“Hi Aunt Evey!” the door to her office opened and Abigail entered.
“Hey sweetie! What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be in school?” Evey greeted the 16 year old girl, her best friend’s daughter and not really her niece. Evey had known Abby since she was born and the Auntie Evey thing just stuck.
Unasked Abby sat down in one of the visitor chairs across from Evey.
“We have a day off, some pipe burst or something. They called this morning. Mom forgot her wallet – again – which she does a LOT, so I offered to bring it. Gets me out of diaper duty too. And so I can visit my favorite aunt.”
“Also, pretty much the only aunt you got, huh?” Evey smiled.
“Well, even if I had twenty aunts, you’d still be my favorite!”
“Uh oh – so what do you need? So much sugar from a teen usually comes at a price.”
“Just some advice. Or maybe help. Both.”
“All right, I will do my best.”
“Not gonna dance around it all: un-turning. What do you know about it, or where can I find out anything about it?”
“You are asking me? I am flattered, but I have no idea.”
“Didn’t your grandparents do that?”
“Yes, but that was long before I was even born. I have no idea about any of that. For as long as I have known my grandparents, they have been mortals. With a very strong love for hair dye, but definitely aging mortals.”
“Do you know who can help me with that then?”
“Your father. My dad found that weird old notebook with all the vampire stuff in it which he gave to him. That’s how he made those serums. I am sure it’s in there.”
“Ugh. Dad won’t listen to me. All he ever says is ‘no’ and ‘too dangerous’. Evey, I am sick and tired of this. I do not want this life. I hate it. Plus, there are hardly any vampires left. I think dad and I are two of five in the entire region. Even past the Greater San Myshuno district. And after that whole Thrall thing … I never want to go through that again. And I cannot stand the thought of everybody I love dying, and me … watching. No, Evey, can you at least talk to dad. He’ll listen to you. Please!”
“Yeah I get it. Your dad doesn’t like being a vampire either, so he should understand. Fine, I’ll talk to him. No promises though.”
“THANK YOU! See, you are definitely my favorite aunt!!!”
“Heath, come on now…”
“Too dangerous!” he took the coffee and went to sit at the table, Evey followed him.
“If Abby needed surgery, you would allow it. Even though those are always dangerous.”
“Vampires do not need surgery. But I get it. If it were Sam. Or you.. but hers is not necessary. Like cosmetic surgery. So no, I would not allow it. Let alone be the one performing it.”
“Heath. My grandpa never wanted to talk much about his vampire life. I have never seen any of them as such. But, there was once a dangerous virus killing most vampires. The rest were un-turned. There are not many left, as you know. And who is to say there won’t be another virus. Or someone decides to put you all back into slavery or wage some kind of war. Your numbers are small now. You said it yourself, no vampires want to create more vampires now, after all that. Not by birth and not any other way. Plus, the government is watching you all like hawks. This is not a world for immortals anymore. But what grandpa did tell me once, and it stuck with me, was something Abby said too. He could not bear the thought of watching everybody around him die. He saw the world change, not always for the better, he did not want to live in it forever, especially not without grandma. He said while he hated his rheumatism, he never regretted it. And they were un-turned in large numbers and nobody died, that grandpa heard of. You know how, don’t you? It was in that book, wasn’t it?”
“It was Caleb Vatore’s book of the Elders. Blaine had inherited it when he died and then you grandpa inherited it. And then your dad. It was what he used to un-turn your family. But Evey, I am a hybrid. And so is Abby. I have no idea how this will affect her. Or me. Cos, I would do it to myself too. You know I never wanted this life. The serum … it is not working right anymore. I cannot eat anymore. Soon Abby will have that same problem. If we lose the ability to be safe during daylight, she will hate me. Evey, I am afraid.”
“Nonsense. You will do well. You have to try it, Heath.”
“One big problem. I need a lot of rare things, plants, that I have no access too. Not even Sam knows them and she knows her stuff. And I would need certain machines or something like them. I haven’t the funds nor the resources.”
“What kind of machines?”
“Like a lab. ”
“I know who can help. My uncle Jake is a high ranking scientist. He told me they deal with very rare specimen of plants there too. And weird machines. I am sure something they have in that huge facility will do the trick. He won’t – or can’t – go into details, but once told me they have everything there, even things nobody knows exist. And he knows how to use all that. That’s why he is a bit kooky. Really sweet, but … different. And brilliant. I am sure he’d help. Come on, say yes.”
“There is something else, Evey. I … don’t know how to say this without offending you, but … the soulmate thing. I … love the way I feel around you. It’s like a natural high. It feels … elating and calming at the same time. If I … did this… would I lose it? That special thing you and I have? What nobody can take from us?”
“Heath, I am not a vampire, never have been and I still get that way around you. That won’t go away.”
“All right. Yes, we will do it. Truth be told, it’s been on my mind ever since Abby first came to me with it. I just knew she’d go to you next. I know this is a sore subject with mortals but I have been thinking about you aging … you’ll eventually die and there is nothing I can do about it, except turn you but I would never wish that onto anybody, especially not somebody I care so deeply about. The thought that you would one day be gone … I could not take it Evey. I’d go mad. The only reason I still exist, the one reason I have been trying all this time, the one I have to thank for the life I have now, is you. Without you, this world is empty for me. Not one I would want to be in.”
“You are going to make me cry… stop it! I’ll call uncle Jake tomorrow morning.”
It wasn’t an easy sell, but Evey played all her cards right, and Jake was a romantic at heart. When she sold the romantic sob story of her grandparents – so Jake’s parents – and what Heath and Abby said about surviving every person they ever loved, he melted and agreed.
Evey couldn’t join them, as the lab where Jake worked was high security. So the furthest she could go was the front door and then watch them disappear inside.
Several days passed. Sam was under the impression that Heath was camping with Abby for some vampire father-daughter time. A lie. Unavoidable. Hopefully it all went well, and the outcome would appease her anger.
And then the doorbell rang. She answered it, KC was at a soccer game with the kids.
“Heath!” Evey embraced him. From Jake she knew it had been a success, but seeing him was better than words.
“Watch this, Little Leigh.” Heath went to her kitchen, took a knife from the knife block and cut himself. It bled.
“Why did you do that?”
“Ouch, that hurts! To prove a point, Evey… but that really stings! I really feel bad for feeding from you now!”
“Ah, I am just tougher than you. Hope they told you that for mortals it takes a while for this stuff to heal. Want a bandaid, you silly man? But, so you are both fine … and …. mortal? By the way, you look great! So …. un-pale!”
“Un-pale? Well, it’s what happens when you have a circulation. Your uncle ran a bunch of tests. There are a lot of disgusting details involved, which I will spare you, i.e. the fact that vampires do not come with functioning intestines or organs, so those have to be reconstructed and of course blood and … you know …”
“Umm… eeeeww, no more details please!”
“Like I said. It was a lot of torture, but all works, will still need time for our bodies to calibrate but we should be fine. I have a heartbeat now, Evey. Wanna feel?”
He took her hand and placed it on his chest.
She smiled and looked at him. He was happy.
“Your eyes are still purple. I wasn’t sure if that was a vampire thing …”
“No, just as the other thing I was worried about. Still feel the same way. About you, I mean. May I have one kiss, just to celebrate. If only this once. Please.”
Heath and Abby had withstood the procedure so well that the Jake informed the local authorities. A bunch of meetings later, they made it mandatory that all remaining vampires, which were not too many, should undergo the procedure. Jake loved it, it was a breakthrough for him putting his name on the map as he traveled and instructed other scientists how to properly do it.
Soon there were no known vampires left in existence, at least not as such, but instead as mortals, to the great pleasure of the government.
More change was already on the horizon.
This time it was KC. A few days later he showed up at Evey’s office.
He looked tired and worn out. Despite his year round tan.
“Hey baby, I have something to discuss with you.” he said.
It was highly unusual that he would visit her at work.
“Do you know if your father would be available? This concerns him too.”
“Dad? Now I am worried. Is it bad?”
“It’s complicated. Just want his input – and yours.”
Evey called up and within minutes they were upstairs in Everett’s office.
“I am not going to beat around the bush. Heath doing his thing and coming out smelling like roses gave me the giddyup I needed. I wanna sell the Skyline. I love that club, I know it is important to you, but I just cannot do it anymore. The long work hours, the 2 hour commute each way – on a good day, constant problems, I have had a knife drawn on me for the Gawd knows how many-th time last night, I am just done. I spend too much time away from my children and from Evey, and when I am home, I am tired as a dog. I hate saying this, I know what kind of trust you put into me, but I am overwhelmed.”
“Son, I do understand that! Why do you think I build this place in Magnolia Promenade. It’s half an hour home and I can still impress clients with the backdrop of San Myshuno on the horizon. I figured that was going to happen, I didn’t think about it when I gave it to you, but Katie set me straight. Just need you to work on finding a good buyer, someone who will appreciate the club for what it is, not tear it down and build an apartment complex over it or what not.”
“Way ahead of you. I have a buyer. Family even.”
“You do? Who?”
“Massimo Auditore. He wants it, and he is moving to San Myshuno anyway. I assume you guys heard that he and Allegra are separated?”
“Yeah, he is dead set and done. Wouldn’t tell me why. Just said that she’ll keep the house… the kids … and his mother… Italians, right? Well, he is more than interested, does not want any part of the Auditore’s Financial business, but him being the party animal that he is, a club would be right up his alley. He’s got the personality for it. And he is Blaine’s great-grandson. He won’t tear it down.”
“All right, son. Do it. But – what are you going to do for money?”
“That is the other thing why I am here. I still love woodworking. I am good at it. I want to build furniture. And other things. And sell them. If I manage to succeed, I’d like to own a little shop, in Brindleton Bay. Hoping you could help me get started with your business sense …”
“…and my money?”
“Well, he’s not wrong, Evey. I would need some starting capital. Sure the money from selling the Skyline, but we also need something for the kids’ college funds and to replenish our savings, since we spent most of the latter on the remodel. So … I was hoping you could grant me a loan? I’d offer Evey as a security.”
“That’s okay son, I know where you live. Let me talk to a few people, and look into it, crunch some numbers, talk to my wife and I suggest you take yours out for lunch and do the same.”
Evey was supportive, KC got started and as a pleasant side effect, he got more time with their kids as someone would now be home when they got out of school, instead of them being watched by their aunt across the street.