I was dissatisfied with being a vampire. It wasn’t what I thought it would be. Sure, I had the powers I had always envied in JP and Royce, but other than that, my life was mostly the same. The only exception being that I now drank only plasma.
I tried to fill my afternoons and early evenings with hobbies that I used to find enjoyable. It was what JP said he did to pass time. We worked side by side, him on chemistry, and me on my inventions.
For really the first time, I attempted to bond with my children. Malcolm found my attempts hilarious, using every opportunity to prank me.
At first I thought he was just acting out against me. I knew he practically worshiped JP, and didn’t think much of me, but I wasn’t Malcolm’s only victim. If I wasn’t so incensed at being doused in water, I might have found Malcolm’s mischiefs entertaining, but no one, vampires included, likes to find themselves soaking wet.
Failing to bond with Malcolm, I focused on Julian. The two boys were close, but I really liked Julian better. Since Malcolm was just like JP, I’d make Julian just like me.
With the boys old enough to stay home alone, JP, Royce and I often went out. We used these outings not only to have fun, but also to hunt for willing donors. I couldn’t help but be somewhat annoyed, however, when I saw JP schmoozing some chick he planned to drink from. There was no way that I’d let any little floozy come home with us.
I didn’t care who my men where snacking on, but I cared very much about who they were taking to bed. It was me or no one. It was a good thing that they got such a thrill out of sharing me. The two of them were probably too perverted to be satisfied with some one else anyway.
Despite what should have been a very satisfying life, I was still unhappy. And of course JP knew it.
“It’s just that I thought I’d be able to use my powers more, you know?” I complained one night after work.
“I tried to warn you Candy.”
“But you said that I wasn’t ready and waited until I committed murder to turn me. Surely that means that I needed to understand the full extent of what I was getting into, right?”
“A vampire’s life is long. You’ll get your opportunities to fully experience everything. Just be patient.”
Of course I’m not patient. I just couldn’t let it go that there had to be something more that I could be doing now that I was a vampire. Surely as a trio, we could be using our abilities to climb the ranks of the Pirates until we were the ones calling the shots.
“It’s not about the money, JP. It’s about position. Do you want to keep taking orders?”
“No, but I have time. One of these days I’ll be at the top. I am not in a hurry.”
“I know that you’ve been sort of depressed lately, Candy,” JP said to me after one of my many laments. “I got you something I think might take your mind off of things.” He handed me a box.
“Presents! And it isn’t even my birthday.”
“Actually…it is. It’s been a year since I turned you. And in a few weeks, it will be your real birthday, so really, it’s sort of like an anniversary and birthday present combined.”
JP could be really sweet sometimes. I almost forgot what a bastard he could be when he was like this. I shook the box he gave me. It was really light, and it rattled like it had a small item in it.
“Open it,” JP urged, so I did. I tore off the ribbon and ripped into the paper. Then I opened the box. I looked up at JP, confused.
“It’s a key?”
John-Paul seemed to visit us often after Sunny died. He said he was just making sure that I was doing alright. “We’ve been friends for a long time. I just want you to be happy,” he explained. He felt a lot of guilt over what Candice had done to me and to Lila.
After the first time he bit me, he always offered to do it again, erase the pain I was feeling, but I always refused. It wasn’t fair to Sunny’s memory to forget her in such a way. I needed to grieve.
And eventually that pain I was feeling eased, and I managed to get on with my life.
On one of John-Paul’s visits, he took me out to the Bistro. I ate. He didn’t.
“I heard that Candice is going to get out on good behavior,” I bit into my food. I wasn’t sure how I felt about my sister getting off so soon after she had committed the heinous crime that had ruined my life. On the one hand I felt the injustice of it all, but on the other she was my sister and I didn’t want her to suffer in prison.
“Yes. The Pirates are pulling some strings.” John-Paul didn’t bother to hide the fact that both he and Candice worked for the criminal organization.
“Must be nice,” I muttered sarcastically.
John-Paul offered to walk with me to the park and asked if I wanted to do a little star gazing. I hadn’t been out on a date, even one with my sister’s husband, in so long, that I agreed.
We sat in companionable silence and just looked at the universe. I wondered if Sunny was looking down on me. I hoped she was.
“Is it going to bother you that Candice is free?”
“Yes,” I answered honestly. “But she’s in Barnacle Bay. I’m here. It’s not like we’re going to meet.”
“You should talk to her. She’s reformed.” It wasn’t the first time that John-Paul tried to get me to talk to Candice, but I was steadfast in my refusal to see her. I didn’t visit her in prison and I wasn’t going to visit her now.
The next time John-Paul visited me, it was several months after Candice was released. He told me how she was changed. “She’s spending more time with the boys now. She’s trying to put her past behind her. You should see her.”
“John-Paul! I don’t want to talk about Candice. I don’t want to see her!” I was angry with him, almost shouting. It was the first argument we’d ever gotten into.
John-Paul laughed. “You’re a lot like her when you’re angry,” he said. He leaned into me. “So much.” I found myself staring into his eyes.
“Kiss me,” John-Paul whispered. I felt myself leaning into him and touching my lips to his. “Put your arms around me.” My arms wrapped around his shoulders and I pressed my body against his. It felt so good, but then my eyes closed, and I realized what I was doing.
I pulled back violently. “What are you doing!” I glared at John-Paul. “You…you…made me do that!” I lifted a hand to slap his face but he easily caught it.
“Your sister likes it rough, too.” The last thing I remembered was John-Paul forcing my head up so that I was looking into his eyes again. I struggled, but he was too strong. He tipped my head back and then I felt his teeth. Eventually I collapsed. As the blackness surrounded me, I heard the sound of John-Paul’s laughter.
When I woke, I was alone in a small room. It had a bed, toilet, shower, sink, fridge and table and there was a TV on the wall. The only door, when I tried it, was locked.
JP took the key from me and led me to a door near the pool. I’d seen it before, but had never opened it. I figured it was just a pool closet.
Using the key, JP swung the door open. A body flew out, only to be easily caught by JP and brought back into the room.
“Let me go, you monster!” JP set the struggling form back on the floor and I was astounded to see my sister, Glenna.
“Glenna, what…?” JP smiled at me like he’d given me the best present possible. I just stared at Glenna who couldn’t decide who to hate more, me or JP.
“I’ll just leave you two ladies alone,” JP smiled hugely. He gave me a swift kiss as he exited the room. The lock turned. He still had the key.
At first I didn’t know what to say. I just stood there looking at Glenna, my twin.
“You cut your hair.” It was ridiculous that that was the one detail I focused on. Her hair was shorter. It was unkempt, too. Very unlike her.
“What are you doing here?” Glenna asked me. “Coming to gloat at what your husband did to me?”
“What do you mean? I didn’t know…how?” I just couldn’t wrap my mind about the fact that my sister was here. How she must hate me, and all I felt was joy that we were together.
I reached out to hug her, needing to feel that she was real, but she wouldn’t let me touch her.
“No! Get your evil hands off me. I see what you are!” She exploded. “JP said you were changed. Now I know how. VAMPIRE!”
“Don’t come near me. Don’t you dare bite me. I will not be fed on by both of you!”
JP had fed from her? Is that how he trapped her? Did he mesmerize her? What else had JP done to her? I wondered, and in my confusion, Glenna slapped me.
“How dare you come in here to feed from me. You murderous bitch!” She growled at me and leaped at me, dropping me to the ground. Of course it wasn’t a fair fight. No matter how strong or quick she was, she wasn’t as strong or quick as a vampire. I easily over-powered her.
“Glenna! Stay down,” I held her to the ground where she struggled until she’d used all of her strength and just lay there panting and glaring at me. “I didn’t kidnap you. I didn’t send JP to kidnap you. I didn’t know you were here.”
“Truth. He just told me today.” When Glenna didn’t say anything, I asked, “How long have you been here?”
“Months! A year? I don’t know!” Abruptly I released her. Months? A year??!
Glenna didn’t move as I went over the door and started pounding on it. “JP!! Let me out!”
As I suspected, he’d been lurking outside the room to see what we’d do. I heard the key turn in the door and he opened it to let me out, then he locked it again before Glenna could try to escape. Like she was in the shape for it.
“Are you happy? Did you like your present?” JP grabbed me and twirled me around the room.
“I knew you’d like it. It’s what you’ve always wanted, right? You and Glenna. Glenna and you?”
Yes, I had always wanted that. GlennaandCandice. CandiceandGlenna. No spaces.
But she hated me. And it would be our birthday in a few weeks. She was going to get older…and I wasn’t.
No. I wouldn’t allow it. Back to the old plan: I would Turn Glenna. She’d have to see that this was the best. For both of us.