tales of the daywalkers (week 26)
Weekly Feature…Vampire Fiction Serial (Click to read week 25)
The Daywalker ChroniclesIt was springtime in England and my sisters and I were aflutter with excitement. Father had come home from one of his buying trips with several bolts of silk brocade fabric and yards of fine lace in a wide assortment of colors, and mother promised to have dresses made for us right away…just in time for the ball.
“Catherine!” Elizabeth darted into the room, her cheeks flushed and her blue eyes bright. “I overheard Father speaking to Mother…they’ve found a suitable husband for you…I’m certain of it.” Her auburn curls spilled over her shoulders in a tangle as she breathlessly chattered on about her latest foray into eavesdropping.
“Did they say my name?” Catherine’s eyebrows shot up and her face flushed from her neck to her hair.
“Not exactly, but…”
“Then how do you know they were talking about me?” Catherine cut her off, a deep scowl marring her beautiful face. “They could have been talking about Victoria.” She cut her eyes to me then back again.
Elizabeth furrowed her dark brows. “Oh no…Father would never agree to Victoria marrying before you. You’re the oldest. You have to marry first.”
“But Victoria is prettier,” Catherine mocked, repeating the words I knew she suspected had been uttered more than once behind her back.
My laughter made her flinch. “Father doesn’t think I’m prettier…he just knows I’m more easily manipulated by compliments. You’re the prettiest, Catherine.” I flicked a lock of her silken hair into her face. “You’re just spirited. Like his favorite horse.”
My sister glowered at me for a long moment—I knew she didn’t care for the comparison—and then she smiled. “Nay, nay, dear sister,” she said with a giggle. “I may be spirited, but Elizabeth is the prettiest of us all.”
Elizabeth fell against the bed with a sigh. “But I’ll never get married…not if Father has to marry off my ugly, older sisters first.”
At first we stared at her with raw shock, but as Elizabeth collapsed into a fit of giggles, we both burst into loud laughter along with her.
“Don’t keep us in suspense all day, Lizzie. What exactly did father say about this potential husband for Catherine?” I asked.
Elizabeth sat bolt upright in the bed, a renewed excitement coursing through her, and smiled. “Apparently, he’s rich,” she lowered her voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “He has more than twenty-thousand pounds a year! That’s more than a king, I dare think—and handsome—Father spoke of him as a dark, powerful man.”
“Did Father mention his name?” Catherine probed excitedly. “Oh, I hope it’s Lord Crawley…I’ve always fancied him.”
“Lord Crawley doesn’t earn as much as a king,” Elizabeth scoffed and Catherine frowned.
“Who, then?” I asked…my curiosity finally piqued.
Elizabeth lay back against the quilt. “I heard a name, but I didn’t recognize it.”
“Do you recall it now?” Catherine poked Elizabeth in the arm. “What was the name?”
“I think it was, Sebastian.”
My feet echoed against the cold, hard marble as I crossed the foyer. The door chime rang again, causing my insides to tighten with a shudder.
Like a pair of Greek statues, Sebastian and Claude stood off to the side, watching…their eyes burning into my back like lasers. Stop staring, I wanted to say…but the words wouldn’t come.
The door chimed again and I thought back to my sisters.
For three girls all born of the same parents, we couldn’t have been more different. Catherine was never really the most spirited of us. Nor was she the prettiest. She was the most obedient…always doing Father’s bidding, no matter what that may be. Clearly nothing had changed if she had been assigned to watch over Anne. But Catherine wasn’t standing outside my door, leaning on the chime with the impatience of a child. And she was a child, wasn’t she? She would always be a child, trapped forever at only eighteen years old. The prettiest of her sisters…the most spirited…the youngest.
I sighed as I opened the door.
Her scarlet lips spread in a wide smile and she threw her slender arms around me in a crushing hug. “Victoria!”
“Hello Elizabeth. It’s been far too long.”
Until the next time…I’ll be waiting for the sun to rise and one of our vampires to die!