The conversation no father wants to have had arrived. When it came to the girls, Patrick believed himself honest. He considered the possibility they would want to know their biological parents. Charlotte brought that day closer, and he wanted to be selfish. She walked away from her responsibility, regardless of her reasons. Patrick yelled at his sister, uninterested in why she chose Caleb. Instead, he discovered, to transition, Charlotte died. A vampire transformation required Caleb to kill her, draining her blood. Once mixed with his, Caleb made her drink, watching as life slipped. A painful and slow process. It made Patrick feel sick, and his stomach twisted. He walked for hours, ignoring Eliza’s pleas to take the train home.
He found Leticia and his two girls asleep on the sofa, the television switched on and split popcorn. They snuggled together, a perfect family scene. If no one told the outside world these three were unrelated, would anyone be wise to the truth? Leticia smiled as Patrick covered them with a blanket, waking the sleepy girls. Daciana reached for Patrick; he settled next to her as her affection transferred to him. Leticia gave him a tired, concerned look, squeezing his hand.
The conversation no father wants to have had arrived. Patrick listened to the girls giggle as they did their homework. He let out a deep sigh, wondering if he should have taken Eliza up on the offer of support. Patrick knew they were his children, but he could not deny the girl’s similarity to his sister. The question had always been when, not if, they would meet their birth parents. Charlotte was not giving him or them much time; she wanted an answer. Eliza attempted to bargain, suggesting a neutral time, a location where the girls would feel at ease. Patrick wondered if vampires understood compromise. He shook his head, they took what they needed when they wanted.
Daciana huffed, teeth gritted, her arms folded tight across her chest. If their parents wanted to see them and have a relationship, they would have taken care of them. Patrick was their father, and Daciana knew she did not want to see her so-called parents. Luliana’s silence worried Patrick; there were tears on her face. Her lower lip quivered. Daciana nudged her, inviting her for a swim. A violent shake of the head almost unleashed her watery pain.
Patrick stepped out to make a call, leaving Luliana alone. She gathered her strength and paints. Anger, screams, Luliana let go of everything she held in. Paints splashed, squeezed in her hand. The nerve of Charlotte to request they meet; Harvestfest was for family. Milly promised to help make decorations, and Patrick was going to do fish. Luliana remained defiant, Patrick was her father, and she wanted Leticia to be her mother. What right did Caleb and Charlotte have to demand their presence? Patrick ran into the room to find red-faced Luliana. She pointed to the bedroom where Daciana was changing. The paint had splashed on Luliana’s clothes and hands. There had been no reason to lie. She was afraid Patrick would yell, instead, he spoke with understanding.
This journey would have consequences for them all. Patrick believed they should visit Caleb and Charlotte. Whether they realise it or not, the girls should know them. He hugged Luliana tight, kissing the top of her head. Luliana trembled, mumbled objections sobbed into his sweater. She needed to know he would never give them back, a promise Patrick swore to keep.