“Brother and sister, together as friends, ready to face whatever life sends. Joy and laughter or tears and strife, holding hands tightly as we dance through life.”– Suzie Huitt
Forgotten Hollow Vatore Castle
The young man with the rugged good looks, further underlined by the unusual partially long, partially shaved hairstyle and the scar across his right eye was barely able to hide a smile, while he controlled his lips, the excited glistening in his eyes gave him away to the new arrival coming up the long, windy road to the castle on a foggy evening.
She was promising to grow into a stunning beauty one day, just like her mother, the young man’s sister.
“You again? They really let anybody into this town. There goes the neighborhood! Another mortal, yuck!” he young man yelled her direction, as neutral of tone as he could.
“Well, someone has got to keep you in line, you blood-sucking Bozo!” the young girl retorted unimpressed.
“Careful now, don’t forget who you are talking to. I am a very dangerous vampire and have killed others for less than that.” he threatened.
“Yeah, yeah, save the scary selling pitch for someone who cares. You wouldn’t dare touch me, because my grandpa happens to be the most powerful vampire and he would have you stuffed like an animal and display you as a warning! And that’s before my mom and dad get to you … and the rest of the funky bunch. And besides … you luuuuuuv me.”
Chuckling he let her give him a peck on the cheek, while wrapping his arms around her.
“You’re lucky you’re right about that, you little brat or creeping around dark Forgotten Hollow all alone would not become your health well. You always had balls the size of Volkswagens, definitely from my side of the family!”
This was just their usual banter, they were uncle and niece, but also somehow best friends and confidants. Both stuck in between worlds and sometimes nobody else would understand their problems, only each other.
“Sooooooo …. how did the talk go?” she immediately asked as he released her.
“What talk? There was a lot of talking since we last met. You know your grandfather LOVES to ramble on about …”
“CAECAE! The girl! Allie. Don’t tell me you still haven’t talked to her! I swear I will!”
“Oh, that. No, I have.”
“And nothing. I thought up a really cool speech, totally heartfelt and all that sappy crap, but didn’t get to deliver it. She wasn’t alone when I got there.”
“Oh no, that baby daddy again?! He’s getting on my nerves and I don’t even know the man!”
“Not even him. The other baby daddy. She has two kids, from two different men. This time it was the other.”
“Oh jeeze Louise! Are you kidding me?! That’s whom you pick to shed your ‘too-cool-for-love’ bit for?! Sounds like a total hussy!”
“I didn’t choose anything. It happened. We talked about that. Believe me, I wouldn’t and probably never will again. Whatever it takes. Love’s not for me. Long story short, I tried to talk to her but she chose HIM over me. Again. I am done, Viv. Say what you will, DONE!”
“I believe it! You deserve better than that! Poor, sweet CaeCae.”
She hugged him again. It was exceedingly rare for Caelan to show any sort of emotion, about anything. She had always been one of the dwindling tiny circle of those who ever got to witness any emotion other than anger from him.
Once they separated she could sense he was done with that topic and she respected his wish. Ever since she was little she had always known when to push and when best to let go with him, which was one of the reasons he even allowed her in.
“What about you? Any of the boys running down your door struck a chord with you yet?”
“Nope. And no boys dare. First of all, Cameron Mansion is a fortress, and secondly, the boys I get to meet are all from wealthy and famous families too, so I am nothing special. You should see some of the girls at school, they literally must get up at 3 AM or something to get all that makeup and styling right. I am just not that type. Soooo .. I kinda don’t rank so high with those boys and don’t even make the radar. There is one who is nice .. but dad and he already had a run in about him flirting with me, like last year. Bit iffy.”
“Ah, the gay Italian kid from next door?”
“Heyyyy, Matteo isn’t gay!”
“If you say so.”
“I know so! HE was flirting with ME! If he were gay, why would he, duh?!”
“Maybe he hasn’t realized it yet. Or maybe so you could be his beard, duh!”
“You’re delusional. How do you even know Matteo?!”
“I come for visits. He was at your birthday, constantly checking out Benny’s ass. That one likes his own kind better, trust me.”
“You’re nuts. And even if, I like Matteo, he is sweet. And a gentleman. And has the softest voice.” Vivien blushed.
Grinning, Caelan was about to tease her when something else caught his attention.
“Hey, isn’t that your lil brother over there with Riordan?”
“Holy shit – it is!” Vivien ran towards them, Blake spotted her, pulled away from Riordan’s hand and ran into his sister’s arms.
While Vivien tried to calm down her very excited little brother, Riordan joined Caelan.
“Found him wandering the streets here. Poor kid, Forgotten Hollow is a tough place for an 8 year old mortal to get lost in. He’ll probably need therapy after this.” Riordan told his cousin.
“What are you doing here, Blakey?!” Vivien asked, worried.
“Looking for you!”
“But why!? You are supposed to be with your mom!”
“I wanted to! But nobody picked me up from playing at the park as was agreed on, so I walked home and nobody was there. I have no key, so I waited and waited, then went over to uncle Phillip’s house and nobody answered there either. So I found a bus to Forgotten Hollow. Man, this place is creepy, Viv!”
“Only initially. It’s actually pretty cool here. Why didn’t you call me?!”
“Stupid step-dad Cole has my phone because I was homesick and wanted to text dad at breakfast …”
“Okay, well, you’ll stay with me now. Maybe they didn’t realize the time … still unforgivable in my book! Pretty sure dad would agree!”
“I don’t know, maybe Cole forgot to get me because I am not his real son. Mom would never, but she is always busy with Celeste now. I am scared your mom will be the same way when she had the new baby … then I have no mom left.”
“Nah, not my mom. She would never, hell or high water, you’ll always have her. And dad. And me. But this is ridiculous! That was dangerous, how dare they forget you?! I am gonna go talk to them! They’ll get a piece of my mind, it’ll teach them to remember my brother from now on! You stay here!”
“No way! I am going where you go, Viv!”
“Fine. Let me just tell everybody where we’re going, so they won’t worry.”
Vivien did, after some arguments her stubborn head won, but Caleb insisted on them taking a taxi.
Willow Creek Collins Residence
Vivien couldn’t help but shake a bad gut feeling as they walked up to the Collins’ door, Blake’s mother’s new last name. The lights were on, which was a promising sign. Vivien knocked and rang the doorbell at the same time.
Eventually someone opened, Blake’s uncle Phillip, spitting image of his sister, Blake’s mother, but unlike his usual smile and sunny disposition, he looked miserable.
“Thank god there you are! Thanks for bringing him back, Vivien. Come inside. We have to talk.” he said, his voice deep and serious, his eyes swollen and reddened.
Despite her young age – maybe it was her being 50% vampire that heightened her senses – Vivien’s initial bad gut feeling only deepened, she could smell the stinging scent of alcohol on him, but not the casual kind from the bottle, the kind they use in hospitals. Vivien was alarmed.
“Maybe we should call my dad?” she suggested, her voice shakier than she hoped.
“I already have. He is on the next flight out.” Blake’s uncle Phillip confirmed, frowning.
Vivien swallowed hard, looking down at her little brother, who held her hand just a little tighter, where it almost became painful. Even 8 year old Blake could sense that something was terribly wrong.