Raven was miserable.
Missy had convinced him to take his clothes off so she could air dry them. He had insisted on keeping his underwear on.
“So, we just wrap this around your waist like so and so and tie it in a knot like so.”
He sighed. “Miss. This is a fleece-backed tablecloth. A tablecloth is not a viable alternative for slacks.”
“Neither’s running around in your underwear.”
He sighed again. “I can’t argue that.’
“Because I’m right.”
“Unfortunately, you’re quite right.”
“Umm. I’m not sure how well this knot is going to hold.” She tightened it again. “Tell you what. Just sit down at one of the desks and don’t move.”
“What? All night?”
“Until your clothes are dry.” She dusted off the Varsity jacket she had found in the teacher’s lounge. “And you might want to put this on your top half.”
He gave it a dour look.
“That jacket does not go well with this tablecloth.”
She burst out laughing.
“Who cares what it looks like?”
His mouth dropped open.
“As long as it covers what it needs to cover up.”
“With that logic, I might as well wear a garbage bag.”
“Really? I think I saw a roll in—”
“I am not wearing a garbage bag.”
“Too bad. I bet you’d make it look good.”
“Especially if you cinch it just right in the waist. You have a very nice waist just so you know I bet no one’s ever told you that before but it’s true.”
She looked at his bare chest and smiled. “Nice chest too.”
He put the jacket on and zipped it up.
He walked over to the nearest student’s desk with as much dignity as he could muster. The tablecloth rustled and shifted with each step.
He sat down.
The knot came undone.
He tied it up and sat there, looking miserable. “Can’t you use your heat to make my clothes dry faster?”
“No. I don’t have that kind of control over my XQ self. If I tried to use my heat to dry your clothes, poof! Your clothes would go up in flames.”
He imagined shuffling home in his current get-up. Such imaginings made him die a little bit inside.
She sat in the desk next to him.
He tightened the knot again.
“So. I’m curious. What did it feel like?”
“Becoming a vampire.”
He looked down at the “I heart Misery” scrawled on his desk top.
“Oh. You don’t have to tell me if it’s too difficult.”
“No. It’s all right, miss.”
She had marigold colored hair and black eyes. “In that small second before the fangs touch your neck, you feel nothing but fear. You know what’s going to happen and there’s no escaping it.”
“No! Please don’t!” “The fangs pierce. For exactly five seconds, you feel it. A rush of euphoria and wonderful pleasure. Then, those five seconds are up.”
His eyes widened. He opened his mouth. An endless scream came out. “The pain begins. Your skin splits. Your bones crack and break and shatter and you only want death to come. Your entire world disappears into colors of red and scents. You want to eat it all.”
“Death. Five to seven minutes later, life begins again.”