Son of the Revolution – Kickstarter snippet
It was a slow night. Beth had gotten used to the nights being busy and the days being for sleep. A slow night…well, she wouldn’t say that she didn’t know what to do with them, but it always took a moment for her to remember she had time to breathe.
This wasn’t the only blood bar in town. With the inclusion of vampires into common society, even with all the political and social changes, one thing remained the same. Cities would always have room for bars and churches. It didn’t matter that some of the bars had to cater to more…particular clientele now.
At least vampires didn’t eat like normal humans. The kitchen here at Alpha+ was small; she wouldn’t have been able to serve food as well as drink with that.
It was hard to believe she’d been a vampire for…what, thirty years now? Could it have really been that long since this started? When she’d been changed, the existence of “nightlife” hadn’t been a surprise. She’d worked overnights with a vampire, spent a few years working at this very blood bar before she bought it, and it wasn’t like the news didn’t stress every little thing the community did. Even if she still didn’t really understand where they’d come from, she was comfortable in the nighttime world. None of it mattered to her. They were part of the world, just like anyone else. Black, white, Asian, gay, straight, cis, trans…vampire, werewolf, genetic alter. All the same. All people. And all of them were welcome at her bar, blood-drinker or not.
She was proud of the bar she’d bought. She’d never expected to be a business owner, but when she’d been changed, it seemed to make sense to purchase the bar she worked at from its previous – retiring – owner. It wasn’t anything fancy; from a vantage point at the door, there were twenty or so tables on the right, with a small stage that often was neglected and unused for any professional purpose, a similarly unused door to the outside, and the doors to the bathrooms. On the left was the bar itself, simple and undecorated, and then a door behind the bar that led to a staircase that went up to the upstairs apartment that she and one other person lived in. This building, and these people, were her life, and it showed in how well she took care of the joint.
She didn’t regret her choice. She missed sunsets, and sunglasses, and a lot of other things that came with being alive – properly alive – but she didn’t regret it. There were stores open 24 hours now. Places to go, ways to act like nothing had changed.
From behind her, she could hear footsteps on the stairs. “Slow night?” A smile spread across her face as she turned to face the man who’d spoken. Vic Antonelli, who looked no older than thirty-five but had seen more of this city come into its own than she could imagine. The first vampire she’d considered a friend. She’d been in love with since the day he stepped into her bar – so it was no surprise that he was the one that had changed her, and now lived with her.
“Guess everyone’s decided to go somewhere else.” She stood on tiptoe, fingers resting against his chest for balance as he met her lips for a quick kiss. “I don’t mind; it’s been a busy week. We could use a slow night.”
“Mmmm.” Where Beth was smaller and “feisty”, as the bar’s regulars liked to call her, Vic was tall and stoic – at least to the public eye. They were where what everyone considered an unlikely pair, but to Beth, it made sense. He needed someone more social, a buffer between him and the people of an era he still didn’t understand. Beth, though she loved to be the girl that didn’t need a man to stand up for her…still enjoyed being able to lean back on her strong and intimidating boyfriend when clientele got out of hand.
No one messed with old vampires, and Vic was one of the oldest in town.
“Sleep well?” She turned back to the bar, going back to wiping down the counter – like she had been doing before she got distracted thinking about the past. When he didn’t respond immediately, she looked back over her shoulder at him.
He came up from the doorway to lean back against the counter, his arms crossed in front of his chest. “Well enough. I’m beginning to think one of the blacks needs replaced, however. This is the second day I’ve woken up with a first-degree burn on my arm.”
In her mind, Beth was amused. If any of their friends heard how domestic Vic could be, he’d lose his image entirely. It was the advantage to being her – seeing the other side of Mr. Tall, Dark, and Angry. “Hm. I haven’t noticed.”
“You don’t sleep next to the window.” She met his sidelong glare with a grin. “Be careful, Bethany, or I’ll make you sleep on my side of the bed.” He ran a hand through his hair. “As I swore off sunburns when I was changed, I’ll look into fixing the black tonight – if you assume you’ll remain slow, and thus not require my assistance. What time is it?”
“Just after midnight. If we’re getting a rush, it’ll be soon.”
Vic nodded, turning his head to scan the room. “Any sign of the two young ones?”
Beth chuckled to herself. “Vic, Alex is hardly young anymore. He’s been coming around for almost a decade now.”
“He’s young to me.”
“Everyone’s young to you.” Vic had no answer to that, and Beth just grinned wider. “But to answer your question, no. Neither him nor Bantam have been by.”
“What do you think of them?” Vic wasn’t looking at Beth, so she followed his gaze, trying to make sure she knew who he was talking about.
“Who, Alex and Bantam?”
“Yes – and while you’re explaining, why do you call him that? That’s not his name.” Now he turned to look at her, one eyebrow quirked.
Beth smiled. “Who, Alistair? I don’t know. Something about him…always reminded me a little bit of Alex from Clockwork Orange. Except…less socially broken.”
“I think the lot of us are socially broken, Bethany.” Vic’s voice was soft, and Beth stopped what she was doing so she could fully face him. “We’ve made such leaps and bounds since the lot of us first graced the public scene…but I’ve seen the fear in an unchanged person’s eyes when they learn what I am. It’s only a matter of time before the next revolt.”
“And what about the people that learn who you are, Vic?” She set down the rag and took the few steps over to stand in front of him, her hands on the bar behind him so her arms were on either side of him. “What about the people that fought for the rights we have now?”
“History repeats itself, Bethany. We’re going to have another falling out with the rest of the world. This country has done the best; have you heard the stories of other countries? Places where our communities still live entirely underground?”
“Don’t worry about it,” she soothed, setting a hand on the side of his face. As he went to pull away, she brought her other hand up to match – and his eyes found hers. “If history repeats itself, then so be it. Someone else will rise up to fend it back. The vampires, and the werewolves, and the genotypes aren’t going anywhere. None of us are. We’ve lasted this long. We can fend off a few scared humans.”
Vic took one hand away from his face and pressed a kiss to her palm. “I hope you’re right, my love. I hope you’re right.”