By: Tyffani Clark Kemp

A LeKrista Scott, Vampire Hunted Novel


New Years Day

Why do I tolerate this place?

I ask myself that question every time I clock into work. Edgar Appleton, the flamboyant owner of the small-town floral shop Arrangements by Appleton, watched me through the window as I pulled into my parking space. I shut off the engine and gave a little wave and smile. Eddy shot me a dirty look and turned away. I could see the day taking a turn for the incredibly awful. Yay me.

Appleton’s is five minutes from my house, which is lucky because my family lives in the boonies. The shop shares its space with a wedding coordinator and a cake decorator, so we get a lot of business. And in the small town of Travelers Rest, South Carolina it’s often repeat business.

The sky was dark and menacing as I ducked inside. The sweet smell of flora filled my nostrils and I took a deep breath, filling my lungs with the fragrant aroma. I didn’t even have a chance to blink before Eddy was on top of me with demands.

“I need the backroom organized, Mizz Scott. I just got an unexpected delivery of vases,” he pronounced the word vah-zes like he was actually from somewhere. “The one that we had to reorder six times, as a matter of fact. It all came in.”

I let out a heavy sigh and rolled my eyes.

“Exactly. Get to work.”

Surprised that we could actually agree on our little moment of commiseration, I offered him a sarcastic salute and marched to the backroom to fulfill my duties as the floral shop grunt. I’m really very good at my job and Eddy knows that, but he has to maintain some kind of face in front of his women. There are four other women who work for him around the shop, and only one of them is American. Even so, she’s from Hawaii and very exotic. They’re all beautiful, thin, flexible, girls. And I’m not guessing on the flexible part. Instead of working they like to compare notes. And I'm the one who Eddy likes to yell at to "get to work".

I was only at my task for about twenty minutes, wondering when the others would use their freedom of passage to finally show up for work, when Eddy poked his head in the door.

“LeKrista,” he whispered like he was afraid someone would overhear. Eddy doesn't do afraid. He does cocky. I might even go as far to say arrogant.

“Yeah,” I whispered back. “What?”

“I have a customer.” He didn’t even say anything about my sarcasm. “A meeting. I need you to come man the front room until one of the girls gets here.”

“Okay.” We were still whispering. My legs began to tingle the moment I stood up and I followed Eddy out to the main room on rubbery legs. The front room was empty and quiet and the office door closed before I had a chance to see who was in there.

I wasn’t in the front room long before one of Eddy’s girls walked in. Parashie pulled the front door open with a flourish and grace that I never could have managed. She’s one of the “blonde twins” as I refer to them in private. Her counterpart is a German girl named Maaren. They both have long blonde hair cut to one length with matching bangs, the cute kind that are tapered to blend into the hair rather than cut straight across. They both have ocean blue eyes that seem to change color with the seasons, and they both are about the same height and size. They even wear their clothes interchangeably. Add to that their similar facial features and bone structure, and you would think they’d been separated at birth.

Parashie addressed me in Russian with what I know to mean something to the effect of “commoner” or “common girl.” Whatever. I know for a fact that she was found wandering the streets, orphaned.

“Where is Edgar?” she asked. I would never tell her that I thought her accent was beautiful.

I motioned to the office. “He’s having a private meeting.”

Parashie rolled her eyes and stalked to the office door. She’s close to six feet, if not exactly, and anorexic-skinny, though she’s a healthy eater. I think her favorite is cheeseburgers. She’s not bulimic either. She just has one of those metabolisms. You know, the kind that makes us average, slightly overweight girls sick? Yeah. The “twins” are those girls. She dresses like she thinks she lives in Hollywood - tight skinny jeans, a white undershirt peeking out underneath a striped 1red and black sweater, and enough jewelry to accessorize a small country. Her stilettos thumped on the carpeted wood floor, making it sound hollow underneath, and it probably was.