Chapter 1 I DO
“Oh my God, yes, yes!” Kayla’s voice bounced off the stone walls as she shouted the house down.
Stephan and Scarlet ran out of their room and practically flew down the stairs. They found Kayla jumping up and down while Solara watched an amused look on his face.
“What’s going on?” Stephan asked Solara while Scarlet tried to get Kayla to come down.
Kayla exhibited her left hand and the rock that fitted snugly on her ring finger and Scarlet joined in the bouncing and screaming.
“I asked her to marry me.” Solara leaned towards Stephan so that he wouldn’t have to talk above all the screaming.
“That’s awesome. Welcome to the club.” Stephan gave him a congratulatory hug.
“Another vampire visiting the hangman.” Vincent put in as he, his brother, and SJ joined the other men in watching the women.
“Congratulations Solara.” Victor shook his hand, not sharing his brother’s sentiments on marriage.
“It took you long enough,” Scarlet said when they finally stood still. She took her friend’s adorned finger in her hand and admired the ring, twisting it to view it from different angles.
“I was waiting for the right time.”
“Right time? Solara it’s been four years since you guys started dating; about three and a half years since you moved in together, what exactly was the right time.” Scarlet jested.
“If you can recall a lot has happened at that time. And honestly, I wasn’t ready for that kind of commitment.” He pulled Kayla in his arms, “But now I am.”
“Yeah, yeah. Whatever. I’m getting married.” Her eyes were fixed on the diamond on the band as she began squealing again.
SJ brought his hands up to cover his ears, “Women.” He huffed then walked toward the television room.
“What does he know about women?” Scarlet gasped as she snuggled closer to Stephan.
“Besides what he sees on television, nothing.” Vincent teased. “You guys need to let him go out of the house sometimes. He is old enough.”
“He can pass for a teenager, a thirteen-year-old, that doesn’t make him old enough. He literary, just turned three years old four months ago.” Scarlet thought of how grown her baby looked. She had missed the chance of easing herself into being a teenage mother when she decided to have a baby with an immortal. But she took comfort in the knowledge that her son was strong and not easily breakable.
On his birthday they didn’t have a big celebration not like when he turned one. This time he was more mature and settled for a hunting trip with his father and the boys. He and Stephan had grown closer and were inseparable. Scarlet was the only one who could come between them, they had a soft spot for her.
SJ had sprouted and was almost as tall as the twins. He was already five feet tall, and apart from his height and his robust body he hadn’t changed much. He still wore his hair long just as his father did. But his hang over his forehead.
He had begun taking care of himself six months back and Stephan had explained to him about himself. She thought back to the day he had ‘the talk’ with him. But a different kind of talk. Instead of the facts of life and reproduction, they told him the facts of the supernatural world.
He showed a great understanding of everything he told them, it helped that he had a good memory. At times he told them of what he heard them say or what he heard back at the beast compound.
“Is that why Susanna wanted me to stay?” SJ asked.
“Yes, but you don’t need them to teach you anything, your father and uncle are right here to do that,” Scarlet responded.
“What is important for you to know and learn is how to control your thirst and to be responsible about it.” Stephan put in.
“Will I be able to phase into any animal I want to.” SJ was excited about the capabilities he hoped to have. His father was his hero and he wanted to be like him in every way.
Stephan had phased into a jaguar once more to show him the things he might be capable of doing. He had also shown him how he used his shield. SJ hadn’t shown any indication that he could radiate his shield from his mind to his surroundings. He also couldn’t phase into anything just yet.
“I suppose. I’m not quite sure. It took me a while to phase, at first it would only happen when I am angry.”
Scarlet wasn’t sure how he was handling it all because he went back to business as usual. She still thought of him as her baby, and each time he grew an inch she realized she would have to stop coddling him. She didn’t want him to grow as fast but there wasn’t much she could do about it.
“Well, soon he will be shaving,” Solara added to her torment.
Don’t tease her like that.” Stephan warned.
“I’m glad he’s growing, he won’t be getting away with anything just because he is cute.” Kayla declared. “Anyway, we have a wedding to plan.” She pulled Scarlet out of Stephan’s arms.
“And what do we do?” Stephan asked. He was always with Scarlet or SJ.
“We could go watch the sports center with SJ,” Solara suggested.
They had taken up watching sports, now that they didn’t have anything dangerous to handle.
Since Stephan killed Salvatore their lives had become boring and uneventful. There were no incidents that would call Stephan back to Rio or that would have them on guard. Marquis hadn’t shown up as they had suspected and Stephan was elated about it.
“Solara.” Kayla called up from the top of the stairs, “We are getting married in a month. I thought I would let you know.”
“It’s good to know nothing will change.” Victor teased.
They usually teased him by making whip sounds every time Kayla said something to Solara and he did it without questioning it.
“I’d rather she does everything that way if it gets messed up she doesn’t have anyone but herself to blame.” Solara defended himself.
“Smart.” Stephan supported, “Victor until you get married or have a girlfriend you won’t be able to understand.”
Stephan took a seat beside his son.
“Hey what are you watching?”
“The highlights. So are you and mom still going away this weekend?”
It was their anniversary and they planned to spend it in San Francisco just as they had their first. SJ wanted to go along but they wouldn’t take him yet again.
“Yes, and you still can’t come. Sorry.” He ruffled his hair.
“That’s not fair.” He pouted, “I need to get a change of scenery. I promise you won’t even know I’m there.” He held his hands together as if in prayer.
“Your mom and I will be locking lips the whole time.” Stephan went silent, letting it sink.
“Maybe after your anniversary weekend.” SJ gave in.
“Ask your mom.”
“Seriously.” SJ was excited; it was too easy to get what he wanted from his mother. She never turned him down; her weakness was giving in to whatever he wanted. But when Kayla was around he never could convince her. “I’ll just wait for Aunt Kayla to be done with her then I’ll ask.”
“So how are you feeling?” they sat on Kayla’s bed that was never used for sleeping.
“Like my cold dead heart just got a beat.” Kayla was elated, ever since Scarlet got married she wanted to get married, but it was never the right time. But the last year had been quiet and uneventful, so she always hoped and expected him to propose.
“I just wish my family could be here for this.” Kayla’s excited tone turned somber. “Could you check on them when you go back?”
Scarlet wasn’t so sure about going to San Jose. She had planned to go till the beach and nowhere else. She didn’t even want to go back to the diner or their former house, there were too many memories. She would also have to go to the cemetery, she was avoiding it since she hadn’t been there for the past three years. But how could she tell her best friend no?
Kayla had seen her through all the pain and sorrows she had encountered ever since they met. And her request was featherweight compared to what she had helped her through.
“Ok,” she nodded, “I’ll go as soon as the week rolls in.”
“Thank you,” she hugged her tightly. “Tell them I miss them.”
“Sure.” She was going to lie again and was sure that Kayla would have her coached and ready before the weekend.
“Now let’s plan my wedding.” She giggled.
“This is going to be fun, considering that I never got to plan my wedding.”
Scarlet thought back to her ambush wedding. She, Stephan, and SJ had just come back from their family getaway in San Francisco. Stephan led her to the back yard where she found everyone she recently knew dressed in white, with white roses littered everywhere.
“That was awesome you should have seen your face. And when you took off, it was just priceless.” Kayla teased.
Scarlet remembered how she dashed back into the house, Stephan staring after her speechless.
“It was an eventful day. So is Solara also getting tattooed?”
“He’d better. I want my name etched on his back forever. He’s mine and I want everyone to know it.” A cheeky grin crept across her face.
“At least you’ll know what’s happening.”
Scarlet hadn’t known what was going on until she heard his groans of pain and begged Kayla to show her. It was terrifying and after the anger and fear had subsided she found it romantic.
Each night when they made love she would run her fingers over the seven-letter word on his back. He called it a scar for ‘Scar’.