“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds.– Saint Basil
A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”
Forgotten Hollow Vatore Castle
Bursting into Caleb’s study at Vatore castle while laughing loudly, Blaine suddenly halted, causing Chase to almost run into him, both instantly serious and quiet.
“Oh shit, didn’t know you were in here holding war council or something. Sorry about that, come on son …” Blaine said.
“No, Blaine, please stay. You too Chase. After all, you are part of the vampire council Blaine and you are my grandson Chase, so please approach. Maybe I could use a fresh take on a pesky problem that presented itself.” Caleb said calmly, while gesturing for them to enter.
“On that note, I will excuse myself then. My daughter has a recital at school today which I do not want to miss.” Riordan said, nodded at all before he vanished into the usual black cloud.
“Caleb, mah dude, whatcha got?” Blaine said casually, while he and Chase joined him.
“What I ‘got’ is passionate disdain for being called ‘dude’. I have learned to handle your collegial ways, but there have to be boundaries. I answer to a great many much more appropriate titles. And what I would like your and Chase’s input on, is our newest addition to the fold, Mr. Armand Grainger and his planned matrimony to my niece, Veronique Kyran.”
“What about it? Need Chase to be a flower girl? Bet he’d be adorable in pig tails.” Blaine cackled.
“Funny dad. You can be the flower girl at that freak show!” frowned Chase.
“Gentlemen! The problem apparent here is, that there will not be a wedding between Grainger and Veronique. Evidently are the two prospective lovebirds not very enamored with each other at all, and even less so with my idea of them tying the knot, which each of them made vehemently clear to me. However, during introductions between the potential bridal parties and families, Mr. Grainger has discovered someone he desires greatly and approached me wishing to make the introductions again with the new precursors.”
“HA – don’t tell me he wants the wicked witch of the vamps – hahahaha – did he fall in love with Lilith? If you say yes I will piss and shit myself laughing right here!”
“Me too!” agreed Chase.
“That is disgusting and no. My sister is already married, remember? No, Grainger has taken quite the liking to the niece of the originally intended bride. Veronique’s twin sister Valentina, as you both know, has been married to a mortal, Gordon Goth, for a few decades now and their union produced several mortal children, the oldest of which, Arabella, has stricken Mr. Grainger’s fancy. He has requested I make introductions again, but with her as the potential bride and frankly, I do not know whether to laugh or cry, let alone if to just dismiss it or try and see what her parents think about this. Since only the mother is a vampire, they are not part of my jurisdiction, so all I could do would be to politely ask. I would also ask that you limit your Lilith-bashing, Blaine, after all, she IS my sister, for better or worse.”
“Well, dad’s not wrong, grampa. She is a bitch on wheels, no matter how related you are to her and you have cursed her out a million times yourself.”
“Thank you, Chase. That may be true, but first of all, you of all people should understand that siblings just always know how to push your buttons, some siblings just never stop with that. Lilith is an acquired taste for certain, but she is the sister of the Vampire Grand Master Elder Regent, so she is due some level of respect, deserved or otherwise. Anyway, anything productive to add pertaining to the original problem or was the gripe it from you?”
“What more you need? I don’t see the problem here, grampa. He’s into younger chicks who do not bite off his head for everything he does and says or doesn’t. Everyone I know avoids Veronique best they can, me included. Arabella is nice, pretty decent looking, she obviously knows about vampires, so I can’t say I blame him.” said Chase, to which his father Blaine nodded, then added
“I second that. I totally get where the creepy dude is coming from. I wouldn’t fuck Veronique if it could save my dick from falling off, let alone put a ring on that for all eternity. She is very easy on the eye, but no amount of pretty can make up for her bitchiness. Arabella doesn’t need a bag over her head either, but is a hell of a lot nicer. And the girl’s good with kids, since she had to help raise her siblings. She’d definitely be better news to that little boy, Heath, than fire breathing Veronique. So I say, why the fuck not? Talk to them, they can’t do worse than say no and then Grainger will have to deal.”
“I hate to admit it, but Riordan said something along the same lines and I can’t help but think the same. Very well then, I’ll talk to Valentina about the potential match for her oldest. The only gripe that leaves me with is that her twin sister Veronique would still have no suitor, meaning their mother will be back to breathing down my neck about that all the blessed time.”
“Can’t you just pawn Veronique off to some other Vampire Regent, half way around the world? Gets her off your radar, her mother off your back, cos honestly, I think Lilith wouldn’t even care if Veronique tied the knot with a two-headed donkey, as long as she gets that ring on her talons, and I am sure other Regents have some benchwarmers for her to marry just to shut her up.”
“My dear Blaine, for both our sakes, I will ignore that comment.”
“I think it’s funny …” chuckled Chase.
“As the Grand Master Elder Vampire Regent here I MUST not find such notions funny. There is a time and place for everything, including humor and this isn’t one. Speaking of funny business, what did you two want anyway.”
“Dad was gonna show me your medieval pocket porn.” Chase blurted out, receiving a nudge from his father.
“Excuse me!? I own no such smut!”
“Sure you do. That handy dandy old tome I found the other day, the one with those contorted naked chicks and dudes.” Blaine insisted.
“You must be referring to the original print of the Book of Kamasutra, Blaine, very valuable. The art of love making. Operative term here being ‘art’. Yet, hardly anything a teenager needs to see.”
“Yeah, that one. And Chasey here is mature enough to look at your ancient mommy and daddy picture art. You got it on some shelf here or is it up on your nightstand to rock your Missus’ nights with your own interpretation of that ancient ‘art’?” Blaine smirked.
“Daaaad! Yuck! They are my grandparents! Eeew! Super-gross!” protested Chase.
“This conversation took a horrific turn for the worse. I will ignore your usual insolence, Blaine, but especially knowing who and how your parents are, my dear Chase, I resend your apparent disdain about the fact that your grandparents would still also be a regular couple with regular desires. Another applied life lesson about being a vampire, we do not ail the waxing and waning of desires as mortals do, which includes the physical romantic sort. One day YOU will be the grandparent and I’d like to see how you feel about such a reaction then. But to answer your question, Blaine, the book is on the shelf here in the study, where it belongs, even though I still do not fully endorse the idea of my 17 year old grandson leafing through it. Whatever for anyway?” Caleb said.
“I am almost 18, just a few more weeks! And I am not a little kid, granpa. I know all about sex and stuff!” Chase ranted.
“EEESH – This conversation is unsalvageable. Please do consider my age, Chase, in my youth nobody your age would have ever dared to even think such words around an older person of respect, let alone speak them aloud. How in the world did we arrive at this hair-raising topic anyway?” frowned Caleb.
“You are talking to Cameron men, Caleb, once they reach a certain age, every other thought we have has to do with nookie, it’s genetic. My son is almost an adult by all measures and has his juices flowing at top speed. Showing our girls a good time is kinda the Cameron men brand. I figured, while we’re here, might as well expand his horizon with that handy, dandy ancient smut book you got. Cos, why not, right?” Blaine shrugged off Caleb’s protest.
“Oh, no need to tell me about your gutter mind. I had the dubious displeasure to port into such moments more than once. Well, at least I know for sure my little girl is still happy with her choice.”
“OMG – no way! Grandpa, you actually SAW dad and mom …. like … doing it?” Chase stared at his grandfather, who shrugged, with the faintest smirk.
“Oh yes, I have, each time a surprise and shock anew. Maybe one day you will be a father to a little girl yourself, Chase and maybe then you will remember this and feel for me. Well gentlemen, this is where I bow out. Please don’t damage the book and no dog ears this time, Blaine, and I am not sure I have to mention this, but no highlighting either.” Caleb sighed.
“Oh, you’re still on about that one time … I am just not much of a reader and didn’t want to lose the page I was on. How was I to know that tome was valuable?” Blaine replied into the black cloud left in Caleb’s wake.
“Hey dad, you think the old Grainger is really gonna marry Arabella?” Chase wondered.
“I dunno, kid, but if you were him, whom would you want more after meeting her once?”
“Good point. Before I’d marry Veronique, I’d carve myself into a girl. Yikes.”
Several weeks of talks, introductions and negotiations later, the 20 year old prospective bride Arabella, mortal daughter of a vampire and a mortal had declined the proposal of marriage to a scary looking vampire of unknown age, which usually meant they were so old that they just quit counting at some point, who was also completely devoid of any level of charm or any other redeeming qualities. Arabella tried her best to keep as composed as possible, but could barely hide her shock and disgust about the idea and most certainly was not interested in the slightest.
Her parents categorically refused to push their child into something she didn’t want.
None of that was all that much out of the usual for the vampire community – which forever would straddle ancient ways and rites and the desire to conform to modernity – and normally wouldn’t have been worth mentioning, had it not been the precursor for things to come that would affect the Camerons directly.
Blaine, Scarlett, Chase and Caitlin were once more visiting at Vatore Castle, Cait had gone out to play with Annaleigh and Heath, when they burst into the conversation of the adults in the living room.
“Grandpa, Heath has been all alone for weeks, his dad left and never came back! Now all the food is gone, he is so hungry, his clothes are all dirty and he doesn’t want to go to school anymore! You have to fix that! NOW!” Cait demanded.
All eyes went to the sad little boy, who was clearly weakened, filthy and malnourished, frightened and worried. Instantly, the women present hurried to take care of the little boy.
“We have to help him! Do something! Uncle Cae …find him! And punish him for leaving his son all alone!” Caitlin insisted.
Caleb immediately ordered a search, including the Grainger’s home, which quickly produced what read like a desperate letter of the final sort.
“To Whomever may find this
Please take care of my boy. I wish I had to courage to see to his care in person, but I do not have any inner strength left.
Heath is a good kid, a bit frail, but that is not his fault. I have tried, but I am weak as well. The demons of my past keep haunting me, they are getting too loud to drown them out. I need to find my eternal peace and rid the world of me.
Please feel free to dissolve what is left of my earthly possessions to help pay for Heath’ upkeep.
Eternally gratefully yours,
Armand Heathcliff Grainger”
Initially, Heath was moved into one of the many rooms at Vatore Castle, while Caelan immediately went out to find his father. This was part of his job, he was an excellent tracker, one of the best all over the world, yet even weeks later, his tries had yielded not even a trace. Other Regents were informed and had their own scouts and trackers looking for Armand Grainger, to no avail.
The only deduction it left to be made was what didn’t exist anymore couldn’t be found, meaning Heath was now a full orphan, a little helpless vampire still depended on mortal food and the typical care an eleven year old boy needs. Vampire children didn’t transform until puberty, before then, they were just helpless little children. But at eleven years old, Heath knew full well what had happened and became depressed, barely wanted to eat, became even more withdrawn and quiet than before. That was never good for mortal children, but young vampires could start going down a very dark path in life if they started out that way, so alarmed, Caleb came to a conclusion, recruiting his daughter Scarlett’s and her family’s help.
Del Sol Valley Cameron Mansion
Caleb couldn’t help but smirk after dropping the boy off at the Cameron Mansion, when he pat a puzzled looking Blaine on the shoulder and told him
“Look at the bright side Blaine – you’ve been wanting another child. There you go, he may only be on temporary loan until I can figure out what to do with him long term, but for now you can get all your parenting out of your system, and you got to skip the whole pregnancy and dirty diaper bit until Scarlett decides to give in to you and give you another child of your own making. By then, hopefully, I have secured a permanent happy home for this unfortunate little man. Work your magic and show him how to be happy, cos by all means, the boy needs to learn that desperately.”