Chapter One Hundred and Five
Over dinner Linda had enthusiastically conveyed to me the enjoyable part of her travels with Jure, the sights, meals and gifts. Her cheeks were pink, her eyes glowed when she spoke of Jure and all his many charms.
But there was a lot more to her trip than that. We went back into the house to the living room to light a fire in the fireplace, let Linda warm herself, and hear the rest of the story.
After we were settled on our sofas Simona brought in a pot of peppermint tea and some home made oatmeal cookies and set them carefully on the coffee table. She was staying over in the old nanny's room.
I popped into her mind as she set up the tea and was reassured to hear her thoughts. She was fully aware we were a Vampire household, she expected to be paid well, she had no problems with vampires and their lives.
On the contrary, in the back of her mind was the tentative thought that she might like to become Vampire too if it looked like we were normal people. She wrongly believed, as many humans did, that nothing would make a vampire happier than to find a human willing to Turn.
She thought the offer would be met with astonished gasps of gratitude. Little did she know how hard it was to find a vampire that hadn't Turned anyone in the last hundred years.
Simona was a pleasant looking woman of about thirty. Nothing unusual or eye catching about her, nothing that would make her a real prize for a vampire Maker. I saw it was going to become an issue, but not right away. In the meantime she was honest, hardworking and glad for the job. She could stay.
She retired to the kitchen to wait and see if we were going to need anything else.
Linda took a sip of tea and asked her father a question.
"Dad, how do you stay interested, stay in love with Mom after so many years?"
She turned to me and added, "Not that I don't think you're wonderful but vampires live so long. How does he stay so loyal and contented with his choice year after year?"
I waited for Eric to answer, interested in what he had to say. I was pleased we had modeled a good relationship for her. At first I had been concerned that having a vampire for a father might not have been optimum for our girls. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Eric was an awesome Dad.
He sat back, at ease with this question. "It is not up to your mother to keep me interested, it is up to me to stay interested. I pay close attention to your mother and I find her fascinating. She grows more interesting, more desirable as the years pass. As an oak grows to become mightier each year, so my love towards your mother strengthens."
She thought this over. Then she changed directions. "You married Mom before she decided to Turn. Jure won't marry me until I Turn. Why is that?"
Her chin trembled with the effort of not crying. I wanted to put my arms around her and comfort her like she was a child. I waited, hoping Eric could explain the heartbreak waiting for a vampire that marries a human.
"If he loves you ... really loves you ..." Eric said slowly, looking for the right words, "He could not bear the pain of losing you to your human mortality. He would be a fool to enter into such a contract. He will wait until you are ready to Turn. If that day never comes then it would be best if you both were honest and moved on."
"It's such a big decision," she said, wringing her hands.
To me she asked, "Do you regret giving up your human life?"
I thought about it before I answered. She needed to know the truth. "No, but I had fulfilled all my human desires before I Turned. Your father did not pressure me at all. I had a lot of fears before I Turned. Those fears are gone now. There are inconveniences to being Vampire. Hopefully some day those will be overcome."
Her eyes narrowed in the way she had when she was thinking. "I think you hit the nail on the head, Mom. I haven't fulfilled all my human desires. I need to make a list and figure out what I want to do while still human. If the list is too long then it won't be possible for me to marry Jure."
"Do you love him?" I asked. I knew she had a crush on him, he was certainly glamorous and worldly. That wasn't the same thing as true love.
"I love him as much as I can with him holding me at arm's length. He doesn't want to get in over his head in case I decide to stay human. I understand that. And I don't want to get swept off my feet if I'm not going to change. I need to make my decisions with my head, not my heart. That's the same thing he's doing. We're a lot alike in so many ways. Maybe we're too much alike."
She sighed and sipped more tea. "I thought this trip would solve all our issues, that he would become so crazy about me he would marry me even if I never Turned. He won't do that and that makes me wonder if he loves me enough. Shouldn't he be willing to risk everything for love, even heartbreak?"
A tiny flash of anger showed in her eyes. She wanted Jure to be willing to do anything to win her. His caution was like big wet blanket on her fantasy of how absolute true love should be.
Eric put my thoughts into words. "There is imagined love, then there is the night by night reality. Could you stand having Jure marry you and watch you age? You would become old enough to be his mother, his grandmother. Would you want him to care for you in your declining years while he is still young and strong? Putting aside Jure's wants and needs, how would that effect you?"
Her eyes got big, she hadn't thought of that. "Wow, that's sure a mental image I don't want."
She sat and thought a bit more, reminding me so much of Eric in her utter stillness. "That's what he's thinking about, isn't it? To me old age seems like so so far away. It doesn't seem like that to him."
Eric said, "The arrow of time is swift. It seems like just a moment ago I looked at you for the first time, your tiny fingers curling around my thumb. Every parent, vampire or not, knows how fast the years fly."
So much love came from Eric's voice and expression that Linda was moved to tears. We stood and had a group hug while Linda cried over the many paths her life could take. I said a silent prayer that she would be shown the way, the right way, for her to go.
She looked at us, smiling through her tears. "I knew I could count on you to help me sort all this out. I don't know what I think but at least I know what I need to be thinking about. Jure can't answer these questions for me, neither can you. I'll let you know what I come up with."
She yawned, worn out from emotions and travel. "I can't think anymore tonight. I'm going to bed in my old room. I'll be in the office tomorrow to try and sort out the pile of papers I know will be waiting for me." She gave a laugh. "Sorting out the invoices seems like the real vacation right about now."
We hugged again and she toddled off to her room. It was still unchanged from when she was a teenager.
"I wish I could fix everything for her," I said, putting my arms around Eric's waist.
"I could stake Jure," Eric offered.
I looked up at him in alarm.
"Just kidding," he said with a small crooked smile that didn't quite reach his eyes.
more to come .... (Greetings Fanpires! Welcome to our nest, Yvonn. This is the best place to be ever! There's a hurricane threatening to blow through here in a day or two, hope that doesn't stop me from posting on Wednesday but if I'm not here I'll get online as soon as possible. Please stay safe too. Thanks for your kind words of encouragement, it means the world to me!)