Julianna was feeling good. She had gone home, changed clothes and taken double her usual dose of V in a fit of reckless abandon and elation at having gotten away with stealing the vials. She had justified the murder of the dealer as the right thing to do, in her mind. She was just doing her part in cleaning up the streets, and while the Fellowship may not know about it, they would probably thank her if they did. Of course, she would leave out the part about pocketing the vamp blood and the cash.
The brunette had decided maybe a night out would complement the buzz nicely, and she had settled on this club. She navigated the dance floor, holding her drink aloft. Most of the music the DJ was spinning had come out before she was born, but she barely even noticed. Everything was brighter, faster, louder and sharper. The people who started V and thought their lives wouldn't change were fooling themselves. Everything changed.
It's hot here at night, lonely, black and quiet On a hot summer night Don't be afraid of the world we made On a hot summer night...
Well, summer was long over until next year, but Billy Idol's voice snaking out of the sound system made it seem like it was going to be August forever. Theresa had stripped out of her jacket and was dancing by herself, the pale flesh of her shoulders accentuated by the narrow sleeves of her black tank top, and she was so zoned out that she might as well have been alone instead of in the middle of a crowd. She got like like that sometimes, especially when she was burning off the last of her latest feed, so unaware of the world around her that she was in danger of walking out into traffic. The perils of eternal teenager-hood.
The vampire felt it in the soles of her feet as the song went on, and she finally slipped out of the crowd to get a fast drink of Coke. Caffeine always helped, no matter your state of being, and she had hours until dawn. Might as well party while she could.
The flailing arm of an over-zealous girl knocked into Julianna's, and her perilously over-filled plastic cup tilted enough to send a cold splash of Sprite with illicitly smuggled vodka to hit the top of a guy's gelled hair. The man immediately stopped dancing and ran his fingers through his hair, feeling the bubbly soft drink and giving Julianna a death glare. "Watch where you're going." He gave her an up-and-down glance, stopping short when he met her gaze. "Freak."
She shouldered past him, causing more of the drink to slosh onto his button-down. "Sorry," she laughed.
The guy's girlfriend spoke up, crossing thin arms. "There's no need to be a bitch. It was your bad in the first place."
Julianna turned around, still grinning. "Actually, there is every need to be a bitch. Maybe if you were, you wouldn't end up with the loser in the Brooks Brothers." She set the nearly empty cup down on their table and shrugged out of her jacket. "Anything else you want to say on behalf of your boy?"
Theresa chugged down the entirety of her soda in a few gulps, then waded through the crowd to yell an order for a new one over the music. Billy Idol had given way to Duran Duran, and Girls on Film kicked into gear as she headed back towards where the strobe lights pulsed and flashed. What she wouldn't give for a little more height sometimes....
There were three people blocking the narrow path to where the other dancers thrashed and writhed, and the diminutive vampire's shoulder bumped Brooks Brother's forearm as she tried to get past. "Watch it," he snapped at her, already annoyed from the earlier collision, and Theresa looked up at him with a slightly unfocused expression. She could smell the hair product he'd used. Why were guys always the first ones to open their mouths? Still looking as if she might be mentally elsewhere, she reached out and put a hand on his arm just beyond his elbow. Gave him a squeeze, watched him go pale. "Don't be rude, please."
Watching this new exchange, Julianna cocked an eyebrow. Now, that was interesting. She turned her attention to the girl. The soldier was only about three inches taller than her, but the smaller brunette obviously packed a wallop. She pushed aside her annoyance at not being the one to put Mr. Hair Gel in his place. Grabbing her jacket, she made her way toward the bar, a smirk gracing her lips. Vampire? Quite possibly.
"I'll have another Sprite, and...," she turned around, looking at the maybe-vamp, "whatever she's having." Julianna peeled a ten off the stack she had stolen from Fox and slid it across the ultra-modern surface of the bar, her flask of booze poking out of the hip pocket of her tight jeans.
"Nobody can have what I've got. These are my off hours."
It was a mutter, and Theresa decided to give herself a few minutes to sit. The last thing she needed was for Brooks Brothers to go whining to somebody about the show of strength she'd just made. The Revelation aside, not everyone in Chicago seemed comfortable with how things were. A low profile seemed like a good idea. She sidled back in the direction of her table, snagged her drink. A head movement indicated the couple behind them. "Sorry if that was a friend of yours."
"Nah," she replied, setting her jacket down on a chair. "He's a tool. And I work with tools on a daily basis, so I know them when I see them." Julianna took a sip of her untampered Sprite. She could feel her own blood rushing through her ears. Sneaking a glance at the other girl, she wondered what it must be like, to be a vampire in a club like this, everyone's blood just at the surface of their skin. And she wondered if vamps deserved more credit than the Fellowship allowed, but whenever thoughts like that, thoughts dangerously close to those edicts spouted out by sympathizers, she only need remember her mother, and how she and her brother had no other recourse except the church.
"I'm Rain," she said, using the nickname only her secular friends knew.
"Theresa." A handshake was not offered. People their age didn't shake hands. Rain looked about twenty, maybe a touch older. She also looked high, although on what Theresa didn't know. She knew the signs though, if only because she'd been well on her way to being an addict herself at the time of her death. She wondered what the other girl was trying to smooth the edges off of.
"Hadn't expected to find a good dance club around. Even with the jerk quotient, this is pretty cool."
"Yeah, it's better than some. No dress code, either." Julianna didn't even want to attempt to tally the times she had been turned away at the door because she wasn't wearing four-inch stiletto heels, or a skirt that defied several public decency laws. She didn't go out to snag a boyfriend or a one-night stand -- there were plenty of repressed, horny guys at church for that -- but rather to do something to blow off steam that didn't involve blood or a punching bag. Or shooting people.
Glancing around to make sure there weren't any bored, skulking security in their proximity, she withdrew the flask from her pocket and motioned to Theresa. "You want some? I'm under 21, or else I'd just get a real drink at the bar like everyone else. They card hard here." It was funny, but this was the exact manner in which she made a lot of friends when she was in high school.
"I don't drink, but thanks." She'd never developed the taste for it before, had been too busy discovering other substances to abuse her body with, and now there seemed to be little point in indulging with booze where there was blood to drink. The synthetic stuff aside, nothing had the kick of a mouthful of B positive.
"Guess with school back in session this place turns into a meat market," Theresa said with some distaste. "Hopefully not all of them will be losers."
She gave the girl another sidelong glance. The vampire radar was growing ever higher, but Julianna couldn't help but feel slightly apathetic about it. It was her night off, after all, and the Fellowship frowned on soldiers attempting a kill without their partners or a team, especially in public places. Besides, she only had her silver chain with her and a knife, and ever since the Revelation, people knew the risks of going out at night, looking like veritable vamp bait. She wasn't a superhero, or even a regular hero, for that matter.
"I guess. I can't vouch for any of them, though. Meeting new people is not something I do often." Another sip of Sprite. When Theresa mentioned school, it brought to mind something distant, how her mother used to push her about going to college. She was that age. Julianna was certain she wasn't missing much.
"So, are you in school, then?"
"No, I work." She still called it that even now, and it gave her pause. Vampirism was one thing, but prostitution was still fairly taboo. She looked at Rain's somewhat drawn face, decided to drop a hint and see what happened over it. "I'm in the retail business. Its a little better than minimum wage, but not by much." Small shoulders lifted in a shrug. "High school was stupid, its why I dropped out." A short pause. "Think I could get some of whatever else it is you're on? You look like you're about to orbit right out of here."
Julianna looked sharply at Theresa, caught off-guard. One of the first rules the Fellowship had taught her, when they first had her try V, was to never admit to anyone she was using it, especially not out loud, in a public place, where any vampire could listen in. The undead didn't fancy humans using, selling or buying the stuff. Dealers and users disappeared all the time, and sometimes if their families were lucky, a limb or two would turn up for identification.
"I smoked some pot at home," she replied. "I don't have any on me, though," she added apologetically. "You just never know when the cops are going to hassle you. They never have anything better to do."
Setting her empty cup down on the table, she veered the subject back in the earlier direction. "I dropped out of high school, too. I had too much other crap going on."
Theresa showed some teeth in a smile, snagged her cup. "So what's fun around here? I just migrated from California, what's worth a second look?"
Some of her own kind might have called her foolish for continuing this conversation, that nothing a human had to say was that interesting, but Theresa believed in knowing what was what, especially when things seemed to be on the edge of chaos. Information was power, no matter how unimportant it might seem. Besides, there was something about Rain that she liked. "Something that'll keep the cops from being interested, as nosy as they are."
"What's fun...well, there's a shooting range I'm particularly fond of, just outside of Chicago. I mean, if you're into target practice," Julianna supplied. "As for keeping the cops at bay, then I'd suggest the type of fun that's done behind closed doors. Or else, make friends with the dirty cops. They usually have the best party favors, if you know what I mean." And then she smiled, looking more present than she had all evening, as her eyes zeroed in on Theresa and really took her in.
"You don't seem like a California girl."
As she spoke, a guy and a girl sauntered past them, heading toward a door that was marked 'roof access -- employees only.'
"Fangbanger," she remarked darkly. "I guess upstairs is a feed spot."
The vampire turned casually, watched the couple disappear behind the heavy, white-painted door. A sudden bad vibe from the other brunette. Careful now, very careful. "I was born in L.A," she answered truthfully. "Ran off to Hollywood after I dropped out of school, started hanging out with what Mom and Dad would have called a bad crowd. Not that they noticed I was gone, I'm sure. Too busy getting drunk and fucking around on each other."
She smiled again, but it was a tight one this time. Her head tilted towards the spot where the door had swung shut, the staircase beyond. "It's a fetish," she said with a deliberate lack of inflection. "A sex thing. Before I came out here I used to see an underground magazine in the record stores and clubs that had ads about where to go if you wanted to get bitten. Life's changed a lot in the last few years."
Julianna shrugged, watching another girl set a brand new mixed drink on the table next to theirs and drift off onto the dance floor to shake it with her friends. She snagged the drink in one fluid motion and turned her back on the floor, facing Theresa fully. "It definitely has. Although I don't think I'd be into that...I don't trust a vampire to not just go full-hog and drain me. What's to stop them? And I like being in control, anyway. That's hard when your partner is a supernatural being with supernatural strength.
"What about you? Have you ever...?"
Theresa thought about Dane, the way he'd started nuzzling up against her neck at first. She hadn't even realized what he was doing to her until he'd started; he wasn't the first one to bite her and draw blood. Her expression turned inward, and she had to stop herself from drifting away. There had been pain, then the slow drain, unconsciousness and finally death. She felt differently about it once it was done, of course, but at the time? At the time she didn't stop crying until the blood loss mercifully knocked her out.
"Just once," she said, and again it was the truth, although not perhaps in the way Rain believed. "That was all I needed of that."
Then the song changed again, and the shorter brunette lifted her face to the ceiling as David Bowie's Let's Dance started blasting through the speakers overhead. "Omigod, I love this song!" she said, bouncing out of her chair as her mood shifted. "C'mon, let's get out there," she invited, holding her hand out to the other girl.
Taking Theresa's hand, Julianna smirked. "You really like the '80's tunes," she commented, spinning out onto the dance floor and clearing a space of about four square feet for them to move. The place really was packed tonight, but once one got into the swing of things, it was easily forgotten. The song wasn't really her style, but dancing was. "I think this is on one edition of Dance Dance Revolution, on Playstation," she mused idly.
"Yeah, the video game folks are co-opting a lot of 'old' music," Theresa said. "Its a lot better than most of today's crap, though. All the Britney Spears wanna-bes, ugh."
Rain was a pretty good dancer from what she could tell, and she had to remind herself that the whole vampire thing was probably a deal-breaker. Tensions were likely bubbling just beneath the surface, and the best thing to do would be just observe until she had a better feel for how things might shake out. Still... "You come in here by yourself a lot?"
"I'm by myself most of the time," she explained, putting her hair up in a quick ponytail. The mix of vamp blood and alcohol began to take effect, causing a curious contradiction of sensations. Hyper-aware yet uninhibited. She was pretty sure by now that Theresa was a vampire, but it was so fascinating to talk to one, to interact with one instead of going straight for a kill. Maybe she'd learn something. Or maybe she was having fun and didn't want to admit it to herself.
"Except at work." She took hold of Theresa's hand again, lifted it above her head and spun the smaller girl around. Yeah, she was definitely buzzed.
Theresa went with the twirl, almost asked what Rain did for work, then decided not to bother. Up close, she could smell just the faintest trace of vodka and something more familiar. To a sensitive nose, all smells were more pronounced. Blood. And the taller brunette's heartbeat was obvious even under all the noise and music.
Well. That was too bad.
"I'm pretty much a loner too," she said. "Came out from California on my own, don't expect that to change much. I guess I'm not much for company unless they don't annoy me."
Julianna smiled, pausing during the brief break in songs. "Do I annoy you?" A curious sensation washed through her, and she realized the crowd was starting to thin out a little. She looked down at her watch. It was a little after 3 am. It had been around 1 when she first got to the club, which meant more than two hours had passed by with alarming speed. Usually she was painfully aware of the minutes ticking by, but then, she had a busy. She killed a drug dealer, stole a hell of a lot of V, and made a new vampire friend. If she was the type to keep a diary, it would make a killer entry -- no pun intended, she thought wryly to herself.
Theresa thought about it for a second, the song about to come to a close, and then she smiled cheekily. "Nope, you don't annoy me." And she wasn't going to think about why. Getting herself caught up with a Fellowship fanatic? Not her idea of a good time. It was too bad, but she had to think about her own safety.
"Guess loners sometimes flock together. There's irony, huh?"
"I guess that would be a good definition of it, yeah." Julianna smiled again. She glanced again at her watch. She was willing to bet Theresa wasn't the only vamp in the place, and on the flip side, she was probably the only Soldier of the Sun in the club. It seemed like a wise time for a retreat while things were still...relatively amicable. "I should probably get home," she said. "Maybe I'll see you around some time." Hopefully not as dinner, she didn't add.
"Yeah, its getting late." Something undefinable flitted across the shorter brunette's face, and she dropped Rain's hand and took a step backwards. Maybe she should get in touch with Finn, let him know the Fellowship was at least comfortable with the club scene. It was something a sheriff should know. It wasn't like they were friends or anything.
Time to let it go. "Be safe," she said just the same. "The streets are always dangerous, even without creepy-crawlies."