Aurora Borinlas sat up in bed. The exquisite white French balcony doors she got on sale from from the home improvement store slowly opened inward, which she thought was a little strange. Usually they opened the other way. Could the hinges be . . . defective? Surely not from that store.
A tall, dark, very muscular and definitely masculine six-foot-ten three hundred pound shadow glided into her bedroom. The red silk-lined black velvet very hot vampire novel series-inspired collectible cape he wore swirled around him with dark but ultimately harmless menace, only more impotently.
Aurora clutched her television uber-homemaker designed coverlet and sheets up around her neck as she closed her eyes, swallowed hard, lifted her chin, tossed her head and eyed the intruder with a glitter of defiance in her eyes. After she opened them again, naturally.
"Who are you?" she demanded in a trembling but defiant voice she hoped didn't tremble or piss him off too much. "And why are you in my bedroom, and what do you want?" She glanced down at his beautifully polished knee-high hand-fitted Italian leather designer footwear. "Oh, wow, cool boots."
"Thank you," the shadow said in faint but unmistakeably socialist accent that made his grave tone shimmer and ripple through the cool soft midnight dusky air as he stepped into the faint red air black glow of her official Post-Apocalyptic time travel franchise movie nightlight. "I am Wadameew Wandewboeeh, the Supweme Impewial Pwince of Wallachenstuff." As he spoke, she saw two long white fangs that had obviously been straightened by a brand of invisible transparent plastic braces flash in his mouth. "I gweet you, Auwowa Bowinlas."
"Aurora Borinlas." After correcting him, she tossed her head, shaking out the amazing highlights in her home no-ammonia candy-named hair-color treated tresses before she lifted her gaze to the smoldering lapis lazuli orbs that the devil or a certified natural color-changing contact lens optometrist had set between his densely thick and utterly beautiful black eyelashes. "You can't come in here. That's trespassing."
"But I must twespass, my dawling." Wad glided a little closer, enveloping her in the dark, beautiful scent of a men's fragrance represented only by letters and numbers. "I have come to take you away fwom all of this." He gestured at her high-end designer bedroom set, her slightly lower-end designer curtains, and her handsculpted non-staining half-priced designer carpet.
She clutched her high thread count television uber-homemaker designed linens a little closer, which after she squared her shoulders and blinked back bright tears of fear. Longing, and her neglect to suck a couple of European herbal menthol-infused throat lozenges before bedtime, allowed her to speak in only a low, pitifully strangled tone. "Tell me why, please?"
"Because." The prince pushed back his cape to reveal his snowy white shirt, which was open to the waist to expose his wide, muscular, masculine, unyielding chest flesh and the hard stony washboard corrugation of the ultimate six-pack abdomen, sculpted and defined by his thrice-weekly power workouts for a super discounted annual membership fee at a national franchise gym. "It is destiny. You have been mawked by dawkness to become one half of my soul. The woman with whom I will spend all etewnity."
Aurora frowned, but thanks to injections of a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, it didn't show in her unlined expression. "But I'm human, and you're a vampire."
"No." He closed his full, passionate lips over the glittering whiteness of his sharp, pointed incisors, and then mumbled with his lips closed, "Uh ah oh a uheeuuh. Ih ih eheee. Oo ih ee ih."
"What did you say? And quit trying to hide your fangs, I already saw them."
"Fine." He threw up one hand, on which gleamed an exquisite gold signet ring from a jeweler named with the same first letter as the word that described intimate contact between two mouths. "I said, this is destiny. You will be mine."
"No, what did you say before that?"
He sighed. "I am a umpywa. U, M, P, Y--"
"Never mind." Aurora dropped the coverlet and sheets, revealing her supermodel endorsed mall franchise's white satin chemise and tap pants, which coordinated perfectly with her matching creme freshwater pearl earrings, necklace, bracelet and rings from a jeweler that was not named with the same first letter as the word that described intimate contact between two mouths, but a letter much further along in the alphabet. "I know you use those fangs to pierce the soft, white, dimpled flesh of female necks so you can drink their blood."
"Vewy well." The prince sighed again. "I do feed on human females, but only those fwom that state whose voting pwocess usually scwews up Pwesidential elections."
"That's going to be a problem." She blinked, not smudging her female hip-hop atrist endorsed ultra-length mascara, which she'd forgotten to remove before going to bed because it would look just as wonderfully natural in the morning. "See, I'm from the state whose voting process usually screws up Presidential elections."
Wad frowned. "That cannot be wight. I cannot feed on you. It is fowbidden."
"Sorry," she told him. "I was born in the largest city in the center of the state, at the major theme park there. Mom went into labor while she was riding the rollercoaster that runs completely in the dark, which is still as much of a thrillride today as it was twenty-two years ago. Have you gone to see the five-foot-tall rat there lately?"
"No. The lines awe too long. I vacation at the wival theme pawk set up by that movie studio. This is a mess." The prince began to pace. "I cannot dwink the blood of the one mawked by dawkness. I'm vewy thiwsty and that would kill you, and we must spend etewnity as one." He caught her staring at him. "If I dwain you, the loveliness would fade. Pewhaps you have watched the fascinating fowensic crime dwama sewies on the television channel that wewuns them all day? You know what decomposition is?"
"Maybe I'm not mawk-- ah, marked," Aurora suggested.
"You have a cwescent moon mawk in some wegion which I will not find until we consummate this love, do you not?" When she nodded, he growled his frustration. "Then you have the mawk of dawkness. By dawkness. Look, dawkness mawked you, okay?"
She thought for a moment. "But who told you that the mark meant that I was your destined mate?"
"The Sacwed Spinsta," he said impatiently. "Who else?"
A diaphanous figure took shape between them, forming out of white, flowing mist the shape of an immortally lovely silver-haired octogenarian dressed in sporty nautical department store on-the-rack designerwear and casual slingbacks by the ultimate in American shoe designers. "You need to move this along, Wad. My wonderfully tasteless and completely dissolving fiber supplement is about to kick in."
"Oh magnificent one in fwont of whom I pwostwate myself on a wegular basis, we have a little pwoblem." The prince pointed at Aurora. "She is fwom the state whose voting pwocess usually scwews up Pwesidential elections."
"So? What do you want, egg in your beer?" The Sacred Spinsta scratched an itchy place under her right bosom before she turned to peer through her mall optometrist-fitted featherlight trifocals at Aurora. "And you, Miss High and Mighty, you think a prince comes along every night? He's got a castle in Wallachenstuff, and ten thousand or so minions, and big ugly werewolf bodyguards, and even I don't know what else." She wagged her finger. "You could do a lot worse than this one, girlie."
"He's thirsty," Aurora said.
"So on the way to the castle, you stop by that gigantic outlet mall they built on the edge of that godforsaken swamp with all the sharp grass. You can find some nice victims at the fabulous store with the big red star logo, what with this fifty-percent-off sale they have going this weekend." She waved her hand, and blew out the wall by the bathroom. "Oy, sorry. My powers, they slip. You should call the home improvement store -- not the one who put in those defective French doors, darling, but the better one -- to send out one of their helpful home consultants to give you a reasonable repair estimate." She turned to the prince and made a more conservative shooing gesture. "Come on, now, Wad, time to make the booty call."
"It shall be as you wish, my immowtally fwustwated supewiow feminist goddess." Wad glided over to Aurora. "Befow I join with you, my dawling, you must dwink my blood."
"Whaaaaat?" Aurora jumped out of bed. "I don't think so."
The prince's chin jutted. "It is the way of the umpywas of Wallachenstuff. Fwom the time of the fiwst Wad." He stroked his jutted chin. "Which was me, actually."
"The day I drink the blood of a guy who can't pronounce the letter r . . . . " She turned to the Sacred Spinsta. "Look, I'm really sorry about all this, but I'm a lesbian."
"Oh?" The old lady scowled. "Since when?"
"Since right now. And my six-foot-eleven, three hundred fifty pound trucker girlfriend is due home any minute now. So if you two don't mind . . . " Aurora pointed to the open French doors and their rain-scented sparkling glass, thanks to the amazing spray cleaner she used, through which the moonlight streamed. Through the glass, not the cleaner, of course.
"You should be ashamed of yourself, you deceitful hussy." The Sacred Spinsta clucked her tongue. "All right, Waddie, it looks like this one we throw back."
The prince groaned. "But she has been mawked! By dawkness!"
"It's probably a temporary tattoo, like that last one. Let's go." The Sacred Spinster patted the Prince's shoulder. "You can sleep over in the Holy Double-wide with me and watch that funny fellow with the late night talk show. I'll send the minions out to the kosher deli to get you a nice Jewish take-out waitress."