He was moving the last box in when a very peppy girl with dreadlocks and bright, flowy clothes came up to him, “Hello there! Welcome to the building! Zanny is what all my friends know me by!” She said in a high-pitched voice that made him cringe, sticking out a manicured hand to shake even though both of his were obviously full.
“Do you need help with that?” She asked, looking a little downtrodden that he hadn’t immediately been able to shake her hand.
He blinked then shook his head no, his words caught in his throat as he wasn’t sure what to say to her and some of the lotion had rubbed off around his wrists, he was getting a wicked burn and didn’t want to stand there longer than he absolutely had too.
She looked confused and tilted her head to the side which allowed some leftover sand to fall from between her locks to the ground.
“What’s up, buttercup!?” She chirped, “are you always this shy?”
He blinked again completely dumbfounded by her boldness and finally managed to say, “Yes.” Before pushing past her and into his living room. He later found out that she lived with her boyfriend, Jason, who also had dreadlocks and looked sleepy all the time. He hated the way the guy smelled.
Time proved them to be curious people, they appeared to only party the day away. It did not appear that they had jobs or any adult responsibilities at all. They liked their loud music and once or twice in the first few days he was there a beer bottle rolled from the apartment. Ivan guessed that the apartment must always be full of beer bottles.
But there was something about the way the girl held herself that had him interested…no more interested than he was in a game of chess but still entertained nonetheless.
He enjoyed the beach. The bright lights, happy laughter of beachgoers and the calming sounds of the waves did his old soul well. He did not go outside during the day much more than he did normally, but the few times he put on some sunblock and ventured outside, he was entranced with the energy of the place.
He had gone to the little shops, walked in the sand where the waves lapped over and even enjoyed a tour of the area. He ran out of energy quickly and returned to his condo when he needed to be alone, but he was happy with the change.
He found himself Wednesday morning putting up the last light blocking curtain when he looked around his living room at the way it was decorated. He looked at the lamps that were made from human spines, but could appear as if they were fake, and the black curtains and black rug. It made him feel down again.
If he was going to change…he needed to change. So, he put everything except the light blocking curtains back into boxes and found a storage unit to keep his stuff in. It was time to redecorate.
He went to the local shops and picked out a few tacky yet charming shell lamps and other such beach themed decoration items. When he put it all up he cringed at the look but yet was exhilarated by it.
“Yes…this works for now.” He said to himself quietly. He had kept his old stuff so he could always go back. But he had to change.
Which led him to the part he had been dreading. He stared at himself in his new full body mirror with ceramic mermaids and seashells stuck too it. He was in a long black trench coat, had black hair, had his nails painted and had a dark crimson dress shirt and black dress pants with black boots. If he was going to fully complete his new change…he would have to change his clothes as well.
A knock on the door brought Zanny to answer it.
“Yes?” She asked as she was opening the door. When she saw him standing there a big smile broke across her face, “well hey there, shy boy! What’s up?” She asked, shifting her weight to the side with her little nose scrunching up cutely as she grinned.
“I require your help for a wardrobe change.” He stated simply.
She burst into laughter, holding her sides and gasping for breath. He stood there with an eyebrow raised, not understanding the humor in his serious inquiry.
“I’m sorry, you’re serious.” She said, suddenly straightening up and trying to hide her smile.
He glowered at her as he fought the urge to drink and shut her up. “Yes. I am serious.” He said.
She still had a stupid confused look on her face, so he motioned for her to follow him and showed her his living room.
“HOLY MOLY!” She exclaimed, walking in before she was invited and just going from item to item. “What happened to your cool spine lamps? And your bat mirror? And the vampire looking chairs?” She asked him in surprise.
“I…am trying to make a change in my life.” He explained, trying not to show how uncomfortable he was with calling them vampire chairs. He had forgotten what a big thing vampires were in media now. Of course, almost everything humans thought they knew was wrong, but it didn’t make him feel any better.
-Dracula is an imbocile…- he thought to himself. – One vampire one time isn’t careful to slaughter everyone first, then drink, and centuries later they’re still talking about it. –
“So what kind of wardrobe were you thinking of? I kind of like what you’re wearing now, it’s hot.” She stated bluntly.
He smiled a big toothed grin at her, but the look of horror on her face made him lose the expression.
“Your TEETH!” She squealed, reaching out to try and touch his face. “Those are so COOL!”
He grabbed her wrist and gently held it away from his face while she looked at his mouth intensely as if she were trying to see through his lips.
“Like I said, I’m trying to make a change. I’ve been in this rut for a long time now.” He explained, hoping she would drop the subject. “I just want something new. I went with what I thought was typical for furniture options. So, something typical for the area.” He reasoned.
“Do you want to look tourist-y or like a beach dude?” She asked, “You don’t look old enough to go dressing like a regular adult.”
Ivan just blinked, “It’s up to you. But you’re not touching my hair.” He said.
She immediately grabbed his wrist and pulled him towards her car, “Say no more! Let’s go shopping!”
He stiffened up and did not let her pull him outside into the sun, “I am forgetting something, wait here.” He instructed.
He went and put on the sun lotion, put it in his bag, and grabbed a few hundred dollars. He then rejoined her outside and let her pull him to the car.
He was amazed at how many shops there were that he hadn’t managed to see yet. She took him to the mall and to the local stores and shops rather than the tourist area. She picked out the most colorful clothing he had ever seen, mostly sporting rainbow colors with images that had been bent to look like they were melting or something similar. She called the style ‘psychedelic’. It didn’t make much sense to him because he couldn’t understand why someone would want to dress in clothing that mirrored the effects of drugs. But he had given her the reigns in what he would wear so he let her dress him like a giant acid trip.
She did not try to touch his hair, which had been his only request. She did try to talk with him about filing down his fangs, which he also refused. She thought that he had, had cosmetic surgery at some point to create “vampire-like” fangs. Instead of explaining they were his actual teeth, he let her believe he had done the surgery.
“Why do you talk so weird?” She asked him once or twice, “you sound so formal, like you’re from the 1800’s or something. It’s not normal.” She said. He had simply nodded and expressed his understanding of her uneasiness, but made it clear the way he talked would not be changing anytime soon either.
After he got home after the day, he felt much better. He felt relieved. He felt he had experienced something new. He felt more alive than he had in a long time. He was looking forward to continuing on with this journey.
Looking at himself in the mirror one last time before going to bed, he shook his head at what a difference he had made in his life in the matter of a few short days. Tomorrow would be another day.
End of PART 2
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