Discover more from Untitled RomCom
Like it says on the tin.
I started writing this, I don’t know, six or seven years ago maybe. It was supposed to be a vampire rom-com for non-teens who have bills to pay (that was always my biggest quibble with Bella; it’s easy to get swept up in a tortured vampire romance when you don’t have bills to pay), that would end up secretly being more about family and the ties that bind, but would also have plenty of kissing. I wrote about 30-40 semi-linear pages. The idea is that I’ll dust off what I wrote, probably edit along the way to make it slightly less bad, and then write new scenes, resulting in something that resembles a loosely connected story, but not published on any sort of prescribed timeframe because I know myself. Here goes nothing.
Shelby owed her.
No, she really owed her. Big time.
It was, after all, sisterly affection that had Norah standing in her most insensible shoes in a drab rec hall. And if there was one thing Shelby knew, it was Norah didn’t do heels. Or rec halls.
They stood together just inside the doorway. The harsh glare of the fluorescent lights bounced off the ’70s-era wood paneling on the wall. Norah tapped her toe in a nonsensical rhythm on the linoleum and tried to pretend like she was happy about munching on the stale pretzels absently left out for those without a taste for pig’s blood. Shelby shot her a pleading look.
“Norah, please. This is really hard. It’s like, admitting it in public for the first time,” she said.
“But you’ve already told me,” Norah pointed out. “We’re family. That was harder than telling a bunch of strangers, wasn’t it? It’s not like you’ve even told mom and dad yet.”
“Yeah, but this is different. It’s public. This is the public. I’m standing up in public and saying I, Shelby Smith*, am a vampire!” She gestured dramatically to her invisible rapt audience. “Hey! Don’t roll your eyes! This is really hard!”
“I know, sweetie, you said that already. What I don’t get is why you chose this as the location for your semi-public debut.” Norah scanned the room. It was a creepy crowd, and not because they were all vampires, but because there were a lot of men with weird body hair issues.
“It’s the first place that came up when I Googled local vampire meetups.”
“Your big dramatic moment and you spent all of twelve seconds doing Google research? You couldn’t have found one of those charity groups that like, helps out at the blood bank?”
“Nor-aaaahhh,” she whined, just a little. Her name didn’t usually have three syllables. “I don’t know. I guess it sounded better on the flyer.”
Norah snatched the flyer Shelby found online from her hand. ‘Vampire mixer: Refined male vampires seeking young female vampire companionship.’
“Really? You’ve been a vampire for all of a minute and you’re already trying to hook up with somebody? Somebody old?”
“No! Okay, it says companionship! It’s not hooking up, it’s… nice. And… I don’t know, they’ve been vampires for like, way longer me. I thought it’d be helpful to get some tips or something from vampires who have been dealing with it longer.”
“Well, you’ll certainly make plenty of friends in that dress,” Norah said, side-eyeing the slim-fitting black blazer that was doing nothing to make her short red dress look anything but short and red.
“Hey! Keep the slut-shaming to yourself. I got this out of your closet, remember?” Shelby shot her a raised eyebrow as Norah tugged at her brown pencil skirt. She had a point.
“That’s a nice thought, Shel, but seriously, this is a creepy hook up group. Look around.”
A few dozen vampires milled around the room, nothing clearly tying them together unless you knew what to look for. There were definitely more women than men, but not by a huge margin, ranging in age from mid-twenties to late sixties.
But they all wore stickers on their chests where they’d written their names, then ages, with a Sharpie. Norah eyed one particularly attractive man in the middle of the room. He was tall, but not too tall. Muscley, but not too musculey. His brown hair was on the long side, but not unkempt, and he had a nice almost beard going on. He wore khakis and a navy blazer over his checkered button up. He was totally her type. She zeroed in on his nametag. ‘Dylan, 534.’
On second thought, not so much her type. A five hundred eight-year age gap was a little much. Most of the twenty- and thirty-something-looking vampire men were all around for at least a couple centuries, according to their nametags. There was an older, salt-and-pepper-haired man, probably in his mid-sixties at the time of his transformation. The number on his nametag was fourteen.
Norah looked at her sister. Not for the first time since she’d told her the truth a few weeks ago, looking at her made Norah feel sad. Shelby was pretty, she always had been. She was just a little bit shorter than her, but skinnier and in better shape, since she didn’t subsist on a diet of black coffee and pizza. She had these big brown eyes and long chestnut hair.
She was beautiful, and she looked twenty-three. She’d always look twenty-three.
It wasn’t jealousy, and it didn’t make Norah fearful of her own, someday-inevitable demise. Mostly it made her think of their grandmother. She’d died at eighty-six. Her hair was silver and her jewelry was gaudy. She made getting old look like a sport—one that had Shelby sidelined indefinitely.
Norah closed her eyes and shook her hair out, trying to shake out all the maudlin thoughts about immortality and the meaning of life. Shelby didn’t want or need them. What she did need, apparently, was somebody to hold her purse while she let old men hit on her.
“Well,” she said, turning to Shelby with a hand on her hip, “are we going to stand here all night talking about your abysmal research skills, or are you going to get out there and make friends?”
Shelby smiled, that same bright smile she used to give her when they were little and Norah would manage to get Barbie’s hair in just the right kind of ponytail. She thrust her little black clutch in her sister’s hands.
*name may change later if I feel like it
In the meantime, tell your friends!