Here’s an excerpt of a story that is currently in the works. I don’t have any idea how long this would be, or if it’s going to be a weepy drama or a typical rom-com. I just wanted to share this with you and ask for your opinion on whether or not you would consider reading this if ever it turned out to be a novel.
The cotton bud was covered in tiny drops of blood by the time I pulled it out of my ear. Great. Another wound unintentionally caused by my own stupidity. Who else can injure herself with a harmless object such as a Q-tip? Who else but me? What a way to end a relaxing bath.
Grabbing a cotton ball, I tried to wipe off the remaining blood dripping from my ear. I sure as hell won’t be going out looking like my eardrums just burst. It was enough that I always asked people to repeat themselves before getting what they were saying. No, I’m not a dumbass. I’m not a retard either. It’s just that, I choose to focus on other things. Example – ice cream. Everybody loves ice cream, but I don’t. The taste of cold, frozen dairy mixed with chocolate and nuts is revolting. I don’t have to taste it for myself to know it. Another thing I hate is dogs. Those bumbling excuse of a pet makes my head squirm. We had a dog once, its name was Fluffy, believe it or not (‘coz my mom is soo creative). But it ran away after a week. Apparently, it didn’t like the idea of being substituted as a footrest. I also dislike cats. Those little devils… I swear to God those fur balls are spawns of hell. When Fluffy ran away, mom adopted a cat which she called Cleo. I wasn’t sure what it was called, but it was thin and didn’t have any fur. Cleo loved sleeping in the kitchen sink. Once, when I was tasked to do the dishes, I tried to move her, first by filling up her food bowl. She didn’t budge. Then, I switched on my laptop in the hopes of attracting her to lie on my keyboard instead. She took one glance at my computer, then at me, her eyes mocking, as if saying, “Is that all you can do, human?” before returning to sleep. I had no other choice. With my bare hands, I carried the little witch, cringing at the feel of her rough, cold skin. She wasn’t even out of the sink when she gave an angry hiss, at the same time, scratching me with those Wolverine claws of hers. I had to wash the dishes with a bleeding arm. Until now, whenever I enter the kitchen, Cleo looks at me with those green orbs of hers. And I swear, that little monster is just waiting for the perfect opportunity to kill me.
“What’s taking you so long?” My mom was banging on the bathroom door.
“Just a minute,” I replied. I still haven’t stopped the bleeding.
“Well, your date is here, you better hurry.”
Shit. I almost forgot about my blind date.
Blind dates were a monthly thing for me. For some unknown reason, my mom has this crazy belief that I would grow old without a husband. So she has taken it upon herself to hook me up with random guys she meets from various places. She believes that through this, I could at least find someone who would then open the doors for future relationships.
“I don’t want to die without a grandchild! So do your best this time,” – was my mom’s usual before-a-date speech. Which would then be followed by, “I can’t believe you scared him off again! What is the matter with you? Don’t worry, I’ll find you another boy,” when the date ends.
It’s not that I don’t like boys. In fact, I adore them as much as the next girl. Once, after seeing the movie A Walk to Remember, I was so into Shane West I promised myself the man I would marry would be none other than him… or someone in his likeness. The problem, it seems, is that no matter how hard I try to make the date go smoothly, something unexpected always happens. Something unexpectedly bad.
“This is Jeremy,” mom said without much ado. “He’s just entered college and is taking up Biology.”
“Hi, nice to meet you,” Jeremy said, holding out a fair hand. Heavens knows where my mom picked up this guy. He was dressed in a black shirt with a skull print on it and skinny jeans that didn’t help in hiding his lanky frame. His hair, which was swept back, was as dark as his shirt. A spiked bracelet covered his right wrist, and a silver chain hung from his left pocket.
Oh god, please don’t be in combat boots. Please don’t be in combat boots! I thought to myself as I eyed him from head to foot. Damn. He was in combat boots.
“So uhm… are you ready to go?” he said, pointing his thumb to his back.
“Oh, yeah, I’m good to go.” I wasn’t. There was no way I would be seen with this… this weirdo.
“Have fun! Oh, and make sure to be back before 10!” My mom pushed me out of the door.
Jeremy gave me a close-lipped smile, with his hands in his pocket. We stood in the hallway for a few minutes before he decided to take the lead, heading down the stairs while I followed close by.
A blue, beat down Beetle was waiting at the parking lot. “After you,” Jeremy said as he opened the door of the passenger’s seat. It gave a creak.
“Damn, how old is this thing?” I said without thinking.
“Older than you.” He smirked. The engine sputtered, like an old man coughing, as he started it. He shifted the gear stick and stepped on the gas pedal. The car jolted, then started moving. It was pretty slow, but heck, what else should I expect from something that looks so ancient?
We drove in silence for a couple of minutes. I was starting to get bored. This was a bad sign. I avoided getting bored, as when I do, my attention shifts to random stuff. There was nothing interesting inside the car, except for the two stuffed dominoes hanging on the rear-view mirror, which dangled to the rhythm of the car’s movement. Jeremy must’ve noticed. As we rounded a corner, he slid a black cassette tape into the radio.
“Wow,” I said, staring at the radio. “I’ve never seen that in like, a really, really long time.”
“I guess you could call it vintage, then,” he said. He pressed the play button and soon, a man with a wispy voice started to sing.
“Uhm… John Lennon?”
“Wha –? Oh, hell no.” Jeremy started to laugh. I noticed that he had a tooth covered in a silver cap.
“Okay. I just assumed ‘coz, you know? It’s on cassette.” His laughter annoyed me. So what if I made a mistake? That was no reason to laugh.
“You can’t just call every male on cassette John Lennon,” he said with a grin.
I crossed my arms and looked out the window. “I know that, I was just trying to start a conversation.”
“By saying something you know was clearly wrong?”
“At least I tried.” I turned the volume up. “Asshole,” I added in a whisper before returning to looking out of the window.
He started to laugh – a loud, hearty laugh. One you wouldn’t expect to come out from such a thin mouth. I glared at him. “That’s what they all say,” he finally said.
He brought me to a quaint little coffee shop just a few blocks away from his university. It was a nice change from all the other dinner dates. Usually, my mom would set me up and my blind date in a nice restaurant. My date and I would have dinner, and then talk a little. When it was all over, my date would bring me home. Our parting words would usually be promises of second dates that would never come. This is why promises never meant that much to me.
The café smelt of a mixture of tea leaves and vanilla. It had low wooden tables and bean bags for chairs. Jeremy ordered a cup of macchiato for each of us. Since I was still mad at what happened earlier, I decided to order a slice of cheesecake and some cinnamon scones. After all, the best revenge on a man is through their wallets.
“If you don’t mind, can you tell me more about yourself?” He was holding his cup with both hands, tracing its edges with his long fingers. He had his eyes fixed intently on me. Oh boy, I hated this part the most. First of all, how does one effectively describe oneself without sounding too egoistic? I could go for mild and meek, but in conversations such as this, being humble only means hiding vanity in a more acceptable way.
“I’d answer that, but you have to answer my question first.” I needed more time to think of an appealing way to describe myself.
“Sure. What is it?” Jeremy cocked his head to one side.
“Okay, don’t laugh. I’m really serious in asking this.” I cleared my throat and leaned forward. Then, I said in barely a whisper, “Are you a vampire?”
Jeremy’s eyes widened. Slowly, he put his cup down. He folded his hands and placed it under his chin. He took in a deep breath and furrowed his brows, as though he was in deep thought.
“Well? Are you?”
He shifted on his seat, took another deep breath and looked me in the eye with such intensity it made me doubt all of my life decisions. “What made you say that?” he said, his tone was dead serious.
“Well,” I said, rather nervously, “…you’re as ashen as a wax figure, and your lips are cherry red. You look as though you haven’t slept since you were born and…”
“…And you like old songs.”
He blinked his eyes once, then twice, before leaning forward. He gestured me to come closer. Closer. I was starting to get scared. What if he was actually a vampire? And what if I accidentally broke his cover? What if he intentionally brought me in this empty, secret café just so he could kill me and suck my blood dry? I could scream, but no one would hear me. In fact, the lone barista looked as though she could be a vampire herself. When I was as close as I could get without hurting myself over the edge of the table, he drew his face towards my ear. He was so near I could feel his breath tickle my earlobes.
“The truth is,” he begun, “…I am… NOT A VAMPIRE!” He screamed into my ear before he burst out laughing again.
I hastily felt if my ear started to bleed again and was relieved it didn’t. I shot him a disgusted look, then went ahead to stuff a particularly large slice of cheesecake into my mouth.
Tears were streaming down Jeremy’s face by the time he stopped laughing. He apologized and said he didn’t mean to laugh. He just thought that, me thinking he was a vampire, was funny.
“Looks like somebody’s been reading too much vampire novels,” he said, once he had settled down.
“You promised you won’t laugh!”
He was teasing me, and I know it. We were at the second phase of our date now, the part where we talk about our preferences and past relationships, if any. Now was also the time to throw those meaningful glances and show a bit of skin, enough to tease the imagination. This is the trickiest part. One wrong move and chances of that much sought after second date could go down the drain. But following this date’s events, I’m not looking forward to a second date.
We sat in silence for a while. Jeremy’s cup was still quite full; in fact, it never even touched his lips – his blasted cherry lips. Damn. Why couldn’t I have those instead? While he sat there, looking practically like a male version of Snow White, I struggled to finish my food. The sooner I get rid of these scones, the better. I wanted to go home and start writing about how much of a bitch this guy was, on my blog.
The clocked ticked by and still, none of us said a word. My tongue was starting to itch. I needed to say something, but I definitely won’t be the first to talk. Heck, if he’s interested, he’ll make the first move. So I waited, and waited, and waited… half an hour passed and still, no word. My butt was numb and my cup was already empty. Crap. Crap. Crap. I should’ve known this guy was crazy. Oh wait, I did know it, right from the beginning. From the very moment I saw those combat boots. Aside from having such a strong affinity to anything black, this guy had no fashion sense.
“So, you still haven’t told me anything about yourself.” Bam! Just like that. Silence is broken, as if nothing awkward has happened. Un-fucking-believable.
I stared at him, without even bothering to mask the incredulous look on my face. His chin was resting on his folded hands again, and his eyes were focused on… my empty plate? I wasn’t sure.
“Wanna tell me what happened to your ear, then?”
How the hell did he know about that? I was sure I had stopped the bleeding before I left the bathroom.
“What are you talking about?” I said.
“Your ear,” he gestured towards his own ear, “…it had some blood in it. I noticed while we were driving.”
So he knew? And yet, that didn’t stop him from screaming directly into my ear? What was wrong with him?
“Had to check if you were going deaf,” Jeremy said, as though reading my mind. “Sorry.”
“Idiot. Ever heard of an ear infection?” I said, rolling my eyes in annoyance.
“Ever heard about the guy who tightroped across Niagara Falls?”
I raised an eyebrow. “Huh?”
Jeremy shrugged his shoulders. “I thought we were talking about things everyone was aware of.”
I was completely lost. It was better not to answer. I was starting to get so frustrated, I could feel my arteries clog. I checked my watch – 8:30. The date was over. It was time to go home.
The car ride was uneventful. Jeremy played his cassette and told me that they were his favorite band. Then he started yapping about how much he enjoyed the coffee and watching me guzzle down the last of the cinnamon scones. He said it reminded him of flamingos drinking water.
Mom took her time in answering the door when we arrived. It was one of her tactics to get me and my date to end the night properly. This was the last phase – saying goodbye. We stood facing each other, both heads looking down. I wasn’t in the mood to look him in the eye and give a proper farewell. I can’t tell him how much I enjoyed the date, because it was the opposite. Another period of silence.
“Uhm… so, I really enjoyed talking to you,” Jeremy started. I raised my head and looked at him, wondering if he was telling the truth or just being polite. “When can we do this again?”
My mouth fell open. Did I hear that correctly? Was he really asking for a second date?
“I was thinking, next week? Are you free? Saturday?” he continued.
It took a few seconds for me to compose myself. I slapped my face twice and gave my arm a pinch. It hurt. Meaning, I wasn’t dreaming. A second date… I was being asked on a second date! Why am I so excited? The feeling confused me. Minutes ago, I didn’t want to see this guy ever again. But now, I can’t fucking wait for Saturday!
“Lemme see,” I said, pretending to be thinking real hard. “Saturday works for me.” It was hard not to give him my biggest grin.
He smiled, and then offered me a handshake to seal the deal. “It’s a date.”