Tales of the Georgia Vampires: Larder

Submitted into Contest #34 in response to: Write a story about a rainy day spent indoors.... view prompt

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General

"Karly-bear? How do you feel about slide-out larders?" Chris asked idly one night.

The two vampires were relaxing in their living room after a busy night baking; the sound of rain hammering against the windows was a calming sussuration. Chris was stretched out on the sofa, with his laptop balanced precariously on his slim abdomen and the light from the monitor illuminated his face. Karl had long since installed himself on the nearby armchair and had busied himself with reading a book. Karl glanced up and over at the other vampire before he frowned in sudden thoughtful confusion.

"D'you mean in general or for our kitchen?" he asked gruffly.

"Either," Chris replied with a shrug. "I was just asking your opinion as I thought they were cool."

"Right. I guess in general, they must have their uses. In our kitchen though? What do we need it for?" Karl asked with a distracted shrug.

Chris arched one thick eyebrow at his husband before he replied.

"For storing extra things perhaps?" he asked dryly. "Vegetables? Canned goods? Flour? Extra baked goodies? In short, we could always use the extra space, you know."

Karl sighed and fixed his husband with a stare.

"You want a slide-out larder, don't you?" he asked with a hint of a smile.

"Wouldn't mind," Chris said with one of his wide, fanged grins. "They have plenty of uses, as I said."

"Yeah. I heard," Karl said gruffly. "Well, it's no skin off my goddamned nose, is it? If you want one, I know you're gonna buy one regardless of what I have to say on the matter."

"You know that isn't true," Chris objected, a little hurt by Karl's observation. "I do always ask first and if you don't think it a good idea, then I won't get it."

"Be the first time you actually do listen," Karl countered yet again he tried to hide a smile regarding his cheeky husband's antics.

"You disagree with me even when you secretly want to do it or buy it yourself," Chris observed even as a hint of a smile began to grow on his face again. "Your exterior of grumpiness is exactly that. You're just as adventurous as me."

"If you say so," Karl said primly as he returned his attention to his book.

"I do say so. I know you," Chris said confidently. "And I still love you all the same."

Karl sighed heavily into the weighted silence then and once again, Chris saw the beginnings of a smile playing around his husband's mouth and eyes. Chris made puckering sounds with his lips and a sudden laugh burst from Karl's mouth at the near-obscene noises. Chris grinned and Karl looked up to see deep wrinkles fanning out from the corners of Chris' eyes.

"All right. Get your goddamned slide-out larder if you want it. God knows we could do with some extra space at times," Karl finally conceded.

"There we are then. Why did we have to go through all the hassle of arguing then?" Chris asked cheekily as he stuck his tongue out at Karl.

Karl sighed heavily and returned his attention pointedly back to his book. Chris watched him for a while and grinned when he became aware that Karl was wilfully ignoring him. Chris giggled quietly to himself before he returned his attention cheerfully back to the laptop still resting on his abdomen; he scrolled through various designs of slide-out larders before he decided on one that would match their kitchen.

****

"I'm not too sure about this goddamned larder, darlin'," Karl said doubtfully. "Are you sure it's been fitted properly?"

"I watched the man fit it himself and he seemed to know what he was doing," Chris said as he frowned at the larder. "What's wrong with it anyway? It doesn't look wonky."

"I never said it was wonky," Karl corrected as he gestured at the door. "It makes funny noises when it slides out."

"What sort of funny noises?" Chris asked in surprise.

Karl sighed and reached out to grasp the handle. The larder was nothing more than a deep drawer, that slid out on drawer runners. Inside the cabinet was an array of wire racks that formed a series of handy shelves. As the door slid out to expose the wire-filled guts of it, the larder produced an odd rumbling, jerking sound as the runners caught in their tracks.

"Listen to it. Sounds like goddamned vampire laughing," Karl moaned. "Mwah-hah-hah."

Chris belted out a loud laugh at that before he reached out to take the handle himself. He pushed the larder back in again and opened it. Both times, it produced that same jerking near-laugh of a noise.

"I don't know, babe. I think it's kinda cute," Chris said with a careless shrug. "It's kind of appropriate anyway, don't you think? Dracula's laugh for two vampires."

"It might be apt but it's goddamned annoying," Karl said roughly. "I don't think it's right somehow."

"Well, I can't exactly ring the fitters up and tell them our damned larder's laughing at us, can I?" Chris pointed out with a bright peal of laughter. "They'll laugh at me in turn and put the phone down."

Karl sighed and nodded; he had to concede to his husband's point.

"Okay. So we can't complain," he said. "We'll just have to oil it. Put some WD-40 on it or something. We've got some, haven't we?"

"Yup," Chris said with a cheerful nod. "That's your job then, babe, seeing as you can't stand the noise."

Karl sighed and didn't bother to reply. Instead, he reached below the sink and began rooting around for the WD-40.

****

The WD-40 didn't work, nor did the dab of olive oil that Chris used to smooth the runners' actions.

"So what are we gonna do now?" Karl asked as he opened and closed the larder one more time.

Once again, the noise long since dubbed 'Dracula's Laugh' sounded into the expectant air of the kitchen.

"We'll have to complain to those damned fitters if we can't put up with it," Chris said with a sigh. "Can we put up with it?"

His gaze flickered to Karl's then and a spark of amusement flickered from blue into hazel eyes.

"I'll be damned if I'm ringing up the fitters with this problem. We'll have to work 'round it," Karl said obstinately despite his smile. "As I thought we agreed before, they'll laugh at us."

"They might not," Chris said with a cheeky grin. "Unlikely, but they might not."

Karl merely gritted his teeth against the volley of curses he could feel building up behind them before he opened and closed the larder door one last time. Chris giggled and mimicked a spooky laugh for Karl's benefit. Karl sighed and once again did his best to try not to smile. In that, he largely failed, however.

****

"Karly-bear," Chris sighed as he stared out at the rain-filled night. "I'm bored seeing as we can't go out."

That evening, the two vampires had intended to take their mobile bakery truck out on Atlanta streets, yet the night had proved a complete wash-out; the storms that had lashed the city for three days and nights straight had grown to astronomical proportions. Hardly anyone had turned up and so, the vampires had had to return home early. Karl and Chris had been reduced to sucking on a couple of blood popsicles to tide them over until their next hunt; they hoped that it would prove more successful than that night's had been.

"Well, find something to do then, ya goddamned infant," Karl muttered as he leafed through that evening's baking orders. "Or better still, you can help with our orders tonight."

Chris' only response was to huff moodily.

****

Later that night, Karl caught Chris grinning to himself; the broader vampire sighed loudly which attracted the very keen gaze of Chris. Chris' grin grew impossibly broader yet he didn't get the chance to speak as Karl spoke first.

"What have you done, Chris?" Karl asked wearily.

"Who said I've done anything at all?" Chris asked, innocently.

"You did in not so many words. You only grin like that when you're up to something," Karl pointed out and arched an eyebrow at his husband.

"I'm not grinning in any such way, Karl," Chris said as his grin grew wider again. "I'm just happy tonight, is all."

Karl huffed and shook his head.

"You weren't happy earlier. You were bored because of the rain. Last I checked, it still was raining," Karl pointed out as he gestured out at the storm-tossed night.

"That was then. This is now. I'm all right now," Chris said and grinned again.

Karl could tell he wasn't going to get anywhere with his husband so dropped the subject with a heavy sigh. Half an hour later, Chris handed Karl a Tupperware box filled with cupcakes.

"Put that in the larder, will ya, babe?" he asked and once again, Chris' air of faux innocence had returned.

"And what did your last slave die of?" Karl asked indignantly.

"My last slave hasn't died yet seeing as I'm still married to him," Chris said. "And you're closer to the damned larder. Hence why I asked you to pop it in there for me. Saves me legwork."

"Like you're worried about that with your skinny-ass legs," Karl grumbled.

He still took the box anyway and walked over to the slide-out larder. Chris held an unnecessary breath as he watched Karl pull the door open. As expected, the door caught and barked out a strange noise as it caught in the runners. Then Karl gave a sudden roar of horror and reared back as a cardboard cut-out of vampire popped out of the larder with a loud rustle. Chris exploded into joyful giggles even as Karl snarled his way through pulling the cardboard vampire out of the drawer. He then stalked across the room and pushed the rustling shape firmly against his husband's slender chest.

"This, I believe, is yours," he snarled grimly.

Chris giggled and accepted the cardboard vampire cheerfully enough. He watched as Karl re-crossed the room and popped the box of cupcakes into the larder after first checking for any other surprises.

"I'll get you back for this, kid," Karl said darkly as he returned to making a bumper batch of salmon fillets.

Chris merely shrugged as though he had been expecting that all along.

****

"Karly-bear? D'you want this sheet of death metal stickers?" Chris asked later that night.

He slipped the stickers from between the pages of the magazine he'd been reading.

"What the devil for?" Karl asked in surprise.

His hazel eyes blinked wide in continued surprise as he watched Chris waving the sticker sheet in his direction.

"Why else? Because I don't want them. Death metal isn't even my favourite genre. I thought you might have a use for them," Chris said with a shrug.

Karl scowled deeply at Chris before that scowl was replaced by a sudden amused yet infinitely inspired smirk.

"Actually, I do happen to have a use for them," Karl said. "Thank you, darlin'."

Chris gaped at him in surprise before a sudden grin passed over his face.

"And? What are you going to do with them, then?" he asked.

"You'll see," Karl said with a smirk.

****

It was still raining heavily when Chris made his way to the larder to pluck a can of chickpeas from its depths. He reared back with a sharp curse that was lost within the loud burst of thunder that rolled across the grounds of Hensen House. As the lights flickered, Chris saw that every single tin and every single Tupperware box had been decorated with death metal stickers. Band logos and gurning black and white painted faces grimaced at him wherever he looked. Karl burst into deep rolling laughs behind Chris. The slender vampire whipped around and showed Karl his middle finger.

"Damn you, Karl," he said gruffly. "I'll get you back for this."

Karl only response was to continue to laugh.

****

The vampires fell into an easy, good-natured prank war that lasted well beyond the rain-soaked nights; both Chris and Karl tried their hardest to outdo each other. Things turned up in the larder that shouldn't have been there such as bars of soap, car shampoo and once, a garden trowel still sporting some freshly turned mud. The death metal stickers were pasted in every conceivable place that the vampires could think of until the glue wore off, and the vampire cardboard cutout found its way mysteriously into the shower with Chris one night.

****

The last straw came for Karl when he was trying to make a fruit cake; the rain had stopped yet the pranks hadn't yet run their course. Chris was chatting incessantly about a movie he wanted to watch at the theatre. Karl was only partially listening, humming and grunting at the right places as he tipped the flour, sugar, butter and dried fruit into his mixing bowl. He looked up when Chris then asked a question; Karl's large hand reached blindly for a nearby jar of spice.

"So when are we going to go? When have we got a free evening now that it's stopped raining and flooding and everything, I should ask?" Chris asked with a hopeful grin.

On the last word, Karl picked up the spice jar and dumped a generous portion of the brown powder in his bowl. A pungent scent of curry powder assailed Karl's keen nose and he cursed at great length as he turned his attention to the jar he'd picked up. Instead of the mixed spice he'd wanted, he had indeed picked up a more savoury blend.

"Goddamnit. My fruit cake's gonna taste like a goddamned Indian restaurant," Karl roared in disgust. "The whole thing's ruined now."

"Well, that's hardly my fault," Chris said as he walked over to examine the bowl.

"It goddamned is," Karl said gruffly. "If you hadn't been yammering on about your goddamned movie, then this shit wouldn't have happened. If I didn't know better, I would have said you'd done it on purpose. You put the curry powder near me, so I'd pick the damned thing up."

"I didn't," Chris insisted in such a way that Karl wondered if he was telling the truth. "Not this time."

"Well, you can't blame me for wondering. You have been playing a lot of pranks lately," Karl said gruffly as he threw the ruined mix into the bin.

"And so have you," Chris countered good-naturedly as he raised one thick eyebrow at his husband. "Don't lie."

Karl merely huffed an exasperated breath because he knew he didn't have a leg to stand on.

"Fine, but the pranks have gotta stop. Ya hear me, darlin'?" he asked as he waved one curry powder dotted hand into Chris' face.

"Yeah. I'll stop only when you do," Chris said and the faintest hint of a grin began warming his expression.

"I've stopped. As of five seconds ago," Karl said gruffly. "Now let me make this goddamned cake in peace. I need to see if I can rescue something that you've damaged."

"I told you. That was accidental," Chris insisted again. "I was asking a genuine question. A question you haven't yet answered, I might add, Karly- bear."

"I've forgotten what the damned thing was," Karl said gruffly as he began pouring a fresh batch of ingredients into his bowl again.

Chris then launched into another explanation of the movie he'd wanted to see and halfway through it, Karl raised one hand and waved Chris into silence.

"It's all right, kid. I remember now. And we'll watch your goddamned movie at the weekend if you want to see it so bad. Now hold your damned silence so I can concentrate," he said gruffly. "I don't want any more curried cakes in my half of the kitchen."

Chris nodded and tried to bite back his sudden laughter. Karl returned his attention to his mixing bowl. That time, he measured out the correct spices and after a few moments of vigorous mixing with his spoon, Chris began to laugh. A hint of a smile began to spread across Karl's face and he too began to laugh after a few moments had passed.

****

After the debacle with the curried cake, the two vampires made Karl's plea for a temporary prank war truce a reality.

"I wonder how long the truce will last?" Karl asked as he gave his husband a shrewd glance.

"We'll have to wait and see, won't we?" Chris asked brightly. "It depends on whether we have any more boring and rainy nights again."

Karl's only response was to sigh and to bury his nose into his book again.

March 21, 2020 21:19

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