Next stop on Charlotte’s big tour of Moonlight Falls, was the library next to the Vault of Antiquity. She needed to do some searching on what Patrick told her. He seemed genuine, but something still didn’t add up. She thought that a search on the internet or through files might unearth some hidden agenda that one person or another had. The only problem was that, she couldn’t do it at home, not with her father present and her sister within two inches of Altiere every second of the day. “Just look around, but don’t be weird. Nobody should bother you here, but if they do, just shout and I’ll kick their ass,” Charlotte said as she pounded away on the keyboard. Jeff shrugged and walked away with not even a single argument. She turned her full attention back to the computer and continued. She had to be careful here too. It was rumored that Damian was monitoring the networks. A rumor that she didn’t want to prove herself. She stared at the screen for a few moments, unable to think of anything to search. Where should she begin? She had no idea where Robin, Hayden or Kat were, or who they were. Or, why she should even care. She held her head in her hands. Well, if she searched Darich Curio Shoppe, the museum, maybe something would come up? That was at least a start.
“Darich Curio Shoppe: Entrance Fee $15.”
“Darich Curio Shoppe: No more than a museum for the naive.”
“Fact or Fiction? Are the artifacts at the Darich Curio Shoppe real?”
“Darich Curio Shoppe No More.”
“Darich Curio Shoppe Closes for Good.”
She didn’t have to click through too many pages to find something. She clicked the last link on the page “Darich Curio Shoppe Closes for Good.” If she had recalled correctly, the museum was a failing business. Someone or another had told her that, she couldn’t quite remember who. Was it her dad? She went on to read the article.
“Darich Curio Shoppe has always been filled with mysterious trinkets and artifacts. One of the most famous being the ancient “Egyptian” sarcophagus. Over the years, people have argued that the items are all fake, and that the entire business is a hoax. But, that didn’t stop thousands of people from flocking into the now one room museum (it used to be three stories tall with artifacts that had slowly been confiscated by the headmaster for failure to pay bills). The business was under the control of Robin Darich who claimed all artifacts were genuine and had been claimed from human worlds by his ancestors. Sources say that Robin Darich fled Moonlight Falls, and now, with no living Darichs to take over the family business, it’s up to debate on whether or not the old Curio Shoppe should be torn down. If you’re asking me, it seems like a little bit of Moonlight Falls’ history has already been destroyed. That begs the question. Should the Headmaster be allowed to confiscate things considered ancient parts of history? Let us know in the comments below.”
Charlotte stood up from her seat. She needed to get Jeff and head back home. She had a lead. She just needed to find the guy who penned that article. He seemed opinionated about the Darich Curio Shoppe, but he couldn’t actually express it on the page. Damian would have pulled the article for sure. She made sure to clear the history from the computer and turned to get Jeff.
“My name is Rosalia,” The purple haired girl smiled. “If you couldn’t tell, I’m a fairy.”
“Wow…” He tried to hide his astonishment. He was starting to stick out like a sore thumb in this town. “My name is Jeff.”
She let out a small giggle. “So which one is your supernatural?”
“Huh?” Jeff blinked. “What?”
“Well, normally humans don’t roam around Moonlight Falls on their own. There used to be a rule that in order for a human to get into the world, they’d have to have a supernatural ‘guardian.’ Of course, that didn’t work out too well for the humans,” Rosalia explained. “It’d be suicide to be here on your own, so I’m asking who you’re with.”
Jeff thought about whether or not he should tell the girl. He opted for a vague answer. “A vampire.”
“Wowie, thats the worst bunch of supernaturals that you can get involved with. There’s a war brewing amongst them. Three vampire leaders facing off. Do you know anything about that?” She asked.
“Not at all,” Jeff admitted.
“Well you see, there’s our headmaster, Damian Woods.” Her voice lowered when she spoke about him. “He’s up against this man, Altiere who is supposed to be one of the few purebreed vampires left in the world.The third is the leader that the rest of the vampires have elected to stop the other two. It’s a real mess.”
“The political state of the fairies isn’t that great either.” It took everything in Charlotte not to yell at the bubbly girl. “Mind your business and stay within your clan.”
“Wow, Charlotte. Don’t get so mad at me,” Rosalia said. “I’m just telling him facts. You should have told him. It’s dangerous out here. THe vampire uprising could begin at any time.”
“There is no uprising.” Charlotte glared at the girl.
Jeff reached out for CHarlotte’s arm to calm her. “You know each other?”
“I know everyone,” Charlotte said. “Did you forget who my dad is?”
“I just assumed that he’d only be concerned with mages. I haven’t seen any fairies around your place,” He replied.
“That’s because the only clan willing to work with my dad is the vampires. The fairies, werewolves, elfs and genies are off doing their own thing. Their leader.” Charlotte pointed to Rosalina. “Ditched them to destroy my family. So, you can see why I’m more than a little upset.”
“Hey, you can’t hold all fairies accountable for Angel’s actions. She’s a traitor. It doesn’t mean that we all are. I care deeply about the other supernaturals, you know,” Rosalina answered.
“If that was the truth, then you’d try little harder. My dad is busting his ass to get all of the supernaturals on the same page again, and it seems like the only people who want to help are the vampires.”
“I can’t do anything. We’ve all talked to our elder.” Rosalia ran her hand through her hair. “Overstepping my boundary within my clan will just cause another war. I’m sorry.”
“Charlotte, lay off,” Jeff said.
“Lay off?” The vampire frowned. “You don’t know the circumstances.”
“You don’t know her circumstances,” He said. “She’s trying her best.”
“My dad is trying his best too, is it right for him to be stepped on by every other supernatural in this place?” Charlotte shook her head. “Despite what you think, I care about my father immensely.”
“I’m just saying that theres a way to approach people, and this isn’t it.”
Charlotte didn’t say anything. Rather, she walked out of the building. She didn’t wait for Jeff, or even say goodbye to Rosalia. There was a war brewing amongst the supernaturals. No one could be trusted. Not even her own sister. “Charlotte,” Jeff called out after her. “Stop running, and face me.”
Charlotte waited for him to approach her. “I really hate when you interfere with your human ‘manners.’ I cann talk to people however I like! We don’t have that moral code here.”
“That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, Charlotte. Let’s be real here. You should treat everyone with respect. Where do you get off being so rude to everyone?” Jeff asked.
“Where did you come from?” She asked, ignoring his question. “What stupid world told you that it was okay to pretend to feel a certain way about a person to be polite? Huh?”
“It doesn’t matter where I’m from. My parents taught me to spare the feelings of other’s. You have no idea what she’s going through. You can’t assume that everyone is the enemy,” Jeff said.
“When it comes to my family, everyone is an enemy. Altiere, Damian, Mason, the guardians. Everyone!” Charlotte cried out. “I’m constantly on guard because I have to be.”
Jeff cringed when he heard the name Mason. So, she knew about him then? He wasn’t a good person, Jeff knew that much. But, he was able to resurrect him and he could do the same of his family. He couldn’t help but feel bad for Charlotte, though. And, for a second, he hated everyone who pushed the girl to this point. “I’m not your enemy.” He held his hands up in surrender.
“How do I know that?” Charlotte demanded. “You can’t even back me up.”
“Rosalia is a nice girl,” Jeff said. “Trust me, I’ve been around my fair share of low lifes, serial killers included.”
“Supernaturals are different,” Charlotte tried to explain. “She could be a saint, but that doesn’t change the way her people fell about mine.” Charlotte rubbed her temple. “This runs so much more deep than one person liking another. My entire family is on the line.”
“I’m sorry,” Jeff apologized. “I don’t know if I’ll ever understand this. It’s a lot to take in.”
Charlotte stood back from the boy. For a moment, she believed him. Believed that he was there to help, and not there to simply challenge her on everything she did and make her life a miserable hell hole. She believed that he wasn’t a jerk, that he really wanted everyone to be happy. But only for a moment. She tossed him her cellphone. “Call my grandfather to pick you up. I need some space. There is a lot going on right now, and I’m overwhelmed.” Jeff nodded, thats all he could do. The girl did deserve some space, and he didn’t understand what she was going through.
“Whats the matter?” Apollo asked, sitting next to his granddaughter. “Jeff tells me that you two got into an arguement?”
“I don’t like him, grandpa,” Charlote said flatly. “I don’t like that my dad is forcing me to work with him. I don’t like that my other dad made me feel so guilty for blowing Jeff off the first time.”
“You’re not a child anymore. You can be honest with yourself,” Apollo said. “The situation you’re in frustrates you, and you’re taking it out on everyone who crosses your path. Especially, Jeff.”
“You just feel bad for him because you’re both human,” Charlotte interjected.
“He’s in a strange place, and the only person he can really turn to is you,” Apollo said. “Think about how he feels. Be his friend.”
“He has you and grandpa,” Charlotte said. “He’s staying with you guys. And he seems to love my dad.”
“You’re the only one his age,” Apollo clarified. “He can come to us all he wants, but it’s much better when there’s someone that understands him and can be there for him. I know that you guys are from two different worlds, but spend the time trying to explain things to each other that you don’t get. Ethan and I did that, and we’re best friends. He’s a witch and I’m a human, I’d never thought for a million years that I’d understand what he was going through, but he helped me to see and what I don’t get, I accept and support as best as I can.”
“You and Ethan are married, that’s different,” Charlotte said. “Declan told me the same thing. But, the stakes are so high grandpa. Things just keep piling up on top of me. There’s Damian and Altiere to look out for. If that’s not bad enough, Mason is always lurking and now I have to cooperate with the guardians if they request it from me. There’s a huge fight between all of the supernaturals…I feel like I can’t trust anyone but my family and friends! Anyone else could stab me in the back at any moment, even vampires and mages who don’t like that my dad is trying to bring us all together! Who else is going to crawl out from the woodwork? Adeline? What about her grandpa? I can’t even trust my own sister!” Charlotte was on the verge of tears. All of her pent up anger was boiling to the surface. She was never mad at Jeff, or Rosalia. They were just the closest targets. She felt like she had to hold it together for her family, but it was just so damn hard.
Apollo reached over and stroked her hair lovingly. “Princess, look at me.”
“Don’t call me that…” Charlotte bit her lip. “You know I hate that name! Princesses are girls who need to be saved by their prince. I don’t need that. I’m going to take down Damian, and Altiere and whoever else stands in my way!”
“That’s my girl.” Apollo smiled. “But, know that you don’t have to do it on your own. Your family is here for you. Jeff is here for you too, if you’d let him.”
“He’s just a human, what can he do?” Charlotte mused.
“He may not be any match for a supernatural physically, but that doesn’t mean he can’t outrun or outsmart them.” Apollo stood up. “Come on, I’ll drive you home.”
“Look who’s finally home.” Ethan smirked. “Looking as hot as ever.”
Apollo rolled his eyes. Jeff couldn’t help but smile. True love was beautiful. Even though Apollo was aging considerably faster than Ethan, the red haired male still loved him deeply. It wasn’t what was on the surface that mattered to him. “I talked to our spoiled vampire,” Apollo said.
Jeff held his breath for a moment. He couldn’t get the image of Charlotte’s hurt face out of his mind, and her word’s kept replaying. “When it comes to my family, everyone is an enemy.” He knew how that felt, if only a little. Constantly, feeling as if someone would come after his wife and child for putting their loved one in jail or for handing them a ticket. Or, when he felt helpless watching his father die in front of him. There was a layer of emotion that both he and Charlotte were afraid to unsheathe. But, they were more alike than different, he was beginning to realize. He had to help her, not hurt her. But Mason’s promise….he held his breath. He didn’t want to have to think of it again until he was forced to. “And?” Ethan asked. “How’s our little heiress?”
“Stressed, but fine. Being the Gray in charge has it’s difficulties. Alistair did right in choosing her, she’s strong willed and determined to get the job done. She just needs to work on how to manage it all. MAybe you could help her, Jeff.”
“Me?” He asked. “I seem to be the one who throws her over the edge all the time.”
Ethan smiled. “She’s a Gray, you won’t find a more loyal friend than her. It just takes a little extra work to unlock that loyalty. Whether it be fighting an evil imaginary friend and vampire, or uniting Moonlight Falls.” He winked at Apollo who once again rolled his eyes, this time leaning into the male. “Who knows? You might even find a pretty supernatural.”
“I’ve been met with nothing but respect from all of you. So, if there is anything I can do to help you all, let me know.”