“ Milady,” Gar’s tone dripped with sarcasm as he stood before the head of the gypsy led council. “the council has decided that in the interest of your health to cancel today’s session. At your age it really is unwise to be meeting in such weather.” Lady Crumplebottom eyed Gar Fairchild with disinterest; well aware that the meeting had not been cancelled. The gentlemen she served with were discussing business behind her back and in no way did she appreciate it.
She pursed her lips her face taking on the expression that was so often seen upon it. Seeing the smile on that man’s face in front of her made her sick. She was old she knew, which made putting up with the usual nonsense even more unbearable.
Gar’s eyes shifted as the older woman’s eyes bore into him. Few could meet the old woman’s eyes and not shy away. Her voice was as cold as ice as she spoke at last, “Do not lie to me Gar. You and your cohorts are in no way concerned with my welfare. You simply wish to dispose of my presence so that you can carry out whatever devious deeds you have concocted. But mark my words, better men than you have tried to take this council from me, and none of them have succeeded.”
Gar laughed and shrugged his shoulders, “It doesn’t matter what you think you know Narelle. You are in actuality simple minded.” Narelle drew her lips into an even thinner line as he continued, “You’ve served your purpose to this land and as a representative of the people, we thank you. Have a most pleasant day milady.”
As Gar strolled confidently out the door he didn’t catch the spark of rage that flared within the older woman’s eyes. Simple minded indeed.
“ Son, I trust that you can handle this next step.” Avri smiled confidently, “Do not worry father. I understand my role in the purification of Valenwood and I’m telling you it won’t be a problem.” Gar nodded, “See to it that you don’t fail me again Avri. We have already had one set-back due to your earlier mistakes with that half-breed and your old childhood playmate.” Avri tilted his head in respect, “Do not worry father everything will proceed smoothly from this point onward.”
As night fell over Waterfall Spring, Avri strolled confidently down the streets and toward the border. Soon enough his father and the others would restore peace and justice to Valenwood and put an end to oldwives tales.
In her home in Waterfall Springs, Narelle stood facing the flames. She suspected Gar’s plans, but without solid evidence to support her claims there was very little she could do. The only evidence she had was the vision of a dead vampire, who certainly wasn’t a favorite amongst her people, no she needed something else. She sighed, Gar was right about one thing she was getting too old for this.
Naturally, she’d been young once and still recalled briefly her dreams of marrying a prince charming and having children and living happily ever after. But she’d learned quickly that life wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be in fairytales and romance novels. She’d learned quickly indeed. At the death of her brothers to the illness, she’d been married off to the first available suitor her father deemed appropriate.
She’d been named the head of the Valenwood high council, but this was nothing more than a title. Her husband and the other members of the council held all the real power. She was a symbol and an image only. She was to be seen and not heard. So what if she’d grown a little bitter? What did it matter?
She and her husband had only one child, their daughter much to his displeasure and much to Narelle’s secret delight. She’d kept her daughter at arms length not daring too get too close, a defense mechanism she developed to deal with the lot life had cast her.
It had rained the day her husband died. The day her father died. The day her world went up in flames. But Narelle had not cried.
She remembered the light striking the sky and how the tower and all the other buildings had come crashing down. Everything the elves had ever made were gone in one fell swoop.
She remembered the sky turning grey, and remembered the drops of rain plastering her long golden hair to her gown and back. She remembered closing her eyes blocking it all out. She remembered watching in admiration as Kalina Goldweaver stood in the crowd an image of all she had ever hoped she could be, but had never become.
Narelle had led the gypsies back to Valenwood years later. She’d overseen the rebuilding of the ruins piece by piece, had made the hard choices when others wanted to shy away. She’d sacrificed every bit of her own personal happiness to do what was best for her people. She’d put distance between herself and everyone around her so she could do her duty to the best of her ability. And still Narelle found that none of it had made a bit of difference.
She was now an old woman that others seemed to wish would simply disappear. What had her daughter said the day she’d left? Ah yes, “You are a miserable old woman who doesn’t give a damn about anyone but yourself.” She scoffed turning up her nose. If anything she cared too much. Why after all those years, those two had squirmed their way into her heart, she didn’t understand, but somehow they had.
It had rained the day her daughter had died too. Though rain had seemed more appropriate to mark how she felt about her daughter’s demise than that of her late husband. Personally she would have preferred to have a sunny day mark his demise.
They’d brought her word shortly after her death that her daughter had children. Twins apparently. Twins Narelle had not even known existed.
She still remembered seeing Ravi and Tristen for the first time.
Ravi was as common as could be, but she still rather liked him. And then there was Tristen. The girl had her hair and her eyes. The little girl was even sporting her old hairstyle and pink bandana.
The similarities between them were too much for Narelle to handle. She would not look at that child and see her own self reflected back. Too many bad memories and broken dreams.
She’d ordered the child’s hair to be changed by a hairdresser. But even though she’d changed the hairstyle, Narelle still saw herself reflected back at her whenever she looked into her grand-daughter’s matching eyes.
And so Narelle found that as much as she tried, she couldn’t push the twins away. So instead she’d done her best to give Tristen and Ravi the happy endings their grandmother had never gotten to experience.
Especially Tristen. A soft smile crept upon her face as she reflected on her grand-daughter. She’d found Tristen one afternoon carrying a doll in her arms. Goodness knows where the girl had found it. Narelle had felt she was much too old for such things, and was trying her best to pull Tristen’s head out of the clouds so her grand-daughter didn’t experience the same misery and disappointment she herself had faced. She’d ordered Tristen to give her the doll, quite harshly as she recalled.
“ Oh, please Grandma, can’t I keep it please? It’s so pretty.” “ Why on earth would you want to keep a thing like that? You are much too old for dolls and have been for sometime.”
Tristen had continued to beg. “Please? It’s the only thing I have left that was Mamma’s. It was Mamma’s wasn’t it?” Narelle had become slightly flustered at that. “Of course it was your mother’s. Who else would it have belonged too?”
“ Certainly not me. I never bothered with such things. But I suppose you will make a fuss if I don’t let you keep it, and I don’t have time for dealing with your foolishness along with everyone else’s. Just don’t let me catch you playing with it.”
But Narelle had caught her playing with it, and deep down inside she believed that her grand-daughter knew the truth about the doll. And the fact that Tristen still played with and seemed to love her old doll was enough to make even Narelle Crumplebottom smile.
As she stood and painted at her easel she mused, “Narelle, sometimes you are too kind hearted for anyone’s own good.”
A few days later Narelle met Arleth outside the city limits. With her was a fellow gypsy who had become the most recent pain in her side. “Arleth, this young lady here has something for you.”
“ So this is the young woman that slipped Avri the love potion you spoke of?” Narelle nodded, “Indeed it is. The Matriarch is still confident she can see to the boy’s welfare then?”
As the dark elf nodded Narelle barked, “Well go on. Give him the child. And you should thank your lucky stars I found about your condition first, because I can assure you, had my lovely associates found out; you and that child would be dead right now.” Joanna Miguel handed the baby off to the dark elf in front of her. She wasn’t happy about those things raising her son, but really she was very lucky. And her son’s fate was now out of her hands. After today she’d be led to the outskirts and would never be able to return upon pain of death.
“ Milady?” Arleth questioned courteously as he took a seat across from his mistress. “I’ve returned with the child you discussed with Matriarch Crumplebottom. Am I to proceed as we discussed previously?”
“ Yes, Arleth. Take the boy to the address we previously discussed and leave him with the young visitor we found in the ruins. He will be well cared for there.” Arleth could not help but wonder how the Matriarch could be so sure that this Mr. Mendez would accept the charge and be a good caretaker, but she had proven to be quite wise when it came to such delicate manners. “Very well.”
Matriarch Mae smiled as Arleth rose from the grass, “Thank-you Arleth.” Hearing a thud from nearby she smirked, “Are you alright there Gem?”
In Rainbow Valley, Mr. Mendez was just settling into the Nectu village. He’d rented a small home in the middle of town and had put in an application with the local medical facility. Today he was meeting with the current Master Healer to learn if he’d received a job. Jonathon couldn’t help but stare slightly as the Master Healer Cinaed Ceberlandon took the seat across from him at the chess table.
Cinaed settled into the seat and gave the newcomer a scrutinizing look. The young man had come with a rather impressive resume, and the area could most certainly use more doctors, but the threat from Lorian was real enough that a spy could slip through at any location and Cinaed took the responsibility of watching over the main family line very seriously just as every Ceberlandon before him. “So tell me a bit about yourself Mr. Mendez.”
Jonathon returned home a few hours later sporting a new job. He’d made a good impression on Master Ceberlandon and had been offered a position as his personal resident. He’d begin working under the direct tutelage of an elf of all things! He couldn’t help but feel a little excited at the prospect and momentarily wondered what his mother and sisters would think.
Jonathon pulled out one of the books he’d discovered back home that described the region known as Valenwood he’d found back home. He skipped to the chapter labeled “Rainbow Valley and the Nectu” and began reading soaking in as many of the details as he could. He had no desire to offend anyone else while he was here, for however long his stay lasted.
“ Good morning Master Cinaed.” Jonathon greeted the next morning. He slid onto the bench in front of the medical facility beside he new mentor. Cinaed gave his companion a warm smile, “Good morning Mr. Mendez. I trust that you are ready to get started. We have quite a caseload at the moment, and I’ll admit the extra hands should prove quite useful. Follow me.”
“ You’ll be back tomorrow won’t you?” Alondra Williams asked at the end of the day. Jonathon smiled, “Yes, ma’am.” After a few observations, Master Ceberlandon had been confident enough in Jonathon’s skills to give him a few patients including the delightful Mrs. Williams who was a Nectu Historian. She’d proven more than happy to share her knowledge of the area with her new physician and he’d been more than interested in her stories.
It was late and the cold air bit her cheeks, but Silvana hardly noticed. She’d been wandering aimlessly through the village marketplace for an hour, and was only now deciding she needed to go indoors. She supposed she could pick up a few things in the market, after all it would keep her from having to return home. But did she really want to go inside? Well it was better than going home. It was getting harder not rush into the nursery and scoop the baby into her arms and soothe him when she heard him cry.
She surveyed the locally grown produce not really sure what she had thought she had actually planned on buying. But now that she was here Silvana realized she would have to buy something. She sighed a picked up a few items. She nearly collided with a dark haired gentleman as she rounded one of the stands becoming distracted by the onset of another headache as the thoughts of the surrounding individuals invaded her head. “I’m very sorry miss. I didn’t see you there. Are you alright?” Silvana gave a forced smile, “I’m fine. And it was my fault. Excuse me.”
She’d picked out a few more vegetables and some meat before making her way as quickly as possible to the teller. As her head continued to pound as the voices continued to come unbidden, Silvana began to feel nauseous. This was yet another reason why she chose to stay locked away in her room all day. Not that it helped really. She dreaded being awake and so had spent more and more time sleeping. She knew that likely this would be something she suffered from the rest of her life, as blows to the head were not ever good for telepathic vampires, but she wished there was a way to stop the voices even if it was for only a few minutes.
She’d thought about going home, but Silvana wasn’t sure she’d make it in her current state. She slipped into the most isolated building she could find to give her head a chance to stop swimming.
Jonathon Mendez followed the strange woman he’d nearly collided with in the store. The pain he felt rolling off of her was some of the strongest he’d ever felt before and it was making his head throb. She reminded him of Elle when she needed him to stop the voices in her head. He was almost certain this woman was a half-vampire, though she could just be someone in a lot of emotional pain. Either way, he was going to help her.
“ Excuse me,” he was surprised when she whirled around to face him. He smiled at her. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. I was wondering if you could help me?” Silvana took a step back from the newcomer. “Oh, well I don’t know. There are probably others who can help you a lot better than me.”
Jonathon noticed she was trying to leave, and the throbbing in his head was only getting worse. It was hard not to reach out and pull her into a hug, but he restrained himself despite the growing intensity of the pain inside his head. “Do you know where the medical books are in here by chance?” he asked quickly hoping it would keep the woman from leaving. Silvana pointed at him in sudden recognition. “You’re the new doctor in town that’s working with my uncle and cousins? Iruviel mentioned there was a new man in town. Yes, the books are right over here. I’ll show you.” She’d been shying away from company, but having a doctor around when she was like this wasn’t a bad idea and she was almost sure she was going to collapse.
“ Thanks again for helping me find those books Silvana.” Silvana nodded staring out at the waterfall across the lake. The throbbing was getting to be unbearable now. She shrugged, “It wasn’t a problem. You’d have found them on your own though. The library’s not that big.” Jonathon smiled. “Maybe, but thanks all the same.” Does she know she has beautiful eyes?
Silvana felt herself blush. She’d heard that thought loud and clear and to her shock she heard herself whisper, “Thanks.” Before she knew it, Silvana felt warmth filling her entire body as she felt him grasp her hands. The whole world seemed to get brighter as the man in front of her smiled. And all the voices in her head suddenly stopped for the first time in weeks. She’d read about something like this in Ryker’s books, but could he really be.. Curiosity won out, she asked timidly, “Are you..” The man finished her sentence, “a half-vampire? Yes, are you?”
“ Hey little man. I guess it’s feeding time again huh?” Iruviel cooed as she held her cousin’s son in her arms. She was surprised to hear the door to the nursery open and Silvana slip inside. “ I..I think I can feed him.” Iruviel wasn’t sure what had happened to her cousin, but something was certainly different. She didn’t look so pale and the pained expression was gone. She slowly handed the baby boy to his mother with a raised eyebrow. “You okay?” Silvana smiled, “Yeah, for the first time in weeks I can actually think.” “ Okay.” As Silvana left, Iruviel followed her downstairs since the drastic mood swing had her slightly worried.
She held the little boy in her arms again this time not afraid that she’d drop him and not hearing a single second of her last conversation with Avri running through her head. Silvana felt another wave of warm feelings flood through her body as she held her child. She rocked the baby gently in her arms and as his eyes closed she whispered softly, “Good-night Eddie.” Eddie. It was the perfect name. Edward Toren Fairchild
The next morning Silvana stepped outside and took a deep breath of the morning air. She listened to the world and was pleased to find she couldn’t hear anything except the wind’s whistle. It felt good to be able to get back to work. She still felt pain whenever she let herself think about Avri, but last night she’d spoken with Ryker. He’d stopped by and informed her quite delicately that her husband had been cheating with another woman. That had torn open the wounds again, but it did mean that she hadn’t been the one to manipulate Avri. It had been the use of a gypsy toxin. It hadn’t made her feel much better, but at least she knew that she wasn’t forcing others to do things they didn’t want to do. The people who said they loved her did and that meant everything in the world. For now it was enough to get her out of the house. She needed to try to start living her life again. She owed it to those around her, especially baby Eddie.
Silvana started walking home from work each day. The weather was much too nice not to and she really did love the smell of sea air. It had been a few days, and Silvana had fallen into a routine. However, she’d left work early today because she could feel the voices creeping back inside her head. She stopped for a moment as a wave of thoughts crashed inside bouncing around before they stopped. “Silvana?”
Silvana turned around and found Jonathon Mendez standing just behind her. She smiled as he took her hand chasing the voices out of her head again. “Do you make a habit of following damsels in distress around town or just me?” Jonathon smiled back, “I did feel pain in my head, which meant someone was outside my house that needed help. But no, I’m not following you.” Silvana let go of his hand dropping it to her side. She shifted back and forth, “So you live here? I always thought this was a nice little place. It’s good its not empty anymore.”
“ Silvana what’s that behind you?” Jonathon asked in mock alarm. Silvana spun around for a moment and when she turned back found herself covered in water. She screamed, “Ahh!”
As the water dripped off her to the ground she gasped out, “I can’t believe you just did that! You saw me out your window didn’t you?” Jonathon shrugged guiltily, “Ok you caught me. But you needed a bit more of a pick me up.” “ And your idea of a pick-me up is hitting me with a water balloon? My cousin would love you.”
“ So your mother was a vampire who turned mortal when she married your father due to an ancient magic, and your older brother is a half-vampire like us?” Jonathon asked from his living room floor. He’d invited Silvana to have some lunch and she’d graciously accepted. “If you don’t mind my asking, what is that they do?”
Silvana leaned back casually, “My mother doesn’t have a gift, but my grandfather was a dreamer like my older brother. Did you say your sister has prophetic dreams?” Jonathon nodded, “My baby sister does, yes. My older sister Ellie is a bit more complicated. The vampires where I come from suppressed her powers due to her heritage and it’s left her pretty messed up. I imagine they would have done the same to me and my baby sister if they’d known we’d existed. ”
“ So how did you find out about us?” Jonathon put an arm on his knee. “I’ve always done what I can to help Ellie. I stumbled across some record books which mentioned a coven of vampires living in Rainbow City. I went there looking for more information, but had a run in with the local authorities. I overheard some of the residents mention some half-vampires and a Count Ryker lived her in Rainbow Valley. Do you know Count Ryker?”
Silvana nodded, “Oh yes, I know Ryker. He’s taken it upon himself to help my family. It’s too bad the vampires in your area don’t like our kind, though I don’t think that view is uncommon. My brother and I were scared we’d never find a vampire who was willing to help us understand our gifts once grandfather died. But then Ryker fell into our lives. I’d be happy to introduce you if you’d like.”
“ Silvana what are you doing?” Jonathon asked nervously fifteen minutes later. His companion needed to get home to check on her son, but had promised to let Ryker know about Jonathon once she got the chance.
“ Oh nothing J. Just teaching you why you should never get my hair wet.”
“ Ryker? I was just going to give you a call. Slow down, I can’t understand a word you’re saying.”
“ Oh sorry, Si Baby. I’m just so excited. Kaya had the babies. Did you hear that I have twins. A little boy and a girl.” Silvana smiled on her end of the phone, “That’s wonderful Ryker. Listen, do you mind if I stop over tomorrow night? I need to talk to you about the new doctor that’s moved into town.” “ Sure Si Baby drop on by. It’s been a while since you’ve been over. I know K would love to see you. And ya know I’d like to show off the newest members of the Kim clan.”
“ I’m telling you Tristen, Ryker has really surprised me. He’s doted on Omri and Edith constantly. If he could be up during the day, he would be.” Kaya Kim stopped by the main house the next afternoon leaving the twins and Lyrika in the care of their Auntie Ruvie. Tristen smiled, “Sometimes people can surprise you.” Kaya giggled, “I know there was a comment about my cousin in there.” “ Hmm? Really, I suppose my comment could refer to Iruviel, but in truth I was thinking of someone else.”
While Kaya and Tristen enjoyed their lunch, Kali and Glyn re-entered the kitchen having finished their own. Glyndwr scooped a nearby Lir into his arms and tossed him into the air. “Higher Glyn-Glyn!” Glyndwr caught his grandson in his arms. “Much higher kiddo and I’d knock your noggin on the ceiling. And I don’t think your Papa would be too happy about that.” From the livng room Toren called, “No, and neither would his mother.”
Kali and Glyn each took a seat on the couch as Toren stubbed his toe on one of Lir’s stray toys. “Uh. That’s one part of the parenthood thing I’m not so fond of, banging my toes into random hard objects.” Kali and Glyn exchanged glances. “Just proves the apple doesn’t fall to far from the tree I guess, Kali.” Kali’s eyes twinkled, “Too true.” Toren moaned, “Oh come on. I was never that messy. Was I?” Kali and Glyn just exchanged knowing smiles.
Inside the study Rhiannon was showing her cousin Elysium how to play darts while discussing her day. “I’m telling you Rhia, you’re so lucky you didn’t get sent home with a note. Why would you push that girl into the mud anyway?” Rhiannon gave her cousin a dirty look, “She started it. I’m not going to stand around and let people talk about me behind my back.” “ But,” Ely argued, “you don’t even know for sure that she was talking about you.”
“ Well, “Rhiannon concluded as she released her dart, “I doubt she’ll talk about me in the future now.” Elysium gave her cousin a skeptical look, “Probably not Rhia, but I still don’t think pushing her into the mud was very mean. And her dress!” Rhiannon pouted, “Oh stop Ely. Why would you wear an all white dress to school anyway? Let’s go play on the swings.”
“ Toren, I need to be getting home. I’ll see you first thing Monday morning Rhia.” Ravi called as he waved good-bye. Toren smiled, “Thanks for driving the girls to school everyday Ravi. I really appreciate it.” “ It’s no trouble. Besides I love to spend time with my niece over there.”
From the side of the yard Rhiannon beamed, “Love you to Uncle Ravi. Bye Ely.” She heard her father tell her needed to get started on her homework, but Rhiannon didn’t want to do it. She hadn’t understood the assignment in class that day, and she’d been too scared to ask for help. Instead of doing as her father said, she skipped off and pretended she hadn’t heard him.
Toren was playing darts in the study when Tristen called from the doorway. “Toren, didn’t you tell Rhiannon to do her homework?” Toren nodded in reply. “Well, she’s outside looking through her telescope.” Toren lowered his dart and called out the nearby window, “Rhiannon Narelle, I know you heard me young lady. Don’t make me come out there.”
But in the end Toren did have to go outside to get her. “Rhiannon,” Toren’s tone was a dangerous warning that his eldest daughter was pushing her limits. “I told you half an hour ago to do your homework. You’ve been putting that paper off until the last minute and I won’t have you getting a bad grade dilly dallying. Upstairs now.” Rhiannon stomped her feet seemingly unaware of the thin ice she was treading on. She pointed angrily at her father and yelled, “NO!”
Five minutes later Rhiannon sniffed as she stared down at the notebook on her desk. Her father stood just behind her shoulder and was explaining the assignment again, and Rhiannon was making sure she paid very close attention. Her papa had taken her telescope away for two weeks and had locked it in the garage. And she couldn’t go to Ely’s house tomorrow either. She sniffed again, but Toren didn’t budge. Rhiannon needed to learn that even if she was a half-vampire she still had to learn to control that temper of hers.
Downstairs Tristen was getting set to put the twins down for the night. “You ready for a bath Xanthe? Glyn-Glyn’s got your sister in the kitchen so I guess that means you get yours in the bathroom tonight.” Xanthe yawned putting an even larger smile on Tristen’s face. She pulled her youngest close to her chest and moved up the stairs humming a gypsy lullaby as she went.
Jonathon found the infant he’d just found on his doorstep into the house and began running warm water into the kitchen sink. He’d found a simple note with the child which simply read, “ This child has been entrusted to your care. He’ll need a name.” Jonathon stared down at the baby in his arms. “I guess Master Cinaed sent you over here. Mrs. Williams did say there was an over-population of orphans. Maybe she had you sent over here. I don’t mind really. I just wish someone had asked first or told me in advance.”
Jonathon was resourceful enough to make the most out of a situation rather quickly. He managed to get a crib and the necessary items in his home by the next day and had made arrangements with his work schedule to allow him to care for the child that he decided to name Jason.
With a baby Jonathon’s social life was drastically cut in half. The medical facility had a nursery where Jason could stay during work hours, but since he had no family in the area or really any friends, Jonathan didn’t find much time to get out of the house. But after a month, he’d needed a break and had hired a sitter. He entered one of the town’s bookstores looking for information on child rearing as well as his usual interests when he heard a familiar voice behind his back.
“ Silvana, “ so good to see you again. “You’ve let your hair grow out. It’s nice.” He lightly brushed his hand against her cheek. He wasn’t chasing any voices away this time, and wasn’t sure how Silvana would react. He was quite happy when she didn’t pull or push him away. “ Yeah, Iruviel has been begging me for weeks to let me be her first guinea pig. I guess she did alright for her first try. And I felt a need for a change.”
Jonathon smiled, “No not a bad first try at all. “ Silvana blushed, “So what brings you here Jonathon? I haven’t seen you around in a while.” Jonathon quirked a smile, “Ah, well I’ve recently been given charge of taking care of a small child. Though I’m like a fish out of water so to speak.” “ Would you like some help?”
“ Thanks for coming over Silvana. I really appreciate it.” Silvana smiled warmly, “Don’t mention it. It’s the least I can do. So where is this little guy?”
“ Oh Jonathon, he’s adorable.” Silvana cooed as she scooped the small black haired child into her arms. “What’s his name?” Jonathon smiled proudly, “Jason. I named him Jason.” “ Jason. Well I don’t know what you were so worried about. He looks healthy as can be. And he’s about the same age as my Eddie. Maybe when they are a bit older we could get together and let them play together.” Jonathon smiled from ear to ear, “I’d like that.”
Over the next few months Jonathon called Silvana almost daily for advice on Jason and just to chat. Sometimes they talked about their shared heritage or family whatever came up. Silvana found Jonathon very easy to talk to and whenever the voices started pounding he was only a phone call away.
“ So you can’t make it for Eddie’s birthday?” Silvana couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed that Jonathon and Jason wouldn’t be able to come. But Cinaed’s health was getting worse leaving the majority of the workload to Jonathon. “ I suppose you’re right. Toren and my parents will be here. I’ll talk to you later J.”
The night of Eddie’s birthday found a very distracted Silvana staring up the staircase. “Would you relax Si?” Silvana pursed her lips, “But who knows what you did to my son’s room. Why did I let you talk me into letting you redecorate the upstairs?” “ Because, this house is a dungeon and doesn’t anyway represent you. Now chill out.”
“ You’ll love what I’ve done with the place. You’ll see.” Silvana turned back to the chess table. “Well if..hey put my pawn back on the board this instant you little cheat.”
“ Is mommy’s little boy read to be a big boy?” Silvana cooed as Tristen held him. Tristen smiled as her old friend seemed to be getting back to her usual self.
“ And Auntie Ruvie has fixed your room up, but she won’t let me see it, but she forgets mommy can read minds.” Iruviel grumbled from the living room, “I didn’t forget. And I thought you didn’t do that without asking first?” Tristen rolled her eyes, “Iruviel, I think you would account for a rare exception to that general rule.” “ Great. And please don’t have that kid start calling me Auntie Ruvie. It’s bad enough K’s kids are going to do it.”
At six o’clock everyone gathered around the cake to bring baby Eddie into toddlerhood. Silvana rocked him gently twice before leaning into the cake and helping him blow out the candles.
“ Well Eddie? What do you think of your new room?” In her arms Edward grinned from ear to ear. A soft smile touched Silvana’s lips, “You’re right. Auntie Ruvie did a great job.”
The next day Silvana had the day off from work, so she sat about playing games with Eddie. He seemed to like hearing his mommy sing the nursery rhymes best of all.
“ Wittle Star. Ow I uner what you are!” Eddie sang back happily. Silvana knew those adorable chubby cheeks and blue eyes looking up at her had come from Avri, but that nose and smile were certainly hers. The brown hair had proven to be quite a surprise, but not an unpleasant one. “Very good Eddie! Let’s try it again?”
Around lunchtime Silvana slowly stood up from the floor. Her head was starting to hurt again, which meant she was going to need to lie down for a while. “Mamma up!” Eddie cooed with a huge smile. Silvana slowly bent back down to scoop her son carefully into her arms, “Okay, but only for a minute Eddie. Mommy’s not feeling very well. She needs to call her good friend Jonathon to stop by for another visit.” She sighed heavily as she raised herself to an upright position. She felt guilty about having to call Jonathon to stop by so much just so that she could function. Sure, he said he didn’t mind doing it, but that didn’t make her feel any less guilty or frustrated with the situation.
The next thing Silvana was aware of was Eddie wrapping his arms tightly around her neck and burying his head into her shoulder. “Love you Mommy.” Silvana was taken by surprise when she felt that warm feeling flood through her entire body. Her son was a half-vampire and he had manifested early. A huge smile crossed Silvana’s face as she leaned her head against her son’s. “I love you too Eddie.” Eddie leaned back and beamed, “Play with me more Mommy. Pwease?” Well how could she say no to that?
A few nights later and Silvana answered the phone. “Hello?”
“ Hello to you too stranger. Oh so now you want me to come to your son’s birthday even though you found an excuse to miss mine. Well, I guess I can make it over for a few minutes.”
Silvana showed up around eight o’clock since she needed to wait for Iruviel to get home from work. Eddie had developed a bit of a cold and it wouldn’t be could for him to get out of the house right now. She stood in the background and watched as “father and son” blew out the candles.
After a quick change out of the shorts he’d grown into, Jason came to say a quick hello to Silvana before being put to sleep in his new toddler bed. When she looked at him Si noticed a striking resemblance to Eddie in those cheeks and eyes, but surely that was just a coincidence.
Attending birthday parties always seemed to come all at once. The next day Silvana arrived at her brother’s for the birthday of her nephew and two youngest nieces. Toren wrapped her into a bear hug and refused to let her go. “Toren!” “ Si, I’m glad you could make it.” “ I can see that.”
“ Aunt Silvana!” Rhiannon practically flung herself into her aunt’s arms. She hadn’t seen her aunt since she’d gotten hurt. Silvana smiled down at her niece. “So what’s up?” “ Look mommy showed me how to dance!” Silvana spun her niece around the yard grasping onto her mitten covered hands.
The two soon sat down near the porch after Silvana had grown tired from Rhiannon’s abundant energy. Honestly where did kids get all that energy they seemed to have? “So, what have you been up to little miss? Not getting into too much trouble I hope.” Rhiannon shifted uncomfortably on the dirt. “Not really.”
After a bit Tristen came out to lecture Rhiannon on the importance of getting her homework done again and that she was pushing her luck again. Rhiannon had picked up the dreaded assignment and had crept up to her room. She stayed in there for a long time even sitting at her desk in case her dad or mom walking in, but Rhiannon hadn’t even started on it yet. Schoolwork was getting harder and she didn’t much like anything that was hard or boring and homework was both hard and boring. Maybe no one would notice she hadn’t done it yet since they’d be too busy with other stuff?
But her mommy and daddy would notice she hadn’t done it once they started putting everyone to bed. But maybe they wouldn’t be so mad if she did her chores without being told. Rhiannon didn’t mind raking the leaves all that much really or taking out the garbage.
And maybe they’d be even less mad, if she played nicely with her baby brother and was quiet so the twins didn’t wake up from their nap before it was time.
And hugging her daddy would keep him from getting mad right? “I love you daddy.” Toren returned his daughter’s hug, “I love you to Rhia, but you still have to finish your homework or you don’t get any cake tonight. Nice try though. Now I’ve got to go get ready for the party and your homework had better be done by then.” Rhiannon pulled away shuffling her feet as her papa walked away. She didn’t want to do her homework! She started to get angry again as she thought about the kids laughing at her when she read her paper in front of the class. A soothing voice belonging to her grandpa drifted in from the living room, “Come on Rhia. I’ll help you get it done.”
Toren found Lir waiting for him with a huge grin as he stepped out of the master bathroom. “Cake!” Toren chuckled, “You’ve got a one track mind don’t you?” “ Cake!”
Lir stood in the middle of the living room a few minutes later wobbling on his feet. “Hey you watching sissy.” Rhiannon nodded from her place in the corner still worried sick about reading her paper the next day in school. Even if Glyn-Glyn had helped her she was still going to screw up and then everyone was going to laugh.
She didn’t cheer at all as the twins were brought to their cakes. She didn’t even really feel like eating cake right now. Her tummy was all in knots. She barely paid attention as her twin sisters blew out their candles.
Kalana was the only one of the children to resemble Tristen which amused Toren to no end. And she loved to play tickle monster with her daddy.
Xanthe seemed to be the quiet one of the bunch and fell asleep in Tristen’s arms soon after growing up. Tristen was going to miss the kids while she was gone, and with Rhiannon’s current attitude she almost wished she could postpone the trip, but that artifact needed to be retrieved. She’d put off leaving long enough.
Lir proved to be the most mischievous little devil in the house. He’d seen the dish soap and had been struck with inspiration. He’d crept sneakily out to the backyard and the smaller of the two fountains and dumped the soap into the water. Soon the fountain was overflowing with bubbles.
Lir laughed gleefully at his handy-work as he swung from the newest swing. He did get a little worried when his mother came outside and found the fountain.
“ Lir!!” Tristen yelled through fits of giggles, “what on earth did you do to this fountain young man?” “ Put soap in it.” Tristen laughed harder, “I know that. But..Just..go get ready for bed. And to think you haven’t even met Ryker yet.” As Lir headed back into the house he couldn’t help but wonder who Ryker was. He sounded fun!
After cleaning out as many of the soap suds from the fountain as she could Tristen returned to her room to do some last minute packing before bed. She was surprised when Rhiannon came in way past her bedtime. “Do you really have to go?” Tristen hugged her daughter tight. “Yes, Rhia. But don’t worry I’ll be fine. Your daddy wouldn’t let me go if he’d seen any bad visions.” “ But daddy doesn’t see everything.” Tristen smiled, “No, but your Auntie Ruvie’s coming with me and we’re also meeting a nice dark elf whose going to help me too. Don’t worry Rhia, I’ll be back before you know it. Now go to sleep okay?”
Rhiannon slipped into the bathroom instead as tears started to sting her eyes. She didn’t want her mom to go away. What if the bad people hurt her? Then the only way Rhia would ever be able to see her was maybe when…the gray mist appeared near the tub. “Go away! ”