‘You haven’t been outside for days, Kyan. You’ve got to come out of your room,’ his mother pointed out. Normally, she’s a patient and loving woman. But damn, her son was really making her lose her temper.
Kyan couldn’t blame her, of course, but he also couldn’t leave the house.
He stood in the shadows of his room, watching his mother. “I can’t,” he said, looking helpless.
She sighed, annoyed. “And why’s that?”
“Because I’ve got a sun allergy! Every time I step outside, my skin burns.” He didn’t just look helpless. He was helpless. “It burns like hell, mom. I can’t leave. It hurts too much.”
“You know I love you, right?” his mother asked. Kyan nodded. “Then please, get over yourself. No more games, no more excuses. Otherwise I’ll kick you out; I swear.”
Kyan tilted his head. “You wouldn’t,” he told her.
“Do you want to challenge me, boy?”
He didn’t, actually. But he also couldn’t go outside. “Mom, please. I can’t go outside. You have to believe me. If I go, I’ll die.”
“Quit being such a drama queen. Who’s gonna kill you? The sun?”
“By God, Kyan, you’re driving me crazy. Fortunately for you, I’ve got to go. In order to stay alive, you’ve got to be outside when I come back.” She turned, but looked back quickly. Her piercing gaze bored into his eyes. “Or I’ll kill you.” Then she left, leaving him all alone.
Every time he stepped outside, his skin started to sting. When he stood outside for far too long, his skin would start to melt. If he’d stand there any longer, there wouldn’t even be skin to sting or melt. He’d be a pile of ash.
Sighing, Kyan thought about his options. There were none. If Kyan didn’t go, his mother would be furious. She would drag him outside and he would burn. If he went out now, he would burn.
He pursed his lips and crossed his arms. He didn’t know what to do. He’d die in any scenario.
Frustrated, he dropped himself to the ground. He wanted to cry; to yell. But, most of all, he wanted to know what was wrong with him. Maybe he did have a sun allergy. That would explain everything.
But, if that was true, why did he only now suffer from the symptoms?
Kyan pulled at his hair and hid his face against his legs. This was horrible. His life was unfair. The whole world was unfair. Tears flowed from his eyes. Kyan did his best to ignore them.
“You shouldn’t cry. You should celebrate,” a voice told him. A boy was sitting on his window frame. Kyan’s curtains blew in the wind. His mouth was open. Confusion was clear in his eyes.
Kyan knew the boy. He was his boyfriend. Well, his ex-boyfriend, to be precise.
They didn’t break up exactly, but the thing was: River had died. Four months ago.
River chuckled. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“I guess I did because you’re dead!”
“Undead,” he corrected.
“No. I saw you. At the funeral. In the coffin. You’re dead. And I’m crazy. God, I’ve finally lost it. I’ve lost my mind.”
“You only saw what I wanted you to see, love. I needed time. I needed to―”
“What the actual fuck, River? I’ve cried about your death. I’ve felt miserable and alone. And now you’re here, alive and well, telling me that you just needed time? Well, fuck you!”
“Gladly, but, as I was trying to te―”
“Shut up,” Kyan cried. “Shut up, shut up, shut up. When you died, I lost a big part of me. I lost my heart, my soul. I’ve cried a goddamn river. You can’t just be here, in my room, acting like nothing bad has happened.” He had started crying again. He didn’t care. Instead, he rose and stalked towards him. The sun burned his skin. Kyan hissed and stepped back, staring at the boy from a distance.
River, who’d been golden, looked pale. His tan was nowhere to be seen. The once bright colour of his eyes seemed dull. He didn’t look the same. He looked, ironically, like he was dead.
Kyan knew his skin was pale, too. He knew his eyes looked dim. He glared at his ex. Although, maybe River wasn’t his ex. God knew Kyan still loved him. The devil knew he still wanted him. But, again, the boy was supposed to be dead.
“This is crazy,” Kyan spoke eventually. “You,” he gestured at River, “are crazy, ‘love’. Damn, my head hurts. Nothing makes sense anymore.”
River sighed and landed on the ground. He walked towards him and took his hands. He looked him in the eye. “Then let me explain.”
“I don’t want to hear your excuses,” Kyan whispered forcefully, trying to pull away. “You’ve been gone. You’ve left me behind. You―”
At some point, River lost his calm. “Stop repeating yourself. I know you were heartbroken, but you need to listen. I bit you.”
“That’s a horrible pick-up line.”
River shook his head. “It’s not a pick-up line. I’m a vampire. I literally bit you. And now you are a vampire, too. That’s why the sun burns your skin.”
Kyan scoffed. “Yeah, right. Tell me, Riv, how much oxygen did you lose when you were dead? Your brain seems to be a bit damaged.”
“You’ve always been so down-to-earth.”
“Well, you’ve never been an idiot. So, what’s wrong with you?”
“Except for the fact that I’m a vampire? Nothing.” River put a hand to Kyan’s cheek. “I bit you,” he repeated, slowly. “Some days ago. While you were asleep. I did it becau―”
“Wait. You were in my room while I was asleep? Are you out of your mind?”
“Can you stop interrupting me?” River asked, clearly irritated. He loved Kyan and everything, but sometimes he couldn’t stand him at the same time.
“Alright, alright. I’ll shut up.”
“Thank you. Okay, let me start from the beginning. Four months ago, half an hour after our last date, a woman approached me. She talked about eternal life and told me she wanted to grant me just that. At first, I declined, but damn, her story was tempting. I gave in. Then she revealed her fangs.
“She bit me, she turned me. She advised me to fake my own death. People’ll get suspicious when you don’t grow older. She lent me her ring, allowing me to, well … be outside during the day.
“I faked my death. It was easy, really. Except for the fact that I heard you cry, of course. And except for the fact that you were the only one to cry. My parents didn’t even show up at my own funeral, did they?”
Kyan shook his head. “But I’m sure they miss you. They loved you. I’m pretty sure they just―”
“Thanks, but they didn’t love me. Not really. Anyway,” River said, “this is not about them. It’s about you and me. About our love.
“After the funeral, the vampire who bit me―I learned her name was Willow ―helped me escape my grave. That’s when I betrayed her. I ran away; stole her ring; felt guilty.
“I talked with vampires all over the country. One time, I told someone about the ring. He stared at me, his eyes full of greed, and eventually told me that the ring’s one of a kind. Or, actually, four of a kind.
“There are four of them, made by a young and beautiful witch. Their power allows us to walk in the light, but they are hard to find.” River smiled slyly. “But I succeeded in finding the second one. This one's not stolen from anyone.”
River gave him a ring, made of pure gold. Kyan stared at it. “Why?” he asked softly. “Why’d you bit me, without asking for my permission? I don’t want this.” He tilted his head. “I don’t want to fake my own dead. My parents would be so, so devastated.” He tried to hand back the ring. River didn’t take it, though.
“I wanted us to be together. Forever and always. I did it because I love you. I did it because you love me. It seemed romantic at the time.”
“Don’t get me wrong. It is romantic. But I … living forever, River? I can’t. It’s not what I wanted.”
“Well, I’m sorry, but you don’t have a choice.”
Kyan pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. “I hate you.”
“You don’t,” River whispered, cupping his cheeks. “Look, I’ve made some big mistakes. I’ve hurted you. I’ve ruined your life. But you, dating you, it was never one of them. I wanted to make it permanent. I wanted to make us permanent.”
Kyan wanted to be mad. He wanted to scream. He wanted to kick him. Or at least he felt like he needed to. But at the same time, he wanted to embrace the boy in front of him. Damn, he wanted to kiss him. To whisper sweet nothings in his ear.
“You know, I thought I was allergic to the sun,” he said eventually.
“A sun allergy? You thought you had a bloody allergy? Damn, Ky. Just damn.”
“It seemed more likely than being turned into a vampire, by my dead ex. So, don’t you judge me.”
“Your ex, huh?” River noted, frowning.
He nodded. “You were ‘dead’. I stopped calling you my boyfriend sometime. But you know, I suppose you can be my boyfriend again. You just gotta earn it.” Kyan moved a little closer. “You gave yourself forever to do that, so be special.”