We thought, foolishly perhaps, with David, Max and the Lost Boys dead, life would be normal. We’d get our “happily ever after”.
We all thought Max was the naïve one for believing we’d be happier as a big vampire family.
Six months on, I realise Max was right. The only way we could all be happy together would be as soulless killers.
He was right about another thing too. Lucy is a very protective mother.
And if she wasn’t my boyfriend’s mother, perhaps I could have learned to live with it. If she had been our pack mother, and Max our pack father, perhaps things would have been a lot easier.
Perhaps. I say it a lot, but I know there’s no perhaps about it. It’s the truth.
Lucy doesn’t like me. Not one iota. She’s not so keen on Laddie, but she hides it well with maternal fussing. Laddie doesn’t like her either, he’s not big on maternal fussing, but if he has to put up with it, he’d rather it came from me. I was the one who tucked him into bed every morning, read him stories, placed a kiss on his forehead. I was the one who wrapped my arms around him and held him down when the bloodlust wracked his body and all he wanted to do was kill.
Lucy just sees me as a girl who got her golden boy in trouble, not unlike the girl who gets pregnant to keep a boyfriend who no longer loves her. There’s no doubt she’d prefer that situation. I can see her mind ticking away. If I were that brand of trouble, she could wait nine months, take the child from me and run like hell, claiming I’m a bad person to any authority who questioned her. But how can she tell anyone I’m a bad girl because I got her precious boy involved with vampires?
Her friends think I’m lovely. I sometimes overhear them when they visit, when they sit on the wraparound porch drinking iced tea. That Star’s a pretty girl, they say. Michael’s girlfriend seems devoted to him. She’s a nice girl, that Star. Isn’t it lovely how Star takes care of her little brother? And Lucy will answer in a way that seems gracious, but I hear her real meaning. That Star’s nothing but trouble, oh yes, she’s pretty, but don’t go thinking that’s a good thing. Her looks are what got my boy involved with her! That kid is not her brother…and I don’t think she should be responsible for him.
Maybe I could deal with this if it was just Lucy, but it’s not. She has Sam on her side – and Michael, for all of his faults, genuinely cares what his brother thinks. Sam treats Laddie and I with distrust when we’re alone, he “jokingly” makes the sign of the cross any time he sees us in the hallways. Even in public, he makes snide comments that are passed off as jokes. Lucy laughs heartily every time. So do the Frog brothers when they visit.
Max should have got Grandpa on his side. While Grandpa isn’t keen on vampires, he has a vast capacity for forgiveness when it comes to halflings. Grandpa, when not out with the Widow Johnson, actually talks to Laddie and me. He shows us his latest work, and while taxidermy is something that Laddie and I view with faint disgust, the gesture is wholly appreciated. Once he even gave Laddie one of his double-thick Oreo cookies.
The worst thing is, Michael’s beginning to lose his resolve. Every time Lucy “encourages” him to do other things with his life (things that don’t involve working for a living, things that don’t involve being with the girl who he followed right into a pack of vampires), he puts up less and less of a fight. He’s beginning to think that going back to school might be a really good idea. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a good idea too, but what worries me is Michael was adamant he was going to work so he and I could afford our own place with Laddie so we wouldn’t have to put up with the distrust that floats around the Emerson family home. And if he can change his mind – or if Lucy can change his mind – about that, maybe she has it in her to convince him there are other girls in the world, girls who don’t know a thing about vampires.
I sometimes think I should take Laddie and leave. He’s not happy either. He doesn’t like school. He gets shouted at for having long hair, but he refuses to cut it. The kids tease him for his clothes, but he refuses to change his style. He hates that Sam collects him after school when I can’t because of work. When Sam collects him, Sam walks ahead, his legs much longer than Laddie’s, his strides taking him further and further away. And when Laddie’s fallen a fair distance behind, the bullies come. Sam is in shouting distance, but he never hears. Laddie has given up shouting.
I had always thought being part of the Lost Boys was like being in prison. I now see it was a taste of freedom. David should have let us go home, when trying to convince us to take the final step. It would have worked. Laddie dreams of being a vampire again. Sometimes I wake up and he’s not beside me. I dress quickly and run outside, spending the night scouring the streets of Santa Carla. I always find him, and I know what he’s searching for. He’s hoping that another vampire pack has moved to the area and will take pity on him. He screams and hollers when I try to drag him back inside. Finally I have to sling him over my shoulder; his weight slows me down, made worse by his wriggling, kicking, punching and screaming. “I want to find them, Star! I want to be with them!” He’ll yell until he has no voice. The next morning I’m black and blue, and my shoulder aches. The next morning he glares resentfully at me for stopping him.
I sometimes wonder why I follow him out. I’m responsible for him, I love him, but it’s neither of those things. I think that it might be I don’t want him to find the vampires without me. I don’t want him to escape without taking me with him.
When Michael tells me that he wants to go back to school, it’s met with no real surprise. When he kisses me and tells me it’s for the best I make no effort to kiss him back. Doesn’t he see anymore? When we were first turned back to human we were a unit, Michael, Laddie and me. Us against the world. Or at least, against the Emersons. Now Lucy has managed to mould Michael into what he was before he met me, and his family accepts him. The only thing that’s stopping them from pretending this never happened is mine and Laddie’s presence.
I think I’ll take the hint. I’ve been reading the papers a lot recently. Apparently, just a little way down the coast, there’s been a rash of murders and disappearances. Those bodies that have turned up have suffered from “severe neck trauma” or have died from “massive blood loss”. It doesn’t take a genius to read between the lines.
I keep Laddie off school, I call in sick to work, and then I bundle up our possessions in a rucksack. We’ll travel during the day, a pretty girl like me can hitch a ride with no problem.
We’ve been waiting long enough for our “happily ever after”.
Now we’re going to Never Never Land.