All Things In Good Time

© Joan Ann Lansberry

Unexpected Visitor

Sebastian, after his remembrances, laid quietly and absorbed the feel of his new environment. The small apartment was packed with vampire energy. Sebastian, who had never spent much time with vampires, and never more than one, was surprised at the feel of it. Each one gave off their own unique intense vibrations.

He wanted to get to know each one. He'd never known any of his own kind personally. All of his life, he had revealed only limited details about his differences to his human lovers. He wanted to bridge the gap, and emphasizing them only alienated him. Also, as culture advanced, people began having ideas about the existence of immortal bloodsuckers. The less they knew, the healthier it was for him.

So, as culture and the years advanced, he revealed increasingly less about himself. Ursula was the only one to whom he'd revealed most of his differences. Furthermore, he did not know fully what he was at that time. If he had known, would he have visited upon her the same odd mix of difficulties and advantages that he endured? Beginning, as he did, with the idea that he'd been cursed, the advantages came to him as a surprise. He did not ever shake the cursed perspective.

No, humans were made for their limitations. The union of their spirit with their body created certain psychological mindsets. Most of them, as they neared their eighties and beyond, were ready to end it all. He was certain the aging of their bodies caused them to think this way. For without the aging process, he'd never felt this way. He was often startled when he realized how old he was. Psychologically, he still had all the emotional vigor of a young man. It was only having come into existence in the age he did, that he'd absorbed the values of that time.

No, he had not absorbed all its values, for in any age, hard work is valued. But he absorbed the cultural and intellectual mindset. Thus it was, as Geneva had said, he was an 'old man trapped in the body of a young man'. But he did not feel trapped. He did his best to understand the changes around him. He felt, all in all, barring things like loud rap music, that he'd adapted fairly well.

He wanted most of all to spend time with the eldest vampire in this household. Michael was only thirty eight years younger than him. Had they not been both turned, and lived in the same area, they could have met each other. Sebastian would have been ripe in human maturity, compared to a young Michael, but this meeting of the minds could have occurred.

What would they share, having this commonality, in addition to their vampiric perspective? When the household awoke, everyone was intent on beginning the evening's tasks. After a brief and perfunctory feeding, not nearly enough for Sebastian, but he dared not complain. It was just enough to keep the effects of starvation away, they travelled to the farm, which needed readying. The stables and fences evolved before his eyes. In addition, they were building covered walkways from one area to another, to facilitate any daytime tending of animals that would need to be done. Sebastian could only be a 'gopher' at this point. Mostly, he just observed the massive teamwork with marvel.

They worked like one person in four bodies, so efficient was their communication and understanding of what needed to be done. Never having even observed much labor in his lazy life, Sebastian began to have a new appreciation for it. He was glad to be 'gopher', and 'holder' of this and that, to help out in his small way. The farm was very near to completion. Their future home also needed preparations.

They were putting special screens and wide canopies around it so that breezes could be enjoyed at all times without being endangered by the sun's rays. Every alteration possible to customize the farm and house was being undergone. Sebastian was amazed at their ingenuity. He hoped they would come to like him.

At first, he had to win over their leader, Michael. Once Michael was so romanced, the others would follow. But all idle conversation and romance would wait until the evening's labors were finished.

It was about eight hours of labors, before they all piled back into the little red car and headed back to the apartment. This was timed quite closely, for they were all safely inside before the first rays of dawn. Sebastian began his conversation with Michael by telling him how impressive the farm was.

Michael thanked him, but it seemed his mind was elsewhere. Sebastian had never intimately touched another such as himself, so he cautiously reached out his hand to stroke Michael's smooth cheek. Human skin quivered with life and warmth. All the activity beneath it could be felt. Not so with Michael's skin. It, although it was as thin as the human skin it had replaced, seemed like a impervious shield. Its coolness gave no hint of what was being done underneath it.

Sebastian loved all the many subtle human smells, and it frustrated him that Michael was odorless. He could read humans easier than books, so transparent they were in all their thoughts and feelings. Michael was proving not so easy to read. There was a distance there and he wasn't sure how to reach across it. He then looked into Michael's gray glittering eyes. He wasn't quite prepared for the intensity there. ''Do my eyes look as intense to you as yours do to me?'' Sebastian asked Michael.

Michael looked into the vampire's green eyes. ''Yes, there is intensity there, but mostly there is just lonliness.'' Sebastian felt a hopeful surge at that much recognition. ''Yes, that's true . . .'' Michael, too, noticed the sense of distance between them, and puzzled of it. ''I can tell that about you, and a bit of fear, but mostly, you're hard to read. Why is that? I can read my fledglings very well. Is this because my blood is in them and we have that connection? I was close to my mother, and we shared blood. I was not close to my father, but he had not been my sire. Is it then in the blood?''

''I don't know. I sense you judge me, that you disapprove of the life I've led.'' Sebastian proffered. ''It's true, I am cautious and don't feel I trust you yet. When I get to know you better, this may change.'' In an extravagant gesture, hoping to gain favor, Sebastian got on his knees before Michael and begged, ''Give me a chance, please! Give me a chance!'' Michael looked down towards Sebastian's upturned face, and said only, ''I will try.'' He touched him on the shoulder, hoping he would rise, but just then the doorbell sounded.

Gwen answered it, and was surprised to see a woman, completely cloaked from the sun. After letting her in, the lady doffed her coverings to reveal a black haired young woman with a rather porcelain doll appearance. As she looked Gwen over, she cooed ''Oh, you're a YOUNG one,'' while her eyes sparkled mischieviously. ''ANOTHER vampire?'' Gwen queried. ''Come in, welcome to vampire central. There's not some sort of convention going on, is there?'' Gwen asked, extremely puzzled.

''Not that I know of. By the way, my name's Giselle,'' she replied. Just then, both Michael and Sebastian turned their heads towards the visitor, and each shouted. Michael shouted, ''Giselle, after all these years!'' Sebastian just simply screamed, ''You!'' Giselle was delighted. ''Hello, children! I knew someday this moment would happen. Are the brothers getting along?''

Michael looked down at Sebastian, who was still kneeling, and stammered, ''What? This, this lout before me shares your blood as well!'' Giselle was loving every minute of this. ''Oui, mes cheries. Now can't we all just get along?''

Sebastian stood back up, and inquired of Giselle, ''Why did you never tell me your name? Why did you make me think you'd cursed me?'' Giselle laughed, ''Because you deserved it!'' It was Michael's turn, ''Why did you tell me nothing about what I had become? Why had I to discover it all on my own?'' Giselle laughed again, ''I knew you could figure it out. It doesn't look like you've starved!''

Michael glared at her, and declared loudly and firmly, ''I've got this all figured out. Making others is just a game to you. It amused you to see what a poor, ignorant farm boy would do with the gift! And it amused you to see what a womanizing playboy would do, after he could no longer do what he lived to do! It amused you! We are nothing more than jokes to you!''

Giselle wasn't laughing anymore, ''You make it sound so bad. It wasn't . . . You both seem to have done all right. You may not like each other, but you've done all right.''

It was Gwen's turn to speak up, ''But wouldn't they have done much better if you stayed by them and educated them, as Michael has done for us. We are no amusing game for Michael. We are family, and he loves us and would do anything for us.''

Michael blushed and looked her way, ''Thank you, Gwen. And it's true, my fledglings ARE my family. After so many years alone, now that I have people close to me who love me, I really appreciate what such togetherness brings me. I have been tempered by nearly 175 years of gut wretching, soul-destroying lonliness. I know what really matters in life!''

With that eloquent speech, Gwen, Livia and Golden applauded and cheered. Giselle really had no place to turn. Her face was red, and she just abruptly said, ''Well, I'm glad you're doing so well. I'll be on my way, then.'' And she rapidly covered herself to make her way out the door. Sebastian alone addressed her, just before her exit, ''Will we see you again in another century?''

He hadn't meant it as an accusation, he only was curious. But she took it as an accusation of not caring. And it was true. Michael had never seen her after his fateful day, and Sebastian had only seen her once after, when Ursula died.

With Giselle gone, it felt like a storm had went through the house, and everyone felt odd and restless.

go to Chapter Thirty-Four, Unexpected Attraction
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