“I know you’re an ambitious sort Miss Racket. If you just tell me what you know, I’ll leave you alone and your…associates…won’t need to know what I dug up on you.” I felt no qualms in leaning on Lolly Racket to get the information I needed. She was a criminal, after all. But I hadn’t counted on her avaricious nature.
“I don’t got to tell you nothing! Go ahead and blow the whistle on me. See if it changes anything.”
Lolly had my number. The dirt I’d found on her wasn’t that messy.
“All you have to do to make it go away is to give me a little information of my own.”
“What’s in it for me?” So I’d have to bribe her. I knew that was going to be a possibility. But I needed to know.
“This is all you have?” Lolly sneered at me and pocketed the twenty I’d handed her. It was all the cash in my purse.
“That’s all you’re going to get. Now spill.”
And she did. She took great delight in telling me that my sister Candice was living in Barnacle Bay.
“Living a sinful life, that one is,” she chortled with glee. I remembered how envious Lolly had been of us growing up. “No better than me, now is she?” she continued. “She’s a Pirate.”
At my questioning look, Lolly explained that the Pirates were a criminal organization with a lot of power. Candice was going by the name of Candy Buckets now and was pretty well known in the criminal community as a tough girl not worth messing with.
“Sounds like she’s a stripper, but she’s nothing more than a two-bit thug. A heavy for the Pirates. Does their dirty work and seems to enjoy it.” Lolly laughed. “Wouldn’t your mama be proud.”
“Leave my mother out of this. Now take your money and get out of here!” My mother would never have wanted that life for Candice. She was just as eager to find her as I was, but knowing what I now knew, would she be so willing to welcome Candice back?
I headed to my waiting car. As I drove back into town all I could think was: Candice was in Barnacle Bay.
Malcolm celebrated his 5th birthday, and JP still hadn’t turned me. I was beginning to believe that he really never would.
But I’m not without my ways. I would become one of them. Either JP or Royce would do it eventually. They just needed some encouragement, and I was prepared to give it to them.
Royce said he thought JP and I would get married. Alright. Perhaps as his wife, JP would decide that ‘someday’ was finally here. I put all of my efforts into making him propose to me.
He thought he was so suave, but really, he was very easy to read and to manipulate. JP once told me he never read my mind because he knew me so well. He probably should have been scanning me because he didn’t know me as well as he thought. I knew he was going to ask me. I even knew what my ring looked like. But I still acted so shocked and excited. JP never knew that I was faking it.
After the ring was placed on my finger, the whole bar erupted in applause. Drinks were on the house, JP shouted to the other patrons. And then he pulled me to him and sank his fangs into my neck. For JP, drinks were always on the house. I wasn’t faking the sexual pleasure I got from the bite. That was part of the vampire feeding. I may have wanted to fuck him, but I didn’t let it sway me from my real purpose.
Eventually I would have the powers that he possessed. And then it would be my time. Mine.
I didn’t reveal what I knew about Candice at first. I couldn’t bare to say anything. It would have disrupted the normal life I had built for myself and Lila, the daughter I had adopted after Candice had abandoned her. Lila didn’t remember her mother. She knew that Candice existed, but she called me Mom.
I also didn’t want to disrupt the life I had started with Sunny. We were like a real family now that we were living under the same roof. What would she say if she knew that I had found my sister. What would she do if she knew that Candy was a criminal?
So I decided to let my sister go. Mom didn’t need to know about her daughter’s disgrace especially so soon after Dad died. She got through each day because she could focus on her children. She would be devastated to find out about Candice.
Years passed. Keenan’s birthday came and then Lila’s. I found myself to be the mother of teenagers. They were really good kids. Though sometimes moody or rebellious, deep down they were both wonderful.
And through it all, I had Sunwon. When the kids were really driving us nuts, we used each other for support.
“You should have seen me,” Sunny said over dinner at the Bistro. “I was gripping the seat like a life-line. I was so scared. He couldn’t even shift properly, but I was still scared we were going to wreck!” Keenan was learning to drive.
It has been nearly five years since I first met Sunny. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. She knew me better than anyone, even Candice.
So of course I said yes when she proposed. I didn’t really care about a wedding, but I reacted just like a bride is supposed to when Sunny presented me with the ring she had purchased.
“I thought it was finally time,” she said.
“Yes! Yes! Yes!”
The first person I told was my mom, but once she knew, everyone knew. The paparazzi got the scoop almost immediately. I had learned long ago not to let the press bother me. Mom was excited for me and insisted on going home so we could celebrate with Sunny.
I told Lila the next morning. She was so happy and excited for me.
“Oh Mom!” She clapped her hands in excitement. “Let me see the ring. Let me see. Sunny didn’t even tell me. It was a secret for everyone!”
“Keenan, get in here and check out the rock your sister gave my mom!” And then everyone gathered around to check out my ring. Sunny stood against the counter and just smiled at me.
“I better get one just as nice,” she said. I laughed and promised that hers would be as big and gaudy as she wanted.
I may have run from my family, but I kept tabs on them. It wasn’t hard. The newspapers were always printing something or other about my mom. I read about the scandal Glenna caused when she was seen cavorting around town with another woman.
When I’d read that ,I’d been pretty shocked. A lesbian? I never thought my sister liked girls, but then I realized that she couldn’t be a lesbian. She must have been using this woman, Cho somethingorother, as a substitute for me. “Glenna must really miss me,” I mused to myself, and then I never really thought about it. I knew that one day my sister and I would be reunited. Glenna could have her Cho if she needed a substitute twin.
Then I read about my dad dying. That was harder to bear. Should I go to the funeral? Should I send flowers? I missed my dad, but not nearly as much as I had missed my grandpa Mickey when he died. Glenna had been Dad’s favorite, not me.
Often when I picked up the newspaper, I scanned it for news about my family. What was my mom’s latest filming endeavor? When would her Simography air on television? How many more children was she rumored to have adopted (now that got me…how dare she replace me with so many strays!)
This time I was surprised to read that my mother was hosting my sister’s wedding in a few month’s time. It would be Twinbrook’s hottest event. Glenna Fields, daughter of the famous Jeri Fields, would be wedded to her partner, Sunwon Cho.
No! It couldn’t be. We were both getting married? No.
By the time I was finished with the article, I wadded up the paper and threw it across the room. I let out a little yell of frustration. She couldn’t be getting married! I was so focused on what I had discovered that I missed Malcolm finishing up his juice and heading off to school.
“What’s wrong mom?” He asked. I turned to him and said, “nothing.” Malcolm just shrugged and headed to the bus. I’m sure he thought I was losing my mind. I’d noticed that he seemed to view me in the same way as JP. I was something to be tolerated and used. We weren’t close.
JP and Royce threw themselves into the planning of our wedding. Both were extremely excited about it and insisted on doing it “right”. Royce even held a bachelor party for JP complete with dancing girls dressed as cheerleaders.
As for myself, I didn’t want a bachelorette party. Who would I invite? My sisters all lived in Twinbrook, and I had few female friends I wanted to hang out with. I would have rather done the unconventional thing and attended the bachelor party with the guys.
I suppose if I had gone, neither of the men would have been able to seduce the cheerleaders. Both were quite sated when they got home. They were full in a way that plasma juice just doesn’t provide.
I didn’t care. I’d been encouraging them to find others to feed from. Although I was still intimate with them both, I needed to wean them away from me. Someone else needed to be their ‘suck and fuck’ if my plan was going to work.
I wasn’t jealous. When it came right down to it, I knew that I could have either of them just with a glance, an arc of my eyebrow. And in the end, their new snack might be willing to feed me when things were all said and done. I’d enjoy that. Depriving them of a willing vein.
Our wedding night finally came and JP was beside himself with delight. “Did you ever think that we’d be doing this?” he asked me. “Was it in your diabolical plans, Candy?” He didn’t expect an answer. He just laughed knowingly. He still didn’t realize that I’d manipulated him to this moment.
JP had invited a lot of guests to witness our union. They were people that Royce knew or who worked with us in the Pirate organization. Some of them were just former or future snacks who thought that a bite and a fuck made them special. The fools.
And then I got the shock of my life. My jaw dropped. What was she doing here? I hoped that she wasn’t going to ruin everything I had planned. In shock, I just watched her looking around the church sort of warily.
I thought my life was perfect. I was engaged. Sunny and I had had a bachelorette party with all of our girlfriends. She’d spayed me with nectar champagne, and we’d laughed like loons and both of us got drunk.
Dancing and drinking the night away, it was just perfect. We had a lot to celebrate.
But then my euphoria and happiness ended abruptly one evening as I was scanning the paper. There was an announcement in it about one of the future leaders of the Pirate corporation. Most people didn’t know that the Pirates were really criminals, but I did. And the announcement was concerning one of their “managers”, a miss Candy Buckets, who was marrying her co-worker, a JP Kendrick.
“What the fuck!” I couldn’t help it when the curse escaped me. Candice was getting married!
Lila just laughed at my slip. She was sitting by me and heard my blunder.
“What’s so terrible that you have to use the f-word Mom?”
“Nothing,” I muttered and read the article detailing the upcoming wedding. It was only a week before mine.
“Seriously, Mom, what’s up?” Lila was looking at me quizzically because I was clenching the paper so hard it had ripped. I was going to say “nothing” again when she gave me the look…the same one I was always giving her, and said not to tell her “nothing” again. Have I mentioned how much I hate it when teenagers use your own words against you?
I set the paper aside and got up to pace. It took me a minute to speak.
“I found your mother,” I blurted out. It seemed easier to just tell her the truth instead of putting it off. Lila knew about Candice. She knew that I’d been searching for her.
“I thought you’d stopped looking,” she said, rising to stand near me. “I thought that you’d given up.”
“No. I had a lead, about a year ago. I knew where she was then, but…” I hesitated. “Lila. You don’t want to know what she’s doing now.”
“What’s she doing now?”
I hesitated and Lila grabbed at the paper, opening it to the page I’d seen the article on.
“’Candy Buckets and JP Kendrick to wed in church ceremony. Two big-wigs from the Pirate organization…’” she read. “Is that her? Candy Buckets?” I nodded.
“And she’s getting married?”
“Well I didn’t know about the marriage. I don’t know who this JP Kendrick is. I can look him up if you want.”
“I don’t think I want to know.”
“That’s ok.” I waited. I could see that Lila was thinking and she wasn’t finished discussing this. She looked down at the article and finished read it. I watched her face, knowing what was coming.
“It says they have kids together.” Vampire children. The article said that JP was a vampire.
“Why? Why would she have kids with him? She didn’t want to be a mother. You said so! You said she didn’t want kids!” Lila looked at me as if I was the one who had betrayed her. It was a look I couldn’t bear, but I didn’t know how to comfort her.
What could I tell her? Candice hadn’t wanted kids. She felt that Lila was more mine than hers. She hadn’t wanted to be a mother at all. I didn’t know what had changed, but I’d find out.
“What are you doing here Glenna?” I eyed the twin I hadn’t seen in so many years. She hadn’t changed.
“I came, hoping you’d let me attend your wedding.”
Glenna held out a gift box. “I brought this.”
“You didn’t have to bring a present.” I took the gift, wondering what Glenna thought I’d want for my wedding so many years after I’d left her.
She laughed and it was the way that I remembered her laugh. Soft. Self-depreciating. Honest. “Oh, you can reciprocate next month. I’m getting married, too.”
I knew about that, of course, but I let her tell me about it and I affected enthusiasm for her.
“I don’t think I can make it,” I said. “Mom. Lila. There are too many people in Twinbrook who knew me.”
Just when I thought that Glenna would beg me to come home, JP came up to us.
“Glenna Fields! Thank you for coming to the wedding.”
“It’s my pleasure, John-Paul. Thank you for sending the invitation.”
I gave JP a sharp look and he said “surprise” like I should be happy to see my sister here. This was not in my plan. I had wanted to be a vampire when I saw her again! Too shocked and slightly annoyed, I listened to Glenna and JP reminisce about when we were in school for awhile, but then I heard the signal for us to get started.
“Time to go, honey,” I took JP’s arm.
“Good luck,” Glenna said. “Sunny and I will see you at the reception. I can’t wait for you to meet her!”
I turned away from my sister and headed to the front of the church where JP was waiting. This was not in my plans, but plans could be changed.