FIRST KISSES SUCK
Minnie Kim Vampire Girl #1
When Minnie said she was dying for the perfect first kiss, she didn’t mean literally.
Minnie Kim blacks out during her first kiss, so she figures it must not have been a very good one. Shouldn’t she remember such a momentous occasion? And to make things worse, she thinks the jerk gave her the flu…but no. It’s vampirism.
Post-kiss Minnie is taken into the Aristos family of vampires to learn all the rules of her new life—and there are a lot—so she can continue to live her old one. That’s right, she’ll be going right back to school just as soon as she can learn to control her bloodlust. But there’s a lot more to it than that—her parents won’t have anything to do with a gangshi, and the kids at school don’t want to become her next victim. Not that Minnie would ever do that. Ew.
But Minnie doesn’t intend to let a little thing like death keep her from living. With the help of her totally hot and completely arrogant mentor Philo, who’s been seventeen since the days of Sparta, she plans to totally rock this vampire girl thing. And maybe, if she’s lucky, she’ll get a do-over on the perfect first kiss.
Not that I’d admit this to anyone—even my best friend Stacey—but I was pretty much dying to be kissed.
But I didn’t mean literally.
Maybe the vampire costume sent the wrong message. Or the Vaseline Stacey told me to put on my fake fangs to make them look more real, made them look, well, real. Or maybe I had “never been kissed” flashing above my head like a beacon for all the crazies—including, apparently, vampires. Or at least one particular vampire.
And it’s not even like under normal circumstance I was that desperate—up until recently I’d been perfectly fine being the only girl in my sophomore class who’d never been kissed. I had other, more important things to worry about than who would be taking me to the winter formal. Like grades, and extra-curriculars and the latest BTS music video. Those mattered, right?
Stace and I always went stag to dances and stuff. Correction: We had always gone stag. But this year Stace was going to the annual Halloween party with Mack Johnson—a totally sweet guy who was perfect for her. But he’d asked her out the night before last—and thus prompted my own totally uncharacteristic desire to be kissed right away. And I got kissed all right. And bitten, and died, and reborn a vampire. Maybe it was all Mack’s fault.
That probably makes me a bad person, doesn’t it?
I should be happy for her, right? I mean, she’s been my best friend since we decided we could both be Queens of the Castle in second grade. That morning, we each refused to stand down from our self-proclaimed roles at the top of the monkey bars.
I should be happy, but I was currently writhing in indescribable pain. All I could do was relive last night and, in my more coherent moments, wish pain and suffering upon Stacey’s bouncy-ponytailed head.
I doubled over, curled into a ball on my narrow bed as another burst of pain took its lazy time working through my body.
Last night, I’d felt like a different person. My parents had gone out to celebrate their anniversary with the expectation that I’d be home, handing out Halloween candy with one hand while studying from my AP Chem textbook in the other. They had no idea that the second they pulled out of the driveway I left the bowl of candy on the porch and locked up—hey, I’m responsible, usually—and ran across the street to Stacey’s house.
Mrs. Florence answered the door with a wide sweeping gesture. “Hello, my Minnie,” she said with a cackle that literally made the hair on my arms stand up.
She was dressed in black from head to toe and had meticulously painted her skin green—including the ginormous hooked nose glued to her face.
“Um, Elphaba? From Wicked?” I asked, knowing she’d make me guess if I didn’t do it voluntarily.
She responded by singing, “Defying Gravity . . .”
I pointed up the stairs as she launched into the second verse and she nodded. Making my exit, I dashed up the stairs and down the hall to the last room on the left. The door swung open before I reached the knob.
Stacey grabbed my arm and yanked me into her room. “I heard Mom singing and figured either you or trick-or-treaters were here, but I didn’t see anyone out front, so . . .”
“Powers of deduction?” I asked as I flopped onto her bed, burrowing a hole deep into the pile of clothes on top of it.
“You know it!” Stacey was a Sherlock Holmes fanatic. She played the violin because of Sherlock. She named her cat Watson because of Sherlock. And, for the third year in a row, she was dressed up as . . . you guessed it. Sherlock Holmes. This year, as we’d both turned sixteen and were obviously totally grown up and ready for serious relationships, we’d decided to quit dressing like little kids. As a result, Stacey looked like a very studious school girl with her short plaid skirt, tweed vest, deerstalker hat, and wire-rimmed glasses. A studious school girl with unusually big boobs.
I pointed at said boobs and raised my eyebrows.
Stacey dug into the pile beside me and withdrew a black bra. “For you!”
I eyed the contraption warily. “I only wear a bra so it isn’t completely obvious that I’m the flattest girl on the planet. What am I supposed to do with that?”
“Here,” she said. “Try it on.” She pulled me to my feet and made a shooing motion, the bra dangling and bouncing from her fingers all the while.
“Fine.” I pulled my shirt up over my head.
Stacey was definitely the dominant partner in our relationship. Even though we’d both agreed to be Queen equally, the truth was, as we’d gotten older, she’d gotten bolder while I’d gotten . . . not exactly shy or whatever, but definitely not as large and in charge as Stace. Plus, if I didn’t do as she asked, she’d tickle me. Then things would get ugly.
I put on the bra and tucked my micro-boobs into the black cups. And then I stared down at my chest. Practically in shock, I stumbled over the shoes scattered on the floor to get to Stacey’s full-length mirror. “Omo.”
“Man!” Stacey complained. “I thought for sure I’d get something more than ‘oh my gosh’ out of you this time. One of these days I’m actually going to get you to say more than one Korean word.” Because you know it’s serious when I speak Korean. The first time my parents sat at the dining room table with Stacey’s family and said judgmental things about them to each other in Korean, I vowed to only speak English except for extreme situations. Or to appease my parents, which was often an extreme situation.
“Never,” I said. “But seriously. Omo. It’s like magic or something.”
“You know it!” Stacey exclaimed. “I knew you’d love it. Love them.”
I couldn’t take my eyes off my boobs. My actual boobs. Not micro boobs. They didn’t even look like mini boobs. They looked like real, legitimate boobs. I studied them from every angle but couldn’t find the balloons or socks or whatever magic made this baby work.
“It’s not called the miracle bra for nothin’!” Stacey exclaimed.
“I guess not.” I glanced back at her, and at her totally respectable cleavage. “Is that what you’re wearing?” Stacey wasn’t nearly as flat as me, but she still never had boobs like that before.
“Yup! You know I avoid that place like the plague normally, but Mom was doing inventory and I was soooo bored. So, I tried one. And when I saw that it really was a Halloween miracle, I knew you had to have one too.”
I whirled around to look at her with one hand pressed to my breast—to my breast! “You did pay for them, didn’t you?” When her mom first bought the Victoria’s Secret store in the mall, Stacey had accidentally-on-purpose lifted some panties and bralettes. She always claimed she was just a kid and she thought that because her mom owned the place, she could take what she wanted. Her mom made her come to the store for a month after that to clean and straighten racks. From then on, Stace said she’d never step foot in that store again if she could help it, but she couldn’t really stick to that, and I couldn’t blame her. I mean, her mom owned the place. Certain responsibilities came with that.
“Here,” Stacey said, as a silky black piece of fabric hit me in the face, promptly followed by three more items of clothing. As I picked them up off the floor, I discovered a black silk blouse, a super short mini skirt, and a long, flowing red cape. “Your costume, my dear.”
I gaped at the slips of fabric. “Seriously?”
“You said no more baby costumes.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t say ‘New York Hooker’.”
Stace shrugged and proceeded to wrap a lock of golden-brown hair around her curling iron. “I tried it on. It isn’t that bad. Plus, we need to get you noticed. This is your moment, baby!"
I gasped, suddenly released from the gripping pain. “That was sure my moment,” I groaned. Then puked into the wastebasket beside my desk. “Gahhh.”
I didn’t make it back to my bed before the next onslaught of memories came.
I spent most of the party standing near the door to the kitchen, a cup of Coke in my hand and trying to pull my skirt down just a little bit. Stacey hadn’t stopped moving or talking or dancing or laughing since Mack arrived, moments after we did. They did their best to include me, but I wasn’t so desperate that I needed to be the three in their some.
Literally. They tried to slow-dance with me once.
I’d had to pee for ages, but hadn’t wanted to go wandering around Isabelle’s house without Stacey. For one thing, I’d never been here before, though Stacey had, and for another, I’d seen the couples slinking up the stairs. I watched movies. I knew what teenagers did behind closed doors. And I did not want to accidentally stumble in on some naked kid I’d have to see in AP Lit on Monday morning. But if I didn’t pee soon, I’d have something more pressing to worry about than my super short skirt or naked bodies. I edged toward the stairs, hoping to see a hallway or a door marked RESTROOM, or something just as obvious. Nothing.
Where in the world was the bathroom in this house? Surely they had a powder room or something for guests on the main floor.
The thought of finding one gave my bladder permission to assume the ready position and my need blossomed into full-blown desperation.
I whirled around and slammed boobs-first into a brick wall—if bricks were made of muscle and tendons and flesh and boy. He chuckled and grabbed my shoulders to steady me. My cheeks flamed as I realized he was basically wearing the male version of my costume. Black silk shirt with half its buttons undone, revealing smooth, white skin. Too-tight black leather pants. A red cape that swirled around his ankles as if moved by an imperceptible breeze.
The room was so stifling hot that I’d kill for a breeze right about then.
His direct gaze traveled up and down my body. “Great minds think alike.” His voice was warm and friendly, and his eyes, which had found their way back up to mine, sparkled with an intelligent humor that made me instantly forget all about having to pee.
I did a sort of gasp-giggle that I hoped didn’t make me sound too bimbo-ish, and said, “Yeah, us and about half the other geniuses here.” I gestured to the crowd in the living room, spotting at least four vampires in the quick glance.
“Well, we’re obviously the best.” He turned his face so his fangs gleamed in the dim light, then pointed at my Vaseline-slathered ones. “May I?” His finger inched toward me. I thought he was going to touch my plastic fangs, but instead, he placed his finger under my chin and tipped it upward. His light brown eyes drew me toward him as surely as the rabbit hole drew in Alice. I’ll admit I was totally and completely lost in those dreamy, honey-colored eyes. So lost, that when his lips brushed tentatively against mine as if asking permission, I barely registered it.
It wasn’t until moments later, when he had me pinned against the wall, and he’d bit my lip so hard it drew blood, that I screamed, “Get off me, get off me, get off me!”
I shoved at his chest, actually getting him to move back a step, but the creep just grinned at me and dove in for the kill.