“Thank you,” the boss said, probably for the first time since I started working for him. “Now, if only you could give me a reason to use it…”
“A reason to call your own sister?”
“You couldn’t possibly understand.”
He was right. I thought it was weird how he’d needed me to get his own sister’s number–even weirder than Ophelia’s, which I still hadn’t gotten yet.
But this time I’d asked Leo for help and he’d called his mom, who got the number from the boss’s dad. (I could’ve gotten Ophelia’s number through Leo too, but I maybe I liked the boss being nice to me.) Weird about his sister, though–couldn’t he have just called his own dad too?
“…You need anything else, boss?”
“Nothing you can give me.”
But he still made me shop for hair gel all the time. I didn’t mind running errands for him, because I knew what to get and I was getting paid anyway.
…And because I only ever saw Sunflower when I was by myself.
(I was just looking at makeup real quick for Lyanna while I was there.)
I always had to try multiple places because they’d sell out of the boss’s hair gel a lot–probably because he made me buy so much. Sometimes Sunflower didn’t say anything when he found me, but I still knew he was there. Probably because hair salons tended to have a lot of mirrors.
It was kind of like when Lyanna made me go shopping with her against my will, except different. I dunno how. And he wasn’t like Mr. Landon (Lyanna’s trying to get me to call him Mr. Duke but that’s dumb), stalking me or anything. He just kind of appeared where I was, like magic.
“Dru…” His voice was so soft, but I could still hear him perfectly with my vampire ears.
I turned to face him, even though he was half-naked as always. (At least it was better than naked-naked.) I wanted to look at his face when I asked him a question. “…So do you like me?”
“I live for the moments I see you,” he said right away. “When I’m not with you, I feel lost, like I’m forever wandering in a dark, endless forest…” He closed his eyes, like the darkness was lurking right behind his eyelids.
“So…how come you don’t try to hold my hand or slobber all over my face or whatever? If you like me so much…”
“I can’t,” he whispered. “I’m sorry.”
“Come on,” I said. “Just hold my hand for like two seconds. It won’t be that gross. Probably. And you can drop it if it is. Or I might drop it.”
“I wish I could,” he said, but he didn’t even try to give me a reason why he couldn’t, holding up his hand but not even trying to take mine.
And then I looked away for a sec and he was gone, leaving me alone in the salon. It’s not like I cared or anything, but it would’ve been nice to have somebody help carry all the boss’s hair gel…
The boss surprised me a second time when he offered me a vacation after months of working for him. “I don’t have to go with you?”
“Is that so surprising?” he said. “There’s nothing you can do to help. Do you expect me to fly you first-class to do nothing?”
I leaned closer. “…Are you okay, boss? Normally you’d find annoying crap for me to do, like replacing all the normal chocolate mints on your hotel room pillow with overpriced, artisanal dairy-free ones every night and then making me leave bad reviews for the hotel online for being ‘inconsiderate toward vegan guests’ so they offer you a discount.”
“I suppose I could make you–no, I’d rather be alone for this.” He sounded weird. He was always pissed or upset about something, but now he sounded kind of…drained or whatever, like he didn’t care about anything at all.
“…No takebacks,” I said, walking away from him slowly. “I’m just going to enjoy my paid vacation while you’re gone…”
“Mm,” he said.
I thought time off work would be more fun, except I couldn’t spend it with Lyanna because of reasons. Or one reason that I really wanted to punch in the balls. So I kept busy by watching Dad’s latest comedy special…
And not spying on Lyanna, not that she was even home much…
And watering my weird flower thing…
And punching things, the best stress-reliever…
But I still would’ve rather spent time with Lyanna…or Sunflower, except why bother if he thought I was creepy and gross and didn’t even want to hold my hand.
So I spent my days off alone. And then when the boss was about to get back from his trip to wherever, I decided to pick up some fresh flowers (but not from the place Lyanna’s stalker worked at), even though he didn’t ask me. Fae liked flowers, I guess.
Somehow I knew he’d show up. Maybe because I was looking at the sunflowers for too long.
“I missed you.”
“If you say so.” But I slept on my fangs weird again and my mouth was messed up.
So I thought it might be a good idea if I moved closer…in case he wanted to hug me or something. Since he missed me so much.
But he got a weird look on his face…
“Hey,” I began. I reached toward him, not far enough to touch him, but–
Something was wrong. Really wrong. But I didn’t know who to talk to about it, especially if Sunflower couldn’t even tell me why.
I had trouble falling asleep that night, and when I did, it wasn’t great…
My dreams were creepy, too. Creepy…and familiar, like I’d had them a million times before and forgot.
For some reason, I wasn’t surprised to dream of him again, even after so many years. It was kind of nostalgic, like I’d missed him without even realizing it.
And now that he looked dead–or really close to it–I wondered why the thought of him dying and disappearing for eternity ever made me celebrate…