Chapter 1.42 – Take the TV

Melinda had asked to have brandy at Winterfest. Her parents had argued in that playful way they did whenever they differed in their approach to parenting. Her mum had told her dad that he was corrupting her; her dad had told her mum that Melinda needed something strong to wash away the taste of dinner. They had reached an agreement; Melinda had been allowed one small brandy. She didn’t really enjoy it, but she had felt fine. She didn’t understand what the big deal was.

She finally understood. Ugh! Could the sun be any brighter?

She got to her feet, unsteadily. There were two absinthe bottles on the table; looking at it, she could taste it again, remember Faith giggling and trying to stop her having another. She didn’t really remember much of anything else, really. Gosh, she was parched. A thirst water surely wouldn’t quench.

“You OK?” Melinda asked, meeting Faith in the kitchen.

Faith’s face showed a flash of her true emotion before she switched back to her typical resting one. “Are you OK, Mellybean? Sore head? You look like death.”

Melinda would have delved deeper into Faith’s psyche but no, she was not OK. “I’m thirsty.”

“Yeah, I figured we’d all be pretty dried up this morning. We’ve only got two plasma packs left, so one for you, one for Blondie. Here.”

“Where’s April?” Melinda asked, taking her glass. She wondered if a cup of blood was usually a good hangover cure.

“Caleb took her to bed,” Faith said. Was there anger in her voice? Melinda couldn’t quite tell.

“Did he? Really?” She hoped that sounded sort of interested. Oh dear Watcher, was she going to be sick?

“I don’t think they did anything. Lilith pissed on their bonfire.”

“Faith, do you have to be so loud?”

Faith lowered her voice to a whisper. “We need to talk, Mel. I think Lilith’s done much, much worse to him, that she’s been mistreating him for ages, that—“

A heavy cloud of static caused Faith to snap her mouth shut.

Lilith smiled, brightly. “How are you both?”

The girls looked at each other. “Fine,” they answered, together.

“Good to hear it. I’d love to hang around and discuss the evening’s events with you.” She glanced at Faith. “However, your position has been compromised, so you’ll all be moving in with me, for a while. Go and pack what you need,” Lilith instructed.

“Compromised?” Melinda asked, rubbing her temples.

“Yes. Those guys you drank from, from the bar? They remembered where you reside and plan to turn April in for the reward money. Imminently. Clearly, I won’t be allowing that. I didn’t save her to have her drag us all down into hell. You’ll be much safer at mine. Let them see an empty house; they’ll think you’ve moved on.”

“But it’s day time? How are we supposed to get to yours?” Faith asked.

“Caleb can take you. He’s fast enough to get you there without too much damage. Provided he’s sobered up enough.” Lilith looked to Melinda, a question on her lips. She paused, changed her mind, turned to Faith. “Faith, can you please go and wake him? Seeing my face first thing in the morning always puts him in a bad mood. He’s in the smaller bedroom. You might have to give him a really good shake.”

“Um, OK, I guess.” Faith said and headed towards the door.

Lilith grabbed her arm as she passed. Her voice was silky. “Do be gentle with him, though, won’t you? I wouldn’t want him to claim that he had been mistreated.”



Will awoke with a jolt when the cold water hit his face. “Fucking hell, you nutter! I’m soaked!”

“Beth finally chucked you out then?” Joe joked. “About time.”

Will did not see the funny side. He eyed the elderly barman with disdain. “You want to be careful, Joe. I’d hate for anything to happen to you.”

“I’m not afraid of you, Will. What are you gonna do? Get Daddy to lock me in The Tower?”

Will smirked. “The Tower is nice this time of year. No air-con and no windows. It’ll suffocate you slowly.”

“Threaten me all you like. Watching you break down Doctor Lil last night was the last straw…”

At the mention of Lilith, Will was reminded of his plan. He turned his attention away from the old half-wit who was still wittering on about some nonsense.

“…I’ve stood by long enough and watched you insult and intimidate my customers. You’re barred.”

“Sure I am.” Will stretched. “Keep my seat warm, you old fart, I’ll be back later. Got a bounty to hunt.” He patted Joe on the back and headed off down the path into the forest.



Melinda was helping April to fold up her excessive amount of clothing. Even being alone with April had no lustre today. She was never drinking again. “I’ll start loading up your trunk. Wait, where is your trunk?”

April looked up, took a minute to focus. “In a ravine.”

This probably made sense, but Melinda couldn’t really tell. “Why?”

“Paul’s inside it.”

Melinda set down the top she was holding. She wanted to scream, What the plum would you do that for? Are you insane? It has your monogram on! But that seemed like a lot of effort for something that was already done, so she just nodded. “I think there’s a suitcase under the bed in our room, it’s not very big though, you might have to leave some things behind.”

April didn’t even argue. Her brain must have been thumping as much as Melinda’s. She took a few folded items and chucked them carelessly under the bed. “Done.”

Melinda entered the smaller bedroom just in time to see Faith slap Caleb around the face.

“Um… I think your idea of gentle is somewhat skewed…”

“He won’t wake up, Mel!” Faith shouted, shaking him.

“Oh my gosh!” Melinda gasped. “Is he dead?”

At this, Caleb burst into laughter and propped himself up. “I prefer undead.”

“What are you playing at? You scared the shit out of Mel!” Faith hit him again. He fell back, laughing as she continued to thump him, eventually catching her fists mid-air.

“I couldn’t very well turn down a chance to wind you up.” He grinned, swinging his legs round and sitting up. It looked like it took a beat for his head to catch up, but then he looked much better than Melinda felt.

“There’s a difference between teasing someone and making them think that you’ve died,” Faith said. “You’ve really hurt my feelings.”

Caleb studied her face for a while, until his mirrored hers. “Oh. I… I misunderstood… I’m sorry…”

Now it was Faith’s turn to laugh. “Too easy! Chin up, Wild Boy.”

“You were winding me up, again? I thought I had you!”

“Get up before Lilith comes and drags you downstairs.”

Caleb groaned, “Is she still mad at me?”

“I don’t think so,” Melinda said. “Why would she be?”

“For getting you drunk, firstly. That was irresponsible of me. Then she caught me with April—“

At this, Faith checked that the landing was clear before closing the door. She turned back to Caleb, her tone unusually serious. “It’s none of her business what you do with April.”

Melinda nodded her agreement. “And we are adults, we can drink if we want. Not that I think I ever will again. Caleb,” she asked gently, “Are you OK?”

“Yes. I can drink a lot before I—“

“No, I mean… everything else that happened last night. Are you… and your sister? Um… I know she’s a bit of a control-freak…”

“Does Lilith always treat you like shit?” Faith asked, impatiently.

Caleb looked between the two girls. “She… I’m fine.”

Melinda studied him carefully before she spoke. Watched as he knotted his hands in his lap, avoided her gaze and the question. “OK. Well, if you’re ever not fine, will you tell us?”

“Did you find the suitcase?” April asked, pushing the door open. She paused, looking around the space that seemed too small for so many bodies, noticing the sombre expressions on everyone’s faces. “What’s going on in here? Is everything OK?”

Caleb crossed the room and pulled April in for a kiss. “Everything is absolutely fine.”



“So much for our cool vampire lair and independence,” Faith said looking around the room one last time. Lilith had already left and Caleb had dashed off in a black blur with April. “Can’t we two stay here? They aren’t looking for us. Let Blondie go move in with Fringey and the Fun Vacuum.”

“She’s a bit serious but she’s not that bad, Faith. Why the sudden hatred of her?”

“I’ll tell you later when you can actually focus on me properly. What’s the Vatore house like?”

“Kind of boring,” Melinda said. And even more remote than this, if that’s possible.”

“Is there anything to do there?”

“They have a chess table. They also have an organ. There’s a crypt in the garden.”

“Who’s crypt?”

Melinda looked at Faith, puzzled. “You know I never actually asked. It says ‘Vatore’ on it. Maybe their parents?”

“Creepy. Do they have a big TV?”

“Every good crypt has a TV,” Melinda laughed. “No I don’t think they have a TV at all.”

“We don’t,” Caleb said making them both jump.

“Shit! Are you trying to do me in, Fringey? How did you get so fast?”

Caleb shrugged, “I’ve always been fast. I don’t run that often any more though. It isn’t really like I’m short on time to fill, might as well walk.”

“Aw man! Lilith’s got her mind-reading, you can become a blur, Blondie’s got her green trance wiggles. Are we ever going to be able to do anything?” Faith asked Melinda.

“April can mesmerise already?” Caleb asked. “Wow. You know that’s a pre-cursor to mind control, right? Isn’t she amazing?” He looked proud. “And Melinda’s reflexes are even better than mine.”

“Are they?” Faith and Melinda asked together.

“Sure! I can always tell when someone’s about to touch me, even Lilith, but you slipped past my awareness completely the other night. I’d bet that if you wanted to run at superspeed, you could probably learn. We should race each other through the forest, later.”

“So it’s just me that can’t do anything?” Faith pouted.

“You’ll have something. It might just take a while to manifest,” Caleb said, confidently. “And if it does, it’ll be something really good. Like shapeshifting! Clearly I’ve given you three some powerful stuff.”

“Don’t get cocky,” Melinda said. “Come on, we’d better get going.”

Caleb nodded and swept her into his arms before vanishing.

Faith lingered at the window. Her mind wandering…

We’ll figure something out.

She must have lost herself for a while wondering what that something might entail because once again, Caleb had materialised behind her.

“Ready?”

“Fucking hell, Fringey! I’m gonna get you a bell. Yeah, I think that’s everything. Oh, wait, take the TV.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Caleb said.

“Why not? Will we not get any signal or something?” Faith looked suspiciously at Caleb. “It’s got something to do with Lilith hasn’t it?” When he didn’t answer, she threw her hands up, exasperated. “She won’t even let us have a TV? I’m not living under her thumb, Fringey. We’re definitely taking the fucking thing.”

“I guess we can hide it in my room.”

“Oh, so you at least have your own room? She allows that? Will she let Blondie share your bed?”

“No.” He sighed. “I’m making her sound bad. I shouldn’t. She helps me a lot.”

“By controlling everything about you? Sit with me a minute.”

“She has her reasons.” He sat beside Faith, looked at the floor. “I make a lot of mistakes. I cause problems. Like last night, with April—“

“Making out with your girlfriend is not a mistake. What problem would that have caused?”

“I could have lost control.”

“And done what? Screwed her? Oh, she’d have been just gutted.”

He carried on looking at the floor, silently.

“Look, we all do things we shouldn’t, we all make mistakes,” Faith said.

“Lilith doesn’t.”

“She bloody does! Caleb,” Faith said, he looked up as she used his real name. “You can tell me. Do you need help?”

“I’m fine…”

“You’re not fine, though. You’re terrified of her. It’s not normal.”

“It’s for the best. I’m not normal. When I don’t listen, things go wrong, I make mistakes, I mess up…”

“And when you do listen? Same outcome, correct?”

She watched as he folded into himself.

Was he… crying? It wasn’t the first time she’d reduced a grown man to tears, but it was the first time it hadn’t involved any violence. Faith bit her lip, changed tactics. “OK. We’ll leave it.”

Caleb sighed his relief, took a moment to compose himself. “So, ready?” he said, his voice empty.

Faith nodded, but she wasn’t done yet. She sighed, sadly. “Drain Me Gently is showing on the horror channel tonight; it’s a vampire flick, a bit sappy but it’s Blondie’s favourite film.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah. Even though she spends half the movie with her face buried in the chest of the nearest person because the vampire scares her, bless. She really wanted to watch it with you.”

“She did?”

“Sure,” I’m going to hell, “She’ll cry her heart out when she finds out that Lilith robbed you of that moment.”

“Let’s take the TV.”



You can run but you can’t hide…

19 thoughts on “Chapter 1.42 – Take the TV

  1. Why does will have such a punchable face?

    Faith was pretty awesome in this chapter. Gotta love someone who stands up for an underdog. Of course she has no idea of the full picture, but good on her for trying to help Caleb.

    Nice little touch with Caleb emulating her facial expressions. And having a go at teasing people. Bless.

    Oh snap, April’s mesmerising is a precuros to mind control? God helps us when that manifests in her haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ugh I know.

      She thinks she’s helping. You’re right, she has no idea, but her heart (or whatever she has) is definitely in the right place.

      He -finally- has some friends! 😄🎉 Of course, he’s no match for Faith but I thought it’d be cute for him to try. Break up all the doom and gloom a bit.

      God help someone when it manifests.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can not help but think that Faith will be dangerous to their safety 😨
    Her play with dangers and her zeal to free Caleb from his sister’s control. Faith becomes obsessed when she gets an idea and she is provoked by Caleb’s lack of rebellion and anger.
    So far, Caleb is defending his sister. He even thinks he needs her control. What kind of darkness is he hiding in? I have a hard time believing that it is premeditated murder. He mentions more than once that he may lose control.
    So far, Faith has managed to persuade Caleb to store the TV in his room. It doesn ‘t sound like it’s crucial … but I dare not predict where that story is going.

    Will has found the now abandoned house. He scares me 😬
    It also scares me to think that Paul is lying in a trunk in a ravine. Will is on the hunt now and I’m sure he will search everywhere. He can smell his reward.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Faith thinks she’s doing the right thing. Of course, we all know there’s something else going on and not whether or not they have a TV is the least of their problems right now.

      Yes, the bounty is close. He suspects Lilith is involved with the girls somehow. He just has to find her…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Whoa, Will. I know you’re a rotten potato, but don’t go threatening the poor bartender. He’s the one that provides you with drinks. Ooooh, hang on. Is his father some big-shot still, and is that why Will gets to get away with his awful, sleazy behaviour without consequences? I wonder if Joe will actually stick to his guns and keep him banned from the bar.

    Oooh. So that’s why Caleb looks like a pouty teenager so often! He’s literally mirroring other people’s expressions. Like he knows he’s supposed to react like that, but doesn’t actually feel it himself, and so does the closest thing he can think of, which is mimicking other people. I remember that being a think among people who seriously lack empathy. Gah, with us knowing what we know now, every interaction from this dude is suddenly cast in a different light. I gotta re-read… well, everything. Be back in a week or so.

    Hm. For all his sleazy behaviour and general yuck, Will makes for a decent blood hound. Guess some of those vampire hunter genes did get passed on after all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the Wangshaft family has a certain amount of notoriety still that affords Will a degree of immunity. He’s making a lot of enemies though.

      That’s what he does, yep. He reads faces and tries to understand, rather than truly empathise, because he can’t. So as long as everyone around him displays their true emotion on their face at all times, he’s fine, and all the characters definitely do… um, I think. Oh dear, re-read everything? That’ll take you… well, about a day looking at some of my stats lately, some crazy people reading the whole lot in one go. Just the thought of that gives me a headache.

      Will has been underestimated.

      Like

  4. Ahhh Lilith knows. Geez. Snuffy why’d you have to go and pit the two characters I like against each other. xD

    Why does Mel like April? Will we get her pov? T_T Mel My heart.

    Seriously? Wangshaft is still some powerful family? Dang. No wonder Will is such an annoying piece of poop. He’s got daddy to bail him out each time.

    Omg… Faith… Might unknowingly teach Caleb that there’s another kind of personality he could adopt, the type that hides heartlessness behind humor. Not saying Faith is heartless, but to Caleb, he could easily pass off or mask his inability to understand hurt behind humor! But unlike Faith he wouldn’t know where to draw the line. Oh no.. I.. AHHH!

    Did you do Caleb’s eye like that on purpose? The pic where he gave April a quick kiss. Or is that the typical sim eye reflection? I don’t want to read too much into it and find out it’s the silly game making things appear not as they seem to be xD

    Extra notes:
    I think their vampiric abilities correlate with their desire.
    Lilith wouldn’t let them have TV. That’s interesting. What’s Lilith hiding?
    Will’s face is so punchable..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t think I was tormenting you enough.

      We’ll get into Mel later. Let her recover from her hangover first or her POV chapter will just be nonsense. 😆

      Yeah… you don’t mess with the Wangshafts or you end up in The Tower.

      In helping him, is she creating a monster?

      Just regular old sim eyes, but I did choose that image out of the 30 or so I took of him standing there, as I felt it conveyed a little something extra… what’s your theory?

      Interesting notes. I can’t elaborate. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. She’s not creating a monster. Im a worrywart is all. 😅 Its actually a good thing that Caleb is exposed to different ways of conduct, considering all he has before is Lilith’s standards to go on. Maybe he’ll see that there are different ways to act and not one way to act and be nicer to himself. My mind likes taking things to the extreme. 😅

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Great way to hide a dead body, April, in your monogrammed suitcase, lol. Oh, Will is going to find something out, not sure if he’ll find the suitcase in the ravine, but I wouldn’t put it past him. And his father runs the tower, hmm. I still don’t know what the tower is, but I’m still thinking it’s some kind of mental institution. Also, and this just jumped into my head while I was reading, but how old is Will? (you don’t have to answer that) He looks older than everyone else, maybe it’s just the beard. Doing the math in my head, but I’m guessing he’s late thirties. This could potentially make him a candidate for Mel’s bio dad. It adds up in my head. Will’s dad runs the tower where Mel’s mom was staying, and Will is a jerk (like Mel’s mom implied in her chapter). Oh man, I could be totally wrong on this, but that would make things really interesting. Does he even know about Mel? He must know there was a kid. Okay, my mind is totally running off on crazy tangents now. I totally don’t expect answers to my questions, and I know everything will be answered, eventually. 🙂

    Oh, this makes me look at Caleb in a whole new light. He really has the emotional and social capacity of a child, through really no fault of his own, but because he is a vampire and because Lilith has been in control of him so long. This makes him also incredibly dangerous if he can’t really feel remorse and has to model people’s expressions. But then he was crying at the end. I don’t know if he actually feels sad or if this is a learned behavior, like he feels like that’s what he is supposed to do. Oh, this is interesting, and it kind of makes sense why he relates to April so much. She is also emotionally stunted and sheltered like him. Maybe turning her was a way of giving her freedom. Something that he feels like he has never had.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re along the right lines with the Tower. Will is late thirties, yes.

      Interesting theories! One day I swear we’ll be able to discuss all this freely. One day that, alas, is not today.

      Caleb and April are quite similar, as you identified. Both have been ruled by someone else, both are emotionally stunted, each sees freedom in the other.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ahhhh Faith you sweet girl… ofc she must be outraged by how Lilith treats Caleb, no adult should treat another adult like that. Alas, Caleb is not an adult but a toddler in an adult body.
    I’m wondering though what Caleb could do to April, break her heart, certainly, but sucking her dry would not really be an option anymore. What’s Lilith (and Caleb too, to a degree) afraid of?
    I think it’s time for a family meeting where everyone talks openly. Go on kids, put those chairs in a circle, and then everyone talks about their wants and fears, don’t be afraid 😏😆

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So Lilith smiles, brightly, when she´s mad. That doesn´t feel right. For some reason I really, really don´t like that. Maybe it is because you mentioned how deep into your research you go… this doesn´t tend to be a good sign.

    And the Tower belongs to Will´s family? Bad news, too. Makes perfect sense, though. Arrogant jerk. :7

    I love how the hangover made the girls just cooperate. Probably a stroke of good luck, they apparently didn´t have time to waste.

    Fun Vacuum is an absolutely amazing way to describe Lils.

    Something feels right about Caleb´s boasting, though. He… might be /trying/ to be human, but that´s pretty hard when you don´t remeber being human in the first place. (Which suddenly makes so much more sense, too. Of course he doesn´t, he´d been too little.) So, if he´s really not, then he is probably pretty powerful. In which case it would stand to reason that… his line, I guess, would at least have potential, too.

    And Faith is feeling left out. Both her friends have something cool, but she doesn´t… feeling like the weak link once more. And then there is the promise that she could have something… if only she could figure out how to use it. That certainly won´t help her sit still at Lilith´s.

    When it comes to Faith and Caleb´s discussion, the whole thing hinges on what level of “mess up” are we talking here. Just how much, objectively, does Caleb “mess up?” It could be that he really doesn´t at all, and it could also be that he messes up terribly indeed. Now, I know, because I cheated. But there is one thing I don´t know that I think is very relevant and not really spoilery. So… we know Caleb is fast. But say, does he have “vampiric strength?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, smiling when angry is not a good sign. Outwardly displaying a contrary emotion rarely is a good thing, you are correct.

      Ugh, Will you entitled bloody knobhead. Oh no, wait Snuffy, be impartial. Oh Will, you… person. 🤣

      Yeah, last thing they needed was Melinda going crazy over the trunk in the ravine when they had to leave, pronto.

      I used to know a woman who would walk into a room and her mere presence caused everyone to dry up; all humour and conversation died. She wasn’t the inspiration for Lilith, but she was the inspiration for that line.

      No, Caleb doesn’t remember being human at all. Everything he does is just a ‘mimic’ of how he thinks he should behave as one. It would be a healthy assumption that he is rather powerful, if his fledglings are already manifesting some pretty cool stuff, yes.

      I highly doubt that Faith is just going to sit and be good at Lilith’s, no. And, oh, her friends have powers and she doesn’t? That’s another drop into her cup of inferiority and self-loathing. Oh dear, it’s looking kinda full.

      True. Is it, as Faith thinks, a ‘you aren’t so bad, you just can’t win’ situation or is he actually a complete walking disaster? Time will tell. All the vamps are faster and stronger than their human equivalents, Caleb disproportionately so, yes. You wouldn’t want him, say, punching you in the jaw or anything, let’s put it that way. 😉😆

      Like

  8. XD I think you are very much excused from being impartial when it comes to Will. X´D

    Heh, it´s a great line and it does fit Lilith very well.

    Yeah, Faith does seem to think very little of herself… and we´ve still to figure out why is that. It´s pretty unreasonable, too. That comment she dropped about how she must look dull compared to April? Tche. I´m sure Melinda tried to talk her out of that line of thought many, many times. I would, and I don´t even have Mel´s perspective, either. That´s a dangerous mindset, though. Especially with her tendency to hide it in brashness. Wanna know what I´m most concerned about? That she´ll try to fix her self-esteem at someone else´s expense and she´ll /go too far./ Even more needless animosity is the last thing we need, here.

    …well… dang. Someone who has way too much strength, and highly likely doesn´t even realize how much, considering he doesn´t even know that a heart beats on its own… has no clue how much of his abilities aren´t something he can expect from anyone else… and even if he did, might not possess the filter to actually /do/ something about it… I think the issue is rather obvious, here. >.>

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is unreasonable; she’s smart, witty and hardly hard on the eye, and yet it exists in her, the doubt. Brashness is a great way of keeping people distant and it can hide an awful lot. Your concerns may not be unfounded.

      Bang on. Caleb has never had peers, other than his fellow vampires who have a very different skillset and are better adapted at ‘blending in’. His contact with humans has been, for the most part, clinical, swift, tainted by allure and/or meaningless. He really doesn’t know how to fit into either world and it’s highly likely that he doesn’t know what he might be capable of.

      Like

      1. *sigh* I was afraid of that. Faith isn´t the only brash one around, and somehow, I don´t believe that other swamp is monster-free, either. Takes one to make one, after all. :/

        In other words, make Caleb angry enough and he´ll break your jaw without even realizing he may have hurt you. That… I don´t think that´s the level of “mess up” that Faith had in mind. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

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