I lie back on the couch, slouching on the brown tweed upholstery, and put my feet up on the coffee table (something I’m sure has mom rolling over in her grave). I pick the remote off the cushion beside me and flick on the TV set, scrolling through the recorded episodes on the PVR. I cast a nervous glance around my living room, suddenly paranoid I’m not alone, before selecting an episode of The Bachelor and pressing play.
If anyone ever asked me if I enjoyed reality TV it was common for me to reply with a “fuck no.” It had become such a running gag with my friends that they made a point of shutting shows off with exaggerated moans and groans when around me, while I lamented about how terrible the show was without having seen it. It wasn’t until Ben’s wife made me watch an episode of The Bachelor while we waited for Ben to come in from town that I found myself reluctantly enjoying it.
It’s not that I’m a romantic; I’m not. But the search for true love and the sappy first dates remind me of the books my mom used to write… not to mention the contestants are always fucking crazy. One season of The Bachelorette, and nearly two seasons of The Bachelor later, I’m hooked on the damn show and I hope to hell no one ever finds out about my guilty pleasure.
As a sweeping view of the mansion comes into focus and the title makes its way onto the screen, my phone starts vibrating in my pocket. I panic irrationally—how would anyone know I’m watching this?—and dig my cell out of my pocket. Ben’s name glows on the screen and I answer without bothering to pause the show; he already knows my secret TV shame.
“Sorry to interrupt your ‘you time’ but we have a serious problem.”
“I saw Seb at… bar… Nancy.”
“Nancy… Seb’s dating… she… feta cheese to be safe!”
“What the fuck are you saying, Ben? Your reception must be shit ‘cause you keep cutting out. You on Mulligan Drive?”
“Okay, so swing by my place and w—”
“NO! I c… n’t. Nancy’s following… she must be… to smell Fred on me or… smell… magic from hi… I don… want to lead her to… u,” he says hurriedly into the receiver, as though that’ll make the cell reception any better.
“Okay,” I say slowly, “but who’s Nancy?”
“A SIRE—” Ben shouts over the phone, unable to finish his sentence before the line goes dead.
I dial his number, hoping he’ll pick up, but it goes right into voicemail. With a shrug I drop the phone on the sofa beside me and return to my show.
Two episodes in, and one pair of discarded jeans later, a knock at my door startles me from my bowl of popcorn with M&Ms and binge watching session. I pause the show and grab my jeans from the floor, moving to put them back on, but decide against it; it’s not like Ben’s going to be offended seeing me in my boxers and white undershirt. It’s late after all.
I stand, brushing the crumbs off my lap—Macie looks torn as she whips her head back and forth from the food on the ground to the person at the door—and make my way across the living room, down the small hallway, and into the entranceway.
I unlock the door and pull it open, blinking in surprise when I realize it’s not Ben waiting for me on my porch.
“Hi,” the woman says, her sapphire eyes so deep I think I’m going to drown in them, “I’m Nancy, nice to meet you… ?”
“Pierre. My name’s Pierre,” offer so fast my mouth hurts.
“Nice to meet you, Pierre.” The way she says my name makes my chest feel too tight and my heart hurt. “I’m so sorry to barge in on you unexpectedly, but my car broke down a few kilometers out and the cell reception is abysmal here. Do you think I could come in and use your house phone?”
“Yeah. Yeah, you can come in, but I don’t have a house phone and I haven’t cleaned in a while. I’m so sorry.”
She smiles at me and I’m pretty sure it could stop traffic and save lives, maybe even move mountains, and she’s smiling just for ME.
“Don’t be sorry, babe. I just appreciate the kindness,” she says, running her hand up my arm, leaning in, and planting a small kiss on my lips.
My chest feels like it’s on fire, my limbs tingle like they’re on ice, and my mind feels unnaturally foggy. I can feel her in my head, tendrils spreading through my mind as my thoughts all turn to Nancy.
Nancy… my beautiful Nancy. What does she need? How can I help her? Why do I want to help her?
Didn’t Ben say something about a Nancy following him?
“Could you move out of the way, babe? I’d like to come in.”
I can feel Nancy’s hooks in my head as I nod enthusiastically and step to the side to grant her entry.
A sire—? Did Ben mean a siren?
I look into the night and see a pair of bright green eyes looking back at me from the driveway. Rosaline looks crestfallen and I know she’s undoubtedly seen Nancy come in. Beautiful, loving, kind, gentle, siren, Nancy.
“I also have some questions for you, Pierre. Can you come here?”
“Yes!” I shout back to her.
I cast a desperate look to Rose and try to mouth “help me” to her, but as I close the door behind me I can only hope she understands my plea. I can only hope I made myself clear, because I already can’t remember if I managed to ask Rose for help because all I can think about is Nancy.
“Coming, my love!” I say, running back to her through the house and kneeling at her feet as she sits in my seat on the couch. “What do you need me to do?”
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