So they were homeless now. Caleb stared in disbelief at Alice when he found out.
“What do you mean we don’t have a place to live?”
“I said we don’t have a place to live in yet,” Alice said. “But I’ll figure it out soon. Hopefully.”
Caleb sat on the sidewalk, burying his face in his hands. “I can’t believe we’re going to have to sleep on the street. This is so humiliating.”
“I’m not sleeping outside,” Natasha announced coldly.
“I didn’t say anyone had to sleep outside!” Alice was getting tense. She probably should have planned this more thoroughly. “Look, how about you two go explore for a bit while I get everything sorted out?”
“But we aren’t disguised yet,” Caleb said. “Wouldn’t humans get freaked out if they see our horns? Or in Natasha’s case, if they see… everything?”
Natasha rolled her eyes. “I can literally sense the presence of aliens and vampires in just this one neighborhood. Trust me, our appearances aren’t that big of a deal to humans.”
“Natasha’s right, so go out there and make friends,” Alice said cheerily. She waved at them until they were out of sight.
The siblings walked in awkward silence, passing by multiple houses. “Where is everyone?” Caleb wondered. The street seemed awfully quiet.
“You really don’t know anything about humans, do you?” Natasha sneered. “They have little routines everyday. They either go to work or school and only come back to their houses in the evening. Except those two, I guess.” She pointed at a middle-aged woman and a younger boy walking towards them. The woman seemed to be angry, while the boy sulked behind her.
“Let’s say hi,” Natasha said, and walked up to the woman before Caleb could protest. “Hi, me and my brother just moved in, I’m Natasha and that’s Dingus.” The two only looked mildly surprised at seeing the horns.
“Natasha!” Caleb turned red. The other boy snickered, but abruptly stopped when the woman looked at him sharply.
“Don’t mind my son, he isn’t normally this rude,” the woman said, laughing nervously. “I’m Mila and this is Wolfgang, we live right around the corner.”
Caleb watched as Natasha continued talking, suspicious of her seemingly pleasant attitude. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Wolfgang slinking away from his mother casually. They locked eyes, and Wolfgang beckoned for Caleb to follow him. He sheepishly backed away and followed the blond boy.
“So, is your name really Dingus?” Wolfgang asked.
Caleb felt the blood rush to his face again. “Wha– I– of course not!” He stammered, indignant. “It’s Caleb. Caleb Guthrie.” He said after a pause.
“Did you just make your name up on the spot?” Wolfgang laughed. “Well, I guess that makes sense, seeing as you don’t seem to be entirely normal.”
“What do you mean?” He asked. Wolfgang looked at him from top to bottom, and raised his eyebrow. “Oh, right. That.” Caleb laughed.
“Are you a vampire?” Wolfgang asked. “Wait no, that doesn’t make sense if you’re out during the day. Why do you have horns?”
Caleb hesitated. “I’m a demon.”
“Ah, that explains it. Where’s your pitchfork, then?”
Caleb stared at him, dumbfounded, until Wolfgang cracked a smile.
”I’m just messing with you. I know TV exaggerates you guys.”
Caleb continued to look confused. “Tee-vee?”
“You don’t know what television is?”
Caleb shook his head. “I’ve never heard of it where I come from.”
“Dude, you seriously need to watch some TV. Actually, why don’t we head inside and I can educate you on some pop culture,” Wolfgang said. “What do you say?”
“You want me to go inside your house?” Caleb asked.
“Yeah. You gotta know about this stuff if you wanna fit in with people.”
“Um, sure. I’d love to go inside,” Caleb said.
“I’m technically grounded from doing anything since I got suspended today, but I don’t think my mom will find out, not with your sister keeping her distracted.”
Natasha did not keep her distracted for very long. Mila walked away after Natasha claimed she was here on Earth to enslave everyone.
Alice wanted to avoid using magic once she was in the human world, but it seemed like she had no other choice. She could get a job like other humans, but she pretty much had zero marketable skills. Well, she had her appearance and charm, but she wasn’t quite ready to go down that shady route unless she got really desperate.
She went to a bar, hoping to find someone easy to put under the thrall of a spell. People under the influence of alcohol tended to be quite gullible. There weren’t a lot of people inside, though. A few of them looked up as she entered, the confusion on their faces obvious. Maybe Caleb was right. Maybe they did look too freaky for humans. She scanned the room for people she could talk to. She spotted a tall, elegantly dressed woman. She looked rich and powerful enough to help Alice.
Alice sauntered up to her, and smiled. “Hey there, what’s your name?” She batted her eyelashes.
The woman looked at her. “Lily, and I’m married, so don’t even bother.” She turned away from Alice.
“Wait, um–” Without thinking, Alice snapped her fingers, immediately putting Lily under a thrall. “Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to do that. Force of habit.”
Lily put her hand to her head, suddenly dizzy. She looked up at the woman who approached her and blinked. Was she this attractive before? “Sorry about that, I don’t know why I was so rude,” Lily stepped closer to her. “Must have been a bit tipsy.”
“No worries,” Alice said. “I was actually wondering if you could do me a favor.”
“Yes, of course. What do you need?” Lily asked. For some reason, she wanted to do everything to help this strange woman.
“Well, this is going to sound ridiculous,” Alice began. “But I need a house. For free.”
“Consider it done,” Lily said with a dramatic flourish. “I own many of the prime lots in this city, I can get you what you need.”
“Really? Thank you so much,” Alice said. “Can I move in today?”
Lily considered this. “It would be difficult to move out all the showroom furnishings by today but you can move in by tomo–”
“Oh I’d also like the furniture, please.”
Lily furrowed her eyebrows. Alice could feel the spell loosening its grip on her. “Pretty please?” She said, leaning in closer and putting her hand on Lily’s arm. Lily practically melted at this contact.
“Of course, of course,” Lily cooed. “Anything for you.”
Alice felt terrible for basically scamming the woman. She wanted to start her new life completely fresh, with no magic or other demonic shenanigans involved. But she supposed this one time was necessary if she didn’t want to stay homeless.
Alice loved the house. It was just big enough for all three of them, and it had pretty much everything they needed and wanted. For her, the best part was the grand piano in the living room. She had always loved music, but the last time she got to enjoy it was many years ago. She sat down at the piano and started to play softly. She was a little rusty, but she had the rest of her life to practice and enjoy everything else that she wanted to do.
She had no regrets about her decision to start over.