It had been months since the war ended and it seemed as though everything was getting back to normal. Drake checked in on the fanged citizens of Riverview to ensure those that fed were well again. The residents’ blood was slowly losing traces of the drug and the vampire hunters many field offices had been burned to the ground by hordes of angry vampires. Those unlucky enough to escape with their lives were being hunted by the ones they sought to destroy.
But the war was not without its casualties. It had raged on in the streets and the city was a very different place. The streets were filled with blood and hundreds of vampires and some humans had lost their lives in combat. And the drug that began the whole ordeal had not completely vanished from existence.
There were still underground clubs that offered “tainted” blood for those willing to spend a hefty amount to have added control over another vampire. Drake, Vincent and I were working hard to destroy all of these establishments when we found them; the damage they caused to the city’s vampires was irreparable.
Drake and I were also adjusting to life as parents and Christopher was the perfect child. He was a growing boy…a really fast growing boy. I couldn’t believe how big he had already gotten in such a short amount of time. But he was healthy and that was all I cared about.
I woke up and walked to the babies’ room. Drake had already beaten me to him…again.
“How’s he doing?” I asked taking a seat near the crib.
“Perfect. I fed him but I think he wants more. How are you feeling?”
“Sore. Those super vampires are crazy strong!” We had another battle only a few days ago.
Vincent had discovered a few Hunters that were hiding out in town. Once we were able to pinpoint their location, Drake and I helped with clearing them out but we were met with company. Company in the form of enraged Vampires that seemed to have increased abilities, similar to Drake’s.
One was able to spark lightning from his fingertips and kept sending shockwaves through the room.
While yet another could move the element of wind and he thought throwing me around the room was a nice way to introduce himself.
We were able to subdue them, I’d been able to handle using source magic without too many repercussions and while I placed them in a bind, Drake and Vincent finished them off.
But my body was paying for it today. I watched him play with CJ, his face lit up whenever his Daddy was in the room. The moment he’d held him at the hospital they had an instant bond; a connection noticeable in its power. He always knew when Drake was hurt or if something was wrong. These were senses I had not anticipated him having, and it sometimes caused me stress when he cried over his Daddy’s pain.
“You two are so cute together,” I smiled.
“You should have seen him earlier. He bit me; he refused to wait on the bottle.”
“Aww I’m sad! I missed ‘Baby’s First Feeding’!”
Drake continued walking the room with CJ and tossing him in the air. I started drifting out listening to his giggles.
“Zoe?” Drake smiled at me. “I can handle Chris, why don’t you go back to bed?”
“I don’t want to sleep.”
“Your body says otherwise. Come on, or do you want me to baby you too? Go, get back to bed before I carry you there,” he grinned.
I stood up and kissed both of my guys before wandering back to bed.
I didn’t awaken until hours later. I heard a woman’s laugh downstairs and picked myself up to see what was going on.
“Zoe!” Maggie yelled running at me as I neared the bottom of the stairs. She grabbed me and squeezed tight.
“How are you feeling? You look really…”
“Tired? I know. I’ve been just a little weak lately. But I’m improving. When did you get in?”
“A few hours ago.”
“Hours? Why didn’t anyone wake me?”
“I’ve been enjoying my nephew and brothers’ company.”
“Drake told me you were still recovering from what happened a few days ago and I didn’t want to disturb you,” she said looking over at him.
As she spoke, I noticed the large ring on her finger. Daniel had proposed, but he did it the day AFTER her birthday. He didn’t want her to suspect anything and played on her disappointment because he knew she was looking for it.
I thought it was sweet of him. He also wanted a special day for just them and didn’t want her birthday to be overly used.
“That ring is huge!”
“It’s heavy and I love it! I’ve never been one for jewelry, but this makes me smile every time I see it sparkle!”
She was glowing and it made me happy. She deserved her moment. “Does Daniel know about us now?”
She nodded. “He doesn’t believe me though, which is why I am here. I brought him so he could have his proof.”
“Where is he?”
“He went to get her something to eat. He thought it was odd we didn’t have food in the house,” Drake explained with a grin.
“Drake’s enjoying this too much,” Maggie said. “He’s been thinking up ways to shock my fiancé into having a heart attack!”
I laughed, “I won’t let that happen.”
Daniel knocked upon his return, I opened the door. He carried large bags of groceries into the living room and sat them on the table. “I didn’t know what you wanted,” he said with a kiss to her cheek.
He took a seat and smiled as he watched Maggie play with Christopher. “So Zoe, Maggie uh, gave me some incredible stories and convinced me to bring her here for proof. Honestly I am only here to humor her but I have to say I am a little curious. Your Mother was a witch?”
Summon her, that’ll really freak him out, Drake smiled.
I hit his arm as I sat near Daniel. “Yes, she was a leader of one of the most powerful covens of witches in existence. I took her place once she passed.”
“So…you’re ‘the leader of one of the most powerful covens of witches in existence’?” he asked sarcastically repeating what I said.
“Anything I do as proof will shock you and maybe scare the crap out of you, Daniel and that chair is brand new, I’d really not like it if I had to reupholster.”
He laughed, “Do you worst!”
Maybe I will call Mom and Dad. They should learn about his proposal. Plus the way they were with you when they found we were in a relationship…it might be interesting.
“Zoe what are you going to do?” Maggie asked.
“We’re going to play a little round of ‘Meet the Parents’.”
“Zoe don’t!” Maggie said.
“Wait, I thought your parents were dead?”
Maggie gave him a look of acknowledgement.
“Let’s do it! I’d love to meet them!”
“Danny are you sure?” Maggie asked.
He smiled to himself still not believing anything would happen. “Of course! I’d love to ask your Dad properly for your hand in marriage!”
Without having to trance, I called on the spirits of Mom and Dad. I’ve been falling in love with the power within my source, many spells that took forever before were instantly produced for me now.
“They’re here,” I announced.
Mom and Dad stood quietly behind Daniel as he “played along”. “Um…ok,” he said standing. “Hi Mr. Vale sir.”
“Carrillo, honey,” Maggie corrected. “Mom never changed her last name.”
“Oh sorry, Mr. Carrillo sir, it’s nice to meet you,” he laughed extending his hand to air. “Come on Maggie, this is ridiculous. You really have an active imagination.”
“It’s nice meeting you as well, Daniel,” Dad finally spoke.
Daniel turned to the voice and stood in wide eyed terror as he watched the fiery forms of Mom and Dad become corporeal and sit on the sofa in front of him.
“Uh…um…,” were the only sounds Daniel could muster.
“Mags tried to warn you,” I smiled.
“Wait so that means you really are a vampire!? You kill people and drink their blood?” he yelled at me with a disgusted look on his face.
He jumped back as I neared him. “No, Daniel, it’s not like that. There are other ways to feed as a vampire, blood bank raids for example. And I don’t kill innocent people, that’s not who I am.”
“The stories Maggie told me say otherwise! She’s said you’ve gone on hunts and have killed people!”
“I’ll admit I have killed, but only evil people and only those that come after me or my family.”
He looked over at Maggie and she nodded her head in agreement. “With the magic our family possesses, there are always threats and people wanting to own that power. They make constant attempts on Zoe’s life; one of them was successful hence the reason she is a vampire now. Drake turned her to save her life.”
I could hear Daniel’s heartbeat returning to normal. It surprised me hearing the way Maggie explained the situation, she really has embraced my life.
“This is unreal!” Daniel said trying to remain calm and absorb the information. “Maggie how could you keep this kind of thing from me for so long?”
“Would you have believed me if I told you from the beginning? You didn’t believe it tonight after the time we’ve spent together! Besides this is a family secret, it’s not exactly something I would advertise on a first date.”
“You’re a witch! And your sister is a vampire witch! And your parents are dead…ghosts! How is any of this possible? Magic is real? How?”
“The how’s we cannot explain. But yes, it’s all real. We were born into this; it’s not something we asked for.” She paused before continuing. “What are you feeling, Danny?” Maggie asked watching his reaction.
“I feel like I need a drink! Or eight!” he smiled weakly.
Maggie rubbed her neck and sighed.
He brought her into his arms. “Don’t do that, I hate that look. I love you Maggie and even if this takes a lifetime, I’ll learn to accept this because it’s a part of you. That ring I put on your finger should be proof enough of my devotion to you.”
She gave him a huge smile before throwing her arms around his neck and kissing him.
“So I guess I kinda bought too much food then huh?” he joked glancing at the amount of groceries on the table.
CJ crawled over to him and he picked him up. “Be careful, Daniel…”
“You can call me Dan or even Danny,” he said.
I smiled. “Dan. Our Son bites with reckless abandon so…don’t put him too close to your skin.”
He looked at the baby in his arms and noticed the two sharp fangs wedged in his gums. “Yeah, those look painful!”
We sat talking a while and he and our parents became well acquainted and I got to see what Maggie fell in love with. He was definitely a keeper and he truly cared for my big sister.
After they’d gone, I carried CJ to his room for the night. I changed his diaper and as always, he fought me every step. At least for me there was never a surprise shower as there was for Drake, and for that I was grateful. I smothered him in kisses before Drake grabbed him from my arms.
“That’s enough of that!” he smiled.
I sat on the couch and watched as Drake read him a story before we retired to the bedroom.
“Do you feel better knowing more about Dan now?” Drake asked as he prepared himself for bed.
“Yes. I think we all do. Are you about to sleep?” I was surprised seeing that. Lately he’d been taking full advantage of his age and not resting, not even for a minute. It had been months since I felt his body in the bed with me.
“If that’s ok?” he smiled.
“Of course it is!”
He walked over to my side and pulled the covers over me before joining me between the sheets. He kissed my forehead, “Goodnight sweetheart,” he said turning out the lights.
Hours later I awoke. My hand slid across the feeling of cool sheets on Drake’s side and I sat up finding he was no longer laying next to me. I looked at the clock, 3am.
I sat on the edge of bed and rubbed the sleep from my eyes; standing and still a bit groggy I made my way to Chris’s room.
As I neared it I heard voices, two of them. One of them was Drake’s but the other, much deeper and throaty, I could not determine the owner.
I leaned into the door and listened.
“Prepare the child,” the voice said. “He’s the reason for all of this. As promised you got the male heir you asked for, but now you must ensure the seed you planted grows as per our agreement, Drake.”
“I know what I must do. Christopher will be ready. He’s already absorbed much of the magics in the Vale source. We’re going to start practicing tomorrow.”
“So I’ve noticed. That wife of yours never stopped casting. Thanks to her, he was able to access that well of power. His role is very important and we need to get ready. You just make sure that when the time comes, he does what we need!”
I heard footsteps approach the crib and there was a burst of light shining underneath the door. I stepped back as the sounds neared the frame. Drake pulled the door open and jumped back with a surprised look on his face.
“Zoe! Sweetie, why are you awake?” he asked stepping out of the room and closing the door behind him.
“I came to check on Christopher,” I said peering at the door. “How’s he doing?”
“Sleeping; I made sure he was alright. We should get you back to bed.”
He grabbed my arm and ushered me away from the baby’s room. “I want to see him.”
“He’s sleeping Sweetie, just as you should be. Let’s not disturb him, ok?”
I nodded my head slowly my eyes never left Christopher’s door. He took my hand and led me back to the bedroom. Who was this man standing beside me? What was he hiding and why?
We reached the end of the hall and I again glanced at the baby’s door before he shut ours behind me.
The next morning I jumped out of bed, dressed and rushed to CJ’s room. He was not in his crib and there were no unusual or unfamiliar smells in his room anywhere. I checked his crib from top to bottom before looking out the window.
I saw him and Drake out in the back yard. Drake had him on the ground as he ran around him. If I hadn’t heard that conversation last night I’d think the scene was cute. Drake was teaching CJ vampire speed. But I was worried. My gut was wrenching watching Drake show our child the proper use of his skills.
I shook the thoughts from my head before joining them out back. “What’s going on?”
“I’m showing Chris how quick he’ll move once he is able to walk. We’re getting close to that I think and I wanted to make sure he knows how to make those legs work for him,” he smiled at me.
His smile wasn’t comforting as it usually was. It hid things from me; things that I found scary and disturbing.
I took a seat on the bench between Midnight and Macbeth and watched as Chris took in the information. The birds seemed really intent on watching Chris’s actions. They never even squawked in my direction as I rested with them.
Chris laughed and his eyes sparkled as Drake danced around him.
He started looking bored the longer Drake ran circles in the backyard and I watched as the wheels in his little head starting spinning.
Drake approached CJ again on his way around the garden once more and CJ threw his hand in Drake’s direction and I watched in horror as he sent him soaring towards a row of palm trees.
“Drake!” I yelled running over to him. I could hear Chris giggling behind me as I ran to check on his Daddy.
He hopped up and laughed. “Wow, Chris already has your magic!” he smiled feebly.
“It can’t be possible for Chris to have my magic yet, it can only be used by the one wearing this ring,” I corrected Drake hoping he’d give me some small piece of information.
“It must work differently now that you and he are vampires,” was his reply. “I think that’s enough practice for now though. How’s breakfast sound?”
He approached our Son and picked him up. I walked over to join him.
He was whispering something to him that I couldn’t quite make out.
I took Chris from his arms and he walked into the kitchen to grab a few plasma juices.
I looked at CJ, whose smile never faded from that handsome face, “What’s Daddy hiding from me?” I whispered against his cheek. I gave him a soft kiss before joining Drake in the dining room.
He grabbed the baby and put him in the high chair behind me, pulled out my seat and handed me one of the drinks.
“Drake what’s going on?”
“What do you mean?”
“Why are you training Christopher before he even knows how to walk or talk?”
“I figured the earliest we start, the stronger he’ll be. We have constant threats and danger looming around us Zoe. It’s smart if our son is well prepared for the life he is about to face.”
“Can I tell you a secret?” I smiled.
His eyes widened and he leaned into me.
“The night of that battle where you self destructed, Chris actually killed a vampire. He somehow dusted her from the womb!”
“What? Are you sure about that?”
“Yes. I’ve gone over that night again and again and it’s the only thing that makes sense. You and everyone else were fighting and no one was looking in my direction when it happened so not one of you killed her. She grabbed me, I felt him move and then she was gone.”
Drake looked over at Chris who was smiling and drinking from his bottle.
“Drake, you would tell me if there was something happening right?”
I broke his gaze to Christopher and he blinked in my direction. “Would you be honest with me and tell me everything?”
“Zoe, we’ve had this discussion.”
“Yes and you promised me no more secrets yet you are not being open as you said you would. You are hiding things from me and I know it. I just don’t understand why now. You told me it was because of the pregnancy and you didn’t want me stressed, well ok, I’m not pregnant any longer why am I still being coddled like a newborn?”
“I love you Zoe and I hope you know just how much. But there are some things that I simply prefer to keep to myself.”
“Even if it involves me and our Son?”
“Especially if it involves you or Chris; I need to be able to protect my family and I’ll go to great lengths to ensure your safety. Please, say you understand and let’s drop the subject.”
I stood from the table unable to hide my anger and frustration any longer. “No. I’ll never understand. But there isn’t anything I can do about that is there? Keep your secrets Drake, but just know I won’t stop digging until I learn what it is you’re hiding!”
I started in the direction of the magic room and Drake grabbed my arm. “Let it go, Zoe. The more you dig, the worse it gets! I am your husband and if you trust in our relationship, you’ll trust what I am doing is necessary and just let it go.” His eyes remained steady and pierced mine with intensity. “Zoe?”
“Fine Drake, I’ll let it go.”
“Oh, no you don’t, I want you to answer that truthfully Zoe. I asked you to remain magic free during your pregnancy and you didn’t; now I need you to be upfront about this. There are certain things I shouldn’t have to beg my wife for. ”
“You mean like honesty? Something that scarcely comes from you, Drake?”
“Damn it Zoe!” he screamed.
Chris started crying hearing the raised voices. Drake looked over at him and he suddenly quieted down.
Hearing Chris in that pain calmed me a little. “I tell you what, I’ll let it go BUT if anything changes, even the smallest of situations Drake, you have to promise me that you’ll tell me everything that’s happening! I’m tired of being in the dark about this. The deal you made scares me and I want to be by your side!”
“I can’t promise you that.”
“Then you have your answer.” I pulled away to leave the room.
“Wait, Zoe. Ok. IF the situation changes we’ll talk.”
“About everything? No secrets meaning NO SECRETS?”
“Can you answer one small thing for me at least?”
He looked at me through hooded eyes as he read my thoughts. “Yes, Chris and I had an instant bond at the hospital, I can’t explain why, but we did and it makes it easy for me to communicate with him.”
He smiled as he continued reading. “Don’t be jealous Sweetheart, he loves you just as much and he also wants to make sure you’re safe.” He pulled me closer and kissed me.
CJ finished his bottle and I picked him up from his seat. “I think I’d like to hear that from him. It’s never too early to start him speaking right?”
Drake followed us into the living room and Chris and I started a conversation.