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.
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.
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.