“What’s wrong?” Zander asked from across the table. he peered at Millie. “You always lok so perpetually worried, and I’m the vampire here. What gives?”
“There’s a new guy coming today, and you guys are going to hate him. I don’t want anymore fighting, I’m tired of being the mediator.” Millie let out an exhausted breath.
“Charlotte,” Silas gently reprimanded. “Stop being so difficult. You’ll end up destroying your little sister and she means you no harm.”
“Silas, come on now.” Charlotte rolled her eyes. “She isn’t talking about me causing trouble.”
“Yes I am,” Millie said. “You terrified our visitor yesterday, all because of some stupid fight with Adeline.”
“She has every right ot fight with Adeline,” Zander defended. “Adeline is a menace. I get that she’s your sister, but see it from our perspective. We’re the vampires who have to deal with the brunt of the damage that she’s causing.”
“She hasn’t caused anything,” Silas said. “Lets look at this objectively. You’re angry at her for working with Altiere. We all know that he’s a bad guy, but Adeline hasn’t done anything wrong that we’d need to be on our guard.”
“Everyone!” Alistair called out. “We have a new student today. His name is Jeff. I expect you to treat him with the utmost respect, alright?”
“Uh..hi.” Jeff smiled awkwardly.
Zander scrunched up his nose in disgust. “He’s a human.”
“And?” Alistair asked. “I fail to see the problem.”
“He won’t be able to keep up with us,” Zander said. “He’s human.”
“You can barely keep up with me, and you’re a vampire,” Alistair said, earning a chorus of “oooh!”. “Enough from the peanut gallery. Lessons will go on as planned today. Jeff, take a seat next to Zander. For today, I’d just like you to listen and absorb what you hear. It’s going to all sound ridiculoud to you, I’m sure. But, try to be open minded. If you have questions, Millie is your best bet to ask. She’s the friendliest of the group.” He eyed Charlotte. “The others mean no harm, but-”
“Dad!” Charlotte whined. “I’m not untrustworthy or anything. He can totally come to me if he needs help.”
“You’re intimidting,” Silas said calmly. “My skin is green and Zander hates humans, so we can all see why Millie is the best choice.”
“Oh, whatever!” She rolled her eyes. “I hate you all.”
“So, in short, don’t attack a purebreed vampire head on. It’ll destroy Silas, Jeff, Millie and I completely. Zander and Charlotte, you guys have a chance, but you’d still be overpowered,” Alistair lectured.
“I can take on Adeline,” Charlotte said sharply.
“She’s your sister,” Jeff said. “Why would you want to? You should be backing each other up. You’d be much stronger together than apart.”
“I take it the Bennetts value family as much as the Grays?” Alistair smirked, impressed with the male.
“Well yeah, at the end of the day when things blow up in your face, who else do you have besides your family?” He asked.
“Spoken like a true human.” Zander rolled his eyes. “It’s not like that for us. Our families are all divided. This right here.” He motioned to the entire table. “This shouldn’t even be happening, do you think my family approves? No, I don’t give a damn about my traditionalist family.”
“You know your dad cares,” Alistair began.
“With all due respect, Mr. Gray. My dad is not you. I’d believe that if you were saying it to Charlotte or Millie. But, my dad only cares about the vampires.” He shrugged. “And, Charlotte isn’t wrong. If Adeline comes at her, is she just supposed to take it because it’s her sister?”
“I’m not saying that…” He stopped, swallowed and began to say his true opinion. “I’d never kill my own sister. Not for money or power, or anything. She’s your sister, for crying out loud.”
“You’re an idiot,” Charlotte said. “Your first mistake was coming here as a human. Your second mistake? Thinking that things here are run like the human worlds. It isn’t. We fight, get over it.”
Once again, Millie looked terrified. “Just stop it! Jeff is right, family comes first. I’m sick and tired of your elitist attitude. You complain about Adeline tearing this family apart, but you’re the one doing it! You act like you’re better than her, and cry when she does something better than you. Stop making it a competition! Put your everything into what you do and the results will show it, stop doing things just to outdo her!” Millie let out a large breath and laid her head flat on the table.
Charlotte stared at her sister, shocked that she’d stand up to he rlike that, and mortified that she’d make such accusations. “You’re the younger sister. You have abosultely no idea about anything in life because daddy spoils you! You don’t know what I go through on a daily basis being the odd on out, you’re so god damn-”
“Enough!” Alistair boomed. “I will not have this petty fighting in my class! Millie, I want a five page report on which potions work in a defensive situation.”
“Dad, you know that she’s wrong-” Millie began.
“Millie, don’t. Charlotte, you’re not off the hook. Class is dismissed, You stay afterwards. I want to have a word with you. Jeff, you stay as well. Zander, Silas, you’re both being paired up for the group project I was talking about last week. It can be about anything, just do it together. Show me how a vampire and a mage work together.” He waved the group off.
“Yes daddy?” Charlotte asked sweetly.
“Cut the act, I’m in no mood.” Alistair rubbed his head. “I’ve been alive much longer than you have. I’ve experienced a lot of things and seen twice as much. I don’t ever want to see another outburst like that again. You should be embarassed.”
“Embarassed? Millie was the one being a total bitch,” Charlotte spat.
“No,” Alistair said. “She was right. You are putting too much emphasis on breaking this family apart. We need to work together now more than ever. There are people who need our guidance. Do you know that your father’s dad was killed because of Damian? We need to focus on usurping him! He is tearing families apart. You’re adding on to it by harping on this little feud with Adeline. Enough! I don’t want to hear any more about it. I raised you two to put your family first.”
“She is working with Altiere! He’s a terrible person! He’s only nice to her because he wants her to be his heir or something weird like that! Dad, why the hell can’t you see that? Why the hell would you let her go with him!”
“I did what I thought was best for her. I don’t know how to help Adeline so her powers are bearable. Altiere does, and you’re damn sure that I’m not going to let my daughter be in pain. I am watching him and monitoring the situation, but you need to give your sister credit. She knows whats right and wrong and she won’t screw over her family.”
“Are you sure about that?” Charlotte asked angrily. “Because I think that she’d put Altiere above you any day. I mean, what does she care right? You weren’t even here for the beginning of our lives anyway. I think that Declan is more of a dad to me than you’ll ever be!”
“She just said that…” Jeff mumbled under his breath. He wasn’t eavesdropping or anything, but Charlotte was pretty loud. How the hell could she be so ungrateful? Jeff had seen nothing but kindness and patience from Alistair. Yet, here Charlotte was hitting him where she knew it hurt him the most.
“She gets like that when she’s angry,” Zander said. “Mr. Gray knows that she doesn’t really mean it.”
“That’s no excuse,” Jeff said. He thought back to the child he had in another life. If he was spoken to that way, he’d be absolutely abhorred. “She should be respectful to her father. It seems like he’s given up a lot for her.”
“He has,” Zander agreed. “But theres a lot with the Grays that you don’t know. So, I’d probably stay out of it if I were you. Charlotte is not someone’s hit list you want to be on. Especially since you’re a human. All she has to do is look at you and you’ll crumble.”
“Just because I’m human doesn’t mean I can’t handle myself.” Jeff ran his hand through his hair. “She’s damn lucky to have a father. She shouldn’t take him for granted. There are people who aren’t so lucky.”
“Well, go ahead and tell her that and see what happens. The only reason she asn’t gone berserk is because Alistair is her dad. Otherwise, well, we don’t talk about the last guy.” Zander stopped talking as he saw Jeff stand up. “Dude, what did I just say!?! This man has got a death wish or something.”
Jeff cleared his throat as he apprached the two Grays. “Mr. Gray.”
“Jeff, yes, thank you for staying.” Alistair looked frazzled for a moment, He rubbed his eyes, trying to focus on the scene in front of him for a moment. Probably still in shock that his own daughter would hit him with such a low blow.
Charlotte glared at him. Obviously angry at him as well. “I’m leaving.”
“Char-” Alistair began, but sighed. He was giving up on her for right now. He was frustrated, Jeff could tell.
“Hey,” Jeff said much more harsher than he intended it to be. “You should listen to your dad. He’s trying ot help you. He isn’t doing anything that would put you in harms way. He looks like he’s trying to help you.”
“It’s always the same with you people. Strangers looking in don’t know anything!” Charlotte exclaimed. “Mind your damn business.”
“CHARLOTTE!” Alistair was now yelling. “I won’t have you being rude to Jeffrey. Listen to the people around you. They know what they’re talking about. But, since you seem to have no respect for me, I’ll let your “real” father deal with you.” Charlotte’s face tightened. Declan was the harsher of the two. Alistair couldn’t say no to any of his daughters, but Declan had no problems putting his foot down. Even with his precious Astra. “Apologize to Jeff. Now.”
Charlotte lowered her eyes but did as she was told. “Sorry, human.”
“Jeffrey, I’m sorry that my family has been less than accomodating to you. Things are pretty heavy right now. I was going to say that Charlotte spend her group project working with you, but I don’t want to subject you to this kind of abuse, when you’ve obviously done nothing wrong.”
“No,” Jeff answered. He thought back to Mason’s words. Get close to the Grays, and Alistair was pretty much handing him his daughter on a silver platter. But, Jeff wasn’t a bad guy. He was sure that he’d be able to teach the girl a thing or two about respect if he spent enough time with her, and he’d get that time traveler off his back and get his wife and child back. It was a win win situation all around. “I want to work with her.”
“Excuse me?” She asked, raising her brow. “I don’t want to work with you. What about Millie?”
“She can tag along with Zander and Silas. It’ll be no problem. Are you sure about this, Jeff?” Alistair asked.
Jeff nodded. “I’m one of five. Fighting came with the territory. Besides…” He wore a smirk. “I used to be a police officer, so i can more than handle myself.”
“A human with a gun, wow!” Charlotte mocked him. “Try that with a supernatural. It’ll get you nowhere.”
“Charlotte,” Alistair began. “A bullet will kill you. It’ll kill me, and it’ll kill a fairy. It’ll even kill Adeline. No one is invincible, no matter how many youth potions one may drink.”
“This is dumb,” Charlotte said, refusing to be silenced by her father. “I don’t want to work with Jeff.”
“The group project is about teamwork. Your great grandfather taught me that. Declan was my partner, now look at us. I’m not saying anything, but we hated each other at first too.”
“Dad, ew.” She rolled her eyes. But, Alistair smiled. He could tell that her anger had subsided because she had referred to him as dad.
“Ew?” Jeff raised his brow. “I’ve been told by many that I’m good looking.”
“No,” Charlotte said. “You’re not. Your hairstyle is weird. You’re missing like half your hair.”
“Really?” Jeff asked. “Thats your comeback? Lame, you know I’m attractive.”
Alistair laughed. “Alright Jeff, keep the flirting at a minimum. She’s still my baby girl.”
“Flirting!?” Jeff nearly shouted. He had eyes only for Lisa. And besides, Charlotte wasn’t his type. A disrespectful vampire with an explosive temper? Yeah, right.