**EDIT** I'm under the weather and behind on work, so no update this week! Thanks for understanding and for waiting in the meantime!
We all remember Ritz. Things are going great for her. Thanks for reading!
Just a few hallways away, a different sort of drama was unfolding: a medical drama.
“This is quite the slew of symptoms you’ve got here.” A refreshingly normal doctor scratched his refreshingly normal-sized chin, using a hand that was, refreshingly, not a haunted pirate hook. “Pallid skin, ice cold body temperature.” He looked up from his chart to gesture at his patient with his pen. “Photosensitivity, a near reptilian heart rate, dramatic sharpening of the upper cuspids, and... you mentioned something about wanting to suck my blood?”
“That was a JOKE,” lied a shivering, jittery Ritz Price-Lee. “My PRIVATE doctor could t-t-tell when to take a j-joke
Ritz’s private doctor, the best West Hill money could buy, exclusively made house calls, which presented a predicament for the young heiress in her current state. When she’d stumbled home after the incident under the bridge, Ritz had found her house abandoned, surrounded by police tape, and plastered with layered signs that read FOR SALE and SOLD and PRIVATE PROPERTY from back to front. What’s more, when she’d tried to force her way in through a window, Ritz had strangely felt compelled to stay outside, even after successfully breaking the glass with one of her family’s solid gold lawn gnomes. She discovered she was desperate for an invitation to enter the premises, which Ritz attributed to a juvenile and unrealistic desire to be loved and accepted by her mother. An attempt to smother this impulse with impulsive spending revealed something even more unsettling than mommy issues—none of Ritz’s credit cards were working
Calls to her family’s lawyers and accountants went to their answering machines, most of which explained they’d fled the country to avoid criminal prosecution or some other absurd excuse like that. Ritz was furious, incredibly thirsty, and bleeding steadily from all the pinprick bite marks on her neck. As darkness drifted into dawn and her remaining phones ran out of battery one after the other, she’d even become desperate enough to walk all the way to her embarrassing dad’s dinky divorce apartment... but he’d apparently spent the night elsewhere too.
That was when panic had truly begun to set in. Ritz felt absolutely awful. The morning sun was getting brighter and brighter by the minute, so bright it singed her eyes, and all she could think about was sinking her teeth into a warm (and preferably viscous liquid) meal. Ritz imagined this was how poor people felt all the time
Then the hallucinations started—strange creatures flitting about everywhere, and colorful mist streaming in flatulent spurts from all over her body. Ritz began to wonder if she was, perhaps, deathly allergic to poverty, and the fear of an ignoble end pushed her past her pride to the free clinic at Mayview General.
“Young lady. This particular set of symptoms...” Ritz’s doctor removed his glasses, giving her a look of grave concern. “You’re not... vaping, are you?”
“I g-got b-bit!” chattered Ritz, losing her patience, which she never really bothered to keep track of in the first place. “Give me your—I mean t-take my blood! I m-might have rabies or something, y’know?!” She was just about ready to admit she’d seen several dead people floating around in the waiting room if it meant getting some kind of medicine.
“Miss Price-Lee, vaping has been known to lead to pregnancy—” was all the doctor said before the door opened and cut his sermon short. “...Yes, nurse? What is it?” He cocked a refreshingly normal eyebrow at the new arrival.
“I need to borrow your patient,” a disguised Paige replied with a sly smile. Her own fangs flashed when she saw Ritz’s, revealed when the clammy heiress’s mouth fell open in surprise. “Doctor’s orders.”
“But I’m the doctor,” said the doctor.
“That’s nice,” said Paige. Her gaze was fixed on Ritz. “Hush now.” Paige’s eyes flashed blue, and the words of fearful protest bubbling up in Ritz’s throat escaped as empty air. “Come with me.”
Ritz nodded rapidly, attributing the vampiric compulsion to obey to a crush she’d just discovered in this instant. She fell in line behind Paige, assuming an awkward, penguin-like gait.
“Hm,” said the doctor, who was now very much alone in his office.
Paige’s smile faded to a much more severe expression the second they’d left the room. “We’re not talking here,” she whispered sternly, tugging Ritz along. She sounded stressed and sleepless. “This place is his. Shut up until I say so.”
Ritz, lost in a dreamy daze, only cared that her cold hands matched Paige’s temperature.