Caleb considered the future. If he were honest, Charlotte’s ability to control her power was scary. Charlotte used less energy when engaged in training. He would collapse exhausted, longing for a peaceful coffin. She would be bouncing with energy and enthusiasm. This mastery of her power was quick to realise. In mediation, Charlotte exceeded Caleb’s ability. It was as though she had been born to this life, not created. Caleb closed his eyes; they needed a change of pace, a distraction away from the training.
The Chez Llama was, as Charlotte remembered it, the bright lights and crisp white linen. She inhaled; the tantalising smells made her mouth water. Caleb wanted to remind her their lives could be as they were. They would enjoy meals, dance in clubs and take advantage of the world as it changed around them. Charlotte eyed the menu, unsure why they should eat when they had a liquid diet. He asked her to humour him; some vampires reject this basic human need, but some find a new pleasure from eating. There was another reason for their presence; Caleb wanted to test her self-control. He engaged her in conversation, watching her eyes and fidgeting hands. Charlotte could hear rapid beats and chewing as the patrons enjoyed their dinner. Conversations and laughter distracted her.
Human food could not sustain a vampire. It was the flavours which brought their kind back to the restaurants. They were also perfect hunting grounds; but, that would be for another day. Charlotte admired the plate of sizzled brisket with a sour clover salad. The robust texture exploded flavour in her mouth. The fragrant citrus zinged through the smoky aroma. This cut of meat in her fathers hands was chewy; the chef behind this dish made it melt in the mouth. Charlotte let the food dance over her tongue, taking her time to savour each note. Flecks of garlic gave her sweet, nutty and creamy vibes. Caleb watched with interest. Raw garlic, with its earthy spice overwhelmed many vampires, including himself. Charlotte embraced every flavour on her plate, leaving her plasma drink until last.
They travelled back through Newcrest. Charlotte shifted uneasy, watching the familiar streets illuminated by the street lights. Caleb parked close to the chapel, where her grandmother, Aria and Aunt Ziva married. She stared nervous at the long road, past the cinema and restaurant. At the end was her former home, where Charlotte abandoned her children. The place she had been human. Caleb held her hand, drawing her attention back to him. Their future was with each other. Bound for eternity in blood, Caleb asked if she would unite with him, in love.
Charlotte wondered what her wedding might be like. Would her siblings be in attendance? Would she wear a white gown? Dreams melted as Caleb took her hands with promises of love. She stood beneath the floral arch, the third generation Grace to be blessed at the chapel. The warm candles, their light flickered across their faces. Caleb created a perfect moment within which to elope. Charlotte believed that if her heartbeat, it would stop for this. Her breath would catch, and words might fail her. Her skin tingled and fine arm hairs raised. Caleb’s gentle touch around her hand grounded and calmed her. Within those eyes, the entire world resided, and Charlotte felt complete.