Newcrest Connor & Keira's Home
Throwing his head back, rubbing his temples, while releasing a frustrated groan, 21-year-old Connor frowned at Keira.
“We are so close to the deadline. Yet, we still are no closer to a decision than we were 2 weeks ago. Great-Grandpa’s gonna have a cow when he gets here and we have no answer for him, because for two weeks straight you and I have been going round and round in circles getting nowhere!” he growled.
“Well, it’s not MY fault! I decided. Just SOMEONE wants to be all stubborn about it.” Keira, the 21-year-old aspiring Gallerist with a top of the class college degree in Fine Arts pointed out.
“I am not stubborn, but logical. And I decided too! The decision is easy! I get unturned. The obvious choice. Except SOMEONE doesn’t want to accept that it is.” Connor argued back.
“Because it’s a dumb choice! I am so sick and tired of this topic, when the solution is clear as day! How could you want to do that to your parents? You think they want to see you die? Our moms got turned to be with our dads forever, so they wouldn’t have to go through that. DUH, Connor. Stupid idea!”
“I want to be a mortal! I hate the double standard. Nothing I am good at ever counts, because everyone always assumes it’s some secret Vampire power that just fell into my lap, when in reality I worked REALLY hard for it. YOU would know, YOU were always there. YOU saw what I went through.” he argued.
“Connor … I know you were frustrated about the damn high school football team thing, but that’s high school. Ages ago. It’s over and doesn’t matter anymore. Not like it would have been a guarantee that you would end up in the NFL or something, Vampire or not. It’s high school. It no longer matters, actually, it never really did, quit being so hung up on that nonsense!” Keira urged.
“Where do you think they sign pro players, huh? High school and college. That’s where! I never got the chance to even try out in college because of high school. But this isn’t just about that. I want to eat. I want to tan and feel the sun. All that.”
“Eat? Let me tell you how annoying it really is having to worry about what to cook and the cleanup and all that stuff several times a day EVERY day. Not to mention weight gain. No THANKS! I would kill not having to worry about that on top of everything else, especially when my asshole of a boss has been keeping me late again. So, my vote is STILL for ME getting turned and you staying exactly as you have always been. Your awesome, handsome, sexy self, Doctor Cameron. Oh, and as a doctor you should know tanning is overrated. Have you ever looked at me? My skin is bright white as the driven snow, I don’t tan, I turn into a lobster. Tanning is unhealthy anyway. Causes skin cancer. Oh, and let’s bring up the fact that Vampires don’t tire easily if at all. Heaven sent for people who want a career, like you and I do. Aaaaaaaand slam dunk, point Keira and the Vampire choice – WINS. BAM!”
“BAM nothing. Keira, I don’t know what you think my life is really like, but you think not having to worry about cooking, while sipping blood from a plastic bag like some creepy Sunkist flavor or better yet: that stinky plasma fruit – would be any better than cooking? I was BORN like this, and do you not recall how many times I misjudged things and ended up dire for a drink? You were there to get me, help out, but what if we both had been Vamps? I’d be dead by now. Like in EVERY sense of the meaning. So much for life eternal. There are still ways for us to bite the dust, especially really early on. Another point for NOT turning you. Too dangerous. I don’t need the worry or any injuries happening to you on my conscience.”
“No, you wouldn’t be dead, because I would have NEVER let that happen, I would still have been with you and since we both know I have always been an excellent planner, I would have had enough blood bags for both of us with me. Same applies to me getting turned. I will know how to avoid drama. I already know I need to work hard to build sun resistance. We grew up together, Connor, I was there for everything, including when you went through your changes after hitting puberty. I suddenly had to eat my meals alone, cos you couldn’t eat anymore, and you couldn’t be outside much. I remember. I was there. Not sure how that would be different from mortal me, cos my very mortal alabaster skin burns the minute a sun ray hits it. You don’t know the pain a really bad sunburn brings! Oh wait, again, you are a doctor. You SHOULD know. So, Dr. Cameron, how is that ANY different from being a Vamp?”
“ARGH! You can be SO frustrating, woman!”
“Straight back at you, MAN! I am not frustrating you, the fact that I do have the better arguments is, Connor. You are so stubborn; you just won’t acknowledge that I am right. If you pull your head out of your butt, we both know the right way to go is turning me. That is MY choice. I am sticking with it! You KNOW I do a lot of things for you, I went to that silly Batuu Theme Park with you, you nerd. But this, I won’t let you do. It’s a mistake. Either we are BOTH gonna be Vampires soon or nothing will change at all! And I want to hear the stories of how our dads did the turn for our moms again, that was sooooooo romantic. I want THAT and then some. So, take your notepad and let’s head over to our parents. Oh wait, you’re a doctor, you wouldn’t be able to read it afterwards anyway. I’ll take the notes for you. You better make this an event and EXTRA special, I am only getting turned once, so make it count. Put some effort to it! Otherwise, I will be a fresh Vampire and you will be freshly SINGLE! Don’t you think you can just make a meal of me and wham, bam, thank you Ma’am this!”
“So funny, Keira. First of all, my handwriting is good. I don’t need to write it down, I can recite both stories to you right now, down to the last detail, heard them so many times. And IF I were to turn you I would want it to be very special too. Also – YOU liked Batuu! You had a BALL! Don’t you lie now, I saw it, you nerded out more than I did! So don’t give me this sacrifice BS, you pretty little liar!”
“Well, maybe I just really got into it – FOR YOU! Fine, so maybe we both had fun, that’s all that matters. And it’s settled then. I’ll get the coffee and we wait for Caleb to come demanding his answer, while you recite our parents’ turn stories again. Ooooh, maybe we’ll do something like Blaine and Scarlett did! Can you imagine!? That would be HAWT! Anyway, you stay as you are and I will get turned! Case settled.”
“Keira … this is not a good idea! You do not know what drinking blood is like. In the beginning, after my transition first started, I craved it and was grossed out by it. It’s not something to get excited about like you do when we go to your favorite Italian restaurant.”
“I could have sworn you drank from me many times, as previously rehashed. I do know what it’s like. And you yourself told me that I tasted delicious. So, don’t lie. As for gross, I think we’re well past that. You smell like fresh blood after you fed. I still kiss you and snuggle with you. And I never minded. Also – you feeding from me didn’t even hurt, really. So no, I would NOT feel ONE BIT guilty drinking from a human.”
“Human? You mean mortal. I am human too. Thanks for NOT knowing. And you wonder why I hate being a Vampire. My own fiancée, who has known me since birth doesn’t even consider me a human being.”
“I misspoke. Keep your panties on, Connor. For heaven’s sake! You know better, I know your are human, come on now. We grew up like brother and sister, and by now I have pretty much seen every inch of you. I can confirm you are very human. Just misspoke. Okay?”
“Keira, baby, why are we even having this conversation still? You know how much I disliked being different all the time growing up. You do not want this.”
“Really? Growing up I was the ONLY mortal in a house full of Vampires. I DO know what being different feels like. You’d be different from your mom and dad and siblings and grandparents, most of your aunts and uncles … Connor, this is stupid. You’re trying to drive down the road the wrong way. You would be fitting in with the wrong people, people who don’t matter.”
“YOU matter! To me, you are all that matters.”
“Then act like it! I want THIS. I WANT to be like you! I want to be a VAMPIRE. I SHOULD have been born as one, I am a Vatore, one of the oldest Vampire bloodlines in existence today, but I wasn’t. I am the oddball out, a Vatore who isn’t one at all, don’t you see that? I hated being this growing up. I would have killed to be like you. And in case you forgot, high school sucked for me too. Just for different reasons. Still sucked though. I was always different from my parents, my grandparents. Damn, my grandpa loves me, and can barely look at me, cos I remind him of his first wife and how she died. Yet, nobody wants to turn me, no matter how I beg, cos Caleb froze turns for the time being. Yet, he was standing right there in our living room giving us the option and we spend the better part of two weeks to go back and forth about something that should be an obvious choice!? This isn’t hard, Connor. It is OBVIOUS!”
Connor was shocked by Keira’s outburst; she had inherited her grandfather Riordan’s always calm and quiet ways. And he realized she had a point. Riordan used to be all over his little granddaughter, who looked so much like him, until she got older. Suddenly, he found tons of excuses to not show up, yet never said why. Keira might be right about it being her mortality bringing back bad memories for Riordan.
Someone was at the door, Keira answered and returned with Blaine.
“What’s with the gloomy mood, kids, who died?” he wondered.
“NOBODY died and nobody is probably gonna die either, that’s the problem! All because of YOUR stubborn grandson, who is keeping me from getting a wish fulfilled that I have had since I was little! THIS close, Uncle Blaine, THIS close … but likely nothing, because of YOUR grandson! Oh, and while you are here and since you love grossing out people, tell him all the details again on how you got turned!” Keira snarled at him, then ran up the stairs.
Connor sighed, while Blaine whistled through his teeth.
“Damn, I am getting better and better at making chicks mad at me without even trying. This must have been a new record. All I wanted was to stop by say a quick hi, since I was in the area, instead I get a verbal spanking by your fiancée. Mind telling me what I did to screw you up so badly, sweet grandson o’mine?” Blaine was slightly amused.
“It’s nothing you did, it’s me. Keira and I, we kinda had a … well … I don’t know what you call this. We’re not fighting, but we’re not as we usually are either.” Connor proceeded to tell Blaine about the choice they were given by Caleb 2 weeks ago to the day today.
“Yeah, I know. Being married to Caleb’s daughter has its advantages, I hear a lot of things others may not. So, where do you two have the tires stuck on this?” Blaine wondered.
“At the very core. She wants to get turned, I want to get unturned. We can’t agree. Been chasing our tails for 2 weeks straight. She isn’t listening to my arguments. I feel she has this romanticized idea about life as a Vampire. So frustrating. Does my life sound like a romance novel to you?! NO! I have been treated like a lepper in high school through no fault of my own! I never did anything wrong, never hurt a soul!”
“I don’t know about you, kid, but my life is pretty great. Connor, high school only matters while you are attending. I barely remember ANYTHING about it anymore, and I attended a ton of different ones cos my parents were travelling performers. You hear me whining about it now? NO. The shitty part about immortality is watching mortal loved ones die. THAT is the ONLY regret. Which would be fixed if you went Keira’s way.”
“What? No, you don’t get it, Grandpa!”
“I don’t? Well, if Keira doesn’t ‘get it’ and now I don’t, maybe the problem isn’t us, but you. Let’s try me. You do remember that I used to be mortal, right? 40+ years of mortality before I was turned, to be exact. Very mortal actually, couple weeks ago was my second extra-birthday. The day I overdosed as a teen and almost bit the dust. Yeah. My poor parents. Poor Kai. Speaking of, all of them are gone. Which still doesn’t feel good. That’s mortality for ya. You never know when it’s someone’s time to check out for good. Look son, your dad Chase and I always had a special thing, I don’t know why, but that means you are also special to me. I already have two children and four grandkids whom I am super-close with, but who are mortal and whom I will lose one day. Blake wants no piece of this, but I have begged Caleb on my knees, as have Scarlett and Caelan to let one of us turn Vivien and Liam, but Caleb nays it because of her fame, too much exposure. So, I am going to lose the girl who once made me a daddy one day and I am hating everything about that. If my vote bears any weight here, it’s against you getting unturned. I know the mortal life and I know the Vampire life and I would choose Vampire every single time again. And while neither Chase nor Hailey would ever want to influence your decision, as a parent myself I will tell you, it would kill them. Just go into whatever you choose knowing that.”
“Really? They told Caleb they’d support any way I choose.” Connor told Blaine.
“So did I. So did Scarlett. And Chase and Hailey, and Colton and Maddie, and Caitlin, and Vivien … everyone did. And we mean it from the bottom of our hearts. But we don’t like it. Definitely don’t prefer it.” Blaine told him surprisingly serious.
“Grandpa, this is stupid. Why did you all tell Caleb you’d support me getting unturned then? Makes no sense? Just confusing as fuck to me.”
“Lemme de-confuse ya then. It’s a crazy little thing called love. Knowing that, it makes sense, and if one day you have a child, and subsequently a grandchild, you will understand that better than you’d like. We love you and want you to be happy. Even if it hurts us in the long run. That’s what love is sometimes, sacrifice. Not just for a lover, a spouse, but also for kids and grandkids.” Blaine explained.
“Wow, that almost sounds like what Keira said earlier. I don’t think I ever seen you this serious for so long.”
“I can be, if need be. Upside of being a Vamp, not a lot of things really faze me enough to be taken too seriously. But some are. This is. Not a laughing matter. If you need to hear it out loud, I do NOT want you to get unturned. Neither does your grandmother, or your parents, Connor. But if that’s what you choose cos you think it will bring you happiness, then we will all support your choice all the way.”
“Wow. I think I need to adjust my way of thinking here. With a different angle this time. Maybe you’re right, maybe I was a bit too laser-focused on the things I never liked growing up as a Vampire, while missing all the good stuff. I mean, Vampire or not, my childhood was amazing, I got to grow up with a best friend since birth, who will one day become my wife. She and I graduated high school early, we attended and graduated college together, we got our first house together. We’re gonna get a puppy together. My life is pretty amazing. I have the best parents. And grandparents. I am a blind idiot; I don’t want to hurt any of you. What was I thinking?” Connor was speaking, seemingly mostly to himself.
“Yeah, quit the sliming, kid. No harm done, you pulled your head out of your ass in due time. And I love you too, but you can quit the kissing of my ass, it’s getting raw back there and there is no inheritance coming your way for the ass-kissing anyway, on account of I don’t die. Nor do I want to. Yeah, that was just another big fat hint, I am fuckin’ subtle like that.” smirking, Blaine winked.
“Yeah, point taken. Okay, my head’s been fully removed from my rear end, thanks to you, and it’s on straight now. Lemme go talk to Keira. I think she’ll like my new choice. I think I am ready to commit. You are right, Grandpa. I am an idiot.”
“Nah … you’re still our little nerdy genius. Sometimes we just need a nudge to get the angle right. I am an excellent nudger. Here, come to grandpappy and let me tell you how to PROPERLY tell Keira that you changed your mind. Let’s get a little creative and have you two blow off some steam in the process. After the 2 weeks of drama you two have gone through, she deserves to have her world rocked a bit – in a GOOD way, as do you. Nothing like a good mattress tango to get that job done right. So, listen up and do exactly what I say, and she won’t remember anything about your arguments.” Blaine pat Connor on the shoulder, winking.
“Okay … I have a feeling even if I say no, you’d still not let it go and talk about sex with me, so let’s just get it over with, Grandpa.”
Later that day, when Caleb showed up, he was met by two flushed faces and disheveled hair, Keira slightly out of breath and very giggly.
Frowning, Caleb shook his head as he followed them into their living room.
“I feel like a decision was made here.”
“Oh yeah!” Keira burst out, followed by more giggles.
“We chose the option where Keira gets turned.” Connor told Caleb.
“Splendid. Yeah, I kinda already figured that would be the way this would go. Very well, I accept your choice, and would like you to be at the Castle first thing on Saturday so I can go over what it means for you to become her Master. Please do not attempt to turn her until I tell you to go ahead – AFTER the instructional sessions.”
“Excuse me – Wait what? Master?” Keira wasn’t giggly at all anymore.
“It’s a Vampire thing. Ancient BS. Ignore it. Purely proforma.” Connor dismissed her issue.
“But Master? Seriously?! I don’t have to call him that to his face, right?” Keira wondered.
“Only if you wanted to.” Connor snickered.
“Yeah, dream on, I definitely do NOT want to. And what would I be then?” Keira asked; Caleb answered this time.
“His Offspring. No, those are not actual titles, just references. Facts of life. Look at it this way, Blaine, that big mouth, still gets a huge kick out of calling my daughter his Master. I don’t mind that as much as him going around telling strangers that Scarlett gave birth to 6 kids fathered by her own Offspring. Immature. So no, nobody really uses those terms, in fact, I personally have been strongly discouraging the use ever since Blaine was turned many decades ago. To you it only means Connor is responsible for your training until I am convinced you are fully self-sufficient.”
“Self-sufficient? As in hunting for victims to drink from?”
Connor facepalmed himself, while Caleb was shaking his head, eyebrows drawn tight.
“No! Absolutely not! I know that there are many Vampire-related things mortals like you cannot be exposed to, but you grew up around Vampires and SHOULD know the important basics. None of those are secrets! You SHOULD know I strongly encourage consumption of plasma fruit and artificial blood alternatives. Feeding on mortals should be a very last resort only, in case of emergency and if there are no other options left and only if the mortal agrees. I also abhor it being referred to as hunting. We’re not animals, Keira, but a refined old creed, sort of a mutation of humankind, you know that too! But your immature reaction just now, THIS is the reason I limited turns and want those who embark in that journey to be fully aware of what’s ahead, for the one being turned and the one responsible. I am sick and tired of everyone getting turned willy-nilly, running rampart like rabid animals, then I am being held responsible for the collateral damage they cause unable to control their urges properly!” Caleb lectured as was his way.
“Awww, how disappointing. I already had my first victim picked out.” Keira pouted.
“Keira, that’s ignorant! You are not solving your problems with your boss by drinking from him. You’d be creating new ones!” Connor ranted, shaking his head, but this had piqued Caleb’s interest.
“Oh, I see. Well, Keira, I would like you at the castle first thing Saturday morning as well. I will take over YOUR instruction personally, Caelan or Riordan can train Connor. Originally, I was going to assign Riordan to teach you, but he is just too nice. I won’t be. I will be very clear and very tough with what I expect of you as a future new member of my coven. Feeding on people we have beef with as some sort of punishment or revenge is NOT acceptable behavior! On that note, as I mentioned, I accept your choice, do not turn her yet under no circumstances, and see you both on Saturday at the crack of dawn. Keep your weekend wide open, we will need plenty of time. Do not be tardy, please.”
“What just happened? Now I have to go to the castle and spend time with Caleb and his endless banter? Just to get turned?! All because I kinda daydreamed about sucking dry my misogynistic boss in a way he never expected? As if I really would! Oh gawd …Me and my big mouth again. Dang it! Dang this! Yikes!” Keira grumbled.
“Told ya. Being a Vampire ain’t easy, nor is becoming one these days. Get used to it. Occasionally he calls Vampire meetings and Town Halls and such, and we all have to show up and sit through his endless ramblings or there’s hell to pay. He’s even sent Caelan after some people who repeatedly didn’t show up. Trust me, Caelan’s angry mug is not something you want to find when answering the door.” Connor chuckled.
“I totally forgot about creepy Caleb and his penchant for lectures and rules. Almost makes me want to change my mind.” Keira frowned.
“Better do it quick. Knowing Great-Grandpa Caleb, he’s back at the castle by now, whipping out his homemade inks and quills and parchment papers and putting the decree authorizing your turn in writing. When that ink is dry, you are stuck with the choice.”
“I said ALMOST. This is still happening. I can deal with my chauvinistic pig of a boss and his ignorant and offensive verbal ejaculations; I can sit through one of Caleb’s ‘New Vampire Prep Sessions’ on one cheek! I will be just like you and like our parents. Soon. Unstoppable, Dr. Cameron.”
“You mean, Master Cameron?”
“No, I mean SCREW YOU, Connor!”
“Again? Damn, I need to remember to send my grandpa a thank you card for his tips. Hey, I am in.”
“DREAM ON! I didn’t mean it THAT literal. Especially not after that ‘master’ thing. Looks like your choice for the remainder of tonight will be your right or left hand then, cos I am going over to see my mom and yours, to discuss this. They will tell me what Caleb’s training is really like and how to ace it with him. And tell me their romantic turn stories again.” Keira sighed, eyes glazed over, then turned to head towards the door.
“Wait up, I am coming with. Same reason, I’ll have a chat with my dad and Colton. I mean, if Caleb sticks me with Riordan I have to shine, since I plan on marrying his granddaughter one day. And if he sticks me with Caelan … maybe I can have dad and Colton beg for mercy for me.”
“Nuh nuh nuh nuh – that’s MASTER to you!”
Keira charged at him but only ended up kicking a black cloud and Connor’s laughter dissipating. He had ported away, leaving her to walk the two houses down on her own where their respective parents lived with their younger siblings.
“Yeah, laugh it up, Dr. Douchy! I will learn all this extra-fast and then we’ll see who pulls Vampire jokes on the other! Be prepared for pay-back for your antics from our entire lives.”