All Things In Good Time

© Joan Ann Lansberry

Stranger On The Doorstep

Sebastian skittered off to the other side of the bookstore. He regretted that he'd lost his sun protective gear. Well, he'd lost his entire bag of possessions. How he'd lost it, that's a story in itself.

He was at the house of his then current girlfriend, when her human boyfriend came home. Unhappy to find a fanged one in his bed, with his, fortunately for Sebastian, still human girl, he'd chased Sebastian out with a torch. He had to run fast, which meant leaving his bag behind. He dared not return, for the boyfriend said he'd fry him for good, if he ever set foot on their property again.

And one thing Sebastian had learned, after his 270 some years of existence, is to believe a torch-bearing human.

So there he was, in the bookstore, with an Elder on the way. Not that running would have done any good. When an Elder wants a word with you, he can always find you. Sebastian was already on the shit list of ten Elders already. Lucius would be a new one.

So he found a chair and tried to hide his face with a large book. ''Ah, just a picture book about CATS! They don't even make good food!'' But it was the biggest book on the nearest shelf.

He could feel the charged air when Lucius arrived. The store grew quiet when Lucius was doing the memory erasures. He always felt bad when this was done, like a part of him had died. He hoped at least his favorite writer would dream of him in slumber. ''Sebastian Celadon Blackwell, you've been a bad boy, AGAIN!'' He heard the silvery voice state within his mind. ''I was only trying to have fun. I thought it would cheer her up!'' Sebastian pleaded for his case. ''You are not to bother that mortal AGAIN! Do you hear me!'' Lucius said with great authority. However, there was now a list of no less than 26,000 mortals he 'wasn't to bother anymore'. Oh well, quite a few of them had died now. ''What's the list of living ones? Oh well, doesn't matter. I'll carry on. I always do . . .''

He didn't really mean to test everyone's patience so. After yet ANOTHER lecture of how vampires must keep to the shadows and not reveal themselves to humans, the Elder left, and with him, he took Sebastian's good mood. He just wasn't sure what to do with himself. He had no possessions save the clothes on his back. Oh, it was a good silk shirt and fine wool pants, but they wouldn't last forever. He'd wished he'd had better money sense. How was it all the Ricean vampires ended up rich? Well, not Mael, with whom he shared his hooked nose, and his poverty. But not his fashion sense. Roughhewn leather! Sebastian loved silk shirts and wore nothing else next to his skin. He liked also, the finest wool pants. He had always been a classy dresser. Even if he had only one outfit to his name, which he often did, as now, it was of the finest fabrics.

He'd irritated a good number of the vampires he'd met through out the years. He'd probably started on on the wrong foot with Michael. He'd not taken kindly to having his hand trapped like that. But he was so cute and little, and his fierceness just added to his cuteness. Maybe he would forgive him.

Sebastian went over the images he'd plucked out of Michael's mind. The four of them lived near here, he could feel it. Images of farms, cows and wide open spaces entered his mind. Images of Michael's three fledglings, too. He really loved them, and did more for them than any other vampire he'd ever knew. A sense of family was such a soothing concept to the vagabond troublemaker.

He wanted to do better, really he did. He was stuck in this bookstore until nightfall, so he'd better find something more interesting than pictures of cats. ''I don't care for pictures of food, I don't!'' He found a picture book of old English castles and settled down with that. Some of them he'd visited in their better days, and he could recapture old memories.

He soon fell asleep, with the book on his lap. He dreamed of the lady in black. That's all he knew of her, the lady in black. She wouldn't let him have her name, even. But it was she who had given him the 'dark gift' so many long years ago. After giving him hunting lessons, she spirited off somewhere. He'd only seen her once since then. ''One vamp I ain't entirely on the shit list of. Still, she only visited that once to scold me. Sigh!''

He really needed to learn better. And so after nightfall arrived and he'd had his feast, not as gluttonous as he would have liked, he made a short journey.

He could sense the vampire energy from a distance. They were not yet on that farm Michael and Golden were building. They were in a tiny apartment. He approached the wooden door and pounded. Daylight hours were soon to come upon them, and they'd already gone to bed. They'd had a strangely unsettling day and had been exhausted. The rhythmic pounding woke Michael up first. He and Golden shared the bed in the living room, while the ladies were better protected in the bedroom.

Michael stumbled out. He could sense the vampire energy on the other side of the door. ''I have a bad feeling about this. A bad feeling. Still, we should try to help those of our own kind.'' With great trepidation, he opened the door to find a scraggly haired skinny Sebastian waiting outside. He didn't look so full of himself this morning. Matter of fact, he didn't look full of anything. Perhaps the Elder had taught him some humility.

''Can I please come in? I have no where else to go. Daylight is coming! Please! I'm sorry I made you so mad earlier. Please, will you let me in?'' Oh, Sebastian could be pitiful when begging. ''And WHY don't you have any where else to go? Just how many people won't put up with you?'' Michael looked up at him with stern eyes.

''I want to learn better. I could help you with that farm of yours. I can learn. PLEASE, let me in! Dawn is coming! Please!'' Michael had half a mind to toss him a blanket and let him huddle on the porch. But the other half of his mind, the SOFT-HEARTED one said, ''Yeah, come on in! But you BEHAVE!''

Sebastian, looking more contrite than he'd ever had before in his long life, agreed profusely. He was given a blanket and shown the sofa. He kissed Michael for his hospitality, and to his grateful pleasure, Michael didn't slap him.

Go To Chapter Twenty-Six, Preserved For The Ages
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