Vampirilor de Dragoste

Vampirilor de Dragoste
a short story by Viorel Bucur

Desiree D’Amour was a little shy, a little shorter and rounder than her friends, a little self-conscientious and a little bored with all the stereotypes. But there was nothing little about the capacity for Desiree’s heart to live up to her name. And, in fact, nothing little about her heart at all. She was prettied with a matronly and pleasant 18 year old face that was no stranger to smiles. One of those faces, you would instantly know, that would age fantastically well; but no idea how you knew it. She was a barista at “Bean Time” in the only mall in her hometown. A summer job before post-secondary education in the big city.

Mario Cantavero was slightly shy, slightly shorter and rounder than his friends, slightly self-conscientious and slightly bored with all the stereotypes, himself. Unfortunately, Morris, more than slightly, lived up to his name, which his “friends” had never let him forget since elementary school. “Marry Oh! Can’t have her, Oh!”, which finally got shortened to “Can’t have her.” before 1st year was out for summer. A truly kind and mature face for an 18 year old young man, that extended all the way to his heart; the source of his unassuming good looks. Morris worked as a security assistant in the only mall in his hometown. A summer job before post-secondary education in the big city.

An old man, 80 years of age and a young boy of 13 (though he looked no older than 8 or 9), frequented the mall together, almost daily during the summer months. Vladislav Dascalu and his grandchilde, Stephan Nectaria; of obvious Romanian descent with their stark-white complexions; sharp, angular facial features; straight brown hair; and patently handsome visages. Contrasting their almost regal procession through the mall was their keen and genuine interest in people. Charming, enchanting, and engaging; with memories for detail that bordered on eidetic.

On introduction, they never uttered their own names and conducted the affair as though announcing their arrival at royal court. “This is my Grandchilde, Stephan Nectaria; call him Steph, if you please; or Stephan, if more to your pleasure.”, the old man would say, bowing as he waved his arm in a grand, aristocratic sweep to indicate his Grandchilde. “And this is Vladislav Dascalu, my Grandpapa. Call him Vlad, if you would be so kind.”, the little boy would say, sweeping both arms down then upward, with princely composure, introducing his towering Grandpapa.

No one ever questioned this ritual; attributing it, in absence of understanding, to a quaint cultural oddity. Nor did the few who knew them from last year, question the fact that the little boy hadn’t grown a lick since the previous summer. “A congenital issue, no doubt. It’s impolite to pry.”, they likely thought.

Very little observation was required to catch glimpse of the exchanges between Desiree and Morris, which lingered marginally short of staring. Or to notice the inordinate amount of coffee young Morris drank and the slow pantomime search of his pockets for tips as the queue grew long behind him; and his shaking hands as he dropped coins in her jar. Or the particular and doting attention Desiree paid to his condiment measures and her exactitude in lining the lid’s drinking opening opposite the paper cup‘s seam; to minimize possible leakage.

Both Vladislav and Stephan were, of necessity, intimately familiar with subtle rituals. And this urban fertility dance was not lost on them. The longing was palpable, the restraint, excruciating and the intent, wondrously pure. A feast of emotions laid out on a platter of granite and terrazzo.

Vladislav and Stephan got down to business immediately. Though, not abruptly. If patience is a virtue, then these two souls were the most virtuous of the virtuous. They undertook a ritual of their own; planned, methodical and invariable successful under these circumstances of young love; circumstances under which lifetimes of decision could be pledged in a moment of consummation with a mere kiss.

After “formal” introductions with Desiree; any many days of establishing himself as a welcome regular, Vladislav gained a rapport with her. “Well, my new Granddaughter, what do you suggest I try this evening?”, he would ask her. She would offer up coffees from around the world and explain the details of the bean’s agricultural heritage, processing methodologies, preparation techniques and condiment variations. Vladislav had the natural ability to be so completely “there and interested” while listening that it almost mesmerized her. Amid giggles and uncharacteristic flare of facial expressions, Desiree soon grew to adore her time with her new Grandpapa. “Please, call me Grandpapa.”, he had said, until she tried it on to a raucous round of applause, ear-to-ear smiles and hopping dance from young Stefan. Who made it a point, now, to call her “Big Sister” whenever he could, for a while.

Grandpapa humbly, and eventually, regularly, asked her to mind Stephan. “Would you be so kind as to care for our young boy while I perform some of my more elderly errands?” Vladislav would ask her after some more days had passed. “I would simply die if anything happened to him! Could you seat him behind the counter, close with you, dear daughter?”, he entreated her, subtly shifting her “relationship” to he and Stephan, appealing to her maternal instincts for their young boy. “Of course!”, she squealed. Stephan hugged her waist as a boy might with his mother, unapologetically familiar. “Thank you Mo-… Desiree.” he’d falter, often, but not too often. “Big Sister” had been gradually phased out of his vocabulary.

After “formal” introductions with Morris; and many days of establishing himself as a local of the town with heartfelt interest in its welfare, Vladislav gained a rapport with him. “Well, my new Grandson, what has happened in our town this past day?”, he would ask him. Morris would offer up various issues of library reconstruction; municipal meetings scheduled; town holidays, fairs and special events; road repairs underway and the detours involved. Vladislav always made it a point to express thanks to him and illustrate fitting details as to how pertinent Morris’ information was to him; helpful in his day to day life; with commensurate concern, outrage or excitement, as the case may be. Morris felt someone was truly listening to him; but more importantly, that he was being, actually, helpful to this decent old man. Morris grew to like, and even anticipate, Vlad‘s new comforting address, “Thank you, my son.”, he’d say.

Yes, this decent old man who, obviously, couldn’t bare to have is Grandchilde, Steph, out of arms reach; unless he was with “…our dear darling Desiree, that lovely young woman, takes care of him as if he were her own!” And what a bundle of joy that young boy was when hanging on his Grandpapa‘s hand! Always watching, back and forth, from face to face as his loving Grandpapa and kind Uncle Morris talked. That is, when he wasn’t with Desiree, ecstatically waving to his Grandpapa and Uncle Morris from across the foyer. “Uncle Morris is so kind to Grandpapa.”, he would say to Desiree, sometimes, for a while. “Look,“, young Stephan had said, pointing at a plaster strip on an elbow or a knee, “Da… Morris did that for me!”, he’d falter, once or twice. “Uncle” had been gradually phased out of his vocabulary.

Thoughts of shared love and family blossomed in both Desiree’s and Morris’ minds. Serendipitously encouraged by praising Desiree’s, not unwarranted, mothering skills to young Stephan; and Morris’, not unwarranted, kind attentions to the same. Their exchanges lasted a little longer. Morris’ hands, slightly less shaky. Desiree’s smile, considerably more varied. Their pantomime lingering at her counter turned to welcomed languishing.

Late one Friday evening, just about closing time, Vladislav Dascalu looked Morris Cantavero in the eyes and regarded him with such a look of kindness that Morris let all his carefully erected social guards down. Morris felt a real connection with this person, the likes of which he had never before experienced. He felt calm, confident and worthy. He felt he deserved those relationships in life that he so much desired. He felt he would be able to do anything necessary to obtain them. Thoughts of Desiree dominated his desires; to care for her, love her, share the joys and trails of raising children with her; grow old with her.

Vladislav Dascalu embraced the totality of Morris. Understood his pure motives, aligned his own thoughts with those; and made them known to Morris in a reciprocated embrace of sharing on the deepest level that Morris had ever experienced. Morris trusted this haven of certainty; gave into it and let it take him over.

Late that same Friday evening, just about closing time, Stephan Nectaria looked Desiree D’Amour in the eyes. She had never before experienced such an adoring look in her life. She was rapt with it. She knew her heart was filled with good intentions; she knew she deserved this type of unconditional love of a child; knew she deserved other types of love as well. From Morris; or children of her own, shared with a loving husband and father; like Morris could be. How she wished he would make it clear to her that he could take on this kind of long term commitment to sharing life and love.

“Young” Stephan Nectaria embraced the totality of Desiree D’Amour. Understood her longing for certainty regarding Morris’ intentions, her own willingness to give herself to that man in an equal, loving union. Her fantastic capacity for love and her secret decision to provide it to Morris, provide it also for their children and those people their children came to love. Her view was long, loving and determined.

She could feel the presence of Stephan Nectaria in her heart; she could feel his concurrence with her deservedness; feel his childlike, unstoppable intent to have what was wanted, despite barriers of any kind. A feeling she had had herself as a child, but had let it be compromised by social conditioning. She felt her right to the kind of life she wanted, bolstered by this joining of forces with this young child. She felt a solidarity that made them one, so strong, so certain; she’d willingly put her life in the hands of this boy; so aligned were their minds. She could hardly believe what she was experiencing; but there was no doubt in her mind, she was in the midst of something transcendent; an embracing of another kind altogether.

Before they knew it, Morris and Desiree were walking in the direction of the large array of indoor plants in the center of the foyer, without having fully instigated the motion of their bodies themselves. But it felt so completely right to be doing this, they offered no resistance and, entranced, gently assisted. They met in the center, safe from prying eyes, save their own. Comforting in their private moment.

As Desiree and Morris stepped towards each other, the ancient spectres of Vladislav Dascalu and Stephan Nectaria embraced each other in a way they had many times over their untold years of existence. Providing a temporary link to each other, as well as for the souls of Desiree and Morris.

Vladislav and Stephan could feel the shackles of limitations disintegrate from the couple’s hearts; as Desiree and Morris felt glimpse of each others’ souls in this intangible realm. Could feel the offshoots of a thousand happy futures spring in unison; as they witnessed themselves within themselves. Could feel the need to promise, welling like a tsunami and crashing with absolute dedication to their joint intentions as they kissed.

Vladislav and Stephan, still in spectre-embrace, looking dazed, and uncharacteristically pink of complexion (were anyone to notice), proceeded into the night outside the mall. Generations of love would be created from their handiwork. A new bloodline to traverse the ages, based on the tandem forces of pounding, opened hearts.

They did not return the following summer.

The End

© Sean G. O’Leary 2019

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