If someone had told me, years and lifetimes ago, that I'd be sitting in an Adirondack lawnchair sipping cocktail-hour wine kept chilling in a snowbank on mild midwinter's day, all after a walkabout with a striking woman of regal bearing, I'd have probably told said cat they were smoking crack through a light bulb. Being an aberration, I don't usually get picked for this sort of thing. To this day, I'm still amazed I didn't have to drug her.
I can remember the night we first met vividly. Actually, I was looking for another girl at the time. Sabina, who I would half-jokingly refer to as the Vampire Queen-even sometimes to her face-was holding court with her then boyfriend and smoking a clove. One of my friends was talking to one of her courtiers.
"Can I get one of those?" I asked her, in reference to the clove.
"Oh, sure," and she handed me one. I lit up.
"Thank you, Ma'am," I said politely and with a slight inclination of my head.
"Cool shirt, by the way," I said to her boyfriend at the time, noting his Motley Crue shirt.
"Thanks," he said, somewhat dismissively.
Vampire snobs. The gothic aristocracy. What are you going to do?
And I slinked off into the juke joint shadows to monkey watch and maybe find that girl I was looking for. It was probably another six months before Sabina, who wasn't much of anything to me way back then-we weren't even rightly acquaintances, let alone friends yet-and I exchanged a single word or acknowledgment of presence. So it goes.
That was almost ten years ago. Quite amazing what came to pass in nearly ten orbits around the sun. How much has changed. Where we were then compared to where we are now.
I remember finding her one night in a vampire den looking tired and burned. Her relationship with the musician was in its death-throes. I'd spent the better part of a year trying to help her salvage it, despite the fact the whole relationship was built upon facades.
"You need to get away from here," I said.
"Because you look like a fucking burnout," I growled. "You're going to die like this; if not here than somewhere just like it."
I remember the first time she kissed me. It seemed as though it was done on a dare. I was giving her a hug goodnight when she planted a peck on my cheek. We both looked at each other in utter shock, as though a taboo had just been broken. That final line between friendship and something else entirely being brushed away.
"We all have free will," she said to me as she climbed into her vehicle, her eyes never leaving mine. "What are you going to do with yours?"
I remember our first kiss. Our faces were not very far apart. Her scent was that of fear, anticipation, and pheromones.
"What are we going to do?" She asked me, and I used dialog for a story I would tell years later.
"I don't know, but I think we're both doomed."
I was lips and she was tongue. Her breath tasted like wine. I liked that a lot. Especially when I kissed her.
I remember when she picked me up after I got back from North Carolina after I'd help my father put his mother in the dirt. That day in the artifacts boutique. The time she told me I made her feel more alive than she had in a very, very long time. When she told me she feared elves and the fey might steal me away and that was why she insisted on holding my hand. That first time she played a song on the radio for me. The first cocktail hour as well as our first breakfast on the porch of the House of Owls and Bats. I fell in love with her all over again when she was standing at the front gate, taking in the view and the house chanting;
"Mine! Mine! Mine!"
I remember when she was first moving to what we called Nostalgic New Orleans up on the Hill, and we were speaking of all the things that lead up to that. By now, her relationship with the musician was ashes and ghosts, and, like a phoenix, she was rising from the ruin. We spoke of light and dark and what needed to be done. I almost growled at her at one point.
"I will not be thanked or blamed for any of this you realize," I said. "That's the deal."
"The only thing you ever did was tap me on the shoulder and say; 'wake up,' " she said. To this day, I'm not sure if I want to believe that.
Once, mentioning that, she had the audacity to say I rescued her. Me. The aberration; being too tall, too skinny, with eyes too big for the rest of my face. Nothing. I am not saint or a superhero, but, I guess to her, I must be something.