Low-Rent Pride

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Vince looks great, as usual, in a caramel-colored leather jacket and a lightly distressed pair of Magi Jeans

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Vince looks great, as usual, in a caramel-colored leather jacket and a lightly distressed pair of Magi Jeans. I'm instantly jealous. The look is so expertly casual I feel a familiar mingling of lust and hate as I watch him approach.

He spots me and smiles, but doesn't seem surprised to see me here, which I find concerning. 

"Chet, my darling," he says, "I heard you might be here."

"What do you want?" I ask, yanking my eyes off him and surveying the room suspiciously. That's when I notice Lisa chatting with Richard Buchanan in the living room, looking oh-so hippie zen. I watch her dreadlocks swing and the anger that fills me is absolute, a clean, red blade.

What do these assholes want? Can't they leave me alone?

"What is this?" I ask, "Diana sent her hit squad out to taunt me a second time?"

"It's nothing like that," says Vince, plucking the Johnnie from Alexis Brinker's hand and taking a drink. "We've just been worried about you."

"Huh," I grunt as, annoyed, I pour another drink for Alexis. "Worried. I'm sure."

"Listen, I'm not happy with the way shit went down with Diana," Vince says. "I didn't want to see you, my longest and dearest of friends, treated that way."

I make Alexis down her drink and pour her another, making a mental note to slow it down soon. She's swaying on her feet and I need to remember that siphons have a lower tolerance than we vampires do. I don't want her throwing up on my shoes.

"I should go say hi to Lisa," I say, turning away from Vince and wandering into the living room. I can sense him shadowing me, though I don't look back to verify. Lisa is engrossed in her conversation with Richard Buchanan, nodding her head so vigorously her body shakes. Those fucking dreads are still swinging. Richard Buchanan is saying something about digging uncooked prime rib out of dumpsters because it's still good to eat long past its expiration date.

"Yeah," she says, "we should totally be doing the dumpster diving thing ..."

"You know who really loves food from the dumpster?" I ask, cutting her off, "Salmonella. Salmonella loves dumpster food."

Lisa either misses my snarkiness or isn't biting, because instead of looking offended, she turns and flings her arms out.

"Chester," she squeals, pulling me into a hug and swaddling me in the stench of her patchouli. "I was hoping we'd see you."

Her greeting is so warm and genuine, I wonder for a moment if I'm being paranoid. Maybe Lisa and Vince really did just want to check up on me.

Then I notice Lisa glance apprehensively at Vince, and my warm feels dissipate quickly. What are they up to?

"So has Diane finished turning my room into a craft closet yet?" I ask. Lisa grimaces.

"Listen, man," Lisa says, "that was totally uncool, what Diana said to you. Not cool at all."

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