A Dark Night with a Dark Stranger Ch. 10byBellstoires©
Thank you to the wonderful MaxMars for help with editing! You are amazing. Thanks also to all the people taking the time to read this! Love your comments!
CHAPTER 10-A LAST MINUTE GUEST
"I guess that date night didn't go that well?" Clyde asked obnoxiously the next day.
Bell had awakened a little earlier than the vampires the following evening. She had been desperate to speak with Ragon about last night, and eager to apologise for falling asleep in their car ride home. When she had heard someone rounding the corner from the hallway, she had looked up expectantly, hoping to see Ragon, but instead had met eyes with Clyde. It was difficult for her to hide her eager expression, and Clyde didn't miss the way her face had fallen when he had seen her. It was this more than anything which fuelled his comment.
"What makes you say that?" Bell asked indifferently.
"Well you two slept in different rooms," Clyde responded coolly.
Bell wanted to retort, but Clyde was correct, not about their date not going well, but about her and Ragon sleeping in different rooms. Still was that a bad thing? She wasn't the sort of girl to jump into bed with a guy or vampire after the first date. Still perhaps if she had not of passed out so early then she would have slept in the same bed with him; hell who was she kidding? She probably would have slept with him. Bell decided against replying to Clyde. She didn't feel like getting into an argument with him; least of all about this.
Clyde realised this quickly, and deciding not to press the matter, instead asked, "Have you met our latest coven member?"
Bell blinked a few times, as if ensuring the words she had heard were correct.
"What- another one? How many vampires are living here now?" Bell asked.
From behind her, in the living room, a distinctively male voice with a slight lisp replied, "Well that's easy, 7 vampires plus 1 fabulous one; so I guess that makes 8!"
Bell turned to see the 8th member of the coven. He was average height and size with light mouse blonde hair, parted slightly off to the side. His large green eyes and long eyelashes seemed to compliment his outfit, which consisted of a pair of long green casual slacks, a white sleeve shirt rolled up to his elbows, and an olive green patchwork vest done up. Bell knew instantly from his mannerisms, and the way he came over and kissed her on either cheek before admiring her nail polish, that he was gay.
"I am Patrick Handers, but you my dear, may call me Patrick," he said, bowing slightly and pretending to remove an invisible hat and hold it to his heart.
Bell blinked a few times, staring back at the flamboyant vampire. After only a moment or two of disbelief she smiled warmly back. Why wouldn't vampires be gay? She thought to herself.
"What took you so long?" Clyde asked, moving over to Patrick and slapping him on the back before adding, "Ragon and I thought that you wouldn't be able to make it."
"I was away when Ragon's request arrived at my residency in Prague. As soon as I returned to it I left immediately. Alas, I thought I would be too late to be of any use. Yet now as I see the charming Bell, I am glad that my journey has not been in vain," Patrick said, smiling at Bell widely, his small straight teeth gleaming at her.
Bell was picturing the house, trying to recall if there were enough bedrooms for everyone to sleep in. How many more vampires were coming here to babysit her? She thought if she asked this out loud she may sound rude, so she bit her bottom lip, and made yet another mental note to ask Ragon or one of the girls exactly who was on the party list.
"But you're here now and that's all that matters," Ragon said, sweeping over to Patrick as he spoke, then turning to Bell, a large wide smile plastered all over his face.
Bell couldn't help but return the smile. It made her incredibly happy that he was so obviously pleased. She thought for a moment that perhaps it was because of her, but she dismissed this almost instantly. Their date had been hours ago, and she had fallen asleep at the end of it. He was clearly glad that one of his friends was here.
"Well I a famished, and desperate to go out for dinner," Patrick said, his hand poised ever so slightly outwards, in an overtly gay gesture.
"We haven't had a great experience clubbing with Bell," Ragon said once.
His words were light hearted but his tone was like ice. He meant to make sure that if they all intended to go out tonight then Bell would not be left unattended; not even for a moment. Already too many close calls had occurred; he wouldn't risk it again. Before anyone could reply, Patrick ran over to Bell, moving impossibly fast, so that when he was next to her, he took her hand in his and said, "I won't let her out of my sight. Oh please- there is this club in Brisbane called Fuzzies; it's supposed to have topless waiters," he exclaimed.
Bell had heard of Fuzzies. It was the City's premier gay club. She had not been there before but she had heard of its many hilarities and unusual events. She couldn't help but smile as Patrick continued to beg for approval, all the while holding onto Bell's hand for dear life. A few moments passed and she felt Patrick's hands release hers.
A second later and both of his index fingers were pulling her mouth into a large fake smile and he asked, "You see how happy this would make her?".
After that Bell couldn't help but laugh and Sandra and Larissa quickly joined in. There was something refreshing and light heartening about Patrick that made him so unusual and different to the rest of the coven. Her warm laughter flittered over to Ragon and he had no chance of refusing her. In fact he himself was smiling as he nodded his head. Patrick was surprised but delighted.
He took Bell's hand in his and kissed it once saying, "My dear, I approve. I can see the lightness on Ragon's face just by you being here."
Clyde snorted out loud at this. Both Bell and Patrick stared plainly at Clyde, but he smiled back in a fake disbelieving way.
"So it is settled?" Larissa chimed in, wanting to disparage the protests before they had any ground to stand on.
Larissa had not fed since the last clubbing experience and she, like her mate was hungry. The group quickly agreed, and Larissa and Sandra raced each other to the bathroom screaming, "hot water," on their way.
Sameth, who Bell had thought seemed to be a little quieter than usual, moved over to the veranda, and pouring himself a large glass of brandy, began sipping it. He was quickly joined by the other males in the house, but when Ragon made to move over to the door, Bell caught his hand to stop him.
Bell looked at Ragon. She wanted to talk to him about their date, maybe break the water about the possibility of a second date, but looking at him now, she knew she was too shy. Almost immediately after reaching for his hand to get his attention, she dropped it. Perhaps if she had of had a few glasses of wine, or a shot of something stronger than she would have had the courage to. But she was entirely sober, ergo, gutless.
"So is this everyone, or are there more vampires coming out of the closet?" Bell asked.
As soon as Bell had spoken she blushed, "Wait; that came out wrong. I mean, are there even enough rooms in the house for everyone?"
Ragon was laughing when he said, "Patrick will be staying in a coffin in the living room."
"What?" Bell exclaimed, and when she saw Ragon laughing even louder, she scowled at him saying, "Very funny."
Bell was still glaring when Ragon took her hand. She blinked dumbstruck, unable to move. Suddenly she felt Ragon was interlocking his fingers within hers. Neither spoke, but Bell used her thumb to rub softly over Ragon's cool hard skin, admiring the texture of it. At her touch Ragon smiled. He felt as if he had been rewarded for making the first move. It was amazing how such innocent gestures struck them. Both felt elated at the other's touch, as if they had spent their entire lives searching for this connection. At the same time, their union was so unlikely, as to be laughable. A mortal and a vampire, what happened to not playing with your food? It was ironic, each hoped the other wasn't thinking this; that they couldn't be together, and yet each thought it all the time. Bell, because deep down all she wanted was a normal life, with parents that were still alive; and Ragon because he knew that being a vampire meant living in the darkness forever, and that was something he wouldn't want for anyone. Still, as they held hands these thoughts were lost to them. At that moment, all the pair considered was how right they felt.
Fuzzies was exactly as Bell had expected it to be. The moment they had been granted admission by the tall gorgeous black bouncer and the skinny short haired hostess, it was painfully obvious that they were in a gay bar. Immediately Patrick had run to the dance floor and begun boogying with a younger guy, who after seeing Patrick had smiled widely in return.
"Well I am going to need a drink," Clyde said, moving instantly over to the bar and returning a moment later with a drink in either hand.
"You shouldn't have," Larissa said, sweeping over and relieving him of the spare bourbon and coke in his left hand.
"I didn't," Clyde replied, but only after Larissa had stolen his second drink.
Ragon was smiling at the pair when he turned to Bell and asked, "Something to drink?"
Bell nodded enthusiastically: she needed it.
Though Patrick had danced for almost an hour, when he returned to the group he wasn't red in the face, nor was there a single bead of sweat on him: he looked perfect. It had been organised that half the coven would hunt while the other half babysat Bell. Ragon had spoken about this earlier with the group, when Bell had not been around to protest. Larissa, Sandra, Thomas and Cambridge were the first to feed. Each had found a partner on the dance floor and would take them into the bathrooms, borrow some blood, and then disassociated them afterwards.
"So what are we doing for Halloween?" Patrick asked excitedly, sipping on a martini glass full of fruit, and a dark red liquid.
Bell eyed the drink mysteriously, her eyes narrowed. She wasn't entirely certain, but she didn't think that they served Bloody Marys at the bar with actual blood in it. Her preoccupation with Patrick's beverage had completely distracted her from their conversation. As soon as she turned to face Ragon however, she knew that Patrick must have said something important. Ragon and Clyde were exchanging worried looks.
"What?" Patrick asked, also not missing the look between the pair.
"Nikolas and William invited us to one of their balls," Ragon said.
"We're all going," Clyde added.
"All of you? Oh well, you can't refuse them. I guess it is a good thing that one of the coven arrived late. Now I'll be able to keep an eye on Bell tomorrow night." Patrick said, before returning to his drink and sucking hard on the thick liquid in the glass.
"Actually Bell was invited too," Ragon said blankly.
Patrick's eyebrows were instantly halfway up his forehead. His eyes were wide and the straw which had been in his mouth previously had fallen out.
"Excuse me?" Patrick asked. His eyes were plastered on Bell, looking her up and down incredulously, "Bell was invited? Her name was actually on the invitation?"
"I thought mortals were mainly invited as..." Patrick began to say but Ragon cut him off.
"That's enough," Ragon growled.
Patrick looked a little surprised, but moved over to the bar to get another drink, making it painfully obvious that he did not appreciate being yelled at.
"God I'm thirsty!" Clyde said, his eyes locked on a girl opposite him, "when, the hell, are the others going to get back?"
"I need some air," Ragon said, ignoring Clyde entirely.
Bell, Clyde and Sameth followed Ragon out to the smoking area of the club; Clyde dragging his feet as he left the girl alone.
She didn't know how lucky she was, Bell thought.
Bell had to admit the club was beautiful. The dancing area was adorned by a small stage on one side where the DJ sat and a large bar which stretched the entire length of the club. A small hallway serviced the bathrooms and a walkway that lead to the outside smoking area they were heading towards. The outside area was paved, and a small set of stairs led to an elevated garden area, where palms and a large water feature masked the cigarette smoke being blown by the patrons into the air. Bell and Ragon had sat so that they were facing each other, while Sameth and Clyde were puffing on cigarettes, with their eyes on a large group of girls nearby. The group had been talking small talk for a while. This mainly consisted of Clyde making obscene comments about the girls across the club from where they sat, and Bell rolling his eyes at him. She guessed they had been at the club for at least 2 hours by now, and Sandra and the rest of them still had not returned. Bell was just about to ask Ragon why he hadn't fed yet, when a loud scream caught her attention.
"Bell!" A male voice screamed.
Bell turned to look around, and spying the stairs saw someone she recognised.
"Ryder," Bell said back loudly, trying to be heard over the music.
In an instant she had jumped up from the bench she had been sitting on, and ran over to her childhood friend. Ryder was one year younger than her, making him 23. He had a pleasant oval face, which in the past had been filled with puppy fat, but now was drawn tight across high cheek bones and a prominent chin. His dark brown hair was parted to the left, and like Bell, he had blue eyes. He had no facial hair at all, but was clean shaven, and though his skin was pale now, Bell knew that if he went into the sun much at all, his entire face would be highlighted by freckles.
"Long time, no see," Ryder said, hugging her quickly and then releasing her.
This was very true. For about ten months, when Bell was in 9th grade, Ryder had been her foster brother. Ryder Reid was the only son of Susan and Harold Reid. The couple owned a struggling wedding business, and had decided to foster a child; hoping that the additional government allowances they would receive might help supplement their income. Being with the Reid's was probably the closest time in Bell's life that she felt part of a family. This had nothing to do with her foster parents, and everything to do with Ryder. She wasn't sure what it was. Everywhere the pair went people thought they were brother and sister. Maybe it was because they both had blue eyes and brown hair. Or maybe it was because they were two peas in pod? Either way, Bell loved feeling like she had a brother. She had never been formally adopted by the Reids, only fostered, which made it easy for them to return her when they realised they no longer wanted to look after another child. Still, being returned by parents who didn't want her may not have been the best thing to happen to her, but it certainly wasn't the worst. Bell had never been fortunate enough to be adopted. Each time she had gone to a new family hopeful, and each time she had left disappointed. After her stint with the Reid's, Bell would never again risk hoping for a family of her own. Loosing Ryder had stung her deeply, and the appeal of connecting with a new family, did not outweigh the chance of eventually losing them. Instead, when her next family, the Applebes, took her in, Bell closed herself off from them, and kept them at arm's length. She had begged them to let her take a part time job so that she could save money. When she finally turned 18 years old, she had enough savings so that she would never again have to feel the sting of rejection. But Bell was not angry with Ryder anymore. For years she had been annoyed that he had not fought his parents on their decision. But eventually this emotion had been replaced by sadness and loss; she just missed him. Bell looked at Ryder now, glancing at his black dress pants and pink shirt.
"I didn't know you were gay?" she said a little boldly.
Once again she must have partaken in too much alcohol; her statement was testimony to that.
Ryder laughed out loud, "neither do my parents," he said, clinking glasses with her, before sweeping her into a warm embrace and kissing her once on each cheek.
Bell smiled in return. She was surprised at how happy she was to see him and took him by the arm, forcing him to follow her.
"Wow," Ryder said, his eyes locking on Clyde and Ragon, "please tell me we are walking towards those two," he said pointing at the pair.
Bell smiled and the alcohol gave her laugh a thick rich sound as she nodded her head. As soon as they were within reaching distance of Ragon he stood.
"This is Ryder," Bell said introducing him, "I lived with his family for a while back in high school."
Ryder shook hands with Clyde first, and Bell said. "That's Clyde, he's a good friend of Ragon's." Ryder moved next to Ragon, and Bell said. "And this is Ragon." She had wanted to follow her statement with something. Like; 'and this is Ragon my gorgeous boyfriend'. But she knew all that she could really say was; and this is Ragon, we went out for dinner last night and kissed oh and he is a vampire. She decided not to give Ragon a description. There was no way in heaven or hell that she was going to be the one to presume that they were together.
When Bell looked back over to Ryder, she saw that his tongue was practically falling out of his head. Turning quickly to see what he was looking at, bell locked eyes with Patrick; walking up the stairs and moving over to the group. Like Ryder, Patrick was making no effort to look as if he weren't ogling Ryder. Behind him, Sandra and Thomas, and Larissa and Cambridge followed him.
As soon as Patrick had reached the group he leaned his chin on Bell's shoulder and looking dotingly at Ryder asked, "and who might this be?"
Bell opened her mouth to reply, but before she could Ryder had said, "Ryder."
Patrick smiled warmly in reply.
"Well Ryder, want to get a drink, maybe stretch your legs on the dance floor?" Patrick asked.
"Sorry, I don't talk to strangers," Ryder replied smiling.
Clearly ten years hadn't stopped him from being a smart ass
"Well why don't you take the time to get to know me? I'm Patrick," he said.
Ryder shrugged, but then followed Patrick back down the stairs, glancing back at Bell; a huge grin taking over his face. Clearly mind games were as much a part of Patrick's relationships as they were Ragon's. It wasn't until Patrick turned back to smile at Bell, that she realised what was wrong with this situation.
"Holly hell," Bell said, taking Ragon by the elbow, "Is Patrick going to kill Ryder?"
"Keep your voice down," Ragon said, moving her fingers from his elbow and intertwining them with his own. "He's not going to kill him," Ragon added.
"But..." Bell began.
"But nothing sugar," Sandra said.
Her cheeks were pink and flushed, and Bell thought that the four of them must have fed. The group of four had appeared suddenly behind her, and she had been a little startled by both their appearance and Sandra's harsh words. She didn't understand why they were so shocked that she would suspect a vampire of biting someone. Wasn't that why they were here? Did they really think that she wouldn't stop them from attacking a friend of hers?
Bell scoffed at Ragon, and pulled her hand out of his, "Don't," she said, storming off to follow Patrick and Ryder.
Ragon waited a few moments before following her. He didn't want to restrain her in any way, and knew that if she felt watched she might rebel against him. That being said, there was no way he was letting her out of his sight. He wasn't about to make that mistake again. As he stalked behind her, Ragon watched in horror at the interest she drew. Everywhere she went she was watched. It was as if she were incapable of being ignored. Ragon stared at her, much like the other men around them. She wasn't wearing a revealing outfit, in fact if anything she was dressed rather PG for a nightclub. Her long black dress almost met the floor, with only her heels and black painted toenails peeking out from underneath. Bell's long brown hair covered most of her arms, which the shoestring straps of her dress threatened to reveal. Her dress was in no way low cut, although the small necklace that she wore drew more attention to her chest than Ragon would have liked. Still, he could hardly criticise this; especially compared to the rest of the women around him. He glanced for the shortest of moments at the woman to his right. She looked to be about 28 and was staring shamelessly at him, slight smudges of mascara highlighting the bags under her eyes. She leered towards him, bending forwards slightly, so as to show off her breasts.