Why can't I love you?
|word count: 1212
Penny sat in the overstuffed armchair staring out her living room window. The only light in the room was an early twentieth century electric floor lamp will a yellowish pleated cloth shade, that may have once been white, and a pull chain socket. The black cord, which ran from the base of the lamp to a two-pronged wall socket, was frayed. The book, which lay open on Penny's lap, was an antique copy of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Well, she thought looking down at the book's yellowing and water stained pages, this is going to be another long and sleepless night. She picked up a scarlet cloth bookmark lying of the oak side stand to the right of the chair and placed it in the book. Then she closed the book and put it on the side stand.
She ran her fingers through her short brown hair and considered turning off the light, but that would have required her to get out of the chair. Instead, she let her pale blue eyes drift back to the window. As she watched the darkness seemed to flow and lap against the window, The tide is rising, maybe tonight it will break through the window and carry me out to sea. From another section of the house, she could hear the sound of a keyboard and a woman's voice, but she could not make out the words of the song.
The front door opened and then close, followed by a man's heavy footsteps. "Penny," the footsteps stopped at the entrance to the living room. "Why are you still up? And why are you using that dangerous lamp, haven't I warned..."
"Leave the lamp on, Rodger," she snapped before he could enter the room. "This is my house, if I want to use Granny Ann's lamp then I will." She did not look at him, it would not have changed her feelings toward him nor the fact that they would be husband and wife in three days. "Why don't you find out why your sister is playing that damn keyboard and singing this time of night?"
"Penny," he entered the living room. "No one is play a keyboard or singing," he ambled across the threadbare carpet and stopped beside her chair. "Are you all right," he pick up her hand and kissed it.
"I'm find, Rodger," she growled. "Stop trying to seduce me," he dropped her hand. "Now go tell your sister to stop playing that keyboard."
"Penny," he knelt in front of her. The light illumined his Adonis-like features and golden hair. "Would you like to postpone the wedding?"
"All right, Sweet Heart, I'll check on that music." He got to his feet and quickly left the room.
Why can't I love him, her eyes stared fixedly into the darkness and her mind flashed from on thought to the next. There are a dozen women in this town who would sell their souls to lay in the bed next to him. I'm the one he wants to marry and I can't love the bastard. Why can't I love him?
A shadow, darker then the night, moved across her light of sight and disappeared. Five minutes later and another shadow followed it. Maybe Mama was right, she always said I was crazy as a headless chicken. She sighed, as a charcoal gray fog flowed through the cracks in the window pane. The fog congealed into a six foot tall man with black hair and wearing a cape.
"Good evening, Jacob," Penny smiled at the sight of her deceased husband. "What brings you here tonight?"
"I was just curious," he pushed a footstool closer to the armchair and sit down. "Why you are marrying Rodger?"
"Because he ask me," she could see Jacob's vampire fangs sticking over his lower lip.
"That's no reason to marry someone you don't love." Neither of them saw Rodger standing in the entrance hall watching them.
"Jacob, why are you wearing that ridiculous cape," she rubbed his hand. "Just because you're now an undead citizen doesn't mean you have to dress like Dracula."
"You don't like it?"
"Then I'll get rid of it," he removed the cape and let it fall behind him. "Is that better, My Sweet?"
"Much better, Darling."
"Good," he glanced at the entrance and saw Rodger watching them. "Now perhaps you will answer my question," he raised her finger to his lips. "Why are you marrying a man you don't love?"
"It's not that I don't love Rodger," she was not sure how to explain the problem to Jacob. "It's that I can't love him."
"Why can't you love him," Jacob continued to kiss her fingers.
"Because... because I just can't."
"Penny, that doesn't make sense," Jacob frowned.
"It does if you're an insane insomniac!"
"My Sweet," he glance up to see if Rodger was still listening. "Would you like me to make you a vampire?"
"Lovely," she glared at him. "Then I would never get any sleep."
"What do you mean?"
"As a vampire, I would still have insomnia, but instead of being unable to sleep at night I'd couldn't sleep during the day." She shook her heard, "I'd prowl the night for food and, when I was in my coffin, or whatever it is vampires sleep in during the day, I'd lay there staring at the inside of the lid unable to sleep and unable to get out because I'd melt in the sun."
"That's a relief," he smiled. "I'm not sure what would happen if I made someone I love a vampire. I still don't think you should marry Rodger."
"Jacob, why don't you want me to marry your brother?"
"Because Rodger deserves to marry someone who cares about him."
"Jacob," she frowns. "I care about Rodger, I just can't love him. My Dear, you sound like a vampire with a conscience. I thought vampires were suppose to be blood thirsty creatures of the night."
"Penny, I assure you I can be as blood thirsty as any vampire, but there is a difference between food and family."
"Yes, you just ask any vampire in this town."
"Jacob, I don't want to know any other vampire anywhere on this planet. I'm going to marry Rodger and there's nothing you can do about it."
"Please, just tell me why you're marrying a man you can't love."
"Because I have to!"
"You're not pregnant. Are you?"
"Don't be silly, Jacob, of course not."
"Then why are you marrying Rodger?"
"Because," she looked into Jacob's eyes. When he was alive she could never refuse anything he ask, Penny knew she would have to admit to him the one thing she did not want to admit to herself. "Because if I marry someone I can't love," she took a deep breath. "it will break the family curse and our daughter will be able to marry someone she loves without fear of him becoming a vampire or some other undead creature."
Jacob turned back into a dark fog and flowed back into the night. Rodger stood in the doorway for another five minutes, then went down the hall to his bedroom. There he packed his bag before picking up the telephone to call the church to conceal the wedding.