The Not-So-Glittery VampirebyDinaDevereux©
The October nights were getting colder; in fact, it was feeling more like December, despite the fact that summer had lingered longer than it should. Chelsea adjusted her crimson scarf so that it covered her ears against the brisk wind. Her stylish Amber Rose-esque haircut seemed like a great idea a few weeks ago—she had to remember to dig out her winter hats when she got home. The walk from the attorney's office where she'd just dropped off her resume to her car wasn't long—just a few blocks. It was just before rush hour—if you could call it that in this Podunk town—and the sidewalks were fairly deserted. But she was questioning her choice of attire. The black pencil skirt, white buttoned-up blouse, grey tights and black boots were warm enough with her grey wool pea coat, but the three-inch heels on the boots were hazardous. She could see her car parked at the lot on the corner when the heel caught in a crack in the sidewalk. Down she went.
"Shit!" Chelsea screeched, catching herself on her hands and knees. She struggled to her feet just as she heard his voice.
"Are you okay?"
Chelsea looked up just in time to see a chocolate brown-skinned man bend down in front of her to examine her bleeding knees through the shreds in her tights. Even on one knee, she could tell he was tall. He lifted his head and took her hands in his to check her palms. Oh Lord, he was gorgeous, Chelsea thought. His hands were cool against her hot palms.
"Yeah, uh, I'm fine. Trying to do too much in these heels," she said, pulling her hands back to look at them. Not too much damage, just skinned, a few tiny gravels. Her knees were a different story. She could feel the blood dripping down her shins.
"Let me help you—I'm a doctor. Doctor DuBois. Sorry, Germaine. Germaine DuBois," he said, holding out his hand. She looked down at her own hand before looking at him dumbly.
"Shit, sorry, you can't shake hands right now," he said, recovering from the uncomfortable moment by laughing. Chelsea couldn't help but smile in return.
"I'm Chelsea Willow."
"Hi Chelsea," he said, taking her elbow to guide her to his SUV, "But seriously, you need to get those knees looked at. I have my bag with me. At least let me clean them up."
Chelsea felt a moment of hesitation—he was a stranger, after all. But this was her hometown. Her uncle's pawn shop was four blocks away. The law office where her cousin's father-in-law was reviewing her resume at that very moment was only two blocks in the other direction. Her car was at the far end of the lot. She felt safe. She felt safe with Germaine.
"Okay," she said, allowing him to guide her to the passenger seat. She hopped up and sat sideways in the seat while he retrieved his back from the back. He put it in the floorboard beside her and pulled out a pair of gloves, gauze, alcohol wipes, and the other necessary accoutrements for cleaning a pair of skinned knees.
He wiped the shallow scrapes on her hands first with alcohol wipes. They didn't require any kind of bandage.
"These tights are pretty much ruined," he notified her. She nodded in return.
"I'm just going to get them out of the way," he said, unzipping her boot. Her heart soared as he slid the leather down her calf, his fingers tracing the same path. She felt a jolt as those fingers clutched her ankle and then feathered across the sole of her foot. Goosebumps rose up all over her skin, her eyes closed, and her toes curled involuntarily. A second later, those strong, gloved hands were back at her knee, ripping the delicate mesh all the way around. He peeled the torn fabric down and discarded it in a plastic bag from his kit.
Chelsea knew this innocent seduction was all in her head. Her eyes flew open. She felt her face flush and prayed that he hadn't noticed her reactions. He seemed focused on the task at hand, not looking at her face at all. She was studying his though: bald head, straight white teeth, dimpled chin, and the shadow of a beard across a strong jaw. And that smirk was undeniable. Or was it? She sighed as he spent the next minute removing the boot and tights from the other foot.
"You did a real number on these, Ms. Willow," Germaine said, dabbing the blood away with the gauze and neatly depositing each soiled square into the plastic bag.
"Please call me Chelsea," she said, watching him as he worked.
"Chelsea," he corrected himself, "And you can call me Germaine. This is going to sting, okay?"
She nodded. He pressed the alcohol pad against the scrapes and gently swiped. Then she felt him blowing the sting away. The goosebumps returned.
"Sorry," he said, "Probably not the most sanitary procedure, but my sons require it for their own scraped knees. Force of habit."
She smiled. "You have sons?"
"Yeah, two. Levi and Lincoln—four year old twins."
"Wow," she said, "that's a fun age."
"It is," he agreed.
"But then, they're fun at pretty much all ages, aren't they?" she amended.
He smiled, applying an oversized band-aid to each knee, "That's true too. You have kids?"
"No, just a six-year-old nephew. He's like, my favorite person in the world," she conceded, "But I love kids in general. So much that I worked at a daycare for several years. They're so energetic and honest."
"I'm so busy at the hospital, I feel like I miss out on so much. But you're right, Levi and Lincoln are the epitome of energetic and honest."
"Does your wife have much help with the boys? I'm sure twins must be extra tough, especially if she's alone while you're at work."
"Wife?" he said, peeling the gloves off his hands, "There's no wife. The boys were the product of an unfortunate incident with an old friend back home. She didn't want children. I let her off the hook."
"I'm sorry," Chelsea said, embarrassed, "I didn't mean to pry."
"No, no. It's fine. It's something we're open about. Before we moved from New Orleans, the boys had a nanny that they loved. She couldn't move with us. I'm actually looking for a replacement right now. My mother is home with them now, but she has to go back to New Orleans just after Halloween."
"That's less than a week away," Chelsea said, pulling her boots back on over her now-bare feet.
"Who are you telling?" Germaine said, laughing, "I've been busting my butt trying to find someone suitable."
"Where have you looked?" she asked, hopping down from the leather seat. She adjusted her coat and scarf again and looked down at the ends of her ragged tights. She listened as he rattled off the list of the people and places he'd looked for qualified care for his children.
"Is it a live-in position? What other responsibilities would it entail besides childcare? Do you require references?"
"Whoa, whoa," he said, chuckling as he walked her back to her car, "Are you trying to apply?"
"Sorry," she said, getting more excited, "Actually, I'd be interested. I'm looking for a job now. And I have experience in childcare. What do you think? I have a copy of my resume right here."
She pulled out a stack of folders and shuffled through them while Germaine studied her face. He'd caught her blushing earlier and knew how the rush of blood in her cheeks affected his own rush of blood elsewhere. She was at least a foot shorter than his 6'4" frame. She'd buzzed her hair, but it only made her look even more feminine—her huge hazel eyes, button nose, and pouty lips stood out. And Lord, she was thick. He could see the wide hips and thick thighs despite the thick wool coat she wore. It hid the roundness of her butt, but he could see the shape of it anyway.
But would she be able to take care of his children? They were a handful—not just because they were twins; but because they were his.
When he'd left the employment agency on his search for a new nanny, he'd caught the scent of her blood before he saw her on hands and knees on the sidewalk. His fangs instantly dropped in his mouth and he'd struggled to retract them and slow his steps as he went to offer his assistance. There were only a few people out and about, but they'd have surely noticed if he'd zoomed to her side at vamp-speed. He knelt down to examine her bloody knees and fought the urge to lick the salty O- goodness. Hands—he'd told himself—look at her hands, they're not as tempting. From her hands, he'd looked up into her eyes and he, again, had a hard time ignoring the temptation. Those green and gold orbs seemed to stare into his soul.
How else could he explain that the mother of his children died at their own hands. Or, rather, their own fangs. The infants were unable to comprehend that feeding at their mother's breast meant suckling the milk, not burying fangs into the soft skin of those nipples that he himself had fed from. Had it been one child, she would've lived. She couldn't bear to leave one hungry baby in the crib crying while she fed the other. So she'd placed a baby at each breast. Two hungry vampire babies needed too much. He'd explained to her the risks and the rewards. A human woman could bear a vampire child. She could care for him, feed him even. But two increased the risk. And now she was gone.
Not that Germaine loved Celeste. He hadn't. She'd been nothing more than a vessel, an easy meal, an obedient servant to his needs, both sexual and physical. She was a beautiful woman, tall, caramel-complexioned. She was fascinated by the fact that Germaine had been a vampire. In fact, they'd been introduced by another vamp/human couple. She knew what she was getting into. He felt no guilt about her death and wouldn't allow his sons to either.
The nanny was a different story. Levi and Lincoln overheard Germaine talking on the phone one night—he'd been explaining to his own vampire brother, Greg, about the move to Kentucky and how Emmy Valdez would be staying in town. New Orleans was saturated with his kind and they all needed a nanny at one point in time. But for him, it was time to branch out. His mother wasn't too excited, but she understood his need to leave. He'd convinced her with tales of Derby parties, rolling hills of bluegrass, and an untapped population of humans to feed from. A vampire in Kentucky? Why the hell not?
"Oh, Emmy? She's not coming with us. She's of no use to us anymore."
Of no use to us anymore. Four year old twins interpreted this as Emmy being free game. He'd found the nanny an hour later, drained, lying on the floor while Levi and Lincoln played video games from their bunk beds.
"What the hell? Boys, what did I tell you about Miss Emmy? We need her, we don't feed from her! Right?" he stepped over her body and snatched the video game controllers from the boys' hands.
"But Daddy, you told Uncle Greg that we didn't need her anymore," little Levi said, looking as innocent as can be, brown eyes filling with bloody vampire tears.
Germaine sighed, wiped his face, and told the boys they were grounded. "I told you not to feed from Miss Emmy. You are not to drain ANYONE. Is that clear?"
"Yes sir," both boys said in unison.
"No video games until we get to Kentucky," he stated, "Now go to bed. I need to take care of Miss Emmy."
He'd buried the body, notified her next employers that they'd need to look elsewhere, and finished packing. They'd be in Kentucky in a month. He could make do until then. Maybe his mother could lend a hand.
"I think we've found our new nanny," Germaine announced as he walked into the living room that evening. He'd read Chelsea's resume, but more importantly, he'd inhaled the contents of the plastic bag the entire way home. Her blood, O-, sweet and salty, was as important to his decision as her Master's degree in early childhood education. The final decision would be made when the boys met her.
"Thank goodness," Giselle sighed over the noise of the episode of "Spongebob Squarepants" that Lincoln and Levi were entranced by, "Not that I don't love spending all this time with my family, but you know. I need to get back to my life."
"I understand completely, mother dearest," Germaine said, smiling. Finally, the boys realized their father was home and they bombarded him with hugs and kisses.
"So did you hear the news?" he asked the boys, "I think we found our new nanny."
"Is she pretty?" Levi asked.
"When do we meet her?" Lincoln chimed in.
"Yes, she is pretty," Germaine answered, grimacing at the raised eyebrow his mother gave him, "And you guys will meet her as soon as I call to arrange it. Mom, here's her resume, just so you know the details."
"You know I trust your judgment, Germaine dear," Giselle admonished, but quickly took the sheet of paper from his outstretched hand.
"Call her now, Daddy. What's her name?" Lincoln demanded.
"Her name is Miss Chelsea. And I think I will call her right now. Maybe we can set something up for tomorrow or the next day."
Chelsea didn't know who the strange phone number belonged to, but she answered anyway. She'd already gotten home, stripped out of what was left of her ruined stockings, and was in the process of running a bath to soak her aching knees.
"Chelsea? It's Germaine. Are you busy?"
"No," she said, stepping out of the bathroom and away from the noise of the faucet, "Just got home a little while ago."
"Great. I just wanted to let you know, my mother and I reviewed your resume and I think you'd be great for the position. If you are able to come over tomorrow evening, we can go over some details, salary, expectations, et cetera. And you can meet the boys. And my mother."
"Um, sure. Can you text me your address? Just let me know what time I should show up."
"Yeah, I'll do that. I'll be getting home from my shift at the hospital around this time tomorrow, if that works for you?"
"Yes, I'll see you then."
"Okay. Bye Chelsea."
She trotted back into the bathroom, turning off the water just in time. She received a text a few seconds later—2209 Greenwood County Road. He was kind of out in the country with that address. She turned on her mp3 player on the sink cabinet and laid her towel on the toilet lid before gingerly climbing in the steamy bathwater. She winced as she pulled the bandages off her damaged knees and was shocked to see that there was barely a scratch. She must be going crazy. They were gushing blood an hour ago. She rubbed her temples and leaned back against the end of the tub.
Thirty minutes later, she was dry, warm, and cozy on the couch reading the second book of the Twilight saga. Her mother had gone absolutely nuts over the series and forced Chelsea to read the first book. She'd gotten hooked, despite the silliness of glittery vampires. She'd just gotten to the part when Edward's brother attacked Bella at her birthday party when her phone rang. Her brother. He was calling to confirm their Halloween plans. Halloween was Chelsea's favorite holiday and she'd always insisted on taking her nephew trick-or-treating. This year was no different. Her nephew was going as a ninja and Chelsea had finally decided that she was going as a glittery vampire. She was so influenced by what she read. She had tried to explain the costume to her brother but he'd just rolled his eyes. Her mother, however, was thrilled, as she'd expected.
After confirming plans, Chelsea had gotten off the phone and scarfed down a Lean Cuisine meal while poring over the next few chapters. Edward left her? Gah! Chelsea, again influenced by her reading material, felt as depressed as poor Bella. Finally, she fell into a restless sleep, dreaming of glittery vampires and handsome doctors.
Chelsea woke up late and then had to rush to complete her shopping. She went to several different Halloween shops for the fangs, the mall for the outfit, the shoe store, and then to a specialty makeup shop. A salesgirl had helped her try on the pale foundation, red lipstick, fake eyelashes, and glitter that she'd need to complete her look. It was perfect and she'd even pulled out the fangs. The salesgirl was so excited, she'd helped Chelsea custom-fit the teeth to her mouth. The salesgirl had called several of her coworkers over (and a few customers) to see the finished product. It took longer than she thought and when she finally glanced at her cell phone, she realized she was supposed to be at Germaine's house in thirty minutes! And it'd take that long to drive out to Greenwood County Road. She paid for her purchases and high-tailed it out of the store. Thirty-five minutes later, she pulled into his driveway and tried to pop the fangs out—they wouldn't budge. She'd spent the drive over using baby wipes to clear away most of the glitter and too-pale makeup. The red lipstick had stained her lips. She looked a mess. She was mortified. But, hopefully she could explain away the teeth. She ran her tongue over the sharp points and marched up the driveway and onto the wrap-around porch. Before she could knock, the door swung open and two of the cutest little boys she'd ever seen rushed to hug her legs.
"Miss Chelsea!! Miss Chelsea!! You're here!"
"Lincoln! Levi! Give Miss Chelsea some room. At least let her get in the door."
Germaine apologized and pulled the boys far enough away so that Chelsea could squeeze by.
"Please come in."
Chelsea had just opened her mouth to explain the teeth when a gorgeous woman floated into the room. She had long silver dreads and wore a bronze shift dress and hoop earrings. Her face broke out into a smile when she saw Chelsea.
"Chelsea, this is my mother Giselle. Mom, this is Chelsea Willow."
"Chelsea, dear, how wonderful to meet you. Come in!" Giselle led Chelsea through the maze of four-year-olds and drew her through the entryway and into a family room.
"Boys, let's sit down and talk to Miss Chelsea for a few minutes and then you all can go play your video games for a while, okay?"
Germaine rounded up Levi and Lincoln and followed the two women into the family room. Of course, the boys had to sit down on either side of Chelsea. One fingered her chunky blue earrings and the other was satisfied to sit and hold her hand. They both bombarded her with questions.
"Do you like video games? Spongebob? Football? Trick-or-treating?" And on, and on, and on. Germaine watched the attention Chelsea gave his sons and the sincerity, patience, and honesty with which she answered all of their questions. Lincoln finally let go of her hand, but crawled up into her lap instead.
"Miss Chelsea," he asked as he hugged her, "Are you going to be our new nanny? Please?"
"Well, I think I would love that. But I have to talk to your daddy first to make sure it's okay. How about you boys go on and play your games and before I'll leave, I'll come and say goodnight, okay?"
"Deal," Levi said, pulling his brother from her lap so he could get his own hug. The two scampered off, Giselle right behind them.
"So," Germaine said, holding back a laugh, "What's with the fangs?"
"Shit," she said, hand to her mouth, "Sorry, I mean shoot. I spent the day shopping for my Halloween costume and got a little carried away at the makeup counter. And then they wouldn't come out! I meant to explain them as soon as I walked in, but I got distracted."
Germaine finally burst out laughing and Chelsea couldn't help but follow suit. She explained her costume in greater detail and Germaine found himself fantasizing about the blood red lipstick and sexy red heels she'd described.
"Halloween is your favorite holiday?" he asked, bemused, "Isn't that a little sacrilegious around here? This is the bible belt, right?"
"Yeah, but we're not that crazy about it. It's not like I'm out sacrificing lambs or anything," she teased back.
"Good to know—'does not sacrifice lambs'—that'll look good on your resume."
They talked about details of the job—he gave her a tour of the house, showed her the suite of rooms she'd have if she was hired, he gave her a list of the responsibilities, and then they talked salary.