Dante’s sort of adorable. You can’t deny that.
Its the weekend and the house just feels so heavy and sad after Nero’s death. Dastan really needs to get out of the house so he does. Normally he’d go to Marie’s but it feels so wrong now that he told his grandmother everything. He betrayed his best friend’s trust, and he just can’t face her right now. He supposes the old park on the far side of town will do for a distraction.
Speaking of distractions... here comes Keri, Marina’s granddaughter (Dastan’s second cousin)
“There you are, Dastan. Where have you been? You didn’t come to school on Friday, or prom, and I was sort of getting worried. Everyone thinks you died or something.”
Dastan had totally forgotten about prom. “I didn’t mean to miss prom. But things have sort of been tough at home right now. I mean, Damian’s at boarding school, grandpa Nero just died, and I’m in the middle of a big fight with my best friend. I’m sort of overwhelmed right now. School’s the last thing on my mind.”
“What you need is a distraction!” Keri announces happily. “Come on, lets go hang out, just you and me. If I can’t make you smile at least once then I’ll be your girlfriend.”
“And if I do smile?”
“Then you have to be my boyfriend!”
He laughs before shaking his head. “I don’t think thats the way it works, Keri.”
She steps closer to him with a smile. “So?”
“Alright then, Miss Combs-Starr, I accept your wager. But I must warn you, I’m not in the most smiley of moods today. You’ll be forced to be my girlfriend before the day is done.”
She can’t help but giggle. “I look forward to it.”
Damian calls often. He heard about Nero’s death and wants to know if he should come home. Joy assures him that they’re fine. He shouldn’t leave boarding school if he’s enjoying it as much as he’s led her to believe.
Oh hey Dante. When did you grow up?
Merrick knows the Valley’s best private investigator has arrived long before her car has reached the hill leading to Stoney Falls, the park where he and Marie live.
He’s waiting for her by the door. “Come in, Ms. Starr. I know you have many questions for me and my daughter will be home soon. I suggest we go finish this quickly.”
“I’m not here to start a fight.” She explains as soon as she enters. “I’ve done a lot of digging ever since Franco’s arrest, and now that I can put a face to a name I’m here to tell you that I don’t plan on handing you over to anyone.” He scoffs and she continues before he can interrupt. “I know you stayed with the Talliways for your first few days here, so I assume that is when you began to teach him to make himself stronger. And judging by what my grandson says about you and your daughter, I assume you never meant for Franco to hurt anyone.”
“To hurt a human child is the worst offense of all.” He hisses at her. “What Franco did was unforgivable. The fact that I taught him to use that kind of power... it sickens me. Marie and I were only meant to stay here until she became a child. But when she found Damian and told me of his bloodline... I couldn’t leave the boy. He needed to be taught, and Franco needed to be handled. I thank you for that, by the way, it was far easier to target him during a police escort.”
“So that was you.” Ximena states. “Wonderful. I assumed it was an assassination, but I couldn’t be so sure without traveling there.”
The silence hangs between them for a moment before the vampire speaks. “Tell me what you know of a girl named Ella Slayer. She lived here once, and I have reason to believe she lives here still.”
Ximena nods. “She does, but her name is Ella Starr now. She's a vampire, and so is her husband Matthew. I’m closer to him, but Ella is still my ancestral grandmother. She keeps to herself when she can, but I’m sure she’d love to see her brother again.”
“Was it that obvious?” He asks.
She smiles at him. “You have the same eyes.”
“I should see her... she deserves an explanation at least. For why I never went looking for her. I’ll visit her before Marie and I leave town.”
“You’re leaving town?” Ximena repeats. “Why?”
“There are others hunting myself and my daughter. I can’t protect her if so many people know about us already. My only real option is to stay on the move. Hope her mother’s gifts hit her sooner rather then later. I know she doesn’t want to leave, and honestly I’d rather not either. But what can I do?”
“Speak to Ella.” She answers. “And if you still want to leave... make sure Marie says goodbye to Dastan before you go. If not, well, I suppose there will some happy kids in the Valley.”
Dastan lost the wager about half way through dinner, when Keri imitated their snooty waiter’s fake french accent.
“Guess I’m stuck being your boyfriend, eh?”
She matches his smile. “You could do worse.”
He agrees. But he can’t help feeling like there’s someplace else he should be...
“I’m sorry Marie. It doesn’t look like Dastan will be home before your curfew. I have no idea where he might be. He hasn’t called or anything. But you’re more then welcome to spend the night if you’d like.”
“No Mr. Starr... its okay. I should head home anyway. Daddy will be expecting me. Um... can you just tell Dastan I said goodbye? And Damian too, when he comes home. I’m very sorry to have bothered you today.”
Joven can’t help but pity the little vampire girl who spent her entire Saturday listening to Dante’s ramblings while waiting for Dastan to come home. That boy has a lot of explaining to do. That’s for sure.
But then an earthquake hits and Dastan escapes punishment while Joven has to go save more people from certain death.
Also: Wormholes are bad for the environment. Just saying.
I don't even know why I put that last photo of the wormhole. I just thought it was funny. Even though it takes away from the whole "Holy crap Dastan. Why are you ignoring your friends and dating your second cousin? Damn small town boys."
... I apologize to small town boys everywhere. I'm sure you aren't ALL like that. Just the ones I know and/or have dated.