Car Ride Home
Meet Andrei here. Read about his first day | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Date Gone Wrong
Her head felt like lead, and every that made everything hurt. A seat belt held her in place as she pulled her head up. It flopped right back down, and she groaned from the effort.
“You should relax or go back to sleep,” he said, his voice a gentle whisper.
Even that sounded like a torrent to her.
She fought against the dead weights of her eyelids and lost a few times before she cracked them open.
“Where are we?” Lizzie croaked.
She heard his exasperated exhale and a click of his tongue on his pallet. “I’m driving you home.”
Lizzie raised her hand to hold her head up and looked at him. “Did you kill him?”
Andrei froze much like Ambrose sometimes did, when she caught him in a lie. All his muscles tensed, his breathing stopped, and his skin went pale, which was saying something considering his natural pallor. It made his veins and blood vessels dark, reminding her of marble.
“Hello?” she said after they had passed a dozen street lights without a response.
Lizzie gasped, when moving, did not crack Andrei’s skin.
He turned to her, one hand on the back of her seat, the other firm on the steering wheel.
“Kill who?” he asked.
Lizzie blinked her big brown eyes. “The fledgling – I mean, he would HAVE to be a fledgling to have so little control.”
He froze again, and she sighed. “Are you, buffering, or something?” she raised a hand to his face and made a spinning circle motion. “Spinning ball of death?”
The corner of his mouths twitched, and he snorted and looked away from her. “Yea, maybe I am buffering.”
She sighed. “What?”
He snorted again. “You seem to know a whole lot about vampire society for someone outside of it.”
“Oh. Is that what’s freaking you out?” she asked.
His head snapped back to her and then to the road. He did that a few times, the muscles in his face and neck tense.
“Me? Freaking out?! Yea, about that – how are you NOT freaking out?!” his voice rose with every word, his accent getting stronger as he got more emotional. By the last three words, he was close to shouting.
Lizzie put her hand on his arm on the back of her seat. “I think you should calm down.”
The muscles in his arm relaxed, the sense of ease and calm spread from her touch to his face. Andrei’s eyes widened, and he broke contact from her as if she had burned him. He kept glancing between her and the road.
“Who are you?” he asked, his eyes wide.
“You know who I am.” Lizzie smiled, but muscles around her eyes were tense.
Andrei’s eyes narrowed. “What are you?”
Lizzie sighed and let her head fall. She massaged her temples. “Human.”
“Go on,” Andrei replied.
Lizzie sighed. “My great-great-grandmother may have been a witch from the Zslandritch coven.”
Andrei sucked in a breath with a hiss. “Oh.” was all he said.
Lizzie snickered with bitter humor. “Yea, you European Vamps have that reaction.”
“We did have a war with the Zsladritch coven, and though we won – it didn’t endear us to the rest of the covens.”
“Oh, cool, we’re being honest now.” she smiled as she leaned her head back on the headrest of her seat to look at him.
He kept his eyes on the road, glancing back at her while driving and turning to her when they came to a red light.
“I never meant to lie to you.” He spoke with his brows knitted together.
“Oh, I know. Ambrose explained how you guys have a sort of thing with Werewolves – a treaty?”
Andrei nodded. “Treaty of the Kinship – yes – he told you about that?!”
Lizzie giggled. “I am his personal assistant, Andrei. You think that only applies to work?”
Andrei froze, but Lizzie smiled as it lasted only a fraction of the time it had the previous times. “So, who are you to Amb, really?”
“His personal assistant, that’s it. I just happen to help maintain his work-life balance a bit more than maybe my position would require, but I get compensated for that financially.”
“That’s it?” Andrei echoed.
The light changed to green, and Andrei looked ahead. “So, this isn’t a thing Ambrose put you up to?”
“Define ‘thing’ for me?” she groaned. Her eyes closed as a wave of nausea hit her.
“Tonight,” he said with a small and quiet voice.
Her eyes flashed open, and she gritted her teeth against her malaise to push herself up to look at him. “You mean our date?”
He didn’t look at her and nodded.
“Oh, Andy, no! That has nothing to do with work! I mean, I knew that you’re a vampire, but I’m the only one in the office who knows. Who do you think stocks the hidden fridge in the boardroom!?” she said, her words tumbling over each other.
Lizzie fell back in her seat and took deep breaths to fight off her nausea. Andrei’s eyes had widened as she got worked up, and he reached out and took her hand. He rubbed her palm, his thumb rubbing in a circular motion, relaxing tensions.
“I’m sorry, I really shouldn’t be bothering you with this right now.”
“I lost a lot of blood, didn’t I?” Lizzie asked.
Andrei sighed. “I did my best.”
Lizzie laughed. “I know. I’m still alive.”
Andrei shook his head. “So, this happens a lot?”
Lizzie’s laugh wound down and ended in a tired groan. “What can I say? Apparently, magical blood is tasty?”
Andrei snorted. “Then pray tell, why was your choice of evening activities in a Vampire owned club?”
Lizzie snapped her hand on his bicep, but it didn’t snap with how feeble she was. “Hey! Until tonight, I didn’t KNOW that place was a Vampire club, thank you very much!”
Andrei smirked and continued rubbing her hand with his free one. “My apologies. That was rude of me.”
“Ah, yea!” she snapped.
He cracked a smile, and she smiled back.
“Let’s do this again, minus the near-death experience?”
Andrei burst out laughing. “I’m humbled you’d even consider it!”
“So, is that a yes?”
Andrei grinned. “Yes, but I have a strict no curses policy.”
“Curses?” Lizzie asked.
Andrei parked the car in front of her condo building and turned to look at her. “Yea, I’ve dealt with my fair share of shenanigans like that, and I am not eager to repeat the experience.”
Lizzie pouted. “I’m not the first witch descendant you’ve dated?”
He couldn’t keep a straight face as she blinked wide eyes at him, her lower lip pushed forward.
“No, I have definitely not dated any witches or descendants of one before. I’ve just had the misfortune of being cursed by one.”
Lizzie gasped. “Really? Still alive?”
Andrei grinned. “Let’s just say it was a novice curse that I managed to make work for me. I was very fortunate.”
“What is it?” Lizzie asked, biting her lower lip.
Andrei stared and then looked away as his cheeks threatened to flush. “How rude to ask someone something so private on the first date!”
Lizzie made another feeble snap on his arm, he chuckled.
“So, you gonna tell me or not?” she asked.
“You know how I said Amb, and I were in a trio with Sven?”
Lizzie nodded. “Yes?”
“Sven’s a werewolf.”
Lizzie gasped with wide eyes. “What?!”
Andrei chuckled. “Yea, our friendship wouldn’t be a thing if it wasn’t for my curse.”
Lizzie smiled. “Not much of a curse then, is it?”
Andrei frowned. “Oh, no, it’s definitely an inconvenience, I just happened to make it work.”
“How?” she asked.
Her hand wrapped around his, and he ran his thumb along her knuckles.
“I’m sorry about this evening.” he sighed. “I never meant for you to get hurt.”
Lizzie nodded. “I know. It’s not your fault. I’m the one that didn’t know the club was dangerous. At least for someone like me.”
Andrei nodded. “Let me help you up.”
He helped her out of the car, into the building and up the elevator. Supporting her weight and helping her keep her balance the entire time. When they came to her apartment door, she parted for him and pulled out her keys.
“If there’s anything, please feel free to call,” he said as he watched her unlock her door.
“I’ll be fine once I sleep this off, but I’ll call you tomorrow, so you don’t worry,” she said with a smile.
He sighed. “Thank you.”
He leaned forward and kissed her brow before giving her a brief hug. She smiled and hugged him back.
“Good night.” she murmured.
He smiled. “You too.”