Chapter 1.32 – Reckless Ways

Melinda wasn’t feeling quite as spirited as Caleb clearly was, as he bounded along like some sort of undead, overgrown puppy.

“Lilith will be pleased to see you. We can play some chess!” he enthused.

“I’ll be terrible at it,” Melinda said, wondering what on earth she’d said or done to perk him up so much. It was nice, but it was weird.

“That’s fine. It’ll be great to have someone new to play with.”

Wow. He and April are so alike. “Sure,” she said. “Why not?”

They climbed the steps to the Vatore house and Caleb held the door open for her. The air inside the house was thick with the coppery scent of blood.

“Ah,” he growled in delight as they entered. “She’s ‘cooking’.”

Lilith was in the kitchen. A muddle of fleshy components were neatly stored in bowls on the counter, alongside plasma bags and tools. Caleb dipped his finger into a bowl and took a sneaky bit. Melinda peered in to see what he was sampling, but couldn’t identify the contents. If she’d had to describe what she was seeing, she’d use the words ‘red’ and ‘squelchy’.

Melinda was taken aback to realise that, a week ago, the thought of this scene alone would’ve made her puke herself inside-out and now she was salivating.

Lilith was clearly concentrating very hard; she hadn’t noticed Melinda. “Pass me that spoon, will you, Caleb?” she asked, and he obliged. She sampled her concoction. “It needs something…” She scanned the counter and jumped. “Oh! Hi, Melinda! Wow, I didn’t even hear you.”

“Hi,” Melinda smiled, brightly. “Do you need a taste tester?”

“Sure, try this for me. Does it need anything?”

She held the spoon out to Melinda, but was focusing on Caleb, who was grinning like an idiot.

Something to share, dear brother?

She’s Rose’s daughter.

Is she?

“It’s really good,” Melinda said, oblivious. “Metallic.”

“Thanks. Do you think it needs more bite?”

“No, it’s really great.” She looked at all the bits on the counter. “Although I wouldn’t really know what to add if it wasn’t,” she admitted; a strange, but not unpleasant, sensation crawling over her skin.

Lilith smiled. “That’s OK. I can tell you’re overwhelmed.” She filled up a glass and handed it to Melinda. “Here. As intriguing as your dark form is, I think I like you better the other way.”

“My dark form?”

“Your true form. The one you switch to when you experience some kind of emotional extreme, like you are now.”

“Am I? What do I look like?”

“Pale. Light eyes. I’d show you mine, but—“

“—It’s absolutely terrifying,” Caleb finished.

Lilith glared at him. “You head into the other room, Melinda. Calm down. I’ll just finish up here, I won’t be long.”

Melinda took her glass and headed towards the doorway. Caleb watched her leave.

“Her eyes…” he began.

“I know,” Lilith said, a flash of resentment flickered across her face. “Anyway, you figured out that she’s Rose’s daughter? Did you tell her what happened?”

“No. She said it didn’t matter.”

“Is that actually what she said?”

“Yes. She said, ‘if she’s dead, then what does it really matter, anyway?'”

“Oh dear. How come you brought her back here, alone?”

“I bumped into her in the forest. We’re going to play chess.”

“Are you now. What about ‘the most beautiful girl in the world’?”

“What about her?” He smiled, in that dopey way.

“Do you think she’s going to like you hanging out with Melinda?”

“Yes.” He took in Lilith’s expression. “No? Why wouldn’t she? We’re friends, they’re friends…”

“Right. I know that you know nothing about relationships, or women—“

“I know everything about relationships with women,” he smirked.

“No, you don’t. How can I make you understand this? OK, imagine that instead of you and Melinda, it’s April and some male friend of hers who were alone in the woods. How does that make you feel?”

When he didn’t reply she carried on. “Exactly. Multiply that by a hundred and you’re feeling about the same as April. Look, I don’t approve of your methods, but you’ve created us three new companions. We won’t have to watch them grow old and die, but we do have to try really hard to keep them all on side; to not to cause any rifts.” We don’t need any more rogues around here. Do you understand?

Lil, honestly. I’m not even attracted to Melinda. I really like April.

You still don’t get it, do you? It doesn’t matter if you’re into Melinda or not; April will think you are! For hell’s sake, Caleb! You’ve started enough fires, here. Please don’t go burning anything else down with your reckless ways.

“I won’t,” Caleb muttered.

“You’d better not,” Lilith threatened, whacking her spoon of doom on her palm.



Will had managed two beers this evening before his head started to spin. He turned to Dale who was also threatening to sway off his bar stool. “Dude, what the hell is going on with us?”

“I know. I swear Joe is spiking these beers, or something,” Dale said, gripping the bar.

“He’s probably trying to bugger us,” Will said, pushing his beer away and scowling at the bartender.

Dale nodded, but held on to his glass. “I haven’t felt right since we went back with those girls. Did they drug us or something?”

“Fuck knows. I wonder where Paul is?”

“He didn’t show up for work again today. His packed lunch had been rotting in his locker since Saturday; it stank in the canteen this morning.” Dale could see Fred leaning over, listening in. He carried on in hushed tones, “I went round to his apartment earlier; all his mail was piled up behind the door. I think he’s bailed on us. Maybe he ran off with the brunette chick.”

“Maybe. I bumped into Fanny and her blonde friend outside here last night and she wasn’t with them.”

“April is still around these parts?” Fred asked, showing no shame for eavesdropping. “Hey Joe! Put the news on!”

Joe flipped over to the news channel.

“That’s her, right?” Fred said, excited, “That’s the girl who was in here? The one you left with?”

“April Moss? Huge reward? What do you think she’s running from? Damn, Will. Do you think she’s OK? Shit, do you think I should tell the police? What if they think I’m involved?”

Will wasn’t listening. He was trying to formulate a plan in his alcohol-induced haze. Only one part of the conversation had even registered at all.

Huge reward.



“So this horsey one can only move in an L-shape?”

“Yes.”

“And if you can’t make a successful move… then that’s a checkmate?”

Caleb sighed. When Melinda said she would be terrible at chess, he’d at least thought that she would know how to play. Still, it amused him to watch her cute face figuring it all out and he hadn’t put her in check even though he’d had the chance.

“Checkmate,” Melinda said, triumphantly. Caleb barely glanced down, it really wasn’t.

“What the heck?” he said, realising that it really was.

“Did I win?” Melinda squealed, clapping her hands. Caleb swept all the remaining pieces off the board. “I guess that’s a yes?”

“I won’t be so easy on you next time.”

“Ominous. One second, it’s Faith,” she said, glancing at her phone. She opened the message and her smile disappeared. “She says April wants to go hitchhiking again.”

Caleb looked a strange mixture of irritated and concerned. Lilith had joined them from the kitchen, but she looked only irritated. “Did she give a reason?”

“Other than the taste?” Caleb quipped. Lilith made to smack him around the back of the head, but he dodged.

Melinda scanned the message and gingerly replied. “Not really. Just that she says April is being a huge, um, a-word.”

“They won’t go, surely.” Lilith took a seat at the organ and turned to Caleb. “What did you say to her when you went to see her? Did you explain why we don’t hunt?”

“He did,” Melinda interjected. “She didn’t believe him. Although she was keen enough to believe him when he promised her eternity. Took him straight upstairs,” she scoffed.

“Really.” Lilith looked at her brother. “Eternity. That’s quite something to say.”

I thought this was ‘different’? You fed her a line to get her into bed?

It is different. It wasn’t like that.

Melinda, realising she was missing some conversation, decided to speak up. “Can you please not do that telepathy thing while I’m sitting right here?”

Sorry! Bad habit. Lilith projected her thought directly into Melinda’s head.

Caleb nodded at the stunned expression on Melinda’s face. “Those are the intrusive ones. You can’t keep those out, even if you want to. Imagine an eternity of that.”

“Careful now, Caleb. Don’t make me sing you insane,” Lilith purred.

Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall, ninety-nine bottles of beer. Take one down, pass it around, ninety-eight bottles of beer on the wall…

“Only ninety-nine? Not starting at thirty thousand, this time?” he said. “And she wonders why I tune out.”

“I’m glad you tune out. I really don’t miss having to hear all of your deviant thoughts, you know.”

“Maybe I only wanted her to hear the deviant ones,” Caleb whispered to Melinda and started to reorder the game.

21 thoughts on “Chapter 1.32 – Reckless Ways

  1. The dynamic between Caleb and Lilith is nice in this chapter, it’s similar to what we have seen, but there’s definitely a shift, Lilith is actually attempting to make it a bit more of a two way street and trying to get him to see his way rather than jumping to “you ruin everything, moron”, and just like that, with that shift, he’s already being a bit more receptive. It feels like they’ve both been able to relax a little, maybe for the first time in centuries.

    Perfect, can’t wait for Will to cause more problems, yay.

    I wonder if the comment about rogues meant anything other than just referrencong throat ripper is out there – do Lilith and Caleb have something to do with how our murderman came into existence, or how he became so… murdery?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think ‘You Ruin Everything, Moron’ would be the title of Caleb’s autobiography. Yes, things are finally changing with the Vatores.

      I can almost hear the eyes rolling each time Will features in a chapter.

      Interesting questions.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Aah, so that’s why we see April’s dark form pop out so often! The girl has the emotional self-control of a toddler, after all. I wonder what was up with Caleb and Lilith’s reaction to Melinda’s eyes specifically. Is it because she looks a lot like a corpse and they’re reminded of the people they killed? Or does she remind them of someone else with a dark form like that? Or yet something else entirely? Hmm.

    Good on Lilith for trying to talk some sense into her brother. My gods, he is clueless about female jealousy. Even after seeing April get angry with Melinda just for asking him a question. Or maybe he’s just very, very oblivious to social cues. The spoon of doom bit made me laugh. XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. April goes from zero to a thousand on the emotional scale in a blink. It’s almost a talent. Their reaction to Melinda’s eyes is one of those reasons, yes.

      Lilith is trying but alas, he’s clueless about most things, really.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know you’ve hinted at Lilith’s dark side being horrible. Lack of humanity and etc clues. Bt Im so relieved because halfway in this chapter I went “what if killer Vamp IS lilith” bt remembered Caleb wanting to bring Rose to Lilith last chapter so phewwww..

    So Lilith has so far not shown us her dark form. She has really strong emotional control. Or maybe the events just don’t affect her ad much since their dilemma is not her problem in the first place. I wonder what her dark form is like.

    The dialogue here makes me wonder about Killer vamp going rogue. Was there a mismanage in previous vampy relationship that caused killer vamp to go rogue?

    Lilith… has a lot of.. uh.. corporal punishment cues. Spoon of doom. Whack on head. Seems like a physical person towards closer relationships. Where I grew up, its normal. But here in this story or context of their relationship, is it normal/healthy? Apart from them having telepathic sibling fights is this a contributory factor to Caleb’s opinions of his sister when he first talked about Lilith?

    Oh yeah. Will. Dude has no idea what he’s getting himself into. Not a food ride for anyone >.>

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are not the same vamp. However, as you have gathered, Lilith is not an angel.

      It’s absolutely terrifying, Caleb already told you. 😁

      Killer vamp will be explored. I know this is frustratingly vague, sorry.

      She is from an age when that would have been normal, but perhaps the threat is enough.

      I know you meant good ride, but it might be a food ride for someone, if he crosses the wrong vamp. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love to see how the friendship between Melinda and Caleb creates joy in both of them, but ….

    The whole discussion between Lilith and Caleb it reminds me so much of a conversation I had with my son.
    He had been assaulted because he had become friends with the girlfriend of a guy he knew. It’s simply no go! …no matter how innocent and straightforward it otherwise seems to be.
    My son was 16 years old …. How much is Calab? 700 years? 🙄
    I’m sure Lilith is reading April right on the spot.

    The conversation between Will and Dale does not bode well. For now, they think Paul has run away with a girl … but Will smells money in the air. How long will he be silent at the prospect of a great bounty 😨

    The whole scene at the chessboard is really entertaining. Both Caleb’s reaction to Melinda making him checkmate and the scene where Melinda hears Lilith’s telepathic voice. Caleb’s comment “Imagine an eternity of that.” made me burst out laughing 😂

    I loved the whole interaction with the three

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s a sad fact. A jealous partner can ruin so much more than just their own relationship; the ripples will travel far and corrupt everyone around them. Caleb is 307, but as Lilith has previously said: “He really should know better, I just don’t know that he does.”

      Not long. Especially as they rejected his advances the last time they saw him, so the money may not be his only motivation.

      Melinda has certainly changed the dynamic in the Vatore house. Breathed in some new life. Except she doesn’t breathe and she’s not alive. But you know what I mean. 😆

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Caleb is completely clueless. You would think being as old as he is, he would have some common sense when it comes to women. At least Lilith understands what’s going on. Whether Caleb will listen is another story. Regardless, I can see April throwing a tantrum when she finds out Caleb was hanging out with Mel.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Eh? 300 years and Caleb doesn’t understand jealousy, especially in a girl like April? duuuude
    I’m actually curious what kind of fires Caleb has started in the past.

    lol so Will thinks he could make a few bucks on the side.
    It can only go wrong 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So wait a minute… Mel switched to dark form just because of Lil´s gloop? Huh. Not that it´s unlikely since she´d never had anything else. Did Lilith put something different into this bath than the one Mel had before? (Trying to figure out how much stuff like hormones in the blood affects the vamps.)

    Somehow, Caleb´s cluelessness doesn´t surprise me. What /does/ surprise me is the talk about rogues. Now, my first instinct is to believe that´s just Lilith´s experience with vampiric society talking… because she´s the older sibling so I expect her to have had time to absorb that way of thinking. Of course there would have been individuals keeping way clear of that.
    But at the same time, if she worries Mel may become one, then perhaps not. The next idea is that “rogue” might be a term for a vampire who somehow broke the bond with their master, if such a thing is even possible. Either way, Lil seems to think a rogue is bad news in general, which makes me wonder how severe the consequences are. And if the worry comes from…

    …the way Mel´s eyes look. By the way, were they supposed to look like April´s? Is dark form supposed to be similar from master to childe? Mel´s dark form is certainly something. Ashen, and that cold, dark look. Her expression, in general, is suddenly very… un-Melinda-like. And she tends to get angry when thirsty, even though that might happen to everyone. Overall, Mel seems to be the sweetest of the vamps normally, but dark!Mel gets… scary. I bet there´s some hidden depth in there

    I´m somewhat amused at the siblings bickering… and even more at how Lilith expects things from April. Hehe, yeah, sure Lils. Don´t you worry, I´m sure they won´t do anything reckless like go hunting tonight. April might be a bit erratic, but even she wouldn´t do /that./ Besides, the girls are both though, you know? Nothing /scares/ those two. I´m sure they´ll be just fiiiine. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Probably more that the air ‘was thick with the coppery scent of blood.’ Yummy. Hormones do affect vamps, but I can’t divulge too much on that just yet…

      This is the definition of rogue I am following – make of this what you will: “a wild animal living apart from the herd and having savage or destructive tendencies.”

      “Were they supposed to look like April´s” that would logical, right? “I bet there´s some hidden depth in there” you’d win that bet. 😉

      Yep, definitely not going to do anything reckless! All fine. Nothing to see. 😁

      Like

      1. Of course, that would be tellin´!

        *laughs hard* I see how that principle applies. XD Oh, my. We certainly wouldn´t want either of the girls to become anything like that! PX

        I suppose it would be logical. It could have also just been that April and Faith´s eyes are normally light while Mel´s aren´t… but no. If dark forms followed normal forms in any way, then Lilith´s would not be scary.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. XDD Not any more than they already are, true. April can definitely be destructive, Faith is self-destructive at least and Mel… who knows? I don´t. This chapter kind of unsettled my opinion of her. She might be even better at hiding stuff than Faith is.

            That is an option, I give you. Or maybe he´s gotten used to the association that seeing Lilith´s dark form equals big, big trouble. I mean, she didn´t even flicker when she found out Caleb turned someone. What level of mess would it take for her to show it? Probably the kind of level that requires… prompt and efficient damage control.

            Liked by 1 person

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