“Are you two playing nice?” Adeline asked.
“Always.” Dionysus wore a playful smirk.
“I’m sorry, I’ve got a lot on my mind. Everything this block head says sets me off,” Jeff admitted.
“No one is happy today,” Adeline said. “I can feel it. You and Charlotte are unhappy. Father is stressed, Astra is uncalm. We cannot have a family outing, it seems.”
“I said something to Charlotte that I could have handled better,” Jeff said.
“Talk to her, you idiot,” Dionysus said. “You don’t leave a girl to cry and suffer on her own. Whatever it is, I’m sure you can work it out.”
“I don’t think I can,” Jeff said. “You know how she is.”
“She’s also ten times more volatile because of that baby,” Dionysus said.
“It is a vampire,” Adeline concluded. “I can feel the thirst for blood. So, no one has any reason to worry. Especially not you, Jeff.”
“What are you talking about?” He asked. “Charlotte did say you guys were being weird.”
“Where did you get this cake from?” Charlotte asked. “I ive off of blood, but this is delicious.”
“Astra baked it for us,” Millie said. “She’s gotten really good, hasn’t she? She was almost on a cooking television show.”
“What happened?” Zander asked.
“Dad..I mean, Declan left. She wanted to come back after that,” Millie answered. “That’s all she would tell me. She’s keeping a lot to herself. More so than usual. Maye you can talk to her, Char.”
“Me?” Charlotte asked. “Why me?”
“Adeline and I already have. You’re the one with the most responsibility in this whole thing. You’ve faced a lot. I think, if anyone can get some info out of her and ease her mind, it’s you.”
“It’s your wedding, do you really want to be talking about this?” Charlotte asked. “There’s probably like five other happy things we can talk about.”
“Do you know if the baby is a boy or a girl?” Zander asked, changing the subject.
Charlotte shook her head. “I want a boy, but Jeff wants a girl. Girls have so much more drama.”
“Especially Gray girls,” Millie let out a small laugh.
“This seat taken?” Dionysus asked.
“Yes, as a matter of fact, it is,” Astra said.
“Imaginary friends?” He asked, looking around. “Because looks like everyone else is already accounted for.”
“Oh no, we’re not allowed to have imaginary friends,” Astra said. “Long story.”
The smile on his face grew bigger. “What?”
“Oh nothing, it’s just that you’re not stuttering anymore. Can it be that in the few months we’ve known each other, that you feel comfortable around me?”
Her face got red. “Don’t br-ing it to m-y atten-tion!”
He chuckled. “Sorry, sorry.”
But it was true. Every chance Dionysus got, he would talk to her. And, not just flirting. The flirting, she found out, was just because Dionysus was a really friendly guy. If anything, it made it easier to talk to him. He was happy go lucky. She felt like she had known him forever, and it didn’t hurt that her whole family liked him and treated him as one of them. She felt no animosity in his presence.
“Hey sweetheart, how are you feeling?” Charlotte looked up to see her dad. “I brought you more cake.”
“Thank you!” She hastily dug her fork into it. “Astra can bake, damn.”
He chuckled. “She apparently, had a shot at a television show. But, you know I’m not here to talk about that.. I want to know about the baby. Does everything feel alright?”
“Why wouldn’t it?” She asked.
“You’re almost due, right?” He asked.
“Damn it Dad. Just get out with it. Why are you being overcautious? I mean, its really ridiculous. You act like I’m dying or something- Oh gosh, dad you think I’m dying?! What the hell?”
“The baby,” Millie said. “We’re just worried because you know humans and vampires?”
“What?” She eyed the group. “Somebody better tell me right now, what is going on.”
“Just one,” Dionysus said. “It’s a wedding after all. What kind of wedding have you ever attended that doesn’t have dancing?”
“This is the first wedding that I’ve ever attended,” Astra admitted.
“Well, me too, actually. That’s not elven. Elven marriage ceremonies are different. I kind of like this though.”
Astra nodded. “The cake was a hit, and that’s all I care about.”
“You did work extra hard on it,” Dionysus said. “It didn’t disappoint. It was delicious, and I don’t even really like sweets.”
“How could you not like sweets?”
“You can’t grow sweets on a tree. You now what I mean.”
“But we’re straying too far from the topic at hand. Will you dance with me?” Astra looked around. Millie was adamantly talking to Zander, Charlotte was making her way over to Jeff, Adeline and Erik were off in the corner laughing. No one said she couldn’t enjoy the night. One dance wouldn’t hurt her. It wouldn’t change her feelings about Audric.
“Sure, but you better not hold this over my head,” She said, smiling.
“Me? I’d never dream of it!” He winked at her, taking in the red blush that tinted her cheeks. He soon realized, a few weeks after talking to Astra, that he was drawn to her innocence. She cared deeply about a lot of things, but never seemed to have the opportunity to express it. She had a pure outlook on the world, and because she was so reserved, she saw all aspects of a situation. She thought hard, and her intelligence was incredibly sexy.
“You’ve got to have a girlfriend or something,” Astra said. She didn’t know how the gutsy talk made it’s way out of her mouth, but she went with it. “Like, some kind of Elven princess that you have to marry.”
“Not exactly. The elven council prefers I stay unattached.” For a second, Astra felt her stomach drop. Unattached. It sounded like such a harsh word to her. “But then again, they also weren’t too thrilled that I offered my aid to your father. So there’s that.”
“They don’t care about Moonlight Falls?” She asked.
“They care about the elven people, and that’s it. They’d be abhorred if they saw me and you dancing like this. But, like I said. It’s not the first time I angered them. Don’t worry about it. I’m not going to stop dancing with you because they tell me too.” He winked at her. She felt her insides flame up. No. Not Dionysus. She didn’t know what to feel anymore.
Charlotte pulled Jeff by his collar and crashed her lips on his forcefully. “What…whats that for?” He asked breathlessly.
“I don’t care if you had a wife before me. It doesn’t matter. Do you know what my dad just told me? I could have died. I’m not taking you for granted anymore.”
“The baby thing?” He held her tightly. “That’s going to be a problem in the future. We got lucky with a vampire child, but I don’t ever want to lose you.”
“Well, we can discuss it another time. Maybe there’s a work around.” She laid her head on his chest. “Just, promise me. No more lies.”
Not even to protect you? He didn’t ask. “No more lies.”
“Thank you, my dear human.” She kissed the tip of his nose.
“You’re in a really good mood today, huh?” He smiled and kissed her. “Wish we would have made up earlier though.”
“Soon, you’ll get your makeup present.” She winked at him, causing chills to run down his spine.
“Don’t tease me, Charlotte.”
“I’m sorry!” Adeline said quickly. “I didn’t mean it.”
“You know, for a genius, you’re really uncoordinated.” He grabbed his foot. “I’m fine. Don’t worry.”
She heard low chuckles from the couples behind her. She glared at her sisters. “I could have hurt him, heels are pointy. Shut up.”
“I’m good. Totally great. Let’s keep dancing.”
“Are you sure?” She bit her lip.
“Definitely. No little mishap is going to stop me from dancing with a beautiful lady,” He said. She blushed.
“I’m sorry,” She said.
“You don’t have to keep apologizing,” He said. “It’s fine.”
“No, it’s…I promised you information about the book.”
“It’s ok.” Erik smiled. “I actually had a conversation with Mr. Gray. He showed me the book. It was when you were having cake earlier.”
“Oh, do you think you could use it?” She asked.
“It’s interesting, we can understand the book. All of the others that I’ve seen can’t be read. This is fairly recent, as recent as the English language. Maybe the seers aren’t a dying breed. There might be some out there. If that’s the case, we can see what they say. I’m not sure what to ask them though.”
“That’s interesting. This could definitely turn the tide of the battle in our favor. After this is over, we’ll have to head to the library.”
“Not tonight. We can take a break for once. I didn’t get stepped on for you to blow me off and run to the library.” He grinned, tightening his grasp around her waist.
“You’ve got some moves for an old guy,” Burke joked.
“Hey, when I said you could be informal, I did not mean you could call me old. I look younger than you.”
“Ouch!” Burke laughed. “I can’t even say anything back because I’m supposed to respect my elders.”
“Oh, haha. Get all of the old jokes out of your system now. I can play this too. I have elixirs older than you.” Alistair stuck his tongue out.
“Real mature, sir.” Burke laughed. “With all due respect, this is how you mock someone.” Burke stuck his tongue out but placed his hands by his face.
“I invented the snarky passive aggressive tongue out thing,” Alistair said. “Please. You’ve got nothing on me.”
“I’ve got age on my side,” Burke smirked. “My real youthful glow.”
Alistair raised his brow. “I’d be careful how far you go. You have work tomorrow morning.”
“Oh crap. I’m sorry sir!” He did a quick bow. “Don’t dock my pay. Then I can’t afford to take you out for drinks.”
“I’ll pay for the drinks, it’s the older man’s responsibility after all.” He watched Burke smile. He could have sworn Burke was trying to flirt with him, but why? Honestly, Alistair was used up and old goods. There were tons of handsome young men in Moonlight Falls. Alistair brushed it off. He was probably imagining things. If anything, Burke was probably trying to get something from him, like power. Joke was on him, because Alistair held a pretty tight leash on everything important to him, including his power.
“Charlotte?” Jeff asked in shock. “Are you alright.”
“Oh…I think the baby is coming!” She held her stomach tightly. “Damn it, this hurts!”
“Get her inside,” Alistair rushed to his daughter’s side. “Unfortunately the hospital is a no go. I’m sorry.”
“What do you mean?” Charlotte asked, panicked.
“Damian is keeping watch of everything, remember? We can’t risk it. Let’s call a nurse.” He pulled his phone out.
“No,” Adeline said quickly. “I can do it. I think.”
“You better be damn sure!” Charlotte yelled. “Don’t think!”
“I’ve read a lot about vampires, delivering babies was part of that. I can do it.” She grabbed her sister’s arm. “Jeff, help me bring her upstairs.” He nodded quickly.
“Babe, everything will be alright. You’ll be fine.” He felt her nails dig into his arm.
“It better be,” She mumbled, fighting to stay awake.
“What’s happening?” He asked Adeline.
“It’s the blood, the baby is coming, it can take some of her blood, it’s developed enough to do it on it’s own. Just give her some of yours, but be careful don’t let her take to much.”
He nodded, offering his arm to her. She took a big sip of his blood, stopping herself. “I’m fine, promise.”
He kissed her head. “I’m right here, every step of the way.”