“Heath, sweetie, did you feed the baby yet?” Everleigh’s light green eyes searched in his dark blueish purple ones as he smirked and gently stroked a strand of hair away from her face.
“Have I ever forgotten?”
“Round up the rest of the brood, will ya?” she hurried back to the stove to stir in a pot where something had come close to boiling over.
Heath leaned up to a wall, just watching her, smiling.
“What?! Don’t just stand there holding up a wall. Get those kids – NOW, chop chop!” Everleigh told him shaking her head.
“Just reminiscing about the time in slavery, it was so relaxing compared to living with you …” Heath laughed as he dodged the onion that came flying before he left to gather the children.
Once assembled at the dining room table, the children dug in like they had never been fed before.
Evey stood back for a moment, her smile faded when she looked at the empty spot at the table where KC normally would sit, before her attention was diverted back to bickering children. In her eyes reflected now a hint of sadness, she returned to the kitchen so the kids would not see, which did not go unnoticed.
Heath followed and stroked her cheek.
“You miss him, huh?”
“Like crazy! So weird without him here. Even the stupid jokes, and him constantly having me on edge to make sure he controls his potty mouth around the kids ….”
She leaned against him letting Heath’s arms envelope her.
It gave her a feeling of support, inner and outer. The months that had passed since Heath’s wedding had brought much change again.
For everybody involved.
“You look tired, Little Leigh. Maybe you should go lay down. I can handle the circus down here on my own. One of the benefits of being undead, you don’t really ever get tired.”
“I am glad you are finally embracing who and what you are Heath.”
“I used to hate being different. Alas, not much I can do about it, so might as well enjoy the perks of what I am.”
“Wish one of the perks was a better memory. Do we need to have that talk again about how that one is MINE?” A deep, masculine voice with a distinct Southern drawl startled them both.
“You made it after all!!” Evey broke away from Heath and ran into KC’s arms, he caught her, pressing her lithe form against his broad chest, as she trailed little kisses all over his face and neck.
“Yeah, got myself a rental car and instead of flying, I drove my rosy butt back from Bridgeport to the airport in Oasis Springs, dropped the rental off there, got in my Jeep, then drove straight home. Would have called but the damn phone battery is dead and I have no idea where that damn charger is at. But seriously, man, just cannot leave you alone with my Evey, huh?” KC was obviously just teasing.
“Down big guy, he does not want ‘your Evey’, he has ‘his Sammy’. Sorry I am late, guys. Indecisive brides are the pits, I think at some point that girl picked out every single flower in my shop, and when I finally get here there is no parking cos somebody parked diagonal like a fool taking up two spots and I had to park over at Evey’s brother’s house.” Samantha had entered behind KC and spoke as she was taking off her coat.
“Sorry Sam, I was eager to get home to my wife and kids. Put your keys by the door and I’ll move my Wrangler and your car in a second.” KC pulled Everleigh into his arms and they kissed, intensely and long, Sam kissed her husband before they went to supervise the kids at dinner to give Evey and KC privacy.
When KC and Evey finally needed to come up for air, she asked him about his trip to Bridgeport, where his father had been incarcerated in a high security prison after going totally off the rocker while being detained by the mayor’s security guards at the wedding.
After realizing he had failed to kill his son and why, Deangelo Cullen did not go down without a fight. However, eventually he did go down, after expressing solid threats against the mayor and his wife he was considered a high risk and hence ended up in extra-tight lock up.
KC had been called to Bridgeport, about 7 hours away as the crow flies, to attend a preliminary hearing of the case. No one knew how long he would have to be gone for and Evey hated having to let him go alone, but she had several important meetings and projects due herself at EC Architects which she could not dump on her father.
“So, how did it go?”
“Pretty useless the whole thing, nothing that couldn’t have happened over the phone. They are taking it to trial. We need to get a lawyer. Fricking fantastic, they seem to think we are shittin’ money now.”
“I happen to know a good lawyer, who’ll probably make us a good price or agree to a payment plan.” Evey smiled.
“Not that slimy ex-boyfriend of yours, Tucker or whatever his name was?”
“Tyler, he is my cousin Cailean’s husband now, has been for over 7 years and two kids, so chill, you. He and his father are the best attorneys around here, Abernathy Law makes people shake in their boots.”
“All I remember is making him shake in his boots ….and shit his britches.” (read here)
“That was a long time ago and I hope he does not remember that. Or that he is over that. If you prefer, I can go alone.”
“Oh hell no. Set it up, I will be there. Enough that I am now practically bunking with the other guy who cannot keep his fingers off my wife.”
“You mean that guy who saved your life, by literally taking a bullet for you on his wedding day? That guy?” Evey teased him.
“I mean that guy who took a bullet for me, after getting me out of the line of fire by knocking me on my ass so hard that I had a concussion and then got an even bigger headache cos he wouldn’t stop whining like a toddler about his pretty lil suit being ruined. That guy.” KC retorted.
“Well, it had a very big and very noticeable hole in the chest. Shirt was ruined too. Both were brand-new and not cheap. And all I get from you now is crankiness.” Heath had walked up to them, joining the conversation now since it was about him, trying hard to suppress a smirk.
“Did I call cake so that you crumb would pipe up again? And what do you want from me? French kiss you for gratitude every time I see you? Last I checked you and your family are living at my house currently for free, all-inclusive, plus free daycare. So quit yer bitching, Nosferatu!”
“Why in the world are you so irritable? There is dinner waiting and you got your wife back. You should be doing cartwheels, instead of lashing out at harmless bystanders like a hungry barracuda.”
“Lemme tell ya, buddy, since two nights ago my hungry barracuda butt has been on some delayed and turbulent flight, then in some court rooms with arrogant monkeys in suits, then I had to see that ugly visage of my father again – unable to punch it in – while I tell that same story over and over again, all while wondering why you didn’t just kill that sucker and drank him dry when you had the chance. Then I got to sit at that airport for hours since the butt-crack of dawn this morning, thinking I am coming back home and am told no, due to weather. A few raindrops and they cancel all flights out. So I drove in that torrential downpour only to find you feeling up my baby!”
“Feeling up what? Her rib bones? And I thought it was only a few raindrops…” Heath grinned unimpressed.
“Screw you, Dracula!”
“Oh speaking of screwing, I had an idea how to fix that issue with the chair you have been working on ….” Heath told KC.
“Show me!” KC said excitedly
“KC, what about the kids? And dinner?”
“Will only take a minute….” he called over his shoulder while walking out to his workshop next to Heath.
“Well, he did proclaim that he loves him at the wedding … I guess I just didn’t realize he meant more than me and his own kids.” Evey chuckled, shook her head and returned to her children.
After dinner, kids all tucked in, the adults sat in the living room to watch a movie.
Heath, Sam, Abby, Jacob and the new baby they named Ashton were currently staying with KC and Evey because the house by the cliffs was being remodeled from the ground up.
Certainly, they could have stayed in a hotel, maybe that would have been more convenient for all, but everybody, even KC, preferred it this way.
The constant reminder of what all had happened at Liam and Leonie’s former home by the cliffs was too much for the Cameron family, especially as it was the first house you saw driving into Brindleton Bay and the last thing you saw leaving, constantly being confronted with this ghost from the past, so when Everett, who rightfully inherited it, gifted it to Heath and his new wife after the wedding, part as a wedding gift, in part as a thank you for saving his son-in-law from certain death, he put a condition on it, that it needed to be remodeled to change it’s entire appearance, which he and EC Architects would do for free, customizing it to Heath’s and Sam’s taste.
Everett had known about Heath and his friendship with Everleigh for years but never spent much time with him, but he knew his wife Samantha from Evey’s school days as they used to be classmates and friends even then. He and Evey meeting with the couple to discuss the plans, go over drafts and meeting them at the construction site had made him realize that Heath wasn’t as different and strange as he seemed at first glance.
Outspoken Katie once made poor Heath blush in the deepest shades of red when she said about him
“With a bit of a spray tan, he’d be downright dreamy.”
Now, nearly finished, their home shined in a light of brightness and was surrounded by flowers and plants and – life.
A milestone for Heath, who had always felt surrounded by darkness, with Everleigh being the only light to guide his way.
Now he felt like that darkness had fallen off him, shed like clothing that no longer fit its wearer.
With his late parents’ family home being reworked from top to bottom, Everett finally went through much of the estate left by them, and among the usual memorabilia he found an old notebook with what seemed like unintelligible information and odd recipes. When it dawned on him that it had to do with vampires he gave it to Heath.
To Heath, the unintelligible jibber-jabber made a whole lot of sense, and after several failed attempts he managed to make serums allowing him to abide daylight to a certain extend and even eat human food, temporarily, until the serum wore off.
The first day he was sure enough that it worked, he went to pick up Abby and Jacob from school, which from Evey’s home was barely a 5 minutes walk.
Abby was so excited to find her daddy waiting for her, outside her school in the bright daylight, like all the other parents, and she ran into his open arms laughing as she always had
“Dadddddyyy! Daddy daddy dadddddyyyyy!”
Jacob, Sam’s son and result of a one night stand with a celebrity who could not be bothered with his own flesh and blood, just stood by in the distance. He was very aloof with everybody except his mother, no matter how much and what Heath tried. The only one he tolerated was Abigail, but even she could only get so close to him before he would either explode or withdraw completely.
Heath enjoyed the fact how this sun-resistance expanded his world again, but moreover he was excited about what that would mean for Abby. She was now a child like all the others. It would not have to change when she entered puberty in only a few more years, a significant turning point for vampires.
With the hormonal changes every mortal teen had to fight came the full change to vampire life. That was never easy and the reason why so many vampire youth became unruly and complicated upon reaching their teen years.
Even the birth of Heath’s and Sam’s son was like any other pregnancy. Heath knew then that his little Abby could one day have a family of her own. The last bit of his usual gloominess vanished like ice melting in the sunshine.
Heath had been named an honorable citizen by the mayor’s office, his rights grandfathered in, after receiving the key to the city during a ceremony once more publicized and broadcast to the world.
What had initially looked like little more than publicity stunts for his own benefit soon turned out to have been well calculated chess moves in the game of politics by Mayor Charles Ellington.
After Heath was proclaimed a hero, after the world saw his quiet, polite demeanor, shy smile and heard about his selfless bravery – just before the elections to decide the fate for all vampires, Charlie’s efforts bore fruit and they won by a staggering 89%.
The few immortals that were left were released and reinstated as full citizens, given a healthy severance payment for their suffering. Their numbers had been decreased greatly, in the entire greater San Myshuno vicinity there were only a handful vampires left now.
When the home renovations were finished and the Graingers moved into their own home, a family home, Evey’s house felt unusually empty of a sudden, despite the noise of two active toddlers and a large dog, all three with opinions to boot.
Working on a project, the twins finally fed, bathed and down for their naps,
Alpine snoring peacefully in the hallway,
Evey knew she should be finishing that project but her mind just did not want to remain focused on the task at hand.
Evey looked up from the monitor at the framed picture of her and KC as kids.
With a melancholic smile she put her head down on her arms on the desk and let her eyes wander off into the distance of the rolling hills around the outskirts of Brindleton Bay while her mind jumped fences, taking her back in time.
She remembered being 5 years old, in this very house, and coming into this very office where her parents were working on a project then, asking her daddy about what makes a person considered bad, after she had met Heath for the very first time on a playground on a cloudy day. (Read here)
She had taken to him right away, because they were soulmates, as she later learned, but she did not know that then. They played, and laughed until an old lady came up and tried to shoo Heath away, swinging her purse at him, while telling Evey to run home as fast as she could and not to play with bad people. While Heath had run off then, he would come to visit her often at her home. Every time she would feel his presence before she would see him.
While she had not come straight out and told her dad about Heath, only in a very roundabout and generic way, her daddy’s answer helped her decision that Heath was good in her book, and the very next day she met KC for the first time, while searching for Heath.
That was now 22 years ago. Twenty two years. All of them had come a long way since that fateful day.
“You working hard looks awfully like hardly working!” KC’s voice pulled her back into the current day and time, made her wince.
“What are you doing home?” she asked surprised while greeting him with a kiss.
“Also hardly working … ”
“Skipping school?! Why Mr. McCoy, I thought we left that behind us a long time ago. What kind of example are you setting for our kids?” she grinned, then kissed him differently than just the usual quick kiss when one of them came back home.
He returned the kisses for a while.
Suddenly he stopped her.
“Hmm, this is getting me a bit too hot and bothered, and I hate even more now that we have the appointment today with your attorney ex.” he smirked contently about having caught Evey forgetting something, usually she was meticulous about planning and he was the one forgetting appointments.
“Oh shit! I totally forgot! We have to leave the kids with Heath, mom and dad are at work, Josh is at school and Emmi is taking Cole to the pediatrician.” she now realized KC was in dress pants, a button down shirt and tie, so she jumped up and ran into the bedroom, KC followed and watched her get ready from the bed for a while.
“Well, the skinny pale one seems to be the only one to appease your bratty daughter these days. Thinking about just leaving Esmée with him and pick her up after she graduated high school. Just hoping I don’t end up with my wife AND daughter having a crush on him.”
“I don’t have a….hahaha… sto-ooo-p…”
KC kissed her neck, making her giggle, to stifle the complaint, a sign he had only been teasing.
Even without KC and Evey’s twins Heath’s home felt unusually lively now even with Sam gone to work at her flower shop and Abby and Jacob at school. Three cats and a new baby were keeping Heath busy, he often found himself neglecting his writing assignments for his job, traded in for everyday chores that were a nuisance to most but meant the world to him.
He smiled at his new son.
Whatever was to come in this world, this child of his would not have to suffer as a vampire. Ashton smiled up at his dad, his eyes big and bright and there was already a definite hint of purple in them.
Heath picked him up, the baby gargled happily.
“My prayer for you, Ash, is that you find friends like I have, a love like I have and make a home like I have. Never mind what job you end up having or anything else.”
“All right, let’s do this.” KC sighed as he pulled open and held the door to the law firm for Everleigh, who smiled at him, then walked up to the receptionist.
“Welcome to Abernathy Law, where we don’t rest until we made things right for you. Do you have an appointment?” the receptionist sounded well trained and polite to the max.
“Yes, we’re Mr. and Mrs. McCoy, here to see Mr. Abernathy.” Everleigh told her.
“Junior or Senior?” was the polite question.
“Junior.” Evey confirmed.
“Have a seat please, I will let him know that you are here. May I offer you a beverage?”
“Jameson on the rocks – and make the rocks more like pebbles – for one hand and some Jose Cuervo for the other hand to wash it all down with.” KC said dryly.
“KC! No thank you, my husband was only joking.” Evey told the woman, while nudging KC.
“Are you sure? I am sure I can get you what you would like, Sir, because at Abernathy Law, we do not rest until you are happy.” the perma-smile straight at KC bothered Evey, so she answered for KC.
“No, thank you Miss, my husband is already beyond happy.”
“You bet. Any happier and I’d have to slap yer grandma.” KC grinned back at the receptionist, then at Evey, after realizing with great satisfaction that Evey was not above jealousy either.
“Can you not?!” Everleigh nudged him with a stern expression on her face, which impressed KC little as he just resumed grinning.
“Evey! So good to see you. And – umm – Kieran, was it?” Tyler came down some hallway, smiling politely, as KC and Evey went to greet him.
“It’s KC. Thank you for seeing us on such short notice.” Evey corrected politely, well aware that KC hated being addressed by his legal first name.
Tyler had arrived in the lobby to fetch them and was now shaking KC’s hand.
“Anything for an old friend. You two should really come over to our house some evening. Cailean is very involved with the kids’ school and doesn’t get out much beyond that unless she joins me at some boring work function. She could use some fun adult conversations sometimes.” Tyler said.
They made more small talk on their way down the hall to his office, where they immediately started discussing the issue.
After asking a few precise questions, Tyler told them.
“From where I sit, it is a very straight cut case. I will have them move the trial here, since the incident happened locally. The fact they had to move your father to a high security facility out of state should not cause you any more hardships or inconvenience you. The court is just down the street from my office, by the oceanfront. I will let you know when that happened and what we will do next. I know all of the judges there and can gauge pretty accurately how they would rule, so that is helpful. Your father is never going to get out of prison again. This will count especially heinous, not only because of the number of children present, it being a wedding, across the street from the Ellington mansion and with the mayor and his wife in attendance. He will get a sentence many decades past his possible natural life expectancy. You will never have to worry about him being a threat to you or your family ever again.”
“Is having him burned at the stake still a thing?” KC asked, causing Tyler to chuckle briefly.
“I wish. Unfortunately no. After Evey’s call I did my homework, since I do not like surprised by the opposing counsel, and I dug up your dirt, KC, so I know you are not a stranger to prisons, so just know that where your father is now and will remain is nothing compared to where you have been. If that seemed rough and bad to you then, you’d be pleased to know that high security lifetime sentences are a lot tougher yet. And he will get it, I have been doing this long enough to tell you that much with certainty, we just have to go through the legal motions now. Those are not going to be too much fun for you, having to relive that moment, but it’s unavoidable. The only difficulty I see is, as I read in the complaint that there is a vampire involved. Courts only sit during daylight hours but we would need him there.” Tyler explained.
“That won’t be a problem. Heath will be there.” Everleigh confirmed.
“Fantastic, I will be in touch when I know more. Hopefully we can get this buttoned up in a few months.”
All three got up and started slowly to inch towards the office door.
“Oh, Tyler, thank you. But … is there any way we could get a payment plan or something … I did my homework too and your hourly rate is a bit out of our budget.”
“Evey, you are family – and we go way back. This will be pro bono of course. The only condition is that you and your family will come to dinner soon.”
“Thanks Tyler. We can definitely handle that, right KC.”
“Yeah, thanks. Guess you are not the prick I thought you were after all.”
“Oh, I can be. You do not want to be the opposing counsel. To win a case I have been known to be the worst prick in history of law. And he is right Evey, I was an immature prick back then too. It all came to me after I met Cailean. Did you know that she turned me down for a date six times, because of how I treated you? I was head over heels for her so I cleaned up my act.”
“I am sorry, is there a way I could get that in writing, the part where I was right about something?”
“Tyler, do you also handle divorces, by any chance? Reason would be the partner being unbelievably annoying in the worst possible moments.”
“Ha, as if you could live without me.” KC gloated confidently.
“We do handle divorce cases, but if I every couple with that issue would divorce, we might do away with the concept of marriage altogether.” Tyler chuckled.