Over the next several nights Haven or Aidan, if not both, took it upon themselves to bring Awsha by the theatre each night to prove her value as a performer. Apparently the dark eyed and dark haired beauty had the singing voice of an angel, as well as the needed grace for either a dancer or an actress as well. There really was no talent she didn’t seem to have a gift for, which is most likely why she received the attention of someone such as Haven in the first place.
On that particular night, Haven watched from the seats as Sean and Awsha took places on the stage to practice one of the pieces for the theatre’s upcoming musical. Though Sean himself would not be onstage, he did enjoy working with the chosen performers to perfect each song or act as much as possible before opening night. During their rehearsal of sorts, Claire was left in the company of Aidan upstairs in she and Sean’s living quarters.
Throughout the evening, Claire and Aidan discussed various happenings in the court since she and Sean had made their departure. Though Claire was beginning to tire of the way that Aidan couldn’t stop himself from making several references to the decade the two had spent as lovers. The problem was not the fact of them being lovers in times past, but talk of that time in her life continuously brought back the memories of being away from Sean for so long, as well as her own brush with Final Death on the last night of her and Aidan’s previous relationship.
Due to her growing discomfort with Aidan’s flirtations, Claire couldn’t stop herself from making a pointed comment at last, “So, you said you and Awsha became fast friends due to the fact of your royal heritage. Does that actually mean you and she are just friends?”
Aidan immediately grinned at her question as he moved closer to her on the sofa, leaning down to speak next to her ear, “I can’t help wondering why you’d make that sort of inquiry, Claire.”
“Because she’s spending an inordinate amount of time with my husband” Claire answered plainly and without hesitation before adding, “and your flirtations towards me, as well as Haven’s obvious interest in Awsha as well…I’m simply saying that things could get very messy here if you and she are actually supposed to be together” she finished pointedly.
Aidan was at first put off a bit by her words, but then he dissected them further, “You sound as though you’re worried that all three of us are interested in her offstage talents as well” he had to tease.
Claire swallowed a bit before finding a response, “I notice you’re not denying the accusation.”
Aidan allowed another small smile, “Doesn’t Sean spend time with all his performers?” he then couldn’t help adding, “And do you mean to tell me that you and Sean are once again trying that horribly mundane monogamy idea?”
“I was asking about you, not Sean” she attempted to deflect.
“Yet your first concern definitely seemed to be your husband’s possible interest in Awsha” he noted, “Monogamy? Really? How does that work after you spent ten years in my bed?”
“This has nothing to do with monogamy and it’s particular place in my marriage” she returned, the impatience in her tone becoming more clear, “If you listen closely, I’m voicing concern for the possibility of some ugly scenarios coming to pass when three men seem to be overly interested in one girl.”
Aidan couldn’t help shaking his head as he smiled down at her again, “Are you honestly jealous of one little human girl gaining the interest of not one, but three Kindred?” he couldn’t help the scoff. “Do you really think a mortal woman could ever hold the same kind of appeal as a beautiful immortal like yourself?” Though his words started off as a compliment towards Claire, he then added “Even if she was an object of lust for any of us, you know perfectly well that all she could ever be to creatures such as ourselves is a passing fancy and no more.”
Aidan offered that assurance in a way that was somehow equally comforting as well as cruel, at least in regards to the human girl in question. And that human girl did catch those words as her breath now stuck in her throat there on the stairs, which she had been ascending to the door at that very moment. Only, Aidan’s ‘assurances’ easily stopped her in her tracks as she swallowed hard and hurried back off down the stairs once more.
It was only a few short moments later when Awsha returned to the lower floor, passing through the backstage area as well as by the stage where Sean was marking a bit of sheet music for the next piece. Without pause, she moved to where Haven was seated, watching her hurried approach.
“Something wrong, sweetling?” he asked with concern as her aura easily showed him her upset.
“I’m not feeling well. Can we leave early tonight” she stated in a way that made it hard to tell whether her tone was hiding more anger or sadness, if not both.
“Well, if that’s all right with your new boss” Haven attempted to assure her of her newfound importance there.
“If she’s not feeling well, then by all means” Sean stated as he set the sheet music aside, though he too eyed Awsha with a curious expression.
Once Haven and Awsha got into their waiting carriage, Haven too centered that curious expression on her before speaking as the horses pulled them away from the theatre, “Not feeling well?” he repeated her words with obvious disbelief.
“Why is that so hard to believe?” she responded, though quietly as her dark eyes stared out at the nighttime street passing them by.
“Well for one, you’re now immune to most sicknesses that could plague a body” he pointed out the obvious to her, easily referencing the fact that he had already started that bond in her.
“I just don’t feel well” she repeated stubbornly, still not looking his way.
Haven allowed a long pause before sighing and speaking again a few moments later “are you going to tell me what has you ‘not feeling well,’ or do I have to find out for myself?” he threatened, though with a gentleness that belied the truth of such intentions.
Awsha was quiet for a long moment of her own before finally giving him a response, “am I just a ‘passing fancy?’” she asked, almost spitting out the last two words.
Haven raised his brow at the question, thinking on it a moment before making his own response “a passing fancy for whom?”
Awsha shook her head, obviously unhappy with that response “the fact that you even asked that makes a girl wonder” she stated with that same tone that bridged the gap between sadness and anger again.
Haven couldn’t help a small chuckle, “well I could better answer if I were sure of whose fancy we were actually speaking of.”
Then she finally looked back at him, “who do you think?” was her only retort.
“Well, whose affections are you actually seeking? Mine? Aidan’s? Sean’s? ...Claire’s?” he couldn’t help adding.
“Claire’s? Really?” she scoffed.
“Well she has been known to take a liking to other lovely young female companions of mine in years past” he couldn’t help smiling at the memory, though the smile was laced with more than a bit of sadness as well.
“You honestly think I’m after the affections of every person I meet?” she pushed on, sounding insulted.
“Isn’t that what all stars want…honestly?” he smiled as he reached up to graze her warm cheek with his cool fingers.
“But you made it sound like…” another pause, “like I wanted all four of you…in that way” she added more quietly.
Haven allowed another smile, “my strange family is indeed one made up of creatures that do happen to have that effect on most every mortal we meet” he added with more honesty to his words than mere arrogance. Though that statement seemed to cause a darkness to pass over her beautiful face which did not go unnoticed by Haven. “How have my words upset you now, sweetness?”
“Your family” she began while shaking her head once more, "they have an allure that I could never have. That’s been made painfully obvious tonight” she added the second sentence more quietly.
“Are you mad?” was Haven’s simple response.
“Mad?” she returned defensively.
“You would have to be to not see the desire that each of us do have for you. Well, maybe not Claire as of yet, but the night is young” he had to tease once more.
Awsha wanted to believe his words, but Aidan’s came back to her, “And how long will that last?”
“How long will what last?” Haven responded softly.
“Any desire that any of you could ever feel for a mere mortal, like me” she clarified sadly.
Haven then moved to place his mouth over hers before speaking in a whisper against her lips, “where’s it written that that’s what you will have to remain?”
It was a few nights later when Haven paid Sean and Claire a visit once more. However, this time he didn’t have any others with him. And that fact was a bit of a relief to Claire, if not Sean, who immediately asked about Awsha’s expected return to their private rehearsals.
At the sound of Sean’s quickly voiced concern for Awsha’s presence, Claire tried to push down those insecurities again, and managed a smile as she invited Haven to come upstairs with them. Claire was then the first to speak once they were seated in the living area of their small but comfortable home there above the theatre.
“So, you never did tell us that story of why you left your westward quest through the new world to return to the mother country again” Claire began the conversation after retrieving glasses of red for the three of them to enjoy with their conversation that night.
Haven seemed to steel himself for that lengthy story, as he had actually come there to discuss the future rather than the past, but he couldn’t fault them their understandable curiosity after seventy years on different sides of the ocean.
“Well, I—we did make it all the way to the other side of the new world, but it turned out to be dreadfully boring.”
Claire and Sean couldn’t help a smile of disbelief, “thousands of miles of unexplored lands was boring?” Claire asked with a chuckle.
“There’s literally nothing for miles, and miles … and miles” he added once more before moving on, “and when we did make it to the other coast, there was more nothing, with a few trading ports, then… again, more nothing” Haven added with another small smile.
“Sounds very exciting” Sean returned as he took a sip, though seemed a bit distracted from being fully present in the conversation just then.
“All that nature though, and the natives?” Claire continued, obviously more interested in his tale than Sean seemed, “And I’m sure Chantarell and Ana found many, many reasons to celebrate along the way” she smiled as she took her own sip before being caught by Haven’s downward glance.
Noting that Claire had easily caught his change in expression, Haven pushed onward through his tale “the problems of finding adequate shelter during the day did tend to wear on all of us a bit” he admitted. “We forced our way onward, just to say we had made it there, but we didn’t stay on the west coast for too long. After just a few weeks in those port towns, if you could even call them towns, we all decided it would be best to find a ship to return us to the more civilized world of the colonies” his voice then dropped a bit, “though I’m not sure they were much more civilized, after all” he added much more quietly.
That time Haven’s words and demeanor did finally garner both Sean’s and Claire’s attention as Sean then spoke up, “What happened?” he asked with concern once again.
That was when Haven seemed to steel himself once more before continuing, “it seems that the puritanical lifestyle was really not meant for anyone like us” he stated simply and quietly, still not looking up at them.
“What happened?” Sean asked again, more concerned as he and Claire both moved forward in their seats to hear what it was that had darkened Haven’s mood so suddenly.
Haven took another pause before answering “I suppose you don’t get much news from the new world here in London, so I can only assume you haven’t heard about what’s going on in the colonies these days.”
“No, what?” Claire asked worriedly.
“The trials they’ve been having lately. That’s what the colonists call them, anyway. I call it hysteria” he added more softly.
“Trials?” Claire pressed for further details.
“Witch trials…the burnings” he added, barely able to get the words out of his throat, “They came during the day…when I…when I couldn’t…” Haven’s voice trailed off again as red tears formed in his eyes before he managed to add, “and they call us monsters?”