Jerry killed the guy before he had a chance to make a sound. His back was turned, leading Jerry into their hall, and Jerry attacked the wife while she was still gaping in shock. With them dead, this was probably the quietest the house had been all night; Jerry had heard them screaming at each other from down the street. He held his fingertips to his lips, savouring the little drops of blood.
Something wasn't right with this place. He'd felt it when he approached the house, and almost even considered trying another. Not that he needed to, nothing could hurt him, but still...he didn't like it. He stood still for a moment, waiting for any scents would come to his attention, and didn't relax when none did. There was something else aside from the feeling of unease. Like he was missing something.
Stepping over the bodies and through to the sitting room, it didn't take him long to find what he was looking for; a small photograph of a boy. There were no others that Jerry could see. He looked up at the ceiling. The two of them had been screaming their heads off; the kid would be at Granny's, or dying in hospital or something, which would explain feeling he was getting about the place.
Still, there was no harm in checking, was there? He was full, but there was no rush to leave. And the thought of a kid being alone with his parents' bodies wasn't the best. It couldn't hurt to be a little moral about things once in a while.
He found the kid's room last, and the bed was unnmade but empty. Jerry checked his clothes for blood, but he'd been fairly neat about it, knowing he had a long drive home, and went across to the closet and opened it. Sure enough, there was a tiny, pathetic little thing hugging itself in the corner. His pyjamas hid the bruises, but Jerry could smell the abuse coming off him in waves.
Jerry hadn't made a sound since he'd arrived; the kid had hid because he heard them yelling at each other, and now he was looking up at Jerry in confusion.
I've probably done you a favour, Jerry thought, looking down on him. He crouched so he was eye level with the child. "Hey, kid."
The kid just stared back at him. Jerry thought of his parents. Some humans deserved to be killed, they really did. You could smell it on them. He was deciding between driving the kid to a police station or just setting the alarm off on the way out; this was the kind of house where no-one would care if it's occupants weren't seen for days or even weeks. Jerry should really just put him out of his misery right now and save him from orphandom. He looked at the kid again and sighed. It seemed like such a waste. It was late in the day to be getting moral about things, but he really did hate killing them this young.
"All right," he said to himself, coming to a decision. "C'mere." And just like that he walked out of the house with a quiet, pliant child, and it was as simple as that. Amazing what you could get away with.
Groceries in hand, Peter let himself into the dim hall and deposited his bags on the table. It was dusk, but the windows were still blacked and the house was silent. His phone buzzed then, and he took it out of his pocket. Charley again. Peter eyed the screen with disinterest before replacing it in his pocket. Taking the bag into the kitchen, he helped himself to an apple and began to put things away. When his phone buzzed again, he took no notice.
He headed downstairs once he was done, having a good idea where the vampire would be. Sure enough, Jerry was in the newly converted den, on the sofa in front of the TV.
"Hey," he said, seeing Peter. "You seen Charley today? Y'know, from next door?"
"This morning. Why?"
"His pals have guessed the truth about me. They're kind of stalking me," he smiled as he said it. When Peter just looked at him, he said, "It's nothing to worry about. I just thought they might have approached you."
Peter's phone buzzed yet again. Jerry raised his eyebrows. "Kid seems to have taken a shine to you," he adds, with amusement.
"He's got a girlfriend," Peter said dismissively, taking out his phone.
'I know this sounds weird but I think there's something really wrong with Jerry...can we please meet up or just tell me your ok??'
Peter didn't bother reading the others.
"He's not really into her," Jerry was saying. "Can't you tell?"
Peter shrugged. "If he's got a crush on anyone, it's you."
"No. I make him nervous."
Jerry grinned at him and ruffled his hair. "You underestimate yourself, Pete."
Peter hoped the vampire couldn't tell how annoyed he was; refusing to sleep with him until he was older was one thing, but suggesting he satisfy himself with the likes of Charley Brewster in the meantime was fucking insulting.
Jerry is oblivious, however.
"I might have someone over tonight...if that's OK with you."
Peter, still reading the text, was about to read it to Jerry, but in a fit of disloyalty, put his phone back in his pocket and shrugged neutrally. "Fine."
Jerry was getting to his feet. "And I'm going out soon, so if you want a ride anywhere, it'll have to be early."
Peter nodded absently, and took his phone out again. He typed quickly before he could change his mind. 'Come over later. I'll text you.'
He had met Charley at a party that the kid was way too sad to have gotten into. He was knocking back drink like it was water and looking uncomfortable and out of place. Peter was knocking it back himself and starting to feel pleasantly buzzed, and it was Charley who approached him.
"Hey, I'm your neighbour. Charley."
Peter sensed it had taken Charley a lot of drink just to say that, and as drink made him more compassionate, he offered his own hand. "Peter."
Charley smiled. "Nice to meet you. I already met Jerry, your...?"
Peter heard the blank he was meant to fill, and chose to ignore it. "Yeah," he said in acknowledgement. "He said. He mentioned inviting you and your mum over. When we've cleared up."
A girl detached herself from the crowd then and stood at Charley's side, resting her hand on his shoulder, and Peter suddenly understood how Charley had got in. "Hey," she said, looking directly at Peter.
Charley had jumped slightly at her touch. "Hey," he said. He put his arm around her awkwardly. "This is my neighbour. Peter, this is my girlfriend, Amy."
She held out her hand to him and gave him a big, interested smile, and Peter felt a little sorry for Charley. Then he thought of Jerry and felt a little sorry for himself.
Jerry had always made it clear that they were not family, that he was not Peter's adoptive dad. Although it had hurt Peter a little in the past, he understood it now. He didn't want that kind of family anymore.
Peter looked up and saw that Charley was still expecting an answer. How he ended up with Jerry. The autobiography would give Charley nightmares, so he settles for the short version.
"My parents hit me," he said, in explanation.
Jerry never referred to it explicitly, maybe he thought Peter had forgotten, but Peter knew that he knew. No-one would understand, but Jerry had practically rescued him, not kidnapped him. And he was settled here. Jerry had never told him anything, never asked him anything, and Peter preferred it that way. It was taking him a lot of effort to convince Charley that he wasn't Jerry's sex slave, or whatever he thought, and that Jerry genuinely cared for him.
"Did he tell you that?" Charley persisted.
"No, I remember. He took me in when they died."
Charley said some other things, but Peter stopped listening. He was hoping that, if Jerry picked someone up tonight, he would go back to their place or take them to a fucking hotel for once. He hated hearing it all.
"Don't you have anyone else?"
"No," he said, matter of factly. He had vague memories of Jerry asking him about his family when he was little, half hearted attempts to track them down, and he had even suggested it again when Peter got older, offering to help him find other family, and Peter had refused. Jerry had always given him options, but Peter didn't need them; he had grown used to the idea of what was going to happen to him and there was no point in complicating things. He just wished Charley would get that look off his face.
It was until he had gone that it occurred to him that Charley had been talking to him like he was a mental patient.
"Are you OK?"
Charley was always asking him if he was all right. It really got on his nerves. He would be all right once Charley pissed off and let him get on with his evening, namely, finding someone to practice sex with. He had 300 years of experience to compete with. He just needed to drink a little more and then he would feel brave enough find someone drunk enough to sleep with him, preferably without talking to him or bitching when he took out a condom, and let him slip out the minute they were done without remembering his face.
He was thinking all this when Charley touched his arm, and he turned to him in irritation. He nearly dropped his drink when Charley kissed him. It was a timid, nothing of a kiss, but it left Peter staring at Charley with a new found interest. So Jerry had been right.
Charley was blushing. "I'm sorry. Um, I am gonna tell Amy. I'm sorry, I think I've had too much to drink, and- " Sensing him about to talk himself out of it, Peter kissed him to shut him up, kissed him properly. Charley was tentative but certainly not the worst Peter had ever had and, when they were done, stared at Peter in a bit of a daze.
Peter looked at him pityingly. "Come on." He took Charley's hand and pulled him through the crowd, to the door marked Private, and through the corridor. The two doors at the end were locked as usual, so Peter just pushed him up against one and started kissing him again. He was pleased to find he was getting hard. He was beginning to realise that he should have given Charley more to drink, but it was too late for that now; he'd take what he could get.
He was always terrified of getting caught here, but with Charley, poor, sober, innocent Charley, he felt somewhat superior and authorative. He had his hand down Charley's pants in no time, and was pleased when Charley didn't protest when he got on his knees.
It was over as quickly as Peter would have liked, but it left him feeling funny. Sort of hollow. He got up without looking at Charley, and backed off pretty quickly in case Charley wanted another kiss, or something equally ludicrous.
He stumbled through the crowd and helped himself to an abandoned bottle of beer on someone's table. He wasn't normally that stupid, but he was feeling rough and didn't care. Then he went outside and called Jerry. The vampire wasn't working that night, and Peter hoped he would be alone.
"Hey. Are you busy?"
"No. You want a ride home?"
Peter thought about it. He'd done what he came to do, and he wasn't going to get anything else out of the night. "Yeah, please. Usual place."
"OK." There was a little pause. "Are you all right?"
"Yeah..." he could hear how he sounded and tried to perk up a bit. "Just been bored."
"Oh. See you soon." He hung up.
Peter spent the next half an hour walking up and down trying to sober up, when Charley found him.
"Hey," he said awkwardly. "Are you OK?"
Just as Jerry's truck swung into the lot. Peter's heart sank as he realised he was going to offer Charley a lift, and would probably figure out something had happened.
Sure enough, when they had got home and shut the front door behind them, Jerry smirked and shook his head. "So you and Charley hooked up. I wish you'd tell me these things, Peter. I'd love to know what else you get up to."
"When will you sleep with me?" he blurted.
Jerry stopped smirking and came towards Peter, pulling him back to lean on him. "You know when."
"I don't see why it matters. There's always gonna be a 300 year age gap."
"You're still growing up. It'd be wrong."
Peter sneered at that. There was no such thing as 'wrong' in their lives.
"Cheer up." He fluffed Peter's hair up with one hand. "Not long now."
When Jerry turned Charley, Peter didn't know if he'd done the right thing or not. He hated having Charley here, hated thinking about him locked in the basement with his mother going crazy next door. Jerry also wouldn't let him near Charley, which offended him; he wasn't stupid or weak, and he thought he'd made his loyalties very clear.
Over time, Charley began to accept Jerry's much needed guidance in his new condition. Jerry was almost kind to him in that respect. But then, he had it easy. Peter was the one who had to see Charley's mother every day. He couldn't believe that when the police came over to question him and Jerry, Charley was below them all along, that they didn't click on. He couldn't understand how they were getting away with it.
Deciding his conscience was clear as Charley was not dead and Jerry had conceded to let Ed be, he really didn't want Charley here. He hinted so much to Jerry.
"It doesn't work like that, Pete. I've turned him. I've got responsibilities."
"But for how long?"
"As long as he needs me."
Jerry had mentioned moving in order to avoid Charley's mother and to detach from his life. He wouldn't move at Peter's request, but he'd do it for some brat who had tried to kill him. Now Peter did his errands for them in the day and they did fuck knew what at night, Charley gradually adjusting and hating Jerry a little less and getting the privilege of his company and guidance night after night, everything Peter was supposed to have. And the worst part was, it was all his own fault.
"Just what is your problem?" Charley said one night, after being snapped at one time too many.
"You are my problem!" Peter snarled. "I wish I'd fucking let you die."
"Peter," Jerry warned, and Peter stormed out of the house. "Don't worry about him," he heard Jerry say on his way out.
He took Jerry's truck for a drive to calm down.
When he returned, went to his room without a word to either of them. He was prepared to be silently furious with Jerry all night, but when the older vampire stole into his room and lay beside him on the bed, he didn't protest.
"You know you've got nothing to be jealous of," Jerry said quietly.
Peter didn't answer, but Jerry stayed with him all night instead of taking Charley out, and was still there when Peter woke up.
Jerry was dead. He hadn't listened to Peter and he had given Charley access to all his old books and now he was dead. This time, Charley hadn't missed. He had turned back and returned to his mother, and in the drama of a missing teenager's return, the neighbourhood didn't notice the loss of Jerry Dandridge or the fact that Peter was all alone.
Or the fact that the house was for sale, soon to be abandoned.
Jerry had left him a fair amount of money, plus considerably valuable possessions, and so, operating on autopilot, he decided to move to the city. People left him alone in cities; in these kind of towns, everyone knew everything all the time. He found work and didn't have to sell any of Jerry's collection to survive, as he feared he might. He talked to Jerry in his head to keep sane, but found that for some of the time he didn't need to. Sometimes his head was so empty and silent that he didn't feel anything, not even the need for comfort.
It was around that time that he started drinking. Coincidentally, Charley had started coming round and wouldn't give up, despite Peter almost blinding him once with a bottle. Before long, he was so lonely and angry that he let Charley in and started talking to him. He wasn't surprised when they slept together once or twice. He was sure Jerry would have understood. In bed with Charley that first time, he thought about Jerry promising him a blow job for his 21st birthday and had to bite his lip to keep the laughter in.
Although he never showed it, Peter did become somewhat grateful for Charley's being there, and particularly for refraining from telling him that he loved him.
Somewhere along the way, a mix of his strained personality and odd coping mechanisms, and not to mention the booze, Fright Night was born. Jerry would have found it all hilarious.
Jerry came back to him when he was having the night to himself; no show, no partying, no fucking. He sat at his window observing the Vegas skyline he never got tired of, and turned when he heard what he thought to be the delivery man step into his suite. He hadn't started drinking yet, but he was sure he must be confused.
"Hey," Jerry said with a little smile. When Peter blinked, Jerry was still coming towards him, looking the same as ever. "Look at you," he murmured, and took Peter in his arms.
Peter clung to him. His heart thudded; he had imagined this countless times, wished for it every night before he went to sleep. Now he was just bewildered. He had lived without Jerry's support for the past 20 years; being confronted by the man was surreal. "But how..." he swallowed and got his voice under control.
"I don't know. It's probably because I'm from one of the oldest tribes. I must have got lucky." He breathes in Peter's hair. "At least it wasn't hard to track you down. You've done so well, Pete. This place is amazing."
Peter stood there clinging to him, still stunned. "What now?" he murmured, almost afraid to ask.
"Up to you, kiddo. Completely up to you."