I didn't even have a chance to blow out the candles on the cake and officially enter teenhood before new drama crept into our happy home. Almost as soon as the moving van pulled away with all my sibling's things (and my siblings!), Mom started feeling sick.
She apologized over and over for not making me a cake or throwing a party but I reassured her it was fine. Okay it wasn't really "fine" but it was hard to argue with someone who had to excuse themselves every five seconds to barf.
Instead I went to ballet while she went to the drugstore on the afternoon of my birthday. Personally I suggested a doctor but then there's the whole vampire, big giant secret thing to consider. I wonder if vampire blood looks different to a doctor than human blood? Would they even know what they were looking at?
Anyway, when I got home the house was just as quiet as it had been since the big move. I dropped my ballet bag in the laundry room to deal with later and traipsed upstairs to my room. I heard my parents voices on the other side and paused to eavesdrop. Hey they're talking in MY room, it can't be ALL bad right?
"Adam, I'm pregnant...."
I'm not sure what my Dad's reaction was but I know MY eyes just about bugged out of my head. I threw open the door and stared at them. "You can't be serious?" I balked.
"Now Luna, it's alright..." my mom said calmly. How could she be this calm?
"But...but...eeww! Seriously?!" I shuddered. Sure I logically knew things like this happened, I had friends at school with new baby siblings but still, when confronted with the cold, hard facts it was disturbing. "I'm going for a walk...or something!" I threw my backpack on my bed and went back the way I came, taking the time to slide down the railing of the stairs just because I could and I knew it bugged Mom.
I returned a few hours later and neither of my parents said anything, something I was grateful for. They could have yelled at me for my charming reaction to the "blessed" news but with five teenagers grown and gone (and Percival who I never knew I suppose), I guess they'd learned to pick their battles.
Though I had a heap of homework waiting for me in my backpack, I made my way to the at home science set they'd bought me. I scavenged around for a needle and finally retrieved a knife from the kitchen. I pressed the point of the knife to my thumb, gingerly at first and then with more force until a small bubble of red blood broke the surface of the skin. I picked up a glass slide and let the blood drop carefully into the center and then slid it under the microscope.
I had to pull out on of my science books to compare but was disappointed to find that my blood looked almost identical to human blood under the scope. I wonder if my parents' looked different since they'd made the full change. I looked over my shoulder toward the stairs and wondered how to go about broaching that topic. 'Hey Mom, Dad...can I have some of your blood? In the name of science?' Yeah highly unlikely.
We didn't talk much about the impending babyhood in the coming months. I started high school and gave up ballet in favor of science club since they were now conflicting. As much as I enjoyed ballet, I was more interested in academics than sports and dance.
It was through Science Club that I met Derik Langston. Like me he was a freshman and new to the high school scene. He'd landed in science club much to the disappointment of his musically inclined father but like me, he said it suited him better than other pursuits. "Just before my parents split up, I would climb up on the roof just to get away from all the arguing and then I started looking up at the stars and became fascinated with it all."
"Why did they split up?" I asked without really thinking. "Oh, is that a bad question to ask?"
Derik chuckled. "Nah, my dad is the jealous sort - to a fault. Always seeing things that weren't there. He accused my mom of cheating - though I don't think she did - and she'd just had it. I guess it wasn't the first time." He shrugged, "They work better apart then together I think."
I nodded, feeling confused about the whole thing but I didn't want to dig open old wounds so I dropped the subject. "So, the stars...do you know the constellations?"
"Oh yeah, all of them just about." He leaned in closer to me and I felt my skin tingle from his proximity. "That one there...you see those..." he pointed and traced a shape in the sky. I nodded, vaguely aware of where he was pointing. "That's Cassiopeia."
"And why is it called that?" I asked, trying to keep the nervousness out of my voice.
"Ya know, that I don't know." he said with a laugh.
"Oh..." I turned my attention back to the stars as I was out of conversation for the moment.
"You okay Luna?" Derik asked, placing his hand on mine. I'm sure it was an act of concern but it sent such tremors through me I could barely keep myself from passing out from lack of oxygen.
"Erm...um, I mean y-yeah. I'm fine." I stuttered. "Tell me about the others."
"We could be here all night and then some." he said with a laugh.
I'd be so very okay with that! Of course I didn't say that out loud. "Well maybe we'll have to come back then."
"Y-yeah, I guess we could do that." Great now he looked uncomfortable and nervous. We spent another hour sitting on the beach talking about the stars and science club. We may have lost all track of reality if I hadn't heard a police siren far off in the distance jarring me back to reality. When I told Derik about it and started to get up he strained to hear it but merely shook his head. "I don't hear anything but I guess you're right. I'll be lucky to make it home by curfew if I leave right now."
Much to my dismay, Mom's pregnancy became painfully obvious VERY quickly. Like one day she was skinny and then the next day she was popping. I overheard them talking about multiples and shuddered. As if one screaming, crying vampire baby wasn't bad enough - there might be two of them? Ugh.
I tried to avoid all talk about the baby and/or babies. I just didn't want to accept the face that soon there would be yet another sibling in the house - didn't we JUST get rid of FIVE of them?
"Mom...weren't five kids enough? I mean seriously that's not even including Bella and Percy..." I asked her one day. She turned toward me and narrowed her eyes and I shut my mouth quickly. Touchy!
I was staying after school in Science club when Mom actually went into labor so I missed it, thank goodness! Not an experience I wanted! But Dad told me this labor was worse than all her others, yeah well that might have to do with the fact that she was birthing not one, not two but THREE little demons!
I was home for all of five seconds when one of the tiny infants was put in my arms. I have to admit, she was kind of cute. They all were really...even if they were sure to keep me up at night and be a major annoyance. Lily's tiny fingers curled around mine and I couldn't help but smile at her. At least right up until she tried to take a bite out of it! "Yeoch!"
"Don't worry, they don't have fangs." Mom said as she coo'd at Andromeda.
"Yet." I muttered and rolled my eyes at her. Dad chuckled, making Minerva whimper and then start crying full force. "And this is why I didn't want babies in the house.." I said under my breath. Of course both my vampire parents heard me and snapped their heads in my direction. "Sorry..."
Seeing as they weren't expecting triplets, the first couple nights were particularly difficult. Minerva moved around a lot in her sleep so she was constantly waking her sisters up if put in the same crib.
After a few days, Dad finally got the new and improved nursery set up and all the babies had their own crib.
To my delight they all started sleeping through the night almost instantly - though I think it might have to do with the fact that Mom laced their night time bottles with plasma juice. "Aren't they a little young for that?" I asked as I watched her mix it up. I'd been drinking plasma juice since I was a child - though not exclusively - but it just seemed odd to give it to a newborn.
"They seem to enjoy it. Certainly not doing them any harm - have you seen how big Lily is getting?" she said with a smile.
"Whatever!" I said to her back as she left the kitchen with a tray full of blood tinged formula - I wonder if that's the infant version of a Bloody Mary. I retrieved my own plasma juice from the refrigerator and went upstairs to start on my homework. I turned up the music on my iPod to drown out the baby sounds.
Mom was right about one thing, the triplets were growing - and fast! Maybe it's because there were three of them and we were all constantly on our toes but they seemed to go from newborns to full fledged toddlers in a matter of days! Really it was a full year of course but time just flew by.
About a week after their birthdays, a big package arrived for them from some great aunt I'd never heard of. There were some creepy looking dolls inside - well creepy to me anyway. The triplets took to them instantly. I looked at the package again and tried to read the return address but it had been smudged beyond recognition for the most part. I could only make out that the postal code was international. "Hey Mom, I don't remember an Aunt Mildred..." I called out but Mom was busy pulling Lily out of the dryer and didn't reply.
Soon the package and the mysterious aunt was forgotten as I heard Minerva tumbled and start crying upstairs. Mom was still busy with Lily and Dad was trying to get Andromeda to eat so I went upstairs to check on her.
It took all three of us to keep the triplets in one piece it seemed, they were trouble in toddler form. But they were adorable and I may have even started to like them - a little bit. Like my own childhood, most of their outings had to take place after dark. There was no way I was taking all three of them to the park alone!
Of all of them, Andromeda was the easiest. She usually just went with the flow and allowed Mom, Dad, Lily, or anyone really to tell her where to go and what to do.
Lily was the leader of the back and the one with the most attitude. If it weren't for her toddler exterior, I'd think she was a sixteen year old! She was never ready to stop playing when Mom said it was time to go and she made sure to let us know that this turn of events did NOT please her.
Minerva seemed to take her lead from Lily a lot - although she didn't have such a natural talent for attitude so her tantrums seemed more like a cheap imitation than the real thing.
Her real talent lay in biting. I know, it's an odd talent but she chewed on EVERYTHING. She chewed on her crib, she chewed on her hand, she chewed on the pillows, the couches, our fingers if we got too close. She even chomped down on her creepy critter once in awhile. I'm pretty sure Mom and Dad were opting to keep them out of day care because they didn't want to be the parents of "the Biter".
Just a week before Junior Prom and I was sure I'd be going it alone. My pseudo relationship with Derik had stalled out somewhere between romantic interests and something more official. Sure we had fun together and had spent more time curled up in each other's arms looking at stars than any other couple in the school - but we weren't a couple really. At least not in anyway that had been spoken out loud.
"Look, are you gonna ask me to Prom or what?" I asked over a beaker of boiling goo. It was supposed to be blue but my frustration toward him was affecting my focus it seemed as it was a disgusting yellowish pus color.
"Huh? Well I figured it was kinda a given...you're my girlfriend and all that." Derik said, his face genuinely crossed with confusion.
Now it was my turn for confusion! "Well a girl likes to be asked." I muttered finally. He looked appropriately sorry and told me of the limo he'd rented already and everything so I forgave him - my BOYFRIEND - quickly.
The day of Prom it seemed like every pore on my face was clogged and the bags under my eyes had surely tripled over night and why wasn't my hair cooperating!? I fretted at the mirror through several calls up the stairs by my parents. Finally there was a knock at the bathroom door and I knew I was out of time.
"The limo and Derik are both here now...you look perfect." my Mom looked like she was about to tear up as she smiled broadly at me.
"No Mom! No tears! Remember the last time?!" I said with a shudder. My parents rarely cried because when they did the tears were tinged red with blood. It was a vampire thing I guess and it was kinda gross really. Seeing as Derik didn't know we were vampires I could just imagine trying to explain that sight to him!
Mom shuffled Derik and I into picture position on the stairs but only had time for a couple shots before the limo driver honked again. It was borderline rude but then he'd been waiting nearly twenty minutes now.
We finally made it to the dance and I saw the driver pull out a book as we entered the building. At least he'd be entertained I guess. When we got inside, the place was already packed with students and the occasional parent or teacher trying to blend into the background.
Unlike the Senior Prom where they crowned only the Prom Court - a King, Queen, a couple of Princes and Princesses - the Juniors always voted on a dozen different "types" and there were Kings and Queens of the Jocks, Kings and Queens of the Nerds, etc etc. Thankfully every took the labels in good stride. Even understanding the system, I was very surprised to hear my name called as Queen Nerd - a title I was actually pretty proud of. I was walking on a cloud by the time I got home. I put my new crown on my bedside table and hung up the picture of Derik and I on the wall by my bed.
I was about to crash when I heard my stomach rumbling and decided to go downstairs for a quick snack. It was as I was sipping on my plasma juice that I realized just how eerily quite the house was. I went back upstairs and knocked lightly on my parents bedroom. I opened the door and their bed was still made. I checked the nursery and all the cribs were empty as well. "Weird." I said but shrugged it off. Though it was rather late, it's possible they'd just taken a trip to the park or something. I crawled into bed with visions of the dance in my head.
I was violently jarred from my sleep by a loud blaring. It took me a few moments to recognize it as our house alarm and I shuddered a bit. Part of me wanted to stay curled up in bed but curiosity got the better of me. I peered up the stairs to the top floor but all seemed to be quiet up there so I started making my way down the stairs. Even our main floor seemed to be unharmed which meant he - or she - was probably in the basement. I looked down the spiral staircase and heard a lot of shuffling and a few foreign sounding curses. Both my movement and the noise from downstairs stopped abruptly when the house phone started ringing. 'Probably the alarm company' I thought as I crept toward the kitchen and picked up the receiver. "Yes, there's a burglar in my house" I whispered before they even asked any questions. They assured me police was on their way and suggested I stay out of sight. Yeah right!
I waited long enough to hear the sirens just outside the house before I slipped into the basement. The officer and our intruder were engaged in a scuffle right by the door.
Thankfully luck favored law enforcement tonight and when the dust settled, Officer Birgham was cuffing the offender.
In all that noise and scuffle, I didn't hear a single cry from the nursery and my parents didn't show up. Where were they?!
Vampires in Twinbrook! This is the vampire my simself married and later divorced :P