Time is supposed to heal all wounds, but for Topaz every passing hour just makes the ache all the worse. She blames herself, of course. Casey wouldn’t have died if not for her. She should have paid more attention to the deal, made sure her future family would have been safe as well. And she’d been so careful not to make any friends!
The only one in the household with a similar level of guilt right now would be Winter.
“I should have given myself up.” She sighs to her husband. “If I died once it was because I was meant to. But I was given another chance, had a family with you and we had a life not many are lucky enough to even imagine. I should have helped her sister have that same kind of chance for happiness. We owed her.”
“I know we owed her.” Nalin answers, pulling her in for a hug so she won’t see his tears. “But when Topaz realized what was happening she told me to grab you and hide. She never told us what she had to give up because she knew we’d want to change her mind. I think we owe it to her to be thankful and not live in regrets. I’m not happy Casey’s gone... but I am very happy that I still have you.”
It’s a terrible thing to say really, seeing as someone had to give up their life so they could have their happiness, but Winter can’t really argue with him.
“To be honest, I’m happy I’m here too.”
Despite the heartbreak of losing her father on her birthday, Zahara has been handling the entire situation very well. Almost too well. Unlike her mother, she hadn’t even shed a tear over the incident.
She did however spend almost all of her free time in her new room.
She rarely goes out, and hasn’t even started school yet because Topaz wanted to give her time to grieve. But her introversion was beginning to worry the adults, so one evening Topaz enters her daughter’s room to talk to with her.
“Hey Z...” As soon as Zahara turns around to face her mother, Topaz’s rehearsed speech is forgotten. “How... have you been doing? I mean, are you okay? You’ve been so quiet and I’m really worried about you. Do you want to... uh... talk about what happened?”
“We don’t need to talk if you don’t want to.” Zahara assures her mother. “Mister Neptune told me what happened and why daddy had to go away. I miss him, but I’m not going to cry. Mister Neptune said he sacrificed himself for me and you and that makes him a hero. I’m really happy he saved me! So please don’t worry about me, mommy. I’m okay. Really.”
Topaz doesn’t believe her daughter for a second, but if Neptune got involved and talked to her daughter then she’ll have to have a serious talk with him. Which means leaving her daughter to her silence once again.
“Okay Z... but if you ever want to talk about things just say so. I’m here for you... I’m your mom.”
Its harder to find the right place this time when Topaz goes looking for her ancestor. Obviously, he doesn’t want to see her, but eventually he gives in and leads her to his island and the shack it contains.
He turns around away from the fire and gives her a friendly smile, as if he’d been hoping she would drop by. “Hello, my dear! How have you been?”
“Cut the crap, Neptune. I don’t want you near my daughter. One of you creatures already tried taking her, and I’m not going to let your influence ever hurt her.”
Naptune sighs and finally straightens up. “I’m really not supposed to tell you this but Epsilon was never going to take your daughter’s soul. She changed both your fate and Casey’s, and gave you a daughter that she never meant to steal. It was already planned for Casey to give himself up.”
“She... why would she have changed our fate then? How did she know Casey’d give himself up for Zahara?”
“Because that was his payment for falling in love with you.”
Topaz’s face falls. “Why would she do something so cruel? Casey and I were happy.”
“Casey and you were never supposed to meet.” He explains. “His fate was to remain with Eve and die a week from today in a car accident in Bridgeport. You were to have a fleeting relationship with a man named Kanoa Parrot that would pull you from your family and leave you alone and sad. But when you chose to give your life for your brother’s happiness Epsilon couldn’t let you be hurt like that. So she... changed fate. She shortened Casey’s life span but gave you both a few days of happiness with a true love.”
“Did you have anything to do with that?” She asks.
He shakes his head. “No. But... I did convince her to let you have a child. And when she was sad after Casey’s death I visited her in a dream with Casey’s soul so he could say goodbye to her like he did to you.”
Topaz smiles, finally understanding that her daughter was telling the truth before. “Thank you, grandpa.”
Neptune laughs as he pulls away from her hug. “I haven’t had someone call me that in ages. Now get back home, you have a busy day ahead of you.”
When Topaz opens her eyes, the morning sun is just beginning to peak out of the horizon. It’s early morning, and she began her meditation quite early in the night, after tucking Zahara into bed.
She’s sore, and wouldn’t mind a lot more sleep. But Neptune was right about today being a busy day.
The day after Casey’s death, Topaz received a letter in the mail from his parents asking if they could come visit and meet their daughter. Casey had told them so much about the love of his life and their daughter, even sending photos but hadn’t ever invited them to visit. So with him gone, they took the initiative themselves and Topaz couldn’t dream of denying them.
Anne Cassidy was a young, single mother working two jobs to raise her little boy. She was lucky enough to meet the love of her life when Casey was still young and her husband’s money gave them an easy life. She promises to help Topaz in anyway she needs.
Zahara inherited her grandma’s dark hair, but otherwise they don’t even share the same nose. Casey got that from his dad probably.
Being social = Not Zahara’s favourite thing in the world. But she’ll be friendly.
Anne herself is pretty introverted, so she doesn’t push her granddaughter too hard. It’s a miracle just being able to meet her. She was beginning to think she’d never be able to meet any grandchildren she had thanks to all of her son’s nameless one-night stands.
Her son. Who is dead. Her dead son. Yeah, that hasn’t sunk in yet.
Julian has been a vampire for a while, a few generations at the least when he met Anne and married her. Casey was like a son to him, but he’s seen death many many times. Casey’s death hasn’t affected him nearly as much as it has Anne or Topaz.
Speaking of Topaz... “How have you been handling Casey’s death, my dear? Casey spoke of you often to us, and would send photos but even now I don’t know how much he told you of us. I can’t quite read your mind.”
“I’m handling things better than I was earlier this week.” She assures him. “And he spoke very kindly of you and his mother. And I’m sorry for the mental block, my grandfather taught me to protect myself when I was a teenager and I grew comfortable with just keeping myself blocked off all the time.”
“That’s a smart idea.”
For a moment, he seems conflicted about something, but at last he decides to just say it anyway. “You say your grandfather taught you to protect your mind... how?”
“He was a vampire.” She informs him. “Nicolas Sari-Dracule.”
The name brings a smile to Julian’s face. “Oh good. I knew your hair looked familiar, but I was beginning to worry I had the wrong girl.”
Topaz has no idea what he’s talking about now.
With Topaz and Zahara entertaining the Cassidys, Nalin focuses on handling the daily chores and paying the bills. It’s more than a small shock for him when he turns around the familiar face staring back at him stops him dead in his tracks.
“Hello Nalin.” Nico responds with a nod. “Shall we go inside?”
My guess is Nico's been looking for the kids since the day they disappeared. : )