“There are no safe choices. Only other choices.”― Libba Bray
Forgotten Hollow Castello Vatore
Caleb Vatore looked up, upon realizing the visitor was his great-grandson Connor Cameron, he flipped the book he had been studying shut and put it back into its vacancy on the large bookshelf, before turning to greet the young Vampire.
“Connor, child. Tense posture, serious facial expression, my my my … this isn’t a social call, is it? Sure, hope you are not here to pick another fight with your great-uncle. As bad as I felt about your black eye and busted lip, it was a piece of cake compared to the abuse Caelan took from your grandmother. Scarlett has a well-hidden temper. Seeing her that angry was disconcerting to put it mildly, even to me. Especially since her mother sides with her, usually. As I always say, heavy is the head that wears the crown …”
“No Great-Gramps, I am not here for more drama, trust me, anything but that. Even though I will admit, after the initial pain wore off, Keira doting on me as if I were on death’s door was … enjoyable. Maybe I should go for a repeat. Joking aside now, I am here with a request.”
“Oh, is that so, another request? I suppose nobody likes to come here just for social calls anymore, but only when they want something. Very well, let’s have it.”
“Remember when I came to you about turning Keira some months ago, back when we still lived in San Myshuno?”
“Of course, I remember. My memory is infallible. Pray, you don’ think changing living quarters changes my mind. The answer is and will remain ‘no’. I am sorry Connor, I do understand why you would wish this, but the only way I can assure peace between the mortals and our kind is by keeping a balance. It’s a tedious subject, but I have to limit our numbers. If I allow you to turn your lover, how can I turn down other requests without being accused of picking favorites, simply because you are family, and they are not? As I told you, I might consider the subject if her grandfather were to bring it before me but knowing how many issues Riordan himself had with being what we are when he was a young man, I doubt he ever would approach me about turning his grandchild. I cannot play favoritism to you. Things like that taken too lightly have been the downfall of many a great leader.”
“Riordan is family too, he’s your nephew, how is him requesting it any different from me asking?”
“Riordan is also a Vampire Council member, making him one of the Elders. We Elders have special rules, because we carry the weight of the Vampire World on our shoulders. And he has never asked for any turns, the only one ever in his family was his son Colton. Nobody would bat an eye on it.”
“Okay, well, whatever. I am not here to try and change your mind about that anymore anyway. I realized that is pointless. I am here with another request. One that will work perfectly with your balancing act.”
“Oh? Let’s have it then.”
“WHAT?! Pray my hearing must be failing me, for you simply CANNOT have said what I just heard.”
“You heard me right. I KNOW you can do it; I know you have done it several times before. Do it to me. Make me mortal. That way we all get what we want.”
“Surely, you must be jesting! You came all this way to pull my leg, boy? Has to be, you would not dare bring such insolence before me with even a shadow of sincerity!”
“Why is that insolence? It is MY life, you just got through lecturing me on how too many Vampires could cause an imbalance, you KNOW there are Vampire babies still being born, while not enough of us die … so … this IS a feasible solution.”
“Connor, are your parents all right with this non-sense? I’d think not!”
“With all due respect to you and them, but I am 21 years old, Great-Grandpa. I am a prodigy, an early high school and college graduate, both with honors, I am a doctor, a surgeon, the youngest ever at my level, I save lives of mortals, I bring new ones of them into this world, I pay my own bills, I am engaged to a beautiful woman, I don’t need mommy and daddy to allow this. I don’t have to ask. I know they want me to be happy, and this would make me happy. Ergo, they may not like the idea, but I have no doubt they would support it.”
“Connor, I do not think you grasp the true weight of what you are asking here. Vampirism isn’t a hat, you can put on or take off. If I were to do this – hypothetically speaking here – the chances that you could be turned into a Vampire again if you find you hate being a mortal, suffering all their ailments, facing death in only a short 80 years or so, are slim. There is a very high failure rate of re-turns. Usually, they die within the first few hours.”
“Great-Grandpa, I do NOT want to be un-turned to be re-turned. I want to be a mortal. I have ALWAYS wanted to be a mortal. I have zero interest in all this Vampire stuff, I learned what was mandatory and not an iota more, cos I simply do not enjoy it, I do not care, being this has caused me more issues than it has benefited me. What really are the benefits anyway, except eternal life? Tell me, for I don’t see it! All I ever saw was the things it kept me from doing. I want to enjoy meals, taste different flavors, not my only choices be blood or plasma fruit, I want to feel the sun on my skin without the shield layer we have to have to withstand it, I want to tan, I want to know what I would look like when I am older, when life has left the traces of experience on my face. I am a scientist at heart, a medical doctor by trade, so I want to see the evolution a person goes through, not perpetually be stuck here. I wanted to be a football player. I am damn good at it. But because I am this, everyone decided I am only good because I am super-human, dismissing all my skills, my hard work and talent – even worse – some fearful parents had me kicked off the football team in high school. Because of that, I didn’t even stand a chance to get into the college football team. My biggest dream – GONE – because of Vampirism! For me, it’s not the sacrifice you may think it is. I want to quit existing and start LIVING! Death one day would be a relief. THESE are the bane of my existence!”
Connor had talked himself into a rage, and now pointed to his exposed fangs, before realizing he should probably not be so disrespectful to the Grand Leader of the Vampires.
Surprisingly, Caleb didn’t reprimand him, but sighed, while giving the young man a moment to calm back down, before he nodded.
“Impressive plea, indeed. I will say you have thought your arguments through thoroughly. But you honestly suggest losing your fangs and Vampiric spark would increase the quality of your existence?”
“I know it would! With all my heart, because the only other thing I ever wanted is Keira. I do NOT want to watch her grow old and die one day. I want to either have her for eternity or die along with her. I don’t want to have to spend a fortune on elixirs so I can have meals with her for the sake of normalcy. I want to be a real partner to her, one day a real husband, raising a family the way it should be. I don’t want our future son or daughter to come home crying like I have because the world doesn’t measure us with the same values as the mortals. The acceptance you work so hard on keeping balanced only goes so far. You may not see it, tucked away here at the Castle among your own kind, but I have lived among mortals all my life. I am telling you, there is a great divide. And if I were to choose, I would choose mortality. I do NOT want an eternity of this, knowing one day it would be without the woman I love more than anything.”
“All right, kid. You made some sound arguments here. Give me some time. I want to do my due diligence before I make a decision. I will let you know what I decided in a fortnight.”
“Thank you, Great-Grandpa!” Connor exclaimed relieved, hugging Caleb, who returned the sign of affection.
When they separated his face became stern.
“Connor, I need you to understand that I didn’t agree yet. All I said is I will look into it.”
“I know. I heard you. But that is more than you gave me last time. Last time you didn’t even hear me. For someone who values proper behavior and manners as much as you do, that was very rude. This time you listened and actually heard me. That makes a big difference to me. Even if the answer is no.”
Caleb raised his eyebrows briefly, then nodded again.
“You are right. Thank you for calling me out. You are right, I WAS rude and unjust to you. Sometimes I forget that every living thing is flawed, everyone has shortcomings, even me, no matter how much I strive to be just and neutral. You have shown me a side I never realized you had, a very mature side, especially for your young years. I am very impressed by you, Connor.”
“Well, you’re pretty awesome yourself, when you are not the typical stubborn old grandparent.” Connor smirked and winked.
“Remove your insolent behind from my study now, child!” Caleb roared chuckling, pointing at the door, while also winking at Connor.
“Bye Great-Grandpa.” Connor turned and headed for the door, but stopped when Caleb called for him.
The young Vampire turned to the old leader.
“Be sure to stop and say hi to your Great-Grandmother. She was very upset with me last time, not only about how things happened, but also that you didn’t go see her.”
“Already had coffee with her and Aunt Rhiannon.”
Newcrest The Elysium (Home to Chase, Hailey, Colton, Maddie, their three toddlers and a new puppy) Several hours later ...
Chase, Hailey, Colton and Maddie stared expectantly at their surprise visitor.
“Thank you for receiving me on such short notice. I have a few questions for the four of you. It’s about Connor and Keira … requiring your thoughts and feelings about something.” Caleb said.
“Okay, we’re all ears …” Chase told him.
“Maybe someone could put the toddlers and maybe even the puppy down for a nap upstairs. They are undoubtedly adorable and a joy but would probably be disruptive and a distraction. What I came here to discuss, requires all of your full attention and concentration, as I am looking for honest answers and a good evaluation of a rather peculiar situation. Let us all have a seat and allow me to elaborate …” Caleb requested politely, even though everyone present knew this was not up for discussion, so Maddie, Hailey and Colton immediately collected the toddlers and the puppy and rushed them upstairs, while Chase kept his grandfather company until their return.
Newcrest Connor & Keira's home Exactly fourteen days after Connor's visit at Castello Vatore ...
Keira entered, hanging up her purse and tossing her house keys in a bowl by the door, yelling
“Babe, I am home with more tales about the asshole I work for! You would not believe what he said to me today – in front of a customer too and … oh!”
She had walked into their living room and now noticed Connor wasn’t alone.
“Oh, Caleb, sorry, I didn’t realize you were here. I’ll leave you two to it.” Keira said and turned to leave, well aware that Vampire business always excluded mortals. Like her.
“Keira, please stay. This concerns you as well. I came to call on you both. To catch you up, and Connor can fill you in on the details, but your fiancé came to me with a proposition a fortnight ago, I promised him I would do my research. I have concluded that and now I am here with my decision, which actually is a choice. For both of you. It’s not going to be an easy one, and I would like both of you to do your own due diligence now, research, ask questions, talk amongst yourselves, such things. Connor, you came to me to be unturned, become a mortal. I have spoken to your parents, grandparents, yours too, Keira and received basically a consensus. Every single one of your adult family members wholly supports any decision you two will make, which was honestly very surprising to me. So, here is my offer now. Option one: I will grant Connor’s wish to un-turn him, and he will become a mortal. Or, option two: I will grant your original request and authorize you to turn Keira instead, making both of you Vampires, but you would have to take on her training, which isn’t easy, you should ask your father about this, or hers, for both have been through it with your respective mothers. Then, naturally, the third option would be to leave everything as is. Your choice, either choice is irrevocable. You have 14 days to give me your answer. Good luck, kids, and make sure you are very certain about your choice, for it will be life-changing to both of you and it will be permanent.”
With that, Caleb disappeared leaving behind two young lovers with their mouths agape and much to discuss…
3 thoughts on “Chapter 424) The Choice”
Given your desire to limit vampires, I wasn’t terribly shocked by Connor’s request to be unturned. He did come up with convincing arguments. What I wonder is if Keira knew he had done this. However, I’m really happy that Caleb took him seriously and did his homework by talking to all involved. I’m not surprised they said that if he was happy they’d support whatever decision was made. I have to think if he spoke to Riordan, which surely he did, that he would be the one to say not to take turning Keira off the table, given what he went through.
So now they decide. I think it’s going to be a hard decision for both of them. I don’t Keira that well, but she clearly loves Connor and I think it would be hard for her to ask him to grow old and die. Ugh…..
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You are correct, Riordan lost Ana and almost his mind back when, so he most likely was the one to put turning Keira back on the table. Overall, Riordan is a very quiet right hand to Caleb, so whenever he does speak up, Caleb knows to listen. And he did.
The decision is hard, and two weeks don’t seem like a lot of time for such a life-altering decision. I frankly wouldn’t know how I would vote if I were confronted with it. Oh, wait …. 🙂
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