She heard the gate swing as she forcefully pushed her way out of the large mansion. That hadn’t gone as she had planned. In fact, she was expecting her sister to be a bit more responsive to Charlotte’s pleas. The vampire balled her hands into fists. She promise Jeff that she wouldn’t fight with Audric. But how the hell could one man be so standoffish? There were other people in the world. It didn’t revolve around him and Astra.
“Charlotte Gray, running away. I’m not surprised in the slightest.” She let out an audible growl as she saw thew man of the hour, Mason Moon.
“Mind your damn business. Just leave me and my family alone,” She demanded, shoving passed him.
Mason grabbed hold of her arm, willing her to face him. “You mean, my family, right?” He grinned, a wicked thing she wanted to punch right off of his face. “It all comes back to me, Charlotte. You should be aware of that.”
“Your family?” She shook her head ferociously. “Do you know what a family even is? If you did, you wouldn’t be focused so much on destroying mine, and would be spending time with yours.”
“What’s yours, is mine.” He shrugged casually. “Not that it matters anymore. You’re free to do as you wish. But Caleb remains here.”
“Caleb?” Charlotte raised her brow. “No, absolutely not. He’s coming with us.”
“I can’t allow that. I just got him back,” Mason replied. At Charlotte’s confusion, he sighed. “Caleb is my son.”
“Your son?” Charlotte asked, shock dominating her features. “How is that even possible?”
“Chosen as the heiress to the family, and you don’t even know the history.” He shook his head bitterly. “How do you expect to move forward if you don’t know what you left behind?”
“I know enough to know that you stick your nose in business that isn’t yours.” She took a step away from him, knowing if she stayed there any longer, she’d seriously hurt someone. “I don’t care who you’re related to. You will never be a Gray.”
He laughed. “I don’t want to be a Gray. Caleb is a Moon.”
“Fuck off. Caleb will never accept you as his father. You’re a monster.”
“You say Monster, I say genius. it’s all relative.” The smirk he gave her told her that he knew something she didn’t. “So, Charlotte, where will you go? Do you think Audric will allow you to go so far? You hold the key to his little problem.”
“You. Damian. Audric. You’re all up to your little schemes. I want no part of it.” She took another step backwards, ready to leave.
“I’ll let you in on a little secret Charlotte.” Mason took a step forward. “Audric is in way over his head. There’s a storm coming, and he can’t protect you. He can’t protect Astra. He can’t protect this dimension. But you already know that, don’t you? You’re not running. Wow, maybe you’re smarter than I thought. The first Gray heir with some sense in their head.” Charlotte watched the man in curiosity, as he jumped to his own conclusions. “We’ll just have to see how this plays out, I guess.” He gave her a short wave. “I’ve no doubt we’ll see each other again, real soon. Have a safe trip.”
And so, she left. Mason couldn’t be more pleased with how things had gone. And the cherry on top? He had heard Caleb himself say he wanted to remain by his father’s side. It was good to have eyes and ears everywhere. As the years had gone by, Mason became more and more efficient at finding things out. Most of it, not even intentional. But it helped immensely. “She’s finally gone,” Audric mumbled, coming up behind Mason.
“That she has,” Mason agreed. “Probably for a long time. You’re one stupid man. You do realize that you need her, right?”
“I don’t need her at all,” Audric said bitterly. “I wanted to borrow her kids, but I can get others. The job isn’t specific.”
“Yes it is,” Mason told him. “Are you forgetting who can see the future? Though, it changes so much I can barely keep up.”
“Are you forgetting who I am? I can see the full future at a rate much higher than you.”
“If that was the case, you wouldn’t have Adeline and Erik deciphering the end of that seer’s tale for you. You’re cheating.” He smirked deviously. “I may not be a dimension watcher, but I’m also not an idiot. Knowing the end doesn’t do anything. You’re not suddenly going to come up with an epiphany for how to save this dimension. Maybe you’d be better off letting it reset.”
“I made it clear Mason, you work for me. Know your place,” Audric told him angrily.
“Oh, Audric. I know my place, and it isn’t under you. You’re really just an idiot who has no idea what he’s doing.” Though they had been walking towards the house, Mason stopped and turned around. “I have what I want now, and it’s no thanks to you. I can’t wait to see you fall. It’ll all be worth it.”
“You think this is a game, Mason?” Audric turned around, wand ready.
“You should really listen to Charlotte sometimes. She isn’t as blind as the Gray girl you chose. I dislike her, but at least she’s doing something.”
A blast flew towards Mason, sending him toppling over. “Don’t speak about my love like that.”
“Aww, what did I say, blind? I could have said a host of other choice words. Dumb, for one. Selfish. A real bitch.” Another shot came Mason’s way. A laugh escaped his lips.
“You…” Audric looked down at his wand and back at the man who was dusting himself off.
“Wow, with hits like those I should be dead. Wonder why I’m not,” He said in a mocking tone. “Oh Audric, I’ll tell you what I told Charlotte. A storm is coming and you won’t be able to stop it.”
“What is the meaning of this?”
“Sold my soul to the devil because he gave me a better offer.” Mason shrugged. “Saving the dimension sounded nice but all I ever got was yelled at for not doing as I was told. Boring, boring. This way is much more fun. Now, have a very pleasant day and tell the misses I do mean every word I said.” He outstretched his hand, creating a portal. Audric watched in awe. This wasn’t supposed to be something that existed. “Alienating the only Grays with the power to help you was a dumb move. Good luck getting them back. I have a much sweeter offer coming their way. They won’t say no.”
“Mason!” Audric called after him as the man disappeared into the portal. Resigning to the mistake he had made, Audric trudged toward the house to check on his partner.
“Caleb…” Charlotte practically begged. “This is a huge mistake.”
“So what if it is?” Caleb demanded. “It’s my mistake to make.”
“No, it isn’t!” She cried out. Charlotte could feel the room spinning. “It affects all of us. Now more than ever, we have to stick together. We lost one in our ranking, we can’t lose another.”
“Charlotte, I…” He bit his lip. “I promise I’m doing this to help you and your family.”
“How? How, Caleb?” She demanded.
“I can’t say,” He whispered. “Please, trust me. I need to be with my father.”
“You knew this whole time that he was your dad?” Charlotte asked. “And you didn’t tell us?”
“The reason I know it, is dangerous. I can’t put that on your family when you’re already doing so much. I appreciate all of your kindness, but I cannot allow you to shoulder this.”
“My decision is final,” He told her. “I’m sorry. I know it’s not what you wanted, but I just have to do this for myself and for you, alright?”
“Charlotte…” She heard Jeff’s soothing voice from the doorway. “He’s a grown man, he can make up his own mind.”
She sighed. “I know. I know. I respect your decision Caleb. I even sort of understand. We will always be around if you need us.”
“Always,” Jeff agreed.
“Where will you guys go?” Caleb asked.
“Adeline knows about this place her and Erik read about in books. I don’t know if it’s real or not, but we’ve got to try.”
“Wait a second,” Jeff said. “You don’t know where we’re going?”
“It’s called Fortitude,” She replied. “It’s on a map, which means the land is there. We just don’t know what else is there.”
“That’s a risk you’re willing to take?” Caleb asked.
Charlotte nodded. “Yes. I can’t stay here any longer. Mason…I saw him. I know I shouldn’t be listening to what he says, but he told me something scary.” Both men were looking at her with concern. “He said a storm was coming and Audric wouldn’t be able to stop it. If that’s true, I want to be as far away from here as possible.”
“Fortitude, huh?” Erik asked, running his hand down Adeline’s back. “Do you think it’s real?”
“Yeah,” His wife answered. “If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be bringing my family there. The research we’ve done points to it being a real place.”
“We’re basing this off of an ancient seer’s tale,” Erik said. “Did you tell your sister’s that?”
“Not exactly,” She mumbled. “If I did, they wouldn’t go.”
“Now isn’t the time to be untruthful, Ade,” He told her. “We need to be strong together. It’s all of us, against the rest of the universe, dimension, whatever.”
She let out a sigh. “It’ll be there. I feel it. The birthplace of all vampires. It’s where we’ll need to be to find out information about how to stop someone like Altiere.”
“Something about an ancient supernatural birthing ground sounds eerie,” He answered before kissing her neck. She shivered under his touch.
“Well, if you say it like that.” She shook her head. “If what we deciphered is right, we’ll find what we’re looking for and more.”
“I hope you’re right.”
“I am. Do you trust me?”
“With everything I’ve got.”
“Then please pack up. I’m going to call my sisters. The sooner we leave, the better.” She kissed him quickly on the lips before leaving the room.