Saturday, March 28, 2009

Vampire Nights by G.A. Hauser

Cheesy tiger mascot banners with the Class of ‘87 on them hung on the wall of the catering hall. As she walked through the lobby, she noticed a desk set up with cutout photos from the yearbook album made as lapel pins. Seeing her black and white face alongside the hundreds of others who decided to mark the event and get an eyeful at the aging process first hand, Vivienne picked up her laminated pin and smiled at the two girls manning the table, both of whom she didn’t recognize. Before she stuck the photo on her blazer, she took a good look at the seventeen year old she once was. The only thing she recognized was the long dark hair. Everything else had changed somehow. Where twenty years had gone, she couldn’t begin to explain.

Moving around, looking for someone familiar, the squeal of what sounded like excited juvenile girls hit her ears she cringed. There was something so offensive about that noise, like nails on blackboard, which made her embarrassed to be female. Thankfully, it wasn’t her own group. Seeing Kelly waving to her from a table they had all planted themselves around, she smiled politely and approached that pack of wild women.

“Hi all!”

“Viv! Look at you. You look fantastic!” Kelly, the leader of the old group, her dyed blonde hair and bright blue eyes, still shining with that same old mischievous glimmer, directed her to the chair next to her.

“My God! We all made it.” Vivienne scanned around the table in awe. “Beverly! How are you? Darlene! Oh, my God, I can’t believe we all are sitting here in the same room.” She sat down and waved at Lulu and Connie in excitement. “Christ, does it feel weird to have us all together again or what?”

“Have some wine.” Lulu poured her a glass from a bottle that sat at the table. “They haven’t opened the buffet yet. I’m starved.”

“None of you brought your husbands?” Vivienne looked around at them curiously.

“What husbands?” Kelly laughed, “Lulu and Connie never married, and the rest of us are either separated or divorced.”

“Christ, I don’t know if that’s funny or sad.” Vivienne sipped the red wine.

“What about you, Viv? Did you ever marry?” Beverly asked.

“Came close but decided last minute it wasn’t right.”

“She never got over Roger.” Kelly smirked into her wine glass.

“RJ!” Connie shouted, “Whatever happened to him, Viv? You two were so cute together.”

“Her first love.” Kelly made a silly face at her. “I swear once you and he were together, we never saw you around.”

“I was around,” Vivienne defended, then thought about Roger and smiled. “I don’t know what happened. He ended up moving to Europe or something. I really had it bad for him.”

“You think he’ll be here tonight?” Beverly sat up and looked around.

“Oh, God…” Vivienne shrunk down, “I’d die! I bet he’s bald and fat.”

“Don’t say that,” Connie chided, “He was voted best looking boy in the yearbook. He’s probably still a hunk.”

Vivienne passed the bottle around to top up their glasses. “All right. Then he’s got three ex-wives and children with each.”

Lulu stood and looked around. “I think they are allowing us the pleasure of the food now. Look, they’ve opened the curtain to the buffet tables.”

“Great, I’m getting too tipsy with just wine.” Kelly stood up and a line formed behind her marching to the tables.

Vivienne inspected each of her old friends. On the whole, they seemed very well preserved. Kelly’s face had perhaps a wrinkle or two around her eyes and mouth. Darlene had gained a little weight around her hips. Connie appeared slightly haggard from heavy smoking and drinking. Lulu seemed to have lost that sparkle to her skin. And Beverly had salt and pepper grey starting to show up at her temples. It was bound to happen. They were nearing forty. However, in general, they all were still the same crazy bunch of girls she had grown up with through those tumultuous times of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

A plate in her hand, a rather plain, unappetizing spread laid out for consumption, Vivienne felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand and immediately looked around for the cause.

Blending into the darkness of a wall of curtains, which stood behind the food tables, was a man in a black leather jacket and dark black slacks. Her eyes seemed to be playing tricks on her, because that man, that amazingly handsome man, hadn’t aged since she had last seen him. “Roger?”

His lips curled into a smile as he watched her mouth his name silently. “Viv,” he mouthed back.

“Oh, my God…”

“What is it, Viv?” Kelly looked back at her as she piled her plate high.

“He’s here.”

“Who?”

“RJ.”

“No way!” Kelly stopped scooping food and looked around for him. “Where?”

“Right there. Against the curtains. Can’t you see him?”

Kelly scanned the area. “No. I must have missed him.” She kept moving down the line, finding more goodies to eat.

Vivienne stared at him in amazement. Her plate still suspiciously void of food, she moved away from her friends as if in a hypnotic trance. When she was at the end of the chow line, she set her plate down and walked over to him. “My God, look at you. You haven’t changed.”

“Vivienne…a day hasn’t passed that I haven’t thought about you.”

When he reached out his arms, she instantly fell against him for an embrace. The contact brought back memories flooding over her, as if she was suddenly underwater. An unpleasant feeling of disorientation enveloped her. To rid it, she shook her head to wake up from the spell. Images of sunshine bombarded her suddenly. Flashes of their intimate couplings overwhelmed her. She remembered the unlikely places they had found to make love; the field beyond the running track, the back of his mother’s car, the bathroom at a friend’s party.

When she leaned back to see his face, he smiled. “We did some very wild things back then.”

“Yes,” She blushed crimson, as he seemed to know exactly what she was thinking.

“You still look delicious,” he purred.

“My God, RJ, it’s as if you haven’t aged a day since high school. Whatever exercise regime you have, share it.”

Soft laughter emerged from him. “Twenty years, Viv, is a very long time to miss someone.”

“Oh, don’t tell me you’ve missed me, RJ, come on. You left me, remember? Completely heartbroken and really not interested in loving anyone again.”

“Are you trying to convince me you never fell in love? Never married?”

About to tell him exactly that, she looked up into his light eyes and became mute from the gaze of adoration. “Where’s your pin?” Vivienne looked down at his leather lapel.

“I must have dropped it. Never mind.” Roger touched her long hair, running it through his fingers. “You still live here, don’t you?”

“Yes. I live very close to where I grew up, RJ.”

“In Newton?”

“Is that sad? Should I have moved away? Like you did.”

“It’s not sad. I miss home.”

“Where did you go? Your parents said you moved to Europe.”

“I did. Temporarily. I’m back in Boston now.”

“Are you?”

“Yes. Are you happy about that?”

She wanted him. Every part of her remembered the sex, the closeness, the intimacy they shared. She would have married him in a heartbeat, crushed the day he went away, away without a goodbye, a word of explanation, or a letter. He just seemed to vanish out of existence. But, even though every fiber in her being wanted him desperately, the memory of that pain, the separation and hysteria of him leaving the way he did, made her wary even now, twenty years later.

Out of thin air he whispered, “I’m sorry.”

Blinking her eyes in confusion at him, she waited for the reason why.

“I know I hurt you back then, Viv. If I could have done it all over again, I would have spared your feelings.”

The fact that he knew she still felt the pain was unendurable embarrassment to her. Here she was, this magazine editor, paid six figures, and still, somehow, he made her feel as if she was seventeen and helpless.

He cupped her face gently. “You still are so lovely. I could devour you.”

Tingling from his contact, Vivienne said, “It’s so strange, Roger, you look like a young man but you sound like a mature one. It’s very disorienting.”

“I’ve learned a lot in the last twenty years, Viv. I’ve learned a lot.”

She looked back over her shoulder and found her friends all waiting impatiently for her to give them an update. Though she wanted to spend more time with them, she couldn’t walk away from her ex-love, and didn’t know if she wanted to. Without thinking of propriety she asked, “Are you married?”

A low laugh emerged from him. “No. I am not married.”

“Uh, dating anyone?”

“Not presently.”

“Good…I mean I wouldn’t mind having coffee with you. You know, catching up on old times. I’d like to find out how Europe was. You were gone for so many years.”

“It would be nice to catch up. How about you? Married?”

“No.” She blushed and looked down at his leather coat. It was jet black and as smooth as the skin on his face.

“Dating anyone?” he smiled impishly, having used her line.

And seeing that sly grin, she shook her head. “No. I’m not. I’m too busy at work.”

“You always had it in you to be the career woman.”

“You used to like that.”

“I still do.”

When they kissed, the fire started at her midsection and swirled outwards from there. Vivienne felt as if she had lost her bones and was a rag doll, being held up by his one powerful arm. It was all there, just as she remembered it. And the desire to strip his clothing off and lick him from toe to chin was overwhelming. When they parted, she oozed like Jell-O and imagined falling when he let her go.

“I want your address,” he purred.

“Yes. Let me write it on one of my cards.” She forced herself to stand on her own two feet and then fumbled with her purse. Shaking, her whole body quaking, she wrote her home information down and handed it to him.

“I’ll be in touch soon.”

She nodded, feeling as if she could agree with anything he asked at the moment. Luckily, he didn’t tell her to take off her clothing and dance on the tables, because she didn’t know if she could resist his command.

When she looked back up to say something, he was gone. Disoriented by the vanishing act, she spun around curiously because she had no idea which direction he went. Instantly, her friends surrounded her.

“Viv! He looked fantastic! What did he say?” Kelly gasped.

“My God, Viv! You kissed him,” Darlene exclaimed.

“Are you going to go out with him again?” Connie asked anxiously.

“Did he miss you?” Lulu chimed in.

Touching her lips and still feeling his mouth on hers, she just shook her head in disbelief.

“Wow,” Kelly laughed, “Just like old times. A star struck Vivienne Starr.”

As if she had just come to after a fainting spell, Vivienne grabbed Kelly and asked her, “Did you see him?”

“I did! We all did.”

“Jesus, Kel, he looked so young.”

“We were all commenting on that. You know what kind of plastic surgery he must have had or Botox.” The women all nodded their heads in agreement.

Vivienne touched the skin of her face lightly. “I’ll ask him where he goes. I want some of whatever he’s getting!” She laughed and the little group all joined in.


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