It was Christmas Day, I have decided to risk the sun, I am taking a couple of the students to the Simmons’ place and taking them back, they all have their gifts for each other in their back packs. I have gifts for everyone as well. For Theodore, I bought him some of my books, ones I wrote, about Shakespeare and some of Shakespeare’s early work. They are very expensive by today’s standards but to me, it is nice to give them to someone who never knew Shakespeare and enjoys his plays. For Marcus, it is his pocket watch I am giving him. I made him this watch for when he turned sixteen, the day Argos turned him. At sixteen then he was a man, today he is still a child. I have made some changes to the watch, mostly so now it would take batteries made today, but it still as ancient as his soul. For the other kids, I got some games to play in the dorms, on the new X-Box 360 that the school had gotten for the dorms. I parked in the driveway of the house next door to the Simmons’. The house was now closing on a sale, my sale; I bought it yesterday offering the owners three times above market value. I waited for all the students to get out, with packages in hand. I went around back of my van and got my bag, and followed the students up the door. Thankfully it was a cold day, very sunny, but cold, so most won’t look twice at my extra clothes. I was kind of nervous I had not talked to Theodore since the day school let out, five days ago. And Theodore has been haunting my dreams, and they were not bad dreams, just unnerving, and completely erotic. But the first child knocked and he opened the door.
“Come in, come in, it is freezing out there come in!” He said moving to the side to let the kids in then he saw me and smiled. “Katyla, get in here, you are going to burn!” He grabbed his coat from the hanger and came out and put in around my shoulders. His smell was all over, and for first time since I was human, I felt warm. He rushed me into the house, and hung his jacket back up and took mine. The kids had thrown theirs so I helped him pick them up and throw them on a chair by the door. “Kids, don’t care where they drop things. They all must be in Marcus’s room; I got him that new X-Box 360 system and the new Call of Duty game for Christmas.”
“The kids today do seem to love their game systems. I brought gifts, where do you want them?” I said heading into the living room. I listened for a moment to the excitement of the children, but as always with Theodore, it was only allowed for a moment. He had started to move towards me at that moment.
“Over by the tree is fine the kids will probably be a few minutes then will come down and exchange gifts.” Theodore said walking behind me, never staying more then a foot away.
“Do you need help in the kitchen?”
“Do you cook?” Theodore was shocked he hasn’t met a lot of woman who volunteer to cook anymore.
“Yes, I am very good, my mother’s best friend taught me, and she was a world class chef in Paris.” Not true but the cooking classes I took in Paris were by a woman, and Julia was famous.
“Marcus said you lost your mother.”
“Yes, I was young, as soon as I could go to high school my father sent me up here.”
“What does he do?”
“He was military; he passed away before the new school year.” I didn’t want him asking anymore questions. I took bits from my own history and made them more modern, I loved my dad, he was all I had, he was proud of my intelligence, and proud that I wasn’t going to be a standard wife and mother. He never got to meet Marcus; he died right before I got married. It may seem strange that I was married and had a child when I was seventeen, but that was the way life was, then I was an adult woman at twelve, I got married just a few months after my fourteenth birthday, and had Marcus when I was fifteen. I was going to put off telling Marcus and Theodore that for as long as possible.
“That must be hard; do you have any other family?”
“No, is it just you and Marcus?” We had walked into the kitchen and he was cutting carrots, I had taken charge of the potatoes, we were working quickly, I forget at times to be human in my speed but Theodore never seemed to notice.
“Yes, I am sure you heard Sarah, Marcus’s mother, passed away during the summer.”
“Yes I had heard that, you two must have been young when you had him.”
“Yes, I turned seventeen just a week before he was born, it is hard to believe he will be sixteen next month, on the 15th, my birthday is the 9th.”
“Wow, it must have been hard going to school and being such a young parent.”
“It was but it was worth it, I may be only 32 but I have a lifetime worth of memories.” He had finished the carrots and I the potatoes and we put them to boil and sat down at the kitchen table, continuing to talk. “Do you want anything to drink?”
“No.” Yes, he was so sweet smelling.
“Do you have any siblings?” He was sitting with a cup of coffee getting cold look straight at me, he was so close.
“My mother died in childbirth with my brother, he did not make it either.”
“Oh, so sorry to hear, it must be tough.”
“I was seven when it happened she was older, there were complications, we grieved, but what was bad was my father didn’t really know how to raise a daughter, so he raised me as a son, until I was a teenager.” That was why I went into science, my father was an elder of the town, and so if his daughter was taught by him, then she was good enough to teach others.
“Then you needed a mother…” He left it as an open, so he can gain more information about me.
“I came here when I was thirteen, I am twenty one now. I think I have turned out okay without having a mother during these last few years of my life.” About six thousand years, that is.
“Yes, I can see that…” All of a sudden the conversation was going to take a different turn, and I never experienced that, my marriage was arranged. Just as Theodore was going to continue the kids bound into the kitchen.
“Hey Dad, Hey Kat! Dad can we open the gifts now?” Marcus was basically jumping up in down, he knew what Christopher got him, and he couldn’t wait for the game to be opened, some zombie game- Dead Rising 2. I laughed so low, nobody could have heard me, but Theodore looked my way for just a moment, then he turned back to Marcus.
“Sure, everybody in the living room, Katyla, after you.” Theodore got up and motioned for me to exit the kitchen first. He followed me. I sat down on the love seat the only thing open, and Theodore sat down next to me. “Okay who wants to go first?”
“Let the children exchange gifts, I will go check the potatoes and the carrots.” I said getting up his blood was too much of a temptation today. I was weakened severely by the sun today, I know the burns are healing, thank God but it is making it harder to be around Theodore. I almost was done preparing the potatoes, when Marcus came running in, he almost tipped the huge pan of boiling carrots on him, but I caught the pan. “Marcus, you should be more careful, you would have been badly burned if that had fallen on you.” But he was staring at my hand.
“Whoa, you caught that pan super-fast! And look you are not burned! Dad! Dad! Kat has super power!” Theodore came when he heard dad.
“What is going on in here?” Theodore came over to look at my hand, seeing that I had caught the pan. A quick spell and now I had a burn.
“Marcus came running in almost dumped the boiling carrot water on him, I caught it. Don’t worry, the burn is not bad, I have had worse.” I pulled my hand away, I did not want him to notice how cold I felt and then reject me.
“Let me get some gauze, Marcus, go and sit in the living room, Katyla will be in and pass out her gifts, and open hers after I tend to her hand.” Marcus wasn’t buying the wound he was sure I was not hurt, but he listened to his father.
Theodore took my hand again, and led me to the bathroom “I know I have some gauze in here somewhere.” He let go of my hand and rummaged though the medicine cabinet. After about a minute he found the gauze. I was standing very still, and not breathing, this was a small room and his scent filled the space. There were warring hungers, one I knew all to well, and the other I had never experienced. I was torn, between biting him and kissing him. “Here we go, Katyla” Theodore took my hand and wrapped it, never once commenting on the coldness of my hand, I took a moment to look in his mind, he was thinking how soft my hand was, not how cold!
“Umm… Mr. Simmons…”
“Call me Theodore.” He said cutting me off.
“Theodore…” He was done wrapping my hand and facing me. “Umm… thank you.”
“Not a problem at all…” he was going to kiss me, I was no longer reading his mind but I could tell he was going to kiss me, then Marcus came bounding in.
“Are you okay Kat?’ He was still sure I had not been injured but he was going to go along with it. He had thought about it and decided to keep it a secret; people would think he was crazy.
“Marcus, I am fine… thank you. Your father and I were just about to come out.” My voice sounded husky, and it wasn’t from the lack of breathing.
“Good, I have a gift for you! Dad can I give her the gift now?” Theodore had not turned from me.
“Yes, we will be right there, go get Katyla her gift.” With that Marcus left again. “I want to talk to you later, once the kids settle.” Then he took my hand and we left the bathroom and walked back to the living room.
“The carrots!” I just wanted to escape, his warmth, his scent, his voice, all causing a whirlwind of emotions I had never felt; the want of his blood now the furthest thing from my mind. I pulled my hand away and went to the kitchen.
“Katyla, all I was going to do was put some butter on them.” Theodore went to the fridge grabbed a stick of butter and threw it in the pan. “There, they are done. Let’s go back to living room.” He took my hand again and I went with him to the living room.
I sat back down on the love seat, and he sat next to me. Marcus was already there, with a small wrapped package.
“Kat, me and my dad bought this for you.” I let his grammar slide, the box was wrapped with purple penguins, and it was kind of funny and cute at the same time. He hand me the box. “Open it!”
I lifted the lid and inside was a sapphire necklace, it was the darkest blue it could be before being considered black, and it was surrounded by two garnets. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. “It is so…”
“Do you like it? I saw it the other day, and thought of how it would be the perfect gift for you! Dad said that it was a bit much at first, but a few days ago he agreed to get it with me.”
“It is perfect, thank you so much!” I was speechless; it was over two thousand years since I received a gift.
Theodore, went and picked up the necklace from my hands, and moved my hair to the side, and placed the necklace on me. The blue and the red popped against my white skin. “I am so glad you like it Katyla.”
“I mean it, it is perfect.” I couldn’t believe it, they bought me something, and I was being accepted, by Marcus and Theodore. They never once commented on my white skin, my cold touch, and my odd tendencies. Well Theodore did, but somewhere in the last few days he had a change of heart. I was holding back the tears, of course other I had to for more then looking like, what is the word kids use to day... sap? I also had to hold them back because my tears are pink, they are tainted with blood, if I dined on human blood they would be totally red, like they day Argos killed Marcus I am still upset with myself that I was still so weak after almost four thousand years of being a vampire, I was still drinking human blood, but less and less back then, Marcus wanted to do away with the practice all together and I stood by him. “I hope you like my gifts, I got for you.” I went to get up, but Marcus beat me to it, only because I let him, and bought the pile of gifts I bought over to me. I passed them out, to the children first, leaving Marcus and Theodore for last. I handed Marcus his small gift, and Theodore his, and sat back. Theodore did as well his gift on his lap, and I had an urge to place my head on his shoulder, so I did. And I could hear his heart beat pick up. At first I was worried something was wrong. I tried to move, but Theodore put his arm around me.
“Oh my!” Marcus had opened his gift. “Dad look at this, isn’t just the coolest thing?” He was holding up the pocket watch. “Kat I just love it.” For once his games were forgotten.
“I am happy you like it Marcus.”
“It is one of the best presents ever!” He was handing it to Theodore.
“Katyla, where did you get this, I have never seen anything like it.”
“An antique store, I saw it and thought of Marcus, he is going to be sixteen soon, time for him to carry a watch I thought.”
“It is really something.” Theodore was thinking it was way too expensive to leave with a fifteen year old kid.
“Dad I will be real careful with it! It is the best, not like all those other watches kids have; I have an honest to God pocket watch! Can we go up and play games now?”
I heard Marcus say those words once before and hearing them again I was transported to the past, before the birth of Christ and before I chose my new life, and Marcus’s mind was too filled with games and the pocket watch for me to be pulled from my thoughts. With my mind filled with the past, I remembered our religion before Christ was born, even before the birth of Judaism, that religion has been transformed to Wicca. Wiccans are as ancient as I am, they have been called many things, but not all Wiccans are Witches and not all Witches are Wiccan. Marcus was going to marry a Wiccan Witch, it was 0 A.D., I traveled to see the New Born King and I knew how life was going to change thanks to a vision just weeks before, but just days after that visit as I was laying on a cross of my own, the cross one of the worst forms of the death penalty was just as bad for vampires, I remembered on how I was going to turn her, Marcus’s soul mate, Rae. She was killed at the same time as Marcus, carrying my grandchild. Rae was a beautiful soul; she was the one who brought forth the humanity that both Marcus and I were losing a grip on. If she had not come into our life, we would have turned out like Argos. I thank God every day for her, and had prayed that her soul is reincarnated. It had been but I have not been able to locate her. I felt it the day she was born, but I could not find her, she was born a few years after Marcus. She would be eleven now, God knows what he was doing after all a few years is better then the four thousand that Marcus had to wait in his last life. God is leaving it up to Marcus to find her. It reminds me of my grandchild, vampires can have children if we will it, the female takes it hard if she is a vampire, but heals nicely, I have only witnessed three such births. I never thought of myself ever having another child. The children are born human, and then they turn automatically once hitting adulthood, around seventeen or eighteen.
The kids were getting restless, anyone can see that. Theodore’s voice brought me from the past. “Go on, be careful, and take all your gifts up. The rest of you can take them up and play with or leave them by the tree. Dinner will be ready in about an hour.” With that Theodore and I were alone.
“Are you not going to open your gift Theodore?”
Theodore looked down at the gift in his lap, not really wanting to move but not wanting to be rude either. So I moved, so I could face him some more. With that Theodore unwrapped his gift. He was shocked, he had heard of some of these books but could not afford them, and had heard of rumors about other Shakespeare work but never saw it and no real proof, until today. He looked at the name of the author: Katyla O’Hara.
“I told you I had a family member who was a fan; I am all that is left so everything was left to me. I was named after this ancestor.”
“Katyla, this is too much, you could sell these for a small fortune!” He was shocked I would give him something so perfect for him, but so expensive.
“Why, I am financially secure, and why not give them to someone who would have a higher appreciation for them. You would love these more then any museum or university. I would rather give them to someone who would really care for them.” I never had anyone to care for in two thousand years; it was odd to feel what I was feeling now.
“Thank you so much, they are perfect.” Theodore leaned back again, after putting the box of books to the side. “I can’t wait to add them to my collection, but I will do that later for now I just want to sit here.” I sat back to, and put my head back on his shoulder. I didn’t move I just counted his heart beats. His hand moving across my hair, he moved his chin to rest on my head. The temptation to look up was so great. I was just about to, when Marcus came back down, his thought panicky, someone was hurt.
“Dad! Kat! Come quick!” Then he ran back up the stairs, and so did I, leaving Theodore behind. I kept myself at a very fast human pace; I got there just as Marcus did. One of the boys, Jacob, was hurt, he had been messing around and put his arm through the window. I ran over and looked at it; it was deep, so deep he was bleeding out. Theodore walked in the room.
“Theodore, call 911! Now! I ripped off my sweater though I was in full view of the sun, knowing my skin was burning, my arms the worst, and all were seeing, but the child had to be helped. I wrapped the sweater around his arm and helped him to stand up. I helped him walk, down the hall and then down the steps, taking most of his weight. He was too weak. The paramedics were not going to make it. Marcus was watching how my skin burned, how it was healing, but I was in the sun to long today, it was going to take a couple of days now. I mumbled a few words to lessen the child’s wound, of course doing so; I stopped the healing on my wounds, and even allowed some of the worse ones to worsen. Each time I do a spell my mind goes back, back during the Salem Witch Trails, I met a woman, and she was a Catholic Wiccan, who was also a witch. I saved her life, she wanted to repay me, I said no. But she said a spell, giving me the ability to practice witchcraft, so that I could have the power of the earth, air, water, fire and sprit. I haven’t used a lot of the craft so I still do not know many spells, simple healing ones and then the large one I used to save Theodore, and a few others, some I am not proud to know. Though I don’t know many spells, I am still very powerful.
“How is he?” Theodore was on the phone with the dispatch, and I could hear the sirens now.
“He is going to have one nice of a scar, and he lost a lot of blood, but I think he is going to be okay.” I had stopped the artery from bleeding, just some minor bleeding now.
“That is good.” Then there was knock on the door. “Marcus, answer the door. They are here now. Thank you.” Then Theodore hung up from the dispatch, and the paramedics came in. They started taking over, thank God.
“Ma’am, we can take it from here. Ma’am we were called about a cut not burns.”
“Yes, Jacob, he put his hand through a window, there was lots of blood, take care of him.”
“Ma’am, those are some bad burns.”
“I am sensitive to the sun, they will heal, take care of the child.” I waved my hand toward the child as I was dismissing them, and I played with their minds to forget the burns, and with that I got up and walked to the kitchen. I needed blood, but I could not hunt until night fall, and that was three hours away, it was only two in the afternoon, dinner would be in an hour. The sun had weakened me to the point that any more exposure may finally destroy me. There would be no way for me to eat; the pain of the rejection would be too bad without blood. I had not realized Marcus followed me. I could hear Theodore talking to the paramedics.
“Kat, are you okay? I saw how you burned when you took your sweater off.”
I jumped around a little too quick, the sun had weakened me to a point I was almost at human strength, and that is why Marcus had been able to sneak up on me. “Marcus, don’t sneak up on people. Yes, I am fine; I have a weird allergy is all. It is not very common, but very real. The sun burns me.”
“Don’t you think you should have a doctor take a look at it?”
“No, the burns will heal just fine.”
“You will at least let dad take a look at them?”
“If it will make you happy Marcus, he can take a look at them, but I should call Jacob’s parents.”
“Dad is already doing that.”
“Do you have some plywood?”
“The window will have to be covered.” A broken window that was not boarded was like an open invite to a vampire. That is one myth that is true; we have to be invited in to a place where a human is living. But with a broken window, left open it is an open invite for anything to enter the house, even a vampire.
“Oh, you will have to ask dad.” Just then Theodore walked in.
“Ask me what? Marcus why don’t you go clean up the glass in your room, I will be up to board it up in a minute.”
“That was what Kat was going to ask you, if we had wood to board it up. I will go pick it up.” With that Marcus was out of the room.
“Katyla, that was kind of silly to rip off your sweeter, especially with just a tiny tank top underneath, when you were in full view of the sun.”
“I had to put pressure on the bleeding; it was the first thing I thought to use.”
“Those burns are pretty bad, you sure you don’t want a doctor to see them?”
“I am sure, look they are already healing.” I held out the arm that was burned, the one facing the window.
Theodore came over and took my arm, and looked at it up and down, with a frown on his face. “You don’t seem to have scars, so I will take your word they will heal, but if they don’t heal in the next couple of days, I am taking you myself to a doctor.”
“Oh… I am sure they will have disappeared by tonight.”
“That quick?” Theodore was quite shocked, and I knew I had slipped up.
“Most of my burns heal that quickly, if they were caused by the sun.”
“Okay, well let’s see if we have a sweater or something for you. We can’t have you running around in front of teenage boys in a little tank top.” I would have blushed if I could have, because I got a flash of his thoughts without trying, it included him removing that little bitty tank top.
“Umm... I have another sweater, in my car, I will get it.”
“No you won’t. You can’t go out in that sun. I will get it; you go sit in the living room. I have to go out anyway to get the wood for the window. Please give me your keys.”
I just looked at him; I could have just gone out. Instead I reached into my jeans pocket and gave him my keys, and watched him as he walked out of the kitchen. I turned and checked the potatoes, warming on the stove, and the carrots, and the ham. I set up the rolls to rise, and then went to the living room waiting for him. That is when I noticed the curtains; they were heavy fabric, almost blackout fabric, and a little note on them to keep them closed. He really had listened about my little allergy to the sun. Normally it would not have taken me so long to scope out my surroundings, but Theodore had my usually can focus on a million things mind focused solely on him. I heard him at the door, and got up and opened it.
“Katyla I told you to sit and rest, those burns need to heal.” Theodore was trying to juggle my sweater, and a large piece of plywood.
“Let me grab my sweater” which I did and put it on. Then I went to help him with the plywood.
“Katyla, you don’t need to help, go sit down and rest.”
“I want to help.” I needed to put a spell on the plywood.
“Fine, here is the hammer and nails, follow me up.” He handed me the hammer and nails then proceeded to drag the board upstairs.
“Did you talk to Jacob’s parents?” I asked when we reached to top of the stairs.
“Yes, they are going to call the doctor. Then have someone come and pick him up and take him home for the rest of the winter break.” We got to Marcus’s room, which was full of kids. I took a moment to look around; it was a reasonably sized room, bed on side TV and game system on the other, with a desk for his computer and homework.
“Hey, kids why not go downstairs while we fix the window.” I suggested to them. They all left the room quietly, and looked to Theodore for his next step.
“Katyla, why don’t you hammer while I hold?” He said positioning the board to fill the whole window.
“Okay.” I moved and started to hammer the nails into the board, quickly and as quietly as possible. At the same time I mumbled the spell that would allow it to be part of the house just as if it was a door or a window. I hate the sound of nails being hammered, it rings in my ears. When I was done I moved back.
“Well done. Let’s get back down and finish dinner, and get the kids feed.” Theodore said moving towards the door.