Authors: Brian Meehl
Out of Patience
Suck It Up
You Don’t Know About Me
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Text copyright © 2012 by Brian Meehl
Jacket art copyright © 2012 by Brian Sheridan
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
Delacorte Press is a registered trademark and the colophon is a trademark of Random House, Inc.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Suck it up and die / Brian Meehl. — 1st ed.
Sequel to: Suck it up.
Summary: On the first anniversary of the historic day in which the vampires of America began going mainstream, the tension between vampire hero Morning’s wish for a simple life out of the spotlight and his mortal girlfriend Portia’s obsession with documenting history escalates to the breaking point when a sinister vampire rises from the grave with a powerful thirst for revenge.
[1. Vampires—Fiction.] I. Title.
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For Gerri and Richard
Morning McCobb sat at an outside table with a latte to go and a ham and cheese croissant emitting curlicues of steam. Neither was for him. He was drinking his beverage du jour, every jour, 365 jours a year: Blood Lite. The coffee and mortal mouthful were for the love of his immortal life, Portia Dredful. While every sinew of his being tingled with the knowledge that Portia was his
, he had never uttered the charged words. For good reasons.
One, their “eternal” only had a year on the meter. When it came to the big ride in Cupid’s Pedicab of Everlasting Love, that wasn’t even around the block.
Two, as a member of the International Vampire League, he was forbidden to turn a mortal into a vampire, even if it meant watching helplessly as the girl of his dreams rode the roller coaster of life through the loop-de-loops of youth, the twists and turns of middle age, into the plunge of cronedom, and finally bump to a rest in her grave.
This inescapable truth brought Morning to the third reason he had never whispered “Be my eternal beloved” in Portia’s ear. It was part of the deal they had made a year earlier on the Williamsburg Bridge. Loving each other forever and a day was a done deal, but skipping through life together as boyfriend-girlfriend was a three-legged race. If Morning was fixed at sixteen and Portia wasn’t, sooner or later their perfect stride would tumble into a bad game of Twister.
He didn’t know when their romantic run would pretzel into a pileup, but sitting in Caffe Reggio, he was beginning to wonder if this glorious fall morning, October 4, would finally bring the dawn of heartbreak. He had a reason for his gnawing dread. Portia was late: seven minutes late. She was never late. “If you’re on time, you’re late,” she always said. For Portia, early was on time.
He took another sip of Blood Lite. The metallic tang of the soy-blood substitute was cold comfort. His mind flooded with a vision of Portia waking that morning and declaring, “What am I doing? I just rocketed past my eighteenth birthday, I’ve got the mission of my life ahead of me, and I’m dating a sixteen-year-old!”
Morning’s head spasmed, shaking away the ghastly thought. He checked his cell phone. She was
He fixed his gaze on the corner of MacDougal and West Third and tried to will Portia around the pizza place. A fat lady appeared, walking two shih tzus that looked like self-propelled bedroom slippers. Morning wished he were one of the vintage vampires who gained extra powers after treading the earth for a century-plus. If he were a Centurion, he could visualize Portia at home, put her in
a virtual thrall, and make her zombie-dash to the café. Unfortunately, Morning had been a vampire for less than two years and couldn’t thrall a shih tzu to sit.
He couldn’t thrall, but he could call. He grabbed his phone and hit the number-one speed dial.
Portia answered. “Hey, Morn.”
“Where are you?” he asked, trying to squash the worry in his voice.
“Walking to the subway. Where are you?”
“At our place. Where else—”
“Ohmigod! Are we meeting today?”
He threw up a hand even though his video app wasn’t on. “It’s Thursday; we always meet today. Why would this Thursday be any different?”
“I thought we were skipping breakfast ’cause we’re seeing each other this afternoon at the parade.”
He frowned at the reminder of the first Vampire Pride Parade. It was going to celebrate precisely one year since American vampires had flung off their cloaks of secrecy and outed themselves as members of the International Vampire League. Unfortunately, since Morning had been the first nonthreatening vampire to be test-marketed on the mortal world of Lifers, he was expected to be in the parade. Worse, Luther Birnam, president of the IVL and mastermind of the campaign to rebrand vampires as the last minority with special needs, insisted that Morning march at the
of the parade. Morning wanted his fading fame as the IVL’s first poster boy to be rolled up and tossed. After all, there were Leaguer vampires now more famous than him.
He dropped an elbow on the table too hard and almost toppled Portia’s unclaimed coffee. “C’mon, Portia, seeing you at the parade isn’t seeing you for breakfast.” Hearing
needy creep into his voice, he reversed field. “I mean, the only parade I wanna see are the flickers and quirks that march across your face when we talk.”
“Ahhh,” Portia cooed, “you’re so sweet I wanna bite you.”
Morning smiled. “But then I’d have to bite you back.”
She laughed. “We already tried that and you guzzled all of me but the fumes. No more vein-busting for you, buster; this neck is hickeys only.”
“I’m good with that,” he said playfully. “Let’s see if my phone has a hickey app.” He gave his phone a perfunctory look. “Oops. The hickey app hasn’t been invented yet. So, do you want your morning nibble over breakfast or at the front of the parade?”
She laughed at his bad joke and gave in. “All right, I’ll be there. But it’ll have to be quick.”
After hanging up, Morning shooed a fly away from Portia’s cooling croissant. He opened a paper napkin and covered it. Big mistake.
The sight of the napkin over the croissant resurrected the memory of the night he had almost pulled a sheet over Portia. That terrifying night had been twelve months earlier, but sometimes it felt like the night before. When the horror replayed in his head, he clung to Luther Birnam’s advice like a life ring. The night he had plunged his fangs into Portia he had dived into the “forbidden well of bloodlust,” and it was not a memory to be repressed, it was to be
. The horrific memory was the guardrail around the forbidden well, and he was to hold on to it so he wouldn’t fall in again. It was the warning Birnam drilled into all Leaguer vampires: “You can take the vampire out of the darkness, but you can’t take the darkness out of the vampire.”