“Thanks for inviting me up here to hang,” Ana said as she clutched her tattered paperback in one hand and smoothed out her blanket with the other. “I always thought the roof was a No Girls Allowed kind of situation.”
Ana sat down on the blanket she had spread out at the edge of the roof next to Gary’s perch.
My mighty Gargoyle looked down on my sassy friend and shook his head. “The roof is anyone’s domain. Austin just likes to keep me all to himself.”
Ana giggled and signaled for me to sit next to her on the blanket. I did so, but gave Gary an icy glare. “I’d bring more ladies up here, but my dating skills aren’t exactly exemplary these days.”
“We all have dry spells,” Ana reassured me as she gave me a pat on the back. “There was a month back in 1864 when I couldn’t find a date, but I blame that on the Civil War.”
Gary chuckled, which was very rare for the stone faced Gargoyle. Clearly, this was a sign that he welcomed Ana to the roof of The House on the Hill.
“I went for a run this morning,” I said to not only change the subject, but to also make me sound like less of a loser. I visited the roof to relax and unwind, not to get all defensive about my life.
This was more like it. Up on the roof with my trusted Gargoyle and one of my closest friends, while a gorgeous sunset provided a perfect view.
“I plan to get up early and run again tomorrow,” I informed them. “I’m not going to push too hard, but I do want to make it a regular thing.”
I pulled two Snapples from the cooler, handed one to Ana, and opened the other. Gary wasn’t a drinker, but he certainly didn’t mind if we drank in his presence.
“So were you out there, too, watching over your boy?” Ana asked Gary as she pushed her oversize glasses back up on the bridge of her nose.
“Yes, but only to get in some exercise myself,” he replied as he shook out his wings. “It feels good to stretch my wings and enjoy the Summer morning breeze.”
“You really don’t know what you’re missing, Ana,” I told her excitedly. “Sometimes Gary will take me flying before work. Nothing is more exhilarating.”
Ana gave me a look over her glasses. “I’m a Vampire, Austin. I know what it’s like to fly.”
Didn’t I feel like a total idiot? Ana was one of my best friends, and it was easy to forget she was a Vampire. I just saw her as this cool, funny, gorgeous woman who read voraciously and liked her burgers extremely rare.
“The first time Austin introduced us, I didn’t believe you were a Vampire. He has quite the imagination, in case you haven’t noticed, and I thought he was pulling my leg. If he’d told me you were a bookworm in human form, I would have bought that hook, line, and sinker.”
“You certainly are a charmer, Gary,” Ana purred and gave him a wink. “You need to give Austin some tips.”
“What?” I asked in stunned disbelief and almost dropped my Snapple over the edge of the roof. “I’m very charming. Why did you say that?”
Ana shook her head at me as she tapped her book against her leg. “I’ve changed my hair, lost some weight, and put on a little muscle with my new workout routine.”
She flexed her right bicep to show off what I suppose was a muscle, but I didn’t make a joke because I clearly was already in trouble.
“You didn’t comment on any of those things, and someone who is a charmer definitely would have,” she advised me and raised her eyebrow for emphasis.
“You look wonderful,” Gary quickly interjected.
“Thank you, Gary!” Ana said emphatically without breaking eye contact with me.
I felt like a total heel. “I noticed all those things, Ana, but I didn’t say anything because I worried it would make you feel uncomfortable if it sounded like a come on.”
“Awwww….” Ana said and reached out to tousle my hair. “You are so adorable. Austin, it is never wrong to compliment a lady. Okay? A woman will never get upset if you tell her she looks good, and she will appreciate the fact that you noticed a change.”
“You look amazing then,” I told her as I shooed her hand away from my hair.
“Do I need to give you two some privacy?” Gary asked sarcastically.
“No need, G Man,” Ana answered. “As much as I adore your sidekick, nothing can ever happen because the whole Vampire/Human love thing is taboo, regardless of what Twilight says. Humans die. Vampires live forever. Love lingers. It’s a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions is what it is.”
“Shakespeare never wrote about Vampires,” I added.
“But he did get downright bloody sometimes. Kind of like our neighbor from across the bridge, only a tad more poetic,” she opined and held up her book so I could see what she was reading.
It was The Stand by our neighbor Stephen King. Great book.
“I thought you came up here to enjoy the sunset,” Gary reminded us as the sun continued its disappearing act off in the distance.
“I really is beautiful,” Ana said as she rested her head on my shoulder. “I don’t even want to guess how many sunsets I’ve seen in my lifetime, but I never grow tired of them.”
Just like I will never grow tired of spending Summer nights up on the roof with friends…