When Sean had arrived home, it was already nearly dawn, so there was not a lot of time for Claire to inform him of her encounter with Erica. Then, when they awoke at the next evening’s sunset, Claire still was having trouble even broaching the subject without having more time to think on it.
As Claire distractedly started to get up from the bed, Sean reached toward her to make an attempt at pulling her back into his arms. Though, she dodged his grip and moved more quickly to choose her evening’s attire “ok, what now?” Sean asked as she opened the closet.
“What now? Now I get dressed” Claire stated, though her words were more of a mumble.
“What if I’d rather you get undressed?” he attempted a smile, though all he got in return was a sigh.
“I think that can wait ‘til there are less people up and about” Claire offered as her only response.
“Did I miss something, Claire?” he had to ask.
“Why? Because it’s the first time in over a century that I didn’t spread my legs for you just because you touched me?”
“Ok and ouch” Sean returned as he sat up, his expression turning serious then as well “where did that come from, Claire?”
“We don’t even need sex. I don’t know why you’re acting like it’s so strange for us not to have it just because the thought happened to occur to you” she continued in the same mumble as she angrily ripped a dress from its hanger.
“Yeah, I’m the one who’s acting strange” Sean returned with obvious confusion.
“I just don’t feel like it Sean. Is that so fucking insane?” she bit back as she yanked the dress on and headed out of the room with a slam of the door.
“Something’s insane” he mumbled to himself as he got up from the bed with a shake of his head.
“She seems touchy” Erica’s voice interrupted his spreading of the bed as she had appeared in the bedroom doorway moments after Claire’s swift exit.
“Yeah a tad” Sean agreed as he finished with his task before turning back to greet his nearly fifteen year old ward.
Only when his eyes fell on her, he was thrown just a bit by her appearance. Her long black waves spilled loosely over her shoulders above the extremely revealing nightgown she had apparently procured from some shipment or other. The material was sheer and cut so low it was impossible not to notice her already developed breasts which were almost completely uncovered by the material.
“That’s quite the ensemble” Sean swallowed as he forced his eyes away from her almost immediately.
“It’s amazing some of the things that we get from Europe.” Erica returned as she leaned against the doorway, her own eyes traveling over Sean’s body, which itself was only covered by the thin pair of trousers he had slept in that day.
“Isn’t it a little early for you to be dressed for bed?” Sean managed, turning his attention back to fluffing the pillows instead of having to acknowledge her provocative attire.
“I somehow doubt this nightgown was designed with sleep in mind” she returned with a slight chuckle.
“Can’t help wondering what made you choose to wear it then” he stated, still keeping his eyes off of her.
“I know how much you all seem to like beauty, and I thought it was beautiful. Would you like to paint me in it?” she asked as she moved closer, the door shutting behind her.
Sean sighed slightly “I don’t know how appropriate it would be to paint a picture of my fourteen year old daughter in that particular gown” he managed.
“Please, we all know I’m not your real daughter” Erica smiled slightly as she moved to trace his bare arm with her finger, which caused Sean to pull from her touch, as he finally looked back at her, forcing his eyes to remain above her shoulders.
“I can’t help thinking you’re acting a little… peculiar, tonight, Erica” he decided on, wondering what on earth was actually going on with all the women in his life. The one who normally couldn’t get enough of his touch was pulling away, while the supposedly innocent child was doing everything she could to come across as seductive as possible.
“I’m growing up. I’m going to be fifteen in just a week, you know” she added.
“Well, fifteen is not quite grown up” he returned, trying to keep his tone even and his eyes up.
“Half the girls in the colonies get married off when they’re younger than I am. It’s pretty grown up” she argued, though with a smile.
“So, now you want us to marry you off? Is that it?” Sean furrowed his brow.
“No, but you must admit, I’m more than ready to know about other things, aren’t I?” she stated in that same suggestive tone that was more than disturbing when coming from the lips of one whom he still couldn’t help thinking of as a child.
“I’m sure you know plenty. Considering the comments you’ve made just tonight” Sean returned, “but if you have any questions, I’m sure I can find answers for them” he offered, his own discomfort more than apparent.
“I’m sure you can” she chuckled as she took a seat on the bed, leaning back on her hands to make her breasts even harder to ignore “I’ve heard things about you, you know” she added with another chuckle.
“About me?” Sean raised a brow, “I can only imagine” he returned with another wave of discomfort.
“About how being with you, like that, just once, can make a girl fall in love with you… for decades” she added as she licked her lips, her eyes moving over him.
That was when Sean let out a heavy sigh as he glanced around the room “Is this you little sister?” he asked angrily, apparently speaking to no one “you think this is funny do you?” he asked more loudly to the air, “it’s fucking sick is what it is, and it’s not going to work” he added angrily as he mirrored Claire’s earlier angry exit.
When Sean stormed angrily into the living room a moment later, Claire looked up at him with concern. It was obvious that he was quite upset as well, and she doubted it was just because of her earlier interaction with him “What happened?” she was now the one asking him about his obvious upset.
“I swear. Just going down there and pulling Awsha out of that coffin for a nice sunny day at the beach is sounding better and better” he replied angrily.
Claire swallowed a bit as she glanced back toward the hallway, “I’m guessing Erica said something else that sounded startlingly like Awsha’s words?” she allowed.
“Something else?” Sean then looked her way “did she say more to you, since the last time?” he asked as he moved toward the couch Claire was seated on.
Claire allowed a sigh, “that’s why I was so upset. Last night, she said some really harsh things to me; things that Awsha would tell her to say. It got pretty bad” Claire understated the facts of her encounter that Erica no longer even remembered “What did she say to you tonight?”
Sean allowed a long moment as he too glanced back the hall “she was just acting the way Awsha would act” he decided on.
“Meaning?” Claire asked worriedly.
“Meaning she came into the bedroom, barely wearing a thread, and was literally, trying to seduce me” he admitted as he forced himself to look up at the hurt in Claire’s eyes. Seeing as Claire appeared to be rendered speechless for that moment, he continued “then she made some comment about…”
“About?” Claire asked shakily.
“About how being with me just once could make a girl fall in love with me, for decades” he shook his head “gee, who does that sound like?”
“Every girl who’s ever been with you?” Claire managed, though the sadness belied the humor.
Trying to ignore the compliment, twisted as the entire situation was, Sean sighed in frustration as he took a seat next to her “So she said stuff to you last night, then did this tonight? It’s getting worse.”
“Erica’s older now. Almost grown. She’s got more weapons in her arsenal for Awsha to use now” Claire attempted to make sense of the escalation.
“Meaning now she can try to use Erica in even more ways to drive us apart?” Sean shook his head “god this is just so wrong on so many levels.”
“And Erica’s mortal. She can’t fight to keep Awsha out of her head, the way we can” Claire admitted sadly.
“So what the hell do we do?” Sean asked, a bit of that hopelessness Claire had felt the night before also coloring his demeanor.
“Believe me, that’s what I’ve been asking myself ever since the first time anything like this happened. And now it’s just gotten worse and worse” Claire admitted sadly, as both of them silently disappeared into their own heads trying to come up with any possible solution for the new problem they now were faced with.
Then, on the night of Erica’s fifteenth birthday a week later, it seemed their current predicament did change; though not necessarily for the better. They were celebrating the birthday of the only one among them who actually did still age. The celebration took place there in Haven’s home, as it was the largest and most extravagant. The celebration was being held by the group of Kindred and their servants, minus Dahlia of course. Due to the inherent curse of Dahlia’s Nosferatu clan, she could never let her hideous visage be seen by any unbound mortal. However, that suited Dahlia and her solitary clansmen just fine. Several long minutes after Erica had excused herself to the privy, another voice interrupted the chatter of the group in Haven’s living room that night.
“Well I’m hurt; Not even an invitation” the female voice interrupted them loudly and bitterly as they all turned toward the door of the cellar to see a very upset looking Awsha, licking fresh blood from her lips.
There were so many shocked faces in the group that she couldn’t help letting out a wry laugh before Claire finally found her voice “where’s Erica?” she asked worriedly as her eyes darted around the room.
“Your sweet little Erica was quite accommodating. But alas, if you want something done…” Awsha returned wryly.
“What did you do?” Sean asked, using as much will as he could to force down his desire to sink his fangs into her neck all over again.
“Oh calm down big brother, daddy, Claire….the rest of you” she added as she waved her hand dismissively at the others in the room, “I don’t think I took enough to kill her. But I was very hungry… especially after eight fucking years” she added venomously.
With that Sean and Claire both angrily pushed past her as they headed down the cellar stairs behind her to check on what state Erica had actually been left in.
Haven just shook his head at her in disbelief “so that’s what this was all about? Breaking a young girl until she gave in to the likes of you.”
“The likes of me?” Awsha allowed a loud laugh “careful daddy, that’s your own kin you’re talking about. Not that that stopped you from locking me in a box for nearly a fucking decade.”
“You were out of control. And your nap obviously didn’t improve your behavior” he growled back at her.
“It’s your own fault. You’re the one who made me strong enough to still speak to her while I was locked in there. And you’re the one who always treated me like your one great failure. Can you blame me for acting out a bit, really?” she returned, glaring up at him from her place still several feet away. Though she made no impulsive movements as she knew she was in a room full of Kindred and their servants, and quite easily outnumbered.
“So is it actually me that you’re angry at? Because I seem to recall all your petty little psychic attacks being aimed at other members of your family these past eight years” he decided, trying to keep her engaged before she could do any more damage.
“Oh don’t worry; I have plenty of rage to go around. But it’s Claire who kept me from having what I want and Sean who nearly killed me to save her, and you just let them. It’s so hard to decide which of you I hate the most right now. You’re definitely family, that’s for sure. Just too bad that none of you actually think of me that way.”
“And you brought every bit of that on yourself, Awsha, and you know it. And now to use an innocent human girl to continue your need for revenge? How do you expect us to treat you after all that?” he replied bitterly “and I can’t even tell you what they may do to you if Erica isn’t ok” he had to add that final warning.
“And here you are still are defending them” she scoffed.
“And here you are still being the spoiled, willful, selfish, cruel child that you are” Haven shook his head back at her with what looked more like regret than rage at that point.
“Like I had any other choice?” she spat back.
“You had every other choice, Awsha. And you made all the wrong ones” he stated sadly.
“She’s ok” Claire interrupted as she came back up the stairs “well, not ok, but alive” she corrected as she tossed one more hate filled glare at Awsha as she moved past her “Sean’s staying with her ‘til she’s recovered” she added.
“There, the little mortal bitch isn’t dead. Everyone happy now?” Awsha returned smartly.
“Hardly” Claire mumbled, not quite able to meet Awsha’s gaze.
“So what now, daddy? I didn’t actually kill anyone. So what punishment is your precious humanity going to let you give me? I’d love to know” she added with the same bitterness.
“Get out of my territory, Awsha. Don’t ever come back. Don’t ever contact any of us again, in any way. If you do, you will have gone against a specific order from your Prince. And you know what I’ll have to do to you then. Get out, now” Haven told her firmly.
“You’re banishing me?” she returned with disbelief.
“You have exactly one hour to be gone, or you’ll be added to the list of those who have already broken my laws. And we will have to give you a much realer death than the one you’ve already lived for eight years. Just go” Haven finished as he turned away, leaving the room and his errant childe behind once and for all.