“What?” Charlotte asked.
“Your sister is taking care of the baby.”
“And?” Charlotte asked.
“We can finally, get some sleep!” Jeff collapsed onto the bed. Charlotte laughed at the male.
“You idiot.” She sat on the bed next to him. “I’m staying up to keep an eye on my baby sister, and my baby.”
“Astra isn’t going to kill our baby,” Jeff mumbled into the pillow.
Charlotte watched his relaxed figure. There was something she wanted to ask him, but she didn’t know how to approach it. When he talked about his wife, he said that she was pregnant. Did that mean he had kids? Were his kids out there, and he was here? If he abandoned his kids, would he abandon her? She didn’t believe it, but she could never fully let her guard down. No matter how much she loved Jeff. “Get in bed.”
She blinked. How long had he been staring at her?
She didn’t bother kicking her shoes off. She climbed onto the bed and looked at Jeff. If he proposed, would she say yes? Of course she would, but she was afraid. “Guess what?”
“Hmm?” She tried to focus on her excited husband. Boyfriend…she had been with him so long, they lived together and had a baby, it was like they were married anyway and sometimes she forgot.
“Your dad and I booked us all a family vacation, right here in Moonlight Falls.” She was listening to him, but she had thought she was hearing things. Family vacation? What for? “Babe, don’t look so confused. Hear me out. You and your family have a different dynamic, but they love you and you love them. I think that a little time set aside for all of you to meet, would be good.”
“You’re not coming?” She cuddled into his arm. “Stop saying you, it’s us. I never meant to say you weren’t part of the family.”
“Us,” He repeated. “Its for all of us, even that jerk Dionysus. Burke and Erik are coming too. I haven’t told them yet, but they won’t say no.”
“Burke has a crush on daddy,” Charlotte murmured. “Should we tell dad, or let him figure it out on his own?”
She let out a small gasp as Jeff pushed her down against the bed. “Where do you think you got your stubbornness from? We could tell him all we’d like, but it wouldn’t change a thing. He has to see it on his own.”
“Like Adeline and Erik. Are you sure you’re not planning a matchmaker weekend?”
“It’s just supposed to be Pax’s birthday party,” Jeff said. “But, the family bonding will not hurt any of you.”
“Why do you care so much about family?” Charlotte asked quietly.
“Because, without them, I wouldn’t be the man I am today,” He said. “I had a few siblings too. Amanda, Drew, Alex, Diana and Jen. They were my support system. Then there was my uncle Gene, and Shon, aunt Evelyn, I could go on all day.”
“Maybe its different,” Charlotte said quietly. “It’s always just been us, I have a huge family. I just don’t know them.”
“Do you want to?” He asked.
“Doesn’t matter if I do,” She said. “I’m a vampire, and they’re all human. Except, like Alistair and his dad. But uhm, that’s different. I can’t pass for human. I’m stuck here.”
Jeff smashed his lips firmly onto Charlotte’s. He wanted to take the pain away. He hadn’t realized she had been harboring those thoughts. He had extended supernatural family too, but so extended, that sometimes he didn’t really believe it. But, he was related to some aliens, so he didn’t know why he questioned it. “It’s ok, really. You’re the only human I need in my life.”
“I wish you could meet my family,” He whispered against her lips. “They’d love you. They’d-” He stopped. They’d be focused on his past self. It was hard, wanting to be in two different times at once.
“It’s ok,” She whispered back. “It’s really ok. Do we need anyone else? We have a pretty great group of misfits here.”
“Yeah, I just hope Dionysus doesn’t become one of them. Seriously.” She laughed and flicked Jeff’s forehead. “Ouch, what?”
“At this point, it’s the orange elf, or some magic elven kidnapper.”
“Shut up,” Astra called from the other room angrily. “I hear every word, and I’m not going on any family vacation!”
“Yes you are,” Charlotte called back. “You’re missing 3 years of family time! You better make it up!”
“No,” Jeff repeated, head in a book. “You’re both going. I already booked the place. Mr. Gray is already on his way here.”
“But, pleaseeee?” Astra asked, glaring at Dionysus. “He’s not even family.”
“I see you’re not stuttering all of a sudden. Do you know I had to take off work for this? And, for your information missy. I am family. I’m Pax’s godfather.”
“Charlotte insisted,” Jeff said. “It wasn’t my choice. I wanted Zander.”
“Good thing you didn’t choose the lecherous fool,” Dionysus said. “Millie is absolutely devastated.” He looked at Astra angrily. “She could use your support.”
“Whats going on between you two?” Jeff asked. He should have known it wouldn’t be this easy to have a family outing. A divorce was in the works between Millie and Zander because she had caught Zander cheating on her. Now, Astra and Dionysus were fighting.
“I’d like to know that myself,” Dionysus said. “I’ve done nothing to her.”
“Well, we better all get along. I want Dionysus there for Pax, and you there because you’re Charlotte’s sister.” Astra huffed and began to walk away. “I’ll take that as a yes. You, Blaze, leave her alone.”
“I didn’t do anything!” He rolled his eyes. “I have no idea why she’s being like this.”
“How are you?” Charlotte asked.
Millie put on a fake smile. “I’m fine. Really.”
“I don’t know why you won’t let me go to Zander’s house and beat the crap out of him,” Charlotte said. “Seriously.”
“You have a son now,” She whispered. “Don’t do that.”
“Something else is bothering you,” Charlotte said. “What is it?”
“Nothing,” Millie said. “I’m okay. I’m good. I promise. Let’s have fun.”
“Mills,” Charlotte said.
“I don’t want to ruin my nephew’s birthday. Okay?” Charlotte sighed but allowed her sister to drop it. “I bought him the best gift ever, with Zander’s credit card.”
“That’s my girl!” Charlotte hugged her.
“I also ordered a pizza, it’s the least he owes me. That asshole.”
“Adeline, it’s great to see you-” Erik stopped, noticing how uncomfortable she was. “Whats wrong? Did I do something wrong?”
She felt her face heat up. She hated this feeling she had when she was around Erik. It made her feel vulnerable, and out of control. How did her sisters live with this love thing? “I think we should keep our relationship professional.”
“Professional?” Erik frowned. “At the wedding we…never-mind. I must have misread the situation.”
“That was a few months ago,” Adeline said. “I’m different now. I…I’m not looking for anything more than what we have.”
“That’s…” He let out a sigh. “Why did you invite me this weekend? It’s a family get together. If you want to keep it professional, then I should leave.”
“No, you don’t have to leave,” She said.
“I think I do.” He straightened his shirt out. “Coworkers don’t meet each other’s families, not like this.”
“Damn it,” Adeline mumbled, watching him leave. “Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid. That’s what this is. Fear.” She forced herself to follow him outside. “You can’t leave.”
“Adeline, I already-” Erik stopped talking as Adeline pushed her lips firmly against his. She didn’t want this, but she did. her head was telling her no, but her heart was saying, and it turned out her heart was a much stronger force. She felt him ease into the kiss, sliding his arms around her waist. “This is totally not professional,” He mumbled.
“I was watching you leave, and I realized I didn’t want you to be my friend. I wanted more, but I was afraid. I’m still afraid. I’m terrified.”
“Why?” Erik asked. “You already got the hard parts over. We just had our first kiss and first fight all in one day.”
She laughed. :It wasn’t really a fight, I changed my mind too quickly for that.”
“Aren’t I the luckiest man alive that you did that?”
“No. I’m the lucky one. I…like you a lot, okay? I want you to stay this weekend. Not just for today, but the whole weekend. Okay?”
He watched her fight to find the right words. He kissed the top of her nose. “I’ll stay, because you asked me so nicely.”
Jeff heard the light sobbing and couldn’t ignore it. “Millie.” Her room was next to theirs, they had rented out the whole hotel. The Keeper of Magic had some perks. “Millie,” He repeated.
She looked up. “Jeff, you’re in your underwear.”
His eyes grew wide for a moment. “Crap, I forgot. Dionysus is watching Pax, and it’s the first time we’ve had time to be-” He stopped talking. “I don’t know why I’m telling you this. Be right back.” He ran into his room, pulled some pants on and came back into Millie’s. “You’re still crying.”
“I don’t see how that’s any of your business,” She said harshly. Jeff didn’t care, he had dealt with far worse with Charlotte.
“You’re twenty one years old,” He said. “You have your whole life ahead of you. You don’t have to worry about love.” He had recalled using the same speech on Astra.
“I’m twenty one and pregnant!” Millie sobbed. “Nobody is going to want me! I’m used goods, with baggage!”
Jeff stared at the girl in shock. Zander knocked her up, and left. That was lower than scum, and he’d personally pay the guy a visit soon. Jeff reached out to stroke her hair. “Listen to me. You have your family. Charlotte and I will be here for you. Astra, Adeline, your dad, everyone. You don’t have to do this alone.”
“No they can’t know.” She shook her head. “They’ll be so disappointed.”
“In Zander, not you,” Jeff said. “You have to tell your family. They’ll support you.”
She sniffed and nodded. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to ruin Pax’s birthday party.”
“You didn’t ruin anything. Now, smile okay?”
“You son of a!” Charlotte glared at the red headed male. “I have kids now, you can’t do that!”
“What does that have to do with anything?” Burke laughed. She liked Burke. He was funny, kind, sincere…but something about the fact that he showed up out of nowhere rubbed her the wrong way. He wasn’t human, but what was he? She couldn’t put her finger on it.
“You and my dad,” Charlotte said, changing the subject entirely.”He’s single now.’
“I’m fully aware,” Burke said. “Yes.”
“I’m going to just come out and say this,” Charlotte said. “Are you gay?”
Burke let out a small laugh. “You’re implying I should go out with your dad?”
“I just want to know if there’s an attraction is all. You’re kind of young to be asking my dad out for drinks.”
Burke shrugged. “I didn’t realize you heard me. But, because I’m in my thirties does not make me too young for your dad. He implied it as well. I’m not saying this is anything serious, but age doesn’t matter, does it?”
“Apparently nothing matters in the Gray household, if I’m being completely honest with you. But, mark my words red, if you so think about flirting with my dad to get some kind of information, I will personally exterminate you. I’m not even joking. My dad has been through so much, I wouldn’t even blame him if he never wanted to date again. Besides, you haven’t even proven to be dad material. Maybe I sound like a spoiled teenage girl, but we’ve given up too much for you to just waltz right in here.”
Charlotte gave him a fake smile and waved as she walked off. She had to protect her dad and sisters. She was still head of this family, mother or not.