No Use Crying Over Spilt Blood

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Portal Keepers Book 2 (The sequel to 'Would You Like Brains With That?').
Danira travels back to the Realm of the Undead to stop humans being used as blood-slaves.

Cover by Zillah Designs.

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4. A Snow Angel and a New Year

 

      Christmas soon came around and just like every Christmas the café was really busy. For some reason lots of the Undead tended to come to the café for their Christmas dinner. We even provided Christmas themed meals such as brains with brandy sauce.

      During one of the quieter parts of the day, Mum, Dad and I exchanged Christmas presents. My parents were difficult people to buy presents for because they weren’t materialistic at all. Dad had only bought a mobile phone so that he could keep tabs on me. We didn’t even have a TV. So I bought Mum and Dad presents that they could use. Mum got a new apron and I gave Dad some stakes, which probably wasn't the best idea when I had a vampire boyfriend. I made him reluctantly promise that he wouldn’t use them on Ridge.

      I hadn’t asked for anything for Christmas as there hadn’t been anything I wanted. I didn’t want an iPod or a games console. Mum still bought me several bits though; chocolate, some bath stuff, new underwear and socks, and a nice bracelet.

      I thanked her and she hugged me. “You’re welcome.” she said, holding me so close that I could smell her hairspray. “Sorry that we don’t celebrate Christmas properly.”

      I shrugged. “I don’t mind, it’s not a big deal.”

      Dad walked into the kitchen wiping snow from his head. He had just popped outside to get something from the garage.

      “It’s snowing again.” he mumbled.

      I smiled. Dad didn’t like snow but I loved it.

      “Why don’t you take the evening off?” Mum suggested to me, pouring something foul smelling into a bowl.

      “Are you sure? This is the busiest day of the year.”

      She smiled. “Go and enjoy yourself.”

      Glancing out the window I saw that the sun was starting to set and my heart leapt. “Thanks Mum!” I cried kissing her on the cheek.

      Dad started to argue but Mum silenced him with a look that I really needed to learn how to do. I hoped that she wouldn’t be in Dad’s bad books for the rest of the day.

      Sprinting up the stairs I paused outside my door. Dad didn’t know, but I had managed to convince Ridge to stay with me the previous night, so he was on my bed. But the Sun hadn’t fully set yet and Ridge would be hungry when he woke, so I decided to wait in the living room. I had left a bag of blood in the mini fridge in my room with a piece of mistletoe stuck to it especially for today.

      I stood by the window and stared at the falling snowflakes.

      It was several minutes before I heard Ridge’s voice. “Merry Christmas, Danira.” his lips skimmed my neck making my pulse race.

      Turning around I gazed at the mistletoe that he was holding above our heads. I smiled and kissed him deeply on the lips. “Merry Christmas to you too,”

      He pressed his lips to my forehead and pulled me into a hug. Resting my head on his shoulder I closed my eyes wondering how, once upon a time, I had found Ridge’s touch repulsive.

      “Have you had a good day?” Ridge asked.

      “It’s been okay, I’ve been working in the café. Do you want to go outside?”

      “Can I give you your present first?”

      Surprised I gazed up at him. “You didn’t have to get me a present.” I told him with a smile.

      Ridge ran a cool fingertip along my jaw and bottom lip making my skin tingle in pleasure. “You’re my girlfriend. I wanted to get you something.”

      I felt my cheeks redden at his words and a fuzzy feeling appeared in my stomach. “Well that’s ok, because I got you something too.” slipping out of his arms I went to my room and retrieved Ridge’s present from its hiding place in my wardrobe before returning to the living room, where Ridge was now sat on one of the sofas. I sunk down onto the sofa snuggling against him. “Here you are.” I said holding out the present.

      He chuckled and thanked me before carefully unwrapping it. I watched him anxiously, wondering what he would think of his present. It had been even harder deciding what to get for Ridge than it had for my parents, after all what did a vampire need? In the end I had decided to get Ridge a whisky flask so that he could carry some blood around with him at all times, in case he ever needed it.

      “A whisky flask?” Ridge asked amused.

      Groaning I dropped my head into my hands. “It’s to put blood in. Oh you hate it don’t you? I knew it was a bad idea...”

      He lifted my chin up with a finger and smiled his brilliant smile. “How could I hate it? It’s wonderful, thank you.”

      “Really?” I asked. “You’re not just saying that?”

      Ridge answered by kissing me in a way that stole my breath away. When he pulled away I was breathless and disorientated.

      “Here’s your present.” he handed me a nicely wrapped box and once I was capable of thought I opened it.

      “A camera!” I cried in shock.

      “Yes,” Ridge said with a smile. “You don’t have any photos in your room. I thought that you might like to take some of your friends.”

      “And us.” then with a frown I asked. “Will you even show up if I take a photo of you? Do you have a reflection in a mirror?”

      He laughed and replied. “Yes I will show up, and I do have a reflection.”

      I was relieved. “Good.”

      “Do you like it then?”

      “Yes thank you.” I told him merrily. “How did you pay for it though? Do you have a bank account or something?”

      Brushing hair from my face Ridge answered. “Yes I do, but every fifty years or so I have to change banks. I have several investments that keep my bank account relatively full.”

      I opened my mouth to ask him some more questions, but Ridge stood up and pulled me to my feet.

      “Did you want to go outside?”

      I got my coat and boots and instead of going downstairs and out the backdoor Ridge insisted on scooping me up in his arms and flying out the window. Landing effortlessly on the snow covered ground, Ridge set me down. He gazed up at the night sky smiling as the falling snow landed on his skin.

      “It’s been decades since I’ve done this.” he sighed contently but then blinked in surprise when I threw a snowball at his face.

      I grinned at him, daring him to do something in revenge. A playful look flittered through his eyes and then he was at my side, shoving snow down my back.

      “Ah! That’s cold!” I exclaimed jumping around as I tried to shake the snow out. “Ridge!”

      He laughed and stood nearby looking back up at the sky.

      I knew that he would be able to hear me coming, but that didn’t stop me from creeping up behind him. I had been planning to jump onto his back, but Ridge whirled around and drew me into his arms. We span around before landing on the ground laughing. I smiled at Ridge and he covered me with his cape. Our lips met and suddenly it was like we were the only ones in the world. I could feel the snow seeping into my jeans but I was concentrating on where Ridge’s hands were going. They were cool on my skin as they slid under my top and the tips of our tongues brushed. Ridge pulled away and it took me a while to realise why.

      Two zombies were stood nearby, having just come out of the portal. They were watching us silently. I blushed and my heartbeat started to slow back down to a normal rhythm. After a while the zombies left and I burst into laughter.

      “That was so weird.” I said rolling out of Ridge’s arms. “At least they didn’t try to eat our brains.”

      Ridge’s eyes were full of amusement as he watched me make a snow angel. “That looks like fun.”

      “Have you never made a snow angel before?”

      He shook his head.

      I gazed at him in shock. “You are centuries of years old, how have you never made a snow angel?”

      “I have no idea.” Ridge grinned. “So how do you do it?”

      “Just move your arms and legs like this.” I said, giving him a demonstration.

      Ridge copied me and I burst into laughter.

      “I should have brought my camera with me.”

      

      “Are you happy?”

      It was New Year’s Eve and Ridge and I were on the roof of the town hall, sat on a picnic blanket with a basket of food for me, and some blood for Ridge. We were waiting for the clock to strike midnight and for the fireworks to start.

      “Am I happy?” I repeated in surprise, pausing in my photo taking.

      Ridge nodded looking worried as he gazed at the town clock in the distance.

      “Ridge, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. You make me very happy.” he turned to look at me and I kissed him. “What about you? Are you happy?” I asked rubbing my gloved hands together, warding away the cold.

      Ridge placed a cool hand on my cheek and stared into my eyes. “You are the best thing that has ever happened to me, Danira. Never forget that.” he replied, his voice gentle.

      Tears sprang to my eyes and I hastily blinked them away.

      The crowd gathered in the town square below started counting down, and when the clock struck midnight Ridge and I cheered along side them.

      “Happy new year!” I grinned squashing my lips to Ridge’s.

      He gave a crooked smile and hooked a finger in the waistband of my jeans, dragging me closer. “If every minute of the year is like this then it will be the best year of my life.”

      Feeling embarrassed I laughed and let Ridge pull me down onto the blanket with him. We watched the firework display in the comfort of each other’s arms. I took a video of the fireworks with my camera, as well as a few photos of me and Ridge, serious and funny ones.

      “I should take you home.” Ridge said after a while. He sounded reluctant.

      Closing my eyes I clung to him, not wanting to move a muscle. “Not yet.”

      He gave an amused chuckle. “Are you falling asleep, Danira?”    

      “No,” I answered prising my eyes open. “I was just resting my eyes.”

      “Come on, up you get. What time did you tell your father that you would be back by?”

 

      “Twenty minutes late. I said half past twelve Danira and I meant it.” Dad’s eyes were hard and his face had taken on a red hue, which was the result of his rage and not alcohol.  

      I crossed my arms in irritation. “Dad, its New Year’s Eve of course I was going to get back late.”

      “Are saying that you had no intention of coming home at half past twelve?” he demanded, becoming angrier by the second.

      “You know that’s not what I meant! We just lost track of time, ok? I’m sorry.” I sent Mum an imploring look but she continued to silently chop up vegetables. Had she and Dad had an argument while I had been out?

      “It’s his fault isn’t it? Ever since you started seeing him you’ve been acting out. You turn up late, you dyed your hair.” Dad stared me in the eyes. “I don’t want you seeing him anymore Danira.”

      I felt like I’d been staked in the heart. “What?” I whispered shocked beyond belief. “Dad you can’t do that.”

      “Carlton...” Mum said putting down her knife.

      Dad shook his head determined. “No, I mean it. You are not to see him.”

      Tears ran down my cheeks. I felt sick and had to grip the kitchen counter for support. “Dad, please don’t do this. I...I’ll be good I swear. I won’t go out at all. I’ll get rid of the streaks. I’ll do whatever you want just please let me see Ridge.”

      Mum’s voice was thunderous when she spoke, something I had never imagined could happen. “You’ve gone to far this time.” her expression was ice cold as she regarded Dad.

      Turning away I gave a sob. A life without Ridge... I couldn’t imagine it.

      I don’t know if it was because of Mum’s words, or because of my obvious distress, but Dad said. “Fine, you can see him, but you have to do everything that you are told. Everything, Danira.” he sounded bitter and was ignoring Mum completely.

      I gazed at him unwaveringly. “Anything,”

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