Season One – Episode 7 – “A Helping Hand”

By: B.A. Holland

Production Notes:

Started: 10/20/2011

Finished: 10/21/2011

“Air Date” 10/21/2011

Published by: Abyssalbooks

www.abyssalbooks.com

Copyright ©2011

All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer

This series is a work of fiction. Characters, names and incidences are either productions of the authors imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Chapter One

I, Jordan – The conflicted Vampire Girl of the Night

Okay, so trying to go out and get my first boyfriend kind of sucked. I thought that he would like me and I didn’t even tell him I was a vampire, but his parents even told me not to call anymore. That sucked too because he was cute. Where most people start their day, I wake up at 6PM now. At first I thought it was alright but nobody ever knows what they are getting into until they are neck deep in it. I wasn’t supposed to be what I am but a friend cared enough about me to make sure that if something bad happened to me, I would in some way, live to tell about it. Ever since becoming a Vampire though I noticed the problems and side effects. The biggest one so far is that while all my friends are out having fun, I’m sleeping. Zak, my very best friend does have my schedule but whenever I’m awake, he’s out doing his job with mom. I’m grounded, supposedly… That’s why I’m on a rooftop with nothing on because in order to get past the locked doors without re-locking them from the other side with a key (my mother took all the keys), I have to revert to going to mist just to get out of the house. Rooftops aren’t very clean and that is pretty darn apparent because my butt is black from roof tar and the tennis ball I found to bounce around was starting to smell funny.

One of the super coolest things ever though about being a Vampire is that going back to mist and coming back from it is like insta-clean! No more gasoline to take gooey tree sap on my hands and stuff like that. Down side of course, is that I have to be alone because I don’t want anyone seeing me naked. In Bram Stokers Dracula, you can turn to mist as a vampire, and take all the clothing with you, including the tar on the rooftops – not that there were rooftops like this one in Dracula, and not that there are oak trees in New York City. I guess I’m just complaining to myself since I’m grounded. I miss my smart phone. I miss the sunlight. Oh! I miss not having feelings that draw me toward cute guys that reject me too! What’s up with that?!

I was starting to get hungry again. It comes pretty quickly after turning to mist just a few times. Nero, one of my other good friends – a Vampire too, stocked my room with a fridge, a microwave, and several synthetic blood-packs. I remember seeing an old black and white TV show where a milk man would come on occasion to fill the fridge, well, Nero’s my blood man. In the middle of reminiscing, I heard the roof-access door swing open. It was probably a few drunk people that came from the Mondo Bar. As a Vampire, you’d be amazed to find out how often you catch people sneaking onto rooftops. I quickly hid behind an air conditioner unit. My heart was racing and it felt exhilarating. I peaked out from behind the AC unit, to see a couple of drunk guys stagger onto the roof of the Red Hat Inn.

It was only seven at night, too. I found it odd that there would be drunk people out so soon, but, there they were. I thought about taking a break and misting back to the house to get some more blood. Nero had no idea that I had been turning to mist so often. Mom would have thought that I wouldn’t be running around in the nude because it was now the first of November and it was jacket weather now. She overlooked, or didn’t realize that since I’m dead, the cold doesn’t phase me anymore. Despite being hungry, I stayed behind the air conditioning unit and watched them. They were in their early to mid twenties, the both of them. I looked closely to see what they were doing and it turned out that they were rolling up some weird smelly stuff in a wrapper and lighting it up like a cigarette. They laughed for a while and talked about things that I didn’t understand. I leaned in closer to focus on their conversations.

“I can’t believe she dumped me, dude…” Said the younger man as they shared whatever it was they were smoking. “She’s all mad at me and shit bout’ hanging wit’ Teresa and I told da’ bitch she meant nothin. Shit… And den’ she all up in my grill bout’ spendin on that fine gold chain for me. She ain’t tellin’ me to marry her, yo..”

So I really didn’t catch a lot of what they were saying. It was hard for me because people talked funny in New York. I noticed it on the plane trip from Iowa. There were people on their way to the city that seemed to be speaking English words, but the words were so jumbled that they were totally worthless for me. I wish I could understand them better but I was pretty sure that the jist of the whole thingy was that this man was a loser.

“She be comin back. Sides dawg, – plenty girls out there… Plenty…” I peaked out and watched them toss the smelly smokey thing back to the other guy again as they chatted. Suddenly I slipped on the edge of the concrete base of the AC unit and fell flat on my face. The two men turned to look at me; they were shocked.

“Shit man, you were right!” The loser said to his friend.

“Um.. Hi!” I couldn’t believe I just did that.

“Oh shit dawg!” The loser’s friend did this weird thing where he looked me over and swung his arms around wildly in the air towards his friend. His fingers were pointed in odd directions as he did it over and over. I was beginning to think he was retarded, or that maybe whatever it was he was smoking was totally messing up his thinking.

“Why you in the buck, girl?” The Loser said.

“I uh… I should get going,” I really didn’t know what to say. All I was thinking was that in a city of several million, the odd’s of me running into these guys again were pretty low. I tried to walk past them to the roof-access but they blocked my way as they looked at me.

“Yo dawg, she might have escaped that mental institution or something… I heard there was one round here.”

Several minutes passed and I found myself with one of their jackets on me. It was long enough to cover what made them comfortable and they offered me that – whatever it was. Sadly, I found out that I couldn’t breathe it in. They seemed fairly laid back for a couple of people that found me in an odd position.

“So what you be thinkin? Should I call her and splin I not be two timing the girl?” He asked me. I squinted my eyes and looked at the man I thought was a loser and shook my head slightly.

“Is this the best you can do. Do you have, like… A non-strange way of talking? I’m so sorry. Do you mean cheating?”

“Yeah that’s what he meanin.”

I tugged his jacket that he loaned me a little tighter to my skin and remembered to pretend to breathe. I didn’t want them to realize that I was just an animated corpse. I saw the air come from my lungs and dissolve into the night as I did so. I shrugged my shoulders.

“I don’t know. I tried to get a boyfriend the other night and it got me grounded. So I don’t really have all that neat experience that you have.” I explained. “But, if you really, realllly like her, call her and explain I guess?”

“Straight… Straight…” Was the only answer I got. What the heck does that mean?

“Why are you on a roof like this? Aren’t you cold?” Asked the other guy.

“Wow… He speaks the language of Earth!” I replied with my best sarcastic wide-eyed shocked expression. They both laughed which made me feel a bit more comfortable.

“I– just do strange things.”

“Yeah.. Those strange things in the NY – not good for ya girl.. Not good at all.” Said the friend of the loser.

“How often do you all come up here?”

“Every Tues…” Said the guy that sat on the same small electrical box from me.

“You two play basketball?”

“Yeah..”

I couldn’t help it. I had finally found some basketball partners. I’m sure that Zak and my mom wouldn’t agree so I planned something that any young Vampire like me would probably do from now on… The thought came to me when Nero, Pedro, Jamie, and I ended up stuck in the sewer’s for day. Anna had to kick down all the clothes after we returned from mist. I thought to myself well, what if I just put some clothes in spots where I knew that people wouldn’t look?! I could totally get around the entire city by misting all over the place and gathering my clothes! It would require a little secrecy. The thought occurred to me that I could do what Nero did and rob a bank or something without them knowing it. There was no Sanctum anymore to patrol vampire activities anymore. That would give me the cash I needed to buy extra clothes, several pairs of shoes and socks… Then I wouldn’t have to get caught on rooftops with nothing on. It’s total genius! The thought of my plans made me giddy.

“… yeah we could.. yeah!”

Their talking snapped me out of my thought process and I averted my blue eyes to the one man I could understand better than the other.

“Sorry what?” I asked.

“His younger bro… You said you’s single?” The man across from me asked. They were both nice enough to not look at me, that or they were just too disgusted, but that was something that made a little color come to my face – them asking me if I were single.

“Is he – hot?” I smiled.

“What you be doin? B ball down in Brooklyn tonight, ten still down wit’ it?”

“What did he say?” I asked to the man across from me.

“He asked you if you were going to still be out tonight around ten?”

I smiled from ear to ear. I thought about what I might be able to do to actually mist my way around the city and gather some clothes for the occasion. I wasn’t sure if I would have the balls to go through with it. It would have to be a secret from my mom and the thought of her being disappointed in me to this type of a degree really worried me. I thought about how my mom would look at me if she found out that I was stealing. She almost rejected Nero as a friend when she found out that he robbed a bank. I then thought to myself.

All I need is just a few hundred dollars…

It couldn’t be that bad when compared to the millions that Nero managed to take.

“I’ll do my best!” I stood up and handed the jacket to the man I couldn’t understand. They both looked away from my body which was very nice of them. They didn’t seem like the type to be shy about that sort of thing but it was surprising and refreshing. I also found that I have grown much more bolder since I turned into the un-dead.

“Can I meet you here in an hour?”

“You’s gonna get threads? Aight?”

“What?” I couldn’t believe how hard it was for him to talk normal.

“He wants you to be dressed to play basketball because he doesn’t want you to meet his brother like that.” Said the other man. I nodded because it was the first thing on my mind.

“Oh yeah! I’ll be back.” I quickly made a streaking dash to the staircase and turned to mist the moment I was out of eyesight. They followed in after I collected into the ceiling. They were both dumbfounded when they realized that it was as if I vanished out of thin air. I would have stayed in the stairwell as mist on the ceiling to be entertained by them searching for me, but I had a scheme to plot.

I found myself snooping around a bank in mist form. The neatest part about being in mist form as a vampire is that I’m not seeing with my eyes. I’m feeling the textures of everything around me and any sound seemed to come in images, too. As I gathered inside a large bank vault, I found that I was able to move objects slightly. I realized that getting money out of a bank vault though was too difficult. The ATM Machine outside the bank, however was a little bit easier because I could manipulate the gears inside the machine to pump three-hundred dollars out onto the street. Once there, I quickly misted out of the envelope slot and raked the bills into the nearest storm drain. It was then that I re-materialized in the drain and picked up the cash out of the turd infested waters. I squeaked with joy and jumped up and down in the knee-high rain-water runoff. It was then that I realized another problem.

“Oh crap… What am I supposed to do, walk naked into a store with three hundred dollars and ask to buy some basketball shorts?” I sat down in the near-freezing drain water, which didn’t phase me in the least, and played with the bills. It was time to come up with a new plan but I wasn’t exactly – well, Vampire or not, I’m blonde! What the heck could I do? I thought about it for a while as I toyed with money that I still couldn’t spend. Another thought occurred to me. I quickly got out of the water and shuffled along the sides of the uprising next to the brick tunnels under the streets of the city until I came across the nearest manhole that exited out into an alley. I popped the lid and squeezed the cash under a stack of cardboard. I knelt down and pulled the lid back shut underneath me and got my bearings for where I was. The problem was that I was getting extremely hungry now. There was still so much to do but I was starving for blood. I knew that I could hold on long enough just to complete one of these tasks but my stomach was starting to hurt me and I was so close! I found that I had to concentrate harder to turn back to mist. With the money haphazardly hidden underneath a dumpster, I turned to mist one last time. I found a clothing store nearby that was still open until 10PM and made my way along the top side of a drop down ceiling until I found a clothing booth.

I stepped out of the booth with overly baggy clothes, luckily, there was a belt and I quickly tore all the tags off, including the dye marker tags. Somehow I was able to pull them off without blasting blue dye all over the clothes. I quickly walked out of the store with bare feet, walked across the street to the alleyway and grabbed the three hundred dollars. All of this made me wonder how Nero did it with an entire bank vault full of money. I felt like I earned that three hundred dollars just for going through the time, irritation, and now, hunger. Back into the store I went. I was beginning to see the appeal of shopping now that I actually had enough money for a night on the town. I never had three hundred dollars in my pocket before. In Iowa I thought it was fun just to have ten dollars. I felt like the richest girl in the world but that all changed after spending money on two pairs of sneakers, three pairs of panties, three long sleeve shirts, three sports bra’s, a pack of socks.

I came out of that store with thirty dollars left over from my shopping spree. It was still more money than I usually had in my pockets but I made out like a bandit.

After buying a pack of garbage bags, I tested several rooftops, and building basements around the town. I was able to stash extra clothing within a short distance around manhattan. Now that I knew what I was doing, and how much money it would take to do it, I knew I could do better next time. I gave the baggy clothes I first misted into, to a grateful homeless man in the street. In an attempt to seem like a normal girl in cold New York weather, I donned a pair of jeans over a pair of basketball shorts and sported my sports bra under a long sleeved shirt. The new shoes felt great on my feet. I jogged at a moderate pace back to the building I met my new friends at and took the elevator to the top floor; it was then just a skip back into the stairwell up to the roof access and I emerged sporting all brand new – threads, as that guy called it. They were actually there waiting for me. I smiled and did a turn-around in front of them.

“Man, you look much better.” Said the mid twenties guy that could talk straight.

“Daaaamn…” Said the other man.

As we made it to the elevator, they talked mostly amongst themselves. I stayed quiet because I was having a hard time hearing them. I was so hungry that just looking at their necks made me want to lunge and feast on them.

“Can I meet you guys where you’re going in just a little bit?” I asked for an address to the basketball court and kindly explained to them that I needed to do something first. It wasn’t a lie, and I had the address. Once on the streets, I said my short farewell to them. I could feel the fangs poking through my gums and covered my mouth with my hands. My head felt light and I staggered to the nearest gas station.

“Can I use your phone?” I asked

I remembered calling Nero just before all went black. I didn’t even have the energy to talk once he picked up. My last memories were of the quick-mart owner taking the phone.

The first thing I noticed after the blackness faded away was that I had blood on my lips. My eyes adjusted to see a familiar glass table in front of me. I lifted my head off of a black leather sofa and pushed myself up. I could hear Nero talking on the phone. I was in his apartment. I saw a blood pack on the table and I instantly grabbed it and sucked it dry the moment my fangs punctured the plastic lining. It was warm, like Nero had already guessed when I would wake up from my slumber and put it in the microwave for me. It felt so warm and good going down. The taste felt like it brought me back to life. As soon as the blood went down, it was like my hearing and my other senses came back into being. I heard Nero hang the phone up and his footsteps neared me.

“Rise and shine…”

I felt my pockets for the quickly diminishing cash that I took from the ATM to make sure that my twenty-five dollars were still there. I didn’t want Nero to know how rich I had become, or worse, how I gained so much money. Twenty five dollars was a lot of cash for me, at least. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to give away anything that he didn’t already know and I was anxious to learn what he knew about what I had been up to so far all night. I hoped that it wasn’t Anna that he was talking with on the phone.

“Who were you talking to?” I wasted no time.

“Pedro. He was inviting me to another party but I wanted to check on you first. Are you okay? You were starving when I found you. Thanks for calling me. Do you need me to get hold of your mom?”

“No!” My heart would have skipped a beat if it were beating at all. Nero’s reaction was that of a grin in my direction when he observed me.

“Ah… Tell Nero everything…”

“You won’t get me in trouble, will you?” I asked. I watched Nero as he got up from the sofa and did a circuit around the table. He put his hands in the jacket pockets of his suit and leaned over until his multi colored tie nearly dangled in my face.

“That depends… You didn’t kill anyone, did you?” Nero asked. I looked at him oddly. Mainly because that was an odd question for anyone to ask. I placed the drained blood pack on the table in front of me and looked back to Nero.

“No!” I said. “Of course not!”

“Then, as much Anna might kill me for it, No. I won’t.”

After a few minutes of explaining that I was experimenting and going into mist a lot, we had a long conversation that more or less comprised of learning the physical nature of Vampires like him and I, and the rules of going to mist. Apparently, two or three times is a stretch for a Vampire before a drink is practically mandatory. The really cool part is that I learned vampires can go to mist and stay in mist for as long as they need to and that it’s merely the transitions that cause the need for more energy, and thus, more blood. He also disagreed with me sneaking out of the house against my mom’s express permission.

“So,” Nero said as he sat down in a chair across from me. “Since you went to mist, I have to ask… Why are you not naked?”

“I.. Uh…” Quick Jordan.. Think!

“Yeah… I guess as a mentor I haven’t done the best by way of example,” Nero laughed. “How much did you steal? How did you do it… Let’s have it.” Nero’s smile made me feel warm inside. He had a way of letting me know that I could trust him.

“I kind of… Got money to come out of an ATM, and I went to a store across the street, stole a pair of clothes that didn’t’ fit me, came back in, and paid for all this with the – um.. With the cash from the machine.”

I was surprised. Nero’s grin went ear to ear and he leaned to one side of his chair, laughing.

“Oh… That’s grand… That’s fantastic.” Nero said. “How much did you take?”

“Three Hundred.” I admitted. I felt my cheeks blush and I looked to Nero to see his reaction. He was still laughing.

“You know, eventually, Anna is going to find out that you snuck out? Right? You also can’t go filling your closet with extra outfits. She’ll piece it all together.” Nero stopped as if trying to put something politely and then continued. “… she’s a detective, you know.”

I smiled and nodded, “Yeah I know.” Nero’s laugh made me want to giggle but I kept it all to a smile. I was worried and felt funny all at the same time. I also noticed that I was no longer hungry. I felt like I could even go back to mist again if I wanted to; not that I wanted to.

“What are you going to do about it?” Nero asked.

“I have plans.” I felt annoyed that he was prying now. I didn’t want Nero to know that I was, for some reason, desperately wanting a boyfriend. There were limits to how much I wanted him to know about my private life.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Nero said to me. He then looked to his watch. “Well… I have a party to go to. I would give you keys to my place, but since you’re experimenting with going into mist, I don’t want them to end up on the street. Call me if you get into another feeding frenzy again. I don’t want you killing the city.”

I giggled and nodded. After following Nero out, I took a Taxi to the address that they told me about. That officially took the rest of my money, save for two dollars. That was fine because I would be hiding this outfit somewhere on this side of the city. Brooklyn, or at least the part of it that I was walking through, was filled with normal houses; houses that more resembled the houses that I was used to seeing in Iowa – single story places, only much more in abundance and some of them looked very run-down. I walked until I saw the address that matched what was on the piece of paper that was given to me.

There were people standing in the driveway already. I didn’t recognize any of them. If I had been mortal, I would have been scared. I know that. I walked into the driveway and looked the men over. They all had orange and green bandanna’s tied around their necks and as much as I tried to understand them, most talked just like that guy that had lost his girlfriend over a flat-screen TV. I looked up as a door swung wide open to the house I was at. A kid came out about my age; he too, had an orange and green bandanna. He had short brown hair, green eyes, skinny features, and a fake limp in his step. He had on a thick leather jacket and his pants looked like they were about to fall off of his hips because they weren’t even around his hips, they were around his butt, dangling from his boxers. He stopped just short of me and looked me over with this weird expression on his face.

“You the girl that was on the roof?” His voice was squeaky and alternated between deep and high pitched. I nodded and he started to walk behind me. I went to turn with him but he held me still by putting his hand on my shoulder. A few people laughed the moment I felt him squeeze my butt. I jumped a little when he touched me but what was odd about my reaction is that I felt like I was acting more than, really scared. I had never acted for someone else’s benefit before. It felt like I was doing this to size up my own prey – and finally, something scared me.

Was I thinking about him as food? I thought to myself.

“What’s your name?” The kid asked me as he walked in front of me after doing a full look-over. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I didn’t have to give him my real name. I knew for some reason that it was probably best if I lied to him.

“Kelly,” I said. This was by far one of the biggest lies I had ever told anyone in my entire life. I hoped that I didn’t take too long thinking about it.

“YoYo…” The kid said. “Names’ Yoyo…”

Oh that’s so cute… I loved yoyo’s! He was kind of cute too. I liked how he acted like he was tough and stuff. It sort of made me attracted to him. What bothered me was that I knew that I would be afraid of the whole here-and-now thingy as a mortal. Instead I found myself smiling at him.

“Did you want to play basketball? Where is the court?”

“You all in a hurry to get beat!” The kid said with a laugh. The men in the driveway found it equally as funny. I loved knowing that I was going to make him get beat by a girl.

Chapter Two

Cleaning Houses

I found myself hanging from the rim of a basketball hoop. At only four and a half feet tall, it seemed odd to anyone that I could have dunked on a five foot tall kid my own age. Actually, as I hung there dangling, I realized that it just plain looked weird in general. I dropped to the ground before the basketball quit bouncing. In a one-on-one competition against this really cute boy that liked to be called Yoyo, I had beat him – more liked, wiped the floor with him. I giggled and did a victory dance after a long game. I wasn’t sure but I think that he was contemplating throwing a fit.

“Damn, girl..” Yoyo said to me as he walked up and wrapped his arms around me. “You my girl?” He grabbed me again. I felt odd, like he was putting me on the spot. Somehow, he seemed somewhat brainless at times. I couldn’t understand why I got that feeling from him. I wasn’t sure of him or his friends. He did his best to keep me away from all of his friends. He walked me back to another house of his and directed me to climb through the window with him.

I guessed that this was his room, and his parents were just as oblivious to his whereabouts during his night as mine were about my own. The only difference was that I didn’t really think that his parents had as much of an excuse for not keeping up with him as mine did with me, or rather, my parent – my mother. I looked around his room while he walked through the front door. I could hear his father yelling at him – not for being out late, not for his choice of attire, or the drugs I saw him smoking earlier, but for walking in front of his television. As they argued back and fourth downstairs, it gave me a chance to snoop around his room.

The room was messy. None of his clothes were in the closet. I was walking on piles of jeans, boxers, jackets, empty square packets… He even had pictures of women on his wall. He had a playboy poster on the back of his door, too. His room smelled of that same smelly stuff that emanated from that weird cigarette that his friends were smoking on that roof. On top of his clothing shelf was a mirror with powdery stuff on top of it. He had a desk on one side of his bed with a computer on it that looked like it hadn’t been in running condition for years. Even his bathroom didn’t have a door to it. I spotted a few articles of women’s clothing around his room too, a red bra, and a pair of underwear that didn’t belong to him. His bed smelled of sweat and was unkept. There were a stack of pictures at the foot of his bed, one picture was him holding a gun. It was starting to occur to me that this kid was someone that my mom wouldn’t want me hanging around with.

I sat down on the bed and something poked me. I knelt to one side and pulled one of those doctors needles out of my leg. I pulled on the handle part first and saw some of my blood flow into the syringe. I pulled it out and quickly put it under the sheets of the bed where I found it. It then occurred to me that I had just found a place to hid this batch for when I wanted to travel to this side of the city. There was no way in the world someone like Yoyo could keep track of what he had in his room. From the looks of things, he didn’t spend much time here anyway. The door opened and Yoyo closed and locked it behind him. He instantly ran for the powdery stuff on his dresser drawer and he did the weirdest, creepiest thing! He breathed it in through his nose. Watching him do that took me by complete surprise and I found myself pushing my back against the headboard of his bed.

“What are you doing?!” I asked. Yoyo fell backward on his bed and started to twitch. He looked like he was having some sort of relief. He then crawled over to me and grabbed the needle. He looked like he wasn’t seeing clearly after that stuff he put up his nose. I was about to protest but he stabbed the needle into his arm. I noticed that whatever residue that used to be in the needle when I first looked at it had been practically vaporized away into non-existence. It was only the blood in the needle. He pulled it out of his arm and laughed a little.

“I can’t believe there was still something in there… Did you –,” he suddenly stopped talking as his eyes went wide and he gasped. He fell off onto the floor and started to shake violently. I watched as the dark circles around his eyes seemed to fade away into healthy looking skin. I held him down as the needle marks that were all over his arms and legs vanished. He looked up at me as if he had his first breath of fresh air for the first time in eon’s.

“Ahh… Oh my god…” He gasped. “What the – fuck…” he whimpered and reached out for me. He breathed in a breath of air and looked at me. “What… Just happened?!” He asked. His voice seemed different. He sounded like someone my age again! He didn’t have that raspy quality to his vocal cords anymore and he looked like he could see more clearly, too.

“I don’t know… You stuck yourself with that needle and then this happened.” I told him. I half knew what had happened. When I first came back from the hospital, it must have been right after Nero snuck his blood into my IV tube and that was why my bruises, and even my scars vanished, including the cuts on my hand from grabbing a cactus.

I’m fairly certain that he suddenly became healthy after years of – whatever it is he was doing to himself. He looked at me and then started taking his clothes off in a hurry. I averted my eyes as I heard him walk, barefooted to the bathroom.

“My tattoos!” He gasped.

“What?” I asked. I made sure to keep my hands over my eyes. I had never seen a guy naked before and I wasn’t really interested now.

“They’re gone! All gone!” He said. He sounded happy about it. “The sores on my feet are gone too!”

I didn’t know what to say. I just kept my face covered. I didn’t want to see some grouse, or at least, an ex-grouse guy naked.

“Kelly! Ah.. My head… Jesus.. It’s like a cloud was lifted from my mind.. Ahh!”

I opened my eyes to make sure that he was okay; I had to. I didn’t like being mooned but he leaned over the sink with his face pressed against the glass of the mirror. His eyes were closed and he had a permanent smile on his face. He suddenly turned to face me and I got a vision full of something I didn’t want to see and I turned my head.

“Yoyo… Your clothes.. Please!” I pleaded. I heard him laugh.

“You act like you’ve never seen one before.”

“I haven’t!” I said. “Come on! Clothes, please!” I secretly loved looking at him really. But I was brought up to be proper. I had already stolen three hundred dollars for several changes of clothes, I didn’t want to push all my luck. Deep in the back of my mind I was thinking about what would happen if mom came home early and found out that I wasn’t really at home like I said I was going to be. That would have been very bad.

“Uh.. Sure. I just thought that – you know, my older brother saw you on the roof.. You know…” He pointed at me and waited for a reply. I took too long to think about what to say and he added, “Was he joking with me?”

“No.. No, but I just do weird things – sometimes.” I said.

Yoyo sat down next to me and pulled the covers over his hips. He was being polite. I turned to him now that he had his you-know-what’s covered up and just gazed at him. He looked at me with some sort of amazed expression on his face.

“Kelly.. I – I don’t have money to go to the doctors but – last time I went to the emergency room I was told that I only had maybe a year to live. I feel like, well, normal again. Was this something you’ve done? I can feel it. I think – I think I might be better…” He whispered to me. “What can I do to repay you?”

I thought about it long and hard and then it came to me.

“You have no tattoos anymore.. None of that gang stuff. I think you are cured. You don’t have any more addictions, no diseases, no scars, no health problems. You can repay me by getting rid of this life you are in.” I said. I looked around at his room and then back at him, “It’s time to start over.” I said.

“I can’t…” Yoyo replied. “I can’t just leave the hood and not expect their to be problems. The gang don’t let you go!”

“What would it take for you to be able to leave?” I asked him. I didn’t understand what was holding him back except for his brother. I thought about it for a moment and then looked at him.

“Okay… I’ll come back to help you. Just, promise me you will stay out of whatever it is that hurts you, for at least a few days. Can you stay in your house?”

“Nah… If I’m not out backing my bro, he could be in trouble.” He said. It then occurred to me that if he was about to die soon, what about his brother? He seemed to be in good health so I didn’t want to hint to anything that Yoyo might have done, specifically, to what exactly cured him. I was sure that if I let it get out that I could cure all the problems in the world, sanctum or not, someone would be coming to hunt me down for that.

“I have to go,” I decided to say.

“Why?”

“I got to get home,” I didn’t want to listen to his crappy reasoning anymore. I felt a certain level of disappointment for him now. At first, I felt sorry for him. Now that I see he wouldn’t do anything to change his life anyway, I chose to just go home. I could care less if I saw him again. I imagined that pretty soon, he would have all those tattoos of his street gang on his body and he would get himself re-addicted to everything that he was hooked on before.

“Don’t leave me hangin’… We got lots to talk about.”

“To be honest… I think you’re taking this all lightly.” God I sounded like my mother giving a lecture. It sucked but there really wasn’t any other way I could put it. “Look at yourself! You’re free again and all you want to do is just jump back into the chains?”

“That’s not fair!” He said. “I’m in this life. How do you think I make money?”

“You’re not old enough to work at anything other than fast food. Your parents should be making money, what are you doing? Selling – drugs?”

Yoyo stepped out of the bed. I was too angry with him to care what he was wearing or not. He didn’t seem to care, he was used to a life of easily getting around and it’s probably what made him so sick until he had the accident that I sat on. A second later, I was relieved to see he put on a pair of random boxers that were laying around the floor. As a vampire, I had a much higher sense of smell, and I wanted to tell him that the place smelled of nothing but sweat, and crap. He was disgusting. He flopped a suitcase on the bed and opened it. Inside the case was enough drugs to kill an entire circus full of elephants.

“I can’t get out of this…”

“What if I told you that there might be a way I can get you out of this?” I said. I didn’t really have a plan but I was trying to piece one together in my head.

“There is no way out.”

“Sure there is!” I reached over and grabbed the suitcase. “Where do you get this stuff from?”

“You can’t go down there. They’ll kill you!” He said. I felt this surge of anger course through me at that moment. I grabbed him by his neck and pushed him down against the bed. He was powerless to stop me from throwing him around.

“Listen! You’re a mean drug dealing addict that just got his second chance in life! I wasn’t going to give that to you, it just happened by accident but I’m not going to let you overlook this! I don’t know why I care, but I do! Where did you get this from?”

The nights events led me to where I was now. Twenty minutes later, I had a cute misguided man tied to his own bed and I found myself lugging enough of a drug that he called, Cocaine, to a shore side warehouse to get me arrested for a few eternities. There were guards at the gates to the warehouse and after a brief search, they let me into the place. I was met with the most foul smelling mixture of aroma’s I had ever smelt in my life. It seemed like ever since becoming a Vampire, it was also mandatory to be automatically be admitted into a nudist club. I have seen more nudity in the past month than I had all my life. Well, technically, the only person I had ever seen until last month naked, was me. It seemed that it was either because in New York, it was the trend to not wear much indoors, or that going to mist had it’s down sides for all vampires and they had to do it often. Then again, there was Jaime Jax, who just wears hardly a thing at all. She was able to pull it off though.

This warehouse was hot. It looked like some sort of mad science lab, and people wearing nothing were making these weird crystal things on one side of the warehouse, and on the other side, there was a conveyer belt of that weird powdery stuff that was in those bags that I had. There was a chemical smell in the air that came from several drums of things that I figured I would have one day learned about in science class if it wasn’t for my unusual turn of events. An Italian man walked up to me and he seemed rather agitated. He pointed to the case.

“Yoyo forget his stash or something? In never forget a case.” He said.

“I’m returning it for him. He didn’t get a chance to sell any of it. He got a scholarship to a college or something and he sent me to tell you that he’s not doing anymore because it’s probably illegal.”

They laughed at me! I felt so saddened that they didn’t take this as serious as I did. Even the people that were manufacturing the stuff were laughing at me. I stomped my foot because I was angry again.

“It’s not funny! I’m telling the truth.” I slid the case over to him. “It’s all there, more or less.” I said. This whole situation reminded me of a bad cop movie. I had thoughts of mom driving through the door with her siren on and stepping out with some movie-classic quote like “I’ll be back” or something but I knew that in reality, that was probably a rare thing.

“Oh trust me. We don’t think it’s funny at all. Some boyfriend you have! He sent you down here to do this for him? What did he think was going to happen?” He grabbed me by my shirt but I didn’t resist yet. I guess it was curiosity that got me wondering how far he was going to take this. “My my…” He said. “You’re a pretty little blonde. I guess that’s why he thought we wouldn’t shoot you.”

At the mention of shooting me, my eyes nearly rolled. I had been shot five times the other night and it really stung. I think that might have been what caused me to give the expression of fear on my face – not for my life, but for ruining another pair of clothes, and enduring the pain of getting shot again. I don’t think I could ever forget the first time I got shot. It was on a basketball court. One of the hired hit-men from the DiSoto family ordered me killed. I remember making the jump to the hoop just before I heard the bangs and felt several hot painful objects fly straight through me. It made me cry every time. I didn’t want to get shot again.

“Please… No.” I pleaded.

“Look at her… She’s not even an addict.” The suited man said. “And she knows where we do all of our operation. What? You think she won’t run to the cops. No… We have to do her, and then find her coward boyfriend. Find Yoyo’s brother for me will you? Let’s get this all over with.”

I guess nothing more needed to be said. I pulled jumped up and grabbed hold of his head. I had seen this done on movies before but in the movies that I saw on Rated-R television never had anyone’s head fly completely off their shoulders. I fell back to my feet at around the same time his head did, and the rest of his body seemed to fall to his knees shortly before the torso slapped into the pool of blood that was still gushing out of his neck. I stood before him with my mouth open in surprise. Everyone in the building started running, including the other men in suits. I felt particularly compelled to give chase to them. Everyone else seemed to be the run of the mill employees but the suited men were the people that were told specifically to kill people in the neighborhood. I couldn’t help but smile a little. It was strange – I felt like another part of me had taken over. Normal ‘me’ would have never taken any pleasure in doing what I was doing. My whole body felt like it was in autopilot. I caught up with them in a second and bowled the men to the ground before they could even bare their guns down at me. I threw one toward the ceiling and his coat snagged one of the overhead support. He kicked and screamed twenty feet in the air above my head as I sunk my fangs into the other man. I drank, and drank until I felt his body turn to nothing.

“Please!! I just work here! Please!” The guy above me writhed and kicked.

“You were going to kill innocent people on the streets!” I yelled.

“They’re not innocent! None of them are! You can’t stop this!”

“It’s a start!” I yelled as I kicked over a drum of whatever that foul smelling chemical was. I thought it would be like the movies when I threw a Bunsen burner into a fire and take a while for it to explode. Well, it didn’t happen that way. As I was launched through the roof of the warehouse by way of blasting through the tin roof, I thought to myself about a show called Mythbusters, and how useful I would be on such a show considering my near invincibility. It was hard to stabilize myself since I’ve never been skydiving before but I watched as the entire drug warehouse below me was totally destroyed.

As I watched the bright Meth cloud bowl into the night sky, it occurred to me that my mom and Zak would soon be coming to this one. Now that I was out of my frenzy, I had come to realize just what it was that I had done. I killed three people and blew up a warehouse. Oh no.. I wondered if there was anything that could be done that would trace this action back to me. I landed on the street with a slap. I felt my teeth fly out and by the time the pain went away, it felt like my teeth grew back in perfect and straight. I put my fingers in my mouth to check as the headache subsided in moments. I looked to the street and picked up what used to be my front tooth. I checked again to see that I still had all my teeth and I did. I tried not to cry as I got up from the street and brushed the dirt off of my tattered clothing. Being a vampire was tough on clothing.

I ran off before the police came. I was worried that somehow, this might be traced back to me, but then again, I thought about the odds of how many people that worked there would actually go to the police saying yeah! I made crack and I saw this girl rip a man’s head off. My emotions on what might happen were swinging around rapidly and to say that I was worried and paranoid was an understatement.

I made it back to Yoyo’s and crawled into his window. I took a look at myself in the mirror while he slept tied to the bed. My blonde hair was blackened with dirt and gravel. I was fully aware that the smell of my clothing could give a better reaction to a comatose man than a cracked ammonia tablet. My shirt was torn but my sports bra was still intact so that was good. But those jeans! They really took a beating and kept going! I smiled a little and did a turnaround to check to see that there were not any tares that I couldn’t see without the mirror. They stood the test of a meth explosion. Yoyo woke up and I instantly attended to his restraints.

“I wouldn’t have gone anywhere!” He said.

“You wouldn’t have let me go anywhere. But anyway.. Your bosses were fired. No more crack. You are free.. So… I would have scouted some job applications and stuff for you on my way back but I felt a bit blown up.”

“What?” He looked at me oddly as he held his nose.

“I went to tell him that you wouldn’t be working for him… And the whole place exploded. I think..” I put on my best shocked and concerned expression as I tried to sell this cute boy that this was all an accident. “.. I think they’re all dead!” I finished.

“What?!”

Sometimes I swore he was like a repeating record. I rolled my eyes and looked at him.

“You have no more excuses. Do you want to live a clean life? Or do you want to get back into it?” I asked him straight on. I searched his eyes because if he was going to say what, one more time, I was thinking about throwing him through his roof to give him a taste of what I had to go through tonight just to change his life. I suddenly felt a wave of emotion flow over me as he looked back into my eyes. It started with a slow nod of his head and then he nodded more readily after thinking about it. I felt my cheeks pull back. I was happy for him. I pulled him into a hug.

“You smell like shit,” he said.

“Now that you brought it up… So do you. I didn’t have the heart to tell you but I think it’s all good now that we’re open with each other. Can I clean your room?” I asked.

A few more hours passed and his room looked pretty good other than the paint on the walls. It was amazing how much crap he threw out that was used exclusively to ruining his health by way of killing his lungs and making his brain bleed inside his skull. I made note to never take a dive into the dumpster outside Yoyo’s house. The glass from the device he called a – bong? Bong? Something… Well, whatever it was called – that would hurt. Yoyo was decent, although, that’s not what I would call it. His choice in clothing was horrible.

“Why do you wear pants that don’t fit? If you ever get into any trouble it’s totally going to be impossible to run and stuff.” I told him.

“It’s the style baby…” He said as he limped his way to me. “You got to look fresh when in this city, girl…”

“I’m not a baby!” I almost added that I wanted to twist his head off like I did his old boss. I did refrain from giving him the details.

“Figure of speech.” He said.

I heard a door slam and so did he. It was his brother. He was yelling and having a fit over something that I probably knew a great deal about. I wasn’t sure if I should even say anything about causing the problem.

‘Don’t say it was me,” I whispered. I hoped that Yoyo was smart now that he was off of his various addictions. The door flung open and I stood there, instantly feeling guilty.

“They took out the whole operation! It has to be the NY Metro’s! We’re gearing up for a hit tonight.” He didn’t even bother to acknowledge me. He threw a large contraption into Yoyo’s hands.

“I can’t…” Yoyo said. He threw the weird looking gun onto the bed and crossed his arms. I was proud of him. The look on the other man’s face, his brothers face, was of indignation toward his little brother.

“Did you not hear what I just – said…” He paused a moment and looked at me, and then looked at the rest of his room. He checked the top dresser for his usual drugs and then walked around me to check under the bed. I had spent the past hour utilizing a rarely used washing machine and dryer and used the underside of his bed to fold his clothes up for him. I was only slightly annoyed when he pulled all of the clothes I washed for him, out from underneath. It was already getting on four in the morning so I couldn’t possibly stay much longer to fold it all again. Thoughts on his clothing order would be the least of my concerns because I knew what his big brother was looking for.

“Bro, where’s the stash?!” He stood up and pushed me aside and grabbed Yoyo, shaking him hard. “Where is it! Where is it Yoyo?!”

“He doesn’t have it!” I went to grab him but he threw me to the floor. “I threw it away! I threw it all away!” I yelled. I wanted him to get his anger off of his brother and on me; he couldn’t hurt me. He looked at me and shook his head. I reached up to the dresser and pulled out the syringe. “Look! I know you’re addicted, but I gave your little brother something that can cure you too. You don’t need to be on drugs anymore. He’s clean now. It cures everything!” I held it out. I looked nervously to Yoyo as I got up.

“You put something in my needle without telling me?! Is that what caused all of this?”

I thought carefully about what to say. I didn’t want to seem like the bad girl in all of this so I got offensive with him. I learned from my mother that sometimes it’s best to get into an argument at their level and then bring them down.

“What?!” I squinted my blue eyes at him and shook my head. I still tried to do it cutely in hopes that he wouldn’t be too angry. “… You thought that just by being around me it cured you? I probably saved your life!”

“What the hell, Kelly!” Yoyo said.

“If I told you that I was going to get you clean, would you have believed me?!” I asked.

“I ain’t sticking that shit in me. I want my stash bitch!” It was the first time this person yelled at me. I stepped backward and held my hands out to let him know that I didn’t want him any closer. If he was going to go through with drive by shootings, I didn’t want him to have any of my blood. The world was bad enough with mortal dumbies in it, I didn’t want an immortal stupid guy on my hands. It would be too much to have to explain to Nero.

“I already said it was gone!” I leaned forward and shook my head. “I flushed it all down the toilet! Right now there are bunches of New York alligators having a party in the sewers!” That was it! He came at me right after the joke. The needle went in as he started punching me. He got three hits in and I felt my neck almost snap as my jaw was crushed. He fell over and it gave me time for my bones to heal and repair as we both lie on the floor gasping. I looked over as I was healed to watch a young lifetime’s worth of tattoos dissolve away from his skin; it was like watching the ink get pushed out of someone. I got to my feet and stood up while Yoyo held me from behind. We were both scared as we watched his bigger brother go through the equivalent of half a year of detox in under a minute. The yelling and screaming subsided to relief and he finally relaxed on the floor. He opened his eyes and sat up. No more tattoos, no more bags under the eyes, bad skin, or scars. Yoyo probably knew what his big brother was feeling because he too went through it only a few hours ago.

“What – the fuck…” He said in exasperation. He got up and rolled his head from side to side. He pulled the needle out of his arm and the wound instantly closed. He too, passed us up, just like Yoyo had done and checked himself in the mirror. I was worried about what his reaction would be.

“How does it feel not to be addicted to anything anymore?” I asked. I wrapped my hands behind me and held onto Yoyo, defensively keeping myself between him and I until I knew what his big brother was going to do.

“I wasn’t addicted!” He walked over to me. He reached out for me but he didn’t grab me this time. I could see that he had more control over himself. He looked me over and then at his brother. “I had it under control.” He said more calmly. I shook my head.

“It’s under control now…” I said. “Look, please – just don’t do anything tonight. I did it, okay? I blew up your drug – place.. Thingy!” I said. “It wasn’t a rival gang. But if everyone else in that gang that you are in thinks that, then you two can stay here where it’s safe. Please?!”

“What? You think I can ride with the gang without my tat’s?” I assumed that he meant his tattoos as he said it. “They’ll think they were drawn on or something if I go in there without them. They’ll probably think we’re both informants, cops, or something…”

I’ll give him one thing, he was thinking rational. I added to his paranoia just to keep them safe – especially Yoyo.

“Better stay here than. Can you imagine your own gang shooting you because they thought you were under cover?” I shook my head and made a clicking sound with my tongue. His other brother reached out for me and threw me on the bed with anger.

“What the fuck are we going to do?! Our income?!” He yelled to the wall.

“Regular jobs?” Yoyo said. I was hoping that he would speak to his brother sooner or later. I felt like the only person responding to him. Yoyo, who was thrown on the bed with me when his brother chucked us, got up as I made my way back to the headboard.

“You’ll never get ahead with a normal job.” Yoyo’s brother said in a dismissive tone.

“Yeah! But at least I’ll be alive!” Yoyo yelled.

“Can you guys lay low and think about it for a few days?” I asked. “That’s not too much to ask is it?” It sure did feel like it was but that was the best cliche’ I could come up with or think of at the time.

They both looked at me a moment and then to each other. I knew that if I didn’t stay, they would be compelled to go on some shooting rampage with the gang. With my blood in them, they had the ability to become Vampire gangsters and I just couldn’t let that happen. From what Nero told me, it would take a good eight hours for it to wear off and I needed them to get back to mortal again. As much as I liked Yoyo, I didn’t trust him and I certainly didn’t trust his older brother. The sad truth was that the world would be safer if they stayed dead if they decided to go back to the gang lifestyle. And of course… I was about to be in so much trouble. I sighed as I thought about the look on mom’s face when I got home the next night.

“So… Who’s got monopoly?” I asked.

“We have cards.”

“Movies?” I asked.

“What, you don’t’ feel like sleeping tonight?” Yoyo’s big brother asked. I looked to him and smiled a little.

“I really need to get your name.” I avoided the subject.

“Terry, and Yoyo is Derrick.”

“I like calling him Yoyo. He’s cute as Yoyo.” I looked to him and smiled. Yoyo looked away and turned red.

“You do know that he’s HIV positive? Right?” Terry asked me.

“You have to keep this secret – but, not anymore.” I assured him. “You either, if you had anything, It’s gone. Just be more careful next time. This is a one time only thingy and you won the lotto.”

“Why would it have mattered if I was or not?” Yoyo asked Terry. I felt another argument coming on and sighed.

“Nothing!” Terry said. “She helped us, I was making sure we let her know everything too.”

“Well,” Yoyo said. “She does! Get the damn monopoly board.”

Chapter Three

Caught Red Handed

I thought I was dreaming at first and I wiped my eyes with my free hand because my other was stuck underneath Yoyo and I wanted to make sure I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing. Mom had so many reasons to kill me. Up until this day, I had never defied my mother for anything, for any reason. I opened my eyes to a familiar face. My friend was still sleeping and I was in my sports bra. I still had my basketball shorts on of course, but with the pair of jeans that I had on being the only thing on the floor since I cleaned the room, it was obvious what it looked like.

“Oh.. Um – uh,oh…”

My mom’s eyes got wider. I heard Zak in the other room. I guess that they had already both came into the room while we were sleeping. Zak must have been talking to their father.

“It’s – not what it looks like, I swear!” I said.

“You’ve already lied to me once tonight. How would I believe you, Jordan?”

Yoyo opened his eyes and rubbed them. I knew that the moment he saw the badge, he would be freaking out. I held him down and told him to be quiet.

“You better not have done what I think you did!” Anna said to Yoyo.

“Hey! We’re the same age, pig!” Was the first thing out of his mouth.

“Oh no.. I want to roll over and die.” I did roll over, but I was already dead – sort of. I heard my mother’s sigh of relief because when I did roll over, the covers fell off of me and she must have seen that I was clothed. I felt my mom’s hand yank me over.

“Did you have anything to do with what happened last night?! Did you? A whole gang went to war last night. Seven people died, not counting the three in the drug house!” I cried out as my mother shook me. Zak came into the room and pulled my mother off of me. I crawled to the headboard. Yoyo said something but Zak said something else along the lines of shut the hell up with his finger pointed toward him.

“I can explain – everything! Really, I can!” I pleaded with them. Hoped that, when I explained the real reasons why I stayed during the day, why I skipped out, and why a gang had a war into the morning hours, they would understand. I felt so guilty though. I hated the way my mom looked at me. I was worried that she didn’t love me anymore! She was right though. She could have heard anything that I said right now and not believed it.

“How can I even arrest you?!”

I felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach when my mom said that. I couldn’t bare to look at her and I curled up again. I started to cry. Yoyo was frozen stiff but I could have really used a hug from someone at that moment. I looked to Zak he stayed while my mother stomped out of the room.

“Jordan…” Zak said. He walked around to my side of the bed and let me hug him. At that point, I was sobbing. I felt all alone. “Shh… It’s okay… It’s okay…”

“She hates me…” I said before I sniffled and breathed in hard.

“She loves you.. She’s very disappointed though. She loves you very, very much.” Zak said. I leaned into his ear and attempted to speak through rapid breaths.

“I.. I met my – friend. He was… He was addicted to things and in a bad… Bad thing with those people… The – the…” I broke down. I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to explain but it was so hard knowing the way that my mother just looked at me.

“You helped them out? How did you take their addictions away.. You didn’t…” Zak whispered in my ear, “He’s not a Vampire, is he?”

I raised my eyes off Zak’s shoulder and shook my head.

“My – blood..” I whispered. “It does it to them but they aren’t… no.” I nearly choked on my tears as I cried out. “Yoyo is nice, Zak… I saved him. I saved his… his brother, too..”

I heard Zak swallow hard and as he hugged me tight. I felt his chin raise up a little. He must have been looking to Yoyo.

“You really a good guy?” Zak asked him.

“I am now, sir.” Yoyo said.

“Good, because Jordan here is my best friend. You treat her right or I’ll come back here and bust so many cap’s in your ass, you’d wish a gang did a drive-by on you instead. You dig?” Zak said. That made me smile a little. I didn’t want to cry in front of Yoyo but the sob’s and sniffles kept coming. They controlled me.

“Yes sir.” Yoyo said.

“Good.. Get out of the bed and go apologize to her mother for calling her a pig because if you’re her boyfriend, you better leave here with a good impression.”

Anna came in and I looked at her from underneath Zak’s chin. Anna seemed to have calmed down just a little after speaking with Yoyo and Terry’s dad.

“I smoothed things out with him. I let him know that if he breathes a word of it to anyone, I’ll come down on the family with all the charges for gang membership, possession of illegal weapons, and for drugs.” Anna leaned down and looked at me. She reached out and pulled my chin to her face to look me in the eyes. “Terry has a rap sheet as thick as my thumb. It tells me that he’s addicted to cocaine, dying of aids, and has gang art all over him. I know a healthy man when I see one, Jordan. Did you do this?”

I nodded a little and looked up at Anna.

“You cured them, helped them…” Anna looked around, “And cleaned the room.. You changed two lives for the better last night, and got rid of two gangs.” Anna smiled at me a little. “That’s my girl.” She whispered. She yanked me from Zak’s arms and hugged me tight.

The tears came to my eyes again and I gasped in relief. I couldn’t help it as I broke down and cried. I held onto my mother so tight.

“I – I love you mom..” I sniffed hard to keep my nose from running. I thought she hated me for a moment but when she looked at me with tears in her eyes too, I knew that she would never hate me.

“I love you so much Jordan.” She kissed my forehead and hugged me tightly. “I don’t know what I’m going to do about this case but I’ll think of something. You just stay here with Derrick.” She then looked into my eyes again as I cried. She cried too.

“If you ever do something like this to me, I’ll kill you.” She said jokingly. I smiled and wiped my eyes.

“I love you mom. I love you Zak.” I told them both. Zak seemed to be wiping his eyes too as he patted my shoulder. My mom pointed to Yoyo.

“She must really like you. I hope you realize what she did for you. If I ever see you with a gang tattoo, a weapon, or a bandanna…”

“I won’t… I won’t!” Yoyo said. He was frozen stiff and whiter than I.

“Do you love him?” Anna asked me.

“I’m working on it.” I said with a shrug.

“She has to stay with you for the rest of the day, Derrick. She likes you so I’m not going to do anything I will regret.” Anna told him. “Never speak a word about what my daughter did for you or your brother. If I hear that you did, I’ll bring all the charges back up and you’ll go to jail. Also, don’t touch my daughter in any way that I don’t like.” She then looked at me and tossed me my cell phone.

“Do you know how hard it was to get our phone company to stop forwarding our house calls to your cell phone?” Anna said. “… You – Home as soon as the sun goes down. You got it?” Anna demanded. She then pointed to Yoyo. “You… Go with her. We have a lot of talking to do tonight, mister…”

I looked to Yoyo to see the horror on his face.

“If you’re going to be my daughter’s boyfriend, you better start off right. Understand me?” Anna said. She then winked at me slightly. She wiped another tear out of her eyes and let out a relieved laugh.

“You call me as soon as you get up. Take the BUS, Jordan, you and Derrick come straight to the house.”

“Am I still grounded?” I had to ask.

Anna rolled her eyes at me. “Just because I love you more than anything in the world doesn’t mean that I’m not going to ground you. Derrick’s brother told me EVERYTHING. Grounded is an understatement.” Anna said. “Your new boyfriend can come over any time he wants, but you – you’re staying home for the next month where the new tutor can keep an eye on you.”

“Tutor?!” I gasped. “What?!”

“Oh you weren’t here for that!” Zak let out a chuckle. “Yeah. Your family friend, Nero paid for a stay at home tutor, just for you! Since Yoyo here dropped out of school, we’re going to see about getting him his GED with ya so be on time tonight.” Zak got up and followed Anna out of the room. I somehow felt like I just got dunked on. Zak pointed at Yoyo and then put his hand on his gun.

“You better take her home tonight, homie…” Zak did his best to scare my Yoyo.

“Jordan? Not Kelly?” Yoyo said with a shaken voice to me. I nodded.

“I’m sorry.”

“Nah.. Nah Girl.. It’s alright.” He said as the bedroom door shut on us. I slid down into the sheets and gazed at the popcorn ceiling. This was one – embarrassing day.