Michelle Rowen

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The Blind Date
An Immortality Bites Interlude 

In which we learn what really happened during that fateful blind date Sarah went on before the beginning of Bitten & Smitten.

***

He sure didn’t look like a vampire at first glance. Then again, at the time, I didn’t know vampires actually existed.

Gordon, the blind date that Amy had set me up on, looked over the table at me in the skeevy Mexican restaurant he’d taken me to.

“Another margarita?” he asked.

I nodded. Alcohol would help get me through this evening of stilted conversation and general boredom. “Let’s make this one a double, shall we?”

He summoned the waiter over and ordered drinks.

I frowned at him over my plate of chicken fajitas and refried beans. “Any reason you’re not eating?”

He grimaced a little. “My stomach’s been acting up. I have a bit of an acid reflux thing going on.”

I forced a smile. “Digestive problems are not fun.”

Oh, my God. Why had Amy done this to me? The woman was driving me crazy with these set-ups of hers. Always looking for love, either her own or mine. I mean, she was single. Chronically so. It was obvious that she was the one who should have been on this date. It hadn’t even really occurred to me to ask more about this guy. He was medium height and relatively pleasant in appearance — nothing to write home about but really, beggars couldn’t be choosers.

However, the way he’d been staring at me for the last hour was totally creeping me out.

“Do I have something on my face?” I asked, feeling very self-conscious.

He shook his head. “You’re a very beautiful woman, Sarah.”

Always nice to hear. I’d been having a seriously lousy hair month ever since I had my long dark locks chopped to shoulder length so I’d grab at a compliment whenever I could get it.

“Thanks. So…uh…what do you do for a living, Gordon?”

He pushed his martini glass around on the table. “I’m between jobs at the moment.”

Great. Unemployed. And I wondered why Amy didn’t want this catch all to herself? The proof was in the unemployed pudding.

“It’s hard finding something worth doing,” I said. “I’m in a job I’m not particularly fond of. I keep looking for that perfect occupation, you know? Something to make me feel like a valid member of society. But I end up doing stuff I don’t like because it pays the bills. It’s a vicious circle.”

He was staring openly at my neck which was a location about six inches higher from where most guys chose to study. I reached up and brushed it, thinking maybe a refried bean had catapulted over there and stuck.

“What are you looking for in a man?” he asked.

I grabbed a nacho and broke it in half while I wondered how to answer than strange question. “Um…well, a sense of humor is a must for me.” Which Gordon didn’t seem to have. “Somebody around my age, or no more than a couple years older.” I had no idea how old Gordon was but he looked like he was pushing forty, so in other words, way too old for my tastes. “He should be fun to be around…nobody who gets depressed or moody or sullen.”

Sullen, moody guys were a total drag.

“Do you ever think about eternity, Sarah?” he asked.

“Eternity? Like religiously? Heaven and hell and all of that?” I mentally went through the list of excuses I could use on how to end this little outing early. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but I usually knew pretty quickly if I was interested. And I wasn’t. It was already late and I wouldn’t mind going home. To sleep. Alone would be good. It had been so long since I’d had a real boyfriend I wasn’t sure I remembered what to do with more than my teddy bear.

Okay, that was a lie. I remembered.

Lonely sigh.

I downed the margarita when it arrived and that helped me a lot as it joined the other two I’d had in my stomach and a pleasant buzz moved through me like a friendly hive of bees who cared that I was having a lousy date.

“No, I mean the possibility of living eternally.”

“I’m all for it,” I said quickly, always ready for a hypothetical question to help fill any uncomfortable silences. “Aging is very overrated. The anti-wrinkle creams alone are super-expensive. It would be great to live forever.”

“Agreed.” He glanced at my plate. “Are you done?”

My stomach felt like it was going to explode so I’d say I was satisfied. I’d eaten as though it was my last meal.

“I’m done,” I confirmed.

Gordon asked for the check, and still sneaking awkward and creepy looks at me, he paid and we left. I figured he’d drive me back to my apartment, but instead we drove over the Bloor Viaduct bridge to the other side. Totally the wrong side of the city if I wanted to be dropped off at home in a timely manner.

So annoying. And tomorrow was a work day. For a major hottie I would make an exception, but Gordon was definitely…nottie.

“There’s a park up ahead,” he said. “Would you like to go for a walk?”

“A walk?” I repeated, thinking that my slingbacks were not the best choice of footwear for casual late night strolls. The ground was mushy at this time of year.

“Come on,” Amy’s enthusiastic and hyper-optimistic voice boomed in my head. “Gordon’s a super guy. Give it a chance. You never know when love is going to find you so you have to stop hiding.”

A little harsh, I thought. I didn’t hide from love. It typically ran away from me before any hiding could occur.

I’d had boyfriends. I wasn’t a nun. But when I saw romantic movies and the heroes and heroines stared into each others eyes, holding onto each other when the world was ending all around them…well…I’d never experienced that.

I’d never been in love. How depressing.

I’d had the hots for guys. I’d really, really, really liked guys. But at 28 years of age, I’d never actually been in love.

I was obviously deficient when it came to romance.

Gordon was just more proof.

There was nothing wrong with him — other than him being rather creepy and giving off an extremely strange vibe — but I just wasn’t feeling it.

One walk. Then this date was officially over. I’d go home and watch late night TV and then try to cram in four hours of shut eye before work tomorrow. A hot chocolate sounded good. The nights were very chilly in November.

Gordon slipped his arm around my waist and I tried not to pull away with disgust. Had to be polite. He had bought dinner, after all. The last date I’d been on had asked for separate bills. Which was rather awkward when I realized I’d forgotten my wallet at home.

He’d been the one not to call me for a second date.

I sighed and looked up at the clear night sky. It was cool and the ground was mushy but the sky was a perfect expanse of black velvet peppered with stars. I picked one and made a wish.

I squeezed my eyes shut.

I wish I could fall madly in love with somebody who would love me back just as much, forever and ever.

I opened my eyes. Gordon had stopped walking and had turned around to look at me. I wrapped my burgundy leather coat around me tighter, trying to ignore the chill.

“What?” I asked.

“I love you,” he said.

I blinked slowly and looked up at the star I wished on. Not exactly what I’d meant.

“I need to go home now.”

“I want us to be together always.”

I nodded slowly. “That’s really sweet.”

He frowned. “There’s nothing sweet about it. This is serious. Deadly serious. Do you love me?”

I was so going to kill Amy.

“You seem really great,” I said.

“I want to show you something.”

I grimaced. Please let him keep the pants zipped up, I prayed, hoping I hadn’t wasted my wish earlier on something stupid like love, because this one was more important at the moment.

“I don’t know…”

He grabbed my wrist and pulled me further into the park…which I’d realized wasn’t much of a park at all.

“Where are we?” I asked, looking around at the surroundings. “Is this…is this a…a cemetery?”

He nodded and pointed at a gravestone. “See that? This woman died when she was only in her late twenties. Who knows what kind of a life she led. If it was boring or exciting or what. If she died of natural causes, was hit by a car, or had a horrible incurable disease. You don’t want that.”

“No, I definitely don’t want that.”

Cemetery. First date. Even if I hadn’t already decided Gordon was not keeper material, this would have been the nail in the coffin. So to speak.

He smiled and the small amount of light from the overhead lamp glinted off his oddly sharp-looking teeth. “I knew that I’d chosen the perfect girl for me. For eternity.”

“Right.” I glanced over my shoulder to where the car was parked. My cell phone was inside since I’d taken it out briefly to check voice mail and left it on the dashboard therefore I was currently incommunicado. It was okay. I could handle this. Sure. “Look, I really want to go now-”

I turned back to face him just as he smashed his lips against mine in a smacking, wet kiss that hurt as much as it grossed me out. I smacked him across the side of his face.

“Don’t do that!”

His expression shadowed.

“I want to go now,” I said it with a little more force. My happy had left the building. And my shoes were getting ruined. Since I’d spent way too much money on them-fake money since they were still sitting on my Visa card-I didn’t want them to totally be destroyed.

Gordon grabbed me in a viselike grip. Great. Now I had to fight him off?

Amy. Dead. So dead.

“I can give you eternity, Sarah.” He was kissing my neck. Maybe I should let him have at it for a moment until he loosened his grip enough for me to kick him where the sun didn’t shine. I had a can of pepper spray in my purse. I could always grab —

The kisses turned into something different. Something rougher and more painful.

“You’re mine,” he growled. “You’re mine forever.”

“Hey!” I yelled and started beating on his shoulders.

Then he sank his sharp teeth into my neck, panic shot through me in and I did something I rarely did as long as I was eating enough protein.

I passed out.