The four of them sat in a booth at a casual restaurant with a bar. Korbin was drinking a beer as they waited for their food.
“You eat your steak raw?” Korbin smiled at Claire and saw that Van was tense.
“Yeah. Would you like to try a bite when it comes?”
“Uh, no thank you.” Korbin laughed. “Aren’t you afraid of getting a worm or disease or something?”
“No.” Korbin smiled. “I like you, Claire. You’re so innocent.” Van growled, but only Korbin heard. Korbin continued to smile but leaned back in his seat.
“So, how did you and Nyx meet?” Korbin glanced at Nyx sitting next to him.
“By accident.” They both laughed at an inside joke. Claire looked at Van and he just shrugged his shoulders. “Tell us about yourself, Claire.”
“What would you like to know?”
“What’s your favorite food?”
“Well, that’s a tough question. I love my mom’s homemade macaroni and cheese.”
“What’s your favorite color?”
“Your favorite sport?”
“Football.” Korbin looked at his brother.
“I like her so far.” Then he looked back at Claire. “Why did you choose the school we attend?”
“Well, it had a good program and it was in the mountains. I enjoy the outdoors.”
“Huh.” Their food arrived and Claire wrinkled her nose up at Korbin’s steak.
“Relax, Van.” Korbin and Van were walking side by side a little ways behind the girls. They were walking around town, enjoying the night life. Van hadn’t relaxed all evening. “It’s not like we’re going to bite her.”
“I’m just afraid one of us will say something that will give it away to Claire.”
“You mean you’re afraid I’m going to say something to mess things up. Chill, Van. Look, the girls are enjoying themselves. Don’t spoil it.” Van looked at the girls, talking and giggling, a few feet in front of them.
“You’re right. I should enjoy the night.” Korbin slapped Van’s back and smiled.
“That’s the spirit.” They continued walking until the girls spotted a clothing store. The boys reluctantly followed the girls in. The girls went right to work picking out outfits and giggling secretively. Claire brought a sweater over to Van and held it up to him.
“You’d look great in this!” Van raised an eyebrow and looked at Korbin, who shrugged his shoulder and grinned. Claire joined Nyx, and they went to the dressing room. They tried on clothes in stalls next to each other.
“I’m not trying to sound like an older sister, but be gentle with Van’s heart.”
“Of course. Why wouldn’t I?”
“Well, don’t let him know I told you, but you’re his first girlfriend.”
“Yeah. He’s never really dated and Korbin and I are thrilled he finally is, but…”
“I just hope things work out.”
“Me too. I really like Van. More than I should.”
“Why do you say that?”
“I’ve never fallen so hard and so fast for a boy. It’s new to me, and I have goals and dreams. I just don’t want my feelings to get in the way of my dreams and vice versa.”
“May I ask what attracted you to Korbin?” Nyx smiled to herself.
“He’s such a man.” Claire laughed. “I’m serious. He’s the kind of guy who will protect his family, defend his honor, and be the man of the house. He’s a real man.” Nyx laughed. “I also like a guy with a sense of humor. What attracts you to Van?”
“He’s so romantic.”
“I can see that.”
“He is just so sweet and thoughtful.”
“Sounds like someone’s in love.”
“I am not.”
“How long have you and Korbin been together?”
“Nice change of subject. Five years. I was sixteen when I met him.”
“Wow. Are you going to get married?”
“Eventually. Although he hasn’t asked me formally. We’ve talked about it, though.” Claire walked out of the stall.
“What do you think?” Nyx looked at her.
“Why don’t we try something that will drive Van crazy?” Nyx grinned and grabbed something from her stack of clothes. She threw it at Claire, who put it on. Then Nyx teased Claire’s hair and scrunched it, so that it was bigger and slightly curly. Then she dug in her purse and pulled out eye liner. She applied more makeup on Claire and then stepped back to take a look. “You’re gonna knock him dead.” Claire turned toward the mirror and gasped. She looked like a model. She was wearing black stilettos and a short red dress. Her eyes were smoky and dark, which made the color of her irises pop.
“Wow.” Nyx smiled and then applied more lipstick to her own lips. Nyx had changed also. She wore a tight black dress with black heals. The dress hugged every curve she had.
“Korbin loves black.” Claire smiled, but kept staring at her own reflection. “C’mon.” Nyx grabbed her hand and led her out of the dressing room. Nyx paid for the clothes and they walked out to where the boys were waiting. They had been talking, but upon seeing the girls, stopped. Their jaws dropped and they just stared. Nyx walked up to Korbin and slid her finger along his jaw line. “We’re ready.” Then she led the way out of the store, Claire following. The guys walked after them. The boys couldn’t keep their eyes or hands off of their girls. Nyx laughed every time she pushed Korbin away. His hands were all over her. Van was speechless and kept close to Claire the whole evening. They headed back to the school. When they arrived, Nyx walked toward the dorm. Korbin looked at Van.
“Mind if I have some privacy in the room for a while?” Van smirked.
“No. Have fun.” Korbin playfully punched Van’s shoulder and then ran after Nyx. Claire grabbed and turned Van’s head to look at her.
“You’ve been so good all night.” She slid her hands down the front of his shirt. Van swallowed hard.
“What do you mean?”
“You haven’t even put an arm around me.” Van closed his eyes.
“I’m trying to be a gentleman.”
“Let’s go hang out in my room.”
“Okay. I can’t go to mine.” Claire laughed as they went to her dorm. She opened the door and turned on the light. “Where’s your roommate?”
“She went home for the weekend. She’ll be back Sunday night.” Claire sat on her bed and Van sat next to her. “I had a wonderful evening.”
“I’m glad. I had fun too. You and Nyx hit it off.”
“She’s so cool. We had some good conversations.”
“Oh, yeah? About what?” Claire smiled.
“I can’t tell you. Girl stuff.”
“Not even a little?”
“No.” Claire smiled and poked his chest playfully. Van looked into her eyes.
“You are stunning.” He swept her hair behind her ear and touched her lips, before kissing her softly. He let go and continued looking at her. She put her hand through his thick hair and kissed him, deepening it. Van’s hands found her waist. The kiss deepened as Claire pulled off Van’s jacket and leaned back on her bed. Van continued kissing her as she unbuttoned his shirt. Van felt his fangs break through his gums. His eyes darkened into black holes and he flew off of Claire to the other side of the room. He turned his face away for several minutes until his features went back to normal. Claire sat up and looked at him.
“What’s wrong, Van?” Van slowed his breathing and then turned around to look at Claire.
“You freak out every time we kiss.” Van sighed heavily and ran a hand through his hair. “What’s wrong with me?” Van was at her side in an instant. He put his hands on either side of her face and kissed the tears that ran down her cheeks.
“I’m sorry, Claire. It’s me. I have…control problems. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to ruin the night.” Claire sniffed and wiped her eyes, smearing her makeup. She turned her head.
“I look horrible.” Van turned her face back toward him and kissed her nose.
“You are beautiful, Claire. Never think otherwise.” Then he cradled her as she leaned her head against his chest and leaned back against the bed. He stroked her hair until she fell asleep in his arms. “I’m sorry, Claire.” He whispered so as to not wake her, but deep in his heart he regretted ever meeting her. How could he curse one so innocent and caring? How could he take a life that was not his to begin with? It was at that moment that Van realized if he could cry, he would have.