There were several subjects I wanted to discuss today, but I’ll get to those later, I wanted to share another excerpt. If you would like to go back and read the first two I’ve shared this month, the first one is here, and the second one is here.
This excerpt is from the scene I wrote yesterday, the one where Matt had to say goodbye to Jenna. Thus far, it’s my favorite part of the story, and I wanted to share it with you. Please remember that this a a vomit draft and is likely to have errors, though I have read through it to eliminate as many of those as I could.
Matt walked into the Jenna’s room. He sat down in the rocking chair next to her bed.
“What would Miss Jenna like to hear tonight?” he said reaching for the books on the small bookshelf.
“Mr. Matt?” she said in a soft voice.
“Why are your teeth so sharp?” she said with the bluntness only a child could use.
Matt paused for a moment then looked at her. “What?”
“Your teeth are sharp. You don’t like to smile, but you do sometimes. Your teeth are very sharp.”
Matt’s mind raced. Obviously a five year old would have no concept of a vampire and wouldn’t be able to connect the dots of his pale skin, avoidance of the sun, refusal to eat garlicky foods, and the sharp fangs as signs of a vampire, but her asking this question showed how observant she really was. This could be dangerous. He was happy she asked him instead of her mother or father.
“That’s just how my teeth are, kid,” he said. “What story?”
“But they’re so long.”
“Yes, that’s how they are.” He wanted to make a joke about using them to bite children who asked too many questions, but he didn’t want her parents to think he had threatened her in any way.
“Oh,” she said. She picked out a story and I read it to her. I tucked her in and turned off the light.
“Can I have a goodnight kiss?”
It was said with the innocence of a child. She had never asked for a kiss before, this was something reserved for a parent, not the babysitter. She hugged him all the time, she was an affectionate girl. It never bothered Matt at all; he liked kids.
“Okay,” he said. He walked over and kissed her forehead. He couldn’t help but smell her blood. When he was that close to her, he could almost taste her O- blood.
As a rule, he left children alone. There was something terrifyingly immoral to him about drinking the blood of a child. He ignored the smell of her blood like he did every time she hugged him.
“Thank you,” she said.
He smiled at her and said goodnight. He walked out of the room. He cleaned up the bathroom and hung the towels up to dry. Then he plopped down on the couch and flicked through the channels he couldn’t afford at home.
The pay he was getting from the babysitting job was enough to pay rent and his bills, and a little more to throw into his small savings account, but he hadn’t quite have enough to start paying for things he didn’t need just yet.
He had this job for three months now and it was looking like Mr. and Mrs. Nessin were happy with Matt’s work with their kids and often spoke about how much the children liked him and didn’t pout when he watched them unlike a lot of other babysitters they had had.
These things, he hoped, would secure him the job for a lot longer. Maybe he would eventually make enough to get a better place to live and maybe get a computer again. He wouldn’t mind not having to go to the library when he wanted to check his email. Or maybe pick up a smartphone.
There was the sound of wheels pulling up the driveway. Matt stood up and looked at his watch. It was far too early for the Nessins to have returned from work. That was odd. He walked to the window and looked out the curtain. Stomping down the long path to the door was Mr. Nessin, he was on his phone and his free arm was waving about like crazy.
Something was wrong, Matt could tell he was angry. He stepped away from the window and waited for Mr. Nessin to walk in.
The door opened and a well suited, slightly rotund man marched in, his voice angry and his face red. “I don’t care, Dawson,” he was saying into his phone. “Make this happen, I will see to it personally that she pays for this.” A pause. “Me? I just got home.” A pause. “You’re damn straight I left her there. I’m not driving with her in the car after that. And get this, Dawson, you know my fine crystal pen? She gave it to him as a gift. A gift! That pen cost more than the ring I gave her when I asked her to marry me!”
Mr. Nessin looked up at Matt, who tried to act like he wasn’t listening. “No. No. No. Dawson, no! I want those papers drawn up immediately. Yes, I know what time it is. Why the hell am I paying you millions of dollars? Are you my lawyer or not? You get your ass to the office and draw up the papers. I want them served as soon as possible. No!” He shouted into the phone. “This has nothing to do with who I am or am not sleeping with, this is about who she’s sleeping with. To think I trusted Mitchel. I should kill him. No. No. I won’t regret this. Draw up the papers.” He threw the phone across the room, shattering it.
“Uhh,” Matt said. “Mr. Nessin, your kids are asleep.”
“I don’t give a damn what my kids are doing, Matthew. I just learned my wife has been screwing my partner, for two years.”
“Uhh,” Matt said again.
“Not only that, but she’s done in it my house! I’ll show her. I’ll teach her a lesson. She had the gall to bring up the several affaires I’ve had. Which I only did because she refused to bang me, but rather Mitchell!
“So,” Matt said cautiously. “You’re both cheating on each other?”
“She started it.”
I heard the patter of feet. Jenna had woken up because of the noise. “Daddy? Where’s mommy?”
“I don’t know and I don’t care. Go to sleep!”
Matt had never heard Mr. Nessin every talk to his children this way before, in fact, Matt would have said it was against his character, but he did only know him for a few months. He didn’t really know the man all that well.
He looked at me. “Have you screwed her too?”
“What?!” Matt said shocked. “No, sir. I would never.”
“Whatever, it doesn’t matter. Get out, Matthew, I have work to do, and frankly, none of this is your business. I’ll send you a check for you work this week.”
Matt was crestfallen. He didn’t like the way that sounded. “Sir?”
“You services are no longer required, get the hell out of my house.”
Matthew blinked. He didn’t want to believe what he was hearing. He was being fired for no reason at all other than Mr. Nessin was angry, and he was in the way. He finally found a job he liked that worked with his vampire ways, and was paying the bills, and he lost it because the Nessins were banging other people behind each other’s backs and it all came out tonight. What about the children? What was going to happen to them? They were about to get dragged into a nasty divorce that would likely last years, scarring them for life. His heart broke for them.
Jenna was crying now because of the shouting, and Matt wanted to hug her and tell her everything would be okay.
Instead, he grabbed his jacket and hat and started for the door.
“Mr. Matt!” Jenna’s sweet voice called to him.
He turned, and she was standing there with tears in her eyes. “Where are you going?”
I looked up at her father. “Can I say goodbye?”
“Make it snappy,” he said. He was pulling off his tie. He stormed into the bathroom and slammed the door.
Matt heard a series of curses and what sounded like a shower curtain being tore off its rod.
Matt knelt down in front of the little girl he had been getting to know for the last few months. He had not expected to feel like his insides were being ripped out when he looked into her tear-filled face. He felt the burning pain of trying to keep tears in. Jenna and Ryan had found a place in his heart. He loved these kids as if they were his own, and he didn’t notice it until the moment he was asked to leave.
“I won’t be watching you and Ryan any more, Miss Jenna,” he told her. “Your daddy asked me to leave.”
“But why?” The tears were freely flowing now.
I smiled at her, willingly showing her my fangs. “Because he’s angry at something else that happened. You’ll understand one day. I have to leave.”
She grabbed him and hugged him tight. “Don’t go!”
I couldn’t stop the tears from coming. I realized that these were the first tears I’ve shed since my first few tastes of blood. I hugged the girl back. “I have to, Jenna.” I pulled away from her and looked her in the eyes. “Do me a favor, okay?”
“Promise me that no matter what happens, you will always take care of your brother. Always be his big sister and keep him safe. Can you do that for me?”
Jenna nodded again.
“Say it, Jenna, tell me you promise.”
“I promise, Mr. Matt.”
Matt hugged her again.
“I love you, Mr. Matt,” Jenna whispered in my ear.
“I love you too, kid,” Matt said.
“Are you still here, Matthew?! I said make it quick. Get out!” Mr. Nessin was standing there with a wet face and a mostly unbuttoned shirt. “Go to bed, Jenna. Now!”
Matt kissed Jenna on the head again and stood up. He looked at Mr. Nessin. “With respect, sir, keep these kids out of the divorce shit as much as possible,” he said.
He didn’t wait for his response. He walked out the door and to his bike. As he rode back to his apartment he considered getting another babysitting job. It was honestly something he enjoyed doing, and frankly, he was good at it. But when he thought about the devastated look in Jenna’s face when he told her he was leaving forever, his heart broke again.
He honestly didn’t think he could do that again. He couldn’t watch a child’s heart break over and over again, which due to his condition, someone would eventually find out and or he would have to leave for some other reason. He couldn’t do that again; never again.
-Excerpt from Struggles of a Modern Vampire; Chapter 26, by Andrew Ronzino
A bit heartbreaking, in my opinion. It was a little hard to write. Sorry for the long excerpt, but I wanted to showcase most of what happened in that scene. I very much enjoy it. Poor Matt, he can’t seem to catch a break.
Current word count for Struggles of a Modern Vampire: 55,547/50,000!
Until the last leaf falls,
Andrew Ronzino, Cool McCoolster