It was the sound of clanging and shuffling that got our attention next, mixed with a couple of well rehearsed curse words, and Taryn and I tried to figure out what was happening. There were three silhouettes, struggling and stumbling their way through the lot. It was Max and Rain moving to catch a HIGHLY intoxicated Gyro before he fell face down into the dirt. He was so drunk that his eyes were practically rolling back. I giggled at the sight, the waifish 13 year old boy swinging limp from Max's shoulder as he tried to move him over to his 'home' for the night. "Wheeeeee....." Gyro nearly screamed, his voice cracking. He grinned playfully, causing Taryn and I to laugh outloud.

"Jesus, Gyro! What the hell did you DO to yourself tonight?" Taryn smiled.

"Hehehe, one lassssst party-ola before the party, dude!" He said, his words slurring so badly that it took some translation to understand him. " IceZone day...rem-remember...? IceZone! IceZone! Ice..." And then he let out a loud belch with a grin. He was 'trying' to bounce around excitedly like he had been for the last few nights, but his coordination was shot. I doubt he could do much more than dangle from the shoulders of Max and his big sister while flailing his legs aimlessly. How he was even conscious at that moment was a mystery to us all.

"How can you even THINK about a fucking party right now? You're PLASTERED!" Rain scolded him. "What have I told you about overdoing it at the club? HUH? You're gonna get BUSTED, Gyro! You're gonna get BERNIE busted! You can't keep doing this."

"Hehehe...yessss I can. I'm good at it." He said, his finger pointing at Rain's nose. "Bessssides, I can handle my ak-la-hawl...." He turned to me and Taryn, leaning forward, and said, "Can't I, fellasss?"

"Whoah! Omigod, dude...your breath!" Taryn replied as we both leaned back away from the stench of his vapors. We nearly caught a buzz ourselves. "I think you had one too many tonight, Gyro."

"I think he had TEN too many tonight!" I added, and he could only laugh gleefully.

"You know what, ssssuperman?" He mumbled. "Sunburns are a ffffucking AWESOME drink! You should try one sometime."

"No thanks. Not for me. Trust me, I know." I told him, still turning my head to dodge the vapors of his liquor saturated breath.

His knees suddenly buckled, and he almost fell to the ground. Rain and Max were able to catch him just in time. "Hahaha...London bridge isss falling down...falling down...fall-lall-ing down..." Gyro started to sing, and Max had had his fill.

"That's it. I'm outta here." Max dropped the arm that Gyro had over his shoulder, putting the full weight on Rain and almost causing her to fall over, taking her drunken brother with her.

"MAX!!!" Rain shouted, but Max was already headed back to his truck. "Arrrgh! Ok, Gyro, enough's enough. You're going to bed! No more drinks for you! At ALL! EVER!"

"I'll be all better by tomorrow night..." He whined.

"I don't CARE! This is stupid!"

"Aww Rain...come on! Tomorrow isss the big night!"

"I don't care!"

"RAIN!" He whined even louder, his breath causing Rain to wince.

"I...don'!" She said.

"You're not the bossss of me." Gyro hiccupped, and covered his mouth for a quick second. Then his eyes widened, and he spread his free arm out to the side as though he were trying to surf on the ground of this rapidly spinning planet. He paused, and for a moment, Taryn and I thought for sure that he was going to be sick. His eyes rolled for a moment, and he fought to see straight. We both instantly jumped back on the hood of the car behind us, swiftly pulling our legs up and scooting back out of the 'line of fire'. But after a short battle with his own equilibrium, Gyro's smile soon spread back out on his lips again. "Falsssse alarm. Hehehe!" He giggled. "Say, you guys are fun."

"BED! NOW!" Rain shouted.

"Uh oh. Looks like I've pissed off the warden." He grinned over her shoulder as she had to literally pick him up and carry him back to his car. "G'night evvverybody." He slurred, and then said. "IceZone tomorrow, Superman! It'll be awezzzome! You'll see! It's the biggest party ever!"

Taryn and I smiled at each other briefly. And said, at the same time, "Biggest party ever." Hehehe, and walked back to our trailer to lay down before the sleep took hold of us. After all the promotion Gyro has done for this place, there's no WAY that it could live up to expectations. But I guess we'll find out tomorrow night, huh? This is going to be quite an interesting evening.

When my eyes opened up the next night, I was spooned up tightly behind Taryn, feeling the gentle heat already returning to his body. We had been having so many sexual interludes lately, that we had grown accostomed to just sleeping in the nude. There's nothing like going to sleep, feeling the skin of your lover beside you. And waking up to that same exhilirating sensation the next day. It's a religious experience, let me tell you. His skin was like warm cookie dough almost, so soft to the touch, and seemingly heated to a temperature made just for me beneath our warm blankets. It created a passionate fever in me, and I sleepily leaned forward to kiss him on the back of his neck. He was always a tiny bit ticklish behind his left I kissed my way further forward, wrapping my loving arm around him, and let my lips linger there as he came back into consciousness. The first thing he did was smile, before opening his eyes, and then reached a hand back to caress my cheek. His fingers then moving further back to glide tenderly through my blond locks, holding me close. His body began to loosen up from it's daily hibernation, his limbs regained their flexibility, his cheeks were once again blushed with color. And as his ticklish sensations became aware again, his shoulder tightened and raised up to try and keep me from kissing that thrilling spot behind his ear. He giggled with SUCH a cute and boyish laugh, and tried to roll away from me. But I playfully rolled right with him, and stopped as I laid on top of him. My chest to his back, my hardness enveloped in the snug valley of his tight warm buns. He sighed as I let my gentle weight rest on his back, and I kissed his cheek as we enjoyed a few quiet moments together. No sex, just a comfort. A moment of bliss shared between us. Not that I wasn't sexually aroused, mind you. I was hard as a rock and just feeling him breathe beneath me was like candy for my very soul. Especially when he would move slightly beneath me, and I felt his bubbled globes grip me like a soft catcher's I had to involuntarily roll my hips forward, letting my hardness slide slowly up and down his crack while he whined softly beneath me. But still, we weren't really 'engaged' in anything overly sexual. It was enough to just share an occassional kiss and just enjoy each other's body heat for a while. To feel him beneath me, and have his soft whimpers cue me in to the fact that this was all very real. Very real indeed.

Suddenly, there was a LOUD pounding at our door! Bang bang bang!!! It caused us both to jump from being so startled. It was Gyro, evidently back to his kiddie reserves of unlimited energy again after his day-long sleep. "WAKE UP!!! WAKE UP!!! It's time to GO, you guys!!! The ICEZONE is waiting!" He shouted from the other side of the door. Taryn and I giggled a bit to ourselves, and I leaned down to kiss him on the cheek again. Taryn turned his head further to the side, and let his lips meet mine in a cozy embrace. The kiss lingered on, and soon, I felt his tongue begin to shyly move forward to touch my own. As our kiss became more intimate, I felt my hardness pulse and throb beneath us. Taryn could feel it too, and that incredibly arousing 'itch' of his was begging to be filled as he wiggled that cute little rump under me, squeezing the soft meaty cheeks together and attempting to trap me in their grip. I let my hands snake their way under his chest, and rested my chin on Taryn's shoulder as I rubbed my palms over his erect nipples and grinded my way up and down....pushing myself into him as we both gasped from the sensation. I wanted to go further. I wanted to go all the way, and enter his warmth, driving in and out until my passion for him was fulfilled. But Gyro was too persistent to let us get any further than that. He wasn't going to take no for an answer. "Come ON, you guys! Get up! You can be 'gay' later! I wanna get there early! We only have a two evening pass! C'mon!"

"We're COMING!" I shouted back with a grin.

"No we're not!" Taryn shouted afterwards, arching his back a bit to further push his bubbled globes up into me. I whined outloud at the sensation, and nearly came all over his back when he did that. He felt me shudder and shake, and it made him laugh to know he had me so worked up.

"What are you guys DOING in there?" Gyro cried out.

"What do you think we're doing?" Taryn answered. We both snickered to each other, and I leaned down to tongue kiss him some more while we tried not to smile.

"Awww, you guys SUCK! Can't you do that some other time??? You can 'booty-screw' at the club! They've got rooms there!" He yelled back.

We both laughed, and I asked Taryn, "Did he just say, 'booty-screw'?" And we giggled playfully as I finally rolled lazily off of Taryn's back.

"Are you COMING???"

"YES! Keep your pants on, Gyro! Geez! Hehehe!" I said, and we reluctantly got out of bed to get dressed. It looks like this is it. I certainly hope that this IceZone place is every bit as amazing as Gyro made it out to be.

Taryn and I were still incredibly hard, which makes it pretty difficult for a teenage boy to get dressed, believe me! Especially when all we wanted to do was kiss and cuddle and giggle with one another until we couldn't take anymore. But we heard the commotion and movement outside, so we knew that everybody would be ready to go pretty soon. I didn't wanna miss this. I haven't been invited to too many parties in my lifetime, and I certainly didn't wanna miss this one.

"How does this look?" Taryn asked me, wearing the fanciest clothes that he owned. Jesus he looked fine!

"It looks hot. Absolutely gorgeous." I smiled, and walked over to hold him against me while I was still in my underwear. I kissed him on the lips and he gently pushed me away.

"Don't get all gay on me. Get dressed. Gyro might come back and start tipping the trailer over on its side next time."

"Aw, you're no fun."

"I'm PLENTY fun! But we can 'booty-screw' at the club!" He laughed. "Right now, we need Gyro to tell us how to get there. I don't wanna miss this."

I smiled, and then whispered, "I'm going to devour you whole when we get back. You know that, right?"

"Hehehe! I'm counting on it, baby." And he gave me a quick kiss before stepping back to look for his shoes. Tonight was gonna be incredible.

I dressed up in something...somewhat fancy. least in a 'school dance' kinda way. I think I looked nice enough though, right? How big could this place be, anyway? It's in the middle of downtown Chicago, and it's a SECRET. It's probably no bigger than any of the other clubs we've been to before. So I figure, my special brand of 'runaway teen chic' should fit perfectly. However, when I reached into a bag to put on a fresh pair of socks, I saw the cross that Xairen had given to me before he died at Dash's sanctuary. A few sad thoughts crossed my mind, but I let them go to remember how well he was taking his situation. How much he relied on his beliefs to carry him home. It seemed a shame for him to miss this party tonight. He seemed like the type who would have loved it. I stared at it for a moment, and then decided to slip it over my head and wear it out tonight. It would sorta be like...taking him with me, you know? Maybe allowing him to enjoy one more party, before hitting those pearly gates he was so certain were up there above the clouds. I'd do it for him. It seems like a small gesture, but it made a difference to me.

Of course...the idea DID run through my mind...that it might be considered 'rude' to wear a crucifix to a vampire celebration. But that's just monster movies and superstitions talking. It's hard to shake that stuff sometimes, you know that?

By the time we had gotten outside, everybody was up and moving. Our 'camp' was being locked down tight to insure that our stuff would be safe, and Jun was coming back from a shower at the old church. We all took turns going out to bathe and clean up and get dressed, with Gyro commanding us to get a move on the entire time. Everyone began to gather in the front yard as we got ready to go, but something was missing. There was an 'altered vibe' in the group around me, and I could easily tell where it was coming from. I noticed a certain feeling of 'distance' between Trevor and Michael since I had seen them last. No big public displays of affection, no forced kisses or touches, not even the usual subservient 'Trevor worship' that Michael took so much pleasure in providing before. Instead, they reacted to one another like acquaintances that just so happened to live in the same apartment. What surprised me most, however, was the fact that when Trevor looked up at me...he seemed...'sad'. Like he was pouting almost. For the first time since I had first stepped foot into this lot, the first time ever, he looked away before I did. Instead of the confident stare of a boy who could easily charm or seduce the world into doing whatever he wanted, I saw the look of a lonely blond, who just wanted to break even. Who felt he deserved better...and despite his best and most honorable of intentions, was constantly being dealt a bad hand. For a quick moment, I almost understood. That feeling where you never see your efforts appreciated by the fictitious angels who seem to be continuously passing out divine 'gifts' to the people around you. All while ignoring your need for just a LITTLE something to make 'being a good fucking person' worth the exhausting effort you put into it. Feeling that emotion emanating from Trevor, I could hardly blame him for giving up the 'good boy' struggle to be sympathetic to anyone elses feelings. He may not have gone as far as 'Rage' had in the pain department, but some of that despair was present. I could feel it. He was burnt out on being a patriot for other people's needs, and out for his own while he still had the chance. It's not like he didn't have any emotions of his own. It's not like he was invulnerable. He was just....'unrewarded'...and pissed about it.

It's hardly in my best interest to go feeling sorry for Trevor. Afterall, that's usually when he hits the hardest...when my back is turned. But I still didn't wish him any bad feelings. He essence...a part of my 'family' here. He just happened to have taught himself a different way of getting what he wants out of his existence. What do you do...when scheming and manipulation brings you better results than anything that patience, faith, love, and friendship, has ever granted you? What do you do once you finally get what you want at someone elses expense, and realize that it's not really all that hard to ignore their hard feelings about it afterwards? Thinking about the concept from his point of view...I wonder why I never picked the same path myself. After all I had been through in my life, I wouldn't mind pushing some people aside for a little sunshine myself. And while I may not like Trevor a whole lot, and Lord KNOWS I can't really trust him for shit...I guess I could respect that. Maybe even agree with it.

When Trevor took another glance at me, I think he could feel me wishing him well. His extra reaching out to me the way I used his to reach out to him. I can't explain why, but his face mirrored this sudden...'confusion'. As though he didn't ever expect me to really care about his plight at all. I think it surprised him. Trevor kept the eye contact for a minute, and sort of tilted his head to the side. Then he smiled...weakly, but genuinely. That was followed by a soft nod, before he turned around completely to get some stuff out of his car. The connection to his desires was broken, and I left it alone.

"You ready for tonight, kiddo?" Dion asked, and when I turned, I saw his arms draped over Dylan's slim shoulders, practically enveloping him in his hug from behind. They both smiled at me as they gently swayed from side to side, and it made me feel SO good to see them happy at last. They were adorable together.

"You bet! Taryn's dressed all sexy and I'm...well...I'm ready." I said.

"You look fine." He assured me, and gave Dylan another kiss on the cheek. I watched him blush, and he got a bit nervous as he became aware of my smile. But self conscious or not...he didn't dare step out of Dion's soft embrace. He was comfortable right where he was, no matter WHO was watching.

It was then that he looked at the cross I was wearing, and wrinkled his forehead for a moment before smiling sweetly at me. "You're wearing a crucifix?"

"Oh...yeah. Somebody from the sanctuary...he kinda gave it to me. I figured, I might as well wear it tonight. You know? Something different." I said. "Don't worry. I'm NOT turning all religious on you though, believe me. I'm still not really into that stuff."

Dylan sorta gave me a warm look, his grin seemingly holding a certain wisdom in its glow. And he replied, "It's not about religion, Justin. It's about faith. Whatever that symbol represents for you, whether it's friendship or spirituality or hope, whatever comfort it brings you when you need it most...if you believe in it...then that's all the 'God' you need." He reached out to rub his fingers over the cross' surface, and for a split second, I was almost able to understand this whole faith idea. Not fully, mind you....but every now and then, through a few choice words, I got small flashes of understanding. And I think I was beginning to see why this religion stuff was so important to him. Maybe...on some deep dark was important to me too. I'm just too damn stubborn to realize it just yet.

At that moment, Jun walked over fully dressed, his hair still damp and his skin still soft from his heated shower. "Gyro's got the map, and he's gonna be pushing us all out of here any minute. So make sure you guys got everything. Including a change of clothes."

I then saw Doc roll up beside me, and he grinned. "Are ya gonna save a dance or two for me, playboy?" He said.

"Doc....every dance I HAVE tonight is reserved for you!" I leaned down, and tossed my arm over his shoulder to hold him close.

"I did some more research, and I read that IceZone has special equipment in place that supposedly cancels out most extras. Set to different frequencies, it keeps a majority vampires from getting into any unneccessary mischief. It's not flawless, but it will definitely keep you from absorbing the extras of everyone you come in contact with." Doc told me.

"Really? Are you sure."

"No." He said plainly, and I had to giggle. "Sorry, nothing is guaranteed as the technology isn't perfected yet. But it's been proven quite effective 74.3% of the time."

"Sounds reassuring to me."

"Alright, I think that's it folks. Let's blow this joint and go have ourselves some FUN, huh?" Max said, probably happier than I've ever seen him.

Dion kissed Dylan on the cheek, letting his lips linger there as they both allowed their eyes to close for a moment. Then he signaled for Dylan to go get his jacket by letting him go. Dylan had the biggest bulge in the front of his pants, hehehe! And it looked like it was only going to get bigger! Hopefully he'll bring something to tie around his waist when we get out in public. I looked over, as a lovestruck Dion bit his bottom lip, and watched Dylan walk all the way back to his car before he even noticed the silence between us. He then looked at me, and we both giggled at the situation.

"You are SO in love!" I chuckled.

"Yeah........I am." He smiled, totally satisfied, inside and out. I didn't sense a single emotion shut down or held back. He was allowing himself to feel. All the way, with no restraint. It was amazing. He backed up to grab his extra set of clothes, and I saw him walk Napolean back to the truck to put him inside for the time that we were gone. I could tell that he wanted to take him with, but I doubt that keeping up with a dog in a big club like that was going to be too practical. Dion helped him up into the truck, and let the dog playfully lick his face a few times as he said goodbye. It was touching to see. They really did have a strange history with one aother, him and that dog. Then he closed the door and locked it tight. We'd be gone for two days, I hope Napolean would be ok without us around to keep him company.

Everyone seemed to be checking and double checking themselves to make sure everything was safe and secure, and that all the party favors we needed would be on us before we left. We were pretty much ready to set out into the night for the party of our lives. However, when I looked over at Bryson's truck, I saw him laying back on the hood like he always did. Staring up at the stars, legs crossed at the ankles, hands behind his head. I sort of 'dettached' myself from the group to go talk to him for a minute. He didn't seem to be readying himself like the rest of us.

"Soooo......what's up?" I asked, approaching him with a slight grin.

He looked down at me, and he said, "You make sure that you have some fun while you're out there tonight, Justin. Got it? For once, just...leave all of this garbage behind you, and just be a kid. Alright? We all need that from time to time. It helps." He smiled.

"Um...sure. I promise." I said. I guess that makes it pretty obvious, huh? Bryson wasn't planning on going anywhere. And the thought of him being in this lot by himself for two whole days was just...'wrong'. "Hey...uhh...why don't you come with us dude?" He looked back at me, and grinned as though I was joking. "What? I'm serious. You stay around this lot all night, every night, and you never go anywhere. You should come with us. Get out of watchdog mode and release for a little bit yourself. It'll be fun, Bryson, c'mon!"

"I can't leave the lot."

"You just LEFT the lot two days ago to come get me! Remember?" I smiled, and he rolled his eyes playfully.

"Somehow...I can't see myself carrying on with the rest of you guys at some wild rave party away from home." He replied.

"Why NOT?"

"Hehehe, because I'm OLD!"

"You're *NOT* old! You're sixteen!" I giggled.

"I've been 'sixteen' for almost as many years as you've been ALIVE, kid."

"That doesn't count." He leaned his head back against the car windshield. There was a pause, as he really didn't have much of a defense on why he shouldn't come with us. "I KNOW you wanna go, Bryson." I smirked. "C'mon...go! Do it for me, k?" He just smiled without answering. So I tried it another way. "It'll be easier to keep an 'eye' on us if you go. You can keep us all out of trouble. You don't know WHAT we might get into in a place like that." He gave me a sarcastic gaze, and simply shook his head. It was then that I saw Rain coming out of her car and into the center of the lot. She was all decked out in her black goth chick wear, accompanied by make up and bracelets. Beauty through was a sight to behold. I turned back to Bryson with a twinkle in my eye, knowing he liked her, and said softly..."You know....RAIN is going."

That got his attention, and he gave me another sly look. "Nice try."

"Aww...please?" I pleaded. "You said it yourself. What good is it being a kid forever, if you have to grow up so damn fast?" And I think that might have made some contact.

His eyes reflected this feeling of pride in my ability to remember that, and his grin grew wide on his face. "You know...that memory of yours is going to be dangerous when Doc teaches you how to develop it all the way." I raised an eyebrow at his statement, hoping that he wasn't expecting that to be his way out of this conversation. Finally...he broke down, and let out a long sigh as he looked up at the sky. "Alright...alright...fine. I'll go."

I jumped up and gave him a tight hug around the neck, almost pulling him off the hood of the truck. "YES!!! Yes yes yes!!!"

"Let me get my jacket...." He grunted. But I could tell he was happy. He just didn't want ME to know that.

We all accumulated up at the front gate and were ready to head out for the night. Gyro was practically trembling with the joy he felt inside at being able to go to the greatest party on Earth. Hell....I was practically trembling myself. But Gyro was on another level, zipping around from person to person like an energetic preschooler on the ultimate sugar high. It was cute to watch him be so excited, to feel that excitement radiate through me. I was actually doing something, partying, hanging out with friends. It was what I always wanted my life to be, and it was building itself right in front of my eyes. A pleasant future. So surreal, and yet so concrete.

Everybody was talking and cracking jokes and making more noise than usual...when Bryson came walking up to the front gate with his coat on. Suddenly, everybody in the lot stopped. They literally froze. Their voices shutting down instantly with the shock of seeing Bryson willing to leave our sanctuary for anything outside of taking a shower or going out to feed. The silence made him feel a little self conscious at first, and he fidgeted with his hands for a second or two before putting them in his pockets.

Max was the first to speak. "Well I'll be damned...he's coming with us?" Jenna and Jun both expressed the same shock, even Kid saw this as extremely unusual behavior for our 'father' to really engage in.

"You''re actually gonna GO?" Dion asked.

"Um...yeah....maybe." Bryson answered, attempting to work up some kind of firm stance on the idea. Then he straightened up a bit, a noble arch in his back, and he asked, "Why?"

"Nothing!" Dion replied quickly with a smile. "Nothing at's just...well..."

I saw Trevor and Max look at each other in disbelief, and Jenna chimed in with, "Wow....I mean...that's great. I, for one, am GLAD you're coming with us. It's know..."

Bryson fidgeted a bit more, already feeling out of place, but gathering the courage to go anyway. "WHAT? Can't I join you guys out once in a while?" Everybody agreed and nodded their heads in unison. But they still couldn't get over the idea of him leaving his private little temple here. It must have been years since he's had any real fun outside of this place. Years since he's had any desire to leave the confined territory of that fence. Possibly...ever since Amanda died. Bryson grumbled a bit, and waded through the pleasantly confused group to be the first to step out of the lot. Then he stood jst outside of the fence and looked back at the rest of us. "Are you all coming or what?"

Everyone sorta shrugged their shoulders at once, and figured...ok, this is new. But we were DAMN happy to have him be a part of this! Now...we really were going as a family. "YEAH!!!" We all shouted at once, and practically sprinted out into the street, carrying Bryson with us. The night begins!

We must have looked like some kind of a mob or something, the way we walked through the streets together that night. Every last one of us. It's an invinceable feeling,traveling down the city streets in a crowd of people that you love and adore. People you would do anything to protect, and who you know would do the same for you. I even felt comfortable draping an arm over Taryn's shoulder in public, planting little kisses on his cheek here and there. What did I care? Who was gonna fuck with us when we were all together in a big street posse like this? A swarm of eternal vampires that could tear down the best of them if we wanted to! With the only living mimic in existence standng amongst them. God...I felt SO alive! If only those bratty kids from my old high school could see me now.

Dion, of course, didn't care one way or the other who saw his playful kisses. With his newfound affections for Dylan, the two of them had a blast giving each other smooches in private whenever we stopped walking long enough for them to sneak one in. Gyro kept talking nonstop, jogging from person to person, yapping away at anyone who would listen. And Bryson, while quiet and still a bit lost in his thoughts, was beginning to enjoy himself. In fact, it almost seemed like he was trying to hold back his grin from the rest of us. But everytime I connected my eyes to his, even if only for a brief moment, his smile would blossom widely on his boyish face, and he'd blush slightly while feeling silly for giving in to the joyful sensations in his heart. He was melting. The ice cold, demanding, responsible, parental unit....was actually enjoying this. Hehehe, I couldn't help but get a HUGE kick out of that!

We all walked down the steps into the subway, and Doc and Jenna had to take a special elevator down to join us. We waited for him, as he was our appointed 'treasurer', and he gathered enough change to put into the machine to get us all on the train platform one at a time. We were already giddy with the wonderful vibes and excitement of going out to this party, and seemed to blend in perfectly. The humans were all heading towards special party places themselves...but I doubt they were going to the kind of rave paradise that WE were headed to! Everything felt good! REALLY good! Taryn could see the anxiety in my eyes, and he stared at me with the sexiest smile. "WHAT???" I giggled.

"Seeing you happy is such an awesome narcotic for me, Justin." He said softly, and he leaned in to kiss me deeply on the lips while I leaned against one of the support beams in the subway. I felt my fingertips tingling, and ran them slowly up Taryn's back as his lips remained connected to my own. Gyro's extra began to warm and massage his pleasure centers, making him shudder and grin sensually in the middle of his kiss. "God...I love when you do that."

I whispered in his ear, "Wait until I learn how to do it with my lips, instead of my fingers."

"Your kisses are electric enough without it, baby."

"I wasn't talking about 'kissing', hon." I said with a wink. And a slightly shocked smile appeared on his face, as he whimpered and pushed his face up against the soft skin of my neck. My baby. My boyfriend. How could I possibly love him any more than right now?

However, when I looked up, I saw Michael glaring at us. Only for a moment, and then he turned away when he saw me looking back at him. He was standing alone by the tracks, and Trevor was as far away from him as he could be without leaving the comfort of our grouping. I felt kinda...bad for them. And I sorta stopped the kissy-cuddly stuff with Taryn for their benefit. Afterall, I wasn't trying to 'show off' or anything. I remembered how Jenna had told me how they were all looking for somebody special, and how most of them hadn't found the kind of love that Taryn and I had come across so easily. I thought back to Rain and how hurt she was that Taryn had found his happiness and had suddenly felt 'abandoned' by him since he had found love in my arms. I don't know....I guess it just made me a bit self conscious. I was still comfortable, but toned it down as a compromise for their comfortability as well. I doubt I'd have made it this far without Taryn's love to guide me. God forbid if I were to have never had someone like that in my life. Or even worse...had LOST one like Bryson had.

The train came and we all hopped on. Gyro was carefully studying the map, and gave it to Doc to hold onto. Besides, Doc only needed to see the map once, and he'd memorize every detail of it for later. No problem. He could draw it out on a napkin if he had to. Line for line. "Ok, we've got....ummm....six more stops!" Gyro said happily. "The map says we have to go to the Greenmill bar and lounge, and slip around to the back door."

"The Greenmill? We can't get in there. That's HUMAN owned, Gyro. We're gonna get kicked out of there before we even step in the door." Doc told him.

"Don't worry! They're cool. This is the ICEZONE we're talking about, they're hooked into everything! Besides, that's not the actual party place. We've gotta go around to the back, show our tickets, and they'll let us in. They added on to some of Al Capone's old underground passages and tunnels or something, and if we follow this path here..." Gyro said, tracing the lines he had drawn on the back of his hand to remember the way. " should lead us right to the monorail platform."

Max and Jun looked at each other briefly. "Did you say...monorail platform?" They said, almost in unison.

"That's what the directions said."

"I hate to burst your bubble, Gyro..." Rain told him, "...But Chicago doesn't HAVE a monorail system. Like...ANYWHERE."

"Look, I'm just telling you what it says." He replied, bickering with his sis as always.

"Well maybe you read it wrong. Are you SURE those tickets are even real?"

"Of COURSE they're real, Rain! What am I, an idiot?"

"Don't ask the obvious. I do YOU know they're authentic?" She said. "Are you sure this is the even way to go?"

"I don't KNOW if this is the way to go, Rain! I've never been here before. DUH? All I can do is follow the map and the directions I got from my friends at the club."

"Your 'friends', sure. The hoodlums you hang around with probably gave it to you as a joke. Bunch of spice heads and drunks..."

"Well, you know, YOU can turn around and go home any time you want to! So get off my fucking back already!" Gyro protested, his cute little teen voice cracking under the pressure of his own frustration.

"Alright, you two. Knock it off. We'll find out all the details when we get there. K?" Bryson added, and I was happy to have him there. The two of them pouted a little bit, but no more was said. Thank goodness. If Bryson had stayed home, I'm sure we would have been listening to that argument for the rest of the night and beyond.

We reached the train stop and could see the emerald flashing lights of the Greenmill from the elevated train platform. It was sparkling, beckoning us, and as much as we tried to keep a cool head...the little kid in all of us seem to be clawing its way to the surface. With every step we took, we got faster, until the entire group was practically running down the street to get there! Even Bryson, who was always such a 'priest' when it came to anything even remotely fun, was smiling a lot more than usual. It almost seemed abnormal to see him grin like that. Even Trevor and Max were a bit more cheerful than I've ever seen them. The only one I saw who maintained their eternal foul mood, was Rain. But I think she takes more pleasure out of her own misery than she does in anything considered 'happy-go-lucky'. So maybe her slightly less than friendly grimace was a smile in reverse. I can live with that.

We ran around to the back of the old place, and there was a small line of other vampires waiting there. Only about ten or so, but they were ALL older than we were. In their twenties at least. And when we came skating and giggling around the corner, they all turned to look at us as if they had just seen a homeless person wander into their prissy little banquet buffet. We all kinda caught ourselves and tried to calm down and be serious for a bit. But the tension was there, we could feel it. It's like the feeling you get when you go to a big action movie in the theater, and at the last minute, someone sits in front of you with a crying baby. Geez, it's not like we were necessarily intruding or anything. We WERE invited, afterall! But they kinda looked down their noses at us anyway. It was the first time that being a 'halflife' really felt like a bad thing.

We moved closer and closer to the front of the line, hoping to contain ourselves until we were finally inside. Taryn was standing in front of me, and just as I began to stare at the surreal image of his beauty, as if by magic, a small lick of wind washed over him, and blew up a few loose strands of his reddish brown hair. As the breeze lifted it and stretched it slightly outward, I was compelled to reach out and touch him. As if I had to check and make sure that he was still real. My hads landed softly on his shoulders, getting his attention. But before he could turn around, I leaned foward and let a slow kiss linger against the softness of his warm cheek. I held my lips there, and felt a rush of love surge through me so strong that I just wanted to close my eyes....and feel the world spin beneath my feet. It's strange, sudden, moments like this, that let me know that Taryn and I were meant to be together for the rest of eternity. It's during those times...that I truly believe.

As we got inside, we were directed into a dark hallway, and down a flight of extremely steep steps. The staircase was so small and tight that only one person at a time could go down it, and it led into a long corridor that led off into darkness. These vampires certainly worked hard at keeping their secrets passages secret. We all stayed together as we traveled down the hallway, and reached a huge metal door with a speakeasy in the front of it. The little latch slid back, and a giant pair of red and orange glowing eyes peered out at us. The image was monsterous, three times the size of a normal humans facial structure, and the eyelids looked chapped and blistered, even split in some places. "Tickets." Came a satanic voice from behind the door. It sounded like three voices speaking in harmony, but deepened to an inhuman tone. We stood back as Gyro walked over cautiously to show him the tickets. His hand was shaking as he reached up to slide it through the space in the door, and the horrific eyes fixed their gaze on them. We waited for a moment as an awkward silence fell over the area. I couldn't stop looking at those eyes through the speakeasy slot. I had never seen anything like them, even in this world. It was frightening to even think of what kind of ody those eyes could've been connected to. On top of that, I could have sworn that I felt the heat of his breath coming through the door.

The man examined the tickets closely, and as the silence stretched out for longer than normal, we became extremely uncomfortable. It was then that I heard Rain whisper to her brother, "Those tickets had better be fucking real." long last...the man gave the tickets back and told us, "Move along. The next monorail will be arriving in a matter of minutes."

Thank God! We all breathed a sigh of relief, and Gyro's mile wide smile returned to his face. "SEE?!? I TOLD YOU!!! C'mon...let's GO!!!" He jumped up in the air, and raced down the rest of the hall, with us following as close behind him as we could without running too fast. I can't believe this is even happening right now.

The narrow maze like corridor seemed to go on for almost five city blocks, with twists and turns every 20 feet. Not only that, but the tunnel itself seemed to be slanted downward, and the angle was getting steeper every minute. There were spiderwebs everywhere, and the stench of stale oxygen was all around us, like entering an old mummy's tomb. It almost felt like we'd NEVER reach the end, until we finally heard the faint sound of music in the background. The beat was unmistakeable, and the pulse of the electronic party music began to playfully bouce inside of the walls around us. Then it got louder as we walked forward, then some flashes of light could be seen reflecting off of the dim lit walls, and soon we could hear voices. Lots of them. And at long last...we got to the end...and were stopped dead in our tracks.

As I stepped out of that dark tunnel and into the light, I had to rub my eyes to make sure that what I was seeing was REAL. It was a 'GIGANTIC' underground area, with a ceiling that looked like it was 30 feet high...echoing the sound of dance music that would vibrate in your teeth at first blast. It housed a humongous platform with three seperate monorail tracks, all of them heading to the IceZone. Not only that, but it looked like there were about 800 or more partying vampires spread out into a thick crowd, all screaming and dancing while they waited for the next departure! The music was so loud! It rattle my bones, and people were having the time of their LIVES already! It was ALREADY one of the biggest parties I had ever seen! And this was just the platform!

"What...IS this?" I asked.

"THIS, my only the beginning!" Gyro said with a smile. I looked around, and was happy to see that I wasn't the only one who was mystified by this whole experience.

I looked over at Dion and said, "How the hell can all of this EXIST down here without anybody knowing about it?"

"I dunno..." He answered, wide eyed. "...But, then again, I doubt you can show me anybody who knows every inch of the major city they live in. It wouldn't be hard to hide it just outside of your vision if you weren't looking for it."

"Yeah, maybe if it was a corner bar or a coffee shop. But this? This" Dion shrugged his shoulders, and had no further answers for me at that point. We took a moment to look down at the crowd beneath us, and then began to walk down another set of steps to join the 'party before the party'. There were SO many people! The whole damn place looked like Mardi Gras, and the music was already pumping their adrenaline up to high levels. You got sucked into it right away, and were almost swept away in the undertow of such an energetic gathering. You could feel it in your blood, boiling and bubbling, exciting you whether you wanted to feel it or not. Words don't do the feeling justice.

There were some vampires our age there, some younger, some older, some MUCH older. I never would have guessed that Chicago could house this many vampires at once without depleting the population entirely. I guess I was wrong. They were all so sophisticated, some of them well dressed, and they had money. We looked like we were going to a school photo session...THEY looked like they were going to go clubbing with Paris Hilton. This thing is a little bigger than I thought it would be. Evidently, this was hardly just another club we were going to here. This was going to be a whole new experience entirely.

The first monorail arrived almost immediately, a ten car long smooth white train that made hardly any sound at all, and we were ushered aboard with a ton of other people. But the party didn't stop there. Not in the least. Every car of the monorail train had a fully stocked bar at both ends, flashing multi colored strobelghts, and plush couches to sit on lining the sides of the compartment. The train itself, inside and out was a glaring white, covered in a heavy gloss that made the walls sparkle like glass. But the couches and everything else was a deep shade of crimson. Blood red. It looked more like a really long, really wide, LIMO than an actual train. And the floor was carpeted with the same deep red tint! And there was an actual 'LIVE' DJ in the corner spinning different music in every car! I'd never seen anything like it!

"Drink?" Said a cocktail, walking around with a tray and keeping perfect balance as the train jerked off to a start. She was wearing an all black leather uniform with strips of bright red decorating her in the most amazing way.

" thanks." I mumbled, but Gyro was eager to get started already.

"I'll take one! Shit, I'll take FOUR!" He shouted.

"He'll take ONE! And he'll drink it slowly." Rain said, gritting her teeth.

"I really cannot wait to ditch you in the club. You know this, right?" He said.

"I'll take one." We all turned in surprise, and saw Bryson with his hand up. We couldn't believe the words had come out of his mouth. But when HE got one, we all decided to have a little something. Even Dylan, who I had never seen drink anything at all. We held the glasses up in a small toast, and smiled as we sipped it all down. I believe this is the closest we've been to each other since I've been at the lot.

The monorail traveled quietly through a long tunnel, designed with neon vampire graffiti in intricate patterns that glowed in the dark as we zoomed past it. It still amazed me how much this vampire 'culture' actually exists seperate from everything else in society. It was like a whole new world down here, built just for us. We evidently had the right of way above any other subway system in the city, and thanks to a digitized map that was shown on a monitor above the doors of the train, we were able to see how all of the other 'human' train lines stopped to let us pass. No WONDER the fucking trains here are always stopping and running late for no good reason! Vampires have parties to go to. Arrgh!

We traveled for a while, and stopped at another platform further down the line. This one was MUCH smaller, but equally as chaotic with music and shouting. the train began to slow down, and the other passengers became visible through the train window, Taryn and I had to get out of our seats to take a closer look. Soon, we were all pressed against the window trying to figure things out. This platform was full of...HUMAN passengers!

"We're stopping?" I asked as I felt the train slow down. It looked like that was EXACTLY what we were doing, and as the train came to a complete halt, I started wondering if we should all...hide or something! The doors of the train opened, and the human cargo walked on to join us. We all looked at each other, and sorta froze solid. We sat down, in complete silence, wondering if they knew what train they were on. This HAD to be a mistake.

A gentleman sat across from me and Taryn, and a boy sat next to him. His son, we assumed. He was a 12 year old blond, with big green eyes and an excited grin. I looked away from him, trying to hide my eyes from him. But when I looked back up, the boy was staring right back at me. He was so overjoyed to be on that train that he was practically tapping his feet on the carpet. Then, he spoke. "Hi! I'm Jordan!"

I couldn't believe he was talking to me, and I shyly peeked up at him for a moment to mumble back at him. "Hey...."

"Are you a real, true to life, vampire?" He said with a grin. WHAT???

"Um....huh?" I stuttered, and his father smiled warmly at us.

"I'm sorry. This is his first time. He doesn't mean to be rude." His dad told us. So they DID know about us! How is that possible?

"So....are you?" Jordan asked again, anxious for a reply. I wasn't quite sure of how to answer. So I just nodded nervously, hoping that I could leave it at that. "COOL!!! That's SO awesome!!!" He shouted. "So old are you?"

"I'm...I'm 14." I answered.

"No, I mean, how old are you REALLY?" He asked again.

"Um...I'm really just 14. I haven't been....a...vampire for that long." I said, and he seemed to get a kick out of that.

"Whoah, sweet! So you're just like me, huh? That's cool!" He said. I wanted to rest easy, I wanted to know what they were doing here. Why are there humans on this train? Why are they going to the IceZone? Are they....are they FOOD???

I wanted to ask Gyro or Doc, as I was sure they would know the workings of this place better than any of us. But I couldn't. Not with the humans watching us. Just in case this was their...'last train ride'...I didn't want to cause a panic in here.

I saw another human lady with her husband look at us and point. She especially loved Kid, with his mouse brown mop of hair half flopped into his boyish eyes. "Oh Henry...look at the little one over there. Aw, he's adorable." Kid obviously didn't like being looked at like some baby doll, and cuddled up under Max's arm with a slight huff and a bratty pout on his lips.

Jordan was still staring at us, and it was a bit unsettling. "Can I touch you? I never touched a real vampire before." That comment caused Jordan's dad to reach over a hand to keep his energy down to a minimum.

"Jordan..." He said, with a fatherly wrinkle in his brow.

"C'mon dad! I just wanna touch him. Just once. Is your skin allcold and synthetic and rubbery?"

"Hehehe, what?" Taryn asked.

"You guys live forever, right? Your skin can't be like our skin. Let me see." And before I could really say yes or no, he got up and wedged his tight little butt between me and Taryn. Then he reached up with his index finger and ran it across my cheek. " feels so real."

"It IS real." I said, feeling like a sideshow freak all of the sudden in this kid's presence. However, when I looked closer, I noticed a small mark on the right side of his neck. It looked like a small tattoo or something. A symbol of some sort, that I had never seen before. Not anywhere. Looking closer, I could see that his father had one as well. In fact....every human on the train had one. What the heck does it mean?

" you guys really kill people and drink their blood? Can I see your fangs?" Jordan asked, as if it were no big deal, and I felt my whole body tense up in surprise. I can't really say that I was offended or was weird. You know?

"JORDAN!" His father scolded him. "Come here and sit next to me." His dad apologized for his son again, and kept his thirst for knowledge about our 'kind' quiet for the remainder of the trip. Taryn was holding my hand, and he gave me a gentle squeeze along with a flirtatious smile. Our eyes met for a moment, and he leaned forward to kiss me softly on the lips. The funny thing is, I think Jordan was more entranced with two boys kissing than he was with us being vampires. I think it caught him by surprise.

The train began to slow again, and the DJ at the far corner of the compartment stopped playing. He didn't need to. The noise outside would have outplayed him anyway. We must have reached the outer platform of the IceZone itself...and it was a complete MADHOUSE! It was triple the amount of people that we had seen on the first platform, and the party was ten times more chaotic than anything I had ever witnessed before. You had no choice but to stare at it in amazement. It was like a kid's first time to the circus, I swear. I watched as Kid stood up o his seat, his nose pressed hard against the wndow of the train, wiggling and squirming from the anxiety of getting out there in all that pandemonium. Jun and Doc were so enchanted that they began to giggle happily, and lightly shove each other as they tried to take it all in. I felt Taryn's grip on my hand tighten, and his thrilling fever surged through me. Seeing his boyish smile, spread out in its intoxicating did wonders for my soul.

A computerized female voice came over the speakers in each monorail car. "Welcome to Platform A. This will direct you to the front gates of the IceZone, where you will be asked for your tickets and thoroughly scanned for entry. Please follow all directions to the letter of the is for your protection. Have a safe and exciting time." The pleasing voice was crisp and clear, and I could feel my heart racing as I looked out at the platform through the window, and prepared for the doors to open. Then the voice stated, quite simply, "All human visitors must remain on the train. You will be taken to Platform B, where your marks will be checked and authenticated upon entry." The human cargo remained seated as the rest of us all got up to leave the train. I saw Jordan smile up at us, and I gave him a short wave as I headed for the train exit. Then...just to give him a little thrill...I indulged in a moment of mischief, and let my fangs shoot down for a moment. I smiled widely to give him a good glimpse. I licked the tip with my tongue, and felt my eyes begin to glow red on instinct as my body reacted to being in a mellow form of hunting mode. Hahaha, you would have thought that his eyes were gonna pop right out of his head!!! I don't think I could have made Jordan any happier if I tried, and he nearly jumped right out of his seat with uncontainable joy at beng able to see a little bit of that movie monster magic!

I felt a gentle slap hit me in the chest, and saw Taryn grinning at me. "Hey, quit it....showoff." He then took me by the arm, and I retracted my fangs as we approached the monorail door.

We waited for a full minute before the doors opened. I guess they had to let everyone into the club in a somewhat orderly fashion and didn't want the platform to become overcrowded. But soon, I saw a green light appear over the doors, and a hissing sound as we prepared ourselves to be introduced to the party. This was it. The ultimate celebration of our lives in our darkness.

The doors opened, and the music POURED into the train with a volume that shook the fucking walls and nearly knocked us back a step or two! I jumped back from the noise, and felt Gyro and Jenna pushing me gently forward to get me off of the monorail in a hurry. I can't explain why, but I felt a bit scared of all this commotion. As much as I thought that I would just have a blast with all of this, this level of partying was intimidating to say the least. If the others hadn't pushed me forward, I might have just stayed on the train and had fun there instead.

"OMIGOD, this is AWESOME!!!" Gyro screamed at the top of his lungs, and we were suddenly enveloped in the massive crowd of vampires...with no escape.

We started to walk together, our eyes darting around us at all of the commotion in that place. People were throwing confetti and shouting out and drinking and dancing and having the time of their lives. My whole body was trembling from the sensation. The adrenaline was contagious. I kinda worked my way up to walk closer to Gyro, and had to ask. "Hey Gyro? Tell me something. What's with the humans on the train? I mean, I thought this place was for vampires only."

"It's a long story!" He shouted back over the music. "I'll tell ya about it when we get inside! Right now, I just wanna absorb this vibe! DUDE...this is fucking CRAZY, right???"

Far be it from me to bring Gyro down from his 'buzz' by asking any complicated questions. So I watched him wade further into the mass ahead of us, and did my best to keep up.

The jam packed swarm of people sucked you in without mercy, and you immediately lost all identity. Your very sense of self as an individual seemed to get swallowed whole in all this hysteria, and while that can be comforting at times...this was different. This time, I began to worry that I'd lose so much of myself here that I might not ever get it back. Looking around me, I saw vampires of all kinds, all ages, all shapes, all sizes, it was overwhelming. There were goth kids, in small puddles of people dressed in all black with dark make up. There were properly dressed adult yuppy types, seemingly calm in all this madness. And I saw hordes of glitter sparkled drag queens all over the place, dressed in elaborate costumes and wearing wigs that seemed to stand a foot and a half off of their heads. There were vampires there that still had clothes and hairstyles from the 50's and 60's, never changing, never adapting or assimilating. Still locked in the body of who they were when they initially crossedover. They were from a golden age, and still maintained the same wholesome grace about them. And I believe there were vampires there even older than that. They spoke with ancient languages and dialects, and carried about with a sophistication that I had never seen from another vampire in this city. I guess I was used to runaway teens my own age for the most part. It was definitely a wake up call to see vampires of a much 'higher class' here. Some dressed in brand new designer clothing and had become a part of todays generation. Others still used slang from the 70's and 80's when they greeted each other, and I took notice of one good looking boy my age wearing a transfomer watch and fiddling with a small Rubik's Cube that he had on his key chain. It was like seeing every era of human kind suddenly thrown into the same melting pot. How it all seemed to fit is a complete mystery to me.

"This way! I think this is the gate!" Bryson said, and led the way with the rest of us in tow. It was hard to stay together while navigating through the gyrating crowd, but we seemed to make it without too much trouble. There was a long line to get in, but not as long as I had originally expected. It looked like a great deal of people were happy just partying right here on the platform for a while.

Dion and Dylan held hands the entire time. Not because they were afraid to lose one another, just because. And when we stopped at the end of the line, I saw Dion turn Dylan to face him. He gently brushed back some of his sandy blond hair off of his forehead, and after an extended loving look...he leaned in to kiss him gently on the lips. It didn't take the use of an extra to see Dylan's knees get weak as he allowed the feeling to snatch him out of his reality and exist only in Dion's embrace. The sentiment alone was enough to make me hold Taryn that much closer to me, his smile matching mine as we tried not to stare at them. Trevor and Michael, however, hardly exchanged a glance. But they wanted to. You could clearly see it. That 'effort' that it takes to ignore someone on purpose. Despite my previous assumptions...I began to wonder if maybe what they had worked for them. A relationship based on need for affection. One where their sex and kissing and cuddling isn't as shallow as other people make it out to be. Not to them. They're perfectly happy being together most of the time, if for no other reason than to avoid the alternative. Lonliness. Just like Zero said.

"Next! Move the line along, please!" Said one of the ladies at the gate. It was our turn to go in. She looked about 19 years old, but was wearing a flashing LCD display on her shirt as a button. It said '121 years old, and still counting!' And it had a counter at the bottom that was counting the seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years, that she was ageing right in front of our eyes. Very cool! "Tickets?"

Gyro handed them over. "This place is a paradise!" He said, happily bouncing on the balls of his feet.

The lady smiled and replied, "Wait til you get inside, kid. You ain't seen NOTHING yet."

"Can it POSSIBLY get any better than this?" Doc grinned.

"Let me put it this way..." She said, handing the notorized tickets back to us. "...I've seen vampires on their first visit...actually pass out from sensation overload in the first twenty five minutes." She then grinned and said, "Enjoy your evening guys." Then screaming, "NEXT!"

Did she say....'pass out'? it gets bigger. Um...I think I can handle that.