I grabbed the shirt out of his hands, glaring at him. I whipped off my navy T-shirt, right in front of him. I wasn’t, by nature, immodest. I just couldn’t have cared less if Christian saw me in my bra. I pulled the pink shirt over my chest with difficulty. “You get me kid-sized?” I grouched, as I struggled into the shirt.

He nodded. He had no shame. “That I did.”

I finally got it on. It didn’t even cover my belly button. I felt ridiculous, but I held out my hand for the knife. “I like the video game reference. Level 140, huh? Nerd.”

He shrugged. “I’m a renaissance man. Nerd is a title people wear proudly these days. You can’t deny you’ve clocked in a little MMO time yourself.” He stuck his tongue out at me.

I sucker punched him in the stomach as I walked by. He grunted, winded. “Let’s go, candy ass,” I ordered.

The Renaissance Fair took up all of Sunset park this year. It had grown significantly since the last time we’d been. I swear it got a little freakier every year, too. I wasn’t exactly into the fair, but I liked to come and laugh at it, and people watch, of course. A lot of the antics going on were just good comedy. I understood a lot of the ‘authentic’ costumes so many of the ren enthusiasts were wearing. But just as many of the costumes made no sense to me. Like why was there a flock of kids dressed up for Hogwarts? And why were random people in the crowd dressed up like superheroes? And what was with the fat dude dressed up like a hostess cupcake? And why the hell was Lynn dressed as a dominatrix? I’d have to ask her, if we found her tent in the huge gathering.

We didn’t get far into the fair before Christian was drawn to some concession stand. I sat down at a picnic table to people watch while he waited in line. He came back with some kind of deep fried confection I’d never seen before. “What is that?” I asked, wrinkling my nose in distaste.


“Donut poop?”

“Deep fried twinkie. Mmmmmmm.”

“That’s disgusting. Who the hell even thought of that?”

He shrugged. “Iyonno,” he said around a mouthful of food. “Try some.”

I shook my head. “Uh-uh. If I’m gonna eat something that wrong, it’s at least gonna be frosted or dipped in chocolate. Seriously, though, I want to know who was eating a twinkie and thought, ‘Hmm, this thing needs to be more fattening?’”

“There’s frosting on the inside.”

“It’s not the same.”

He finished off the half dozen pastries, looking around for something. “Now I want a couple of those giant turkey legs. Usually they sell those all over the place. Where are they?” he wondered out loud.

I rolled my eyes at him. “You have a tape worm or something?”

He grinned. “Or something. I’m always this hungry.”

“Boys are weird.”

He stuck his tongue out at me, standing up. “Let’s go find more food,” he said, sounding like a teenage boy. He pulled me after him. I dragged my feet, but followed along.

“Who comes to the ren fair just to eat?” I complained.

“Us. Duh.”

“You, maybe. I came to make fun of Lynn and her tent full of emos. I think one of them was trying to curse me when I left the living room this morning. They are so damn easy to rile up.”

“Oh, we’ll do that, too. But we have all day to find them.”

Christian found his turkey legs, eating slowly this time. We were silent for awhile, watching the festivities around us. A group of tight-clad boys walked by, and I nodded towards them. “What would I have to do to make you wear tights next year?”

He smiled around his mouthful of turkey. “Blow me?”

“Iiick. Thanks a lot. I just puked in my mouth.”

“Anytime. I don’t do tights.”

“Everyone has a price.” As I spoke, I felt eyes on me. Not your typical ‘checking me out’ eyes. Or people watching stares. Someone was watching us very intently. I found the man quickly. That was using the term man loosely. He was very tall, with beautiful, long black hair. He was of some kind of Asian descent. I couldn’t have said what, but he was very pretty. He sat at a table about fifty yards away, arms folded, as he stared, an unreadable look on his face. As though he had been waiting for me to spot him, he started walking towards me almost as soon as I found him. “You know this guy?” I murmured to Christian, as the man drew close.

Christian turned, his gaze turning cold as the the man approached.

He was taller than I’d realized as he loomed over our sitting positions. He didn’t sit. I just stared up at him, raising a brow. “You two are friends?” he asked, genuine surprise in his voice.

“Do I know you?” I asked.

“Do we know you?” Christian spoke at the same time.

“No. I just find it very strange that you two are acting as though you’re friendly with each other.”

I gave him a flat stare. Christian told him what he could do with himself.

The man just stared at him calmly. “This is very peculiar and disturbing.” He looked at me as he spoke. “What are you doing with him?” he asked me directly.

“Who the f**k are you?” Christian stood up as he spoke. He wasn’t as tall as the stranger, but he put in a good showing.

The man eyed him coldly. “You don’t know what I am?” he asked softly.

“How would I know what you are? I don’t even know who you f**king are!” Christian looked about one second from punching the stranger, so I grabbed his right arm, pulling him away. Christian didn’t seem to understand what the strange man was, but I was starting to get a very bad feeling that I did know. This was turning into one bad week.

The man bowed slightly, mockingly. “Interesting,” he said, more to himself, I thought. He nodded at us. “Nice T-shirts.” He almost smirked. He melded with disturbing ease and speed into the crowd.

“I don’t like that guy,” Christian muttered.

I smiled grimly. “That doesn’t surprise me. Let’s go find Lynn.”

We covered about half of the fair before we got distracted by food again. It was ice cream this time, and I indulged. “I was surprised to find you off of work today.” I made conversation as we giggled at some of the random fair enthusiasts walking by. The pirates were in rare form this year.

“Oh, that. I may have a lot of days off coming up, actually.”

Tags: R.K. Lilley Heretic Daughters Vampires
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