Flash: Prepping a Meal

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“Are you sure?” I ask a final time as the electric Lotus hissed into a parking space, waving my hand at the neon lights of the chosen restaurant. “Italian?”

My vampire date. Well, more like client, smirked as he opened the winged doors with a push of a button. “My only weakness for garlic is how much I enjoy it. Your bio did say you loved pizza.”

Climbing out of the long-slung vehicle without showing too much skin ending up being impossible, and Justin’s dark eyes blackened further. I forcefully suppressed the shiver rolling through my belly and along my spine, refusing to consider if it was fear or anticipation.

“Oh, I do.” I moved smoothly through the doors to the pizzeria. “Do you have any particular type in mind?”

“Not pineapple,” he said looking down, at my eyes, along the hair wisps escaped from my bun and playing over my exposed neck, and stopped deep inside my generous cleavage. “Please tell me you drink wine.”

“Of course.” I glance at the approaching waitress and bite back the rest of the statement. He knows I have a two-drink limit per the contract.

We are shown to a small table with a red and white checkerboard tablecloth. I glance over the menu, as he orders two glasses of red wine and antipasto platter from the hostess. She hustles the initial order to the kitchen; I saw her pricing his tailored suit and earrings, and knew she already calculated the tip for our table, because been-there-did-that for years. The new gig pays better than any of my previous jobs but carries bigger risks.

“I was thinking an appetizer, medium pizza, and some of almond cannolis for dessert. Or is that too much?”

I smile back, carefully keeping my teeth covered, just like Justin has been doing. The vampire culture only shows teeth for flirting and fighting, and isn’t that good at distinguishing between the two. “Not at all. Whatever you want.” I glide my fingers along his hand, tilting my head to the side, feeling the curls snake along the blue veins. His eyes fixate on my neck for a moment.

“Excellent. Too many women these day worry about their weight.”

“Well,” I shrug, my cleavage dragging his eyes down. “I let other people watch my weight and so far I’ve had no complaints.”

The wine arrived with the antipasto. I may have spoke too soon; the platter filled half the table. He places the order for the rest of my meal when the server asks if there is anything else. I sip the wine while waiting, watching him follow the swallows. Once we are back to our relatively private space, I unwrap my fork and wave it over the platter. “Where do you want me to start?”

“The olives.”

“Green or black?”

“The black, and, if you could, tell me what they taste like?”

The meal goes on. I tell him about the food, describing it in detail. Though he was a new client, most biters hunger for the commentary on food they can no longer have. In return, he tells me about memories related to the food. Places where it is grown, people he has known. I manage to tuck away the entire antipasto platter, the medium-sized house supreme pizza, and the six almond-creamed stuff cannolis. Justin exchanged our glasses a couple times during the meal so it looked like he was drinking as well.

Well fed, and comfortable with the alcohol, I let him guide me out of the restaurant with a hand about my waist. He still was old school enough he used cash to pay for everything, including the tip. I did my own tip calculations in my head based on that. I love old-school biters, they have had so much time to build their fortunes and they believe you get what you pay for.

(words 645; first published 1/9/2022)