“Hey Anya,” I mumble as I stalked passed her and I quickly slumped down on the beige recliner that my mother had purchased from Living Spaces. It was against her taste but she found it useful after a long day at work. “Hey Rita,” she said softly. “So, I’m the only one who was kept in the dark huh?” I so was not in the mood to deal with Anya’s feelings. “No Anya you and I both were in the dark about everything. I only learned of mother’s true identity but two days earlier than you and not from her. This weekend has been a weekend of revelations unfortunately and before you ask, no I did not know Nino was a vampire until recently. And it was not until the day before that that our mother went from a regular diminutive but successful real estate agent to freakin’ moon goddess. And oh, yeah I glow too…” I did not mean to come off as harshly as I did but what my mother had done was team too much. Not only had she withheld important family secrets but now she went after my fiancé like a deranged lunatic. Nino had done nothing to deserve that and just because her relationship with Ambrogio was not the fairytale ending that she had hoped it would be does not mean that she should talk to the man like he was dirt at the bottom of her shoe. Our relationship had seen better days as it was and it most definitely did not need this. Anya sat quietly, I suppose taking things in. Her bare intricately decorated feet tapped the floor anxiously while she smoothed her perfectly thick and flat ironed hair into a messy bun. “You glow?” she finally asked. “Like a goddamn night light,” and after those words left my mouth my skin began to illuminate a soft white glow instead of the mellow violet color. “And apparently I change colors too.” Anya’s eyes widened and my Aunt Luna let out a low whistle. “Yup, you got the brunt of your mother’s gifts there,” she said brushing a stray hair from her heart shaped face. “And your mother’s moods too,” Aunt Brielle added. “Anya has the gift of persuasion…just like the moon she has the ability to sway one’s emotions and moods into her favor. She also can control the tides and force the moon to reveal itself whenever the need arises. I am surprised she has not met a man with a little werewolf in him. They would be the perfect match,” Luna smiled. “Did you find yourself having to deal with constant headaches?” I ask Anya who was just kind of sitting there like she was in a trance. And then I cannot believe that I had to ask my sister that. I should have already known the answer but instead I had to ask her as if she were some distant relative whose life I had to catch up on through small talk. I did not realize that until now. Perhaps we were both entirely too wrapped up in our own personal lives that we forgot to maintain our sisterly connection. “Yes. I had been dealing with migraines for years now and as of late they became more frequent. I thought something was seriously medically wrong with me because-“’It felt like your entire cranium was going to explode?” I said finishing her sentence like we used to always do. She smiled. “Yes! Girl, I thought I was going to die until Lucien” (her boyfriend) “took me to his mother’s and his grandmother gave this herbal tea that his family has used for generations to aid in ailments.” A strange thought popped into my head when she mentioned her boyfriend. I wondered if he was supernatural too. “Is he,” I began cautiously, “Uh…like Valentino?” “If you mean if he is supernatural,” my mother finally decided to chime in,” he is not vampire but he is something else. Or, OF something else. I believe his family is of the Fae.” Fae? As in Tinkerbelle and Peter Pan? What the hell has this world come to? “A fairy.” I say plainly. “Well I’ll be damned…I attract vampires and my sister loves fairies.” “Don’t allow the title to fool you. The Fae are formidable by nature and once upon a time were great warriors. Now, their numbers have reduced so it is saddening.” “I did not know he was a fairy until he told me and when he did I thought he had smoked something he shouldn’t have.” Anya chuckled which made me smile. We really need to catch up.
Aunt Brielle slid over to one of the wooden barstools that my mother kept in a perfect line behind the counter. Even though there was not much distinction between my mom and her sisters, it was obvious Aunt Brielle was the wild one. She cut off all of her except for that in the middle and wore it hanging, flat ironed straight to the side as was the current hair trend. She had dyed the tips a radiant blue which went well with her creamy taupe skin tone that I am sure drove all of her suitors wild. Even as a ghost or apparition she looked much more alive than most of the human women I have seen strolling around here like they have permanent chip on their shoulders. Standing at 5’5’’ and a hundred or so pounds, and wearing one of those colorful strapless sundresses, Aunt Brielle was stunning and again I began to question if I myself was adopted.
Aunt Luna was no slouch either with her killer curvaceous body, thick dark hair that she kept in a single long braid and warm smile. From what I was told during my younger years she had caught the attention of not only professional men such as doctors and lawyers, but she had caught the eye of a few celebrity men who were more than happy to escort her live on the red carpet. Angelina Jolie would have not been the happily committed woman she is today had Aunt Luna decided not to go with her heart and accept Dr. Richard’s proposal. I’m just saying…Miss ‘Gelina needs to count her blessings. Unfortunately, the engagement to Dr. Richard did not last long due to my aunt’s current half state of vampirism, so the relationship could not work out. Dr. Richard was a prominent plastic surgeon back in the day when plastic surgery became the new thing and once he found out that blood had a little more meaning to Aunt Luna than donation purposes he was gone. At least, that is what I was told.
It had been years since I have seen Aunt Brielle and even longer since I have seen Aunt Luna. I might as well find it safe to assume that her diet may have had something to with it. We all just kind of sit there lost in our own thoughts for a minute. It was Anya who broke the silence. “So, what is going on with Aunt Minerva? None of us have seen her since God knows when and now all of a sudden things seem to be spiraling out of control.” I nod my head in agreement while my mother and her sisters glance at each other as if trying to figure out who is going to speak first. “Well, Minerva is an evil bitch,” Aunt Luna seethed. “Luna!” My mother and Aunt Brielle shouted in astonishment. I could not believe it either. Well tell us how you really feel Aunt Luna. “I am not going to beat around the bush with it nor am I going to continue to cover up the fact that Minerva is absolutely evil,” Aunt Luna said unapologetically. “I love my sister, but the person that we grew up with is gone-long gone. She is a dark witch and has been for centuries. She is the reason behind why I am living a half-life as a vampire, why Brielle is pretty much a ghost, and why your-“She turned to point at my mom who just stood there with a stone face, “daughters are in danger. The sad part is you may not have enough time to prepare them for what she may do next…” I got the impression there was more my aunt wanted to say but she thought it best to keep whatever it was to herself. “Rita, tell us everything Nino told you. I gave them the basic run down but I need for you to fill in the gaps.” My mom said pointedly. I sigh. None of this would be happening if this bull crap had been addressed long ago. But, I sit up straight and take a deep breath and begin. “Mom, Valentino is Ambrogio’s nephew. Valentino and his entire family were cursed with vampirism because of Aunt Minerva.” “WHAT?!” Aunt Luna was the one to shout now. She jumped up and sat on the arm of the recliner on which I sat and looked at me with so much disbelief I thought she believed I was lying. “What I say is true. The curse not only befell Ambrogio but on his immediate family: brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. I assume it was only the first generation that was affected.” “That cannot be…” Aunt Brielle said, stunned. “I believe it,” my mother finally said, refocusing the attention back to herself. “Minerva was just as in love with Ambrogio as I was when we were working in the Temple of Artemis. She tried everything she could to break us up and she pursued him with relentlessness that in all of my years of existence have yet to see again. Sometime before Ambrogio befell the curse, I remember Artemis chastising her about practicing white and dark magic and told her that if she continued to do so she would banish her from her temples forever. But, what I believe what really sealed the nail on the coffin was when Minerva walked in on Ambrogio asking for my hand. She stormed off after swearing vengeance on both of us when Artemis reappeared and cast her out of her temple. A year or so later, Ambrogio was cursed and it was over a hundred years before Minerva and I had contact again. But I did not know that Ambrogio’s entire family suffered from it too…” “This makes me wonder if Valentino knew who you were the entire time Rita,” Aunt Brielle said looking at me with sympathy in her eyes. “He clearly knows or better yet, knew the history on our family prior to meeting you. He could have had an agenda all along.” “If he had an agenda then why would he tell me the history of my family instead of it coming from anyone of you?” I shot back. “He opened up and told me the truth of who and what he is while all three of you just sat there and allowed me to fall in love with a vampire. Suppose he did have less than honest intentions? Then what? You would be too late!” My heart was pumping a thousand miles a minute I was so damn mad. How dare they? “Rita-“ Aunt Luna pleaded. “No, don’t Rita me!” I snapped, directing my glare to my mother whose eyes narrowed as if she was open to my challenge. “All three of you allowed Anya and I to walk around unaware of who and what we are without thinking that about the laws of attraction. Did you ever stop to think about the possibility of either one of us attracting another supernatural entity? I mean, with us being freakin’ demi gods and whatnot, did you honestly think that we would fall in love with normal humans? That there wasn’t a risk that something from another realm would be drawn to the powers in our veins?” It pissed me off even more that no one said one mumbling word. Not even my sister. So I continued with my rant. “And another thing: you allowed the very individual that we are running from to block our memories and our powers; allowed us to suffer through migraines so excruciating I thought I was having an aneurism for what? Suppose Nino did drain me dry upon the first encounter…What would you have done? Or what if Anya, met someone with evil intentions like Minerva, then what?” “Rita, we-“ Brielle tried to explain. “No,” I said, trembling with pure fury. The soft white glow that I emitted earlier had brightened tenfold which was an indicator I was losing it. “Rita, your light!” My mother shouted hysterically. “No mother,” my voice grew grave and ominous and echoed throughout the walls of the house. “You judged a man that has done nothing but protect me despite what he is. You have not even tried to get to know him. He sent me here to be with you to ensure my safety while he deals with his very dangerous, very blood thirsty, vampire family who would not have hesitated to feed from my veins just to get a taste of power. So, let’s make one thing clear: Valentino is not a threat. Minerva is. So, we are either going to discuss the next course of action on how to deal with her or I am going to go back to my big beautiful house in Malibu and figure stuff out on my own.” The silence that permeated the room was as thick as a red brick house. Aunt Luna and Aunt Brielle looked away, reluctant to look me or Anya directly in the eyes. My mother, the great and all powerful Selene; Goddess of the Moonlight stared at me with tears threatening to break through the wall of carefully placed emotions. “Well I am sorry for only wanting to protect the only children that I was blessed to have,” her voice was barely a whisper, but it could still be heard with perfect clarity. “Excuse me for wanting to give my children a sense of normalcy that I no longer possessed and have not possessed since the day I set foot in the Temple of Artemis.” Aunt Luna went to my mother with a gentle attempt to calm a growing storm. “Forgive me,” she said, her tone gaining strength with each syllable. ”Forgive me for protecting you with everything in me. Forgive me Rita…for wanting my daughters to know what it’s like to be human.” Well I will be…what could I say to that? I was angry. I felt betrayed. I was hurt. And confused. And incredibly drained. And afraid. And my mother was all of those things and then some. So were my aunts. If my Aunt Minerva was strong enough to give my mother, a goddess, pause, then there was something to think about. “I don’t want you to hate me Rita,” my mother said struggling to maintain her composure. “And, you are right. Valentino should not have been the one to tell you. I should have told you. I owe him a sincere apology, just as I owe you and Anya my apology. But right now, I have to go speak with Artemis…Until I return this house is under heavy guard. No one is to leave and no one is to enter.” And with that, my mother vanished into thin air. I did not know she could do that. The way that I felt, I did not know much of anything. I hoped that wherever Nino was, he was fairing much better than me.