Cordelia picked up the plain cracker without the least bit of enthusiasm. Come on, she willed herself. You have to eat.
She didn’t have the slightest desire to eat the cracker, but figured that surely she could stomach something this inoffensive.
There was no denying of what did sound appealing, and it wasn’t the contents of her bowl, or anything in her kitchen. But that was not an option. This was insane. A bad dream she had to wake up from.
The actual horrid dream, or rather, the nightmare that kept coming back night after night in some iteration flashed up on her mind. It felt so real. Worst part was that while thinking back on it made her uneasy, she found herself salivating.
Will help get this dry cracker down, at least, she thought grimly. Come on then. One, two… three.
She leapt up to dash for the bathroom, but was able to hold the food down. This time. An improvement of sorts.
Who was she kidding? There was no reason to celebrate. And no way she’d be able to eat any more of those crackers…
No time to think about that. To Cordelia’s horror, the front door opened. She watched Dandelion enter the front room as if in slow motion.
“Dandy!” She blurted out, noticing how high-pitched her own voice sounded. “You need to leave.”
The elf frowned. “Look, I know you said you wanted to be alone, but I don’t think-“
She took a step back as the elf moved towards her. “No, you stay away.”
“But you’re still sad!” Dandelion objected. “You said you needed space, or whatever, but it’s not helping. You look-“ He didn’t seem quite sure how to finish the sentence.
“It’s not that.” Cordelia shook her head. “I… I think I might be pregnant… with a vampire child.”
For a moment, Dandelion just stared at her.
“Wait… what? I don’t understand…” He managed finally.
For that, she couldn’t blame him. But how on earth could she explain what happened?
“It’s… complicated. Morgyn… Micah… Micah and I…”
“You’re having a vampire child with Micah? But… I thought you loved Morgyn? I thought you and Micah were just friends?” The elf tried to make sense of the mess of it all.
“Yes. I think.” She added uncertainly. On one hand, calling Micah even just a friend was probably stretching the truth now, with how awkward everything got. On the other hand, those feelings hadn’t gone away.
“So… but… so how are you pregnant with Micah’s baby? How could that… happen?”
“How do you think that kind of thing happens, Dandy?” She snapped.
The elf’s cheeks flushed a bright red. He attempted to cover his face with the palms of his hands.
Cordelia regretted her words instantly. It wasn’t fair to let her frustration out on him. She knew that.
“I’m sorry, Dandy. I’m really on edge. That’s no excuse, I know.” She sighed. “I… I’m a mess. My feelings are all over the place. And I haven’t been able to get any food down. I’m craving blood. That’s why you need to go.”
“Oh.” For some inexplicable reason, the words had the opposite effect on the elf from what she had expected. He seemed to calm down.
“Have you not heard me?”
“I think I can help.” Dandelion said.
“What? No! I’m not really going to drink your blood. I’m not actually a vampire… I don’t have fangs or anything.” At least, Cordelia sincerely hoped she wouldn’t suddenly grow fangs.
She doubted she could truly ingest blood. Did that mean she could trust herself not to attack Dandelion though?
“Dandy, please go.” She pleaded with him. “I don’t really understand what’s happening. But you shouldn’t be near me. I don’t just want any blood. It’s… especially yours.”
“That makes sense,” he nodded, unphased. “Elf blood is meant to be really nice or something. At least that’s what Micah said.”
“Did Micah drink your blood?” Cordelia asked, horrified.
“No. And you won’t either. Just come to Sylvan Glade with me. It will be easier to explain there…”
“But what if I hurt you?”
“If you want to hurt me, you won’t make it to Sylvan Glade in the first place.” The elf shrugged.
It was somewhat of a relief she was able to get through the tree passage, although Cordelia was scared to let herself relax. They passed Dandelion’s house. The elf showed no signs of stopping.
“Where are we going, Dandy?”
“Eden.” He said. “I know you don’t have your bike with you, but it’s really not that far on foot.”
Eden. Cordelia thought back on Love Day last year, the two of them under the glow of the growfruit trees. Seemed like a lifetime ago.
Except, when they reached Eden, the glow was gone.
“Dandy? What happened to the trees?” Cordelia asked uncertainly. “Are they… dead?”
Perhaps their last visit really was another lifetime, she thought.
“No, not dead.” The elf shook his head. “They’re just… something else now. Go have a look.”
She moved towards the trees, finding herself oddly drawn to them.
A sticky liquid streamed down each tree. The fruit growing on the trees looked plump and juicy… She couldn’t tear her eyes off them.
“You should try one.” Dandelion encouraged her. He handed her a straw. “It’s meant to be easiest with one of these.”
“Right.” She ripped one of the plants off the branch, piercing the skin of the fruit. Cordelia had to stop herself from drooling.
It was like nothing she’d ever eaten before, but at the same time, she would quite happily never eat anything else. So sweet. And bizarrely, she would feel her emotions lifting. For a moment she almost felt… hopeful for the future?
The feeling went away once she finished drinking. Did the fruit make her feel things? More importantly, how come this was the first thing she could actually stomach?
“You like it.” Dandelion noted, his face almost sad.
“It’s the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted.”
“You’re probably right about the vampire baby then. I think it tastes disgusting. Like copper or something.” The elf told her.
Cordelia’s head spun. It was one thing to hide away in her house with the truth, but having someone say it out loud…
She turned her attention back to the trees to distract herself. “What is it? The fruit, I mean.”
“I call it plasma fruit. I made it.” Dandelion’s expression brightened up a bit. He looked… proud of himself.
“This time last year after… well, everything that happened with the vampires, everyone was so sure they were going to come back. And I didn’t know if they’d want your blood again, or maybe mine, or whatever… but I figured there had to be something I could do to prepare. So I made this.”
He made a fruit for vampires. What in the world… “But how?”
“Spliced growfruit and elf blood. I had both, so… it was pretty easy.” A sheepish smile crept across his face.
“Dandy!” His blood… he used his blood to somehow turn these trees into what they were now? “You could have hurt yourself!”
“Oh, I only used a few drops,” he shrugged off her concerns. “I just started off with one growfruit, to see if it worked. Once I tested it, I used the first one I made to change all of these.”
“Change… how did you all that in just in a year?” Cordelia looked at the tall trees around her. “There’s so many of them, and they’re full-blown size already…” Bearing fruit, no less, she thought.
“Magic, duh.” Dandelion shrugged. “I know I’m not a sage or anything, but elves do have some of the most powerful magic, you know. So that includes me.”
“Right.” Her mind was all over the place. “Wait… when you say tested it… This is what Micah’s been eating, isn’t it? He really doesn’t feed on people anymore…”
Dandelion’s face fell. “Well yeah, of course he doesn’t feed on people. He’s pure of heart, after all. I figured you knew. Since you’re having his baby and all.”
His baby. Micah’s baby… She couldn’t stay in denial about it any longer, could she?
It took Cordelia a while to realise Dandelion was waiting for a response from her. But what was she supposed to say? She didn’t even understand her own feelings anymore.
Dandelion cleared his throat. “Well, I guess the fruit does work for you. So you can just eat that. I’m sure Micah won’t eat all of these on his own. And I can always grow more.”
Did seem like the only thing she could actually ingest, Cordelia thought. And that nice hopeful feeling she had while she drank the fruit’s juice… maybe that could help her set those jumbled fabricated emotions aside.
“Thanks Dandy. You’re the best.” She said weakly.
“Am I, though?” The elf asked. He was serious, wasn’t he?
“Well, duh.” She smiled at him encouragingly. “You always know how to make me feel better.”
“Right. Well, that’s good. Anyway… I’ve got to go… do something. But you stay. Maybe pick some fruit to take with you?” Dandelion suggested.
He didn’t wait for her response, walking away from the garden.
He looked so sad, Cordelia thought. She understood that there was a lot for him to wrap his head around, with this whole pregnancy thing. But it wasn’t like her having a baby would have that much of an impact on Dandelion… it was her life that was about to change, not his.
Or was there something else bothering the elf? He hadn’t really been himself today at all.
Cordelia wished she understood, so that she could help him. Then again, she wasn’t really in a position to help anyone, was she? She had more than enough problems of her own.