Lying Through Her Fangs
Sighing, I ran the tip of my pink tongue over the salty rim of the glass and took another sip before scanning the occupants of the specialty bar. As a local and frequent visitor, I came here when I was bored or looking for entertainment outside of my stately southern home in Atlanta. Like cocktail nuts, it was a mix of human and nonhuman patrons that just needed to get away, even if it was a place to find your next fix. On the outside, this establishment was your average dive bar but rumors and frequenters knew the place for what it really was, a predominantly paranormal bar.
When a vampire wanted to find a safe place to get a neck to munch on or a shifter wanted to be served a raw steak with crispy tater tots, this was where they came to lounge. As I was a one hundred and five year old vampire, this was where I came to be around people that I didn’t have to hide from. Here is where I could get the bloodiest mary in town and it came with a chaser of real blood. I was on my first of the evening and my mood would call for at least one more before I headed to the echoing halls of my home.
“Xylia, you’re looking lovely and somber tonight,” Romero said as he leaned over the shiny wood bar in my direction.
“Same old, same old, I’m afraid,” I replied as I tossed down the chaser he slid toward me.
“How many times do I have to tell you that I’m right here?” He replied with our now standing joke about him taking care of my every need.
“Why don’t you have a ghoul of your own, Romero? You can’t be pining away for me every night as you get beings served and sauced around here.”
“You injure my unbleeding heart, Xylia!” He feigned a mortal shot to the chest.
Smiling, I added, “We would never work and you know it.”
“But you won’t know until you try,” He added with a pretty good leer.
“Enough is enough, old man. Can’t you let her be?” Wanda interjected as she brought fresh glasses from the back.
“It’s okay, Wanda. He knows I won’t be inviting him into my coffin anytime soon so he can flirt all he wants.”
“You have a coffin? Really? What kind of wood? Is the lining real silk or is that too difficult to clean after a midnight snack?”
"Romero!" Wanda snapped before smacking him in the back of his thick skull like a ripe melon.
"Whoa, woman. Don't mess up the hair!" He yelped at Wanda as she rolled her eyes in obvious annoyance.
"Wanda, it's fine and we don't need a scene over here if you kill him for simply being himself."
"Why do you put up with him when there are so much yummier objects around to play with?"
I muttered, "Here we go."
"You never come in here with a man and you sure as hell never leave with one. When are you going to settle down with some sexy thing who can sweep you off of those gorgeous legs of yours?"
"I'm Right Here!" Yelled Romero as he patted his goth t-shirt clad chest.
"Romero!" was said in unison but Wanda was the one who sounded outraged.
"Honey, why don't you let me fix you up with someone? It can be here in the bar so we can watch over you. It'd be perfectly safe and Romero here could actually be of some use if a man got out of line. Right?"
"Lord, no." Avoiding eye contact was best as the drink itself wasn't trying to hook me up with a shot glass out back. "No offense but I'm okay and can find a man of my own."
Wanda shook her head and pointed a finger at me, "You're one cat and one coffin waxing away from being a spinster and we both know it. Now what is your problem with me trying to get you a hot date while we make sure you're protected?"
Romero stepped up but not close enough for a swing as he gently reminded us of a time last year that was best forgotten, "Wanda, remember Gary?"
Groaning over my drink, I heard Wanda's facial tick from two feet away and Romero hunched like a wounded child.
"No way! We're not going there and neither is this topic."
I took a healthy gulp of my drink and wished I could get blitzed because the conversation had just taken a nose dive into the decaying remains of an old injury.
"Xylia Natouri, you are too amazing to be dying of old age with nothing but a coffin and Vogue magazines," whined my oldest friend.
"Isn't your office banquet in about a week? I can rent a tux and take you so you don't feel so bad about showing up stag again this year."
"That is an idea, Xy," interjected Wanda with a thoughtful expression on her face.
I was not the charity case of the year and I couldn't help that men were either intimidated by my looks or just thought that I was bed bunny of the year. And seeing Romero the Ghoul in a green tinged tuxedo would just set me over the cavernous edge of sanity, so I downed the rest of my drink and did something awful.
"Guys, don't go planning up matching corsages because I do have a man on the line and he may be my date for the dinner plus the Halloween ball."
Romero dropped his smartphone mid-search and Wanda's mouth could have been home to a dozen fruit fly colonies. But as I fully scanned their shocked responses, I realized that I had just lied to my best friends. There was no man and I was in the deepest shit ever.