Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight and all its characters. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Decision-making is hard enough for me without being limited to only two genre categories. I've checked the humour box, but that does not guarantee laughter every chapter, if at all! Sometimes we have to find the funny side of life or else we'd cry.
1. Trick or Treat?
"I'd like to rent a vampire."
"For how long?" she asked.
"Just for Halloween – for a party."
She slid a photo across the desk. "This is the only one we have available. Minimum rental: six weeks."
"But I only need him for one night. Not even the night – just the hours it will take to get through the party."
She examined her painted fingernails. "Well, you could try Rent-A-Werewolf a few blocks over. They might have something available."
"No thanks. I've used them before, several times in fact, but they were all dogs." I studied the photo some more. "Why does he look so miserable?"
"He's a reluctant signing."
"What about the vampires in your brochure?" I said, pulling the well-thumbed booklet out of my purse. I laid it on the desk between us, opened it to the first page and smoothed out the creases.
"Oh now, look!" I said, pointing at the first photo. "He's really nice. He's big and strong, and he has a winning smile. Just look at those dimples."
"I'm afraid he's no longer available. The last client that hired him… well, let's just say she paid a lot of money to release him from his contract with us."
"How much money?"
"She bought half the business."
"And him?" I said, turning the page. "He is gorgeous and he has the whole suave, sophisticated, older man thing down to a tee. I bet he knows his way around–"
"That's my dad. He's only twenty-three and he's a married vampire. He was just doing me a favour."
"What about him? Those scars on his forearms and neck make him look dangerous but oh so sexy."
"He's mine," she said, dragging out each word in such a way as to brook no argument. "He came to sign up on the day of the photo shoot but it wasn't meant to be."
"This particular career path."
"You ate him?"
A smile slowly crept across her face. "In a manner of speaking and then he asked me to marry him. Begged in fact. I said yes."
"So, none of the vampires in this brochure are available for hire," I said. She shook her head. "You do realise that I could report you to The Federal Trade Commission for false advertising?"
"But you won't because I'm about to offer you a big discount."
"How can you run a business with only one vampire available for hire?"
"It's in the name: Rent-A-Vampire. Singular."
"You're having me on now."
"Okay, I am, but unfortunately we really are fully booked at present – all bar this one."
I conceded defeat. "Alright."
"You'll take him?" She seemed surprised.
"It appears I have no other choice."
"Let me show you our Terms and Conditions." She opened a drawer, pulled out a sheet of paper and pushed it across the desk toward me.
I was no fool. I read every single word. "I have to house him?"
"Yes. It's a full immersion vampire experience. We don't do things by halves here."
"And I have to feed him?"
"Just once every three days. He's very neat. He'll only leave two tiny holes and, let's face it, no one is anyone these days without a bite mark on their neck."
"That's what the werewolves said."
She frowned. "They said that?"
"Well, not exactly," I said, wrinkling my nose. "Their terms include a clause whereby if you opt to have sex with your werewolf escort, they are at liberty to bite the back of your neck."
"That's disgusting! That's like embroidering your logo on the outside of a piece of clothing or embossing it into the leather of an expensive pair of shoes."
"Says the woman who has just told me vampire bites are the very height of fashion."
"Vampire bites are discreet and fade with time. Until then, they can be easily covered up by makeup or a scarf if required. A full wolf bite means a lifetime of polo necks." She closed her eyes and shuddered.
"So," I said, looking back down at the paperwork, "I house him and feed him every three days… What's this clause here at the end?"
Her lips pulled back into a wide grin, displaying a perfect set of glistening, white teeth. "Accidents happen."