Kaitlyn stared at the coffee maker as it crackled faintly, filling the glass pot with the sweet life giving brew at an excruciating slow pace. She looked down at her phone to scroll through Instagram to distract her from the seemingly glacial progress but not even cat pictures or sunrises from some far away beach could keep her from glancing at the pot every three seconds. And speaking of cats she could hear her kitty yowling and scratching at the backdoor, ready to come in from a night on the prowl.
“Oh my gosh Sunny stop, I’m coming,” Kaitlyn yelled as she shuffled through the living room to let in the howling ball of impatient fluff.
No sooner had the door cracked opened a streak of yellow and orange lightening ran through the living room. Groaning, she followed the cat back towards her bedroom knowing there was only one reason he would run to her room instead of the kitchen for breakfast, he had brought something in. Kaitlyn stopped into the bathroom to grab a plastic bag out from underneath the sink, avoiding the mirror as she went. She was still in the clothes she had slept in, an XL shirt she was given at the gym she attended once and a pair of cotton shorts with a hole in the pocket, and hadn’t even thought about brushing her hair or teeth yet. Just as she had suspected, Sunny was hunched over something giving it a sniff when she had walked into the bedroom armed with her cleaning spray and baggy.
“Ok mighty hunter, let’s see what you drug in this time,” she said sticking one foot under the cat’s stomach and moving him away from his catch to get a look. In the three years that she had owned him, he had brought home everything from paper sacks to mysteriously stolen socks to dead lizards, but he always laid them down on the rug right in front of her bed. Today was a completely new catch however, a bat. Kaitlyn squatted down with the bag over her entire hand, looking away with her eyes sealed shut as she attempted to scoop up little body. Her fingers closed around the fuzzy body and a little squeal escaped her lips that echoed out around the room. No, not an echo she realized as she felt movement beneath her fingers. Oh shit, it’s alive, she realized in a panic.
Kaitlyn pulled the baggie away from the squeaking bat and Sunny rushed back in to investigate. She pulled the cat away from the animal, moving quickly out of the room and slamming the door shut behind her. Dropping the cat down in the kitchen to dig through the cabinets and pantry for something to put the bat in while she figured out where to take him. Giving into the realization that there weren’t any shoe boxes anywhere in the house, because really who keeps those things, she plunged a knife down through a Tupperware lid to make air holes for a transport box. After grabbing her least favorite kitchen towel from the drawer and distracting the cat with a scoop of food, she snuck back down the hallway. The high pitched squeaking had stopped from behind the door. Kaitlyn grimaced as she pulled the door open, afraid she was about to have to act as a coroner instead of a paramedic after all. But it turns out the bat wasn’t dead all, in fact it wasn’t a bat all at anymore. A man was now kneeling on her area rug groaning battered, his hair matted with sweat and his hands covered in lacerations.
Her fingers started to turn white around the Tupperware container still clutched in her hand. Kaitlyn let out the breath she was holding as she fought the urge to throw the ruined plastic at him and run out the door behind her as the realization that the strange guy on her floor was seriously hurting.
“Are you ok?” she finally managed, accidentally shouting at the poor man to try and drown out the sound of her own heart hammering in her ears. Well man wasn’t exactly accurate. Vampires had been out in the public eye for about five years but they still weren’t common to come across. They didn’t hang out in the Dollar General or anything. Kaitlyn took a steadying breath
“I heal quickly,” the man assured me as he rose to his knees, his dark hair still hanging down into his pale face.
“Should I call someone or can I give you a ride somewhere I guess?” She asked looking down at herself in her bare feet and oversized shirt. “You’ll just need to let me change….Or probably a cab would be best?”
“The sun is already up and I’m not going to fit into that any longer,” the vampire said pointing at the makeshift transport in her hands. Kaitlyn looked down at the forgotten container with a blush and tossed it into a chair on top of the not-quite-dirty clothes pile.
“So what I’m just supposed to let you hang out until sundown?” Kaitlyn asked as she followed him down the hallway and towards the living room. He poked his head around the corner cautiously before easing into the room silently to pull the curtains tight across the window. Even in the low light Kaitlyn could see he was already free of most of his injuries as he moved around the room.
“It would be appreciated,” he said as he sat down on the couch, his movements as graceful as a falling feather. “Besides it seems like the least you could offer since if it wasn’t for your feline friend I wouldn’t be in your house at all.”
“Yeah, true… That leads into my next question. How are you in my house? Don’t vampires have to be invited in?” She said sitting down in the armchair across the room, folding her legs underneath her feeling like a newborn giraffe in her movements now compared to his unnerving elegance.
“Oh your cat-“he started to explain.
“Right, Sunny here is considered a resident of this dwelling and therefore has the authority to grant me entrance.”
“That seems like a hell of a loophole…Kaitlyn said reaching behind her to pull a blanket off the back of the decorative armchair to cover up with, pulling the fabric all the way up to her neck.
“You don’t have to worry, I am not going to harm you,” the vampire assured her from across the darkened room.
“What? Oh no I wasn’t worried about that,” she said, heat flooding her cheeks as she realized what her pulling the blanket up so far much have looked like. “I wasn’t pulling it up over my neck because I thought you were going to attack me or anything! I watched all of the vampire coverage on the news and know you guys don’t really even drink that much blood. I’m just still in my pjs and felt a little self-conscious is all.”
“So you didn’t think I was going attack you, you just thought I might be a pervert?” he clarified, raising an inquisitive eyebrow.
“Yes…Wait, no! I mean….”Kaitlyn bit down on her lip to try to get herself to stop talking. “Are you sure you can’t head out sooner?”
“I don’t exactly have my car even if the sun wasn’t already up,” he said with a shrug.
“Right,” Kaitlyn agree quietly as she pulled out her phone to check what time the sun would be setting on her weather app, hoping the forecast would suddenly call for rain. With a high of 89 and not a cloud in sight her hopes of getting rid of her guest early were officially dashed, it was going to be a sunny day.
“I’m Nathaniel,” the vampire offered apologetically from across the room. Even though he had been literally drug into the house against his will, Kaitlyn could feel that he knew he was inconveniencing her.
“I’m Kaitlyn,” she returned sliding her phone back into her pocket. “I’m going to get changed real fast but feel free to look through the movies or I think I have some board games if you are interested.”
“Thank you very much. Do you mind if I get something to drink from the kitchen?” He asked, standing so swiftly he had actually done it between her blinking.
“Sure, as long as it’s not my cat,” she said back, watching him wide eyed as she rose from her seat too and backed up down the hallway.
The locked clicked in place behind her as she leaned against the door and hoped that Nathaniel’s hearing wasn’t good enough to pick it up. She felt obligated to be a good hostess since she felt so guilty that her cat had hurt him but she wasn’t willing to put her comfort completely aside to do so. Especially since she was already giving up a whole day off of pretending she was going to get up and clean to entertain him. When we reemerged from her room, hair tamed, jeans on, and teeth brushed she found Nathaniel still standing in the kitchen with two cups of coffee already poured. A familiar comfort flooded her body at the sight of the steaming mugs, starting her coffee maker seemed like something she had done yesterday rather than an hour ago. She collected her cup and came to stand over near where he was hanging out looking down at the puzzle on her dining room table, sensing that was what he was most interested in doing. Well, there are worse ways to spend a day I suppose.
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.