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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. 

Re-United - 11. Chapter 11

By the time the sun broke over the horizon, Chris and Josh had fed three more times. Riva and Vega were sent back to the farm to gather camp beds, a tent, and a space heater so the humans could rest, and Mary sent three dozen breakfast burritos wrapped in foil and in a cooler, along with coffee, orange juice, and blood. When Josh woke for another feeding, shortly after nine, Scott insisted I take a break. He sat at Josh’s side, slit his wrist, and allowed Josh to feed. Five minutes later, Billy did the same with Chris, and I was ordered to hold my son and rest. I laid back on one of the camp beds and dozed off as Charlie lay sleeping on my chest.

I woke when I felt motion on my chest. I looked and found Charlie waving his arms and trying to scoot like an inchworm. I grinned, then looked to find Mike watching with an amazed expression on his face.

“He’s not even a week old, and he’s trying to scoot?” he asked.

“I don’t know anything about what’s normal for a baby, Mike. Is that good?” I asked as I sat up and slit my thumb to feed my son.

“Chris couldn’t hold his head up until he was two or three months old, Greg. Is this what I can expect from a grandchild?”

I thought for a moment, then asked, “Do you want total honesty? Or do I gloss over the truth to make you feel good?”

David sat up and listened when Mike said, “I want the total, unvarnished truth, Greg. Starting with, is my son out of danger?”

I took a deep breath and answered them as honestly as I could. “Until they stand on their own feet, there’s a chance the change will fail. If the change is successful, Chris should be fully healed, but I don’t know if Josh’s leg will heal or not. We’re hopeful since the cut healed and he has a pulse in his leg, but we just don’t know. As to grandchildren, if they survive, there’s no guarantee they’ll find a mate before you pass on.”

Mike nodded; David scrubbed his hands across his face and sighed and said, “But they both have a chance, which they didn’t have if you hadn’t tried, Greg. For that, I am eternally grateful.”

I followed them out when they went to join the vigil where their sons lay, hopefully changing. Scott told me they had both fed at noon and should be waking within the hour for their next meal. It surprised me when Brian asked when the change would be complete; I assumed someone would have asked by now.

Scott spoke up. “From what I know, a changeling should wake up twenty-four to thirty-six hours after their first feeding, but Greg only took twelve.”

“I’ve heard of it taking longer with injuries,” Tommy added.

Brian concentrated for a second, then said, “If they take more than thirty-six hours, won’t that affect you getting to the memorial?”

“We can make the memorial as long as we leave the farm by nine tomorrow morning. That would be forty hours after Josh first fed, and if it takes longer, Dad would want me to take care of my friends,” I said, then added, “If anyone has a problem with that, they can… well, it’s between my dad and me, and I’m fine with it. My friends come first.”

Fortunately, that wasn’t an issue. Chris stayed awake after he fed at three that afternoon and was on his feet by five. Josh needed eight more hours, but after he fed at eleven PM, Jake supported him as he limped to the Denali for a ride to the farm. Brian drove Josh’s truck, and James hauled the tents, camp beds, and other things we’d accumulated.

Josh and Chris were both more well-informed than I was when I woke up as a vampire, but they still had dozens of questions. I encouraged each of them to try searching for knowledge in my mind as they fed at three on Saturday morning, but neither was able to make a connection like I had done with James. I spent the entire night talking with Josh and Chris, telling them all the things that Scott and Billy had shared with me, as well as the things that they forgot, like our not needing to breathe as often as they had. They both wanted to meet their beast but understood when I said they had to wait until after the memorial service. Mention of the memorial brought up another problem; their eyes were now the crimson of an unranked vampire. Fortunately, their eyes changed from vampire red to their human colors shortly after dawn.

When Jake and Brian joined us, Jake walked up to Josh and punched him squarely on the jaw, then started yelling at him for taking risks when working, almost dying, and leaving him alone. His rant lasted almost five minutes, but we let him get it out. We all understood that, in part of his mind, his brother had died. When he turned his eyes toward Chris, I needed to put a stop to it.

“Alright, Jake, that’s enough. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, and I’m not going to let you blame Chris,” Josh said before I could speak. “Accidents happen, and we’re all fine now, so just drop it.”

Jake glared at his brother for a few more seconds before he broke into sobs as Josh held him tight. We all knew it was coming, and soon, he was wrapped in the arms of everyone in his life who loved him except for his mother. I heard him saying the same things Scott had said: ‘I thought I lost you.’ ‘I thought you were dead.’ ‘I can’t live without you.’ It took Jake ten minutes to cry himself out, but once he did, he seemed fine. I reached out and tried to read his emotions; he was still hurting but well on his way to recovery.

Over breakfast, Mike brought up the rumor we needed to spread. “I think either Chris or I should be the first to drop a hint, Greg. And,” he glanced at Chris, “no offense, son, but you get to be the idiot.”

Chris wasn’t stupid, and it only took him a second. “You want me to breach attorney/client privilege.”

“Well, technically, you’re just a high school student, so there is no such relationship, but yes. The downside is that people will be concerned about my son having inside knowledge of my clients.”

“Chris is one of my closest friends,” I offered. “Most will assume he got the story from me.”

Mike nodded. “That’s my hope, but it still might cause some fallout for me.”

I knew he was right, and I also knew I couldn’t let Mike pay a financial price for helping me. I looked around the table and saw the perfect solution, my other friends. I looked at Jake and asked him how he felt about breaking my confidence and accidentally mentioning an attack on my dad. He quickly agreed he could do it, mainly because he wasn’t breaking my trust in any way; he was doing exactly what I wanted. Happy with his reply, I then asked Josh the same question and got the same answer. Brian also agreed when asked the same question. With all my friends willing to play a role, I explained my plan, and we established our rumor mill.

After breakfast, there was a mad rush to get everyone sorted into vehicles for the trip to West Virginia. Josh said he felt fine, but Jake insisted on driving. Our Denali suddenly became cramped with Scott, Billy, Jenny, Charlie, and me. Once everyone was loaded up, we headed home. I was quickly becoming comfortable at the farm; maybe too comfortable. The farm belonged to James, and we had a year before we needed to look for a place in Boston.

The first thing I noticed when we got to the house was the garage. David’s crew had already moved my weights, and I could see where they had started pulling down drywall in the basement. When Chris and David looked at the house, David suggested I leave things as they were until I got a chance to decide on what to keep. Now, looking around, I felt an overwhelming urge to keep everything. The idea of throwing away or selling the bed my father shared with my mother just felt wrong. When I mentioned this to Scott, he was unusually quiet; I took this as his agreement with me.

My friends were waiting at the door when Tommy dropped Riva, Scott, Billy, and me off in front of the church. James and Donna were already inside, along with Mike, David, and their wives. I still hadn’t met them, but Tommy told me our two local security people, a married couple, were also sitting in the crowd. As I walked in, my friends followed close behind. Each of us genuflected, then headed for the second pew, reserved for family. Dad’s priest had argued when I included Scott, Billy, and our four friends but finally relented when I pointed out the fact that my father had no other living relatives, and without those I considered my brothers, I would be alone.

The service was, well, it was a Catholic funeral mass with two men my father had worked with, standing up to say how great a guy he was. They each mentioned how Dad always talked about me, but I hardly knew these men, and their words barely registered as they droned on. When it was over, there was a reception in the church basement where I had to endure listening to total strangers giving me their words of encouragement, offers of condolences, and offers of help. On the outside, I was polite and appreciative; on the inside, my beast wanted to kill most of them for the hypocrisy we could sense in their words. I was never happier in my life than when I got into the Denali and Tommy drove us away.

The living room at my house was full an hour later. James and Donna were in the chairs, my friends were on the floor, and I sat on the sofa with Charlie in my arms. Billy and Scott sat on either side of me as we discussed what to do next. Chris and Josh were, understandably, anxious to return to the farm and learn more about their new nature. Jake had a week left before he went to West Point for his Summer Leadership Experience, and Brian was anxious for us to deal with his father. I thought that covered everything until James spoke up.

“We talked about this at George’s, Greg, but do you still want to try to make things work with these two houses rather than purchase something larger for a year?”

I nodded. “Yes, James, I do. Unless you object to our using your house as sleeping quarters. It will be tight, but I think we can do it.”

“Honestly, Greg, your father’s will listed us as your guardian. It wouldn’t seem too odd for you to move in with us, then rent your house to Tommy and Leonard since they have to be nearby to protect you from the mob?”

“And what about Jenny and Charlie?” I asked.

“Other than you and Mike, no one knows that I use a bedroom as an office or that Scott uses one as a library. To the outside world, you two use the upstairs bedrooms,” James paused for a moment, then continued, “and Scott’s sister, Jenny, lives with us while caring for our grandson. We’ll have to keep Charlie out of sight once he grows, but Dad never had a problem with nosey neighbors, so we should be fine.”

“And Billy is…” I thought for a minute.

“Tommy’s orphaned nephew?” Billy suggested.

“I suppose it would cause fewer questions than Scott spending every night at my house,” I said, still unsure.

“Greg,” Scott said tentatively. “Something you said earlier is… well, are you really emotionally attached to all the furniture in this house?”

I looked around, and all I could see was my past, my childhood. “Are you saying we should just sell it all?”

Scott watched my face as he carefully replied, “No, not everything, not now, but eventually, yeah, unless there are things that have meaning.”

I nodded and paused to think. He was right, and like a band-aid, the sooner this was done, the quicker the pain would go away. “I guess we should start with Dad’s room? I can’t wear any of his clothing, and even if it would fit, I just…” I sighed. “We’ll go through his room tomorrow. The plan is to clear it out so Tommy and Leonard can use it. We’ll keep all the furniture in the house for now, and by the time we sell the house, we’ll know what we’re keeping. How’s that sound?”

Scott nodded. “It sounds like a good compromise, babe. I can’t imagine what it’s like having to consider parting with your childhood.”

“OK,” I said with a sigh. “What else do we need to do before we can take Josh and Chris back to the farm?”

Billy sent me, “I have the manuscripts with us; they could study them here.”

“Good idea, thanks,” I replied.

“I accidentally mentioned ‘the attack’ at the memorial, Greg,” Jake said. “The guy was from your dad’s office, and like we planned, I mentioned the ‘attack’, then quickly corrected it to ‘accident.’”

“And?” I asked.

“He noticed, but let it go, so I can’t say,” Jake replied with a shrug.

“And I slipped up and mentioned the attack when I was changing,” Brian said with a grin. “I could see her eyes light up, so I’m guessing she’s been on the phone all afternoon.”

“Perfect, Bri. I think we should deal with your dad this evening or tomorrow, don’t you?” I asked.

“Whatever you think is best, Greg,” Brian replied, giving a slight nod.

I glared at him. “Stop with the bows,” I grumbled.

Scott nudged me. “At least he didn’t call you ‘My Lord’.”

“Alright, that’s enough for this evening. Chris and Josh need to feed. Does anyone have any plans for this evening?” I asked.

James and Donna stood, and James offered to grill venison burgers for everyone. That brought several eager nods, so they headed to their house to handle that. Josh, Chris, and I had stumbled around a few times last night and finally come up with a way they could feed simultaneously. I sat in an overstuffed chair with my arms draped over the sides while they knelt and fed from my wrists. Scott insisted he stay and make sure I didn’t get dizzy from their combined drain on my blood.

While those two fed, Jake and Billy opened the briefcase and started sorting them into general topics. Chris reached out toward them, and after a few comic attempts at figuring out which he wanted, I decided to try mind-to-mind for the first time with one of my, um, wow, these two are now my sons. I giggled, which caused every eye in the room to focus on me.

“Scott explained that, under vampire law, I’m considered James’ son since he’s the one that changed me,” I explained. I didn’t get any further. My new ‘sons’ both opened their eyes wide and stared at me while everyone else broke into a fit of giggles. Then the jokes started, with the most common comments being about changing their diapers, giving them curfews, and giving them ‘the talk.’

The worst was when Jake offered his neck and asked, “When are you gonna become my daddy, big boy?”

Once they got it out of their systems, Jake settled down with a glass of wine and studied the manuscripts that discussed changing a human and renewal while Brian read the one that dealt with the tax agreements between Dracul and the human governments around the world. I was able to communicate with Josh and Chris mind-to-mind, and they chose to read the one that discussed vampire history, legends, and lore. Billy and Scott read and discussed the one on vampire nobility while I simply offered my thoughts on anything anyone said, as I couldn’t hold any reading material.

Just as Chris and Josh finished feeding, Donna texted to say that dinner was ready. When we walked in, Jenny handed Charlie to Billy, who opened his thumb and started feeding our son, all without missing a step. With Tommy, Leonard, Jenny, and the other two guards, there wasn’t room at the dining table, so we all gathered in the backyard, some at the picnic table, some in the patio chairs, and some of us simply sitting cross-legged on the ground.

A Latino man in his forties and a Latina female in her thirties stepped in front of me and bowed. “My Lord,” they both said.

I looked up from my spot between Scott and Billy, raised an eyebrow, and said, “I hope that’s the last time you two will use that phrase in private. I prefer Greg.” I smiled and asked. “I assume that you are Adrian and Selena Cruz; the marshals Tommy hired for here?”

“We are, My… er, Greg,” Adrian replied. “I wouldn’t bother you, but our things will be here Tuesday, and Chief Marshal McNiel said you still needed to finalize arrangements for our housing.”

Before I could reply, Scott said, “I’ll take you to our real estate office on Monday morning, and we will take care of that, Adrian. For now, if you need to sleep, get with Tommy or James.”

Selena smiled. “We slept last night; we’ll be good until Tuesday.”

“Don’t be shy. If you need something, ask,” I offered. Then I smirked and added, “Speaking of which, I don’t see any burgers in your hands.”

Once Adrian and Selena got a plate, they sat, and we spent a few minutes getting to know them. They were both born in Cuba in the 1880s, emigrated to the United States just before Castro took over, and renewed in the 1990s. Both went through the Florida State Police Academy and were working in law enforcement in the Miami-Dade metro area when Tommy approached them. With no children, they were free to travel anywhere the job required.

With our meal finished, we headed back to my house, where Chris, Brian, Jake, and Josh continued exploring the manuscripts. Scott, Billy, and I began the task of going through my father’s bedroom. We started with the simple things, emptying socks and underwear drawers into a box, then moving on to tee shirts and casual clothing. Scott was certain we would find something other than clothes mixed with his things, but that wasn’t Dad’s way. Everything that had meaning was in his nightstand, his safe, or on display. Mom’s jewelry box sat on the dresser like it had my entire life. Inside were three necklaces: a string of pearls, a single mounted diamond on a gold chain, and a diamond and emerald choker Dad had purchased for their last anniversary together on this earth. The box also held her wedding band, engagement ring, and my great-grandmother’s ring, which had three square rubies surrounded by a dozen or so small diamonds. With tears in my eyes, I closed the box and set it aside.

The last item from the top of the dresser was my mother’s silver mirror. The same one I’d noticed Scott’s lack of a reflection in. Now, staring at the empty glass where my face should be, I grinned as I thought about the recent changes in my life. I wrapped it in a towel and gently placed it beside Mom’s jewelry box.

While Billy and Scott took clothes from the closet, removed the hangers, folded them, and packed them into boxes, I opened Dad’s nightstand, already knowing one thing I would find. After ensuring that the safety was on, I took the handgun to Tommy.

“Secure this for now,” I directed. “But we’ll be going to a range in the near future. You, or one of the marshals, will be instructing Scott and Billy in the proper use of firearms.”

With Dad’s pistol secure, I went back to the nightstand and found the one other item I knew would be there: my grandfather’s pocket watch, gold watch chain, and a round B&O porcelain emblem set in gold as a fob. He worked for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad for forty years, and when he retired, they gave him a gold Elgin pocket watch. On the inside of the cover, it was engraved with his name, Gregory Micheal Fowler, and the dates of his employment; June 1952 to August 1992.

Of course, I boxed all the photographs that were on the nightstand or dresser and the three photo albums I found in the lower drawer of the nightstand. I was thumbing through one of the albums when I sensed Scott and Billy watching me. I shrugged and explained that I was just enjoying some memories. Memories that I would someday share with Charlie, even the embarrassing stories that went with the pictures of me.

Pulled from my memories, I looked around the room, amazed to find the closet, dressers, and nightstands empty and barren, their former contents in boxes ready for donation to the church. Scott and Billy had even stripped the sheets and blankets off the bed, saying we should redo the room from a blank slate to help me move on emotionally. With Dad’s bedroom finished, we moved on to his office. Chris had acquired several file boxes, and we quickly transferred all the files that belonged to the accounting firm into those, for delivery on Monday to their office. In his safe, we found the title to my car, the title to Dad’s car, insurance policies, and a copy of his will, as well as my birth certificate, Mom’s birth and death certificates, and their marriage license. Dad’s passport was in there, along with my own, along with lists of assets, stocks, bonds, and several thousand dollars in cash. We left all of this locked securely in the safe. As I was locking it, Billy asked for the combination, so we could store the manuscripts when we needed.

When we finished the office, I noticed the time and headed for the living room, where the guys were involved in a conversation led by Jake regarding changing and renewal. Jake was speaking from memory, citing the manuscript and author and, in some cases, even the approximate page. We joined in the conversation for a few minutes, and then I ordered Jake and Brian to use my dad’s bed and get some sleep. Once they were gone, Scott and Billy both sat, opened a wrist, and fed Chris and Josh while I went to my old room, picked up my son, and returned to the living room to feed him.

When everyone was fed, Jenny held Charlie while Billy, Scott, and I talked Chris and Josh through their first transition to their vampire form. Chris was always pale as a human, but his vampire skin was as white as snow, which made his red eyes all the more striking. Josh’s tan complexion shifted into a more blueish hue, and his jet-black hair highlighted the blue even more. Josh had a sharper point to his ears, while Chris had a more rounded feel to his. Unfortunately for him, Chris’ fangs were visible regardless of what he did with his mouth, while Josh had to put effort into showing his, which were barely longer than some humans I’d seen.

We spent time helping Chris and Josh find their mental connections with Scott, Billy, and me, so they could use mind-to-mind communication. Tommy had said that, as a noble, I should be able to do this with my Lord Steward, and most vampires could do it with their fated mate, but since I had been able to do it with Tommy, he assumed telepathy was my ability. Chris and Josh, as my changelings, shared the same connection I shared with James. Nothing we had found explained why they had this connection with Scott and Billy, but I realized this was something we wanted to keep quiet until we could explain it.

We were still discussing this when Jake and Brian came stumbling down the hall, mumbling about still being human and needing to work out. We patiently waited while they stretched, then took off on our run. By the time we were walking into the garage, I had lost count of how many times Brian or Jake asked us to slow down. We watched as they lifted weights, then laughed when they groaned at us when we doubled the weight on the bar.

After our workout, we showered and ate, then settled down in the living room so Chris and Josh could practice enthralling the only two ‘victims’ we had available. Tommy and James had said there was no danger in repeatedly enthralling them, so they swapped back and forth a few times. I had to put a stop to it when Josh, after successfully enthralling Jake, ordered his brother to run around the block naked. On impulse, I decided to test something I had read. I had Billy overwrite Josh’s enthrallment, then asked Scott to try to overwrite that; he could. I then did the same, enthralling Jake and taking control of him away from my mate. When Scott tried, he couldn’t regain control, providing some evidence of our rank structure. I then took the experiment one step further and attempted to enthrall Josh. To everyone’s surprise, I succeeded in doing something Tommy had said wasn’t possible; I enthralled a vampire. Try as they might, none of the others were able to duplicate my feat.

Our practicing this wasn’t just a random waste of time; we had a plan to put into action and needed either Chris or Josh ready to play their part. Brian’s parents didn’t know Scott or Billy, and we thought it best if they stayed out of sight. Just before noon, Josh, Chris, Brian, and I got in the Denali, and Tommy drove us to Brian’s house. After several tense minutes of conversation, Tommy agreed to stay in the vehicle while we went inside.

When we entered, Brian’s father looked up from his recliner and grumbled something about us keeping it down so he could hear the pre-game he was watching. Unlike my parents, Brian’s weren’t modest, and his dad was dressed in just his boxers. His wife, Paula, was wearing a faded housedress and thin, flimsy bedroom slippers as she offered her condolences to me on the loss of my father. Knowing how she hated others in her kitchen, Chris followed Brian and me into the kitchen; then Brian asked his mother where the coffee was. She quickly appeared and offered to make it for us, just as we had planned. Chris needed only seconds to enthrall her and convince her that she needed to shower and run to the grocery store with a list of things guaranteed to keep her away for an hour or more.

While we waited for her to leave, we went to Brian’s room, and I asked Brian one last time if he was certain our plan was the one he wanted me to use. We had discussed several options and narrowed it down to three. This was Brian’s father, and I didn’t want to do anything that would hurt Brian in any way. He glanced at the wall, seeming to look through it to stare at his father and consider who he had been and who he was today. He turned to look me in the eyes and gave a firm nod.

“This is how it has to be, Greg. He has to go.”

Copyright © 2023 Justin4Fun; All Rights Reserved.
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If you'd like to buy me a cup of coffee, a donut, or a bottle of blood, visit Justin's Ranch
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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Chapter Comments

This is a great start for the new year! I hope Greg finds a way to redeem Brian’s dad and restore the family. Why not find a healthy solution?

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2 hours ago, Justin4Fun said:

Hide Help GIF by Pixel Bandits

Well...living on a farm and the back 40 is due to be plowed under soon...

Water Buffalo Vintage GIF by US National Archives

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Just a thought, I wonder if Chris and Josh realise, that in vampire terms, they are now Gregs sons. That will be a interesting conversation. 😂

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2 hours ago, DragonFire said:

Just a thought, I wonder if Chris and Josh realise, that in vampire terms, they are now Gregs sons. That will be a interesting conversation. 😂

Daddy Flirting GIF by Trevi Moran

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J J

Posted (edited)

Informative. Guess all the chapters can't be as intense. This one was needed to get us to the next stage of the story. And yeah I think it was mentioned in there to Chris and Josh that they had a new daddy now!😍

Edited by J J
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Just now, J J said:

Informative. Guess all the chapters can't be as intense. This one was needed to get us to the next stage of the story. And yeah I think it was mentioned in there to Chris and Josh that they had a new daddy now!😍

Trying to make every chapter 'intense' is why version one moved WAY too fast. I kept trying to 'top' the previous insanity.

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How the heck do I get rid of that? Darn emoti whatever been trying for 5 minutes to delete it. I've deleted the whole post before deleting that thing.

Aarrrggghh!

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Yes, it was said that Chris and Josh are now Greg's sons.

Quote

“Scott explained that, under vampire law, I’m considered James’ son since he’s the one that changed me,” I explained. I didn’t get any further. My new ‘sons’ both opened their eyes wide and stared at me while everyone else broke into a fit of giggles. Then the jokes started, with the most common comments being about changing their diapers, giving them curfews, and giving them ‘the talk.’

 

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