“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
Connor inhaled deeply, then exhaled, mostly just to calm his nerves before knocking.
Soon the door was opened, and Lexie slipped out, kissed him quickly, adjusted his collar and tie a bit, before pulling him inside the house, down the hallway, from there into the living room.
“Mom, dad, this is Connor.” Lexie proclaimed proudly.
“Aww, look at you! What a handsome, tall and strong young man, isn’t he, John?” Liz Carrington said, which seemed almost laughable. While Connor was not a short man by any stretch, Lexie’s father towered over him and everyone else. He had to be well over 7 feet.
“Indeed, a statuesque young lad for sure, but the long hair surprises. Didn’t my daughter tell me that you are in medicine?” John Carrington remarked, his eyebrows pulled up.
“Yes Sir, I am a trauma surgeon at the moment, also working triage at Willow Creek Memorial when I can.”
The look Judge John Carrington, Lexie’s father, gave him was everything but encouraging.
“Impressive, but pardon me for being so blunt, you don’t look like a doctor, young man. I can see your appeal to the female population, but professionally you are not very confidence-inspiring. Not only do you look too young to have graduated anything but pre-med school, back in my days, doctors, policemen, lawyers and such had to look the part. Forgive me for saying this, but your Sulani surfer-dude appearance doesn’t instill a sick and wounded with much hope in your skillset. Imagine for a second how it might look if I as a judge were to go into a courtroom with long hair, maybe some face tattoos as well? Unthinkable. Some positions just require a more conservative appearance and demeanor.” Lexie’s father lectured.
Those very moments of their initial meeting had set the pace for the rest of dinner. Judge Carrington was stern and opinionated, his wife Liz was the quiet type, Lexie’s sister Courtney barely said a word either and their younger brother Jeremy was a typical teen and more concerned with finding covert ways to use his cell phone under the table than to pay any attention.
Connor was tense the entire time, wondering what he was doing here.
While Carrington Senior was dominating the conversation, all Connor could think of was how Lexie would react were he ever to reveal his deepest darkest secret to her. He had a hard time imagining how that talk would go, presumably not his way, and even if she were to eventually come to terms with it, Connor just couldn’t see her father or mother being even remotely okay with a potential future son-in-law with fangs and an appetite for human blood, not to mention any potential grandkids that could result from such a union, with the 50:50 chance of being ‘different’. Maybe it was silly to think about marriage and kids this early in a relationship, but wasn’t that where most serious relationships ultimately were headed? Was their relationship serious? If not, what was he doing here, wasting everybody’s time meeting her parents?
Connor had no doubt in his mind that Lexie loved him. She didn’t find out about his famous parents until they had already been dating for about two months. She was from a wealthier background herself, so most definitely not a gold-digger, and she was serious about him. But would that be enough to deal with all the hurdles that came with loving a vampire in a mortal world?
Maybe he should have told her months ago, however not only had his head not been in the right place, still mourning losing Keira the way he had, but Connor’s default had always been to hide his vampirism. It wasn’t even that he disliked what he was, what he despised was how it had made him an outcast in high school, by taking away his dream of becoming a professional football player, all because of some concerned parents of mortal students who had demanded him be kicked off the team and banned from various extracurricular activities ‘for the safety of the other students’. A lesson learned the hard way that society was still not woke enough to coexist with other species, and that honesty wasn’t always the best policy if it came to something like vampires. At the hospital, only his immediate superiors knew, none of his colleagues did. Including Lexie. Not even after months of dating and intimacy.
While vampire fangs weren’t retractable, they were unobtrusive enough to be easily hidden, some vampires used snap-in tooth overlays to hide them completely, some went as far to file them down while relying on artificial blood for sustenance, others just played it off as a mild flaw, or knew ways to smile and kiss in ways to hide them, very skilled ones used their powers of compulsion to fool others in not being able to notice the fangs, just as there were ways to hide or explain away the lack of body heat, there were even apps for download to any Smartphone that could mimic heartbeats to fool mortals. And with the latest breakthrough, any vampires with the exception of very fresh turns could eat and taste food again. Being practically undetectable, hiding in plain sight, always using the latest fashions, science discoveries and technologies had always been the vampires’ key to success for centuries now. Only a few truly confident vampires lived their lives out and proud. Usually, they were celebrities or other forms of VIPs and viewed as sort of walking, talking novelties making the vampirism part of their images or gimmicks.
When the meet-the-parents’ dinner finally concluded, Lexie walked Connor out to his car.
“Well, sorry this was such a disaster. I tried.” Connor apologized.
“I am sorry too; dad was in rare form today. I should have warned you but was afraid you wouldn’t want to do this if I had. My dad is very complicated to anyone outside the family, it’s mostly a show he puts on to weed out bad ones.”
“I think I landed on the weeded-out pile. I’m compost in his book.” Connor said, dead-serious, but Lexie giggled, shaking her head.
“No, you didn’t and no, you aren’t. Trust me, I know my dad. I know he comes on very strong, but he has a good heart, I swear. He knows I love you. And he loves me, so he’s not gonna argue with me about you. And he also knows I don’t do duds. You’re a good one. They all saw it, including dad.”
“Lexie, I didn’t see it. The minute he first laid eyes on me I was in the crosshairs, he got out the red marker and I swear he’s still circling things he hates about me through the window watching us out here.”
“Connor, we’ll have to agree to disagree. Trust me, my 23 years of experience with him say that my dad likes you, a lot. He just really likes to test and micro-analyze outsiders who get close to this family. Partially because of his job as a judge, but he is very protective of us girls. I promise you; you made a good impression. Really good. My mom adores you. I adore you. Which man would risk trouble with two females under the same roof, huh? Right, so kiss me.”
They kissed and Connor could feel she would have rather taken him back inside and up to her room. When they separated, with a deep sigh she told him
“I gotta go back inside and help with the dishes. Call me later?”
The moment the car door shut, Connor leaned back into the driver seat and relaxed for the first time in hours.
Brindleton Bay Wright Residence
“Oh, my goodness, look at her! What a beautiful young woman. Pretty and perfect like a painting!”
Keira blushed slightly when Josh’s mother showered her with compliments, after a tight hug.
“Thank you, Mrs. Wright. You are too kind.” she said humbly.
“Not at all, just honest. And please, call me Marsha. This is my husband, Robert, he goes by Bob. We’re not very formal people. Obviously Josh’s sister won’t be here, since she is still on her honeymoon. Let’s go sit down, so the food won’t get cold!”
Keira was pulled with, a gaze back at a smiling Josh showed him winking.
The dinner was pleasant. Keira hadn’t laughed this much in months.
When after the dinner, coffee and cake and some more visiting Josh walked her to her car, he gave her a strange look.
“When will you let me closer, beautiful maiden? I proverbially bared all for you, showed you my soft underbelly, you have now seen my embarrassing childhood photos and heard the terrible stories about me straight from my parents. Yet, not more than a peck so far. You are a tough audience, Miss Vatore.”
Keira felt bad. He was right. Josh had turned out to be extremely patient, spending most of his time with her when he wasn’t traveling, which he did a lot, and which was the reason he lived with his parents after the apartment he used to have had been broken into repeatedly during his absences. He deserved more than a hand to hold and a peck on the cheek. Much more.
Never having been accused of being shy, she leaned forward and kissed him, long and hard, wrapping her arms around his neck pulling him closer yet. It took him by surprise, but he overcame that quickly, pressing her against his body and Keira could feel he wanted her. A lot. That felt good. So good.
“You could spend the night … my parents wouldn’t bat an eyelash. We’re adults … I have shirts you can wear and extra toothbrushes …” he whispered into her ear, his voice huskier than before.
“You know what, Josh? I would like that. Take me to your room!”
After parking her dad’s BMW in front of her parents’ home, Keira walked up to the front door as if on clouds. As awkward as the walk of shame was, luckily her parents weren’t downstairs to greet her. Probably at the park with Jasper or over at Connor’s parents’ place. Fine by her.
Humming a tune that had been playing on the radio during the 20-minute drive from Brindleton Bay, Keira entered her room – then felt like she had run into a brick wall.
“Connor!?” she exclaimed, totally surprised, to find him sitting on a pouf by the window.
“Your mom let me in. Said she, Colton and Jasper were going over to my parents and that it was okay to wait in here, considering we spent a fair amount of time in each other’s rooms growing up.”
“Ah, right. Okay.” Keira mumbled, while thinking ‘WTF mom?!’
“Were you with him?” Connor asked, his voice quiet.
Keira averted her face, didn’t answer, didn’t have to. She blushed so deeply; the answer was obvious.
She saw Connor nod in her peripheral vision.
“Got it. Okay, well, just brought by some stuff I thought you might want. If not, just throw it out. I don’t need it back.” he pointed casually at a few boxes and larger frames next to him.
Connor got up, in an awkward moment he was very close to her, until Keira realized he wanted her to step aside since she was blocking the door. She just couldn’t look at him, for reasons unbeknownst to her she felt as if he had caught her cheating. Wordless, she stepped aside.
After the door closed, Keira remembered his words and the boxes, so she went to look at it, only to find all her old paintings, sketches and drawings, from teenager days to college and after. Everything of hers that she had left in the house they once shared. He hadn’t burned anything like he had threatened he would. He had saved it! Every nic nac, notebook, decoration, even old makeup, every little thing she had left behind, everything was here. Every last one. A wave of emotions washed over Keira.
She ran after him, looking over the banister of the stairwell she could see him petting the Vatore family dog ‘Ghost’ by the front door, so she ran down the stairs.
Luckily Connor had always loved dogs, unable to walk past a friendly one without petting them, which now had kept him around long enough for her to catch up with him.
“Connor!” she called out to him from the last few steps, still running, wishing she had learned to master vampire speed already as her running felt like slow-motion to her now.
He looked up at her as she cleared the last step.
“Connor …” her tone was filled of grateful relief as she just ran to him, flinging herself into his arms.
Stiffly at first, he eventually loosely wrapped his arms around her. It was awkward, but Keira couldn’t care less.
“Thank you. THANK YOU!” Keira said, feeling elated. So, he did care after all.
“I gotta go.” he said with a croaky voice, trying to pull away, but Keira only held him tighter.
“No. Not yet. Please.”
“Keira, this is wrong. We both moved on. This is … not okay.”
He gently but determined plucked her arms off himself, but didn’t immediately run out as she had feared.
“You’re welcome.” he said sincerely.
“It means so much to me that you didn’t burn all that or threw it away. Those items are memories and important to me.”
“Thank you also for the job. I got the call on my way home this morning. You are looking at the latest employee of the San Myshuno Times, I start on Monday. If I don’t screw this up, it’s gonna be a huge weight off my mind and my resumé will finally look the part. Thank you, Connor. I really feel like I need to do something nice for you. Anything you need. Anytime. Seriously.”
“I’ll keep that in mind. Oh, and … congrats on … your Josh situation.”
The way he said it made Keira feel naked. Connor knew she had slept with Josh. It humbled her, almost humiliated her, paralyzing her so all she could do was watch him leave.
Leaning against the front door from inside, eyes closed, Keira wondered why her life was so complicated then said out loud to herself.
“Because of ME, that’s why. I did all that. Man, if I had a rewind button.”
A knock on the door made her jump and even squeak a little for surprise, but then hope took over and she tore open the front door, not even peeking out of the glass windows around the door, fully expecting to find Connor – along with her happy ending.
It wasn’t him. Nor a happy ending.
It was Rohan and Esmée’s daughter Aryelle, visiting her mother in Windenburg from Del Sol Valley and with her mother at work all day had gotten bored, so she had taken the bus to Newcrest to see Chase and his family.
“They don’t live here anymore. I’ll take you over.” Keira told her resigned.
Once she delivered Aryelle to Chase and Hailey, who immediately doted on the girl and called Ezzy so she wouldn’t worry, Keira used the moment to run up to Connor’s room.
Outside his door, debating whether to knock or just enter, she decided he had been very polite, so she should be too. She knocked.
“Yeah?” came his voice from the inside.
Wishing herself luck, Keira entered and shut the door behind her.
“Keira?” Connor looked surprised.
“Don’t freak out, I come in peace. Aryelle Sharma ended up at my house looking for you and your parents. Took the bus over from Windenburg when she got bored visiting her workaholic mom. So, I walked her over here.”
“Are my parents helping her?” Connor went into protector mode.
“No, Connor, I left her tied outside your front door like a dog outside a shop. What do you think?” Keira couldn’t help saying.
He smiled, if only briefly.
“Fair enough. And why are you in my room?” he asked.
‘Wondering that myself, real good question to which I have no good answer …’ Keira thought, but out loud she said
“To thank you again, for the job and my artwork. I cannot begin to describe how much that means to me. I also wanted to say sorry about … Josh.”
“Keira … Josh is none of my business. Just like Lexie isn’t yours. And you already thanked me, once was enough. I didn’t do it for gratitude but because we have so much history, you needed help and I could help. Just wait and see how you even like that job before you thank me too much. If it ends up being like your last one, you may hate me again.”
“I NEVER hated you Connor. It’s YOU who hates me and I’d give anything to change that again.”
“I can’t hate you, Keira, trust me, I tried. I just love you too much.”
Keira was rendered speechless and felt like the entire world around her had just floated away.
Was she hearing things now or had he really said that?! Evidently her innermost thoughts showed on her face, as Connor now shrugged and explained.
“Don’t look at me like that, I know you knew, Keira. I don’t see why we should bullshit each other here, pretending stuff. Love or hate was never the problem between us, and it isn’t now. But it doesn’t change anything, Keira. Not after everything that happened. We both have moved on and …”
Connor didn’t get any further because Keira had flung herself at him, sealed his lips with a kiss. He tried pushing her off, but she held on for dear life, renewing the kiss over and over, not letting him turn away, his attempts to stop her grew more and more half-hearted, then suddenly changed into the opposite.
He was kissing her back now, hard, demanding, passionate, making Keira’s knees buckle from the sensation of him pulling away from her lips to kiss that spot on her neck, the one he knew so very well.
She moaned ever so slightly and didn’t even realize she was undoing the button and zipper of his jeans, then greedily pulled his shirt over his head, while he was untying her top then slid her skirt down to her ankles, kissing his way back upwards the entire length of her, causing her to make sounds she never heard before. Within seconds they were both undressed on his bed, she atop him, the making out had reached another level and she let out a satisfied scream when he thrust into her, until he covered her mouth with his hand, then pulled her down to seal her exclamations of lust and joy with his lips. The passion filling the entire room was sizzling and palpable.
She could see relief, warmth and passion in his eyes when he opened them, they got lost in each other’s gaze, then suddenly he tensed up, stiffened, stopped, flipped them over with one smooth move, nearly jumping into a standing position next to the bed, standing there, looking absolutely horrified.
“What the fuck am I doing?! Holy shit what is wrong with me?! Goddammit!” Connor ranted, slapping his hands against his forehead.
“I am so sorry, Keira …” he muttered, grabbed his clothing scattered across the floor, then with it in hand ran out into the hallway as if the devil was after him.
Completely shocked, Keira remained, unable and unwilling to move, somehow hoping he would return. When a reasonable amount of time had passed and he hadn’t, she crawled off his bed, picked up her own clothing, sniffling and ashamed of herself, she got dressed. She managed to sneak out of the house undetected.
She gave him almost 24 hours to recover from the incident, before she went over to talk to him, but was told by Chase that he had gone on an impromptu couple’s vacation with Lexie.
8 thoughts on “Chapter 447) Eclipse of Hearts”
I think my comments got deleted because of expletives lol
I found them in the naughty bin and approved them anyway. LOL 😉
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Awww damn. Connor’s not ready to forgive her yet but I don’t see it working out with Lexie. The judge will investigate him and likely figure out he’s a vampire. Not sure if Lexie would care, but …. I don’t think Connor will ever love her the way he loves Kiera. And I’m glad Kiera has someone new that seems to make her a little bit happier, but same goes for her, not the same level of love.
A step in the right direction, but Connor may do something crazy like propose to Lexie. Hope not … but.
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Lexie is a great girl with lots of potential, Josh is a great guy with lots of potential, Connor cares about Lexie, Keira cares about Josh, but … BUT.
The feelings between Connor and Keira are still there, passion undeniable, but the trust is gone.
I don’t think there are any proposals in anyone’s future, their relationship is still way too new and Connor isn’t the type.
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The trust is indeed gone … she pretty much broke Connor. I just thought Connor may be desperate enough to get Keira out of his system that he might do something like propose….and no, he’s not the type.
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Most might, but he’s always been too level headed. The only time he isn’t is when Keira is directly involved.
Hailey and Chase would have words with him if he were to propose to a girl he’s only dated for some months. 🙂
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