Bleh

Bleh!

What sort of sick creature would dare to even think about digesting vile medium-rare animal fat packed into a tight circle, placed between two yeasty slabs of five-day-old bread?

Oh, yeah, I would. Because humans eat it.

Humans have no taste.

"Bleh! Bleh!" I up-chucked into the toilet in the bathroom stall again. I couldn't believe that Grandpa had eaten not just one, but two "hamburgers." Right. Like they're even made out of ham.

Thinking I was done with my little barfing incident, I got up off the grimy floor of the restroom, flushed the toilet, and left the stall to wash my hands. Staring in the mirror at my paler-than-usual complexion, I resigned: never again would I try a "hamburger."

Suddenly, Sue walked in. "Feeling all right?" She inquired, her voice sympathetic. Unlike my grandpa, she recognized the lie behind 'I have to go. Really bad.'

I gave her a weak smile. "Why can't we just… tell him about my eating habits?"

She sighed. "You know how your grandfather is. He doesn't want to know anymore about the supernatural than he has too. Plus, him knowing about your… diet probably wouldn't be the safest thing in the world." Now it was my turn to sigh. It was true. Grandpa only knew what he felt was "absolutely necessary" about my family's vampire lifestyle, which, in this case- was a great disadvantage.

"C'mon, Ness. Let's go back to the table."

"Okay. I'm ready."

When we got back, Grandpa was- too say the least- slightly preoccupied. One of the many flat screen TVs in the restaurant was turned to some college football game, and Grandpa was staring intently at it. I tiny bit of drool hung from his lip. Ew.

As Sue and I pulled our chairs out, Grandpa jumped in his seat and turned towards me. "Uh, Ness, would you mind staying for a bit longer? I just want to watch till halftime," he sheepishly asked, glancing longingly at the game.

"Um. Sure. Just… could I go outside for a bit? You know, get some fresh air?" Please say yes. Please say yes.

"Sure, kiddo. Just don't go too far."

I breathed out. "I won't. Thank you." I pushed out my chair and strode towards the double doors of the restaurant.

Once outside, I let out a breath. "Ahh." Anything to get out of the restaurant that smelled too strongly of blood and food. Taking deep breathes, I looked around at the neat little shops. A hardware store… a toy store… a book store…

Wait.

A book store?

The bookstore brought back memories of wanting something, anything, to read that I hadn't already digested, and coming up empty.

I glanced back through the large windows the restaurant. Grandpa was now hollering, as were most of the men in the building. Probably a touchdown or something. Sue was just sitting there, arms folded over her chest, looking bored as Hell.

Just one quick look, I thought. Glancing back once more, I darted across the street. "Cohen Independent Booksellers," the sign read. I strode inside. There was nothing special about the appearance of the shop; a little display showing bestsellers up front; rows of nonfiction lining the wood shelves. Nothing out of the ordinary there.

But… something felt… strange about the tiny store. Some weird feeling I got that I just couldn't place.

There seemed to be no one in the shop besides a teenager sitting behind the register, Coke in one hand and Vogue Magazine in the other, her heartbeat slow with the lack of excitement. She didn't look up at me once.

I found myself moving towards the back of the store, nothing really catching my eye. I sighed. How ironic that the one chance I get to purchase new books and I can't seem to find anything worthwhile.

Oh great, the last row. I made the few necessary steps, and found myself face-to-face with a doorway. In replace of a door were shiny pink strings of beads. Beaded doorways? Hah! Someone needed to get his head out of the sixties.

Without even thinking about it, I found my feet moving through the doorway into another room.

Unlike the neat, sterile front room of the bookstore, this room was- to say the least- a mess. Books piled high, all over the room. It looked like no one had entered in years. I was beside myself in awe. How could anyone just leave rejected literature in the backroom, never to be touched again, just gathering dust?

I knelt down next to a rather large pile and leafed through the books, books with titles like Someone like Calypso and What a Pretty Girl.

In other words, books I had never seen in another bookstore before.

And I'd been to a lot of bookstores.

It's not like a few of the books I had never seen, not at all. Because I had never seen any of the books.

Eyes wide, I went from pile to pile, searching through the titles for something, anything, I recognized.

Seven piles had gone by, and still nothing.

Never before in my abnormally short life have I felt so… uncultured. It was a very odd feeling, odd, because I know that I am not uncultured. I've traveled; been to operas and plays. My family has made sure of it.

I moved on to the last pile. This pile was fairly small, only about twelve books. I looked at each title, filing them away in my mind. The last book. Something to die for. Ooh. Creepy. But not something I had heard of.

I got up to leave; I hadn't realized how much time had passed. Grandpa and Sue might be looking for me.

As I got up, something caught my eye: a book I had not looked at, halfway hidden beneath another book I had carelessly tossed in the corner of the room. I walked over to it, pulling it out. I stared at the cover.

In a way, it was beautiful. Two white hands holding a single red apple. Some part of my mind recognized that the pale skin of the hands was very similar in color to that of the rest of my family's skin tone. The title was simple, one word, and all lowercase letters.

Simple, yet beautiful to a point of utter disbelief.

Twilight.

It was a paperback, so I knew that the overview would be on the back. I wanted to know what this particular book was about, however I did not flip to the backside. I have a rule to never read the backs of books until after I already finished it. That way, I felt that absolutely no part of the story has been revealed. There was no way I was leaving without it.I patted my jeans' pockets and pulled out some change. I counted it: 247.57. I snorted. That was more than enough. I got up off the floor and made my way out of the room, towards the register. The girl finally looked up from her magazine. For a fraction of a second, her eyes went wide.

Then she glared at me.

"May I, like, help you?"

I sighed, although I was pretty used to this. Human girls don't react very well to my inhumanly good looks.

I tried to turn my grimace into a polite smile. "Uh, yeah. I would like to buy this." I held out the book. Twilight.

She took it from me, and her glare turned icy. "It doesn't have a price sticker." She said accusingly.

I sustained a laugh. Of course the jealous human would accuse me of taking off the price sticker.

I shrugged my shoulders. She let out a little huff. "You know what? Take it. Free of charge. I'm quitting next week anyway."

I smiled at her. "Thanks!". She didn't reply, once again engrossed in the magazine.

I left the store with the book and returned to the restaurant, where it seemed that the game had ended. Grandpa looked at me. "Ready to go?"

"Yes. I'm ready." And with that, all three of us left the restaurant.