Of Love and Monsters

Chapter 12, Part 1: A Meet-Cute

You don’t need the God of Death, until you need them.

No matter what they tell you, the God of Death may assume many forms. It is a skill that comes with the power of the office. The God of Death can become a floating skull if they wanted, or even a bird, for llama’s sake. Do not let them bullshit you. -The Book of the Dead, Revised Edition

Alice woke up with a start. She was in a bedroom, but it wasn’t her bedroom. And judging from how comfortable the mattress was, this certainly wasn’t her bed. 

“Where the fuck am I?” she shouted.

“Calm down, calm down. We’re at the Plaza hotel in San Myshuno. You should see the view from the balcony. It’s really quite spectacular,” Ben soothed.

Alice nearly leapt out of the bed. “The Plaza..San Myshuno…what? How the hell did I get to San Myshuno? Wait, why the hell am I in San Myshuno?” 

“Well, I didn’t see how else we were going to get to auditions. Speaking of which, we should try some baking. We’ve secured access to a commercial kitchen, you know.”

“Ben. Cut the bullshit. I am freaked out. The last thing I remember was saving Ted Roswell from some cowplants that I created and then you told me to run!”

“Oh. Right. That. Do you remember anything else?”

“What? No. If I remembered anything else I wouldn’t be here freaking the fuck out. What is going on?”

“Well,” Ben said slowly, “You were out of commission, so I used the opportunity to secure us passage to San Myshuno so you can compete in the baking contest and win the prize.”

Ben explained it as if bring her bodily to San Myshuno against her wishes was no big deal. 

“Ben we have been through this…” Alice trailed off as she looked around the room. It was incredibly fancy. Gilded furniture, fresh flowers on the fireplace, a suede ottoman…

“We can’t afford this place. How can we afford this place?”

“Oh, well your parents wanted to make sure you were safe and you never used your college fund so here we are,” Ben chuckled, “Now, where should we begin? Breads? Donuts?”

Alice’s mind was reeling. She got up slowly, but her body felt like it was back in prime condition. She looked around for her suitcase. She couldn’t be in San Myshuno. She couldn’t compete on this show. She just wanted to go home, back to StrangerVille, back to—

“Back to what? Nothing?” Ben’s voice was rough.

He softened it. “You were wasting away, Alice. That was no life you were living. You were just…existing.”

Hurt lanced through her, “I wasn’t just existing! It’s you. You’re the reason I’m stuck like this!” 

And then she recalled their conversation. She was the God of Death. Or the almost God of Death. So that made her the monster, didn’t it?

“Alice, you are not a monster. There’s nothing wrong with you at all.”

“Are you kidding? Have you seen my life?” Alice cried. “Of course I’m a monster! Why would I want to go on baking show on international television to show the whole world?”

“Because you could be normal!” Ben stressed. 

Alice stopped talking and sat down. She could be normal? That was the kind of news a girl needed to take a seat for. “What do you mean?”

“The prize is the Owl of Undoing, an object of nigh incomprehensible power. If you go after it…you will be…normal.”

Alice felt unmoored, like her whole life was trying to reorder itself in light of this new information. What would it be like to not feel like a complete and total freak?

Alice fretted and looked down at her hands. “You promise?” 

“I swear it,” Ben replied solemnly. 

Alice stood back up, just the thought of having her greatest desire made her nervous. She began to pace. “Okay, but that’s not all that I need to compete. You’ve got to back off. And try hard not to make me crazy. You have to be—”

“Helpful,” Ben finished.

“Yeah,” she stopped pacing. “Wow. Yeah, you need to be helpful.”

“I know. I will endeavor to be a comfort and a support. Look, I’ll even reduce my presence and take up less space in your mind,” Ben beamed. 

And he did, somehow, transform into something lighter. She could almost see him, like a small skull floating over her shoulder instead of a fully grown man in drab robes.


Alice laughed. “Sorry. But the robes are pretty drab. Besides, I’m just happy enough about this to forget the fact that you’ve had this ability for the last sixteen years and this is the first time you’re choosing to use it.”

“Fair point.”

And then Alice ran to the closet and squealed. She was in a real live fancy hotel room in the middle of the city. She was alone! She was going to become normal! She was living her dreams!

She ran through the closet to the living room and stopped to squeal again.

“Hell yes!” she shouted.

If the hotel room was this nice, what was the rest of the place like? Was there a pool? A spa?

She flung open the door to the hallway and ran smack dab into a nice, solid, chest. She stepped back and looked up. That nice, solid, chest was part of a nice, attractive package.

“Are you alright?” he asked quickly with a scowl.

“Uh…” Alice was speechless. 

Even his scowl was attractive. He was deathly pale with hair that was so light it was nearly white, he had greyish blue eyes and a goatee that made him look like renaissance prince. It was a combination of features that should not have worked, but on him, it somehow did. 

He sighed, “Madame, I asked if you were alright.” 

“I’m…uh….” He stood so close to her that Alice swayed briefly. He put his hands on her waist as if to steady her. It sent sparks down her spine and straight to her nether regions. 

For the love of llamas! Where was Ben when she needed him? She was just standing here, floundering and he was off doing llama’s knew what… 

“I was trying to stay in the background like you requested.”

“Well I don’t need you in the background,” Alice said between gritted teeth. 

“Excuse me?” the man asked.

“Not you. Sorry.”

“Well don’t just apologize. Tell him your name!”

“I am telling him my name!” Alice snapped, “Not you. I mean, I’m telling you my name. I’m Alice. Not madame. Martin. Alice Martin”

As the man looked at her, he seemed to be trying to hold back his amusement. “You’re Alice, not madame…and you’re not talking to me so you’re talking to…?” he left the question hanging in the air.

That’s when Alice noticed his teeth. They were dangerously sharp in a way that should make her concerned, but instead, just filled her with excitement.

“Well, he is a vampire after all,” Ben mused.

Alice sucked in a breath. In all her time with an ancient god stuck in her head, raising skeletons, commanding the dead, controlling cowplants; she had never once considered that there might be other creatures out in the world too. 

She leaned in and put another hand on his chest. “Vampire?” she breathed, her tone wondrous.

His eyes widened. “How did you…?”


Emotions by SimmerBerlin

Be Together by Andromeda-sims

Alize Hotel Restaurant by otentikjuju

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