“S-she said she would be h-eere,” Astra said quietly. “She pro-mmised..”
“She’ll be here,” Charlotte said softly. “You know Ade never goes back on her promises. In the meantime, is there anything I could help you with?”
She shook her head. “She was checking my homework over. I need it for tomorrow.”
Charlotte bit her lip. She hoped Adeline hadn’t forgotten about her promise to Astra. The girl was frail. She didn’t need her own family to disappoint her. “Go and get some rest. I’ll make sure she brings your homework to your room in the morning.”
“No,” She mumbled. “I’m going to wait right here for her.”
Training with Altiere was running over time no doubt. “Training.” Is that what they were really doing? Why was Altiere so forceful with Adeline’s lessons but simply ignored Charlotte? Charlotte didn’t mind of course, she hated Altiere. That smug bastard only cared about purebred vampires, and there were only two in Moobnlight falls, him and Adeline. Charlotte was a halfbreed, so her presence was glossed over. Altiere had even suggested to Alistair that Charlotte be moved to a regular school. There was nothing more he could teach her. School. With other kids? Charlotte was terrifed. She had known other vampires, sure, but that was different.
Charlotte was awoken by footsteps. “Hmm?” She wiped her eyes. She hadn’t even realized she fell asleep.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you,” Adeline said quietly. “Astra is here for her homework?” Charlotte nodded. “She did well. She got them all right. I’m sorry she had to wait so long.” Adeline rummaged through her bag for the paper. “She should feel more confident in herself. She’s very smart.”
“What took you so long?” Charlotte asked.
“You know that I can’t talk about my lessons,” Adeline said slowly.
“I just want to make sure that there isn’t anything fishy going on,” Charlotte said. “Like, you know, he’s a little too attached to you.”
“It isn’t like that.” She shook her head. “He is our father too, Charlotte. Daddy wasn’t lying. Altiere’s genes were inside of daady that’s how he had vampire children.”
“I know,” Charlotte mumbled. “He’s not a good influence. Whatever he’s teaching you, you don’t need. You don’t need him.”
“Theres things I still don’t understand,” She explained. “Until I know, I cannot quit.”
“What did your father and I say about staying out late?” Declan asked, coming into the room. “We got you that car to make it easier for you to come and go from lessons. But, it doesn’t give you freedom to come and go as you please.”
“Lessons ran over time,” Adeline said simply.
“Dad, say something ot her, this is getting ridiculous, he’s getting out of control with these lessons!” Charlotte exclaimed.
“He is the only one like me in this world,” Adeline said quietly. “You cannot ask me to stop seeing him.”
“Do you idolize him or something?” Charlotte asked angrily.
Declan held up his hand to silence the girls. “Enough. Charlotte, I know you hate sleeping when the rest of us do, but maybe you can go and do something? I’m sure theres something in this house that needs to get done.”
“Sure go ahead, baby her.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “Why can’t she ever do any wrong in your eyes? You finally start to discipline her, but I have to leave? It’s because you’re going to tell her to be careful and let her keep doing what she’s doing! You’re not strict enough with her, but you hold a tight leash on me! I wish dad was here more often because he would do something!”
“Charlotte!” Declan boomed. “Let me handle this. Go to your room. I’m the parent here, not you. Understand?””
“Yeah, whatever,” She mumbled. “I see why my cousin Al hates you so much.”
“Charlotte,” Adeline reached for her arm. “I know that you are angry, but please do not take it out on dad. He’s done nothing wrong.”
“He’s done everything wrong!” Charlotte fumed. “You’re in over your head with Altiere and you won’t see reson. Something bad will happen, you usually feel things like this, why can’t you feel it now? He’s not a good person.”
“He will not hurt us,” Adeline said wholeheartedly. “He won’t. I know that for a fact.”
Declan rubbed his temple. “I’m going ot have to have a word with Alistair. This is getting out of hand. Adeline, maybe your sister is right. Maybe you should shorten your lessons to twice a week instead of every week day.” Altiere had been clear with Alistair and Declan from the very beginning. He needed a vampire heir. The guardians had been silent on this, so they let the lessons keep happening. They just wanted what was best for their daughter, and if Altiere could tell Adeline how to control her powers so she didn’t get hurt, they’d be eternally greatful. Declan ust hoped that his daughter knew when to quit it before Altiere asked her to do something she didn’t want to do.
“You look deep in thought.” Declan jumped at the sound of his husband’s voice.
“I’m stressed. This whole dad to vampire teens thing is rough,” Declan admitted.
“I’m sorry,” Alistair apologized. “I hoped I wouldn’t be out this much.”
“You’re the keeper of magic,” Declan said. “Duty calls. To think that would have been me if you didn’t show up.”
“You’re not missing much.” Alistair rubbed his temple. “I’m enjoying training the new students and all, but there are none that I’d pass the torch to so readily.”
“Does your dad still stop by sessions?” Declan asked.
Alistair nodded. “He was at the town meeting the other day. Well, exclusive town meeting. It was just the prominent mages. Some of them still hate that the postition is in the Nair family, and others hate that I’m so young. I mean, I was young when I took the position.”
“And you haven’t aged a bit.” Declan smirked.
Alistair hit his arm. “Thanks to my fancy potions, you haven’t either.”
“I’m not dying until you do,” Declan said firmly. “The minute you die is the minute I’ll plunge a knife in my heart.”
“I’d want you to stay and protect the girls,” Alistair said. “But I still love you for saying that.”
Declan slinked his arm over Alistair’s shoulder. “Speaking of the girls…”
“What now? Did Millie’s teacher call again?” Alistair sighed. Four girls will two male parents? Not the easiest thing to do. Especially when two of them were vampires.
“Millie and Astra are fine, it’s Charlotte and Adeline. Adeline got in not too long before you did,” Declan said.
“Let me guess, Charlotte was furious?” Alistair asked.
“Well yeah,” Declan said. “And rightfully so. Ade is spenind a lot of time training with Altiere. We can use your alliance withthe guardians to get her away from him. When she turns eighteen he’s going to want more from her. He might ask her to move in to keep the studying happening, and what if interblood vampire marrying is a thing and he wants to marry his daughter or something? I don’t like this.”
“I didn’t like it from the beginning,” Alistair mumbled. “There won’t be any marriage. At least I hope not. If that creep wants to marry my daughter then he’s going to have to go through me. She”s got his blood, it’s unnatural. I do know for a fact though that he wants her to take out Damian or something. Don’t worry, my father is watching them closely and there’s still…” Alistair peeked over his shoulder. “Patrick.”
Declan nodded. “Hearing that makes me feel so much at ease, but I still want something done.”
“Don’t worry, something will be done. I’m on it already. Just give me some time. Our daughter’s safety is of utmost importance, it’s just hard to breath with so many responsibilities. And now, it’s official. Alistair is going back home for good.”
“He hates me,” Declan said. “Charlotte didn’t forget to point that out, rather rudely.”
“I’ll talk to her about it. Her temper is a problem. She needs to keep her opinions to herself sometimes. But, Alistair strongly dislikes you. Not hate.”
“Well, whatever it is…” Declan rolled his eyes. “It’s obvious. Still, the house will feel a bit lonely without him here.”
“He’s promised to visit,” Alistair said. “But, I am going to miss that kid. Like crazy. Us three are the only guys in the house. His help was immense with the girls.”
“He’s an adult now,” Declan said. “He wants to find himself.”
“And he has every right to.” Alistair nodded. “But doesn’t make goodbye any easier.”
Declan kissed the top of his husband’s head. “They never are, my dear. But that’s why I’m here.”
“What do you think?” Millie asked. “We move the chair over to the left a little bit and then I flash a big smile. Boom. Bam. The crowd goes wild. They’re going to love me!”
“Fashi-on shows dont exisst,” Astra said quietly.
“Not here,” Millie said. “But there are other places that they do!” She ran over to the aforementioned chair and motioned to her sister. “You be the audience. I’m going to practice.”
“No,” Astra said qquietly.
“What do you mean no?” Millie asked. “You’re my sister, you’re supposed to help me!”
“i…” Astra looked down. “I want to play with my dollies instead. Don’t be mad.”
“I’ll be right back!” Millie dashed out of the room. ”m not wasting a good outfit on playing dolls!” When Millie returned, she picked up the two dolls off of the floor. “I’ll play with you.” Millie was patient and kind. Astra was difficult to work with. She stayed to herself most of them time, the only person allowed in her inner circle was Millie. She loved everyone in the house but there was nothing like a twin.
“Thank you,” Astra mumbled. “Yo-u looke-d good in that shirt.”
“You really think so?” She asked happily. “Thanks! And look, you’re talking good today!”
Astra smiled and nodded happily. “I’m practicing.”
“Not even a stutter, that’s awesome!” She patted her sister on the back. “In no time you’ll speak just like me. Then, we can go to Starlight Shores and be models there.”
“Mee too?” Astra asked. “No thank you.”
“I need my twin,” Millie whined. “We’re a package deal.”
“You never cook, whats the occasion?” Declan asked.
“No occasion,” Alistair muttered. “Just felt like cooking.”
“You never feel like cooking,” Declan said. “Thats a load of crap. You’re trying to get your mind off of something.”
“Nope, can’t a guy want to cook for his family once and awhile?” Alistair asked angrily.
“Of course he can, theoretically,” Declan agreed. “But I know that’s not what you’re doing.” He pointed to the oven. “Check that thing, it smells terrible.”
“Crap!” He cursed under his breath. “I burnt it. Look what you did, you distracted me.”
“Something tells me you were distracted the entire time,” Declan sighed.
Alistair ignored Declan and headed to the sink. “Now I have to wash this. The work never ends, does it?”
Declan came up from behind him and embraced his husband. “It’s fine. I know you can do it. Whatever it is.”
“I miss him,” Alistair whispered. “It’s weird not having him around. He would tag along with me whenever I had to do anything for my job. But now, it’s so empty and the stress is getting ot me because there’s no one there to relieve it.”
“Well,” Declan mumbled. “I know you don’t want me there, but maybe, Sienna could go, or one of the girls?” Declan kissed Alistirs shoulder. “Charlotte is getting antsy with the idea of going to regular school anyway. Maybe this could do her some good. Get her mind off her sister?”
“Declan,” Alistair muttered. “You’re a genius, that’s a great idea.”
Declan squeezed him tighter. “I know. When you’re home and stressed, you know where to find me, love. In the bedroom.”
“Seriously?” Alistair chuckled. “That was a corny line.”
Declan pulled away. “Got you to smile though, didn’t I?”
“This is ridiculous,” Charlotte mumbled. “I hate this, Zander.”
“Is that why you invited me along?” The young vampire smirked. “To complain to.”
“No!” Charlotte said quickly. “To sense the guy. My dad told me to meet up eith one of his apprentices today. A guy named Silas or something?”
“What exactly is this for?” Zander asked.
“Home school,” She muttered. “Altiere doesn’t want to tech me anymore. It’s all about Adeline now.”
“You can’t come to school with me?” Zander asked. “It’s completely safe.”
“I don’t want to,” Charlotte answered. “I have to pretend to like more people.”
Zander rolled his eyes. “Green guy to your left walking down the stairs. Might be your guy. He’s definitely a witch. Thougj, I don’t see how homeschooling with a witch is going to be a good idea.”
“I dunno, but anything is better than hanging with Altiere, that’s for sure.”
“Nice to meet you Charlotte,” Silas said and took a seat on the floor. He didn’t even bother to look at her. “You must be Zander. Mr. Gray said you would be here.”
“I’m always here punk,” Zander nearly growled.
“Shut up, Zander.” Charlotte rolled her eyes. “You’re my tutor or something?”
“Hmm?” SIlas looked up. “Kind of. I’m going to help go over whatever notes your dad teaches. He wants you at the magic lessons too.”
“Even if I can’t control magic?” She asked.
“That’s every reason to,” He said. “Learn about us. It’s in your blood too isn’t it? Maybe you could use it.”
“That’d be interesting, indeed,” Zander said. “It’d be a one up over Altiere thats for sure.”
“Him and his obsession for my sister, it’s creepy, and I hate him,” She muttered.
“Forget about all of that,” SIlas said, still scribbling in his note pad. “You hould not concern yourself with such exclusionists. Theres more than just vampires in Moonlight Falls. You can’t live a happy life if you just ignore the rest of us.”
“Broaden your horizons.” Zander grinned.
“I guess,” Charlotte mumbled. “It couldn’t hurt.”
“Hello.” All eyes turned to the creator of the voice. “Do not looka t me like that.”
Silence fell over the group. “Ade, you’re not with Altiere?” Charlotte asked. “Your lessons don’t end for at least another hour.”
“You should be happy,” Adeline muttered. “That’s what you want.”
“Don’t be like that.” Charlotte shut her eyes. “Altiere is using you.”
“I know,” She shrugged. “I’m not an idiot. But he has knowledge that I need, so like I said before, until I know the truth, I can’t leave.”
“Hello,” The green haired boy piped up. “I’m Silas.”
“Nice to meet you Silas.” She nodded her head. “I’m Adeline. I’ll be on my way now, I just needed to get Zander for something. Altiere said he needed to speak to him.”
Pushing off the wall, Zander gave the groupa slight wave. “Looks like someone is trying to get favor with my family. Sucks being important.”
“Does it?” Charlotte mumbled as she watched the two leave. Silas watched the girl worldlessly before turning his attention baack to his notebook.