Home > For the Love of a Vampire (Blood Like Poison #1)(10)

For the Love of a Vampire (Blood Like Poison #1)(10)
Author: M. Leighton

I opened my eyes in time to see his tongue sneak out, as if he was savoring me.

“Mmm.  You taste like candy, like strawberries and sugar.”

“It’s my lip gloss,” I said automatically.

He grinned again, but it didn’t quite reach his eyes.  They were steamy and intense.  “No, it’s not.  Trust me.”

He bent his head to mine again and dragged his lips from the corner of my mouth, across my cheek to my ear.

“Goodnight, Ridley.”

Mesmerized, I stood absolutely still and watched him go.


I stared into the empty darkness for several minutes after Bo left.  I relived that kiss over at least three times before I could bring myself to go inside.  I think I hesitated for so long because turning away was like an admission that the night was over and he wasn’t coming back, something I desperately wanted not to be true.

But, alas, reality waited, quickly making itself heard via the shrill voice of my mother.  She called to me from the living room as soon as I opened the front door.

“Ridley, is that you?”

“Yeah, Mom.  It’s me,” I answered, closing the door behind me and snapping the locks into place.

“Well get on in here and give your momma a hug,” she slurred.

I rolled my eyes and dropped my duffel by the door, resigned to a long night of babysitting.

When I walked into the living room, Mom was struggling to sit up on the couch, her royal blue dress a tangled mess around her legs.

“What the—” she exclaimed, pulling at the wispy material in obvious frustration.

“Here,” I said, rushing to the sofa to help her before she tore her new dress.  She wouldn’t remember doing it, but she’d be mighty upset in a few days when she found it laying in the bottom of her closet, trashed.

I moved her legs and leaned into her, pushing her up on one hip so I could gently extricate the material from under her butt.  It was wound around her like a tight blue cocoon.

“Alright, now you can sit up,” I announced once I’d freed her from the fabric.

Mom clumsily resituated herself on the couch and then patted the cushion beside her.

“Sit with me, tell me how’s your- how’s your life is,” she said, her tongue tangling over the words.  She frowned, knowing something didn’t sound right with that phrase, but unable to figure out what it was.  She closed her eyes in concentration.  “How are you?” 

When she opened her eyes, she looked satisfied with the less confusing sentence structure.

I sat down next to her and she put her arm around my shoulders and pulled me against her side.

“I’m fine, Mom.”

She smiled down at me.  “My baby’s going away soon.  You’ll be in Stanford and I’ll never get to see you,” she whined, her voice quavering.

“Yes, you will, Momma.  You just won’t see me every day.”

That thought always brought me a sense of relief and anticipation, which was then always followed by guilt for feeling that way about leaving home, about leaving my mother.

Attending Stanford was my goal, my one true dream in life.  It was just about the only thing that I truly looked forward to.  It kept me going when I wanted to give up and run away.  That’s why I put up with so much in cheerleading, and in life for that matter.  Going to Regionals would win me the athletic scholarship that would help pay for school.  My parents couldn’t afford to send me otherwise.  To me, that scholarship was worth whatever I had to endure for the next nine months to get it.  Whatever and whoever, Trinity included.

“I love you so much, Ridley,” she declared, giving me a hard kiss on the forehead.

“I love you too, Mom.”

“Now help me to the bathroom,” she groaned.  “I think I’m gonna be sick.”

Pulling her to her feet, I shuffled Mom to the half bath as quickly as her unsteady legs would allow.  I deposited her in front of the toilet and grabbed the bucket from under the sink.

When Mom gets sick, she gets clingy and doesn’t like me to leave her sight.  That’s why I started keeping a mobile medicine cabinet (i.e. the bucket) close at hand, always stocked and ready to go.

I kept it filled with supplies in case of emergencies of the inebriated variety.  The bucket itself was invaluable, especially when we couldn’t quite make it to the bathroom in time.  But inside it was a washcloth, some baby wipes, Tylenol, a bottled water, a sleeve of saltines and some mouthwash, all things she’d likely need and all in one container that I could grab on the fly.  Sadly, it had served me well on far too many occasions.

I wet the washcloth as she vomited into the commode.  Her brown hair was short so I didn’t have to worry about holding it out of the way.  I just wiped her face and forehead with the cool rag until she was finished.

When it seemed she’d gotten it all out, I helped her stand, got her cleaned up and took her to bed.

“Don’t go, Ridley.  Stay and rub my back.  Just for a minute,” she pleaded.

“Ok, Momma,” I said, crawling over her to lay down behind her.

I rubbed her back until I heard her breathing become deep and even.  Slowly, gently, I crept off the bed and tiptoed to the door.

Just as I was pulling it shut behind me, I heard her stir.

“Ridley,” she called, struggling to roll off the bed.

“I’m right here, Momma,” I whispered, hoping she’d quiet and go back to sleep.

“Help me to the bathroom.”

Hurrying back to the bed, I draped her arm over my shoulders and supported her as we made our way to her en suite bathroom.  Unfortunately, we weren’t fast enough, though.  Mom started throwing up just before I got her head in front of the toilet.  As luck would have it, it landed right on the H in the middle of my uniform.  The H happened to be white.

After I got Mom situated in front of the commode again, I went to the sink to put soap and water on my top.  It was no use, however, as she must’ve had red wine.  I knew I’d have to treat the stain and wash it right away or it would never come out, and the origin of the stain was something I didn’t feel like explaining to every Tom, Dick and Harry at school.

Dreamy thoughts of escaping to Stanford rolled through my head for the thousandth time.  Although I worried about what would happen to Mom when I went away to school, it always made me feel better to visualize that tiny ray of light at the end of the tunnel, and at times like this, that speck of hope far outweighed my guilt over leaving.

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