So after that uncomfortably abrupt chapter end, Aubrey is still hanging around aimlessly doing... nothing much. Then another vampire comes over to talk to him.
"Welcome back," Jager said in his usual cool tone.
Please tell me his last name is Meister.
And yes, I know Jager is German for "hunter." I just don't care. I shall call him Jägermeister from now on!
Jager was the second oldest in their line and one of the few vampires who might rival Aubrey for pure strength.
Yes, give your hero godlike strength while making the villains total wusses. That will lead to instant suspense.
So Jägermeister asks if Aubrey met Ash Night, and if he killed "him."
It was an offhand question. Killing was the logical way to deal with a human who could be a threat to their kind.
... and yet they apparently just let a vampire who could be a threat to their kind do a book tour. Or tend bar.
Whether or not she knew it, Jessica possessed truths that were dangerous to the vampire world—and she had chosen to share them.
- She knew where they kept their secret cache of Twinkies and naughty magazines were!
- Seriously, I'm not clear on what "truths" she's shared - she's done a couple of vampire biographies that made a few vampires look like wimps. What are these things that are supposedly SO important?
- No, she hadn't "chosen" to share them, because that would imply she KNEW they WERE "truths that were dangerous to the vampire world." She thinks she made them up, so it's not like she's consciously spilling all their super-duper club secrets.
- And Aubrey KNOWS THIS.
Aubrey comments that no, he didn't kill her. And then he muses on how he doesn't even know why he didn't kill Jessica, because it would have been soooooooo easy and his awesome mind-powers would have made it easy. Again, I am wondering if Smeyer read this POS after it came out.
"Derp! I rip off teenagers' books!"
For some reason, Jägermeister doesn't seem too surprised by this, and just comments that Risika had been betting that Aubrey would kill Jessica. I'm not sure why, since Aubrey doesn't seem to actually care what Jessica writes, and she hasn't written anything unflattering about him.
"She would," Aubrey answered dryly. What would Jessica think, he wondered, if she knew there were bets being made about her potential death?
Probably she'd made a self-pitying comment reflecting on what an outsider she is and how other people hate her, boohoo.
And so when Jägermeister inevitably asks why the hell he DIDN'T kill her, Aubrey starts thinking about how awesome Jessica is - how she's so graceful and perfect, and she's also super-strong and amazing in a way that almost nobody else in the world ever is. And by strong, I mean a nasty bitch. In other words, this vampire just got dazzled by a Sue and how Suetifully wonderful she is. Except me, I have to find my barf baggie.
"Is the question too difficult?" Jager asked, his tone patronizing.
"I have ten fingers! Did you know that?"
"Well, that answers my question."
While the two vampires are sitting there at the bar, the previously-mentioned Fala comes over to the bar. And yes, I want to sing a Christmas carol when I hear her name.
Suddenly the fiery Fala appeared in front of them.
We haven't even seen her do anything fiery, so calling her "fiery" seems premature. Unless she's actually on fire.
Her voice was like poisoned chocolate, deceptively smooth and sweet.
But was it evil chocolate that ruins your ice cream?
Fala was Jager's first fledgling. Born in Egypt, she had naturally dark skin that had paled little in the almost five thousand years she'd been a vampire.
Again, a story that would have been MUCH more interesting than the one we're being subjected to.
Her black hair was pulled back from her face by bloodred combs, but that was the only bit of color in her otherwise black outfit.
Because she's a VAMPIRE, and vampires can't wear any color except red! Black is all they wear! If they were dressing for carnival, they'd dress in black! BLACK BLACK BLACK like all the other vampires who don't stand out at all!
Honestly, if you were gonna live forever, why not have fun with fashion?
So Fala asks if Night is dead... and for some reason, she knows that Night is a woman even though Jager did not. Was she eavesdropping, or did the name "Ash" just sound more feminine to her?
"Mind if I kill her for you?" Fala asked casually as she walked behind the bar and poured herself a drink from Aubrey's bottle. "This is good," she commented, holding the bottle up to the red light, which did not help to illuminate its contents. "Anyone know what it is?"
She emptied the rest of the liquid into her glass, then threw the unlabeled bottle over her shoulder.
Okay, there needs to be some sort of law banning people who are not old enough to be in a bar from writing about what they imagine a tough, dangerous one to be like. Because it's always so, so embarrassing. "Hey, look at me, I'm a rough-and-tough bad girl! I'm acting like an asshole! Be impressed!"
Fala sighed luxuriously as she turned back to Aubrey and Jager. "I love the sound of breaking glass. Now, about Ash — "
"Have I mentioned yet that I'm a crazy violent bad girl? This is a subtle sign of it! That I like breaking glass! Are you freaked out by me yet?"
"No, you can't kill her for me," Aubrey interrupted.
"You're going to stop me? " she asked, her voice going lower, slightly menacing.
Why not? It's established that he's sooper-strong and she's a wimp. It's like watching a kitten trying to menace a Great Dane... it's just cute.
"I have more of a quarrel with her than you do," he answered coldly, not bothering to explain the statement.
I can see why he didn't, because he DOESN'T have more of a quarrel with her. She depicted Fala and Moira as world-class wimps, and showed nothing negative about Aubrey at all. What, did she reveal the humiliating incident where BloodMaster depantsed Aubrey at Vampire Summer Camp and ran his shorts up the flagpole?
So Fala points out that Aubrey doesn't have any kind of claim unless Jessica draws his blood. Apparently the vampires have such fragile little egos that they get exclusive hunting rights if a human gives them a booboo.
"She hasn't, and she never will," he answered.
"Not unless the sex play REALLY gets out of hand. I wonder what our safe word should be."
Fala points out that he'd never admit to being wounded by a human, which is true. Aubrey is not only kind of a dick, he's also very full of himself. This causes Aubrey to throw a shitfit because... she pointed out that he had lost a fight to Risika. Yeah, that's right, prove her right by letting your fragile little ego erupt.
"Would you care to repeat that?" Aubrey asked Fala, his voice cold as ice as he casually threw another bolt of power at her, causing her to double over in pain. He hadn't even broken a sweat.
I'd like to point out that this is one of the PROTAGONISTS. This is supposed to be one of the people we're supposed to be cheering for.
Keep in mind that Fala, despite supposedly being the villain, has yet to do anything "wrong" (according to vampire law). Yes, she's threatening Jessica, but she's within her rights to do so. She's refusing to back off just because Aubrey tries to bully her. She has an actual grudge against Jessica.
And notice that while she is identified as a horrible sadist, HE is the one torturing her for no good reason - he is inflicting agonizing pain on her just because she said something that he didn't like, even though what she said was COMPLETELY TRUE. She just said that he'd be in a bad mood if he lost another fight, and he went apeshit and started beating the crap out of her. And we are actually supposed to be cheering for this asshole.
But silly me! If you're one of the designated heroes, you can do whatever you want to the villains because nobody is supposed to sympathize with them.
In fact, the only reason this violent egotistical dipshit doesn't keep hurting her is because Jägermeister makes it clear that if he doesn't stop, it's gonna be ass-whoopin' time. Again, we're supposed to actually think of this guy as the "good" vampire, even though he TORTURES people for offending his fragile little ego. Fuck you, Aubrey.
"Damn you, Aubrey," Fala cursed. She scowled but was wise enough not to insult him again.
"Already been done," he answered calmly.
"Damn you again!" she shouted, delivering a glare that would have stilled serpents in their dens.
"Too late," he quipped. "And after five thousand years, I'd think you could come up with something better than that."
Wow. That dialogue was so unspeakably bad that it may have actually blown a hole in the universe. I mean, "damn you again"? "Too late"? That's the best these vampires can manage? I've heard wittier banter from first-graders. And the worst part is, you can tell AAR thought that was really, really witty.
And we're reminded again that Fala, the villain, is a weakling compared to Aubrey. Yes, please remind us again that the villain has no chance of victory, which destroys all tension in the story.
"Fine," she snarled. "But if you don't kill the human, or otherwise dispose of her, I will. Is that perfectly understandable to you, Aubrey? "
"And I will use the blender, and I'll set it to liquefy!"
So Aubrey just... agrees. You know, this romantic subplot is totally deficient because we don't have the faintest idea what he's thinking. Is he planning to kill her later? Is he conflicted? Is he hoping to get her to stop writing? We have no idea. I don't even know if he's lying to Fala right now, because we haven't seen anything of what he's thinking!
In the next moment they were both gone, Aubrey retreating to his room. The nightclub's heavy music reverberated through the building, but he was used to it. He fell into bed and a sleep of complete oblivion. Like most of his kind, he did not dream.
... so what is the point of sleeping at all, if he apparently isn't tired and doesn't sleep?
And if only MOST vampires don't dream... that means some do. Why do some dream and some don't? What determines it? EXPLAIN SHIT TO US.