Chapter 12: The Parentals
I still didn’t fall asleep until around five in the morning so I only got a few hours of sleep. Gigi was up around 8 but I slept until 9 in the morning, I would have slept longer but she came into my room and woke me up.
“C’mon lazy bones! We have stuff to do today.” She prodded. She poked my face and tried to tickle me while I was still in bed.
“Go away Gigi, I’m tired,” I groaned. “I didn’t sleep well last night.” I turned away from her and buried myself in my blanket. “I just want to sleep some more,” Gigi put her hands on her hips and scowled at me.
“Are you going to make me go to Daniel’s by myself?” She asked. Huh?
“When did we agree that we were going to Oak Street?” I grumbled.
“Last night when I saw you sneak back inside,” Gigi said. Well now I was awake, crap. “Yeah, you thought no one noticed didn’t you? I’m going to assume that you went to Daniel’s because where else would you have gone?” She said. I sat up and stared at her wide eyed. “That’s what I thought, so why did you go there?” Gigi smirked at me. I had forgotten how damn observant she could be sometimes.
“I went there to apologize,” I mumbled. “I couldn’t sleep because I kept thinking about that look on his face and how he hadn’t said anything to me all week. I’m going soft okay? I felt really bad and I thought that maybe if I said sorry to him I would feel better, and I do.” I said. “Now let me sleep,” I crawled back under the blanket so I wouldn’t have to look at her.
“Elisabeth Abigail Hayes!” She exclaimed. “We are going over there today whether you like it or not.” Gigi grabbed the covers and threw them off of me. “Let’s go,” She said.
“Gigi it’s only 9 in the morning, he probably isn’t even up yet.” I whined.
“Yeah, because he doesn’t have a concerned slightly annoying friend such as myself. You two need to get everything out in the open.” She said.
“Damnit Gigi that’s what we did last night! I was over there for almost an hour just ranting to him.” I said harshly. “I just want to sleep,” I added glaring at her, she glared back. “I’m afraid if I’m around him too much that I’ll start to like him, okay? I only went over there to apologize last night and I’m not even sure if that was a good idea or not. I already think about him more that I should, I keep getting drawn to him and I don’t want that. I want a normal life with normal teenage problems and normal Todd.” I said exasperated. Gigi frowned at me and sighed.
“You already like him, Elisabeth, otherwise none of this would be a problem. I know you’re a nice girl, but if you don’t like someone you tend to not care. Otherwise, why else would you sneak out in the middle of the night? To see Todd?”
“Well maybe I do like him, but I like him as a human. I don’t want all of his ‘vampire baggage’.” I said quoting her from earlier that week. “Or maybe I just think he’s really cute, I don’t know. I don’t know what I want.” I said. “Can’t we just let this go for now?” I asked. I was so tired and definitely not in the mood for this right now. Gigi huffed but left the room, maybe I had actually won for once.
When I finally got the motivation to get out of bed I got dressed and went downstairs to sit with Gigi. “I’m sorry I got mad earlier, you know how grumpy I get when I’m tired.” I said. “We can go see Daniel tomorrow if you want to,” I suggested. Compromise was always key with her.
“Fine, I guess,” She shrugged. “Have your parents met him yet?” I shook my head no. “Don’t you think that they should? They’re your adopted parents so they have a right to know everything that’s going on.”
“They met him briefly before homecoming, but…they didn’t know that it was him,” I said. “We can do that then, I’ll invite him over and you can come over again too if you want. We’ll sit down and have a big meeting. Everyone can air their grievances at the same time.” I said. Gigi seemed to approve of this idea.
“That sounds like a plan,” She said. “Do you want to see a movie today?” She asked changing the subject.
“Sure, should we go into Williamsburg? We can make a girls day out of it.”
“That sounds great! Let’s do it.” She said, pumped.
. . .
Gigi and I had a great time in Williamsburg, it had been a while since the two of us had gone into town together. Pretty much since before she and Kevin got together, he tended to take up a lot of her time. I logged onto IM to see if I could get a hold of Daniel and invite him over tomorrow and I heard my phone ping; it was a text from Todd.
Hey, I miss you. I cracked a small smile and texted him back.
I miss you too, I’m sorry I’m so busy this weekend. :/
It’s okay babe. Just text me if you have the time. :*
He was so sweet, why couldn’t I like him and only him? Daniel had to go and make everything so complicated. I sighed and typed up a message.
Elisabest: I know this is kind of sudden, but do you want to come over tomorrow and, uh, meet my parents?
DanV: This is kind of sudden.
Elisabest: Well I just thought that since you’re back in town for…good I guess, that you should meet them. They ask about you sometimes, but they don’t know anything. The only thing they knew about you to begin with was that they had seen the name Florescu in the police report of the burning…
DanV: So they just want to know who I am?
Elisabest: Pretty much, I didn’t even tell them about the marriage so you’ll have to explain that too.
DanV: I suppose we can do this if that is what you want. When should I be over?
Elisabest: I guess around 6? That’s when we usually have dinner. Will you eat steak..?
DanV: Can it be more on the raw side? Not necessarily bloody, but fairly close to it?
Elisabest: We can do that, just…don’t gross them out the first time you’re meeting them okay? If you want there to even be a slim chance of this contract working out you’re going to need them to be okay with it.
DanV: I understand, I will be there. And, Elisabeth?
DanV: Thank you.
*Elisabest is offline*
I blushed and logged off of IM quickly. “Get your act together, Hayes.” I said to myself. Why did he have to make my heart race every time I talked to him? “Don’t fall for him anymore than you already have.”
So Gigi decided against being there at dinner that night when she found out how little my parents knew of the situation. She figured it might be best to let them take it all in without her being there, it was probably for the best.
“He really wants raw steak?” My dad asked as he put the meat on the grill. “I know their name was related to vampires but…” He trailed off.
“Just give it a sear on all sides I guess,” I shrugged. They were in for a really big shock, I felt kind of bad for not telling them any of this sooner, but after he left in October and I found his letter, I thought all of this was pretty much over. Poor mom and dad. I went back inside and upstairs to get myself ready. I put on my favorite jeans and a nice t-shirt, then put on some light makeup, just enough so that I was trying, but not trying too hard.
Daniel would probably be here in about 15 minutes so I decided I would go ahead and give mom and dad the gist of what was going on. Just the very basics though.
“Okay, so, I know this is going to sound absolutely crazy, but Daniel is a vampire.” I said. Their eyes went wide but they didn’t say anything in response. Mom opened her mouth and looked like she was about to speak, but then didn’t. “And I know he is, because…I’ve seen him drink blood before.” I said. “And I’ve done a good bit of research on the Florescu’s, they are responsible for the death of my biological parents, but not Daniel’s parents, apparently it was some of his distant cousins.”
“But, this is crazy!” Mom finally said. “Vampires aren’t real sweetie, they’re just a myth.” She said.
“That’s what I used to think too, mom, until I saw him drink that blood. He drinks it every day so it’s kind of hard to deny that fact.”
“How do you know about your parents?” Dad asked.
“I went online and researched my biological parents. My Romanian name is Luminita Elena Vieru, I was born in Benkosky Castle in the Carpathian Mountains. The Florescu’s and Vieru’s have been fighting for power over that territory for years, which is why his relatives tried to kill us.” I said.
“Luminita Elena Vieru,” My mom whispered. “It sounds so strange, so foreign.”
“I just wanted to give you guys some background information before he got here so…” I trailed off. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, but it didn’t seem to matter when he left in October because he made it sound like he wasn’t coming back.” I said. “Since he’s here for good now I thought it would be best if you met.” I said. Daniel chose that moment to knock on our door, it was time.
“So, Daniel, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?” My dad asked before taking a bite of steak. “Are you sure your steak is done enough?” He asked. Daniel looked to me for confirmation and I nodded back at him.
“The steak is actually cooked perfectly Mr. Hayes.” He said. “I can only assume that Elisabeth has filled you in on the basics. I’m from Transylvania in Romania, raised in a small village up in the Carpathian Mountains.” He paused. “Um, I am also a…” He stopped. “Are you sure Elisabeth?” He turned to me.
“Daniel it’s okay, I already told them that too.” I reassured. “I doubt that they believe it, but I did tell them.” I said.
“Yes, she told us that you’re a…vampire,” Mom struggled with the word. “But it’s just so outrageous, how are we expected to believe something of that caliber?”
“When we adopted Elisabeth and the maid told us of what had happened to her biological parents we did some looking into what happened. The name Florescu was brought up multiple times and more than once people referenced vampires when the name was mentioned. We thought it was superstition though.” Dad said.
“Indeed there many vampire superstitions in Romania, a majority of them are true; vampires are scattered across the whole world in reality. The only myths about vampires are that we can’t walk in sunlight or eat garlic. We also aren’t repulsed by the cross or silver. Frankly, the only difference between humans and vampires is that we have fangs, the necessity to drink blood, and a longer lifespan.” Daniel said.
“So…well, we still don’t understand why you’re here Daniel,” Mom said. “If you’re a vampire and your family killed Elisabeth’s biological parents…” She trailed off.
“What do you want with her?” Dad finished in a commanding voice. It looked as though Daniel already had an explanation lined up in his because he didn’t look fazed as he took a deep breath.
“When Elisabeth and I were babies,” Daniel started out slowly, “Elisabeth was more of an infant really, our parents decided to set up a marriage between the two of us, a pact that would bring our two families together. The Florescu’s and Vieru’s have always fought for control of the Carpathians in Romania so a marriage between the two of us would unite our families and end the territory war.” He said. “Shortly after the marriage was announced to the rest of our families, that is when Elisabeth’s parents were killed.”
My parents sat there quietly, probably trying to process everything they had just been told.
“So, what you’re saying is that Elisabeth is also…” Mom whispered as realization crossed her face. “Oh my God,” She put down her fork and stood from the table. “You can’t possibly be saying that my daughter is a vampire too?” She said. “She doesn’t have fangs or drink blood. She’s human, look at her.” Mom gestured towards me with hard eyes. “You’re crazy,” She said.
“I can see where Elisabeth gets her disbelief from,” Daniel muttered. I glared at him and punched his arm. “Sorry, sorry, I couldn’t help myself.” He chuckled. “I assure you that it is true, and when she is bitten she will be a vampire, however, until that happens, she is very much so human.”
“What do you mean you have to bite her?” Dad asked with narrow eyes.
“Um, you see,” I stuttered. “Apparently female vampires need to be bitten for their vampire gene to activate or whatever.” I said. “So I don’t have fangs or the need to drink blood yet because he hasn’t bitten me.” Now I was the one being looked at like I was crazy.
“You really believe all of this nonsense, Elisabeth?” Dad asked. I nodded slowly.
“I know it’s hard to believe, I didn’t believe it at first either, but it’s the truth. I’ve seen him drink blood before, I see it every day actually.” I said.
“Well, what about the arranged marriage?” Mom asked exasperated.
“That…I’m still not one hundred percent on that.” I said. “I can accept that he’s a vampire and that I might be one too, but I never signed up to being betrothed.” I said. Daniel frowned at me but kept his mouth shut, as he should, I was currently trying to save his butt. This dinner wasn’t going how I had wanted it to, it was spiraling beyond my control. “I knew this was going to happen,” I groaned.
“What?” Daniel said.
“This tension,” I said. “I didn’t expect them to believe you or what you are, it would have been easier if they did though. Oh! I know,” I dashed from the table and went upstairs, grabbing the photos from my drawer and then returning to the table. “These are my biological parents.” I handed the photos to my mom. Dad leaned in close so they could both look at them.
“Oh my,” Mom started. “She’s beautiful, they’re beautiful.” She said. “You look so much like her Elisabeth, and I can see your father too, in your hair and eyes.”
“Why didn’t you show us these sooner sweetie?” Dad asked.
“I don’t know,” I shrugged. “I didn’t want you guys to feel awkward.” I said.
“Oh, honey, there’s nothing to feel awkward about. We knew where you came from.” Mom reassured me with a pat on my back. “We’ll always love you sweetheart.” She pulled me into a hug and kissed my cheek. Dad smiled at us, it seemed the Daniel situation had momentarily been forgotten; crisis averted. But only for a moment.
“So then Daniel, what are your intentions with my daughter?” Dad asked, his mouth set in a hard line. Daniel looked to me like a deer in headlights. “Doesn’t she—don’t we get a say in all of this vampire arranged marriage nonsense.” He continued.
“Well,” Daniel dragged out the word. “My intentions were to court her and bring her home to Romania where we would get married when she turned eighteen.” He said. “However, it has come to my attention that she has a boyfriend.” His voice turned sour. “So there is not much I can really do if she does not want this. My parents will undoubtedly be unhappy with me, but I can’t force her to do something she does not want to.”
Oh, Daniel. I’m sorry, I wish it could be different. Daniel stood from the table abruptly, his chair clattering behind him.
“Perhaps it would be best if I left now. Mr. and Mrs. Hayes, thank you for the delicious dinner.” He smiled at them then turned to me. “Luminita,” He nodded curtly.
“Wait, I’ll walk you out.” I stood from the table as well and followed him out the door. “Daniel wait up!” By the time I got outside he was already at the end of our short driveway. “What’s going on?”
“Elisabeth there is no point in my being here any longer. This contract will never go through; you’ll always be too stubborn or with some other boy. I don’t understand why you decided to introduce me to your parents after all of this time.”
“I, I wanted to introduce you because they asked about you sometimes. I thought they deserved to know what was going on with their daughter.” I said. “And, I mean Daniel, maybe if you hadn’t left…things would be different. Maybe then I would be with you instead of Todd.” I stared down at my feet. “Daniel when I realized that you had left, for good, I was really upset, I missed you. You know, Gigi and I were fighting and then you disappeared, Todd was the only one there for me.” I confessed. “If you had stayed, it would probably be different.” I said again. His feet came into my vision as he stepped closer to me, Daniel reached out to my face and cupped my cheek, wiping a tear away. Had I been crying?
“Elisabeth, why are you crying?” He asked me softly.
“I, I don’t know,” I wiped my tears away and looked up at him. “You just stormed out of the house and it’s my fault for once.” I said finally. “Storming out of the house is my job,” I gave his shoulder a light shove and shot him a shaky smile. Daniel caught my arm and gave me a wry smile, then pulled me into him.
“Do you know how infurating you are Ms. Hayes?” He whispered into my ear, his breath cool and sweet. “I believe it is you who is hot and cold, not I.” My heart was hammering in my chest and I couldn’t seem to get it under control. I wonder if he could tell. “And do you know how hard it is for me to resist you when your blood boils like it is now?” Well I guess that answers that question. “You always say that you don’t want this, that you want a normal life, but the way your heart beats says otherwise.” He lips grazed my ear and I felt my heart begin to beat faster than it already was.
“You just confuse me Daniel!” I gasped out. “I don’t know what I want,” I said. “I do want a normal life, and maybe I’d want that with you if you were normal. If you were human then it would be different. I can’t deny the attraction that I have towards you, but you’re a vampire, it just wouldn’t work.” I said. “I don’t want all of your baggage, I’m sorry.” I trailed off.
Daniel looked down at me sadly and kissed my forehead. “I know you don’t Luminita, that is why I didn’t want to come back to America, but my parents forced me to. I only want you to be happy, even if that means being with Todd.” Daniel’s eyes stared into mine deeply for a few seconds and then fluttered closed as his lips met mine. And so I found myself kissing Daniel Florescu once more. He was careful not to deepen the kiss this time and pulled away quickly leaving me wanting more.
“I’m sorry, I should not have done that, but the way you looked and how your heart was beating, I couldn’t resist. Just as you are attracted to me, I too am attracted to you Elisabeth.” He kissed me once more, more fervent this time, like he didn’t want to let go. “I should go home now.” Daniel whispered against my cheek. “I’m sorry I’ve made you feel this way, I’m sorry I can’t be normal for you.” He kissed my forehead and then turned and walked down the street. I was sorry too, I was sorry I couldn’t be what he wanted me to be, a vampire. Man senior year was really shaping up to be a doozy.
I immediately retreated to my room after Daniel left, why couldn’t I figure out what I wanted? Did I want Daniel, to be a vampire? Or did I want to be normal with Todd, to be a human? I heard a light knock on my door and a moment later mom walked into my room.
“Hey, sweetie, are you okay?” She asked. She sat on my bed next to me and put her arm around me. “Dinner didn’t go very well did it?” She asked. I shook my head no and stared down at the ground. “But, Elisabeth, did you really expect us to believe all of that? That you and Daniel are vampires? That you are supposed to marry him? That’s a bit much for us to take in.”
“I know, Mom. Believing in vampires is a hard thing, but I believe he’s one.” I said. “I’m not sure about the marriage part, although I’ve seen the contract that both of our parents signed.” I sighed and leaned my head onto her shoulder. “I just don’t know what’s wrong with me.” She reached up and stroked my hair like she used to when I was kid.
“What’s wrong Elisabeth?” She asked. I sniffled and the tears began to flow again. “Elisabeth?”
“Why do I have to like him? No matter how hard I try I still find myself having feelings for him. Why can’t I just like Todd and only Todd? Why does Daniel have to make me feel this way?”
“Oh sweetheart,” Mom turned to face me and hugged me. “It will be okay Elisabeth.” She said softly, stroking my hair again. “Does Daniel know that you like him?” I shook my head no.
“I mean, I’ve insinuated it I guess, but I’ve never told him.” I sniffled. “How could I? He saw Todd and I kissing at school and then didn’t talk to me for a week.” I said. “All because I let him kiss me on Christmas.”
“He didn’t come over for Christmas,” Mom said with a look of confusion.
“Well…” Crap. “He snuck into my room after Todd left because he wanted to give me a Christmas gift.” I said. I stood from the bed and retrieved the dress from my closet. “This is what he gave me.”
Mom drew in a sharp breath. “Wow, that it is, that’s beautiful. He gave you that?” She asked stunned. I nodded before returning it to the closet.
“You should have seen how he was looking at me when I tried it on, mom. The look in his eyes…even Todd hasn’t looked at me like that yet. It was hard to not kiss him in that moment.” I said quietly. Mom smiled at me softly and patted my shoulder.
“Everyone has those moments Elisabeth,” She said. “For me that moment was when your father and I had our first dance at our wedding.” Mom smiled to herself. “I can’t tell you exactly what to do in this situation honey. Vampires aren’t exactly within my knowledge, but maybe you should tell Daniel how you feel. Just don’t hurt Todd if you don’t have to, he’s such a sweet boy.” Mom patted my head and then left the room. Everyone was always so much help.