Ravyn's Nights - Book 2

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Chapter 3

It was a few nights later when Claire had taken Erica out to play on the beach, and Sean had taken advantage of the quiet while it lasted to work on one of his songs. Sean was seated in the living room while most of the other members of the household were off on their own clan-related errands for the night, except of course Dahlia, who had to wait until Erica was safely asleep for the night before she could venture out of her own quarters in the home’s cellar.

That was when Awsha once again entered the living room, noting Sean there writing while the rest of the house seemed silent and empty for once “first time I’ve seen you working on anything new in a while” she opened the conversation with him as she moved to take a seat quite close to him there on the couch.

“It’s been a rather busy week” he answered, trying to ignore the way she sat so close to him, leaning toward him as though interested in what he was writing.

“I suppose Claire is outside with that child?” she returned.

“That would be correct” Sean replied, not allowing himself to look up from the paper.

“So, when are you going to get rid of her?” Awsha asked bluntly, and then wryly added “I mean the child, of course.”

Sean allowed a slightly impatient sigh “it has yet to be determined if we will”

At that, Awsha laughed loudly, “you’re not serious, are you?”

That was when Sean finally did look over at her “it’s possible that she may just stay here indefinitely.”

“Here? In this house?” Awsha returned with disbelief.

“That is where we are currently living, is it not?” he returned flatly as his eyes moved back to the paper.

“Yeah, with Dahlia in the basement who would give the girl nightmares, and break the Masquerade too if she ever saw her, the crazy Malk, the hot-tempered Brujah, the mad doctor Tremere, the Gangrel who spends half her time as an animal, the Ventrue who already thinks us Torries are pathetically human, and the servants who can’t stop fucking each other for five minutes” she finished pointedly, “sounds like a perfect fit” she had to add sarcastically.

“Awsha” Sean returned with annoyance.

“What? Am I wrong?” Awsha returned, “I mean, you can’t seriously think this is a good idea, in any way” she added.

“We’ll just have to figure it out” was his only response, though quiet.

Though Awsha wasn’t swayed just yet “and then there’s her new mommy and daddy who like to bite other people, as well as each other, just for fun. And of course, those new parents just might burst into flames if she accidentally opens a curtain during the day. That will be interesting and not remotely traumatic for the girl I’m sure.”

“Awsha” he repeated.

“And let’s not forget that even if you do ‘figure it out’ as you say what then? She grows up; whatever mental state being raised by vampires will even leave her in, aside. And then her beautiful, eternally young faux parents get to watch her die of old age. That will be even more fun I’m sure” she added with the continued sarcasm.

Sean just shook his head, not honestly able to refute any of her points “I don’t understand why you’re even concerned about it. Those would all be our problems, not yours” he added pointedly. And many of which were the problems that had run through his own head all those years ago, upon finding out about the child that never came to be, after all.

“I think the problem is your ridiculous willingness to go along with any crazy idea Claire might have. Trying to make up for something, Sean?” she added as she accented her statement with a squeeze to his thigh before moving out of the room once again, leaving him to maul over that one last observation as well. However he was sure that what she thought he was trying to make up for wasn’t exactly the same thing that had been a constant presence in his own mind since Erica first appeared in their lives.

That night Claire had put Erica to bed in a small cot in Isabelle’s and Luke’s quarters which were across the hall from Sean’s and Claire’s. As they got into bed slightly before dawn, Claire easily curled into Sean’s arms as she always did. Though Sean wasn’t exactly feeling very restful after the discussion he had with Awsha earlier in the evening.

“Can we really do this?” he finally asked as Claire took her place next to him.

“Do what?” she asked as she looked up into his face.

“Expect that we’ll be able to honestly raise a human child” he answered, though softly.

“I thought you were ok with it” Claire asked, her voice shaking slightly then.

“In theory, yes, but in actuality… I’m not sure how two Kindred can adequately raise a human child, especially considering our already numerous and eccentric roommates” he attempted.

“So, you don’t wanna keep her, now?” Claire asked, her voice barely making it out of her throat at that point.

“It’s not a question of whether I want to, but if we actually can” he attempted to reason.

“If not us, then who? She’s only five years old, Sean” Claire continued with a sniffle.

“I know, believe me. I’m just trying to play it out in my mind, and so much about it could go so very wrong” he admitted at last.

“So, since it’s difficult, you don’t even wanna try?” she whispered back.

“Again, it’s not a question of want, but a question of can” he returned.

That was when she rolled away, turning to her side to center her gaze on the wall rather than on Sean “so I guess I’m in this on my own then, huh?” she whispered back. But before Sean could offer a response, that sun came up over the horizon outside, putting a definitive end to that conversation, for at least one more day, anyway.

Upon rising from her slumber the next evening, Claire immediately moved from their bed to her closet and began pulling various pieces of clothing from their hangers “um, what are you doing?” Sean asked as he slowly sat up, brushing his hair from his face.

“Fixing things” Claire stated simply, not deviating from her task.

“What things?” he asked with a furrowed brow as he watched her throw her clothing into a box she had pulled from the back of the closet.

“You’re worried about Erica being surrounded by Kindred, so I’m eliminating the problem.”

“What are you talking about, Claire?” he asked, even more worried by her answer as well as her actions.

“There’s an empty house up the coast. It’s small, but big enough for Erica and me” she stated simply.

“What?” his volume rising on the question.

“Then she’ll only have to deal with one of us. It’ll be easier for everyone” Claire stated simply.

“Except you. What are you doing, Claire?”

“I believe I just answered that” she returned, still not looking back at him as she gathered the box into her arms and went off to locate Erica.

“So, you’re just moving out?” he asked more loudly as he moved to follow her from the room.

“Like I said, it’ll be easier. I’m not needed here anyway. Haven’s got his council and his two childer. Erica and I are not really a necessary part of the equation” she stated, forcing her voice to remain even as she located Erica playing on the floor with Isabelle in the living room, “Hey Erica, do you wanna come up the coast with me again?” she asked as she leaned down to speak to the girl, forcing her smile as she did.

“Back to my house?” Erica responded with a bit of fear.

“No, a different house. One for just me and you” she smiled down at her, which did elicit startled looks from everyone present in the room that evening, including Awsha.

“Is it as big as this one?” Erica asked as she moved to take Claire’s free hand.

“No, but that’s OK. We’ll make it just as good” Claire smiled down at Erica again, before leading the little girl out the front door, refusing to allow herself to look back at the shocked faces behind her, including her servant, her nemesis, or her husband.

“So… what just happened?” Awsha asked Sean after Claire’s and Erica’s footsteps faded off into the distance outside the home.

Instead of responding, Sean just shook his head and ran his hands through his hair before disappearing back down the hall, hoping upon hope that Claire’s anger would soon cool and she’d return to him.

Sean spent the next few hours seated in their, or was it his, bedroom impatiently tapping his fingers against the wooden frame of the sofa as he continuously looked toward the door of the room every time he heard the front door of the home.

Finally sick of trying to supply her own narrative for the overly interesting happenings of the evening, Awsha finally poked her head into the bedroom. Of course Sean had no reaction to her presence other than a deflated sigh that it was not Claire returning to her senses and his side.

“So, Claire moved out?” Awsha asked as she assumed an innocent tone and leaned against the doorway, her eyes moving over Sean as he sat there on the sofa in silent agitation.

“I highly doubt that will be a permanent arrangement. She’s just upset tonight” he replied, trying to convince himself as much as Awsha.

“Well, I guess it has only been” she glanced at the clock in the hall, “four hours.”

“Was there something you wanted, Awsha?” he asked with brevity.

“Hey, no need to be moody with me. I’m not the one who left, after all” she added, trying to hide the tiniest smile, considering.

“If you just came here to bask in my misery, I’m doing quite fine on my own thank you” he told her coolly.

“Misery?” she allowed a small smile as she moved into the room, “that’s a tad dramatic, isn’t it? I mean it has only been four hours” she repeated.

“Again, was there something you wanted?” he repeated in the same curt tone as she took a seat next to him.

“Well, I could try to improve your mood” she teased as her fingers trailed up his thigh again. Of course the look on his face at that suggestion did do well to make her withdraw her touch “Teasing” she stated with a forced chuckle as she leaned back again.

“Do I appear to be in a humorous mood tonight dear sister?” he returned with the same ice in his tone.

“Sorry, I’m not used to seeing you this upset is all” she attempted, looking down slightly.

“That’s because you’re not used to seeing me away from the woman I’ve been in love with for 114 years, and counting” he had to add pointedly as he was the one who removed himself from her presence rather than waiting for her to take the hint herself.

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