjoy the space they have around them. And if we were to put more tables in then the clear, wide passage to the toilets would become a minefield of people bumping each other as they stumble past.
Fair enough I guess. But hey, that’s why Kady is the boss and I’m not. Her vision for this place is clear and certain and her voice and attitude are full of stern determination. That’s one of the many traits I love about her. She’s strong.
And that apology I was talking about, usually plays out when we get home.
Another thing I love about Kady is that I’ve never known her to back down from a fight and I have never known her to start one either. She is the most beautiful, intelligent, hell-bent, passionate woman I have ever known. And she loves me.
This place keeps us pretty busy. Occasionally we’re able to steal some time and catch up with Cassandra, Scott and baby Rylan who we helped bring into the world on the side of the road one night. He’s two now.
Sometimes we go weeks before we have an opportunity to catch up with Kady’s mom and dad, Allister and Nora. Even more time passes before we get around to seeing anyone else. But I do make a point to head out to Hope every chance I get to see my sister Dayna, Pete and the kids. I’ve got twenty-four years to make up for with Dayna, but at least we’ve been lucky enough to have found each other again. Thanks to Kady and her iPad.
It means so much to me now.
I finish hooking the new keg up and grab two garbage bags from the kitchen. As I head out back Kady yells out after me, “Thanks Rylan. Love you babe.”
“Love you too!” I shout back.
I kick open the back door and enter the alley where Kady and I almost had our first kiss. I remember the passion charging between us was as powerful and unpredictable as an electrical current as I gently pushed her against the wall after she told me she couldn’t wait any longer to kiss me. Turns out she wanted me just as badly as I wanted her.
That fire still burns brightly between us.
Being human, and being with Kady has its advantages. Our bodies are both warm now. It wasn’t until I reanimated that I realized just how cold I was to the touch. Now we’re the same. We’re the way we are meant to be. I don’t regret my decision to reanimate for one minute.
This alley is also the place where I first met Kady’s mother, Nora. It was Kady’s first time too I guess. I remember the look of shock on Kady’s face, not only because Nora was a vampire, but that she was there in front of us at all. I’ll never forget Kady’s reaction as she spat eighteen years of hate of her abandonment toward her mother.
Taking a seat on an old milk crate, leaning my back against the dumpster I absorb the cold night air stirring around me, stimulating my memories.
Before Nora’s reanimation, she told us of her change and Kady’s heart melted as she’d tried to sympathize with her mother who now looks merely five years older than herself. It’s a weird situation.
Like I can talk though. I should be a 47 year old man, yet here I am, a 23 year old healthy, fit, super strong, fast guy thanks to Kady’s dad, Dr. Allister Matthews. He created super stem cells and found a way to bring vampires back to their natural, human form. It was the most painful experience I’ve ever had to endure in my life, but worth every second.
What a brilliant man…who hates me. I’m certain he still hates me.
We didn’t meet under the calmest of circumstances, but I have proven to him over the last two years that I do love his daughter endlessly. I’d do anything for her, give her anything. Christ, I bought this place for her, but still he glares at me with protective, wary, fatherly eyes.
I’m just glad Lawrence isn’t around anymore. He’s not a fan of mine either. Lawrence, Kady’s father’s co-worker, had secretly loved Allister, and so he left when Allister’s wife Nora, returned. Feeling rejected, he decided to take off and travel the globe as a vampire once more. I mean why not? The guy’s one hundred and thirty eight years old now. What else is a heartbroken vampire going to do? No point hanging around here with all us loved up couples.
“Rylan hurry up, we need you back here!” Kady’s muffled voice yells at me through the closed door once more.
My moment enjoying the quieter, cool night air is over. Back to the grind for me.
As I stand, I’m suddenly set upon and pushed back into the large dumpster with such force that I can feel the metal bend to the shape of my back. My survival instincts urge me to fight, but there are three of them. A man to my left holds my left shoulder and arm back, a woman to my right holds my right shoulder and arm. Another woman stands in front of me, her mouth wide open. Her teeth are bared as she holds my forehead back, exposing my throat. If only I were still a vampire I would be able to fight them off.
My moment of wishful thinking is over as I realize they’re vampires and I’m their next meal. I’m going to die.
Then, by some miracle, I recognize the woman in front of me. Her hair, her scent, her body. She is Savanah. This woman who is about to kill me is definitely my ex-girlfriend Savanah.
“SAVANAH! SAVANAH NO, WAIT, PLEASE WAIT.”
Instantly all three let go of me and I fall to the ground. In the height of my fear I didn’t realize they’d lifted me so high off the ground.
“Oh my god, Rylan! Is that you?”
Her sweet Southern accent takes me back to times filled with passion and lust. Time spent rolling around on a king-sized bed as fresh snow fell on the Earth high in the hills on the outskirts of Switzerland’s picturesque capital city, Bern.
“Yes. Yes, it’s me,” I say as I catch my breath. I can feel my heart beat relentlessly from the adrenaline rush. Savanah hears it too.
“What the hell has happened to you? You’re human. I can hear your heart beating.”
Panic hits me again. Here I am faced with three hungry vampires and they can hear my heart pounding.
Blood pumping loudly through my veins makes me extremely vulnerable.
I recognize the other two vampires now. The guy is Trent. We meet in Bern, although we never really got along because he had a not-so-secret crush on Savanah. And I’d say he still does because he’s here with her now.
Trent hated me from the very start. His fascination with Savanah and her obsession with me weren’t a strong basis for a friendship between us.
He’s tall with a solid frame. His hair is short and his eyes dark, like an animals when it’s about to strike. Not the sort of guy you’d want to meet in a dark alley, which seems ironic.
The woman’s name is Calinda. She’s of thin build with mousey-brown shoulder length hair. It’s hard to know her age. At times she looks quite innocent like a child, yet her caring brown eyes seem filled with memories of a life already lived. She’s unremarkable compared to Savanah. Her plain clothes and plain face used to make me think she’d easily be lost in a crowd. Her unique name is the only thing that made me think twice about her. I met her in Switzerland also, but she never took the time to get to know me. She’s very discreet. Very secretive. Very quiet. She seemed to stick closely to Savanah and Trent, only talking to them when I was not around. I’m not surprised she’s still hanging around these two. She no doubt needs their mental and physical strength to help keep her safe from any enemy that may come her way. Even with the advantages of vamps’ disease, I doubt she could hurt a fly.
Savanah stares at me with repulsion in her eyes.
I hear Kady yell out for me to hurry up once more. Savanah, Trent and Calinda all glare toward her direction.
“No Savanah, please…not her.” I beg.
Savanah, with eyes as black as night slowly turns her gaze back to me. Calinda and Trent look confused as they too hear Kady call.
“Why Rylan? Why not her? Why not you? You’re human. We have you in our grasp. Why can’t we eat you and the little miss inside who you ever so dearly want to keep us away from?”
“Savanah, I can’t explain right now, but if you come back tomorrow night after one, I’ll explain. I promise.”
“Well Rylan,” she says, her accent resting heavily on my name, “you never were very good at keeping your promises now were you, so why should I believe that you’ll be here tomorrow night?”
“I guess you’ll just have to trust that I’ll stick to my word this time.”
“You better Rylan, or else I’ll hunt you down like the dog that you are.”
Within a flash they’re gone. Kady bursts through the back door, scaring me half to death. I swear I’ve just lost ten years off my life.
“What are you doing, and why the hell are you so jumpy?”
Glancing round the rooftops, checking for signs of Savanah, Trent or Calinda, I quickly usher Kady back inside where she’ll be safe. Who am I kidding? If those three wanted to, they could burst in here and kill everyone in seconds.
“Sorry babe. I was just enjoying the silence. That band is so damn loud I just wanted to chill-out for a bit.”
“Well I’ve told them to turn it down, so when you’re ready can you please come and help us serve.”
“Yeah for sure. I’m right behind you.”
She heads back toward the bar. I lock the door and wonder how the hell I’m going to explain my humanness and Kady to Savanah without making her want to kill me?