Emily sat in the chair, staring cautiously at the bottle of wine on the table in front of her. The scent of jerked pork chops wafted tantalizingly from the oven, but she hardly noticed. She heard the locks on the back door being undone, and seconds later Mary was stumbling in, dropping a box on the floor before joining her at the table.
“Smells good in here. I take it you’re eating in tonight?”
“Yep, and I made enough for both of us. Tristan told me he and James were going to spend some more time with Markus tonight. Speaking of, how’d it go today?”
“I think James is broken,” Mary replied, sitting down.
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t think vampires should be up and around during the day; they start acting all weird. James did, anyway.”
“Invading my personal space, smelling my hair, things like that.”
“That’s not overly strange,” Emily replied, thinking of some of James’s quirkier habits.
“Maybe not on its own, but then he yelled at me to leave, but then decided he couldn’t stand not having me around. Finally he started coughing and ran upstairs.”
“Is he OK?” Emily asked, startled.
“I guess so; really, I just left at that point. It’s probably just some sort of vampire brain damage caused by the sun. I’m going to try to not let it bother me unless he does it again.” Mary turned her attention to the bottle in the middle of the table. “You want me to open the wine, by the way?”
“I’m not sure I want to drink it.”
“Why not? This is good stuff! My parents get it on occasion. I’m surprised you splurged for it, actually.”
“I didn’t buy it.”
“Oh, well if Tristan bought it for you I guess you don’t have to share it with me. I’m sure you two will want to enjoy it together.”
“Tristan didn’t buy it either. Jacob left it.”
“How the hell can he afford this stuff?”
“Considering he’s under age, he probably stole it.”
“And he left it here because…?”
Emily wasn’t sure she wanted to tell Mary, but couldn’t come up with a reasonable lie with her friend staring at her.
“I think he may have a crush on me,” she mumbled.
Mary instantly laughed, despite the glare Emily gave her.
“Oh, shut up! It’s not funny! I have no idea how I’m going to deal with it.”
“You so brought this on yourself, you know; you’re too nice for your own good. I’m just surprised it’s taken this long for it to come to this.”
“Maybe, but I think it might have more to do with that vampire brain damage. He was acting pretty damned strange even if he does have some sort of misplaced affections. He was completely over the top.”
“Emily, I don't know if you've noticed, but the kid has weird coming out of his ears. I don’t know how you could even tell what was normal for him.”
Emily absent-mindedly began turning the bottle around, contemplating relative weirdness. While it was certainly true that Jacob was several miles from normal on a good day, something about his behavior earlier had seemed outside even his standard level of strangeness.
“I guess there is that whole ‘doing lawn care in his skivvies’ thing. Hopefully he just forgot to take his medication today.” Emily let go of the bottle and turned her attention back to her friend. “Did you know he can go out in daylight?”
“He didn’t burst into flames when he left, and he walked right out into the sunlight. I swear, just when I think I know everything there is to know about vampires, something else comes along.”
“That’s why I started a spreadsheet way back in the day.”
“Hell yes. I’ll print out a copy for you if you want. At any rate, I say that if he left the wine here, it’s fair game. I’m getting the corkscrew.”
“I guess so, but…”
“Do you think it’ll go with the pork chops?”
“Free booze goes with anything,” Mary pronounced matter of factly.
“Wise observation. I’ll plate up dinner.”
“And I’ll get the glasses.”