Act II: Scene IV
The next morning after breakfast the pair returned to Marceline’s room as her bed was bigger and far more comfortable for the pair of them. Marceline”s room was decorated in dark reds and creams. Most of the furniture was made of dark wood.
Chantelle curled up on the bed, hugging one of Marceline’s pillows, it smelled of Marceline, of apples and cinnamon. Marceline had been shy when she woke that morning, hurrying to go change in her room. After breakfast, which was surprisingly normal, she invited Chantelle to her room to explain the details. “So is everyone here a Vampire?”
Marceline was sitting on her bed, a few feet from Chantelle. She had put on her usual brave expression, but Chantelle could tell she was still nervous. “No. Liem is human.”
“So, how does this Vampire thing work? Do you always need blood?”
“No. We need it at intervals. We eat regular food as you’ve seen. Nothing unusual. The blood is supplementary to our diets. Mother has fresh blood about once a week, sometimes a bit longer. Father probably more often.
“Vampires can go longer without blood, but it’s not a good idea if you want to refrain from draining someone dry. With most vampires no one is any danger from them.”
“Where do they get it?” She was very curious now, eager to learn more about Marceline.
“Liem. Father for obvious reasons and Mother because he volunteered. She gets some from a maid, but she isn’t all that hardy. And Liem has had a bit of Arthur’s blood so he recovers much faster.”
Chantelle nodded. “How long have they been together?”
“Mother and Father have been married for oh thirty years now. Liem has been with father for oh, gosh, sixteen? Seventeen? Ever since I can remember. They got married when I was twelve.”
“Yes. A Vampire marriage. Now Liem will live as long as Arthur, but still retain his human blood. Eliza and Arthur are married legally, while to vampires they’re married, but free to marry another. Vampire’s have looser definitions of marriage.”
Chantelle nodded, mulling those facts over. They were unusual and strange, but they felt right. “Would that mean I could marry you?”
Marceline’s face flushed. “Y-yes.”
Chantelle nodded. She didn’t want to rush anything, but she did want to know it was an option. Her mother would certainly disapprove, but who else would have her? No one wanted a Cyborg for a wife and it wasn’t guaranteed she could have children, which was just another nail in the coffin. “Since I’ve learned your secret I should probably tell you mine.” She’d been avoiding it, but now she knew she could trust Marceline.
“What’s that?” Marceline looked nervous, but also thankful for the change in topic. The color slowly faded from her face.
“I have implants in my head as well. So I can process information faster when I need to and I gave an excellent memory.” She could still recall the dream from nights ago vividly. “But it also overloads me occasionally.”
“That was a secret?”
“What do you mean?” Of course it was a secret.
“I kind of figured. The way you remembered tiny details, even some I couldn’t. The occasional look you got as though you were thinking something over in every way.”
“And you don’t care?”
“Why would I? The girl with mechanical parts is the girl I fell in love with.”
“Mum? Dad?” All three adults of the house had gathered in the downstairs library. Eliza was knitting a lace shawl, Arthur was reading the paper, and Liem was dozing at one of the tables, several books scattered around him.
“Yes, dear?” Eliza put down her knitting. When Arthur didn’t look up she snatched the paper from his hands. He looked as though he wanted to pout, but turned his gaze to Marceline. Liem looked up, his eyes half closed.
Chantelle could see how nervous Marceline was. Her hands shook just a bit. Slowly Chantelle took Marceline’s hand, squeezing it firmly. “I know that you’re vampires.” None of them seemed surprised. “And I love Marceline.”
Marceline glanced at her, eyes wide. She turned to Eliza, looking for some response.
“That’s wonderful!” Arthur hopped from his seat, taking Chantelle’s free hand. “You’re so darling together, don’t you think dears?” Eliza nodded, while Liem only shook his head in amusement.
“You aren’t too worried about what your family would think are you dear?” Eliza asked, addressing Chantelle though her gaze rested on Marceline.
“No. I’m a Cyborg. No aristocrat will want me marrying their son. And I would say no anyways. Mother can choose one of my cousins she loves so dearly to inherit if need be.” She hadn’t mentioned that to Marceline. But the idea of separating from her family was too good to be true. Neither of them would really miss her. Father was rarely home and to Mother she was simply a nuisance.
“Are you sure?” Eliza’s expression was firm.
“Of course. I’m not worried about falling out of love with her. I couldn’t. I remember every second of our time together and the feelings that go with them. I want to stay with her forever.” It was a firm deceleration, perhaps a rash one to some, but Chantelle didn’t care. She would take control of her life here and no.
Eliza’s smile softened. “We’ll see what we can do then.”