The ship ride from Autumn Falls to the mainland took only a few hours, the plane to Sunset Valley a few more. Camille’s used to traveling such long distances, Pearl isn’t and can barely keep her eyes open during the drive through town from their hotel to the meeting place.
“Sunset Valley is quite cute as far as capitals go.” Camille says as they pass through the historic city centre. “That’s city hall were the Sim Nation leader works, oh and up on the hill is the rebuilt science laboratories where they manufacture the cure for vampirism! I always wanted to visit here, maybe if everything goes well we can go to the beach after?”
“I’d rather get some real sleep.” Is Pearl’s reply.
The meeting place is in what appears to be an old theatre, empty but definitely not deserted. The Sim Nation FBI refuse to go on, as the property belongs to the Dracule family, but they’re around, waiting to enter if either girl triggers the alarm.
As soon as the door closes behind them a trail of lamps turn on, leading them through the property and up to the second floor. Through a final set of double doors and into a large room where a brunette vampire waits for them.
He looks up at them as they enter. “My name is Jeffery Dracule. I am the current head of the family. It is a pleasure to see you both arrived safely.”
If there was a veiled threat in his words Pearl can’t quire detect it.
Camille focus only on Dracule’s name. “Jeffery? Seriously? No wonder you don’t let anyone know your first name, its ridiculous! Man, your parents really must’ve hated you to give you a name like that. How’re you supposed to intimidate anyone like that?”
He wants nothing more than to rip this little red head to pieces, but that will only make things worse. Unless of course she attacks him first. Mind reading is his favourite little trick, it makes hitting sore spots so easy.
“I admit the name is unorthodox, but your mother seemed to enjoy it while she was under my... care. I believe it was even her last word once I sucked her dry.”
Camille’s almost at his throat before Pearl can grab her. “You... you bastard! How dare you even bring her up? You stole her from me when I was only a baby! What kind of a monster does that?”
Okay so maybe bringing Camille along was a bad idea.
“Cami, please.” Pearl begs. “Control yourself! We aren’t here to fight.”
“You might not be but I’d be fine with going a few rounds against this piece of shit!”
Neither notice the couple entering behind them, until Jeffery Dracule looks up at the door. “There you are at last, child. What have I told you about being on time?”
“My apologies, father.” Junielle mutters before letting Rio go, glancing only once at Pearl before moving towards him. Even Camille stops trying to fight when Pearl’s hold weakens, looking towards her brother. She hadn’t expected him to be here, she hadn’t even expected to ever see him again.
“Well?” Rio asks, smirking at her. “How do I look?”
“Different...” Pearl sighs, not feeling the connection to him she once had. This can’t be her brother. Rio was always proud of himself, but this... this is too much. “I didn’t expect you to really be one of them.”
“I hoped by bringing your brother here you would see tis meeting is being held with good faith.” Jeffery says from the background. “Please, join us once you’ve had your moment.”
Pearl doesn’t want a moment, she doesn’t even want to be here, but when Rio pulls her in for a hug she doesn’t fight him. He’s cold as ice, she can’t even feel a heart beat but her own is racing. He can feel it and tries to comfort her. “I won’t hurt you, Pearl. You’re my sister, and I’m not going to let anything happen to you. Please don’t be scared.”
He takes her by the hand, leading her to a long table on the far side of the room before taking a seat across from her.
“You’re here because you wish for safety for your family.” Dracule sees no point in more pleasantries. Best to get the point of the meeting on the table as soon as possible. “So I’m willing to offer you a deal. For as long as I rule, your home will be under our protection, not only will we leave your family be, but if you are being threatened by a third party we will be there to help. In exchange I want only one thing, custody of my grandson.”
“His grandson?” Camille repeats, slowly putting the pieces of the puzzle together. “He doesn’t mean-”
“I can not give you custody of Nicolas because I swore to keep him safe from you and your influence.” Pearl interrupts. “For as long as I am still here, you will never even get to talk to him.”
Junielle didn’t know Pearl was going to be here today. Her father told her to come to his workplace because he wanted her and Rio to learn about the family business. This... this is just cruel.
Jeffery ignores his daughter, instead turning to look at Rio. “Pearl is your sister, won’t you talk to her? Please... son... don’t you want to see your little boy again? I know you miss him terribly.”
Rio reaches across the table, taking Pearl’s hand before staring her straight in the eyes. “Listen to him, Pearl. He isn’t evil, he gave me a new life and his daughter’s hand in marriage. I trust him with my life, and I’d like to be able to know my son.”
Junielle can’t believe what she’s hearing. This doesn’t sound like her husband.
Pearl’s heart jumps into her throat, her face flushed in confusion, embarrassment. Now this... this feels like her brother, but he can’t really mean this. “But you... Grandpa said you wanted me to protect him. You can't... um... he looks like you, you know... but I don’t know if-”
“Rio, stop this.”
Junielle’s voice is strict, carrying enough weight to break whatever trance her father put Rio under. He pulls his hands away from his sister as if she were burning him before turning to look at Junielle. “Again?”
She nods. “Again. You were lying. Told Pearl we wanted to see our son. We don’t... remember?”
“Of course not. Kids suck the fun out of vampiric youth.”
Pearl’s heard enough. “I believe we’re done here. Thank you for the invitation and time, Mister Dracule. But I will not be accepting your deal. Things will have to continue as they were.”
The plan was to spend the night in the hotel, and leave late the following day. But as soon as they get to their room Camille makes it clear she doesn’t want to be there. And why. “HOW COULD YOU FORGET TO TELL ME NICOLAS WAS HIS GRANDSON? Did it never cross your mind that, gee, maybe that psychotic piece of shit was after his heir? And your brother certainly didn’t look like an unwilling victim! Is anything you told me true?”
“My brother gave himself up because he knew Junielle would save him.” Pearl practically growls. “Their son, my nephew was given to me to protect from his family! By his parents! And in case you didn’t notice my brother is no longer my brother. That bastard has him completely under his control! Every day I look at Nicolas, I see him suffer for what he is, teased at school for being different and I can’t do anything about it! I can’t understand, I can’t teach him, I can only keep him safe!”
“But it’s not like you understand.” She continues. “You didn’t have to sit there and go through your own brother, your own other half asking you to do something you swore not to. I was so close to giving him up, and then to hear that they don’t even want him? Do they even care that their own son asks about them all the time?”
“I do care.” Junielle whispers from the door way. Neither girl even noticed her enter. “I care, but what can I do? The farther he is from my horrible family the safer he’ll be. And I came to say sorry for all this has put you through.”
The first time Pearl met Junielle, the vampire was threatening to kill her. Pearl can’t be too sure what’ll happen this time. “You don’t have to apologize. I’m taking care of Nicolas for my brother’s sake, not yours.”
“In case you haven’t noticed Rio isn’t Rio anymore. He’s been completely under my father’s control since he was changed into a vampire, I can only break him from the spells for short bursts of time now. And good thing I can do at least that, because I just found out my father’s latest plan is already in motion! I don’t know what it is, but I know he’ll be going after Nicolas now that you’re away from him.”
Pearl’s out the door in seconds, phone in her hand. There has to be a plane leaving sometime tonight, and she’ll be on it. She has to get home as soon as she can.
My god this plot is never going to end is it.
So with this chapter I leave you all. My vacation starts Thursday and in between contests, packing, and social commitments I wasn't able to get the buffer chapters I wanted. Shit's been going on in my personal life and with Supernatural coming out a week after I get back home I'm not sure if I want to explain the addition to my legacy, or end the Saris and start over fresh from Generation 1 in a new cannon world.
I'd love to hear your thoughts for either idea. Since right now I'm pretty split.
I'd love to hear your thoughts for either idea. Since right now I'm pretty split.