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|Blood Ties(Blood Coven Vampire,book 6) by Mari Mancusi|
“I’m going to make this work,” I promise him softly as my own body succumbs to my exhaustion at last. “I refuse to make you pay for my mistakes.”
The Vampire Café is located in the Ginza neighborhood of Tokyo, which is about as opposite of Asakusa as you can get. I’m talking luxury boutiques—Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and a twelve-story (!) Abercrombie and Fitch. If Jayden weren’t so hungry, I’d so be shopping like a fiend.
We took the subway here and had a car almost all to ourselves after getting on and having Jayden shake and shiver like a heroin addict. He woke up with major blood withdrawal and it’s been getting worse ever since. Some Japanese women wearing surgical masks over their mouths gave him dirty looks before exiting to another car. Sadly, I couldn’t very well explain to them that vampirism isn’t exactly an airborne virus they could catch.
We meet up with Rayne outside the Ginza- itchôme Station, entering a world of bright lights and tall skyscrapers, to which my sister immediately turns up her nose in disgust. I think from her research she assumed Japan was one big charming manga full of boys and girls wearing cat ears, not a neon version of Fifth Avenue.
“Come on,” I say, grabbing her arm. “We’ve got to hurry.”
After wandering around a bit—Tokyo addresses are almost impossible to decipher, due to the fact that they’re based on a block system, rather than street address—we finally locate the building that houses the Vampire Café.
The three of us board the elevator and it slides open into a dark, mysterious restaurant. A Japanese hostess, dressed in a French maid’s uniform, greets us at the door and leads us inside.
Rayne lets out a low gasp as we step into the restaurant’s interior. The place is like her dream bedroom. All decked out in black and crimson with Gothic candelabras offering low mood lighting. In the center of the room is a life-sized, old-fashioned coffin, adorned with skulls and roses, and the black carpet has big red splotches that I guess are supposed to represent bloodstains.
Now, as you know, I myself am totally not into the whole Goth esthetic at all, but I have to admit, this place is pretty awesome, with many of the tables enclosed by red velvet curtains to give diners a sense of ultimate privacy. Our hostess leads us over to one of them, pulling back the curtains and allowing us to slide into our seats before closing the curtains once again, leaving us in a kind of cozy little cave. On the table are bloodred napkins, chopsticks, a candle, and a brass bell.
“If only Jareth were here,” Rayne swoons. “This is, like, the most romantic restaurant ever.”
“We’re not here for the five-star dining,” I remind her. “Especially since two out of the three of us can’t even eat food.”
“Yeah, yeah. Step on my rapture, why don’t you?”
I open my mouth to tease her some more, but at that moment the curtains part and a man, dressed in a butler’s uniform, starts chattering at us in rapid Japanese.
“No, no!” Rayne interrupts. “No habla Japanese.”
“That’s Spanish, you moron,” I point out, pulling the phrase book I bought at the airport out of my bag and frantically paging through.
“Eigo wo hanashimasu ka?” Do you speak English?
“Hai! A little,” he replies, looking excited but unsure. “You are American?”
“You like blood... cocktail?” he asks.
Rayne gives me an excited glance. “Yes, please!” she says. “Two cups.”
“I’ll just take... um... mizu,” I add, after looking up the Japanese word for water. No blood for this fairy, thank you very much.
The waiter nods and backs away, the curtains slipping shut behind him. Rayne turns to Jayden and me, an ecstatic look on her face. “Oh my God, that was easier than I thought!” she gushes. “I guess I shouldn’t expect anything less from Tokyo. It’s so much cooler than the United States. I mean, they don’t even try to hide the fact that they’re serving vampires here, like Club Fang has to do back home.” She reaches out and grips Jayden’s forearm. “So awesome, huh?” she asks him. “We’ll get you fixed up in no time!”
The waiter returns a moment later with two dainty wineglasses filled with red liquid and my cup of water. Rayne and Jayden grab their drinks and each take an eager sip. Then they look at each other and set down their cups in apparent disgust.
“What?” I ask. “Not your blood type?”
“It’s wine,” Rayne replies in an overwhelmingly disappointed voice. “Like, real wine.” She looks up at the waiter. “I thought you said it was blood.” When the waiter looks back at her blankly, she grabs my phrase book from me and starts paging through. “Chi?”
The waiter nods and points to the glass. “Chi,” he assures her with a wide, naive smile. “You no like it?” Rayne sets down her glass, looking bummed. “No, I like it fine. It’s just not what I expected is all.”
The waiter shrugs, then scurries away, probably lamenting the fact he got stuck with the American table tonight. Rayne watches him go, scowling. “Wine,” she repeats scornfully.
“Come on, Rayne, what did you expect?” I ask. “This is a real restaurant. They’re not just going to have blood on the menu. The Japanese health department would shut them down in a heartbeat, I’m sure.” I pull open the curtain to spy on the rest of the place. In a corner, a group of Japanese teens are having what appears to be a birthday party, complete with “bleeding” raspberry cake. “Face it.