Arssaya, Rayanna, Lanika, and Biancaneve were sitting in Arssaya’s car talking while Nick and Arssaya’s family stood or sat around. “Wait let me get this straight, everyone knew Nick and his family are witches except me?” The half-breed folded her arms.
“It wasn’t our secret to tell,” her father answered.
Nick’s father shrugged. “You think I’d marry into a family and not know their background?” he asked.
“Well, can someone explain the whole vampire descendant thing?” she demanded.
“Well, actually, we’re the descendants of Javier and his first wife’s children,” Nick’s mother replied.
“I offered to turn the children and Javier. But they would rather have an eternal reward after death, it hurt to see them age but it was their choice.” Biacaneve said. “As for the witch thing, both our bloodlines have contained many witches; mostly weavers.”
“So, Dad, are there any other secrets you’re keeping, maybe one about our family?” Arssaya crossed her fingers.
Her father frowned. “No, if there was I would have told you long ago.” There was no guile in his eyes. So the man was unaware of his blood, it wasn’t uncommon.
“Oh, so you’re okay with the magic stuff?” she asked.
“Why wouldn’t we be?” her stepmother asked.
“Because it’s weird, and freaky, and dangerous.” Arssaya stated. Rayanna noticed the way Biacaneve’s undead body was coiled, Lanika’s face showed that she too had picked up on the hostility of the vampire. Rayanna tried to keep her eyes from darting to the door. Vampires made her very nervous. Both the girl’s parents gave her looks of extreme disappointment.
“So why are you a vampire? How does that work exactly?” Lanika asked politely.
“I wasn’t always a vampire, my mother, the Countess Arbellia, Bianca, was a witch who had a talent with mirrors. She sought to poison me so she could continue to be the most beautiful woman in the land. The apple was cursed to bring the eater sleeping death. My mother misinterpreted the curse, she never was very bright.” the vampire finished.
“Wait, so you’re Snow White! But that’s impossible, and your mom died, your stepmother tried to kill you.” Arssaya was quite confused.
“Yeah the Brothers Grimm had a habit of sanitizing fairytales. Murderous mothers became stepmothers.” Rayanna wished Arssaya would be quiet; every question she asked seemed close to setting Biacaneve off. It was obvious the queen of the vampires detested the girl, although Rayanna couldn’t blame her, she was a bit annoying.
“That’s funny, because my stepmom is actually the best thing that happened to my dad,” Arssaya stated.
The vampire’s mouth tightened. “I’m Rayanna, I’m pleased ta make yer acquaintance.” The Leanansidhe had courtly manners drilled into her since she first entered Fox’s home.
“You should’ve stayed home,” the women remarked.
“Take it up with the Seelie King,” Rayanna said with a shrug. The vampire looked amused; Rayanna felt an uneasy feeling in her gut.
“Oh, haven’t you heard? The Unseelie launched an attack in the midst of the chaos. The king is badly injured, he might still die.” Rayanna had the struggle to hide her distress at this news. After their mum was murdered by solitary fey, there were still many nobles who thought they should have been returned to the Erlking now; they might bring it up again and with the Seelie Court in disarray, and the new king might actually listen, she wasn’t sure how safe any of them were. Rayanna knew Fox and when she got bored, or sad, Fox destroyed things, she’d smash and smash and smash and then when everything in sight was in pieces. She’d smile and giggle and show someone usually Rayanna the pitiful fragments and silently beg with her eyes to be told just how clever she was for figuring out how to break whatever it was, so that no one else could play with it. Sometimes, Rayanna helped her smash whatever it was, because when you were hurting and powerless it felt good to feel someone shatter in your hands.
She could picture it now, Reaper presenting her dead body to Fox and her guardian making that lazy fluttering motion with her hands as if fending off the annoyances of the world and going, “Oh, that toy, I’m quite bored with it now, throw it out, and make sure to burn it, so no one else can even look at my old doll.”
It was just the way things were, it wasn’t worth crying over. “So she’s safe then.” Rayanna let her relief show outwardly.
“Were you not listening? She...”
The Leanansidhe cut Biacaneve off. “She’s safe, that’s all I need ta know,” The Leanansidhe responded truthfully.
“What, you’re okay with this?” Arssaya demanded skeptically.
“In Fox’s mind, leaving one ta die is about as bad as stepping on someone’s toe,” she explained.
“That’s messed up,” Lanika stated.
“I’m going out ta get some fresh air.” Rayanna got out of the car, and stretched lazily, feeling a bit of a weight come off her shoulders. Then headed out down near the area of the trailers. Nick was sitting there looking glum.
“I can’t do anything right!” The boy unleashed his frustration by kicking at the ground.
“That’s not true, ya fought Reaper,” the girl offered. “I’ll never forget the look on his face when he smashed into that wall.” She mimicked the expression and they both had a good laugh.
“Thanks for standing up for me to Arssaya earlier,” he added.
“That was nothing.” Rayanna waved off his gratitude.
“I’ve never had anyone stick up for me before,” Nick confessed, looking at her almost shyly.
Rayanna inwardly cringed. Don’t look at me like that, I’m not a hero. I’m just a messed up fairie who takes advantage of nice witch boys to manipulate them, she wanted to scream. Rayanna forced her smile to turn coy. “Well, I think us heroes should get ta claim a reward,” she flirted.
“Um uh, what did you have in mind?” he asked her nervously.
She moved in closer. The location of me brother, she thought in her head. Aloud she said. “What do ya think?”
He swallowed. “We should really be getting back and...” On any other day Rayanna might have found his nervousness cute, but not today. She put her hand on his shoulder and brought his face to hers.
" Y—you know I don’t believe in interspecies kissing,” he stuttered.
She ran a hand through his hair gently. “Don’t think of me as a different species, think of me as a pretty girl who really wants ta kiss ya.”
He looked uncertain, and suddenly unease filled her own chest. Was he just being shy or was she forcing him? She softened. “It’s okay if ya don’t want ta.” She drew back and awaited his decision, so he wouldn’t feel pressured; she was never going ta be like him.
Determination filled his blue eyes, nearly being killed, and watching his house burn might have inspired a sense of carpe diem within his breast, which is what she had hoped for. “No, I want you to kiss me,” he admitted. Finally! She did so slowly at first, her lips pressing against his. She took her mouth away after a moment, her ego could never resist.
“How’s that?” she asked a bit smugly, judging by the look on his face, she already knew the answer.
“Wow! Just wow!” Nick repeated.
“That was yer first kiss,” she stated smiling gently.
The boy looked embarrassed. “No, um, what are you talking about, girls are lining up to kiss this,” he lied, she took pity on him and pretended to buy his obvious fib.
“Want ta continue?” she asked him simply.
“My hormones would love to.” She leaned in again he stopped her. “But my brain is far more interested in why you’re here and what you want.”
“In that case, I’m more fond of yer hormones,” she teased him, he pulled away, she wondered if this was what humans referred to as karma. “Ya don’t trust me?” She put on her best hurt face; he didn’t look at it.
“I’ve got this thing called witch’s intuition, and it tells me you’ve been playing me,” the boy said a bit coldly. Rayanna was both impressed and irritated.
“Speaking of which, you still haven’t explained why you’re here,” the boy reminded her.
“Oh, well, um, maybe a wee bit...” The witch cut her off.
“You’ve had more than enough time to get it together.” His tone was suspicious.
I just hope this doesn’t set me back too much; the plan is already not going well, Rayanna thought. Sure she could justifiably say her and her brother were tricked into it. However, in her experience, in times of crisis beyond all rational thought and reason, people wanted someone to blame. She might as well tie herself and Rashell to a tree and hand the human a match. Rayanna looked at his cool expression and pulled the oldest trick in the book, quickly she recalled one of her worst memories and she turned on the water works, Rayanna quickly watched Nick’s face turn from confident to panicking. A lot of people saw crying as a weakness; Rayanna had been taught by her mum how to self-cry since she was old enough to talk. It was ridiculous how a few tears could bend anyone to your will. It was mostly encouraged among Leanansidhe to let the tears flow because the sooner you cried, the sooner the Erlking and his inner circle stopped causing you pain.
“I’m sorry...I didn’t mean to.” Nick kept stumbling over his words.
Come closer, dam ya, Rayanna thought to herself, she turned herself sideways as if not wanting to look at him, displaying the vulnerable curve of her shoulder.
“I—ugh!” Nick came over and patted it awkwardly; she turned and threw herself into his arms, letting the dam break, making sure her soft skin was pressed against his. Then when his voice softened and she could feel him rubbing her back stiffly she tilted her head up slightly, so he got a good view of her big, sad eyes.
“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to upset you,” he insisted.
“I...can’t...tell ya...Nick,” she fake blubbered.
“What about the veil?” She nodded making her lip tremble. “Why not?” he asked.
“I...” she trailed off. Then she saw realization enter his eyes.
“Wait you said you enchanted our classmates because you were scared, Reaper was after you; is someone trying to hurt you?” Nick demanded.
“Oh, Nick...I can’t...” She turned her face away slightly.
“Who’s trying to hurt you?” the witch demanded.
“Anyone with any sense,” said a clipped voice. Rayanna turned to see Biacaneve, Lanika, and Arssaya standing there. “I suggest you remove your hands, Leanansidhe.” the vampires hissed. Rayanna reluctantly let go of him.
Nick gasped “The Dark Muse,” he stated, wide eyed.
Rayanna curtsied elegantly. “I see me reputation precedes me.” she stated, she had girls bigger and more powerful try and intimidate her in the past, a couple of half-breed brats weren’t going to make her squirm. Arssaya and Lanika looked disappointed with her reaction.
“You were going to eat him,” the vampires accused.
“No, I wasn’t,” Rayanna responded truthfully.
“I need to get back to my family, so we can figure out what’s happening.” The vampires nodded and the two of them started to leave.
Now was the moment, “Wait, speaking of family.” Rayanna gave him an uneasy look. “If it’s not too much trouble, could I maybe see me family?” she asked looking at him through her lashes.
“Of course.” Nick gave his great aunt a sharp look when she looked like she was about to protest. Rayanna felt anticipation build up in her chest, this was the moment she mentally prepared herself for whatever state she was going to find her twin in. But at least he’ll be alive, she tried to reassure herself.
It seemed like forever as they trailed back to the car in silence. Biacaneve touched the rearview mirror and the glass darkened. The vampire paused in her task and scowled. “I’ll do it only if you give your word to never harm this family.”
Rayanna held out her trembling fingers.“I swear that neither man nor woman nor child of the Blanchi witch coven, will receive harm directly from mine own hand,” she vowed. The Dark Muse would vow to bring the vampires the moon if she asked for it at this point. Biacaneve nodded satisfied and touched the mirror the image changed to reveal Rashell and a man in a business suit riding a Minotaur. Rashell! she thought. He’s escaped, me clever brother! They hadn’t hurt him. She collapsed to the ground with relief.
“Do you want me to show you Fox as well?” Biacaneve asked casually, but Rayanna knew the vampire was mocking her, but she needed to make sure Fox was okay for practical reasons. She nodded and Biacaneve touched the mirror. The Leanansidhe breathed a sigh of relief to see that her helpless mother-in-law was safely with her wealthy friends drinking wine.
“This doesn’t bother you?” Biacaneve asked her. ”She left you.” the vampire emphasized.
“Would one run into a burning building ta rescue a pretty knickknack?” Rayanna asked, ignoring the inner sting in her chest from her own admission.