It was shortly after sunset the next evening when Sean emerged from their new home. His intention was to check in with the servants and make sure no issues needing his attention had come up that day while he and Claire slept. He only managed to take a few steps though, before his love of beauty caused him to turn to look out over the ocean that was so near to them there in their new home.
Only, when his eyes moved down to the beach, they also caught sight of Awsha sitting there at the edge of the water. She too seemed to be caught by the beauty of the sea beneath the stars and the moon as she curled her bare feet into the wet sand taking it all in. Despite everything else she may have been, she was still a Toreador, and that magnetic pull towards all things beautiful was one thing none of their clan could ever overcome.
The combined sight of the sea, the sky, and the beautiful woman taking it all in, did well to cause a triple threat to Sean’s own senses and he found himself standing there staring, entranced by all the beauty he was being flooded with at once.
There was no real way for Sean to know how much time had passed as he stood there entranced, before he was finally shaken back to the present by Haven’s hand on his arm “it is quite a sight the first time you see it” Haven offered once he finally had pulled Sean back to awareness.
“Yes, it is” Sean agreed, though his voice was weak as he forced himself to keep his eyes on his sire then.
“Or was it something else you were looking at? Should I be worried there’s some truth to Awsha’s insistence that you wanted her just as badly?” Haven dared to pose the question, knowing that dragging this situation out any longer would be of no help to any of them.
“Haven” Sean returned uncomfortably.
“I can see lies Sean. So, just tell me, how hard is it going to be to be here with her again?”
Sean sighed heavily as he attempted an answer at last “I won’t deny that I think she’s one of the most beautiful creatures I’ve ever seen in over a century” a slight pause “but that doesn’t change the fact that I will never be able to truly trust her, or let my guard down around her ever again” he then added, “and no matter how beautiful she is, she will never occupy the place in my heart that Claire does, ever” he promised with no doubt in his tone on that matter at least.
“Then we can finally try to move forward from this?” Haven returned.
“I’m ready to move forward, honest” Sean assured, though his voice trailed off then.
“But?” Haven pressed.
“What Awsha did, it made me angry, but anger fades, eventually. Other things, other feelings, that other people have about all of it… those aren’t fading nearly as easily” he admitted sadly.
“So it’s Claire who is going to have the most trouble getting past any of this” Haven stated more as an agreement than a question.
“She’s terrified that Awsha will be able to take me away from her after all” then he lowered his voice, “because Awsha is your childe, making her stronger than my childe” another sigh “for the first time in a century she thinks she has real competition for my affections, and that she’s somehow outmatched in this alleged competition. But she can’t seem to see that the other factor to whether Awsha will ever be able to steal me away is me” he added pointedly “and I’m on Claire’s side, always will be. Just wished she could believe it as much as I do” he added.
“I guess you’ll just have to prove it to her” Haven finally offered.
“And how do I do that? Please, tell me, I’ve been trying to figure it out for nearly two decades.”
“By showing her that no matter how much a part of your lives Awsha is now, that she’ll never be able to be the part that Claire is for you. If you just avoid Awsha forever, then Claire will always be waiting for that inevitable loss. So face it, face her, and prove to them both that Awsha really does not have any power over you anymore at all” he advised him with an encouraging nod before heading off to speak with his other two new Kindred subjects.
Sean took a few more moments to steel his nerves for this inevitable confrontation, and finally, slowly started making his way down to the beach where Awsha still sat entranced by that beauty herself. So entranced was she that evening, that it took his voice to bring her back to the present as well.
“It is beautiful” he managed, though his voice sounded hoarse, despite his immunity to any such maladies that would make it so.
“Sean!” she grinned widely as she just then noticed that he had come to sit next to her on the sand. She instinctively moved to wrap him in her arms in greeting, but then forcefully stopped herself, and remained in her seat with a quick downward glance.
“It’s ok, you can hug me” he allowed with some semblance of a smile, “just please keep your hands above my waist, this time” he couldn’t stop himself from adding. Though his words did cause an awkward, though grateful laugh as she moved to wrap him in a tight, if slightly longer than necessary, embrace.
“It means so much that you came out here to talk to me” she told him as she wiped at her dark eyes a moment “I would have come to greet you last night, but…” her voice trailed off.
“This is better. Gave me a chance to get settled in last night” he agreed, though his voice remained quiet and his eyes remained on the waves lapping at their feet.
“Does this mean I can call you a friend again?” she dared.
A slight sigh as his eyes remained on the waves that were nearly the same hue as those eyes. At least he imagined the water was that hue under the sun that he hadn’t been allowed to truly look upon for nearly a hundred years now “you and I were always friends, quite easily before… the incident” he decided on.
“The incident?” she couldn’t help smiling, “is that how we’re to refer to it from now on?” she couldn’t help asking.
“I think we’ll probably be better off not referring to it at all” he decreed.
“I suppose that would be safer” she agreed, though hesitantly.
Sean allowed another sigh as he tried to determine what subject honestly would be safe in this more than awkward situation “I suppose you haven’t done a lot more acting since returning to America?”
“Acting like it’s not driving me completely insane. That’s about it” she replied, her eyes turning back to the sea as well.
“You did have quite the gift for it though” he allowed.
“Another compliment and I might think you don’t hate me” she replied, though the words were a near whisper.
“I told you, I’m not the one you really need to make things up to, Awsha” he told her in the same quiet tone, only allowing a brief glance her way as he did.
“I don’t know how to make it up to her, Sean. I honestly don’t” she said, though there was an odd lack of emotion to her words right then.
He sighed again, “I wish I could give you that answer. Just never break her trust again, and hope she’s willing to give you this second chance?” he offered.
“If that’s all” she returned, though in a small voice.
“Unfortunately that’s the only answer I can manage to come up with, myself” he admitted.
“She’ll always hate me” she added in an even quieter voice.
“Yet to be determined. Remember, we all have a really, really long time to try and get past this all. A really long time” he added for weight.
“Sounds wonderful” she scoffed, though did allow a small smile again.
It was then that Claire wandered past the window inside their home that night. Her eyes were easily drawn to the expanse of sea outside that window. Of course, it wasn’t the sea that took all of her attention at that moment, but rather the two sitting on the beach chatting under the stars as if everything was right with the world after all.
But seeing them there together did not bring any calmness to Claire’s worried mind at all. She didn’t know what to feel about it, honestly. All she could do is wonder and theorize and guess at what this new life there would mean for them. It would either bring them the happiness they had been seeking for over a hundred years or perhaps nothing but disaster and pain. Perhaps Minna was the only one of them who truly knew what this new world had in store for them in the coming weeks, months, years or even centuries. Though Claire was not sure she wanted to go and get those answers.
After all, as long as she didn’t truly know what lie ahead, maybe, just maybe, she could continue to hope that they could overcome everything else, and truly be happy together for eternity. But hope was not all that easy to come by, even when you didn’t have that very eternity lying ahead of you, as they all did.
~to be continued in book 2~
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