The woman was drinking coffee and reading her book when the vampire came into the café. He moved like a silky curtain in an open window on a breezy day, sat down at the table opposite hers.
She didn’t know he was a vampire. She was just assuming it. She looked at his remarkably pale and unblemished face and the long black cloak that was trailing behind him and figured it was okay to draw the conclusion.
The vampire flashed his fangs. Yes, I am a vampire, he wished to say by doing so, and she understood exactly what he meant. It wasn’t threatening at all, it was intended as the opposite, like placing a gun where you can see it, and so the woman could go back to feeling completely at ease.
“How is it that you’re out and about in daylight?” the woman asked. “You’ve certainly picked a nice day for it.” It was lovely out, the sun was outdoing itself for the time of year.
“Oh, well, we’ve evolved beyond all that nonsense by now,” the vampire told her. “The sun just doesn’t bother us at all, not any more.” He took off his sunglasses and placed them on the table. “These are just to help me look cool,” he said, and he smiled at her.
“Well I think you look very cool,” the woman said. She couldn’t believe she said it, but it was also the way she’d said it, like a teenager in a date movie. She was flirting with a vampire. She didn’t even know his name and she was practically waving her panties, matador-like, in front of him.
“I even have a sun holiday booked for next month,” the vampire said. “I’m going to the Greek Islands. I’m even planning to lay around on beaches reading paperbacks and getting a tan.” He laughed a vampire’s laugh, throwing his head back. It always seemed as if vampires performed every little thing with the expectation of adding another iconic moment to cinema history. Though it wasn’t the case, the woman flushed as though following script.
“That sounds great,” the woman answered. She was trying to hold in a chuckle but she wasn’t quite succeeding. She hadn’t spent a lot of time around vampires, not knowingly, at least. “I’m sorry, but your laugh… It’s just so… What’s the word?”
“Oh, that’s okay,” he said. “I know what you mean. I guess Hollywood got that part spot in. It’s completely over-the-top, right? Maybe a good time to remember less being more?”
“No, no, it’s great, honestly. Less is never more.” The woman was enjoying the vampire’s company. She wanted to ask him to join her. She no longer saw any reason why they should be sitting at separate tables.
“Do you mind if I sit with you?” the vampire asked then. “I’m so enjoying our chat. I don’t see why we shouldn’t share a table.”
“Of course, please,” the woman said, wondering if he’d literally read her mind, and at the same time sliding the opposite chair out with her foot. “I mean, as long as you haven’t had garlic for lunch. As long as you’re not going to be breathing a stench over me.”
He grinned and got up to join her. He could eat garlic, that was another thing they’d evolved beyond, and he’d become a big fan of it. A steak seasoned with wild garlic was his favourite, served bloody, naturally. “That’s a good one,” he said.
His eyes were beautiful, predictably, she thought. The woman gazed into them, took in their many rippling shades of silver. If he wanted to seduce her she was sure that he would succeed, and when she touched her wedding ring, it was unconvincing even to her, as though she’d only done it to see that it still existed.
The waiter came by to place a cappuccino in front of the vampire, and he smiled his thanks back at him.
“I just love the coffee here,” he said. “I’m completely addicted to it.” He took a sip and the woman watched the pleasure of taste as it spread across his face.
“It’s the best in town,” she said.
“It’s almost as good as AB-negative,” the vampire said. He grinned again. He could smell the woman’s blood type all the way through her skin, her flesh. “So very rare, and so very sweet.”
“I’m AB-negative, I’m fairly sure,” the woman said.
“Is that so?” the vampire said, and took another eager sip of his coffee.
Edward O’Dwyer is from Ireland and writes poetry and fiction. His most recent book, Cheat Sheets, a collection of short dark comedy fictions, was published by Truth Serum Press (2018). His third collection of poems from Salmon Poetry is due in Summer 2020, entitled Exquisite Prisons. His work has been regularly nominated for Pushcart, Forward and Best of the Web prizes.