Fritzie unwrapped the towel from her waist length purple streaked hair and stuck her tongue out at her reflection in the slightly fogged mirror. She didn't want to be here, but her mother had guilted her into leaving her artist's existence in the city to come back home for a weekend. There was a knock at the bathroom door, and she watched the reflection of her mother open the bathroom door and smile at her.
"I'm so glad you decided to come back, honey."
Fritzie turned and gave a half hearted smile.
"What can I say? In order to make art, one must suffer, and I can't imagine greater inspiration than a whole night of reliving teenage pettiness and angst."
Her mother raised an eyebrow
"Fritzie, it's me, Mom. You don't have to put on the jaded act for me. I would love your work even if you dressed only in pink sweater sets. Anyway, you know that once you see your old friends from school, you'll actually have a good time."
Fritzie grunted in reply and started untangling the cord of her hair dryer. She glanced upwards to see her mother giving her a knowing look in the mirror.
"Mom, you know that the only people who go to these things only go for two reasons. One, they go because they were so 'rah, rah, team' in high school that they still haven't shut up about it, or two, are only going to see how fat the first group has gotten."
"If I seem to remember correctly, one person in this bathroom was completely and utterly crushed when she didn't make the "rah, rah" team seven or so years ago."
"Moooother, please!" Fritzie sounded more like a girl who was seven years younger than she cared to admit. "I have no idea WHAT you are talking about!"
The cartwheels that Fritzie's stomach were doing were much more successful than the ones that she had attempted 48 hours ago. If it wasn't for the fact that stupid, perfect, I-have-everything Angela Davis had dropped the idea of trying out to her, there was no way that she would have even dared to go for cheerleading. Fritzie wasn't the pompom waving type, she was the hide in the art room type. Well, yes, she admitted to herself, secretly she was the pompom waving type, but that's how it should have stayed - a secret. Nerves had gotten the best of her, and the entire tryout had been a disaster of epic Fritzie proportions.
Everything that could have gone wrong, did. There was a complete memory fart on the routine, there was falling over, and worst of all, there was injury. Fritzie came out of the ordeal unscathed physically, but she had collided, mid cartwheel, with the same person who had encouraged her to try out. Now, that same person was swinging up to her on crutches, ace bandage wrapped around her ankle, and concealer expertly hiding everything but the slight puffiness of the bruise on her cheekbone.
Angela sneered at Fritzie.
"Oh, don't even bother going to check the list. YOU aren't on it. Don't worry, my dad promised to donate new uniforms to the squad, so your incredible klutz act didn't cost me my spot. It just cost you any chance of a social life for the next three years."
Angela started to move down the hallway, and then turned back to Fritzie.
"By the way, you better find a new group for English. I couldn't sleep at night if I knew that you could have any effect on my grade in there."
Fortunately, the door to the girl's bathroom was just a few feet away.
Fritzie picked at her salad. She was glad it was completely unappetizing, because the dress she had on fit perfectly, as long as she didn't add another ounce of body mass. Normally she wasn't the type to squeeze into something that barely fit, but this was the perfect dress. It was the type of thing that she never would have worn 5 years ago, so it gave her a sense of anonymity. Instead of the "oh. Fritzie." reaction, she wanted the "why don't I remember this hot girl from our class" reaction. She just wished that it wasn't that close to that time of the month.
At least the other tables seemed to be having as awkward a time interacting as theirs was. Lulls in the conversation were becoming the norm, so Fritzie had ample time to people watch. Interesting. Jake Rossi had brought his creepy brother as his date. Fritzie just wished he'd come out of the closet already. The boy had a new girlfriend ever two weeks in High School - he had to be gay. At least that bitch Angela Davis had a crappy date. Apparently daddy's money didn't pay for a personality to go with her date's pretty face. Fritzie sighed and set her fork down on her plate.
"I get the impression that you don't want to be here either. Fritzie, right? It's me, James"
Fritzie looked incredulous. "James Berquist?"
"Yeah, it's me. See, I'm not the only one who's grown up a bit since we graduated."
Six years ago, he had been a pale, shy, skinny, boy who had spent most of his free time in the library, reading books on politics and the like. He'd always run for student council each term, but had never been voted in. Now, there was something distinctly different about him. He was still pale, but his total lack of confidence had inverted, and he had definitely filled out. Suddenly, Fritzie could see her night looking up.
"Is that why you came to the reunion then, so everyone could see the new James?"
He gave a flirtatious grin. "No. I'm just a masochist, but I think I've gotten my fill of pain for the night. I'd rather go find someplace with decent food. Wanna come?"
Fritzie heard a squeaking noise behind her, and noticed Pete Peterson, the eternal class president, directing the setup of a projector.
"I'm game. Anywhere but here is good."
Fritzie led the way out of the hotel ballroom, so she didn't notice James' forehead get significantly bumpier.
Five months ago Fritzie had clawed her way out of the ground in one of the five million cemeteries in Teffelsburg. She and James had spent a few days hiding out in the sewers before they were ready to leave town, and then had arrived in New York a few months ago. From this point on, it was only a matter of time before they returned to Teffelsburg. Together, they were upwardly mobile vampires - young and ready to rule the world. They would gather a group of followers, and then they would head back to their hometown. It was their ambition to taste slayer, and do it right.
James was the master of strategy, and would control the minions. Fritzie would wait until a slayer was in their hands, and then she would put her art talent from her former life into good use. Who said that vampires couldn't enjoy a good portrait, especially when it was of a slayer, stretched out on a rack? The hellmouth would be good for her creativity, and she could really make a name for herself there.
Best of all, this was one thing that her first subject wouldn't be able to pay her way out of.