A friend in need is one whom we need with us every time,
not just to help us out in sorting things
but just to feel that we have someone standing by our side.
Glimmerbrook Seraphina Latimer's home
Frowning, Blaine tried to match Caelan’s fast pace, up a small windy road, where a small home came into view.
“I still don’t see why we didn’t just port to right outside her front door. I enjoy skipping through nightly Glimmerbrook with you as much as the next guy … but seriously?!” he complained.
“It’s a courtesy thing, you wouldn’t understand, Cameron.”
“I didn’t say INTO her house and straight into her lap now, did I?! Just outside the fucking door ready to knock. And yeah, we wouldn’t want to be rude and port our asses up to someone’s front door to accuse them of murder. Not without a 5 minute walk through the fresh evening air first. Anything else would be outrageously rude, silly me.” Blaine grumbled.
With a grunt, Caelan knocked.
After only a few moments the door was opened by Caelan’s daughter Leeora, who also knew Blaine, so after the customary hugs and kisses on the cheek as well as the usual fist bump for her by Blaine, she let her father and him inside, while excitedly babbling about the usual children’s concerns and interests, before, in typical 7 year old girl fashion, announcing their arrival by yelling it up the stairs to her mother, who came into view shortly after, eyeing Blaine suspiciously.
“Now – this is a surprise if I have ever seen one. Never would I have expected you two to turn up together. How curious.” Seraphina stated, after sending her daughter upstairs to play, who obliged after some initial reluctance.
“I assume you two would not show up together for some friendly banter. What can I help you with?”
“Did you poison my bride?!” Caelan roared, making Blaine grimace as he turned to him.
“WHOA! Good job there, bozo! You lasted almost a whole minute without shitting the bed and deepthroating that foot in your mouth!” Blaine complained instantly while frowning at Caelan’s candor.
“Did you put him up to this?” Seraphina asked Blaine.
“What? Nice try to pass the buck to me, woman. Nah, this is between you and him right now, I am just here for moral support. His, not yours, just to be clear.” Blaine told her.
“Moral support, are you? You two hate each other, yet you are here to accuse me of something I suspect you have no proof for. I can’t help but feel like that bug was placed into his ear by YOU, Blaine, deliberately, and now you are here to watch me burn, to use a pun, just for your amusement, since you seem to be so fond of those.” Seraphina’s tone was still polite, but too pointy to be truly casual.
“I accused you of jackshit, lady! But yeah, yeah, you’re right, I think you had a hand in all this. You’re the only one with a sound reason to get rid of Ingrid, I am not buying that suicide spiel, this whole thing smells as fishy as the nether-regions of a mermaid hooker.” Blaine defended himself.
Caelan and Seraphina both were distracted for a moment by Blaine’s odd analogy, but then Seraphina turned her back to the men.
“Enough palaver! Answer my question!” Caelan demanded.
Seraphina turned back around to face them, first a brief glance at Blaine, then her eyes fixed on Caelan.
“Yes.” she said simply.
“Yes what?” he demanded.
“Yes, I killed her. Poisoned wine. Lily-of-the-valley, wolfsbane, digitalis, a few accelerators and enhancers so it would go quick and without any pain.” Seraphina said, as casual as you would admit to have eaten the last cookie.
Blaine gasped, while Caelan’s jaw clenched.
“Why?!” he growled.
“It may seem unkind, but it was the right thing to do. I had to do something. Somewhere everything went wrong, for everyone involved, including her. Turning her was a grave mistake. She would never have been truly happy, nor would you, and by extension, Leeora or I. She was a pretty little thing, but not fit to be a vampire, let alone the wife of a high ranking one, nor would she have ever been able to accept what you do for your father and Riordan, ultimately she would have either lost her mind or made a mockery out of your entire family, and – again – by extension, also of Leeora and the Spellcasters. I could not let that happen, so I did the only thing that could be done to fix it, for you, for your kind, for my kind, for the both of us and for our daughter.”
Blaine feared Caelan would kill Seraphina right there, but he never even flinched.
Suddenly, he unfroze and vanished into a dark cloud.
“Fuckin’ hell …!” Blaine protested, then ported outside, where he found no sign of the vampire heir.
Forgotten Hollow Vatore Castle
Blaine’s next stop was porting back to the castle, where he found Caelan in his room.
“Goddamn it dude! Thanks for leaving me standing there like a fucking dumbass holding my dick! All alone with a fucking witch who literally just admitted to murder after making pretty clear that I am her new shit-list topper! Bruh, WTF?! Ever heard of the concept of ‘no man left behind’? No? How about the prom motto then ‘leave with the one you came with’?! No? Nothing? Guess we found the reason why you’re such a dud with the ladyfolk! You are some shitty date, man!” he shouted at him.
Caelan said nothing, looking miserable, making Blaine sigh.
“We should tell your father. About all of this.” he said.
Caelan shook his head, resulting in an exasperated sigh by Blaine.
“And why the fuck not? I am not gonna let you kill her, you know that.” Blaine told him, carrying the very lop-sided conversation.
“As if YOU could stop me, even if you tried.” Caelan’s voice was a hoarse, but dangerous sounding whisper.
“I sure as fuck WILL try, Caelan!” Blaine told him sincerely.
“And how would you, weakling? By singing me into submission with your awful cat-in-heat sounds?! Save your energy, and relax. I won’t kill her. She is the mother of my daughter, I would never do anything to hurt Leeora. And Seraphina isn’t wrong. She made a solid point. That’s what got to me.”
“Beg your pardon?” the sound of Blaine’s voice matched the ‘WTH?!’ expression of his face.
“All my life I’ve loved blondes. Light blondes, dark blondes and everything in between …” Caelan stated, followed by a dramatic pause, which Blaine used to interject his two cents.
“I was never more glad to be a brunette than right this second. My rear opening clenched up tightly and firmly regardless, just in case this conversation goes even more South …” Blaine said dryly, but Caelan ignored him as he continued.
“I even liked dark-haired women, but always abhorred redheads. Thought them ugly. Until a certain once young and beautiful red-headed witch turned my head. and I hers … her beauty may be fading with her increasing age, my romantic feelings for her may have abandoned me, but I just realized that she and I are more alike than I ever thought possible. Somehow, she and I have significantly improved the relationship between vampires and witch-folk in this region more than it has been in hundreds of years, while both are still at war in other places outside my father’s jurisdiction. Seraphina would be a great strategic match for me. It would help father with his efforts. And it would be best for my daughter.”
“WHAT?! Did you hit your noggin porting back here?! Or am I on some vampire edition of ‘Punk’d‘ here?! Come on, mah dude. You are not about to fall to your knees and propose to someone who literally killed your bride out from underneath you. Ahem – hilarious pun, but unintended for once.”
“What if I were?” Caelan challenged calmly.
“You have GOT TO BE shitting me! That’s fucked up! I am DEFINITELY telling your father – and Riordan! You need a psychiatrist! Urgently!”
“Fucked up, Blaine? No. I am exactly as I should be. Finally, I am thinking as I should have been thinking and seeing what I should have been seeing, more clearly than ever. That’s my point exactly. I am not like you. I was never mortal. I do not think, feel or function like a mortal – and I never will. THIS right here is the true difference between a turned vampire and one born into this life. Both are vampires, but very different at the core. Listen, Blaine, not a word of this to anyone. Not yet. I need you to keep this, all of this, to yourself, at least until I can figure out what to do with that revelation. I need to think. Which is your clue to leave. Go.”
“Whoa whoa whoa – no, can’t do! I am 100% not leaving you to stew in this BS brew you are stirring here! Fine, so you are a different kind of vamp, no argument there. But what about the dead bride part?! Isn’t that exactly what your father, Riordan and you prosecute? You cannot sit on your ass about the truth and then run back into the arms of the murderous witch. That’s nonsensical by any standards!”
“Is it though? Seraphina did nothing wrong by our rules. Ingrid wasn’t one of us yet. Just a mortal. You know how many mortals die each day at the hands of a supernatural? Father and Riordan only prosecute the vampires and only those accused of heinous actions. Vampires kill mortals, that’s not a crime, it’s collateral damage sometimes. You would know, you were turned unintentionally, you might well have died. If anyone were to blame for Ingrid’s death, by extension, it would be me – in a very roundabout way.”
“Wait – so you are telling me to act like nothing happened, while you mull over getting back with your ex, the – and I quote – ‘strategically sound match’ – maybe even marry her, even though she admitted she killed a mortal you were gonna marry? Did that witch turn your head. Like cast some spell or shit? Does that work on vampires?!”
“No, it does not and no, she hasn’t. She merely opened my eyes, I have never seen more clearly than right now who and what I am and what she is – and what we could be together. It is time for me to shed the romantic ideas of marriage and think like my father, for the greater good of the vampire community. The witch-folk as allies would be a great advantage for us. Besides, I have eternity on my side, Seraphina will one day expire and I’d be free to choose anew. So yes, Blaine, acting like nothing happened is exactly what I am asking you to do, for now. This concerns only me, not you, you want to help, so show your allegiance. About high time for you to realize how we differ from mortals. You are still very much like a mortal, emotional, bound by some foolish conscience of what you were taught to believe to be right and true. I don’t suffer that affliction, I was born this way, taught our ways. There is a reason vampires have different rules than mortals, different laws and keep to themselves, here in the shadows. We are not mortals, and we are not like the mortals, nor are we ever going to be. Come to terms with that fact, Blaine, as it is part of your life too now.” Caelan made a dramatic pause, Blaine remained speechless, shaking his head, when Caelan continued.
“The truth is, Blaine, I realized something. A leopard cannot change their spots. I kill, my own kind, because my father and Riordan decide it’s the right thing. They choose who lives and who dies, because they believe it’s what needs to be done. Seraphina chose to kill because she thought it was what needed to be done. In other words, I am a lot more like her than Ingrid would ever have been. Seraphina was right, Ingrid would have suffered forever in this life. Now leave my room please. I have quite overdosed on your awful ways for today and I need to think in peace.”