Sorry it's such late notice, but are you available for dinner tonight?
No, no, it's OK -- Dinner tonight should be fine.
Your usual place?
Our usual place.
See you around eight.
See you then.
Dinner, yes, “dinner”, of course; but she’d be the only one eating.
// CHIEFTAIN’S VILLA //
The two men launch into familiar pleasantries once Makoa arrives at their home.
“Yes, Hello, How Are You, How’s the Family…?”
There was so much she didn’t know about Makoa Kealoha. His family had lived in Sulani for decades at least…Was he part native? It was possible, and she chastised herself for not knowing already.
Four years – well…three and a half or so – this man has been a vampire.
Her fiancé has been a vampire for three hundred years.
Three hundred years? It was all rather bewildering in the rare moments she paused to give the fact consideration. In her darker moments she mused that perhaps Sebastian regarded her as little more than a cute child who obediently did her chores and repetitions, taking care never to bother the man of the house.
But the rest of the time, she believed there was something substantial, something more. The rest of the time, she believed in true love.
Even if she never developed her potion, she would stand beside Sebastian having made his life better.
That being said, it would be great if she didn’t have to stand in his memory as an old woman.
Makoa was particularly insensed about a sort of trade secret: He didn’t know how to create more vampires.
Tzu talked to Sebastian about it alone one night.
ISN’T IT JUST AS SIMPLE AS SOME VAMPY BACKWASH?
I DRINK YOUR BLOOD, YOU DRINK MINE?
CLOSE, AND THAT’S THE MEAT OF IT,
BUT THERE’S MORE TO THE RITUAL.
IT’S A SORT OF FUNERAL, A CLOSING, A GOODBYE.
WELL, I’D FEEL BETTER IF HE’D PRACTICE FAR AWAY FROM HERE.
I DON’T NEED THE LOCALS COMING IN TO COMPLAIN OF STRANGE STOMACH PANGS.
WHAT’S HE NEED MORE VAMPIRES FOR, ANYWAY?
I THINK HE WANTS TO CONVERT HIS DAUGHTER.
At this, Tzu throws up her hands.
HIS DAUGHTER? THE LITTLE GIRL?
I DON’T KNOW IF I CAN GET BEHIND THAT.
I DON’T KNOW IF I CAN EITHER.
The three walk through the house, bound for the patio. It was a cool night, just warm enough to hint of summer.
DO YOU THINK STRAUD WILL EVER COME BACK OUT HERE AGAIN?
I DON’T KNOW. HIS VISIT WAS UNUSUAL. HE DOESN’T TRAVEL MUCH.
YEAH, EVEN IN THE CITY HE TENDS TO STICK CLOSE TO HOME.
How do you know, Tzu? How do you know?
WELL, I GUESS IT’S NOT WORTH HOLDING OUT HOPE, THEN.
THAT HE’LL CREATE SOME KIND OF SATELLITE OFFICE.
SEBASTIAN IS THE OLDEST OFFSPRING OF STRAUD THAT WE KNOW OF.
THAT WE KNOW OF.
IF HE WASN’T GOING TO RAISE ME, WHY DID HE CREATE ME?
But this isn’t the excuse that Makoa wants. He looks as if he’s swallowed a fish head.
I THINK IT’S OUR DUTY TO TAKE THE GOOD WITH US AND LEAVE THE REST.
THAT’S WHY I WANT TO BRING ALONG MY DAUGHTER.
STRAUD DOESN’T CONDONE CONVERTING CHILDREN.
HE DOESN’T BELIEVE THEY ARE ABLE TO CONSENT TO THE CHANGE.
IF YOU BRING YOUR DAUGHTER, YOU MAY VERY WELL RUN AFOUL OF HIM.
GET HIM ON YOUR BAD SIDE.
FAT LOT THAT MATTERS.
FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH, IN MY LINE OF WORK, CHILDREN CAN’T CONSENT TO LIFESAVING SURGERIES EITHER.
BUT THEIR PARENTS HAVE TO MAKE THE DECISION ABOUT WHAT THEY FEEL IS BEST FOR THEIR CHILD.
Sebastian looks toward Tzu and seems to raise an eyebrow with interest.
MOST PARENTS WILL STOP AT NOTHING TO MAKE SURE THEIR CHILDREN DO NOT DIE, AND THAT IS THEIR RIGHT.
WE EXPECT THEM TO ACT IN SUCH A MANNER. PERMIT IT, ENCOURAGE IT.
IF THIS PLAGUE WOULD SAVE HER FROM DEATH, PERHAPS THE DISEASE ITSELF IS MERCY.
NANI WILL FIND OUT THAT I’M UNNATURAL. THAT I’VE BEEN CHANGED.
AND THE NEXT THING SHE’LL ASK ME IS, “WHAT ABOUT ME?”
I WANT TO BE ABLE TO TELL HER I’VE DONE EVERYTHING FOR HER. THAT I’VE SAVED HER, TOO.
YOU AREN’T THE FIRST ONE WHO’S BEEN TURNED WITH A YOUNG ONE IN TOW.
HIS PERSPECTIVE, PERHAPS, IS THAT THERE’S NOTHING UNIQUE ABOUT THE CHARACTER OF YOUTH THAT NEEDS TO BE SAVED.
A SOUR WINE ISN’T IMPROVED BY TURNING THE CORK.
THERE, I DON’T AGREE WITH HIM. HER BEAUTY, HER SENSE OF WONDER, HER PURITY.
SHE’S THE BEST SHE’LL EVER BE IN REGARDS TO HER INTELLIGENCE AND WIT.
WHY WOULD I WANT TO WAIT UNTIL THE WORLD HAS IRREVOCABLY SOILED HER?
IT’S EVERYONE’S RIGHT TO ACQUIRE SOME OF THE SOIL OF THE WORLD.
DOES THE BRAIN GROW AND BECOME MORE SOPHISTICATED?
YOU WOULDN’T WANT HER TO BE TRAPPED IN DIAPERS FOR THE REST OF HER DAYS.
Makoa seems gruff, offended by the mention, and lowers his voice to almost growl.
MY GIRL IS OUT OF DIAPERS.
IF I DON’T SAVE HER, THEN IT WILL BE MY FAULT.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR WIFE?
I’M TRYING TO SAVE MY WIFE.
SHE DOESN’T WANT TO BE SAVED.
I’D RATHER SAVE ONE THAN NONE.
DID STRAUD EVER MEET YOUR DAUGHTER?
NO, HE NEVER DID.
LILLIANA WOULD PROBABLY HAVE A COW, SOME OLD MAN WANTING TO COME BLESS OUR DAUGHTER.
‘COURSE THEN SHE BROUGHT IN DUANE…
WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THAT, BY THE WAY?
A WHOLE LOTTA NOTHING.
LILLIANA INSISTS WE NEED AN ADDITIONAL PAIR OF HANDS AROUND THE HOUSE.
AND I’M OUT OF THE HOUSE, STILL, SO SHE’S GOT VETO POWER.
IT’S ALL SHIBAI.
DO YOU THINK YOU COULD GET HER OUT OF THE HOUSE?
MEET SOME FRIENDS OF HER FATHER’S?
I THINK THAT COULD BE ARRANGED.