Chapter 22: Grin and bear it
Her room was pitch black, the house was unseeingly quiet for a house full of vampires. Apart from the drumming in her ear, Alexis felt confused on that thought and found herself pushing up from her bed to follow the noise.
Vladimir was beside her, his face was deadly serious causing Alexis to sit up and rub her eyes. “Vlady? What’s up?” she questioned with a yawn causing her hand to cover her mouth at the end of the sentence. Vladimir never woke her in the middle of the night especially since she had been at school. In fact it had been years since she had been woken up at all.
Normally her half day – half night timetable had kept that from needing that to happen but now that she was in a semi human timetable she guessed that had changed. “I need you to get up and get ready. You have a visitor” Vladimir’s voice was tight and un-pleased by the situation. Alexis tried to think who would come and see her that Vladimir didn’t like.
The wolves pasted her mind for a moment but she knew that they wouldn’t be having this conversation if a wolf was in the house. Vladimir would have merely told the wolf to get lost, evicted Alexis from school and then they would move house which would have been how Alexis found out about the situation. She would be the last to know. It had to be a vampire.
A certain Elder perhaps. No other vampire was allowed to see her after all. She slid out of bed with a nod, causing her to yawn again, when she slipped on her sheets, Vladimir helped steady her. “Thanks” she mumbled moving towards her wardrobe to pull some clothes out. She didn’t think she had to look her best.
Half asleep she pulled her trousers over her shorts and a jumper on top of her PJ’s t-shirt. She couldn’t find the effort to get completely changed and when she turned back around Vladimir was watching her with curiosity. “I’m too tired to get ready for our guest. Does this suit?” She questioned since he didn’t move towards the door straight away. Vladimir seemed to come out of his daze and he nodded his head before moving towards the door.
Alexis followed suit in her socks. She couldn’t find the urge to grab shoes from the opposite side of her room so instead she walked out half sleeping. She stumbled down the hallway, following Vladimir’s elegant movements; she was ushered into the main lounge. “Ah Alexandra, such a pleasant surprise. Sorry if we woke you, I know your timetable has changed recently from what it was when I used to visit” Daniel’s voice was strong and it caused Alexis to peak behind Vladimir to see Daniel. She had not seen him in a few years, their chats had been frequent when she was a child and as she got older they became less and less.
Caleb was there in the room as well, sitting on the chair behind Daniel. Apart from that no one else was in the room. She couldn’t look at Caleb though, he had upset her enough over the past little while and she had enough to deal with without acknowledging another situation, especially when she was so tried. Vladimir looked tense beside her as she rubbed her eyes once again trying to get the sleep out of them.
A yawn over took her again. “Sorry” She spoke with her hand over her mouth causing Daniel’s mouth to pull up in a smirk. “You seem to be quiet tired. Have you been busy lately?” Daniel inquired with a satisfied smile; Alexis eyed both Caleb and Vladimir at this point. She hadn’t been told what she was and wasn’t allowed to say right now. But she guessed she should just tell him the truth.
If Vladimir hadn’t wanted her to say anything then he would have told her in her room. He would have found a way. “With school, homework and training it has me worn out most days, especially during the week. I am a bit more awake at the weekend” Alexis admitted as again she covered her mouth for another yawn, the more she thought about it the more she felt like yawning.
Both Caleb and Vladimir were quiet beside them. Daniel’s head tilted to the side. “You have been training?” Daniel inquired his eyes never leaving Alexis face; he always watched her reaction and his face always held its amused grin on it. He was completely dressed in a black suit, a white shirt underneath with a red tie.
Alexis found him handsome for an older man; he had an ageless quality about him especially his eyes. They told Alexis he was much older than most cared to admit. He had knowledge beyond years. “Caleb has been teaching me to defend myself and …keep up my fitness” Alexis found her breath hitching on her last few words, after all he had been rude to her and although he had been talking about her fitness; Alexis knew there was probably better ways to do it than what he had suggested. It could have been like every other lesson but instead of that he was acting like a jerk.
“Caleb?” Daniel finally looked away from her although he didn’t turn to look at Caleb either, his eyes merely drifted to the side. “She’s scared she’ll meet a werewolf and not know how to defend herself against it” Caleb’s voice was cold and uncaring and Alexis half wondered why he was even telling Daniel anything. Caleb’s eyes were darker than usual although not completely black. He was casually sitting over a chair his back sat against one arm and his feet hung over the other side.
The room was lit by the fireplace although there was another source of light from the other side of the room. A tall looming lamp which seemed half awake. “Interesting. Werewolves are dangerous, I can understand why you would want to defend yourself but you must understand that the best way to defend yourself against one would be to change into one” Daniel spoke without much concern his hands echoed movements in front of him as he spoke.
Alexis looked down on his words not knowing how else to react. She couldn’t change into a werewolf, she wouldn’t. It wasn’t her.
“Fascinating” Daniels voiced as he watched her, although he looked like he was holding back from saying something more. “And how are you? Are you enjoying staying here? Eating enough?” Daniel asked after a moment of silence, he changed the subject so easily. It was like he didn’t care in particular what answer he got as long as he got an answer.
Alexis wasn’t sure why he actually came around to see her. Her head nodded. “Of course” she answered much less enthusiastically as she used to answer him. She used to answer him with extra, as if a simple answer wasn’t enough, she had to explain to him what exactly was happening and when it had happened.
That seemed like such a long time ago now, to her it even seemed like she was a different person. “You’re not as talkative as you used to be, Alexandra. You use to tell me everything. A lot more than I needed to know but I enjoyed it” Daniel had moved closer to her now and she found her gaze looking up toward him, he wasn’t as tall as Vladimir or Caleb but he was taller than her. Maybe just under a head taller than her. Alexis didn’t know what to say to him, she didn’t know what the reason was for that fact but she supposed part of it was because of the wolves and the other part was because of Vladimir, Louie and Caleb.
They were her family – very dysfunctional family but one never the less. “As long as you are well little one I have no qualms” Daniel smiled down towards her. As quickly as he had said it, he had turned around towards Caleb. “What about you, Ambrogino?” Latin: Alexis was sure she recognized it, Vladimir had been called it once or twice before.
Alexis was sure it meant “Little Immortal one” Alexis didn’t want to seem interested in this conversation between Daniel and Caleb – part of her wanted to leave, in fact she had hoped that Vladimir would step up but he did not. Vladimir in fact hadn’t spoken once since leaving her room, he had to have orders not too. Daniel smirked casting a glance towards her before looking at Caleb. ”It’s constricting. Altera causa hic est tibi??” Caleb continued on in Latin, although Caleb spoke in a language Alexis couldn’t understand she could identify it easily.
Alexis rolled her eyes and Daniel couldn’t help but chuckle as his child changed the language, to one only the vampires in the room could understand. “Just transiret. Leonardus curiosus et tunc Elizabeth . Ego sum….Kill two birds with one stone” Daniel changed back mid-sentence to speak to them. As he turned back around to face Alexis and Vladimir. “Illi non credunt in me” Caleb murmured under his breath causing Daniel to smile back towards him. “No they do not trust you, not yet anyway” Daniel admitted in English back towards him although he didn’t turn around.
“And how are you enjoying Caleb being here?” Daniel inquired again in front of Alexis once again; she could feel her cheeks blushing at the statement. How did she answer it? She thought she had liked it but lately with his mood swings – who was she kidding Caleb always had mood swings right from the beginning. They were just becoming worse as of lately. “He’s different from Vladimir and Louie. I think he’s… bipolar” Alexis admitted nervously, her eyes glancing towards Vladimir.
Alexis had insulted Louie many a times and Vladimir had seemed amused by them but she didn’t know how other vampires would take to insulting their “child”. This caused Daniel to laugh rather dramatically, he held on to his sides and Vladimir’s eyebrows lifted up as if he had never heard his sire laugh like this before.
Alexis’s eyes cast away from Vladimir and back to the Elder vampire. “I have never heard Caleb be called Bipolar before; He has been cursed for many things but never that…” Daniel trailed off as he recovered from laughing to look at the young werewolf.
A smile creased on his face that Alexis could have mistaken for caring before he had turned again and was facing Caleb. “There must be parts of you I even don’t know yet” Daniel talked to his child with a chuckle which caused Caleb to make a noise that was incomprehensible as he shrugged. “I think that’s enough enjoyment for one night. I will take my leave and return in a few weeks. Sorry for waking you up little one. I hope you can get back to sleep tonight” Daniel had pulled a jacket on that had been draped over Caleb’s chair and he moved towards Alexis, patting her on the head when he called her a little one. “It’s nice to see you again, Vladimir. Please visit me sometime. I hear you wish to move to France next even though I suggested London. Whichever you decide I am sure it will be good for you” Daniel acknowledged Vladimir for the first time before leaving through the door.
Vladimir moved after him, asking him something Alexis could not quiet hear through the doors. She was still tired. Caleb titled his head back as Daniel left and closed his eyes. Alexis wasn’t sure whether she wanted to leave the room or not.
Caleb hadn’t looked at her this full meeting, although she had tried to avoid looking at him as well. He had talked about her as if she wasn’t’ there. Alexis wasn’t happy about that but at the same time she didn’t know how to react to it. She turned to leave but Caleb was at the door first. “Am I really that bad that you want to leave without saying anything to me?” Caleb questioned and Alexis tried to see his eyes through his hair to see whether he was being the nice Caleb or whether he was playing with her again.
She couldn’t see his eyes; he had intentionally dipped his head in such a way so she couldn’t see them. Sometimes these vampires annoyed her. “Only when you’re an ass” Alexis answered back with her hands on her hips, she tried and failed to surpass the yawn that was coming on. “You’re cute when you’re tired. You pulled on clothes and you put your jumper back to front and you’re hair is puffy” Caleb’s smile was kind, although it caused Alexis to pull on her jumper trying to see if he was telling the truth. As she thought he was, the tag on her shirt suggested she had it on backwards, no wonder Vladimir had looked at her weirdly in her room. He must have been wondering if she knew her clothes were on backwards.
“Damn” Alexis cursed trying to pull the jumper off, once it was off she couldn’t be bothered changing it, she was just going back to her bed after all where was the use on pulling it back on to walk along the hall.
Caleb was watching her, his eyes darkened, his lips pulsed as if his fangs were threatening to break out causing Alexis to falter on what she was about to say. “Cal?” she questioned knowing that he would call her on the nickname only if he was the dark Caleb and he would laugh at it if he was the normal Caleb. Caleb seemed to turn away from her. Not a reaction to match either side that Alexis knew. “I’m fine. You better get back to your bed” Alexis wanted to question him, she wanted to ask about what was wrong, check if he was okay but she knew with his nature not to do that so instead she nodded her head and moved past him towards the hallway and back to her room to sleep.