This is a sequel to Remember Him. I hope you enjoy it. As always, I appreciate your comments and suggestions.
NOT HUMAN ENOUGH
With a total population of approximately one thousand, vampires were the new minority.
In 2022, the U.N. voted to recognize vampires as humans. They were now merely a separate race, not a different species. Immortal-humans, or IMs, could finally enjoy the same rights and privileges as other humans. They became legal citizens; they held office; they enrolled in universities.
The victory for immortals didn't come without limitations. Conservative groups had made sure that laws were in place to prevent any threat from vampires on the mortal population. For one, it was illegal for any vampire to display any threatening behavior towards a mortal unless in self-defense. Creation of new vampires was also strictly controlled. Even with these precautions, dozens of anti-IM groups formed in the United States and Europe, and they made it their life's work to get rid of what they called animals, freaks and murderers.
One such anti-IM group was so secretive that no one knew where their base was, or even what they called themselves. When evidence of their activities surfaced, they were referred to as "The Slayers." It was their goal to destroy the vampires before they could destroy mankind.
I had never been so humiliated in my entire life. Maddie got up from where she knelt in front of me and said, "I guess the rumors are true."
My stomach turned. "What rumors?"
"That you're gay. Everyone at school says so. I just wanted to see for myself and considering that a blow job didn't even get you off, I'd say you're queer."
I swallowed my anger before I hit her. "So that's why you asked me out?"
She pulled on her clothes and shrugged. "Did you think that I was really interested in the school freak?"
"I'm not a freak!"
"Seriously?" she said with a laugh. "You live in a house full of vampires and you have bright purple eyes. That definitely makes you a freak. Now, you're a gay freak."
"You fat-assed bitch!" I hissed, snatching up my clothes.
I drove back home in a daze and ran upstairs. Lowner passed me in the hall and asked, "Jake, are you—"
"Don't worry, I won't make a mess." I spat the words at him and slammed my bedroom door. Then I fell onto my bed, bawling. Tears soaked my pillow and I thought, How ironic? Both of my parents are vampires, but I was born a human. I'm not human enough, though. My perfect face and violet eyes told everyone who saw me exactly what I was.
I fell asleep with my clothes on and my back was killing me when I woke up. I was disoriented and checked my phone for the time. It was four in the afternoon…the next day.
"Holy shit," I said through a yawn.
There was a knock on the door. My little sister called, "Jake? Can I come in?"
"Fuck off, Maz."
"Fine, you jerk! Dad says that dinner's ready. You'd better come down."
Fan-fucking-tastic. Thanksgiving with the Vam-Fam. My parents hated it when I called them that. It was my blanket term for the household of vampires that I was stuck with 24/7. Don't get me wrong, I loved my family and they were great, but the fact that I lived with vampires made it impossible for me to live any kind of life with human kids my age.
I showered and put on nice clothes, knowing that mom would yell at me if I didn't. Then I opened the door to head downstairs and found Lowner standing there. He handed me a note—the only reliable way in our house to communicate without being overheard—and walked away before I could read it. I looked at the paper and choked up.
You can always count on me for help. Always.
I felt like a complete tool. Lowner had put up with my shit for seventeen years, constantly screaming at me, dragging me to mom and Dad for punishment, exiling me to my room. His list of my crimes was endless. dBut suddenly those punishments didn't seem so wholly unjustified. I'd been a brat and most of the time, Lowner was the one who had cleaned up my mess.
I went down to the kitchen, where he was putting the final preparations on dinner. "Lowner?" I said quietly.
Without turning, he said, "Hey, Booper."
I rolled my eyes at his nickname for me and said, "Thanks…for everything. I know I drive you nuts and I'm sorry that you've had to put up with me all these years."
He hugged me and his whisper vibrated through his chest and into my ear. "Don't you know that you are the light of my life? I love your sister, too, but you? You'll always be so special to me." I clung to his shirt and inhaled the scent of him; it was one of my favorites, just like my mother's and father's. When I was little, I'd sit in Lowner's lap while he read me stories. I snuggled against his shoulder while he rubbed my back.
I moved from his arms then. He said, "No matter where you go or what you do with your life, if you're happy and loved, then I'll be content. I love you, Booper."
"Love you, too," I whispered.
I scrubbed my eyes with my shirttail, which Lowner then re-tucked. Then we put the turkey, potatoes, carrots and rutabaga, homemade applesauce and every other delicious food I could think of onto platters and carried it out into the dining room. I set down the tray and looked up at the chandelier, remembering the day when I was five that I decided swinging from the light seemed like so much fun. It didn't end well.
The next person I had to apologize to was my sister. Mazrin was thirteen, and we used to get along really well. Once she started at a private girls' school, though, the fun little side-kick was replaced by a hormonal, Bieber-loving diva.
My sister gave me a nasty look and I said, "Hey Maz?"
"What?" she spat back.
"I apologize for being a jerk, okay?"
Everyone slowly stopped talking and looked at me. I wasn't one for apologies. My sister looked stunned, but said nothing. My mother said, "Mazrin, what should you say to your brother?"
"Thanks, whatever," she mumbled.
Uncle Carter cleared his throat. "That was somewhat lackluster, Mazrin, but it's a start. Now, if you'll have a seat, Jake and Lowner, we'll get started."
It was a great day. For the first time, I watched the football game with the guys. While I detested football, as I did most sports, it was still a blast. it was awesome that they thought I was old enough to handle the swear words that flew around the room whenever the other team scores. I also understood the punch lines to the bawdy jokes they told, though Dad told me to never tell my mother.
After the fun of the holiday, going back to school after the holiday was like walking into heaven with a horns and a pitchfork. Evidently, Maddie's news had spread like wildfire; she told the entire school that I'm gay. I was a complete pariah. Not even the kids who used to be marginally civil with me would even speak to me. To add to the humiliation, my locker had been vandalized. Written in big, black letters was: Faggot Bloodsucker.
The first hour of my school day was spent in the bathroom, crying. I didn't understand it. Why did people hate me so much? My parents and family all loved me and thought I was funny and handsome and a good person. They didn't know that I was gay, but they wouldn't be upset or anything. After all, there are more gay couples than straight in our house. I just hadn't gotten around to sitting down and telling them. I knew then that I would have to tell them the truth soon.
When I was able to calm down, I got up to go to geometry. The principal, Mr. Riddet stopped me in the hall. "Good morning, Jacob," he said. "Let's have a chat."
"I'll miss class."
He waved my comment away. "I already cleared it with Mr. Vasky. Come with me, please."
"What's going on?" I asked.
"Just come with me. Now."
The principal's office was the only room in the school that didn't smell like mildew and gym socks. His diploma was displayed on the wall above his head and I focused on a dead fly that was somehow stuck between the glass and the document. The buzz from the glaring fluorescent light was made me feel sleepy, but my racing heart kept me wide awake.
I sighed loudly, hoping that it would encourage Mr. Riddet to start talking. It worked. He cleared his throat, and then began a serious of chain-smoker hacks that made me cringe. Finally he said, "We're just waiting for you parents to come in, so hang tight."
"My parents?" I asked, gawking at him in disbelief. "Mr. Riddet, what did I do?"
"Let's just wait for your parents."
Beads of sweat formed on my hairline and tears burned in my eyes. I'd begged my parents to allow me to attend a public school. I wanted to try and fit in somehow. To prove it my dedication, I'd worked my ass off and had a straight A average. I'd never gotten in trouble, even after the other students made my life hell for three and a half years. Now here I sat in the principal's office, waiting judgment for a crime I didn't know I'd committed.
At least I'd have proper representation; mom and Dad entered and looked at me in concern. They sat on either side of me and mom took my hand. "Sweetie? Are you all right?"
I couldn't keep my voice from shaking. "I…I didn't do anything, I swear."
"We know that," Dad said. He turned to the principal. "What is all this about?"
Mr. Riddet was clearly intimidated by my parents. Who wouldn't be? He coughed and said, "Well, Mr. Reinbach, some serious allegations have been made against your son."
"Huh?" I was so stunned that I could barely whisper.
Mom moved to the edge of her seat. "You're insane! What could he have done?"
He opened a folder on his desk and said, "Another student has alleged that your son threatened to…" He shifted uncomfortably. "Threatened to bite her to keep her from divulging the fact that he is a homosexual."
My parents both slumped back in their seats, blindsided by what they had just been told. Finally my father said, "I have a hard time believing what you are saying."
"That your son is gay?" Mr. Riddet asked.
I winced and caved in on myself. Dad put his hand on my shoulder and said, "That makes no difference to me, sir. What makes a difference is that girl is lying. My son is not a vampire."
"Well you two are, so—"
Mom narrowed her eyes at him, "Our son is human. He couldn't have bitten that girl even if he wanted to."
I shook my head emphatically and sobbed, "I swear, mom, I didn't!"
Dad said, "We know, Jake."
"When was this supposed to have happened?" mom asked. "What were the circumstances?"
Oh, shit, I thought. I'm dead.
Mr. Riddet cleared his throat. "The girl states that your son threatened her after they had been…sexually intimate."
At that point I wanted to die. Neither of my parents said a thing. Mr. Riddet looked at me and I could see the gleam of triumph in his eyes. He continued, "I'm sure you understand that we cannot have this type of thing happening at our school. I agreed to give your son a chance, provided that there were no…incidents of this kind. Unfortunately, the safety of our other students is a priority. There are federal laws that prohibit this behavior."
Dad shook with anger but held his temper. "I'm more familiar with those laws than you will ever be, Mr. Riddet. My son is one of the smartest in his class and in three years, he has never been disciplined by you or anyone else. He has worked very hard to live as normal a life as he could. Do you think it's easy for him? And now one girl says that he's gay and the world comes to an end. This isn't just about Jake being a child of vampires. This is about homophobia and bullying."
The principal puffed out his chest. "Excuse me, Mr. Reinbach, but it was your son who allegedly threatened the—"
"For crying out loud!" I couldn't stand it anymore. I sobbed once and said, "Maddie invited me to her house and things got…whatever, but I did not threaten her! She laughed at me told me that I'd proved that the rumors about me were true and I left. That's all. Over Thanksgiving break, she told everyone in the school what had happened. I saw some of the teachers looking at me weird."
My mother was fuming, so I put a hand on her arm to get her attention. I smiled sadly and said, "It's okay. Just let me finish." She nodded, so I said, "I'm sick of this. You've never said anything to the kids that have teased me and stolen stuff from me and shoved me into lockers for three years. You've never said anything to the ones who snicker and laugh and whisper about me all the time. So I'm done. You win. I'll leave the school, but only if it's made absolutely clear that I did not threaten Maddie. I'm going to get my stuff."
I got to the door and turned around. Out of childish spite, I said, "By the way, you miserable asshole, everyone in the whole school knows that your wife is hooking up with the geometry teacher. See ya later, you fat fuck."
It took my parents a few seconds to follow me after I stormed out of the office. When they saw my locker, my mother cried out in horror. She opened her mouth to say something, but I cut her off. "Don't, mom. It doesn't matter anymore. I'm done here. They can say what they want."
The end of period bell rang as I was cleaning out my locker and a crowd gathered. Everyone stood back, no doubt scared by my parents. Surprisingly, Will Hayden from my chemistry class came up to me with his hands in his pockets. He began, "I, um…"
"Save it, Will," I snapped.
I spun around to face him. "What more do you want from me? You can all get back to normal. The fag and his bloodsucker parents are leaving now."
Will got defensive. "We don't all feel that way, you know. Don't make assumptions." He shook his head and walked away. I felt a little guilty, but then I saw Maddie standing in the crowd that had gathered. She snickered and whispered something in her friend's ear.
Mom heard her and exhaled sharply, but she was smart enough not to confront her. Just like Mr. Riddet said, even though vampires had been legally recognized as citizens, laws had been created against displaying any kind of threatening behavior to a human.
I slammed my locker and said, "Let's just go, mom."
We made our way out the door. Will must have decided to ditch his other classes, because he was walking across the parking lot. He looked over his shoulder at me before getting into his brand new Audi.
As soon as we were a few blocks from school, Dad pulled over and parked. He turned back to me and asked, "Are you okay?"
"What do you think?" I replied. His face fell and I sighed. "I wanted to tell you and mom, but I was so confused. I guess I was embarrassed by what Maddie did and I knew you'd be mad since I'd…Jeez, can we talk about this later? No offense, mom, but it's not something to talk to you about."
"Of course, Sweetie," she said. Her voice was gentle and it made things hurt just a little bit less.
Everyone was surprised to see me home early and Uncle Carter panicked, thinking that I must be gravely ill. Dad held them off and walked to my room with me. While I unpacked some of my stuff, he sat and waited patiently. I knew what he was going to ask, so I saved him the trouble. Without looking at him, I said, "I'll tell you what happened, but just don't freak out until I'm done, okay?"
"Just take your time," Dad replied.
"I guess I've never really been attracted to girls, but I thought that maybe if I tried it out, then I'd change. So this girl, Maddie, asked me out a couple times to the movies, and then last Wednesday, she asked me to come to her house after. I thought maybe she liked me." I wiped my sleeve over my eyes and swallowed hard. "And um…I know you'll be pissed at me, but—oh my god, this is so…"
"Would you like to talk to one of your uncles? I'm glad to listen to you, but if you'd rather it be one of them, I'll understand."
"No!" I said quickly. "You're my dad. I want to talk to you about this. Maybe later I'll talk to them."
"Thanks for that," he said with a hint of a smile.
"So Maddie and I started, you know, kissing and things went a little further. W-well when s-she tried o-oral…on me, I didn't get…"
He nodded and finished my sentence. "You didn't get an erection."
I nodded. "She told me that she only asked me out to see if I was really gay. She called me a purple-eyed, gay freak and told me to leave. Then this morning at school…no one would even look at me! And they did that to my locker. Dad, why do they hate me so much?"
I started bawling and curled into his strong arms. He said, "Jake, I know it is unfair and I'm sorry, but our family is different from others. We all have prejudices to face—some of us more than others. Look at Sam. He applied to the computer crimes task force, but was denied. Though they listed 'unqualified' as the reason, we all know the truth: not only is he a vampire, but he is also gay and fits every "terrorist" stereotype there is. My point is that your life will be hard, but I will be there—all of us will be. And it doesn't matter to me if you love a man or a woman, as long as you are happy."
"Thanks, Dad," I sobbed. He held me for a long time.
Uncle Carter brought my dinner up to me, breaking Lowner's sacred law of no eating in my room. At that point, though, they all knew what had happened, so I was cut some slack. He set a tray on my desk and I eyed the mound of food with a groan. I sat in my chair, debating what to eat first.
"Don't shoot the delivery boy," Carter said with a laugh. "Lowner's worried."
I took a bite of meatloaf and said, "I'd never have guessed."
He sat on the bed and said, "So…are you doing okay?"
"Uncle Carter, you couldn't be less subtle if you tried."
"Freyr tells me that all the time. Now, your dad said you might want to talk to me. What's up?"
"As if you need to ask."
I put down my fork. "Didn't Dad tell you what's going on?"
His eyebrows drew down. "No," he said slowly. "Should he have?"
"Yes. I mean no, I mean… You know that I got booted from school, right?"
He growled very quietly. "Yeah, because of what we are."
"Is that all Dad told you?" He nodded, so I told him the whole story. When I came to the night at Maddie's house, I blushed bright red and wanted to hide.
Carter asked, "How long have you been feeling like this, Jake?"
"I don't know," I snapped. "I have no idea about anything anymore."
"Was that the first time you've had sex?"
"It wasn't sex," I said quickly.
He rolled his eyes and asked, "Why do you think it's called oral sex?"
I crossed my arms. "Fine. Yes, that was my first time."
"When you masturbate, do you think about men or women?"
"Men," I mumbled, looking anywhere but at him, "but I...It sounds insane, but I've never really seen it."
"What about online?" he asked, surprised by my admission. "You've never looked at porn?"
"Ha! Mom and Dad have my computer hooked up with so many parental controls that it would block the Teletubbies."
He growled quietly. "You're seventeen, for Christ's sake! I'll get all of it taken off as soon as I can. But you have to remember: porn isn't real. And don't feel that you need to give yourself to the first guy that takes a look at you."
My face burned. "I wasn't planning on it. In fact, I'd say that won't happen for a long time, being stuck in this citadel. What guy would want to come here and hang with vampires? No offense."
"None taken. And the answer is that I don't know."
A week went by and mom and Dad let me slack off. But the following Saturday, mom said that I had to keep up with school work. Even though I was going to turn eighteen in a few days, she insisted that I get my diploma. I agreed, so she arranged for Sam, who was pretty much a genius, to be a homeschool instructor for me. It would provide me with an education and give him something to do.
During dinner that Sunday, the defeaning clang of the doorbell echoed through the house. Lowner was talking with Quincy, so I offered to go. When I saw Will Hayden standing there, my mouth dropped open.
"Hey, Jake," he said. A hint of a smile twisted the corner of his mouth up and it struck me just how attractive he was. When I didn't reply, he said, "So…uh, do you mind if I come in for a second? It's kinda cold."
I snapped out of my trance. "Oh, yeah. Sorry."
He stepped into the hall and shook fat, fluffy snowflakes from his chocolate brown hair. His cologne drifted toward me and I took a deep breath. Damn, he smelled amazing.
"What's up?" I asked.
Shifting nervously from foot to foot, he said, "I found this in the locker room at school. I know how much you like it, so I wanted to bring it to you." He pulled my favorite hoodie sweatshirt from a plastic bag and handed it to me.
"My sweatshirt! I thought I'd lost it somehow. But—how did you know it was mine?"
His face went red. "I'd seen you wearing it a lot. I got to admit though, it's not my only reason for coming over. Only one of three."
I raised an eyebrow. "What's number two?"
"Well, I wanted to ask Mr. Denwright something. I'm doing a paper about the reality of vampires in the twentieth century, and I thought that maybe I could interview him and Mr. Amsel."
I nearly accused him of using me to get to the vampires, but then I realized that he wasn't using me. He was only standing in the entry hall. Way to project a relationship on him, idiot. Instead I said, "They don't really do the whole press thing, but you can ask. Come on."
"Where?" he asked with wide eyes. They darted side to side as though he was about to be attacked.
"Don't be nervous," I said. "They won't—"
"If you say bite…" he warned. I stopped and looked at him for a few seconds, and then we both burst out laughing. It felt good to laugh and even better to laugh with Will. His laugh was somewhere between a guffaw and a snort, and it made me laugh harder.
"Jake?" Dad called.
"Hang on," I said, trying to collect myself. I wiped the tears from my eyes and waved Will toward the dining room, where we all ate every Sunday. Lowner insisted on at least one civilized meal each week.
When we walked in, all conversation abruptly ceased. Will gawked at the long table and twelve vampires seated around it. "Whoa," he said. "I don't want to interrupt anything, so—"
"You're not interrupting," Mom said. She came over to shake his hand. "I'm Greta, Jake's mom. I think you came over to talk with Jake at school that day. It was nice to see some humans still have brains in their heads." I cleared my throat loudly and she slowly stopped talking.
Will returned the handshake. "Nice to meet you, Ma'am. I'm Will Hayden."
Dad also shook his hand and said, "I'm Kirner Feinbach."
"Good to meet you sir."
She was impressed by his manners. "Why don't you have some dinner?"
I said, "Mom he just needs to—" at the same time Will said, "That would be great, thanks."
One of the guards named Jens stood up and said, "Take my chair. I should check the perimeter anyway."
It was right across from my chair, so Will didn't seem too nervous. "Thanks, it looks really good."
He took a bite of chicken and praised Lowner's cooking. Then he fell into easy conversations with everyone. He asked Freyr and Carter about the interviews and they agreed to help him with his paper. To my surprise and Will's delight, Carter told Will that they could go through the archives together to find even more information.
It was a great meal, but before we began cleaning the table, Will said, "I'm very grateful for you all for being so nice, but I think I should tell you something."
"Go on," Mom said warily.
Will looked nervously at Freyr and said, "I think my parents are Slayers."
...to be continued
NOT HUMAN ENOUGH © 2012 by Kazy Reed. No redistribution or reproduction without permission.