Everleigh was staying over at her grandparents for the night, her second night in a row, the evening prior had been a big party with all her cousins, all home from college, which went until deep into the night. Since they had the biggest yard of all the homes, located secluded on a cliff, the grandparents had volunteered their home to the grandkids and all their friends, while giving the parents peace of mind by sticking around as chaperones.
Liam and Leonie looked worse for the wear the next morning, while they were significantly fitter and more active than most grandparents, they were not the youngest anymore, no amount of hair dye and healthy lifestyle could change that, they felt last night’s party this morning. Evey was now 18 and a freshman in college, like most of her cousins except Cameron, who was one year their senior. KC had been at the party as well, not only because he lived there, but also because he knew all of Evey’s cousins and friends and was always invited to events. He was about to turn 21 in a few months and found a job at a local woodworking shop.
The other cousins, including the two younger siblings, Evey’s brother Josh, who was now 12 and Brianna and Deacon’s youngest, who was 11, had also spent the night but in the meantime all gone to their respective homes, and the cleaning staff had finished returning the home to its old glory and just left when Evey joined her grandparents for coffee in the kitchen.
“Good morning … or better just ‘morning’? Do you want breakfast, sweetie? Grandpa and I already ate?” Leonie asked her.
“Oh no thanks. I seriously overdosed on muffins, soda, candy and chips last night. If I eat anything now I will burst. No breakfast for me. Or lunch … probably no food until Christmas. Urgh.” Everleigh moaned.
“I’d take some … morning all.” KC now joined them, shirtless, smirking.
“I’ll make you some food, sweet boy.” Leonie smiled, got up and gently pat his cheek hearing Liam grumble
“You all out of shirts kid? Youth is truly wasted on the young…” before he left the room.
“What’s with him?” Evey asked her grandmother.
“Just extra needy today. If he does not get his 8 hours of sleep these days, he is cranky and whiny. I am used to it. Give him a few hours and he will be his old, lovable self again.” Leonie smiled patiently.
“Why don’t you go baby grumpy grandpa and I’ll handle our human garbage disposal here?” Everleigh offered, earning her laughs from Leonie, who took her coffee and left while Evey was being chased around the kitchen island by KC.
“I surrender, I give up! Mercy!” she giggled when he caught her.
“Fine, I’ll let it slide. But only because I know better than to piss off the one making me food.”
“We need to teach you how to cook.”
“Why? I have you?” he teased.
“Please stop! STOP! You are hurting me! STOP!!!!! HEEEEEEEELP!” the girl’s screams echoed through the empty house.
The door flew open, KC ran in.
Grasping the gist of the scene within seconds, he pulled Heath off Everleigh with great force sending him crashing into a wall.
Growling and hissing angrily, Heath stood stiffly when the grimace-like stiffness of the face suddenly softened and the brightly red eyes returned to a deep, soft purple. His facial expression seemed like that of a man who had been unconscious and was slowly coming to, even though his eyes had been open the entire time.
“Oh no! OH NO! OH NO!” he kept repeating over and over.
KC paid no attention, he was comforting Everleigh who had labored herself up off the floor on shaky legs, clinging on to him, sobbing hard.
“What have I done?!”Heath kept mumbling.
“Are you okay? Evey, are you hurt?” KC inquired with great urgency in a soft voice.
The girl shook her head, still crying uncontrollably.
“Evey, Evey, hey, look at me! Did he … do something … terrible? Do I need to take you to a hospital? Let me see that neck too!” he gently turned her head in both directions, exposing no bite marks, he let go and breathed a sigh of relief.
“No … he just .. started … you came just in time…he wasn’t himself anymore… and so strong. Too strong for me to stop him ….” she sobbed.
It took a while until she calmed down, sitting on her bed with the young rescuer.
Heath had disappeared in the meantime.
“I am going to mess him up for this, Evey! Gloves are off now” KC growled, gently stroking the young woman’s back.
“Please don’t. It wasn’t his fault. He warned me … he …kept telling me he should leave…”
“You INVITED him up? Into your room?!” KC asked confused and on the verge of anger, referring to the room Evey always stayed in when sleeping over at her grandparents.
“I didn’t think THIS would happen. I thought it would be like before …”
“BEFORE?! You had him in your room before?! What the hell, Evey?”
“KC, please it’s …”
“Fucked up is what that is! I don’t remember ever being invited in here when you were staying over. And now I hear you’re about to put in a rotating door for HIM. You defend him after he almost raped you or bit you?! Or probably both. What do you think would have happened, had I not come home and heard you?! Huh?! I am so sick and tired of this shit. Always just second choice. I guess you are gonna be okay now anyway. I need some air!”
He already left, slamming the door shut behind himself.
“Dammit.” Evey began to sob again, her legs pulled up on the bed. Running after KC would be pointless now.
“What do you think, daddy?” Everleigh twirled in front of her father in a new outfit.
“I think it is a new sweater. Just like all the other ones you already have.”
“It looks … nice.” Everett said.
“Honey, you are my daughter. What do you want me to say? Makes you look grown up, like a beautiful young lady.”
“Thank you daddy. So you like it?”
“What? Why?” Evey was confused.
“Because it makes you look like a beautiful young woman, not my little girl!”
“Oh jeeze, daddy. You are really weird sometimes, but I love you anyway.” She snuggled into her father’s arms, who folded his around hers, which shifted the top part of the loose sweater slightly.
“I love you, my sweet little girl … EVEY! What is THAT!?”
Everett let go, and now pulled around on his daughter’s sweater, exposing dark bruises.
“It’s nothing daddy. I just… ummm” she pulled out of his reach and adjusted the loose top.
“WHO DID THIS TO YOU!?”
“Dad, I handled it.”
“It was that brute, KC, wasn’t it!? I will kill him!”
“Daddy, KC had nothing to do with this.”
“Oh, I think he did! I am going over there!” Everett stormed out.
“Daddy no! Wait …!”
Evey tried to stop him, limping around on the one heel after losing the other shoe, only to watch him drive off. She ran inside, grabbed the other boot and the keys to her own car, then drove after him.
“Hey son, I didn’t know you were coming ov…”
Everett pushed his father aside, causing his mother to let out a surprised scream.
“Where is that asshole!?” Everett demanded angrily.
“Son, watch your language around your mother! And what are you…”
“There he is! You no good son of a bitch!” Everett hissed, running into the living room and with one firmly placed punch to the face KC hit the ground, staring up in disbelief, Everett over him until Liam pulled him off.
“ENOUGH!” Liam roared, grabbing his son who was about to continue his assault, dragging him along into the home office, throwing the door shut behind them and blocking it.
“Dad I … ”
“Dad he ..”
“ONE MORE WORD OUT OF YOU AND I SWEAR YOU WILL MEET THE SAME FATE AS KC JUST DID! SIT DOWN AND TRY TO EXPLAIN WHY YOU THINK YOU CAN COME INTO YOUR PARENTS’ HOME, SCARE YOUR MOTHER HALF TO DEATH AND PUNCH THAT KID!! God knows if there is something KC does not need it is for someone to take their moods out on him with their fists! HE HAS HAD THAT PLENTY!”
“He hurt Evey!”
“I think he tried to force himself on her.”
“DAD! GRANDPA!” Evey knocked on the door, Liam opened it and pulled her into the office, shutting the door behind her.
“Everleigh, explain.” he demanded.
Everett jumped up, pulling down the sleeves exposing the bruises. Liam clenched his jaw.
“It wasn’t KC, I swear. He helped me.”
Liam stared at his granddaughter until she lowered her gaze guiltily.
“All right. I think I have a good idea of what really happened. I’ll handle it from here. Take your girl home, AFTER you apologize to KC. And your mother, too, Rett.”
“I am her father!”
“AND I AM YOURS! And this is MY home. You are MY son and will do as I tell you or you will get to know a side of me you haven’t seen before! I said I will handle this!”
“Fine!” Everett stomped off, dragging his daughter along.
Liam was already on his way to the garden shed, entered and pulled open the coffin lid, finding a very much awake Heath.
He pulled him up and out of the coffin by the collar of his jacket, which the young vampire let happen without a fight, including being slammed into the wall, where he bounced off, eventually facing the older man.
“I thought I had made myself clear to you. And I specifically remember a talk you and I had when you moved in, concerning you and my granddaughter, and you gave me your word. EXPLAIN!”
“I am sorry …”
“Yes, it will never happen again…”
“You bet your ass it won’t! But I am going to need a lot more than sorry if you want to keep me from acting out what I am currently feeling, and that is dragging you up those stairs into the bright sunlight right now to watch you burst into flames!”
“Maybe that would be best.”
“TRY AGAIN! Pity party won’t cut it.”
“I do not know what to say…”
“Then explain to me what happened, and I will tell you!”
Liam let go of Heath who just stood around, a guilty look on his face.
“Does she hate me now?”
“Your biggest concern at the moment should be if I hate you or not. TALK!”
“We watched a movie together … and she leaned up against me … fell asleep. So peaceful. I didn’t want to wake her so I carried her upstairs. She woke up and held on to me. She begged me to stay … I .. tried to leave … but … it felt so …. and then she kissed me. Or I kissed her, I don’t know and after that I lost control. I … ”
“You KNEW that could happen. I know that can happen to this new breed of vampires, so I am pretty sure you did too, seeing how you are one!!!”
“I thought I could control it. I have controlled it every time before …”
“EVERY TIME!?! Wait a sec, how many times have you visited my granddaughter in her room?! And kissed her?”
“Once. Only once have I visited, but no kiss. Years ago. At her home, not here. I have never gone in there in this house. The feeling … it’s not new, but I left every time it got too much to bear except that one time. I swear it!”
“I do not know what to say to you. If KC had not come home early …my wife and I apparently weren’t home. I thought you were the responsible one of the two, or I would have never risked moving a vampire into my home. I am really wondering about my decision! How far exactly did this all go?!”
“Not far. I was just holding her. Then KC came …. nothing more…”
“KC may have just saved your life there, kid!”
“Shall I … go? For good …?”
“Tempting. I gave the other kid a chance to fix his mistakes. As far as I am concerned you deserve one too, but only because I know how hard it is to be a vampire living among humans and how you often don’t find out how uncontrollable some urges can get until you get there. And sometimes it is too late then to undo it. Many humans do not realize that you cannot measure vampires with the same standards as humans. I do. So, I tell you what. KC had to work hard for his chance, and he still does. So you will have to as well. You will apologize to Evey. If she forgives you, I will consider letting you stay. And you will thank KC, kiss his feet, cos I think he not only rescued Evey but also saved your ass. And you will tell Evey’s father … wait .. no. Don’t do that. Definitely don’t do that. Everett won’t be able to handle that. Not a word to him. I will handle that part. But I need your word that this will remain a ONE TIME thing. And ONLY if Evey agrees. And never again will you get THAT close to her or be in any bedrooms anywhere with her unless the house is on fire or some other emergency and you are saving her. Do we have an understanding?”
“Yes Sir. And Sir … I am truly very sorry. I swear I will never go near your granddaughter again.”
“Don’t make promises you won’t be able to keep. If she forgives you she will hug you and we both know that.. But you bruised her badly! I do not want to imagine what would have happened had KC not come in when he did!”
“Me either, Sir. I am sick about it.”
“And they said being a grandfather is the Autumn of your life. All you do is sit around grinning happily cos you forgot what the hell is going on anyway, with your feet up by the fireplace, and happy grandkids come sit on your lap. What do I get? Arthritis and THIS!”
To call the atmosphere tense would have been a solid understatement.
Seven people were sitting around the dining room table at Liam and Leonie’s home. Everett was shooting death stares at Heath, Katie was holding Rett’s hand under the table to keep him from jumping up.
“All right. So let’s get this started to get it over with and maybe clear the air. Heath, do you want to start?”
The young vampire nodded.
“I wanted to sincerely apologize to you Everleigh. It was a lapse of judgement that will never be repeated.”
“Damn right it won’t!” Everett growled from beneath gritted teeth.
“Rett…” Katie said.
“Everleigh?” Liam called his granddaughter to action.
“What? OK, apology accepted.” Evey shrugged.
“A little bit more, please.” Liam pressed on.
“He wants you to admit you fucked up too.” KC told her.
“Thank you KC. Remind me to buy you a dictionary and a thesaurus. But yeah.” Liam agreed.
“Ok, fine. I messed up. I got him into trouble. I already said that hundreds of times. And I am sorry too. Friends?” Evey walked around the table, stopping next to Heath’s chair, who got up too and they hugged.
Everett and KC both frowned.
“Urgh.” KC made.
“Thank you KC. Truly, thank you.” Heath addressed him.
“Yeah yeah, you got it. But please stay over there. Still not hugging your pale dead ass.” KC told him.
“Would you hug me though?” Evey asked, head tilted, smiling.
“All day long, Barbie.” he smiled back, interrupted by Everett standing up.
“I don’t think that’s necessary. OK dad, mom. We did as you asked, came here, all sung kumbaya, all is just hunky-dory again. I think I’ll take Katie and Evey home now. See you later guys.”
“Daddy!” Evey complained.
“Rett!” Katie said.
“What? I said it before and I say it again: I do not like this. Any of it. I do not know, dad, why you and mom feel like you need to save every lost soul – and even those without one – but I know I cannot stop you. Still I do not want my family exposed to all that mess any more than we already have been. In fact, I’d prefer it if Evey would NOT spend a night here again. It is far beyond me that you would let a dangerous New Breed into your home, but I do not want him around my daughter again. We have seen that is is not safe!”
“Daddy, I am 18.”
“Which is why I said I’d prefer it. I know I cannot stop you anymore, cos if I could, I would have already. You got away from that … that … individual … once, I do not want to know what happens if that … subject.. over there loses his mind again. How can you expose mom to something like that, dad, in clear conscience? There have been reports of New Breeds ki”
“Everett Cameron! I am not some helpless doll. And I will not have you talk to your father or Heath that way! Your father has made the best choices he knows how to make, he has a kind heart, and they say you should help those who need it if you are able, so I have supported him and will support him 100%! I understand you want to protect your child, but you are being unreasonable, son!”
“Mom, quit living in lala land!”
“Everett!” Liam was standing now too, shooting him warning glances across the table.
“Sorry mom. I didn’t mean it like that.” Everett relaxed as his mother took his hand, rubbing it.
“I know honey.”
“So … what about my hug then?” KC asked.
After a moment of surprise, the entire group burst into laughter as Everleigh turned to KC who was now standing and pulled him into a tight embrace.
“You gonna finish that?”
Evey shook her head and slid the plate with the partially eaten slice of cake over to KC, who indulged himself right away, when someone stopped at their table.
“I thought I recognized you. Hi Evey. How are you? How is college going?”
“Uh … fine thanks.” Evey looked surprised at the young, blonde man who now stood at their table, while KC said nothing, instead eyed the new arrival while continuing to eat.
“I am studying too, Law, so I can join my dad in his practice afterwards. Do you still plan to work at your dad’s architectural firm one day?” the blonde man looked KC over, when their eyes met, KC winked and smiled at him, making the other one frown.
“Yeah…” Everleigh replied.
“Sorry, but who the fuck are YOU?” KC now spoke up, still chewing his last bite.
“KC, this is Tyler. Tyler, KC.”
“Not THAT Tyler?”
“KC, let it go.”
“Umm .. yeah .. I only stopped by cos … I was looking through old photographs the other day and found a bunch of us and it made me think how things really went wrong back then. I never really apologized to you. Isabelle said you weren’t seeing anyone, so I was wondering if you maybe wanted to go catch a movie with me. Soon.”
“Fuck off, she’s not interested.” KC growled.
“KC, I can talk for myself.”
“Fine, then you tell him you are not fucking interested.”
“Who exactly are you to her?!” Tyler addressed KC
“I am her BS filter. She upgraded herself from dating cheatin’ losers to real men. Now piss off, time’s already quarter to bone break for you!”
“Degenerate!” Tyler hissed, but hurried to the door when KC twitched as if he was going to get up.
“Were you planning on going out with that pile of sorryness?”
“Of course not. He really is not that bad. He is a nice guy .. aside from .. you know … that. You did not have to be so …. harsh.”
“I really have to wonder about your taste in men. Not only did your eyes use to light up whenever that pale Heath crawled out of the ground at night, now that wimpy babyface wants back in your life. Nice guy, my ass! That ragdoll was just limping around the cliff about to trip over his own shoelaces. I just helped him go down a little faster. Case closed.”
Evey looked up and saw Tyler still outside.
“I’ll be right back.”
KC rolled his eyes.
“Tyler … sorry about that. He is a bit … brash sometimes.”
“So that is who you associate with nowadays” Tyler pulled a face. Evey’s smile faded, her eyes narrowed at his comment, before she hissed.
“Yup. You know, decent guys. Loyal, with integrity.”
“You know what? I am glad I saw this now. You throw yourself away on trailer trash, just a matter of time you get yourself knocked up probably before you are even 20 and it will just be downhill from there. I am REALLY glad everything happened the way it did. You really do the rumors about the Camerons proud. Guess you can put lipstick on a pig, but not take the white trash out of the Camerons.”
He could not say more as KC’s fist met Tyler’s face, and he was knocked out before he ever hit the ground.
“KC!” Evey exclaimed surprised.
“He was desperately begging for it!” KC shrugged.
“Let’s get out of here! Fast. Nobody saw … come on!” Everleigh grabbed his hand and they ran.
Laughing, they fell into the soft sand after playing in the water.
“Too bad none of the others could make it…” Evey said, referring to her cousins.
“Yeah, I cannot stop crying …”
“Oh KC. You know you love them.”
“Yeah, especially Cameron. What IS his problem with me anyway? He is worse than your dad.”
“Just protective. Like my dad.”
“Protect you from ME? Bitchez please!”
“They just do not know you like I do.”
“Sometimes I wonder if you know me at all… most of the time I am not more than an afterthought since you are too busy worrying about you know who. Still .. after everything.”
“That is not true! And you know it!”
“Ah yeah? If his pale ass wouldn’t end up extra crispy in no seconds flat, Heath would be laying right here next to us and you’d be all like KC Who?”
“Are you jealous?”
“I am going for another swim!”
“KC, don’t you walk away from me …”
Everleigh jumped up, but with long strides he was already by the water’s edge about to disappear into the cool blue waves.
“Ah, here you are! I am making cookies and there is batter begging to be licked off spoons and bowls. Any takers?” Leonie entered the small home gym, smiling.
“Nah, thanks, not hungry.” KC never even looked at her, instead continued to place hard hits on the punching bag.
“OK, if YOU decline food, I know it must be bad. Do you want to talk about it?”
Leonie now pulled gently on KC’s shoulder, he averted his eyes. Taking his face into her hand and turning it so he had to face her, she looked into his eyes. No smile. She nodded.
“Will you help me lift something in the kitchen then, sweetie? Please?”
He pulled off his gloves and followed her.
“Sit down.” she grabbed two coffee mugs, filled them with coffee and handed one to KC, placed a plate with a cookie in front of him, before joining him at the kitchen island.
“Thought you needed me to carry something heavy…”
“No, I said I wanted you to lift something. And you are lifting something. The mug. It’s just us, kiddo. Let’s talk. I raised two boys. I can tell something is wrong. I may be able to help.”
“Doubt it. No matter what I try, no matter how hard, I am always just second choice when it really matters.”
“Ah. I see what’s going on. So what have you done about it?”
“What do you mean? I changed my entire life, I am trying to fix myself. What more CAN I do?”
“Have you ever told her how you felt?”
KC averted his eyes again. Too close for comfort.
Leonie smiled, leaned forwards and gently patted his hand on his knee.
“Oh sweet boy, I have been there with every single one of my children more than once. I know what it looks like. And how frustrating it can be. Evey had her heart broken before and now is really tentative about giving it away again. And her dad had been harping on about being like him since she was young, he never dated much until he met Katie. I am wondering if Everleigh may try to be like him. All work and no time for love. She does have her nose in the books an awful lot.”
“Doesn’t seem to have a problem letting some people in … ”
“Many girls fall for that mysterious vampire thing. Even I did. Although as much as I was enamored by it, it scared me too. Now when Liam and I were young, vampires were much different from the ones nowadays, but the war against them and intolerance was the same. Dating one is rough. For many years Liam could not abide the sun, meaning when all my friends and I did normal teen stuff, I was always the only one without her boyfriend there, watching everybody else hold hands and kiss and all that. That on top of my father hating his guts … I don’t think it’s love that she feels, I think she just senses that Heath is a very lonely young man through no fault of his own. I tried to spend time with him, but can see how any young man would prefer the company of a pretty young woman his own age over an old lady like me. I know you know how much rejection hurts and he has felt that all his life, except with Evey. It bonds people. Besides, and I know that also from personal experience with my husband, it is TOUGH on a girl when her handsome man has many pretty girls after him. REALLY tough. Almost broke Liam and me up a few times. Which may be the reason she keeps you at bay. Subconsciously.”
“Me? I don’t have pretty girls after me…I am not a celeb. I am a nobody.”
“Are you now? Let’s see, I remember the last time I took you with me to the market, when I realized at the checkout line that I forgot the eggs and send you back for them, you came back with three phone numbers … and still no eggs when I was almost finished checking out!” Leonie giggled.
KC blushed slightly and grinned.
“One time … and not like I actually ever called any of them. It’s more catch and release …”
“ONE time? Is that so? Wondering if your memory is worse than mine, sweetheart. Let’s see how many this old lady can remember. How about the last time you helped me to buy a few cases of soda and I bought you lunch at that diner afterwards …”
“OK ok ok … I get it. So what do you want me to do about that? Grow a beer belly and now shower anymore?”
“Since you live in my home, no. Personal hygiene is mandatory and I enjoy those envious stares of the other old ladies too much when I am out and about with what they could presume to be my handsome young lover too much, so no beer belly for you either, kiddo. All joking aside, have you ever asked her out on a date? A REAL date, not all the stuff you guys constantly do together. With or without the cousins but always WITHOUT Heath, I might add.”
“What if she says no?”
“KC, sweetheart … that is a problem all men face. And women. You won’t know till you try. And for what it’s worth … strictly between us … I like Heath a lot, but have always been Team KC, but shhh! Don’t give up. If it’s meant to be, it will be. If not, you have to let it go.” she winked at him, gave him a peck on the cheek and got up to start dinner, leaving a grinning KC to his mental rollercoaster.
He stood at the plateau of the train station watching the train disappear into the distance. Gone again. And he still had not worked up the courage to ask her out. Now she was off again, to college and wouldn’t be back home for months. Idiot!
Everleigh preferred taking the train rather than have someone drive so far too pick her up every time and there was no airport close enough to her college. Sometimes she would come home just for a long weekend. Her car stayed at her parents, as parking was expensive on the very modern and eco-conscious campus.
Dammit. Next time for sure. KC swore himself.
Luckily next time came faster than expected. A small and unexpected earthquake had rendered much of the campus uninhabitable by taking out power, water and electric lines, so they cancelled classes for a week.
KC stood at the train station once again, looking at his watch for the 20th time now, when finally the train rolled in.
He looked up and down the train, when he finally saw her jump out one of the doors onto the plateau at the opposite end of where he was, now smiling at and talking with a man at least 20 years older than her who got off the train behind her and was scribbling something on a piece of paper, then handing it to her.
“Oh HELL NO!” KC said as he hurried over to them.
As he arrived, Evey saw him and smiled up at him surprised to see him instead of her grandfather, when he took the paper from her, balled it up and tossed it onto the tracks, then grabbed Evey and dip kissed her.
Breathless as he let off her, she could do nothing but stare at him, her cheeks flushed and eyes wide, mouth open.
The man from the train addressed KC
“Oh, you must be her boyfriend…”
“Husband of 15 years. And you may go now. Exit is THAT way. Bye bye!” KC barked at him, glaring angrily.
The man picked up his bag and scurried away.
“KC, what the hell was that?!”
“Let’s go home.” he grabbed her bag and started towards the exit signs, she followed.
“Why did you kiss me?”
“Seemed like a better choice at the moment than punching that old creep’s lights out in public. He could be your father.”
“That paper you tossed …”
“You don’t need his phone number. You can do better than some random old fart you met on a train.” his anger dissipated the moment she put her arm around his shoulder. She was so close to him now. Hot and cold shivers went down his spine.
“KC … that nice man lend me his book to read, since I forgot mine, it was a good story, but I couldn’t finish it, so he wrote down the title and author for me.”
“Oops. Need me to go back and look for it?”
“No, I prefer you the current height and width instead of having to peel you off the tracks.”
“I am faster than I look.”
“Yah, I have noticed. So, since when do we kiss friends? And on the lips?”
“New tradition. Welcome home, friend.”
She leaned up against him. His heart was racing fast, but he decided to play it cool.
They had reached the car, he opened the passenger door for her, tossed her bag into the trunk, and now slid into the driver seat then started the car.
“Just to clarify … do you greet everyone this way now?” she smiled at him from the passenger seat.
“Yup. Except your dad. He likes it when I grab his ass a bit, too.”
“Oh jeeze!” Everleigh had to laugh at the mental image. Her dad still only tolerated KC. And probably only because her mom really liked him.
“So why are you not at work?”
“Took the day off. Had something more important to do.”
“Consider me flattered.” Everleigh beamed.
“How long are you staying?”
“A week, probably. Until they patched my university back up. Why?”
“My birthday is on the 20th.”
“That’s right! You’re gonna be 21! Any plans?”
“You KNOW your grandparents are going to throw some sort of bash. My question is, are you gonna be there?”
“Try and stop me!”
He shot her a quick look and smiled.
“Is this seat taken?” Evey had walked up next to Heath, sitting in the grass by the fence in the outer corner of her grandparents’ home.
Heath shook his head. He had become withdrawn and quiet, avoiding almost all interactions, with anybody, but most of all Everleigh.
“You okay?” she asked.
“Ironic that you are the one asking me that.”
“Well, beat you to the punch. And seriously Heath, get over it already. I have moved on. We are good again. I forgave you. Let it go. I miss you.”
“I haven’t forgiven myself. I cannot stop thinking about what all could have happened…” He looked away.
“Could have being the operative term. Fact is, it didn’t. Come on Heath… chill, will ya? Quit being so hard on yourself.”
He shook his head.
“So does that mean you are mad at me now?”
“What?! No. Why would I be?!”
“I caused this whole mess. In a way. Not on purpose obviously. You just took it and one upped my stupidity. Lesson learned, time to move on.”
“You are not to blame. You did not know. I did not even really know what could happen. But you still do not see me for what I really am. A monster. Everybody else does. I should have died in that basement years ago.”
“You need therapy.”
“You do not get it, Evey. I am not human. Vampires don’t do therapy, as it does not work. Nothing about me is like anything you know. I should never have been alone anywhere with you. I should not be alone with you right now!”
“OMG Heath! Get it together! I am the one here who should be mad. And I got over it. So get over it already.”
“Get over it? Everleigh, I almost made a terrible and irreversible mistake, ruining both our lives and I can barely even remember it. I do not even know if I was about to rape you or turn you or both! Evey, I should not even be talking to you …”
“Heath, shut the heck up and be normal to me again or you’ll learn first hand why my dad and grandpa call ME “monster” sometimes!”
He looked at her, his face relaxed as she knelt down, hugging him from behind.
Neither one of them noticed the young man by the patio door, looking directly at them.
“What the hell is THAT shit now again?!” KC’s face changed to an angry grimace as he watched on.
Seconds later he shook his head and the anger changed to capitulation. “I give up. I fucking give up!”
He turned away from the window and went into his room.