Friendship Teens & Young Adult Romance

Nineteen-year-old vampire billionaire Welton Perry III stepped inside his new townhouse in suburban Maine already bored with the droning voice of the realtor. He held up one hand to stop the lady’s overeffusive description of the basement kitchen with the cold storage facility for his special dietary needs.

He didn’t really need a fancy house, but his parents insisted. They wanted him to get as much rest as he needed after the ruckus he went through when his girlfriend and childhood friend sued him for assault, which was ludicrous.

Diana lured him into a compromising position, and when he nearly went all the way tasting her blood, she promptly called her lawyer to report his supposed misdemeanor. He decided right then that city life was just to much for him to handle at the moment.

If that incident hadn’t happened, he would still have wanted to leave for a while. He was sick of the pretensions of upper class city people, especially those in his circle. All they wanted to talk about were money, mergers, fundraisers, and investments.

It was almost kismet. He had been wishing to experience a regular life, a kind of normalcy – as normal as possible for a teenage vampire with unlimited purchasing power.

The next few weeks passed by uneventfully, unless one counted as significant the visits from various neighbors. They brought everything from quilts to house plants to tins of preserved food. Besides his regular dose of donated blood, he could eat normal food, but only if they were freshly prepared and cooked well.

Finally, one month after he moved in, Welton decided to step out and explore his surroundings. He went for a jog to the nearby park in the late afternoon, just when the families in the neighborhood started venturing out to enjoy the remaining light of the day. He acknowledged the sudden hush among them as he passed by. He expected as much. He was indeed the typical boy-next-door. Or rather, a vampire-next-door, he thought darkly.

He was nearly on his second lap when he noticed a blonde girl brisk walking up ahead. He first noticed her smell – woodsy and flowery at the same time. Then, he felt the first stirrings of hunger as he recognized the purity of her blood. Not that he’ll do anything about it, but still, he took a deep breath and enjoyed the bouquet.

“What a lovely scent,” he observed, not meaning to speak loud enough for the girl to hear. She heard.

“I hope you don’t mean my sweat,” she turned smiling, slowing down to match his leisurely pace. She extended her hand. “Chelsea. I live next door.”

“Welton,” he replied, though he could guess that she already knew who he was. It was a small village.

As she reached her place, he turned to her and asked, “Same time tomorrow?” She nodded enthusiastically. And so, their friendship began.

The next months were what romance authors would call idyllic, not that romance was in the horizon yet. Afternoons were spent talking about past experiences, no matter how diverse from each other’s.

Welton talked about studying in boarding schools and living with au pairs in a mansion with his brothers as their parents worked in different parts of the world. Chelsea regaled him with tales of public school, prom, homecoming dances, and trick or treating during Halloween.

He revealed that he was on his gap year, which was a thing in his family, and would attend college next year. Chelsea herself just graduated high school and was still considering her college options.

It was so natural acclimating in the community after he made his first friend, and at six months after he moved in, Welton’s guard was completely down. He loved it here, and Chelsea’s unquestioning acceptance of his reclusive and taciturn nature was a big part of his comfort.   

Welton knew that the surreal moments of making a new friend and feeling welcomed in a community that didn’t qualify him based on status were over when he saw a blood red Camaro park in his driveway one weekend. It was raining and he and Chelsea decided to stay in.

Chelsea was in the kitchen and he in the sitting room reading when the front door opened with a bang.

Welton gaped in shock as his ex-girlfriend Diana strode in like she owned the place, trailing rainwater from the wet pavement. She kissed Welton’s cheek and sat down on the couch. She frowned at the quilted fabric draped on it.

“What a tacky thing. Are you doing your own decorating now?”

“It’s a gift from the neighbors,” Welton answered impatiently, conscious of the lack of sound coming from the kitchen. Was Chelsea listening?

“What do you want, Diana? Why are you here?”

Diana seemed to consider his question for a moment, then she smiled dazzlingly. “I’ve come to get you back, sweetie. Haven’t you heard? I dropped all charges against you. You can stop this charade now.” 

It took a full minute for Welton to process this. “What?” He whispered, stunned. “This isn’t a charade, Diana. How dare you imply that?”

Just then, they were interrupted by footsteps. Chelsea came in with tea and poured two cups. She glanced enigmatically in his direction and then at Diana. She knew enough about Welton’s ex-girlfriend situation by then that she stayed quiet as a thick blanket of tension seemed to settle on the sitting room.

Diana was the first to break the silence, “I see you’ve hired a maid. So much for independence.” Her gaze was derisive.

“Hmmm....I wonder. Does she know?”

Welton was on guard immediately as he recognized Diana’s provocation. Surely, she didn’t plan on discussion his vampiric nature in front of Chelsea? And what would he do if that was indeed Diana’s intent? What would he do if Chelsea ran out screaming out of fear when she knew the truth about him?

Reading the intense atmosphere, Chelsea started to excuse herself, but the other girl suddenly grabbed her arm, preventing her from leaving.

“Not so fast,” she said maliciously, looking intently at Chelsea. “Did you know or had any idea that this boy here -" she gestured in Welton's direction without breaking eye contact. "-- is a VAMPIRE? Or, are you too stupid to see the signs?”

Chelsea smiled, nonplussed, as if Diana asked her for directions to the nearest gas station. Only a sharp flexing of her muscular arm as she shook off Diana’s hand belied her irritation.

“As a matter of fact, I do know about that,” Chelsea answered calmly, taking Welton by surprise.

She glanced at him, almost apologetically. “I saw some blood bank guys deliver something on the day you moved in. Then, one time, I went down your basement and saw your stash.”

 So, she knew about him, yet she still wanted to be around him. Not fearing that he might harm her. Not worrying that he might be something other. Welton looked at Chelsea with fresh eyes, realizing the magnitude of her willingness to be his friend. 

He also saw again how superficial Diana’s feelings for him were. He would never allow himself to be manipulated by this girl again.

“That’s it. Leave. You’re not welcome here.” He unceremoniously grabbed Diana by the arm and marched her toward the front door.

He had had it with all the drama surrounding his relationship with Diana. Even her outer beauty and delicious scent do nothing for him anymore.

But Diana was intent in causing mischief. “Oh-ho, really?!? I could go to the press now and tell them that Welton Perry III, heir to conglomerates, sucks human blood to live. I could scream your secret in the streets! You think I wouldn’t do it? Try me!” She ranted.

“Do that, and I’ll show you exactly what money can do,” Welton answered acidly, his face intent as he felt his temper flare. For the first time since Chelsea met him, he actually looked like a bratty teenage vampire.

“Do you think anyone actually believed that the red bruises on your neck were marks left after a vampire sucked your blood? You’ve been letting boys put hickeys on you since forever! Even your lawyer thought you were crazy. I bet they didn’t tell you that. You had no chance of winning your case from the start!”

His voice became sibilant as he got angrier, until he was almost whispering. “You’d be out of your cozy city apartment and into the nearest psychiatric facility in no time! I can do that to you and much more! You. Try. Me.”

Diana's face blanched at the threat. She quickly got in her car and reversed, and the sound of tires squealing on asphalt was the only sound heard in the quiet street for a long moment.

Then, it was a quiet neighborhood again.

“I wonder if she knows just how deep your Uncle Nigel’s pockets can go, especially when it comes to protecting you and making you happy,” Chelsea asked, breaking the silence.

Welton hadn’t heard her approach. But what was she saying? Why did she mention Uncle Nigel? His father’s older brother was the only other vampire in his family besides himself that he knew of.

He turned slowly to stare at her, fearing what he would see in her eyes.

“I would have told you sometime soon,” Chelsea said earnestly, her hand on his arm. "who I really am."

“My family have been handlers of the Perry family for as long as anyone can remember. We know and protect your secret. My grandfather was your uncle’s handler, his butler for many decades until his retirement. It was no accident that your family bought the townhouse right next to ours.”

Welton was speechless with shock for the second time that night. He wasn’t expecting this revelation.

“But you were so sincere when you made friends with me…” he said when he found his voice. “You mean, even what you and I have is staged in some way?”

 “Oh Welton, of course I liked you from the start, and it’s such a relief that you’re so down to earth,” Chelsea said gently. “Nothing has changed, except now you know I’ve been groomed to be your handler ever since you’ve been confirmed as a carrier.”

Welton was strangely comforted by her words, but he was still a bit confused about something. “You mean if I hadn’t taken a gap year and hadn’t come to live here…?”

“We still would have met," Chelsea finished his sentence, smiling up at him. "I would have shown up on a full-ride scholarship in whichever Ivy League school you went to and lived in a dorm nearby,”

She moved closer to him, as if to touch him. “You couldn’t avoid me if you tried. I was meant to be here for you, Welton.”

They took a long moment just staring at each other at the doorway, until a jogger with a dog passed by noisily, snapping them out of their reverie. The rain had stopped.

Much later, while they were sitting on the couch sipping tea, Welton asked Chelsea something he’d always wanted to ask her. “So, how does this handler–ward thing work? Am I allowed to suck your blood every once in a while if you’d let me?”  

Chelsea shifted in her seat and smiled invitingly, “I thought you’d never ask.”

She lifted her face and offered him her bare neck.  

October 28, 2020 15:23

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Carole Cobos
17:54 Nov 05, 2020

I loved it! It was very well-written and it didn't feel like the story was rushed at all. I liked the concept- I wouldn't have gone that way at all. But i'm glad that you did! No loose strings- everything ties up pretty well. I enjoyed reading your work.


Ruby Galvez
01:56 Nov 06, 2020

Thanks so much for this comment! <3


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