The rest of the week goes by quickly. I keep trying to get Matt alone but every attempt ends in failure. He is never alone at school, constantly telling anyone that will listen about his date. If he wasn't grounded I would visit him at home, but that isn't an option at the moment. Eliza has begun doing nighttime patrols to see if there are any more sightings. There have been none. It's Saturday and Matt's big date is tonight. His weeklong grounding has been lifted. Eliza and I head over to his house, planning to finally tell him. Hopefully, he listens. We arrive and he excitedly takes us upstairs to help him pick out what to wear. I'm nervous and I can tell Eliza is too. He finally decides on an outfit, a red shirt and some nice jeans. Red. How appropriate.
He finally sits down with us and starts to talk about Evan. About how they have been talking and messaging each other all week and how great he is. We need to tell him. I need to tell him. He's in the middle of retelling a joke that Evan apparently sent him when I can't take it anymore. "Your boyfriend is a vampire!" I shout, "A blood-sucking creature of the night!"
The room goes quiet after my outburst. Eliza looks like she wants to hit me. While I admit that was not the most eloquent way of telling him, at least I said it. Matt starts laughing. "That's a good one, Annie!" he says through his chuckles, "a vampire? Really? Someone has been watching too much television lately."
"I'm not joking! I saw him in an alley covered in blood! He ate Roscoe! You have to believe me."
"First off, who is Roscoe? And second, what are you talking about? Covered in blood? You haven't even met him yet!" Matt says with obvious anger and confusion. I begin to tell my story again, with Eliza interjecting occasionally. When I finish Matt is quiet and is looking down at the floor. He isn't taking this well and I don't blame him. He thought he finally found a decent guy in Greendale only to find out that he's been talking to a monster. He's realizing just what Evan meant when he asked him to dinner.
"I can't believe you would go this far to keep me from going out with someone," he says with malice in his voice. "I thought you were my friends, but I guess I was wrong."
"Matt, we are not lying! We are trying to protect you! You are our best friend and we just want what is best for you!" I say with tears streaming down my face. Why won't believe me? He's known me for years; he should know that I would never try to hurt him unless there was a good reason.
"Get out," he says coldly. "Just go." I can feel my heart breaking. He doesn't believe me and now I've ruined one of the best friendships I've ever had. Even worse is that I might lose even more than that if he goes on that date tonight. Eliza grabs my hand and drags me out of the house. Matt says nothing as we walk out. His date starts in a few hours and I failed.
Eliza and I decide to stake out the date. If Matt won't listen then at least we can be there if anything happens. We are stationed across the street from the restaurant with a pair of binoculars. Matt and Evan have just arrived at the door and are being led inside. Seeing him now in person confirms what I already knew. It is definitely the same person. Matt has a huge smile on his face and is laughing at something Evan said. Apparently, vampires can be funny. I wonder if he'll still be laughing when Evan's teeth are piercing his throat later.
The date seems to be going well and they stay in the restaurant for a couple of hours before finally getting up to leave. They emerge from the restaurant holding hands. If he wasn't a killer I would say they make a cute couple. I gather my surveillance equipment so that I can move to a new location. Eliza, wearing her blue super suit, takes to the air. She can get a better vantage point from above and if she gets caught she can just say Dragonfly was patrolling the area. Thankfully Matt doesn't know about her double life yet. We have our phones so we can keep in contact. I trail them from the ground, hiding behind plants and in alleys the entire way. Definitely one of the stranger things I've found myself doing, but if it's for a friend I will do whatever it takes! They stop and head inside of the movie theater. Eliza rushes down beside me. We have to follow them inside. Movie theaters are dark and the perfect place to hide nefarious activities. Eliza quickly covers her suit and removes the mask. We walk up to the window to get tickets, trying to keep a low profile. We manage to make it into the movie and sit in the back, several rows behind our targets. They seem to be having a lot of fun. It's a shame we have to end it.
The movie we are watching is some ridiculous horror flick about a doll that comes to life. Interesting that these two would choose a horror movie to watch, though I suspect Matt did that on purpose expecting his date to be easily scared. I swear that boy is a walking cliché sometimes. From where I sit I can see his arm around the back of Evan's seat. I roll my eyes at the predictability and Eliza is trying to stifle giggles beside me. The movie reaches its climax and I find myself getting invested, so much so that I stop paying attention to our little couple. The lights come on as the credit roll. We were supposed to exit before the movie ended so we wouldn't be seen. Too late. Matt has noticed us and he looks like he could murder us. The mission is a failure.
He grabs me by the arm and drags me out to the lobby, Eliza and Evan following. He turns me to look at him before he starts yelling. I see Evan behind him with a look of absolute terror on his face. I think he recognizes me. Good. "I can't believe you! Just stay out of my business and leave us alone." Matt says, but I'm paying him very little attention. Eliza is speaking to Evan, but his eyes keep wandering to me. He knows that I know.
"Why don't you tell him the truth, Evan? If that is your real name?" I remark, ignoring Matt's anger for the time being.
"Annette stop!" Matt shouts.
"You recognize me. I know you do. You had me pinned against a wall earlier this week!" I say accusingly. Evan visibly stiffens his eyes looking back and forth between Matt and I. Matt reaches over and grabs his arm, leading him away with a glare and an angry scoff.
"Don't you dare follow us." He says over his shoulder as they walk away. Eliza and I just look at each other before taking off after them.
We find ourselves traveling down Main street towards the alleyway where this all began. Evan apparently has a favorite dinner location. Eliza flies us both up to the roof of one of the building so we can look down and watch. They are talking in hushed tones. Matt seems to be apologizing for my behavior earlier. Evan stops him though. We can only hear bits and pieces of the conversation, but when even flashes his fangs I knew it was time to intervene. Eliza and I jump down in between our friend and his would-be attacker, preparing to fight if need be. Evan jumps back in surprise and Matt is visibly shaking behind us. "Don't worry Matt we are here to protect you!" Eliza says as I try to calm him down.
"I told you not to follow," Matt says quietly. "I'm okay. Just leave. Please."
"But Matt!" I say trying to talk some sense into him. This is a real-life vampire we are talking about.
"He won't hurt me," Matt whispers as he pushes me aside. "He isn't dangerous. I know he's not. So please go home and let me finish my date." He grabs Evans hand and starts walking out of the alley. Evan looks just as surprised as us as he is led away. Eliza and I stand in the alley, shock on our faces. Matt chose to continue his date with a vampire.
Matt does not respond to any of our messages the next day; however, he does change his relationship status online. He's alive. He also has a vampire boyfriend now apparently. I want to be happy for him but I'm still scared. Evan may not intend to hurt Matt, but that doesn't mean he isn't dangerous. I make it to second-period geometry. Matt is there but he hasn't looked my way at all. I guess I did end up ruining our friendship. The bell rings and I head to my locker hoping to talk to him. Matt continues down the hall. This feels awful and I want to apologize, but also I don't feel like I should have to. I was right about Evan, even if I was wrong about his intentions. I did see him in that alleyway that night. I did see Roscoe's blood on his face. I needed to save Matt from the same fate.
Lunch has finally arrived and I expect to see an empty spot at our table where Matt usually sits. Instead, I hear him laughing and see him and Eliza laughing about something on his phone. I hesitantly approach and set my stuff down. Matt grins at me and hands me his phone. On it is an open chat with Evan. The two of them have apparently been sending vampire puns and jokes to each other. The most recent one, from Evan, is a picture of him with a cup of coffee with the words 'don't worry, it's decoffinated' written over it in red lettering. I found myself giggling along with my friends as I hand the phone back. Everything seems to be okay. We laugh and joke throughout lunch and Matt explains what happened after we left. Apparently, Evan has only been a vampire for a few months. He got attacked while visiting the city and found himself with red eyes and need for blood. So far he's been dealing with this craving with a diet of very rare meat products and the occasional stray animal. Matt explains that the night I caught Evan red-fanged, Roscoe had already escaped the fence. He apparently cut himself on the way out and Evan followed the scent. He had no idea that Roscoe had an owner. I remember the little tufts of blue fur on the fence and at the entrance to the alley. It made sense. The stupid dog hurt himself in a ridiculous escape attempt. Evan saw an opportunity, and though I am not sure how okay I am with the idea of him sucking the life out of little cats and dogs all over the city, I can understand why. Matt invited me and Eliza to hang out with him and Evan later this week so that we can get to know him properly and so that I can apologize for outing him without his permission. I have my friend back and I couldn't be happier.
I went to Eliza's again that night to study for a geometry make-up exam. Mrs. Womack took pity on me and is letting me retake the test. On the way home I stop in front of the Davis' empty backyard remembering the stupid blue dog that used to inhabit it. Mrs. Davis comes outside and smiles and waves at me as she holds the door open behind her. A little blue creature comes running outside and starts jumping on the fence. Roscoe is alive! I find myself laughing and petting the little menace as he excitedly licks at my hands. If I notice that his teeth seem a little sharper than before, I don't say anything. Some secrets are best left unsaid.
I continue my trek home, passing the dark alleyways and watching as the streetlights come on. I am just an ordinary high school student heading home after a long day. My life is still ordinary. There is nothing that special about me. Those around me, however, have a much more interesting story to tell. My best friend is a superhero, fighting crime and saving the world. My other best friend is dating a vampire. Sometimes I'm glad that I'm ordinary. I think I'd rather just stay in the background for now.