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    Justin4Fun
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
This is Book 2 of the "New Reality" Series; reading 'Re-Birth', Book 1, is highly recommended.

Re-Forging - 13. Chapter 13

The nine of us spent the next five hours on the beach. Scott and I took great pleasure in teasing Chris and Billy every time we caught them gawking at a bikini-clad young girl. Unfortunately for us, they gave as good as they got, and we were called out several times for watching the toned young men who were often with those toned young ladies. Several times during our afternoon, we were invited to join other groups in pickup volleyball games. The other vampires kept an eye on me and were constantly pointing out the small things I didn’t think about that set me apart from the humans. By our last game, I was fitting in perfectly and had made no mistakes.

Another little detail our day at the beach taught me was that, while the sun didn’t burn us like in all the old movies, we are a tad bit more sensitive than the average human. Scott and Billy kept me coated in SPF-50 while our human friends were quite happy with SPF-30. Ironically, while I had always tanned without burning, I left the beach with a slight case of sunburn. Of course, I was healed before we got back to George’s house.

As soon as we got there, we immediately headed for our showers and then joined George for dinner. Having already received a mind-to-mind message from him, I knew it would work. I found my connection to George and sent, ‘Do you mind if I discuss the school offers during dinner?’

After getting his ok, I turned to Chris first. “Do you have your Harvard application finished yet, Chris?”

“I have everything ready, but they won’t accept anything until August, you know that. What about you?” He replied.

I debated playing with him but decided against it. I handed him his envelope. “Well, you can save the effort, bud. I’d like to think that you’ll stick around for our senior year, but as you see, you don’t need to.”

Chris was too stunned to reply; he was staring dumbstruck at the paperwork. When I reached toward Jake with an envelope, he looked skeptical. “I appreciate it, Greg, but Harvard isn’t my thing.” He took the envelope and absently opened it. “If I can’t get into West Point, I’ll try Annapolis. If not there, I’ll go to VMI or The Citadel.” He glanced briefly at the papers.

“No interest in Colorado Springs?” James asked.

Jake shook his head and said, “Nah, if I can’t go Army,” He pulled out the letter from the Senator. “I’ll be a Marine. I’m not cut out to be—” He started shaking as he excitedly rifled through the papers, scanning them. He finally looked at me, flabbergasted. He coughed, then, in a timid voice, he asked, “Seriously?”

I nodded. “Seriously.”

“But… how did you do this?”

I shook my head and explained. “I didn’t do it. George did it. He did it for all of us.” Holding up the other envelopes, I said, “Josh can go to MIT; Brian to Wharton; Chris, Scott, and I are set for Harvard. All thanks to George.”

Always the skeptic, Jake turned to George and asked, “Not to sound ungrateful, Your Highness, but what’s in it for you? Does this mean you want to change us now?”

George held up his hand, shaking his head. “It means nothing of the sort, Jake, and please, I’m still just George. I did this because you, your brother, and your friends are very special to Greg. As to changing you, you need to understand that changing a human isn’t as simple as the books and movies have made it seem.”

Jake seemed confused. “Well, James changed Greg; why can’t he just change the rest of us?”

“Changing a human is rare, not because we don’t want to do it, but because the odds of success are extremely low. James took a chance because Greg would have died either way.”

Hearing this, I asked, “How rare, George? I mean, James told me there was a chance I’d still die, but you make it sound like my being alive right now is a miracle.”

George nodded as he said, “The odds of a common vampire changing a human are a hundred to one against, Greg. They know this and never attempt it. As a baronet, James only has a ten percent chance of a changeling surviving. Even as a prince, a changeling of mine only has a fifty-fifty chance.”

Chris sounded concerned as he asked, “The way you’re saying it, could Greg still die?”

“Oh, no, no. A failed changeling simply doesn’t wake up. Some will feed a time or two as the body tries to change, but we know it's a success once they’ve stood up and fed on their own.”

Jake and Chris sat silently, considering what George had said. It took me a moment to digest it as well. Scott could sense my unease. He took my hand and said, “Don’t think about it, babe. You’re alive; that’s all that matters.”

Jake was absently leafing through the letters when he looked at George and asked, “How did you get all these letters so fast? I have letters from West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs, and a Senator. All of this had to be coordinated somehow; it just seems faster than possible.”

With a grin, George explained, “All the coordination happened via telephone, Jake. If you look closely, you have scanned copies of letters. The originals are being exchanged in the mail as we speak. And before you ask, nothing will be sent to your home until you say, to avoid creating questions we don’t want to answer.”

Chris and Jake had more questions and were deep in conversation with George when my phone rang; the room went silent. Knowing I had the support of every soul in the room, I hit the speaker. “Hello?”

“Mr. Fowler?”

“Yes, this is Greg Fowler.”

“Mr. Fowler, this is Dr. Selby. I wanted to let you know that we will be giving your father the last dose of the meds that are keeping him asleep at six, and they should be wearing off around nine or ten. I thought it might be nice if the second face he sees is his son.”

I let out a whoop and said, “I will be there with bells on, doctor. Thank you for calling.”

When I ended the call, the entire room erupted in cheers. I was soon surrounded by friends and family, both old and new, wanting to hug me and encourage me. Every hug made me feel good, but the ones that meant the most were those from Scott and Billy.

After dinner, Chris and Jake convinced us to join them by the pool. Tommy and Leonard went with us, and soon, we were horsing around in the water. We’d been at this for an hour when George came running down the hill, dove in, and joined in the fun. Frederick arrived, followed by servants carrying wine, blood, and soft drinks. Three hours later, my human friends were feeling the effects of an unlimited supply of wine. Scott and I helped them to the house, tucked them into bed, and then returned to the pool.

I was about to dive in when James waved me over to join George and him at their table. “You haven’t fed from me since the plane, Greg. How are you feeling?”

“I feel fine, James. If you don’t mind, maybe I should do that now, though? We don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to learn from it.”

George asked, “Learn from it?”

I grabbed a cushion from a chair, put it on the deck beside James’ chair, sat cross-legged, and took the offered wrist. While I did this, James explained how we had discovered that I could learn from James during feeding. On hearing this, George called Frederick over and asked if he had ever heard of something similar. Frederick said he hadn’t heard of it but had never actually asked. The back and forth continued, with James occasionally speaking for me. I was so focused on the conversation; I had finished feeding before I realized that I hadn’t made the connection with James like the other times. As I stood, I told them what I had realized.

“Like you said, Greg, you were focused on our conversation. Don’t assume it’s come to an end based on one occasion.” Frederick said.

“No, you’re right. I’ll try when I feed again.” I turned to James and asked, “Based on what you told me, I probably don’t need to feed from you anymore?”

George answered for him. “If you’re not craving his blood, then no. It means your change is complete. That might be why you couldn’t make your connection, but it is worth another try.”

A servant came to summon George to his office, and Frederick went with him. James said he needed a short nap before we went to the hospital, so when he headed for the house, I turned toward the pool. I grinned when I saw Billy walking along the edge. A few seconds later, he was struggling to escape my grasp as I threw him into the pool. I had just started celebrating when I was picked up and tossed in after him. When I surfaced, I saw a grinning Leonard standing where I had been.

When the sun rose, we all headed up to the house to shower. Scott, Billy, and I were headed for the dining room when Frederick stopped us and said that George and his Lord Steward had to make a quick trip to Seattle but insisted we stay until he returned. We went in to eat and were almost finished when Chris and Jake came in.

“I hope you feel better than you look.” I teased. Just to twist the knife, I added, “We finished off that bottle you opened. I feel fine; what about you, Scott?”

Jake growled and grabbed a cup of coffee. “Must be nice,” he muttered.

Billy stood and asked, “What are you wearing to the hospital?"

I looked at him, confused, and asked, “Why?”

“I’ve been talking to George’s staff. Since you don’t have a valet, I figured I need to do that until you get one.”

I rolled my eyes. “I don’t need a valet, Billy; I can dress myself. Besides, you’re not a servant.”

“I won’t argue about dressing you, but visitors will expect you to have a household staff once you're a seated baron.”

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, Billy. Let’s go get dressed.” I turned to the two zombies. “What will you two do while we’re at the hospital?"

Chris nodded when Jake groaned, “Sleep.”

I was still laughing as we headed to our room to dress. At the door to our room, Billy asked if I wanted him to come to the hospital. After thinking about it, I told him to stay and enjoy himself. He agreed to stay but said he would be learning more about his role in George's library; I didn’t argue. Scott and I dressed in jeans and a polo shirt, met Tommy and Leonard in the driveway, and headed for the hospital.

We were sitting in the intensive care waiting room fifteen minutes before the doctor had said to be there. I had asked about visiting, and the nurse said the doctor was in with him and we’d have to wait. I was about to ask again when Dr. Selby came in.

“You can come in now, Greg.” When Scott headed toward the door with me, he said, “Sorry, but only family is allowed in ICU.”

“Scott is my fiancé, doctor; he is family.”

“Unfortunately, my hands are tied. Until you’re married, he’s not.”

I refused to accept this, so I reached out with my thoughts and changed the rules. A minute later, the doctor was escorting Scott and me into the ICU. Walking through the unit brought back memories of visiting my mother during her last days. Scott could sense my discomfort and took my hand. When we got to Dad’s room, we paused at the door. He was lying on the bed with his leg in traction, a cast on his arm, and an IV in his other arm. A tube came from under the blanket and led to an empty bag that hung from the bed. Wires on his chest were attached to the heart monitor on the wall that was beeping in a steady rhythm, and there was a large tube attached to a mouthpiece, breathing for him.

Seeing my father lying helpless in a hospital bed brought tears to my eyes. I felt Scott squeeze my hand, and it brought me out of my haze. I stepped to the bed, put my free hand on Dad’s good hand, and gently rubbed it with my thumb. My voice cracked when I said, “I’m here, Dad.” I cleared my throat and added, “Scott’s with me.”

I thought I imagined it when I heard the heart monitor speed up, but a glance at the doctor confirmed it. He heard me.

“Keep talking to him, Greg. It will help him wake up.”

Scott pulled a chair up behind me and I sat at the side of the bed, still stroking Dad’s hand with my thumb. “The doctor says you’re doing good.”

I didn’t know what to say, but Scott saved me. “Hey, Charlie. I’m keeping my promise, but I need your help.”

I felt fingers wrap around mine and heard a slight moan. I looked up to see my father’s eyes open ever so slightly. At the same time, the beeping from the heart monitor seemed to be getting even faster, and Dad seemed to be struggling. I looked at the doctor and he was checking the machines.

“I need to remove the breathing tube, Greg. It’s best if you boys step out of the room while we do that.”

A nurse rushed in and started helping the doctor by removing the tape around my dad’s mouth. Scott and I slowly backed toward the door, but before we got there I heard my father starting to choke. Instinctively I stepped forward to help, but Scott held me back. Before I knew it, it was over; the tube was out of his throat and he was breathing on his own. I let out a sob of relief, and Scott put his arms around me and held me as the doctor and nurse got Dad cleaned up and settled into his bed. When the nurse left, the doctor looked up at me and nodded.

“Sorry you had to see that, Greg, but it’s normal for a patient coming out of a coma to choke on their breathing tube when they wake.”

We moved back to the side of the bed, and I took his hand again, but this time, his grip was stronger when he wrapped his fingers around mine. I looked down into his face and saw a very tired smile. He tried to speak, but nothing came out. The doctor told us he couldn’t have any water but handed me a cup of ice chips we could feed him. I took a few in my fingers and gently put them to his mouth. I watched the relief on his face as he closed his eyes and let the melting ice relieve the pain in his throat. After a minute, he opened his eyes and looked at me.

In a cracked voice, he whispered, “Love you, son.” His eyes moved to Scott, and he smiled and added, “You too.”

He closed his eyes and his breathing relaxed, gradually slowing along with the beeping of his heart monitor. He was sleeping. I looked at the doctor, and he smiled and nodded for us to follow him.

When we were in the hall, he said, “That’s a good thing, Greg. Weird as it may sound, a coma isn’t resting; now, he’s resting. With his injuries, he will probably sleep for a few hours. When he wakes again, we can get a better feel for the extent of any injuries to his brain. He recognized both of you, so that’s a very good sign. Often, there’s a short period of confusion and memory loss.”

“Can we stay with him?” Scott asked.

“I can let you stay another ten minutes, but I doubt he’ll wake up.”

“When can we come back?” I asked.

“They only allow visitors for ten minutes every two hours in the ICU, Greg. If everything goes right, I’ll move him to the step-down unit tomorrow. If you’re lucky, he won’t have a roommate, and I’ll see if I can bend the rules on visitors.”

I shook my head. “Find him a private room.”

“His insurance won’t—”

“I will cover anything they won’t, doctor. I want him in a private room.” I said, surprising myself with the tone of my voice.

With a nod, the doctor left us. Scott and I went back into the room, and I sat at his bedside, once again taking his free hand in mine. Scott stood behind me, rubbing my shoulders. Ten minutes later, a nurse came in to check on him. When he was done, he smiled and told us he’d pretend we weren’t here for another ten, but that was the best he could do. I nodded and smiled my thanks. When he came back to check on Dad, we thanked him again and headed to the waiting room.

As we walked in, Tommy and Leonard asked for news. After we told them he was out of the coma and just sleeping now, Scott asked, “Do you want to sit here for two hours or find something to pass the time?”

Before I could reply, Tommy said, “I have a few things you can do if you don’t want to sit here, Greg. All of them can wait, though. I’m just saying.”

I sighed. “Thanks, Tommy; you’re right. Sitting here won’t help. I won’t even ask where you’re taking me, but I have one stop to make on the way out.”

I asked a nurse for directions, and we headed for the business office of the hospital. I gave them the number for my bank and asked them to confirm that I could afford the room upgrade I had asked for and anything else that might come up. After checking Dad’s file, the business agent reassured us that his insurance was very generous, and we shouldn’t have to cover much. She did call my bank and, after a short conversation, promised us that my father would receive the best care that could be found.

After a five-minute drive, Tommy was parking on Rodeo Drive. I was confused when he led us to a tailor’s shop, where he had a short conversation with the clerk. A minute later, we were led into a private room to be measured for a suit. Every time I tried to ask; Tommy simply told me to be quiet. Half an hour later, we left the shop empty-handed, and he led us to a jewelry store and, once again, were told not to ask questions. The jeweler measured all of my fingers and then did the same for Scott. Again, we left empty-handed and very confused.

I checked my phone and realized it was almost lunch, so I suggested we grab something to eat before going back to the hospital. Leonard led us to a small, out-of-the-way café and shocked me when he told the waiter to bring us a bottle of elk. I thought he was talking about a brand of wine until the waiter uncorked the bottle, poured a few drops into a glass, and offered it to him for approval.

Leonard pointed at me and said, “Let the baron try it.”

The waiter stiffened, then offered me the glass, saying, "For your approval, My Lord.”

I swirled the glass around a bit, held it to my nose, and gently inhaled. The scent was interesting; stronger than stag, with a grassy smell mingled with leaves. I nodded and the waiter filled my glass, then filled the others. When I admitted to him that I had never had elk blood, he suggested we order elk steaks to go with it. We took his advice and enjoyed an incredible meal of rare elk steak, sautéed asparagus, and twice-baked potatoes.

During our meal, I called Jake to update him on Dad’s condition. When he heard they were moving Dad tomorrow, he said that he and Chris would visit as soon as they were allowed. After the call, we had our dessert: a chocolate peanut butter pie that just melted in my mouth. Before we left, Tommy asked the manager where he could buy the elk and got an address and phone number for the distributor.

Tommy drove us back to the hospital, and when we checked with the ICU nurse, he told us that Dad was still sleeping, but we could go in. Once again, I sat at the bedside with Scott’s hand on my shoulder and quietly talked to my father. He slept through the entire visit, and when our ten minutes were up, I had Tommy take us back to George’s.

We were getting out of the Escalade when Billy came out, grabbed Scott and me, and dragged us to George’s library, where he showed us the books he found. He then spent the next hour educating us on the responsibilities of a baron and made me promise to spend a few more hours doing the same while we waited for Dad to be well enough to fly home. That reminded me, and I asked Chris to contact his father and look into hiring a private nurse to help around the house until he was back on his feet.

After another ten-minute visit with my sleeping father, we came back for another session with Billy and his books, then returned to the hospital. I was overjoyed when we walked in to find him awake and eating Jello. He looked up and smiled, then finished his gourmet meal. We helped him move the tray away from the bed, then sat down for a real visit.

“They told me you two have been coming by every two hours.”

I smirked and said, “We have, but someone was too busy sleeping to notice.”

That provoked an eye roll my friends would be proud of. “Great! I’ve got six months to lay around and listen to your jokes.” His laughter brought on a few coughs. “How’d you two get here?”

We told Dad about James’ friend who flew us out and was hosting us at his house. He was glad we were here and said there was something important he needed to tell me. Just then, the nurse came in and said our visit was over. Dad begged for just a few minutes more, but she said that he was scheduled for an x-ray and they couldn’t keep radiology waiting. I told him whatever he had to say would keep and gave him a quick kiss before she wheeled him out.

Once again, we returned to George’s house for dinner and learned that he would be in Seattle until tomorrow evening. Frederick was happy Leonard had taken us to the café and mentioned that George had several bottles of the elk in his blood cooler. When I asked, he told us about the blood bottling industry and suggested I try several of the more unique flavors before I leave. He then turned to the footman and asked him to open a bottle of pheasant. After a sip I said it was good for after dinner, but a bit too light for a meal. James disagreed, saying it went great with fish or poultry. I was surprised when Billy said he liked it better than stag, but not as much as elk.

After dinner, we returned to the hospital. Dad was asleep when we walked in but woke as I settled into my chair. He looked at us and smiled, yawned, then smiled again.

“Have a nice nap?”

“You’d be amazed at how tiring it is to heal from life-threatening injuries.”

Scott and I exchanged a glance, and then I asked, “You said you had something to tell me?”

He nodded and said, “After your mom passed, I figured I would be alone for the rest of my life.”

I clutched my chest. “I’m hurt.”

Shaking his head, Dad said, “Knock it off; this is serious.” I muttered an apology, and he continued. “Like I was saying, I figured I would be alone for the rest of my life. After a year, I, well,” He looked uncomfortable but pushed on, “I wasn’t ready to date, but on my trips, I would sometimes… um…”

I took his hand and asked, “You spent some time in the company of young ladies?”

“That’s a nice way of saying it, yes. I’m not proud of it, but I need you to know the whole story. Anyway I met a banana and I drown in cow.”

I stared at him for a moment, waiting for him to explain his joke. When he didn’t, I asked, “Um, say that again?”

With a frown, he tried to speak but just started to drool. Something was wrong. I shouted for the nurse and turned back to Dad, telling him that I was here and he’d be fine. I watched as he started convulsing and choking. I shouted for help again, then I felt it; my fangs had dropped. ‘We can save him. We can turn him.’

Scott grabbed my arm and pulled me from the room as the nurses and doctors rushed in.

Copyright © 2023 Justin4Fun; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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5 hours ago, raven1 said:

The chapter started nicely, but I'm afraid for Charlie now.  I still see you like cliffhangers, Justin.

black and white loop GIF by Doze Studio

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10 minutes ago, VBlew said:

So wondering if the translation is I met a woman and she is pregnant?

The translation is rather than random letters to indicate his garbled speech, I used random words.

"usackeu asdkfu" would have looked weird.

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Charlie seemed to be improving, and then? Think Greg and Scott would need more information before Greg champs anything.

 

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Albert1434

Posted (edited)

So, I can see someone is practicing their cliffhanger. :yes: But I am so worried about Charlie :(

 

Edited by Albert1434
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