She’s beautiful. Classic and poised. We share many similarities, our hair for one. We are often mistaken for sisters, of course, when we are out in the world, and we’ve taken to simply nodding in agreement instead of trying to explain how she could possibly be my mother.
She turns, hands on her hips, giving us both an appreciative smile. “Well, if we are not the best-looking family out there tonight, you can butter my butt and call me a biscuit.”
Papa and I give each other a glance and chuckle at one of her classic euphemisms, my mother’s voice and stance hinting more than usual at her Savannah roots. It’s where they met and conceived me twenty-one years ago, when my mother was still human. Most people wouldn’t believe that vampires take vacations at all, let alone to the Georgia coast, and the truth is some can’t. But my father has an unusual tolerance for sunlight and a love of the ocean.
“You are as stunning as the day we met.” My father takes her hand kissing the back.
“Like yesterday.” Mama gets that wistful look in her eyes whenever she talks about how they met. “I still wonder, in that split second it took you to decide whether or not to save me, or kill me.”
My father leans in to kiss her cheek. I’ve heard the story a hundred times but the joy in their eyes when they wander back in time makes it tolerable.
“You are here, I am here. So, clearly saving you was the decision.”
“Yes my love. It was difficult, I’m sure. A naïve young southern girl, lying there bleeding in the back alley, two heathens standing over me ready to have their way…”
“It was the fight I saw in your eyes.” Papa looks at me. “They underestimated the sweet girl taking the short cut behind the local tavern.”
“My Daddy didn’t raise a coward.” Mama looks at my father like it’s the first time. “When they threw me down in that alley and I landed on the broken bottle, I knew if I was shedding blood, so were they.” She smiles then looks at me. “I just never expected what happened next.”
“The scent of your blood was the sweetest perfume. The taste of their blood, the sweetest revenge.”
“Oh Rudolf. You’re such a romantic.”
“We’re going to be late.” I gently ease the conversation back to reality.
“Well, ladies.” My father holds out his hands to us. “Shall we?”
My mother and I reply in unison. “We shall.”
As we approach the front door, it swings back, opened by my father’s telepathic power, and we exit into the crisp late October air where the Bentley is waiting, engine running. As the door quietly clicks shut behind us, the scent of the man across the street hits me hard, and I suddenly find it difficult to catch my next breath.
“Are you alright, dear?” My mother’s face tightens with concern. “You don’t look a hundred percent.”
I shake my head and force a smile. “I’m fine.”
“Well, you’ll be sure to let us know if you’re not?”
I nod as my father stands next to the passenger door and opens it with a glance. He seats my mother, again closing the door with a quick look, then helps me into the back before settling behind the wheel himself and easing the nearly soundproof sedan down the long drive to the gate. His hands adjust his tie as he controls the car with his mind.
My mother gives him a disapproving look, and with a smile he places his hands on the wheel, taking a more human approach to driving.
“Oh!” My mother turns to me then back to my father, the moonlight catching on her pale skin, turning it opalescent. “I had a courier take an invitation to our new neighbor yesterday. He RSVP’d a couple hours ago.”
My heart skips at the mention of him, my senses seeking out his scent or the sound of his heartbeat as we pass his drive. Part of me wants to jump out of the car, hunt him down and do…things I’ve never imagined until recently. The other part of me, the sensible part, knows that’s just the hormones and I would be putting all of us in jeopardy if I did.
“Wonderful.” My father sounds delighted. If he knew what was going through my mind right now, he’d turn the car around and lock me in my room for the next five days. “Always best to keep up appearances with the neighbors. I’m happy to see someone living in the house again. It’s been vacant so many years.”
“What did he say? Is he coming?”
I try to hide the hint of desperation in my voice but fail, and the tone draws a sidelong glance from my father, along with a perfectly arched raised eyebrow from my mother. If he’s there, perhaps I’ll be able to control myself in the presence of my parents. That’s my hope. But God help me if we’re ever left alone.