The long black cloak was a dead give-away. The slicked hair, the golden pendant shaped like a star. The way he loomed over the salt-shaker.
Trisha had set me up with another vampire.
I sighed and leaned against the bar. He hadn’t seen me yet, I could just leave -back to my dusty house and re-runs of NCIS. Why did Trisha keep doing this to me? The first time had been awkward, and the second unbearable — she always feigned surprise, her eyebrows climbing into the stratosphere of her forehead.
My mother’s manners were iron. I finished my drink, and marched over to introduce myself to my date for the evening.
“Hello, I’m Dorothy — are you Gregori?”
He knocked over the salt-shaker in his haste to make a florid cape-gesture. It tumbled across the table, clattering.
“Mh-yes, I am Gregori. You look so beautiful in the moonlight of this evening. The moonlight in this evening? Of…in? You look so beautiful in the moonlight….?” he finished lamely, standing at the table. “I am Gregori.”
Then he reached forward and righted the salt-shaker.
“It’s nice to meet you, Gregori — do you mind if I sit down?”
“But of course, my dear…othy. Dorothy. ”
I arched an eyebrow, and found myself having to fight a grin. Gregori smoothed his medallion, and cocked his head to the side.
“Please forgive my familiarity, it is the custom in my country.” he nodded mysteriously.
“And what country is that?”
“Pittsburgh.” I looked down into my purse to keep from laughing. This poor man. He seemed so uncomfortable in the lifestyle that he’d chosen, a serious, brooding expression locked on his face. So determined to be convincing, like a kid in his father’s coat – giving a speech before the class.
I reached across the table and laid my hand on his wrist. He went as still as the grave, a look of pure terror appearing in his eyes. They were nice eyes, brown.
“Greg — can I call you Greg? I’m a woman, and you’re a man. It’s nighttime and we’re adults, and I’m already having a great time.”
Gregori’s eyes never left mine, but he laid his other hand on top of mine.
“I’m making a proper impression?” he said hopefully.
“You’re inexorably falling under my sway?”
“Let’s not push it – we’ll see.”
A human smile peeked out of his chalk-white face.
“I am having a great time as well, my dea–my Dorothy.”
I smiled, and gave his wrist a squeeze. “Now, what kind of pizza do you like?”
“Anything without garlic.”
[This week’s Story on Demand was brought to you by Fran, the number 7, and the letter Q.]