December 9 at 12:00 AM
Photo courtesy of Photos8.com
Olivia led Lord Vangley by the sleeve, and nodded at the young girl sobbing on the lilac canapé. The gold bow that held back her blond curls reminded him of the day he gave Melody the matching dress--how she lit up like a candle. She could never afford anything so elegant for young Lyric. What a fool he was for holding onto it so long; he had museums full of such fashion, yet it only took a scrap to warm her heart.
"I am grateful that you would see me, and honored to be the first to speak to you about all this." He sat in the mahogany chair next to her. "I am sorry." He reached for her.
Lyric recoiled, pressing tighter against the end.
"I want you to know that what my sons did was wrong, and they are being punished for it. This is not the way of our people, nor shall it ever be. Our families have lived together for decades, and will do so for many more."
She raised her head, and wiped away the tears.
"As their penance, they will be your guardians--for all times. Every day that passes they will be reminded of what they have done, and ensure that nothing like it befalls you again.
"Such is our law. It might tempt you to believe that vampires get off easy, but I can assure you that is not the case. Our punishment is far worse than anything a mortal can endure. Expiation can last lifetimes. So I beg you, please accept my apology."
Lyric glanced at him, and then looked away.
"Thankfully Dionte and Deverell are still young. They do not understand what it is to be a vampire. Still there is time to correct this, which gives me hope." He smiled.
"I know it must be hard living without your mother and father. I miss mine, too. Yes--even I had parents." He touched his hand to his chest. "It has been difficult living without their guidance and embrace. What has it been, 200 years? Where did those years go?"
The words echoed through the parlor.
"Do not fear, little one." Vangley stood. "I have said my piece, and now I shall leave you to yours." He patted her on the shoulder. "Is there anything you would ask of me?"
"How can I trust them?" She hid her eyes.
"Your sons. They will eat me when they hear of their chore."
"Surely they will not, or they will be executed without a moment’s haste. I would rather them burn than become the mindless cannibals of centuries past. And I think I got that message across quite clear.
"Now there is something I must ask of you." He got to one knee. "I know it is difficult and will require some courage, but I ask you to forgive the family that has taken yours."
"Please, do not ask that of me." Lyric cried anew. "I do not want anything from your sons...or you." The bow fell from her hair as she ran out of the parlor.
Had he been a touch younger or known that he would never see her again, Lord Vangley would have followed. But in giving Lyric space for her grief, she slipped from his realm of influence, this day and evermore.