The blonde took a heavy drag from her cigarette, allowing the sweet poison to fill her lungs before exhaling the puff of smoke into the air in front of her, where it rose and dispersed. She stood on the sidewalk beneath the awning of an abandoned building, watching the pharmacy across the street as if it beckoned to her; as if it were an itch she couldn’t stop scratching. One arm was tucked beneath her breasts, rested comfortably on her side below her other elbow. Her hand was poised near her face, bracing the cigarette between her fingers, ready for the next pull as she eyed the drugstore carefully.
Ever since coming to this forsaken country, Hailyn had endured nothing but problems. It had rained nearly every day since she’d arrived, making her completely miserable and homesick for the rays of Australia. The London police had been completely unhelpful so far, unable to give the girl any information, let alone the slightest reassurance that they were even still looking for her sister. They wouldn’t even let her into Hannah’s apartment – ‘ongoing investigation’, her ass. She was the girl’s sister; even more so, her twin. Didn’t that mean anything to these bloody people? British people. Hailyn scoffed, taking another drag from the rolled tobacco.
The truth was, her nerves were a bit frazzled. She wasn’t sleeping well, and the smokes weren’t helping much, at this point. Back in Australia, when Hannah had first decided to move to London for the studio job, Hailyn had been left with no choice but to move back in with her parents. Immediately, they had assigned certain stipulations to their returning daughter, to make sure she was clean. Because of what had happened with Tommy, they’d demanded that Hailyn agree to random drug tests. There had been other things, like getting back in school, but the most difficult had been getting rid of all the dirty little secrets she’d been hiding from Hannah while they had been rooming together. By then, she supposed, she was ready to get straight. It was a lot different without Tommy there, pressuring her to take another hit; to swallow another pill.
The point was, after awhile, she’d eventually gained her parents’ trust back, and things had seemed to be going well. The drug tests ceased and life went on as normal. Occasionally, to help her nerves around exams, Hailyn had secured a little pot to toke on, but she’d kept her word, for the most part, and stayed off the heavier stuff. And she’d managed to keep the smokes a secret, thanks to plenty of gum and perfume. Either that, or her parents never bothered to confront her about it. But now that she was in London, with no friends or acquaintances, without the sunshine or the ocean, everything seemed to be falling apart. Hannah was nowhere to be found, and nobody knew a thing. She needed something. Anything. She didn’t care if it was cough medicine, as long as it helped her get some fucking sleep.
Hailyn flicked the cigarette into the wet, murky gutter and glanced both ways down the street before crossing, despite that it was fairly late and there wasn’t any traffic on the road. It was raining even now, and as she ran, she threw he arms over her head in a feeble attempt to ward off any drops that she could. She really needed to invest in an umbrella. She would probably use it more than anything else in this sodden shithole. She frowned at this thought as she reached the building’s glass doors and tugged one open, her eyes squinting through the gentle downpour falling on her unprotected head. There was a ding as she entered, letting whoever was inside know that she’d arrived. The blonde bit her lip anxiously, her eyes briefly averting in the direction of the little bell and eyeing it unhappily.
Once inside, Hailyn rubbed at her damp clothes, her golden hair stringy and moist as she clenched her forearms in reaction to the air conditioning. With a sigh, she glanced around the store, wondering where the over-the-counter drugs were. Finding a sign that pointed her in the right direction, Hailyn made her way down the aisle, glancing nervously over her shoulder as she went. She wasn’t a common thief, but she hadn’t expected the little money she’d come with to run out so fast, and the last thing she wanted to spend it on was sleeping aids. She figured she’d stow a box or two in her purse and buy an umbrella - since she so desperately needed one, anyway - and be on her way. Tomorrow, she’d have to make the dreaded call to her parents to ask for more money and hope that they weren’t too hard on her about this impulsive trip to London again.
It was bad enough that she spent most of her time arguing with them or avoiding them, if not awkwardly awaiting their disapproval of her. She swore that they’d always been fonder of her sister. Her sister, who was gone now. She was hardly a good substitute for Hannah. The blonde bit her lip as she walked, her eyes scanning the rows of medicine. She could think of better ways to calm her nerves than over-the-counter meds; it was a shame her only contacts were on another continent.
Hailyn bent down once she’d reached her destination and began examining her options. There was PM this, and PM that – but what she really wanted was a Valium, or a Xanax. Yes, that would really do the trick. She sighed, and reached for one of the boxes half-heartedly, managing to knock six or seven of them off the shelf in the process.
“Shit,” she muttered under her breath, bending down to scoop them up. So much for being inconspicuous. There was no way she’d be brave enough to shove a couple of these in her purse, now that she’d managed to make such a ruckus. Some thief she was.
Carefully, almost hesitantly lifting a corner of the small piece of gray duct tape covering the face of his watch, Evander deliberately broke the cardinal rule of working a shift – the more you look at the clock, the slower the time goes – and regretted it the moment he had. He had gained nothing from his little transgression but the knowledge that it had been two hours, thirty-seven minutes, and fifteen seconds since the last sign of life in the shop and that an hour and thirty minutes remained of his shift, an eternity in his estimation. He replaced the corner with a heavy sigh as the sad realization that almost every means of suicide in existence would fail if he tried sunk in.
He used to love his job. When still human, he would provide comic relief for his co-workers, practice nicking things from the patrons, or binge on the candy to induce a sugar high much to the annoyance of Annabelle who always had to deal with the crash later. Since his turning, however, he worked alone (chemists typically didn't stay late, but since he needed the hours it was settled that he could handle things on his own as he could easily protect himself and the shop), the need to practice was irrelevant with his new abilities, and he had obviously lost the taste for chocolate. He then compensated for that by pinching pills and trading them for the necessities of life – blood and sex – with pretty, young junkies. But two years had passed and so much had changed. He had responsibilities he didn't have before meaning he actually needed his job and couldn't partake in any activities that might compromise it, thus his job had become something no longer enjoyed but dreaded.
An hour and fifteen minutes now, he noted, replacing the corner once again with another sigh, though he wasn't quite sure why he was so anxious to leave when the alternative wasn't much better. A thermos of cold blood and several solitary hours of watching late night programming were all he had to look forward to for the rest of the evening. It was hardly the life he envisioned when he became and husband and father, but spending quality time with his family now meant watching his children and wife while they slept, the only time he ever saw them. The sad reality was that nothing could be done for it; his income, which could hardly sustain the cost of their W6 address let alone the expenses of a family of four, made it impossible for Annabelle to be a stay-at-home mother and so sacrifices had been made, but the longer the situation persisted, the more detached he became from his family. He was slowly losing the only thing that mattered to him and felt absolutely powerless to stop it. His condition had already cost him his relationship with his parents and sister, he didn't know if he could bear losing his own family as well.
In a little while from now, if I'm not feeling any less sour...
The chemist slowly rolled his eyes upward when the Gilbert O'Sullivan song began to play over the shop radio, taunting him with a seemingly perverse premonition of what was to become of his life. It was the final straw of this hellish night and the unamused vampire leapt onto the counter he stood behind with every intention to rip the speaker from the ceiling, stopping only when he heard the unfamiliar chime of the door. Surprised, he stood frozen with his fingertips on the rim of the speaker as he caught the faint scent of rain and cigarettes mixed with the scent of a female human. He searched the security mirrors until he spotted the young blonde woman making her way through the aisles, nervously looking over her shoulders; a devilish grin spread across the vampire's face.
Evander silently hopped off the counter thoroughly excited by the prospects of what this encounter may bring. An unsupervised small child dripping an inch of snot all over his counter would have been a more than welcome distraction, but this! This was more than he could ever want for, but still wished that a chase might be involved – she wouldn't stand a chance. He kept his eyes on the mirrors watching her every move as he swiftly weaved through the shop toward her, expertly swiping a pack of gum from one of the shelves on his way just for the fun of it. It was all he could not to burst out laughing when she knocked over several boxes, but he sympathized with the girl, clearly a novice, and waited a few moments before turning into the aisle and approaching her. "Need help with anything, honey?" he asked looking down at the soaking-wet blonde with a knowing smile.
Hailyn bent over, balancing on her heels as she replaced the scattered boxes of medication hastily to the shelf. It almost appeared as if she were mouthing the words of the song as it spilled out of the pharmacy speakers, but that was not the case at all with the grumbling Australian. She’d never heard the tune in all her life. Not that she was paying any attention to it now. Her fingers wrapped around the cardboard squares nervously as her eyes darted up and down the aisle in expectation. Surely, someone would have noticed her by now. After all, she stuck out like a guppie on their first big wave.
And yet, not a soul in sight.
She muttered under her breath, the foreigner’s cursing rendered inaudible by the depressing words of Gilbert O’Sullivan bouncing around the store. Christ, this had been a terrible idea. All it would have taken was getting caught and everything could have easily fallen apart. That is, worse than it already was for the young woman, if that was even possible. She’d only been in London a matter of weeks; the last thing she needed was to have to call her parents from a jail cell. Hailyn’s determination was wiped out almost as easily (and just as quickly) as the blonde had managed to sweep a single shelf of sleeping meds.
But as if to knock me down, reality came around.
Hailyn thoughts turned to her overbearing parents. There was no way she was going to get enough money out of them to support herself and her addictions while she was here in London. It had been rough enough in Sydney, when she’d had the connections. This was entirely different. A soft groan escaped her lips at the thought of having to ask them for anything, let alone covering for something they would never understand or approve of. The girl didn’t want to lose their trust by making them suspicious of her now. She didn’t like the idea of going through that again. Things were bad enough as it was.
The Australian girl replaced the last box of sleeping aids to its rightful place and stood up with one last longing glance towards the shelf she’d wrecked. It seemed as if she was going to have to come up with a Plan B. At least, she thought she should opt not to steal anything now. If only the blonde had enough confidence left, she could still easily stow a box or two in her purse. But she’d already made such a mess of things. It was mildly tempting, despite that she’d already proven how much of an amateur she was. Nobody was around, after all.
And then, as if he’d been summoned by her infallibly naive thoughts, a man appeared stealthily in front of Hailyn wearing an amused expression thoroughly etched around warm, chocolate orbs. ”Need help with anything, Honey?” He asked, earning a slightly incredulous look from the girl on the brunt of his words. Hailyn’s hand, which had been unconsciously poised near the sleeping meds while she reconsidered her options, instinctively dropped to her side. Help? Sure, she could use plenty of that. The Australian lifted her chin slightly to meet the pharmacist’s gaze and released the breath she’d caught when he’d startled her.
“Um, no. I was just looking. Thank you, though,” She somehow found her voice, pushing the thoughts rolling around in her head away and concentrating on looking as innocent as possible. At least, not looking as if she’d walked into the pharmacy to steal something would do, she decided. Hailyn conjured a friendly smile and flashed it at the taller figure, her gaze dropping shyly to the floor as she did so. She hoped he would just go away so that she could make a quick escape before she managed to embarrass herself or, worse, give herself away. If she hadn’t already.
Alone again, naturally.
Without waiting for his response, the blonde squeezed past the pharmacist, offering him a sheepish grin as she did so. This had been a complete waste of her time. And she was still going to have trouble getting to sleep tonight, like every other night since she’d arrived in this miserable city. Fuck. “Now I just need an umbrella,” She muttered, deciding she’d at least pay for that and be on her way. Hailyn bit her lip anxiously, not spotting a rack with the item anywhere. The damp tendrils of hair clinging to her bare shoulders were a subtle reminder that she needed to invest in more than an umbrella while she was in London; Hailyn needed a whole new wardrobe for this weather.
The girl balanced on her toes, gaining another inch or so, and peeked over the aisles before turning back to look expectantly at the dark haired man that had very nearly busted her. It would be faster to get his help than to walk aimlessly around the pharmacy. A resigned sigh escaped her lips.