I was inspired by the combination of Vampire Diaries and Interview With a Vampire.
This story is perhaps one of the most unusual stories ever told. Maybe not the most original, but unusual none the less. It is a story about vampires. And I’m not talking about improbable fairy-tale Twilight stuff. This book, you will find, is quite different.
Yes, it might have the whole “lion falling in love with the lamb” thing going on, but in this case, the lamb didn’t exact share those feelings. In fact, she just about hated the vampire’s guts. And that is what got her sucked into a world of agony and pain.
See, unlike lovestruck Bella, Clare was forced into a relationship of danger, passion, and darkness. She had basically her entire life ripped from her body, leaving her vulnerable and alone, constantly waiting for something, anything, to happen. Waiting for him to find her. Unfortunately the only person to defend her was herself. And she knew that could never be enough.
Clare stood anxiously outside the door as her mother and father discussed her punishment. She had tried leaning on the door to listen several times, but the attempt was futile, all she could was their muffled voices and her father’s heavy steps as he paced back and forth. At one point she thought she had heard a phone ring, but couldn’t tell who it was on the other line. All she knew is that the phone call seemed to lessen her parents’ anger. She knew that she was in trouble. And not just we’re-taking-away-your-iPod-and-laptop trouble, but big trouble. But even though she knew what she had done was wrong, that didn’t necessarily mean that she would agree with whatever punishment her parents picked out for her. Though what teenager would?
Suddenly she heard footsteps steadily approaching the door. She quickly scurried down the hall and sat down in a random chair that stood in the house’s entryway, trying to act as if she had been there all along, and not eavesdropping as she had been. She crossed her legs and clasped her hands together in order to try and look as innocent as possible, all the while thinking, I’m so dead. I’m so incredibly dead. Clare pretended not to notice her parents slowly making their way to her until they were standing right in front of her, and only then did she look them directly in their faces.
Clare obviously got her looks from her mother. She has the same pale complexion and dark brown curly hair that seemed to have a mind of its own. She was also fairly short and very skinny. The only difference was her eyes. She has the same brown eyes as her father. They are so dark that they are often mistaken for being black. To most guys she would be considered remarkably beautiful. Though most guys were turned off by her sarcastic and somewhat rude attitude toward, well, everybody. But her attitude wasn’t the only thing that tended to get her in trouble.
Clare’s father stared at her sternly and looked as if he was having a hard time deciding where exactly to begin.
“We got a call from the hospital.”
Clare automatically shot up straight at the mention of that word. She still couldn’t stand hospitals. Too many bad memories. She grabbed hold of her chair, as if digging her nails into the cotton would help her against her parents’ impending scolding, and prepared herself for the worst.
“It was Bethany’s mother. And she… Well, after stating some very profane comments about your behavior, told us that she will not, thankfully, be pressing charges against you.”
Yeah, you heard that right. Clare had put a girl in the hospital. And poor little Bethany Benson too.
Clare let out a sigh of relief and instantly regretted it.
“Don’t think that this is getting you off the hook, young lady! Don’t you think that for one second!” Clare’s mother yelled at her. “You broke that helpless little girl’s leg! Why did you do it? What could have possibly been going through your mind that made you think that that was okay?”
Clare bit her lip and didn’t say anything. She had been dreading this part. See, she actually did have a perfectly good reason for pushing Bethany down those steps- don’t worry it wasn’t a very big flight of stairs- earlier today. Or at least, in her opinion it was a good reason. Clare had just been slouching back against a particularly high wall of the Jargon’s Academy, when Bethany Benson just so happened to come up to her. That was Bethany’s first mistake.
Clare was already pissed off because her teacher, Mrs. Kwan, had yelled at her for not knowing the answer to a quadratic equation. Clare, staying true to her bad reputation, calmly explained to Mrs. Kwan that she would never need to know any of this later on in life, and that Mrs. Kwan was simply wasting her time by trying to teach her it. Mrs. Kwan replied in the same annoyingly calm voice that Clare had used that if Clare didn’t care about her education, then she wouldn’t mind missing class to go to the principal’s office. So she had to sit through Mr. Nether’s same you’re-a-good-person-but-just-make-bad-choices speech. For the third time that week.
So, as you can tell, Clare was not in the best mood.
Clare peeked up from her new iPod Nano’s touch screen. When she saw that it was Bethany, she reluctantly turned down the volume of the My Chemical Romance song that had been currently blasting in her ears. Usually she would have just ignored her, but Bethany looked as if she was genuinely upset about something. As Clare carefully wrapped up her iPod earbuds and stuffed the whole thing into her pocket she said, “What do you want, Bethany?”
“Beth,” she automatically corrected.
Clare stared at Bethany blankly, showing her that she really could not care less.
Bethany looked a little uncomfortable under Clare’s gaze, so she turned her attention to the cold and filthy concrete that surrounded the academy. “Right… I don’t really know how to put this,” she said to an empty Coke can. She raised her eyes to look into Clare’s for about a millisecond and then lowered them back to the ground, almost too quickly to notice. “See,” Bethany continued while nudging the can around with her silver ballet flats, “it’s about your brother.”
That was her second mistake.
“Jonathan? What about Jonathan?” Clare asked with mock curiosity. Like she didn’t already know what was coming.
Bethany didn’t seem to understand that Clare was kidding, so she kept talking. “Well, he has already missed three of the past meetings, and, well, we are starting to get worried about him.”
She was talking about those meetings of course. The meetings that Jonathan was required to attend due to his… issues. Because Jonathan wasn’t your average teenage boy. He had bipolar disorder. And not with the funny mood swings that are caused by bipolar disorder that you see on television, but as in an actual disorder. Type I bipolar disorder to be exact. Don’t worry, he always took medication to keep it under control, but that didn’t stop the depression. Not the depression from the disorder itself- the medication took care of that- but the depression from knowing that he would never be normal. That he would have to live with this every day for the rest of his life. And that depression is what caused the cutting.
Jonathan was only fifteen when the doctors found out that he had bipolar disorder. Clare and Jonathan’s mother had found him sitting on the edge of their roof, and that house is two stories high. Clare had gotten a call at school saying that her brother was in the hospital with a broken arm and two cracked ribs. The doctors took a few tests and sadly informed the Baker family that he had manic depression, which was another name for type I bipolar disorder. And ever since then, the Baker family hasn’t been quite the same.
Most people blame Clare’s explosive and destructive behavior on her brother’s illness. They think that she is always trying to protect him from what everybody else thinks of him. And they are right. Unfortunately they didn’t realize that every time they tell her this it only makes her even angrier.
Jonathan went to the Teen Help meeting that were held at Jargon’s Academy. They thought that it would keep him from cutting. It didn’t. Bethany wasn’t one of the teens that needed help though. She was just one of those goody-two-shoe types who that their purpose in life was to help those in need. Therefore, volunteering. She baked cookies and talked to the “needy” and other ridiculously sweet things like that. It was almost enough to make your teeth hurt.
“So what?” Clare asked, trying to control herself.
“Well,” Bethany continued, “we are scared that he might be, you know…” She looked at Clare solemnly and whispered, “Cutting.” She said it so quietly that Clare could barely hear her, as if the word itself was enough to set her off on a rampage. And it almost was.
“So what?” Clare asked again, but this time with obvious anger.
Bethany looked shocked and disgusted. “So what? So what?! He’s your brother, that’s what! Don’t you care about him at all?”
Third mistake. She’s out.
Clare lunged at Bethany, who was to frozen in fear to even attempt to move. Clare grabbed Bethany’s shoulders and squeezed them so hard that later Bethany found bruises where her hands had been.
Her face was inches away from Bethany’s as she spat, “Yes, but you don’t. You just help him out to make yourself feel better. To you, he is just another messed up teen you can try and fix. To me, he is an actual human being. One that has choices. If he chooses to cut, so be it. I really don’t think it’s any of your damn business. You can’t stop him and I can’t stop him. But I can stop you from making him feel as if he is just another project that you haven’t completed just yet. Because, as of now, you will never speak to my brother again.”
And that is when she let go of Bethany’s shoulder and shoved her. But she hadn’t known how close they were to the steps.
Bethany didn’t fall straight down the stairs. No, she wobbled backward a few feet from the force of Clare’s shove, and in trying to regain her balance, tripped on a Coke can. Yeah, you read that right. She put her foot down on that exact Coke can that she had been staring at earlier, and her leg slid forward, and, you guessed it, down the stairs she went. And that’s exactly how it happened.
So it’s not like Clare did it on purpose. Or at least, she didn’t intentionally push her down the stairs. Though the fact that she threatened Bethany right before the accident did make her look guilty. And her past record obviously wasn’t that clean. The only good thing was that this happened after the last bell had rung, so it technically wasn’t during school and the teachers couldn’t punish her for it. But she had to deal with her parents, and that was worse. Much worse.
“She… She was… And Jonathan…” Clare had difficulty arguing her case. How exactly was she supposed to tell them about the situation? Lie? Tell them that Bethany was making fun of Jonathan? But no, they would never believe that. Bethany was to nice for that. But she knew that if she told them the truth, they would never take her side, and she would be grounded until she graduated high school. So there was only one thing left to do. Cry.
Clare looked down at the floor as if she was ashamed. She twisted up her face in what she hoped was a look of sadness and guilt, and just let the tears flow. It actually wasn’t that hard for her. She had had a lot of practice. It’s not like she had never been in trouble before.
She looked back up into the waiting faces of her quietly fuming parents and wailed, “I’m so sorry! I was just trying to defend Jonathan! Nobody understands him! They think he’s so depressed and that he’s just a hopeless freak! I can’t just stand by and watch him go through this every day! I had to do something!” She sniffled a few times to add dramatic effect. There, that ought to do it, she thought to herself. Through the onslaught of tears her parents’ looked blurry and she couldn’t exactly make out their expressions. She blinked a few times, and wished that she hadn‘t. She did not like what she saw.
Her father’s face was as stony and furious as it had been before. No wait. It was even more so. And her mother’s… Well, her mother’s face held a look that could kill, and that look was directed right at Clare. Great.
“Clarice Nicole Baker, exactly how stupid do you think that we are?” her father asked with a tone that made it clear that she was not to provide an answer.
No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. That is her actual name. Clarice Nicole Baker. Tough name, huh? Really suits her personality, I think. I guess you really can’t tell how babies are going to end up. You just take a look at their adorable faces and let their tiny fist close around your finger and decide that they are the most precious thing in the world, and nothing is going to change that. Well, you see, babies make people delusional. Big time.
Clare stared at her parents and used her sleeve to wipe away the useless tears she had shed. “No,” she mumbled. After her face was relatively dry she said, “But I was being serious about defending Jonathan. Nobody seems to realize that he’s just a normal teenage boy. He-”
“That’s enough, young lady,” Mrs. Baker interrupts. Clare’s mouth snaps shut automatically. No need to make it any worse than it already was.
Mrs. Baker closed her eyes and rubbed her forehead with the heel of her hand as if this whole predicament was giving her a migraine. Then again, it probably was. Mr. Baker noticed his wife’s obvious discomfort and decided to take over.
“Listen, Clarice,” he said in a serious tone, “this time you have gone way to far. I don’t give a damn whether it was about Jonathan or not, unless that girl was threatening your life you shouldn’t have laid a finger on her. Not a finger. Nothing like this will ever happen again. Do I make myself clear?”
Clare reluctantly met her father’s steely gaze. “Crystal,” she murmured.
“Good,” her father replied. He eyed her curiously, no doubt trying to figure out where he went wrong when raising her. They stared at each other in a moment of awkward silence.
"Erm... Go to your room now," Mr. Baker muttered distractedly. He waved his left hand toward the stairs and turned away from Clare. He couldn't even stand to look at her.
Clare watched her father walk toward her mother and comfort her lovingly. His hands patted Mrs. Baker's back as she sobbed into his shoulder. "Never... Couldn't happen... Why..." she gasped incomprehensively.
Clare felt a tiny tug on her heart. She hadn't seen her parents this upset since that day the doctor told them about Jonathan. But this time it was all her fault. She was the one to blame for her parents' unhappiness.
Clare bolted toward the door before her parents noticed her still standing there. She couldn't stand any more of their judging looks or heated arguments.
She ran up the stairs and into her bedroom, slamming the door closed behind her. All she wanted was the comfort of her own bed. At least they couldn't take that away from her.
As she lied down, conflicting emotions fought around in her head; all of them screaming for attention like some child deprived of candy. One by one they flashed through her mind. Anger. Frustration. Guilt. Sadness. Sadness won out.
Clare's vision began to blur as real tears formed at the corners of her eyes. Her hands grabbed one of her pillows unconsciously and she let out a small cry as she hurled it across the room. It collided with the door with a pathetic thump, the sound barely audible to her ears. But the sight of the pillow falling helplessly to the ground somehow made her feel better. Stronger. Even if it was pointless and meaningless.
She was reaching for a second pillow just as she heard a light knock on the door. Quickly wiping her hands across her face she said, "Who is it?" She winced when she heard her voice crack. She didn't want anybody to know that she had been crying. Crying showed weakness. She wasn't weak.
Clare was expecting her mother, coming to complain about how she had enough to worry about and that she didn't need Clare “acting like a hoodlum." No seriously, she actually used that word. See, Clare's mother might act all depressed and high-strung, but she loved arguing and blaming. Whenever she got the chance to scold Clare, she would be there towering over her with an expression of sheer rage taking over her sweet little face. Oh yeah, she had issues. But then again, the whole family did.
This is why Clare was surprised to find that it wasn't her mother at the door.
"Jonathan," a tired sounding voice replied from the other side of the wood.
Jonathan. Finally, somebody who would understand. He of all people would realize that what Clare did was actually an act of kindness... to a certain extent. Jonathan probably came to thank her for sticking up for him. That is what big sisters are supposed to do. Unlike her parents, he would be happy. Grateful even.
"Come in!" Clare called out as she rose from her bed. Jonathan entered her room and opened his mouth to speak, but found himself staring at the floor in confusion instead.
"What is this pillow doing right here?" he asked. He pointed at the pillow Clare had just thrown and then shook his head. "Never mind. I already know. Your anger probably got the best of you. Again." he said the last word in disgust, and looked as if the thought of it was enough to make him throw up.
He wouldn't meet Clare's eyes, and instead chose to look at the pillow lying crumpled on the floor. It didn't move, and neither did his eyes.
Clare took a hesitant step forward. "Jonathan? Are you okay?" she asked quietly. She knew not to speak to him like a child, but she also knew that it was better to deal with his emotion as carefully as she could. No need to set him off, even though it could be pretty hard sometimes. But she didn’t want to upset him because he already had enough to deal with. More than enough.
“Clare…” Jonathan began. “Clare…” he tried again unsuccessfully. His face contorted into a look that openly displayed his frustration. He was having difficulty finding out how to put what he was thinking into words. “Clare you… I need you to… Ugh.” He couldn’t get out what he wanted to say and kicked the pillow lying next to his foot. It went flying across the room and slammed into the window. Thank God it wasn’t open; Clare’s room was on the second floor.
As the pillow fell, his anger rose. “You just need to stop! Can you do that?! Are you mentally capable of comprehending what I’m saying? Are you?!”
Now the thing about Clare is that she didn’t like people taking advantage of Jonathan, but she hated it even more when people messed with her. That was what she truly could not stand. Nobody was allowed to take or even touch her stuff, come in her room- except for her parents and Jonathan (sometimes)-, and you never say anything to Clare that she could possibly take offense to. Right now, Jonathan was breaking all three of those rules.
Clare’s anger got the best of her (it apparently ran in the family). “What the hell is your problem, Jonathan?! Why can’t you just talk to me like a normal teenager?! I don’t even know what you’re talking about!”
“Of course you don’t, Clare! Because you don’t listen! You just react!” he screamed at her.
“Maybe I wouldn’t have to react if people would stop provoking me!”
Jonathan stopped and stared at Clare in astonishment. Then his mouth dropped open and the sound of disbelieving laughter filled the room. He shook his head and smirked at Clare. “My God. Do you honestly believe that everybody has nothing better to do than to make you mad? Do you really think that everybody is out to get you?”
Clare froze. She locked her eyes on the window, watching the clouds glide across the sky. It really was a beautiful day. Then again, it always seems to be beautiful outside when your day sucks. The weather was just funny that way. Who said that God doesn’t have a sense of humor?
As her eyes moved with the wisps of vapor floating in the air, and she felt her eyes fill with tears again. For the second time that day. She really needed to learn more self control when it comes to that. Or just learn more self control period.
She kept her eyes focused on the view outside as she answered, “No. It’s not me everybody is out to get.”
She risked looking Jonathan in the eyes as she said quietly, “It’s you, Jonathan. You’re the one everybody is out to get.”
Jonathan’s face hardened and he openly glared at Clare. “I don’t need you to protect me.”
Suddenly Clare understood. “So that’s what all this is about? You’re mad at me for standing up for you? Ha! And here I was thinking that you would actually be happy that somebody cared about you enough to stick up for you. But then again that’s just the way I see it.”
“There is nothing for you to being so worried about!
Everything is fine, Clare! Why can’t you see that? I. Am. Fine.” He said each word slowly and clearly as if Clare wouldn’t be able to understand if he spoke in regular tones.
Clare was about to reply when she was overcome with a series of sneezes. She covered her mouth and nose with her hands, making everything sound muffled. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she said while coughing, “I’m allergic to bullshit.”
Jonathan’s eyes narrowed and he crossed his arms. “You stole that from i, Robot,” he accused.
Clare rolled her eyes. What a nerd. He is seriously one of the only people who would have realized that. “What does it matter? I’m trying to make a point here! You are not okay! And no, I did not steal that from Gerard Way. That’s I’m Not Okay. So you can stop being such a S.A. and start being a little nicer to the people who are trying to help you.”
The room got quiet. Scary quiet. I mean it was one of those silences where all you can do is stand and stare at each other. Gentle breathing sounds like wind in your ears, and your heart beat sounds like the rhythmic tapping in a song. It was a silence that pulls you in, and then you’re just there. You stand there wondering what was going on, how it got like this, and why suddenly it was so incredibly silent. Finally Clare got the courage to speak.
“Just get out of my room. Please, just get out.”
She turned away from Jonathan, hoping that if she didn’t look at him she wouldn’t start crying. Before she turned around she had gotten a glimpse of the look on his face. She wished that she hadn’t. He looked heartbroken. Most of the time Jonathan was used to Clare’s temperamental behavior, but sometimes it just got a hint more temper and a lot more mental to where you just couldn’t imagine her acting any differently than she was right that very second that she is screaming in your face. This was one of those moments.
Every thought of nice things Clare had done vanished from Jonathan’s mind. All that was left was an intense anger. No, more like an intense fury. He could actually feel his skin heating as the anger flowed through his veins. It took over his body until all he could focus on was everything Clare had ever done wrong.
Every faded memory was suddenly as clear and obvious as a picture displayed on a theater screen. They formed like a home movie; building up into a major motion picture. Starring Clare Baker and her pathetic younger brother, Jonathan! And then, as quickly as it began, it stopped.
Clare stopped. Jonathan stopped. Everything thing come to a synchronized stop.
Then three little words filled the empty space.
“I hate you,” Jonathan whispered.
Those three tiny, yet powerful words spread through the air and suffocated it with tension and disbelief. It was as if he had screamed them instead of his voice being so quiet that you had to strain your ears in order to hear him. But Clare heard him all right. She couldn’t move. She had no time at all to even react. No time to speak. No time to cry. No time to ask questions. Because after that, Jonathan left.