The door creaked. Not eerily, but annoyingly. Shane groaned with irritation. He swiveled around and glared at the offending door, only to find it shut. A chill ran down his spine, making the hair on his arms rise up like little pins. A small breeze rustled up the curtains, but the windows were closed. He narrowed his eyes, holding his breath. He wasn’t alone…
Six months ago, he’d moved to Miami to live with his dad, after his mom had died. His dad worked a lot, but they’d eventually settled into a routine that suited them both. Shane loved his alone time. It gave him a chance to do what he loved best-painting. That was something that had filled the empty space in his life ten years ago when his parents divorced. Now, at sixteen, his skill had been perfected. His studio room in the classy penthouse suite he lived in had been turned into an artist’s heaven, with beautiful lighting by day, and a perfect sprinkling of stars by night.
His fingers tightened around the paintbrush as he slowly scanned the room. In the stillness, something whizzed by his ear. He turned quickly, and froze. A pair of large, dark rimmed, blue eyes met his. Straight black hair hung to her small chin. Her glossy red lips parted in a smile, revealing a neat row of sparkly white teeth. Her pale oval face was flawless.
The brush dropped from his hand, leaving a spattering of green on the wooden floor. The sound made him blink in surprise, only to find the girl gone.
He folded his arms and grinned. “Okay. You got me. Show yourself.”
A tinkling laugh brought her to him again. “Scared you, didn’t I?” Sarah grinned back.
Shane shook his head and picked up the fallen brush. Life had been unbearably boring until he met his next door neighbours. He’d thought they were weird. They were two adults and a girl around his age. Weird was the wrong word. The first time Sarah entered his room like that, he’d been speechless. She was super fast, super strong, and super pretty, but she was also dead. A vampire. Shane would have run through the huge glass widows if he could move, but awe held him in place. Her friendly smile had turned deadly when two of her teeth lowered to form razor sharp fangs. She’d hissed, daring him to run. By then, he didn’t want to. Curiosity had taken over from fear.
“Is this how you welcome your neighbours?” He’d asked.
Sarah had been taken aback. The fangs receded and her eyes filled with questions. “Aren’t you afraid of me?”
Obviously he had been, but he wasn’t about to tell her that. After they talked, they found that they had more in common than anyone could imagine. They both loved painting, books and museums. She had stopped aging at sixteen, but was well over three hundred years old. Her kind was all over the world, existing, or at least trying to, among mortals. People were food to them, so they fed without killing. One bite to the neck, two drops of crimson, and the person would forget what happened as soon as they left. Vampires could survive for an eternity, but that was their curse. They could never make friends, or fall in love, or have families. People were afraid of them as soon as they saw them, and because they never aged, they had to move around a lot. More than blood, Sarah needed companionship. She needed stability. She needed a life, and that was something she had found with Shane.
He cleaned up the mess while Sarah helped put away the paints. She had just come back from a hunt, and was full of energy. He on the other hand was starving. She wrinkled her nose at the ‘human food’, not liking the smell of it. Shane ignored her and wolfed down the chicken sandwich he made.
“Why is there always a shadow in your paintings?” Sarah asked.
Shane thought about it for a minute before answering. “I guess it’s a reminder, that nothing is perfect.”
“Oh, but it can be.” Sarah laughed. “Look at us. We found each other. I never thought that I could be anything more than a bloodsucker, but just see. You’ve turned me into a friend. You make me feel alive, and you make me want to be a good person. I even apologize to my meals these days.”