Neve’s face is a mess of dried-up tears and okonomiyaki sauce from the Takoyaki she has recently devoured.
It’s pretty cute, in a sort of disgusting way. It’s moments like this that make me realize she’s really just a kid at heart. Not that she was trying to hide it at all, especially with her newfound love for a decreased vocabulary.
As we walk through the bustling streets of the city, I decide this is the perfect time to get all my unanswered questions out. There is still so much I don’t know about Neve, so much I’d like to know.
In reality, the amount of progenitor vampires that one would come by in my old world could be counted on one hand. They are the forefathers of the entire vampiric race, and one entity I have never met before now.
“How is the Takoyako?”
Neve lifts her head ever so slightly in response to the question; she almost looks like a cat who has just been alerted to a new noise in the distance. I try my hardest not to imagine little feline ears on her, perking up to my question.
“You said it Neve way.”
We smile at each other for a brief moment; she knows that I could say it correctly if I wanted to. I just want to let her know it’s okay for her to be who she wants to be.
It’s kind of dumb it took looking at two massive assholes to realize that maybe I haven’t been the nicest guy on the earth either.
I rest my hand on Neve’s head; I hope my apology comes through – I don’t think I’m quite ready to have a heart-to-heart just yet.
After all, only one of us technically has one and even then, I’m still not quite used to its presence.
“I have something I need to talk to you about.”
As I lift my hand up from Neve’s head, she averts her gaze towards me yet again. There is a curiosity in her eyes as she tilts her head slightly.
“We eat Bell?”
Her facial expression hasn’t changed from the wonder expressed before, as if the words she just spoke came out as naturally as breathing.
“I-I mean it’s about that… Wait. What are you talking about?”
Neve looks shocked for a moment at my words. Quickly I turn around to her, lowering myself to her height and putting my arms onto her shoulders.
She needs to know we won’t eat people, she doesn’t need to given her progenitor status and well, I’m not a vampire anymore anyway.
“Neve, I need you to know that-“
“Are we gonna eat Bell? Bell nice. No eat Bell.”
A wide smile erupts on her face; she is trying her best to keep it concealed but it looks like any moment now she is going to be teeming with laughter.
Ugh, why do children have to be so fickle?
“You’re not going to eat Bell, you were just messing with me, yeah?”
Neve hits her breaking point as laughter comes crashing out of her vocal cords; a delightfully off-tune symphony.
“Neve not, but looks like Papa will.”
Every syllable spits out weakly as she struggles to form the sentence amidst her hysteria.
Sorry, I must regain my composure here.
“Neveeeee, that’s not what I meant, okay? I was just saying it was on that topic. Don’t make it sound like I’m going to eat Bell, I like Bell also. Bell is cool.”
I stand there for a moment as Neve grasps to regain her composure.
“What we talk about?”
Neve quickly wipes her eyes, now completely red and watery.
“Well, you bit Bell… I don’t really know what that means, I know it was just for play but like – you’re a progenitor vampire, is he going to be okay?”
Neve ponders the question a little, her hesitance makes me uneasy though.
“Neve bit Bell ages ago, why bring up now?”
She has a point there, if he was at risk of becoming a vampire, we would have seen the signs by now. But this world, her progenitor status, I’m unfamiliar with all of these things. My understanding of the universe has been turned on its head so I don’t really know what to make of anything right now.
Neve shrugs as if it doesn’t matter at all.
Just one word comes out of her mouth as Neve moves further down the street and closer to Bell’s apartment.
“What do you mean, no? No, he’s not going to be okay? Or no, he’s going to be fine?”
Letting out a deep sigh as if this barrage of questions is finally getting on her nerves, Neve turns around to look at me.
“No, Bell fine. Neve just bite for fun.”
Ah, okay. What a relief. I mean we are probably going to have to discuss biting people for fun in the future, but I feel as if I push or probe her even a tiny bit further on anything right now, she will blow up.
Hiro’s Vampire Survival Guide Tip #1: Don’t piss them off!
With that, Neve turns around and slowly picks up her pace as we approach our apartment building.
Before I can even ask the little vampire what she could possibly mean by that, she jets off towards the large automatic door that marks the entrance to our apartment complex.
I follow her in a slight jog; I expected it to be relatively hard since I haven’t been doing any exercise since I got here – but in fact it’s quite the opposite. I feel as if I could do this forever; maybe the human body isn’t as fragile as I once thought.
“Wait up, Neve!”
She is already darting towards the dark stairs that lead to the second floor of the complex. I know with this burst of energy that I feel surging inside me that I could easily catch up, but I also don’t want to be that adult who is chasing after a child at full speed.
It’s not a great look.
Also, it’s unfair – like I’m an adult with big legs, I feel as if entering a running competition with her would be setting her up for failure.
She is a vampire though, so surely, she has the advantage and not me.
Why am I even running anyway? She is just heading home, I can talk to her once we get back.
I slow myself down a little as I ascend the stairs. Walking down the hall, I can hear Bell’s distinct voice welcoming Neve back home.
I turn the corner and see his radiant smile, then a look of confusion.
“Why do you guys look like you’ve both been running?”
I start to explain but before I can get a word out, I am interrupted by Neve.
“Papa gonna eat Bell.”
It seems like this whole kid thing is going to be a little harder than I first thought. Not that I ever thought it was going to be easy in the first place.
I lift my hand over to the back of my head and laugh nervously.
This one is going to be hard to explain.