Vampires in Vegas(2)

By: Samantha Snow


“I know, Jen, I know. I won’t miss it.”

“Awesome! Now, don’t you want to know where it is?”

“Where it is? What do you mean, where it is? Isn’t it going to be here?”

“Um, in the library?” one of Jen’s ditzy friends asked with disgust. “As if. That would be like, the most boring party ever.”

“No, not in the library. That’s not what I meant. I meant in the city. It isn’t going to be in Austin?”

“No way! This city is tired.”

Ella felt a little pang of sadness to hear Jen say that. They had both been born in Austin, had both grown up there, and had known each other since they were only five years old. They had spent many a late night when they were young discussing their plans for the future, all of which had involved them staying in Austin forever and ever, amen.

They had even talked about getting houses right beside one another, being neighbors until the day they died (which of course they would do on the exact same day). Ella was old enough to know better now, of course, twenty-five would have been much too old to still think a plan like that was either practical or plausible, but it didn’t mean hearing her best friend talk about their beloved city that way didn’t sting a little bit. It was just that it highlighted the chasm that had grown between them so perfectly that it was impossible to ignore.

Ella understood that people grew in different directions, childhood friends rarely growing into adults with the exact same tastes and interests. Honestly, she was lucky that the two of them were still friends at all. She knew that was very uncommon, as well. But these reminders of just how different they were frightened her. It made her uncomfortably aware of how easy it would be for the two of them to drift apart so that their friendship was nothing but a memory.

As far as she could tell, their childhood was the only thing that still really held their friendship together. Yet another reason why it was so important for her to go on this trip, wherever it might be. She needed to do this for the sake of a friendship that was terribly important to her. Quite possibly (probably) much more important to her at this point than it was to Jen.

“OK,” Ella said quietly, trying not to sound as weary as she felt, “where’s it going to be, then?”

“That’s the best part,” Jen grinned in a way that looked rather ominous in Ella’s humble opinion, “we’re going to Vegas!”

*

“I just don’t get it, El!”

“Don’t get what? There’s nothing to get?”

“Don’t get you. A weekend in Vegas is only going to be about the funnest thing ever, and you look like I killed your cat and want to drag you to the funeral.”

“Don’t say funnest. It’s not the best use of the word. And I don’t have a cat.”

“Jesus, Ella, you’ve got to lighten up a little. Pretty soon you’re going to be an old woman at twenty-five. At this point it seems like all that’s left is for you to start carrying butterscotch candies in your purse and using the phrase ‘back in my day.’ Don’t let that happen to you. You need some Vegas in your life.”

Thankfully, they were no longer in the library, where Ella would have to worry about her job as well as the impending doom of the trip. She was also grateful to have Jen’s two friends, whose names it turned out were Pamela and Kristy (with a “K,” not a “C”), were out of the picture for the moment as well.

Ella wasn’t dumb. She knew what those girls must think of her. She was sure that they thought she was weird and boring and a total drag, that they had tried on more than one occasion to convince Jen to finally pull the plug on her little girl friendship.

Thankfully, Jen hadn’t done it yet, and Ella hoped she never would, but those girls still made her nervous. She felt like they were constantly critiquing her, and that she was always coming up short. But not now. No, now it was only her and Jen, hanging out on the couch in Ella’s small but tidy apartment. There were two bottles of wine out on the table, one white and one red, because Jen had decided that when it came to wine, variety was the spice of life. Ella wasn’t exactly a big drinker, but when she had her movie nights with Jen, she would have a glass or two. It was her way of letting loose, and something she felt OK about from time to time. On this night, she was thinking she might even wind up having a third glass, depending on how stressful this conversation wound up being.