a bite to eat

Sweet Tooth Bakery 
Squares of warm yellow light lined up in neat rows along the sidewalk out front, highlighting the Sweet Tooth like some dough-scented oasis; and it was an oasis, for those too drunk to resist the smell of sugary donuts and college students working on papers due the next morning. Theophania had a specific clientele she catered to, and though she grumbled about cheap students and judgmental hipsters, she could appreciate their dedication to an aesthetic (intentional or not).

So used to the same types over and over, the merry jingle of the door didn’t even draw her to look up, too engrossed in trying to balance her fresh puff pastries into a stable pyramid beneath the display glass. The fizzle down her spine, of an energy as familiar to her as her own quiet heart, was what finally jolted her to attention.

She looked up, a smile already on her mouth.

“Welcome,” she said, not bothering to snap off her gloves, as there would be no need to get a pastry for her new vampire customer. Tiffany herself preferred to order hot drinks, as they came in opaque cups which allowed her to pretend at sipping them while she sat and people watched. “I can tell just from looking at you, you would love anything I have to offer,” she said, finding herself hilarious.


Giovanna threw her mouse across the office. The pathetic plastic shattered on contact with the wall leaving a curved dent in the drywall that she would eventually cover with a painting or a shelf or a hanging and forget about until it was time to move out of this place in another decade. She quietly seethed at her desk, fists clenching, her sharp, dark-painted nails making small marks on her palms and wrists.

Today had barely begun, but it was not a good day.

She yelled to her assistant. “I’m going to find somewhere else to work tonight! Don’t call unless someone else is dead.”

I don’t need this; she thought as she dressed in a long wrap-around black skirt. The fabric dragged on the carpet while she stalked around her room. She picked a short blouse of forest green, admiring it for a few moments in the floor-length mirror before remembering that today was terrible. The heels she chose whilst muttering curses made her four inches taller and lifted the skirt from the floor.

The makeup she plastered to her face made her look alive, and she chose a neutral lip. Adding a wide-brimmed black hat and a pair of sunglasses, she threw her laptop in a bag. She pulled a brand-new mouse—a twin of the one that had met its unfortunate but inevitable end—from a drawer, and flounced to the garage. The installation of some new tech in her garage meant that after sunset, anytime she crossed the threshold from the house to the attached building that housed her cars, a door opened. She had randomized it. The one that opened would be the car she drove.

Thankfully, the door before the cherry red Gran Coupe slid up, revealing a damp, chilly night. She popped the door and tossed her belongings into the other seat, not even stopping to enjoy the weather.

Where could she go? As she made the turns to the highway, she picked north and drove until the signs for the university began to appear. Perfect. Yes. Students stayed up late—plenty of locations that would be open well into the night. Better still, they didn’t all serve alcohol.

Parking was a bitch, but eventually, she paralleled into a spot too small for a four-door. Popping her headphones in, she turned up her music to walk through this part of town, not caring to hear anything these stupid infant-humans had to say as she passed. Her other senses were on alert as she navigated by a few drunken groups.

Finally. The lights on this part of the sidewalk might be what the sun felt like. She didn’t really remember anymore. Giovanna stopped to examine how it looked against her hand. Nearly blinded by her own pallor, she pulled open the door, hearing a bell chime above her. A woman’s mouth moved, words directed at her?

Giovanna tilted her head down, looking over her glasses into the eyes of another vampire. Operating a bakery. Near a college campus? She held up one elegant finger and shifted her weight to her right side, reaching across her body to remove the headphone from her ear. The faint hammering of a guitar melody could be heard in the immediate vicinity.

“Come again?” She asked, lilting voice smooth. Apologies were for people who breathed.

The vampire across from her certainly had a deeper love of fashion than she did; she looked much more like the businesswomen who occasionally blew through her bakery door than Theophania did. Tiffany was almost two decades behind in fashion, especially considering her recent decade of doing little more than feeding only as much as she needed to survive interspersed with depression naps.

Best not think of that, Theophania told herself, adjusting her scarf. She had a bakery now, after all, and who had problems when they owned a bakery and spent their nights kneading dough?

“Just saying that I think you’ll love my whole menu,” Theophania said, already moving toward the coffee machine to make her new customer a to-go cup of coffee she could never drink. She shot an amused look slantwise over her shoulder as she filled the cup with the cheapest black coffee she had. “Welcome to the Sweet Tooth. Haven’t seen you around before,” she said. “What brings you here?” She slid the cup across the counter. Her question was twofold. She was curious about what kind of vampire would visit her bakery, though of course the college students that frequented the place made excellent prey, but more than that she burned with curiosity at seeing another vampire like her after so long feeling as if she held the monopoly over North Portland territory. This wasn’t even the first vampire to visit her since the grand opening.

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