Tuesday, November 29, 2011

3.8--This Modern Love

After spending the last week sleeping in and being generally lazy, Cedric and Harper realize that their funds are quickly running out.  Harper's guitar playing on street corners and Uther's after school job at the bookstore aren't bringing in enough money for them to eat and pay the rent.

Harper knows where she's going to apply; the theater.  She read in the paper of some local bands hiring for "talent" (which she knew was code for lackey or gaffer), but it might help her make her mark in the business. So she sucks up her pride and pretends to be a congenial person for the sake of the interview.

Cedric's choice of career is simply picked as a last resort.  He searched mercilessly and asked around for any openings in the fire station, but they were full up.  Unfortunately for him, the only other option that he's most qualified for and offers the most stability is the Military.  After a long and very morbid introspection (one which Cedric was bored with before it even started), he decides to take the job.  His inner-hippie is going to loathe every minute of it.

Is it me or does Cedric look fat-faced here? 0_0

Harper and Cedric still haven't moved their relationship forward.  Cedric is afraid of pushing her away if he's too aggressive and Harper is terrified of entering a relationship period; but the former has met his breaking point.  He doesn't want to be just friends any longer and if that means being repeatedly rejected until he gets what he wants, well... he's marginally ready for it.

So one night while Harper practices a few songs, Cedric blurts a nervous; "Do you want to go on a date with me?" He feels like he is back in high school.  If this were anyone else, he'd think the awkwardness of this situation was comedy gold.

Harper puts her guitar down and stares at Cedric. "Are you sure you want to go there with me? I mean... when I kissed you last week; I wasn't trying to push you into anything, so don't feel obligated. Plus, I'm not entirely sure that life with me will be 'normal' or 'stable,' given who I'm related to."

"Normalcy and stability are boring.  I want you."

Harper blushes. "Well, when you put it that way..."

Before she knows it, Harper is quickly becoming one of those love-struck idiots she used to make fun of.  She doesn't mind; Harper's already aware she's a hypocrite.

Despite this being her first time, Harper's not shy when leading Cedric to her bed...

...Or the shower the next morning. 


The following Monday marks Harper's first day of work.  After her weekend with Cedric, she realizes she would much rather lounge with him in bed all day than listen to whiny rock star's play shitty music.

"Don't worry," Marcela states when Harper audibly scoffs as they pulled out from her driveway, "the first day isn't so bad.  Just don't criticize them openly and pretend to be interested when they flirt and you'll be fine."

Harper doesn't say anything, but has a sinking feeling she won't last the week if that's sound advice.

Harper getting ice-cream before another long shift at work.

She practices the guitar any chance she gets.  Leliana Theirin, her boss, caught her one night practicing on one of the guitars during tuning backstage and promised her a promotion if she worked on her craft a bit more.  

"Granted, the only position we have right now is a roadie opportunity with another local band." Leliana added.

Harper shook her head and was about to turn down the offer, before Leliana interrupted. "Don't dismiss it yet. We all have to start somewhere and I would really hate to see someone with talent stagnate at your level. Plus," she added with a wink, "we do need some more beauty in this industry." Leliana stopped talking to stare at Harper intently. "It's a shame they keep dressing you in rags though.  I keep petitioning for new uniforms, but to no avail..."

Harper shifted uncomfortably under her gaze.  She had never taken compliments well; even from one of her own sex. She coughed, bringing Leliana back on-track. "I apologize. I always get a bit distracted when it comes to our uniform issues.  Just promise me you'll consider the promotion, okay?"

Harper does consider it when she returns home and decides that, if nothing else, it will get her away from the leering band members she currently works with.  If she's called doll-face one more time, she might have a lawsuit on her hands.

Cedric finally gets the motivation to fix the toilet.  Harper's not aware that her taking a shower just at that moment is the extra push Cedric needs to get started.  "Ya' know," he muses; "I could get used to being productive if you just walked around naked more often."

Harper laughs. "You would think that would be counterproductive."

"Don't spout your logic at me." He smiles.

After a very lengthy "discussion," the couple decides to merge bedrooms (and beds).  There's no point in Cedric sleeping with her while all his junk is still in his shared room with Uther.

Uther revels in the space that is now his.  Cedric isn't a bad roommate per se, but he does snore loudly and talk in his sleep.  "Now it's Harper's problem", he smirks. 

And while Uther is spending the morning moving the room around to his liking...

The toy chest isn't in the background.  It's all an illusion.

...Harper is contemplating the moving contents of her stomach.  


Harper giving her ice-cream the side glance.

Cedric checking out Harper's rear.

Bea leaving one of her many spawn in the parking lot... again. 0_0

--Don't let her fool you; Harper is still emo.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

3.7--Neighborhood #2

Despite Lord Vincent's plan, some vampires had become suspicious of the situation in Anne Arbor and began searching in vain for answers.  Because of this, Uther, Harper, and Cedric were forced to spend the next month on the road; moving between towns and hastily sleeping wherever they could afford.  

Harper's birthday came and went while traveling without much celebration, not that she necessarily wanted one; and after spending the last three days holed up in a shitty hotel, they were finally given word that it was safe to settle down in Meadow Glen.

"This house better have beds.  There's no way in hell I'm sleeping on the floor EVER.AGAIN." Harper is done with cold, unwelcome surfaces; if her joints are any indication, so is her body.

Cedric smiles suggestively, glancing between Uther and Harper.  "Oh, it wasn't that bad.  I kind of liked being sandwiched between you two on cold nights, wondering if we were going to be murdered in our sleep." He sighed dramatically, "Good times."

Uther rolls his eyes and interrupts Harper before she can continue the current subject.  He would rather not listen to them throw sexual innuendos and flirty banter at each other... again. "Lord Vincent assured me that this place is well-furnished. It's best we all settle down from our travels and make as little notice as possible here, at least for the next few days." Uther knows Harper is dreading his next question, but he asks anyway. "I'm going to write a quick message to the clan, do you want to relay anything to Adamaris?"

Harper shakes her head silently and then leaves the room.  She's not ready to forgive her sister and great-grandfather for what had happened. If she is being completely honest with herself, she isn't ready to discuss what had happened period. 

Uther sighs dejectedly as he watches Harper leave.  "She'll talk eventually." Cedric says, patting the young vampire gently on the shoulder before leaving him as well.  Uther retreats to the nearest bedroom to compose his letter.  Harper never sends her regards, but he writes it in there anyway.   


Later that night, Harper and Cedric decide to take advantage of a luxury they've only had intermittently for the last month; television.  As soon as Uther joins them, Cedric attempts to break the tension from earlier.

Cedric smiles sarcastically. "So... are you excited for school tomorrow?"

"What grade are you going to be in again? You're twelve, right?" Harper taunts.

Uther frowns. "Very funny."

"Seriously though, how do you do it?  I hated high school the first time; I can't imagine having to sit through that nonsense again... voluntarily."

Uther shrugs. "It's not really voluntary when I'm going in order to keep the authorities from visiting you for negligence."

"Those are awfully big words for a twelve year old! Look at the big man with his budding vocabulary."

Harper laughs when Uther's facade slips long enough to let a small smile through; but he quickly reverts back to serious mode when noticed. "I swear; it's like living with two children.  I'm going to bed."

Harper and Cedric smile in victory as Uther leaves the room. "Do you think we went too far?" Harper asks.

"Nah. We've done worse.  Besides, I still owe him for making fun of my hair.  I call it even."

Harper chuckles lightly and then heads toward her room, but not before Cedric gently turns her back toward him..

"Look..." he says, rubbing the back of his neck nervously, "I know you don't want to talk about... what happened, but when you do; I'm here for you.  I mean, to talk. Or whatever."

"I know Ced." She smiles.

"Harper, I..."

Before he can finish his thought, Harper quickly kisses him.  There's no need for words, she already knows.  

Harper releases herself before the kiss can go too far and then, as if suddenly realizing what she has just done, stares nervously at Cedric. "Um... goodnight." Harper turns before Cedric can say anything and heads straight for her room, shutting the door tightly behind her.

Leaving Cedric happily dumbfounded in the living room.


Harper has another sleepless night.  After trying unsuccessfully to count sheep and solve complex math problems, she decides that T.V. would help numb her mind; or at the very least, distract her thoughts.

Despite his always being awake at night, Harper's still surprised when she sees Uther on the couch.  She joins him silently and stares ahead, making a conscious effort to stay silent until she finds a topic besides the one that she knows he wants to discuss.

"How come you can go out into the sunlight?" She blurts.

"Because I'm a half-breed." Uther is slightly taken aback that this is what she wants to talk about, but answers candidly.

"Wait, what?"

Uther shrugs. "My mother is a vampire and my father was a mortal."

"Your mother is a vampire; meaning she's still 'alive?'"

"Yes. My father died when I was an infant and my mother feared for her life, so she gave me to Lord Vincent; someone whom she knew sympathized for those like me."

"But why does he? This was clearly before he met my great-grandmother and fathered a child; so any personal interest that I know of is off the table.  Unless that wasn't the first time he had children with a mortal."

Uther ignores her insinuations of his leaders' conduct and instead opts to tell her the logic behind his 'interest'. "Lord Vincent believes that vampire/mortal breeding is the answer to our population problem and would bring peace among both our kinds.  You see, turning someone into a vampire is extremely dangerous and the odds of them surviving the process are slim.  It is equally difficult for vampires to have children with each other as the mortality rate is quite high.  But vampires who mate with mortals meet a much greater success rate of birthing healthy children."

"Then why is everyone so against it?"

Uther sighs, trying to explain a thousand-year-old problem as best he can. "For one, only a small number of the children produced actually take to the blood and become 'vampires,' in a sense.  Those that do still age and eventually die and many see that as a disadvantage.  Secondly, because that number is so small, it leaves a large number of half-breed mortals whose blood becomes stronger over the course of generations.  If they are turned, they could become more powerful than the pure-bloods, which would usurp power and authority from a group that has held that position since the start of our kind."

"So my great-grandmother was just a pawn for Lord Vincent to procreate and build up your population?" Harper grimaces.

"No.  Lord Vincent loved Hannah; very much.  Her becoming pregnant was an accident; one that he has paid for since.  But don't mistake my meaning, he loves all of you in his own way."

Uther hears the school bus approach and gets up quickly to leave. "I must go, but we can discuss this in more detail later when I return."

"No. I think I understand about as much as I want to about the subject."  Harper grimaces again.  She remembers the way Lord Vincent had called her "family." Right, we're nothing more than population experiments. She scoffs inwardly.

Uther frowns, but doesn't say anything more before leaving for school.  As he sits silently on the empty bus, he wonders if Harper will ever understand what Lord Vincent went through, and the danger he put himself in, to protect her and the rest of his family.

Harper remains on the couch until Cedric wakes up. As soon as he enters the living room, she plasters on a fake smile.

"You okay?" He asks worriedly.

She feigns placidity. "I'm fine." 

Cedric can tell she is lying, but he doesn't press her any further. "Do you want to go out for breakfast and make fun of all our new neighbors?"

Harper sits mutely for a moment, weighing her options.  Being alone is, for once in her life, not the best one. "Yes." She answers determinedly. "Let's get out of here."


My first impression of Meadow Glen:
It is so green and open!

Also, abrupt ending! Sorry; I wasn't sure how to end this chapter... so, I cut it short.

I updated the Family Tree if anyone is super curious.  There's Harper/Ced-spawn on there; so *spoilers*. Beyond that, I just added the appropriate family members and fixed some mistakes. Genealogy is not my strong suit.

--Cedric is at level 6 for both Athletics and Handiness.  I had to re-roll his career since I'm seriously considering uninstalling Ambitions to reduce stress on my computer (and ya' know, there's no fire station in Meadow Glen and I don't feel like placing one).  His new career will be in the Military.
--Harper is at level 3 with the guitar. She'll be getting a job next chapter.
--Uther doesn't have any skills. LOL. The only thing he's good at is homework and subtle humor.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

3.6--Small Reunions & Quick Goodbyes

**It's a long one folks.

This is all happening too quickly.  Harper had just been given the sordid tale of her family and now she's yet again facing another death of a close relative.  Another death tied to Adamaris.  She knows it's unfair to blame her sister, but rationality has never been Harper's strong suit.

"You are going to let me through that door!  I've lost two family members due to that bitch and her mother... I'm not letting her get away so she can just hunt me down and ruin my life all over again.  And Cedric... he' still in that damn house!"  Harper winces when she realizes that she has forgotten all about Ced.

"The mortal has a point. If we run now, it would only delay the inevitable. Vittoria will find her again and she will have had time to concoct a better plan that we might not be prepared for.  We should fight her.  We should have fought her from the onset."

Harper turns her attention to Viktor and gives him a confident nod in agreement.  "I like his plan."

The whole room falls silent while Uther contemplates the situation.  "I don't like it... but I don't see any way around it.  Our first priority has, and will always be, to protect Lord Vincent's family; but so far we have failed... I have failed.  Perhaps it is time we ended this, for good or ill.  However, Harper you are not permitted to join us.  You are to stay here with Meladonna."

Harper slaps Meladonna's hands away when she reaches out to restrain her.  "This is for your own good, Harper." She frowns.

"No! I'm not going to sit here and rot while you all fight.  You need me! I can distract her... I can..." With that, Harper lets out a pained sob and for the first time ever, lets the tears run freely in front of others.  "I wasn't able to help my sister, I was absolutely useless when my mother had her emotional breakdown, but this time I can help.  Vittoria wants me, remember? My being there would shift her focus and possibly create a window for you all to strike! Please, Uther."

Uther looks at Meladonna who nods. "She has a point, Uther.  I don't want to put her in danger, but taking her with us might be an advantage."

Viktor stands up and heads for the door impatiently. "Look, we either take the mortal or we don't.  Standing around is only giving Vittoria more time to come up with a plan; or worse, flee."

Uther pinches the bridge of his nose, sighing deeply. "She won't run; not when she is so close to finishing this." Turning his attention back to Meladonna; "You and Dellayna are tasked with keeping a close eye on Harper, while Viktor and myself survey the situation.  When I give word, we all attack. Understood?"

When everyone nods in agreement, Uther slumps his shoulders in defeat. "All right then.  Let's move."


Vittoria left the door unlocked, clearly in anticipation of their arrival.  As soon as they step into the house, Dellayna's senses are on high alert.  She tugs Meladonna's arm and a knowing glance passes between them; a glance that Harper misses as she desperately searched the room for signs of her Uncle and Cedric.

Harper doesn't have to look far. "Corrigan?" She asks quietly.

As soon as he turns around, Harper regrets convincing the Umbria's to take her along.  This isn't her Uncle.

Corrigan smirks. "Vittoria said you would bring her." He gazes intently at Harper, laughing at her sudden unease. "You are all so predictable."

Dellayna shakes her head in disbelief. "No.  I saw Vittoria kill you; I felt your last heart beat..."

"How is this possible?" Uther interrupts,  "It takes days for a transformation to be complete."

As if on cue, Vittoria is at Corrigan's side. "So messy, isn't he?" She smiles seductively as she swipes her finger lightly across his lip to gather some blood and licks it off.  "Mmm... your red-headed friend is even tastier than he looks."

Harper attempts to close the gap between her and Vittoria, but Uther and Meladonna hold her back. "Let Cedric and my Uncle go!"

"It's a little late for that, dear." Vittoria quips.

"What have you done, Vittoria?" Uther has never seen anything like this before.  Transformations are never quick and painless.

Vittoria shrugs. "Only what I had to.  Don't worry, the red-headed one is fine; just a little... drained."

"And Corrigan?"

Vittoria looks at Corrigan wistfully; Harper can see the gleam of entertainment in her eyes and shudders. "Oh he's beyond redemption, I'm afraid.  His blood is strong, but by establishing the mental link while he was still a mortal... well, let's just say he won't be able to break it on his own."

"What do you mean?"

"I've made quite sure that if I'm killed or if there is a forced attempt to sever the link, that his mind won't recover.  He'll be just like Rebeccah." Uther winces and Vittoria smiles. "A little trick I learned before coming here to make sure my mother's mistake with Adamaris wasn't repeated. Smart, yes?"

"And how were you able to change him so quickly?"

Vittoria laughs, shaking her head as if she were dealing with an insolent child. "Another trick. The slow introduction of my blood over the course of weeks.  I just needed to kill him to enforce the change."  She looks to Dellayna and smirks. "Which your little spy saw. But... as fun as this has been, I believe it's time to finish this business so I can be on my way."

"Kill Harper."

Corrigan dons a hollow grin, before turning his attention to his niece. "As you wish."

Before Harper can gather what is happening, she's pushed hastily against the wall by Viktor. Meladonna, Dellayna, and Uther surround her as Viktor fights Corrigan and Vittoria takes advantage of the tumult to advance toward the fledgling group.

Meladonna steps forward, blocking her advance. "You have done quite enough, Vittoria."

"Oh, I've just started." She sneers.

Meladonna pounces on Vittoria before she can make another move.  Uther and Dellayna attempt to take advantage of the chaos and move Harper to another room, but she won't budge.  There's no way in hell she's leaving Cedric in his unconscious state to the whims of Vittoria.  She has lost Corrigan; she isn't losing anyone else.

In the middle of the fighting and Harper's rampant cursing, they all hear it.  That sickening crack of bone hitting something solid and the thump of a body hitting the floor heavily.

As usual, Uther and Dellayna are able to sense what is coming long before Harper can.  She feels herself being corralled into a corner again as Corrigan moves toward them quickly. It's obvious, Viktor is down.

Dellayna moves a bit forward to close whatever gap there is between her and Uther.  There's no way Corrigan is getting by without a fight. 

"Ah... I just want to see my dearest niece." Corrigan leers.

But just as suddenly as he's in front of them, he's turning away in pain.  Corrigan puts his hands to his heart and lurches forward, screaming in agony.

Vittoria lies immobile on the floor in front of Meladonna.  Harper attempts, to again, move out of Uther and Dellayna's protection to approach her Uncle, but she's restrained by Uther.

He shakes his head vehemently. "Something isn't right.  Breaking the link, even through the death of the maker, is not painful.  Vittoria may have been true to her word earlier... Corrigan's mind might have been damaged."

Dellayna moves toward Corrigan slowly, cautiously. She glances at both her mother and Uther apprehensively as Corrigan falls suspiciously silent.  

Without warning, Corrigan pushes Dellayna into the wall, incapacitating her. Meladonna screams as soon as her daughter's body makes impact and then she herself falls limp to the ground, leaving only Uther between Harper and her Uncle. 

"I can finish this!" Corrigan mutters incoherently. "I can do her will even if she's dead.  She'd be so proud."

His quiet laughter is unsettling and Harper grasps Uther's sleeve in desperation. "Corrigan, please! It's me! It's Harper!" She yells, but it's no use.  He doesn't hear her.  Suddenly, Uther shifts slightly; easing his stance to crane his neck to see behind their attacker.  Harper hears him gasp a quiet "Lord Vincent," before the strangers filter into the room and surround Corrigan.

Lord Vincent gives a knowing nod to Uther and then turns his attention back to the situation at hand, his red eyes gleaming with determination. "Step away from them, Corrigan.  It's over."

Corrigan readies himself into a fighting stance again, taking in all the new opponents, which allows Harper a better glance over Uther's shoulder.  And then there she is.  Adamaris smiles briefly in acknowledgement of her surprise.

With one curt nod, the strange group all move forward to restrain Corrigan.  He kicks and screams violently in response, all of it directed at Harper, before being forcefully dragged into another room.

When the house finally falls silent, and Uther occupies himself with checking on the motionless bodies of his comrades, Harper lets herself succumb to her emotions.  "Goddamn vampires."


Cedric woke a few hours later.  Lord Vincent and the others still hadn't emerged from the other room and Uther had managed to wake and move Meladonna, Dellayna, and Viktor to the kitchen for proper care; leaving Harper and Cedric alone in the empty living room.  Harper had been sitting next to the bed, occasionally checking Cedric's breathing to be sure he was still alive.  

Cedric gets up slowly, blinking a few times to regain composure.  "What did I miss?"

Harper shrugs, tiredly. "Oh, you know; your and my almost imminent death at the hands of a crazed vampire. Nothing special."

Cedric looks around the room. "Where's Corri?"

When Harper looks down suddenly, wiping away a few tears, Cedric immediately goes to her side; but is interrupted by an approaching figure. "Who the hell are you?"

Harper sighs. "Cedric, I would like you to meet my sister... Adamaris."

Cedric steps away, looking skeptically at Harper. "Your sister is dead."

"That's half correct." Adamaris interrupts, smiling weakly. "Do you mind leaving us alone for a bit Cedric? I'm sure Harper will fill you in on the details later."

Cedric gazes again at Harper who nods in assent. "Fine." Turning back to Ada, "But I'll be close, so don't do anything you'll regret."

Adamaris puts her hand up to her heart. "I promise.  No funny business."

Cedric isn't sure what the hell is going on, and Harper seems comfortable enough in that strange girls presence, but he's not going to let his guard down just yet.  

Adamaris stands in silence, allowing Harper to start the conversation when she's ready, all the while marveling at how much her little sister has grown since she last saw her.  

But Harper doesn't know how to begin; doesn't know how to pick up where they left off. "You, um... cut your hair."

Adamaris smirks. "One of many changes. You've grown."

"That was bound to happen."

"I wish I had been there to watch it."

"You could have, but you left."

Adamaris drops her gaze, feeling guilty. "Yes. You have a point."

"So... what now?"

"Lord Vincent has a plan.  You'll move from here and lead as normal a life as possible, I suspect."

"And what if I don't want to leave? Don't I have a say in this?"

Lord Vincent interrupts. "I'm afraid not, Harper.  Situations like this tend to raise suspicion in town and I'll need the aid of other clans to help with damage control.  It's dangerous enough that you're a mortal that knows of our existence, but if they find out you're a 'half-breed' as well, they'll kill you... and I won't be able to stop it."

Harper grimaces. "Great."

"We are relocating you to Meadow Glen, a small town quite a bit away from here. I have assigned Uther as your protection and he will be living with you until I deem it is safe for him to leave."

Uther nods stoically in response. "And what about Cedric?" He asks, motioning toward the couch.

Cedric scoffs and joins the group. "You're not deciding my fate.  I'm going with Harper, so long as she wants me there."

"I want you to come, but you really don't have to Cedric.  I'm the only one in danger and I don't want to jeopardize any opportunities you have here."

Cedric smiles. "Opportunities in Anne Arbor? Pah. Being with you is way more fun."

Adamaris grins as Harper blushes and looks away from Cedric shyly. "I see no harm in his going with her.  It will be another person there should something go wrong."

"There's no point in separating them if he feels that strongly about joining." Uther agrees.

"Then it is settled. Harper, you and Cedric will pack your things and be ready in precisely one hour." Lord Vincent lets his eyes linger on both of them before continuing, "the sooner you two are gone, the better."

Harper reaches out suddenly, grasping Lord Vincent's sleeve. "Wait, what about Corrigan? What will you do with him?"

Lord Vincent gently detaches her hand from his jacket, patting it gently and then letting it go. "There was no helping your Uncle.  We have seen his condition before and letting it go unchecked is... unpleasant.  What we did for him was kind."

Harper looks to Adamaris, begging for it not to be true, but Adamaris only shakes her head sadly in response.

Harper can't stand being in any of their presence any longer and turns away.  She hears Lord Vincent and Uther resume their conversation seemingly unperturbed by her leaving.  Cedric attempted to follow, but Adamaris gets there before he can even make a move, so he silently excuses himself to go sit on the couch. It's Adamaris' cold hand on her shoulder that brings Harper back to reality.

"You okay?" Adamaris asks quietly.  Harper scoffs in response, but otherwise remains silent. "Yeah, that question is probably a bit trite given the circumstances."

"You're not Adamaris; you're not my sister..." she says turning abruptly, clenching her fists; "the Adamaris that I remember would have tried to stop them from killing our Uncle.  You, all of you, are just... emotionless monsters."

Adamaris sighs, grasping for an explanation that Harper will never understand. "Things... are different now, Harper.  I am me, but I'm also not.  Being transformed changed how I view the world and the people in it." Adamaris comes closer, grabbing Harper's hand in hers. "Corrigan, his death, it was necessary and it was generous.  He was poisoned by Vittoria and if let loose, would have done much worse than she could ever accomplish.  He was a danger to himself and everyone else and we couldn't take that chance again."

"No.  I don't believe that.  If you could have been saved, so could Corrigan." She says, pulling her hand from Ada's grasp.

Adamaris backs away sadly, letting her now empty hand fall limply to her side.  She had waited years to see Harper again, and now she realizes that perhaps it would have been best if she remained in Bridgeport as Lord Vincent had advised.  Her presence is obviously creating more pain than comfort. "I'm sorry, Harper.  For everything."

Harper lowers her gaze to her feet.  "I know Ada, it's just.." She shakes her head and decides it's best to drop the conversation for now.  "I'm going to go pack my things; I would appreciate it if no one followed me."

"Of course.  I'll be here when you finish."

Adamaris watches sadly as Harper heads toward the first available room and shuts the door.

An hour later and both Harper and Cedric are ready to hit the road.  Harper gathers her emotions enough to thank the "Umbria's" and is glad to see that Meladonna, Viktor, and Dellayna aren't as hurt as she feared.

Lord Vincent pulls her gently aside as soon as she's  finished. "I understand that it will always be hard for you to consider me family, but know that if you are ever in want of anything, you just need to ask."

"I thought the whole reason for me leaving was so that no one else found out about the mortal members of your family.  If I keep in touch, won't that just negate me moving?"

Lord Vincent smiles wistfully. "The women in our family have always been particularly blunt.  I'm glad to see that trait has not withered over the generations.  Uther will be your mode of communication with me or Adamaris; if you need anything, let him know."

Harper smirks. "Thanks gramps. I'll keep that in mind."

Lord Vincent smiles again, and then gathers everyone else inside to begin clean-up; leaving Adamaris and Harper alone for one last moment.

Adamaris grins weakly, letting the silence drift between them, before finally speaking. "I'm sorry our reunion was so brief... and so chaotic."

"Is that a hint that I won't be seeing you again?"

"That is up to you, Harper.  I cannot travel alone or visit frequently, as I'm still not in complete control of my abilities, but I'm sure Lord Vincent would allow a visit or two so long as I'm accompanied and it is kept secret."

Harper looks away briefly, before continuing. She hates seeing Adamaris so sad, but she also hates what she's done. "Look, Adamaris.  I'm sorry for what I said earlier, but I'm still confused and angry.  I just... it's so difficult seeing you after thinking you were dead all these years... and now you're leaving again.  And then losing Corrigan..."

Adamaris quickly pulls her into a hug, silencing her.  "Trust me, I want to go with you... but it's too dangerous.  For now, we'll have to make due with potential future visits."  Adamaris backs away, looking at Harper intently. "I really do wish I was there to see you grow.  You are much stronger than I ever was."

Harper scoffs. "Nah... I'm just more stubborn."

"Promise me that as soon as you are settled that you remind Uther to let us know you are all safe.  He is notoriously horrid with prompt communication." Harper nods mutely in response. "Also, when you and Cedric are official, I better get a wedding invitation."

Harper blushes deeply, averting her gaze. "What?  I'm too young, and he's... well..."

"You two are lucky to have each other." Adamaris nods toward Uther, letting him know they are finished.

Uther heeds her signal and moves forward to usher Harper and Cedric toward the waiting car. Adamaris gives her sister and Cedric a small smile and then reluctantly retreats toward the house.

She stays outside until the car is out of sight.  Adamaris doesn't hear her great-grandfather join her, but she has grown accustomed to his being there when she needs him most, even unexpectedly. "Standing out here won't make the circumstances easier, dear."

"I know."

Lord Vincent places his hand on her shoulder and squeezes gently, before returning indoors to his duties.  His great-granddaughter simply wants to be alone to say her last goodbyes...

...he can at least give her that.

So pretend you don't notice the picture editing inconsistency.  The first ten or so pictures came out all wonky so I had to edit and re-format them to look mildly meh; but then I quickly lost interest in editing the rest. I'm lazy.

Lemme just share my frustrations with this chapter.  For one, my pose player is all borked; so my original plan to have Cedric all crumpled up and useless on the floor fell through... hence the reason why he is taking a blissful nap in the background. *headdesk* And after refreshing and starting new Anne Arbor's due to lags, I started taking pictures that were only semi-relevant to the plot just to be done with it.  That explains the absolutely horrid scenes this chapter. Blargh.

In case anyone is wondering why I brought Corrigan back to life, only to kill him again... well, the method in which Vittoria changes him will be brought up in the future.  In other words, Corrigan got the double whammy for later plot purposes.  Poor fella'.

On a random note: I'm not sure if anyone can see the relation between Lord Vincent and Mya (as my picture quality is extremely shitty), but she had his nose, mouth, and eye color before I changed his to red... because ya' know, why not?

Derp. Adamaris makes the best faces.

Next chapter will be in Meadow Glen. Hurrah!