A knock on the door woke Frank Kohanek from the nap he had been taking on the couch. The persistent knocking didn't end until he piped up, "All right, all right, I'm coming, keep ya shirt on." Certain that it was his partner, Sonny; he took his sweet time, which included stretching all the kinks out of his sore muscles. "Never should have laid down for that nap." Opening the door, he found not the tall black man he was expecting, but rather a beautiful young woman in her early twenties.
"Hi, Dad." She said, dropping her bag just inside the door, and giving him a quick kiss on the cheek. "I see you're still living in this old place. I was hoping so since you stopped writing months ago."
"Abbey?" He asked, dumbfounded at the site of his daughter, "I thought you were still in LA, finishing your degree."
"Dad, do you even read my letters anymore? I wrote last week to say I was coming home to look for a job here. I…uh, well." She ran a hand through her dark hair, reminding Frank of his long dead wife. She sighed, and when she turned around, there were tears in her eyes. "I flunked out, Daddy. I'm sorry. I tried, I really did. But I couldn't." Her voice broke, and she burst out crying. "I wanted to finish my degree, and be a Biologist. But I just couldn't pass Chemistry. It was so hard, and you know how bad I suck at math."
Frank softly closed the door, and went over to his hysterical daughter. "Hey, now, it's all right." He pulled her into a hug, smoothing her hair as she sobbed into her shoulder, as he had so many times when she was child. "I don't care about your degree. I don't care that you flunked out, because I know you were trying your best. Biology isn't right for you. Maybe try something next semester with a little less math." She laughed a little, and Frank smiled. "That's my girl." He pulled her out to arms length. "Now, let me take a good look at my little girl." He made a show of spinning her around. "She's grown up behind my back. I still remember when you were a little girl dancing on my feet at the beach as the sun set."
Abbey smiled. "Dad, stop it, you're getting all mushy again."
"What? I'm your dad. It's not like there's anyone else here." A soft cough behind them proved otherwise. They both turned, and saw Sonny, Frank's partner, leaning in the doorway. Frank nodded at him, and Sonny nodded back. They both knew there was a lot to talk about, but none of it could be said in front of Abbey.
"Hey, Uncle Sonny." Abbey said, rushing over to hug her godfather. "I haven't seen you in a long time. Not since graduation."
Sonny smiled. "Good to see you too, Abbey." He hugged her back, then looked up at Frank again. Somehow, they had to get Abbey out of the apartment so that the two of them could have a conversation about what was going to happen. "Say, Abbey," Sonny began, "what do you say about all three of us going to the Haven? We shall drink to your return home safely."
Frank smirked. "Good idea, Sonny. Abigail, why don't you run along, and get cleaned up, and meet us there. Sonny and I have a few things we need to finish up at the station, but we'll be there shortly, okay, baby doll?"
Abbey nodded. "Okay, but you're paying." She grabbed her bag, and headed into the bedroom, while her father and Sonny walked out the front door.
In the car, Frank turned to Sonny. "Okay, so spill. You're a vampire, and you've been one for a while, if you were at Archon's funeral. Why the hell didn't you tell me sooner?"
"Well, for one reason, it's hard enough to watch over you when you're human, so telling you I was Kindred would have been bad for my health. Especially at the stage you were at with the whole Vampire Hunter attitude going on. Glad you got over that, by the way. Makes things much easier. And secondly, I was working as a double agent. He needed me to make Eddie think I was on his side. I couldn't have you blowing my cover."
Frank nodded. "Okay, so I was a bit of an asshole about the whole Vampire Hunter thing, but don't think for one minute I'm gonna stop hunting them. I just might work with you guys more. Besides, Abbey would think things were suspicious if I suddenly stopped working with my best friend and partner of almost twenty years." They drove in silence for a while, giving Abbey time to clean up and get to the Haven before showing up themselves. It was a companiable silence, of which is often shared by two friends who had spent most of their adult life together, and even a few of their younger days. After all, Kindred or not, Sonny was Abbey's godfather. He had helped raise her, and looked after her when Frank was pulling extra hours at the station. It had been hard on both of them after the death of Abbey's mother, but the two of them had made it through. "So, how long?"
"How long what?"
"Have you been like this? How long have you been Kindred?" Frank asked as they finally started their way to the Haven. Rain was starting to fall outside, making the streets look even more surreal than they already did.
"Abbey was two or three when Julian sired me. So about twenty years. He needed someone in the inside of the force, and it was a choice between the two of us. He chose me. Mostly because he didn't want to cause problems between you and your daughter. Julian was a father too, you know."
"No, I didn't know. So Sasha really is his niece, isn't she?" They continued their conversation about Sonny's undead life, and other things as they pulled into the valet parking of the Haven.
Abbey walked into the club that had opened when she was in high school. She and her friends used to hang out here all the time; when she had been in her bad girl stage. Now, as an adult, she could enjoy the club as it was truly meant to be enjoyed. She took a booth near the stage so she could watch the performance and hear the music. She ordered a glass of wine, and started swaying back and forth to the music as she sat.
"You must be Abbey." A voice said from beside her.
"And you are? Well, other than somebody who knows my father. I'm sure you've seen enough pictures of me to know more than my name." She said, not unfriendly. The woman she was talking to seemed really nice, and was very beautiful. She wondered briefly if this was Dad's new girlfriend that he had wrote about in his last letter to be sent, but decided against it. Dad had always prefered blondes.
"My name is Lily. He talks very highly of you. He raised you on his own, didn't he?"
She nodded. "Yeah, my mom killed herself when I was a baby. Dad had to juggle his career with raising me, but he pulled it off. I think I came out ok. Except for math. Math has always been my worst enemy. I flunked out of college because of Math."
"Well, that tells me why you're here. I was beginning to wonder."
"How do you know my dad?"
Lily smiled, and sat down with her. "I guess you could say he keeps the real bad riff raff out, and I give him free drinks."
Abbey laughed. "No wonder Dad suggested here. He wouldn't have to pay." She sighed, and sipped her wine as a new act took the stage. "Now I just have to find a job so I can pay for a new school. That's going to be the hard part. Who wants to hire a college dropout?"
"Well, what do you want to do with your life? What's your passion?"
"Honestly, you're gonna think me stupid." Sighing, she took another sip of wine. "I want to be a writer. I love it more than anything in the world. I only thought I loved Biology. I love life and animals, but my passion is writing."
"Can you write lyrics?"
"I dunno. Probably. I mean, I went through the whole tortured poet stage in high school. I doubt it could be harder than that. Why?"
"Because I've been looking for some talent to write lyrics for the groups that perform here. I couldn't pay you to write full time, but I also have an opening at the bar where you could work full time. It would be a start on your way back into school."
"Really, you would do that for me? You and Dad must be really good friends."
"I wouldn't go that far, but yes, we do know each other, and if I can help out his daughter, then I will help you out in the only way I can." Her eyes flicked toward the door. "Speak of the devil and he appears. I'll leave you to celebrate the good news with your father."
Abbey waved over her father and Sonny. She was practically bouncing as they sat, excited over the first real good news she had heard all day. "Dad, guess what!" She said, hardly waiting for the two men to get their drinks and sit down. "Lily offered me a job working here at the Haven. I get to write lyrics for the bands, and work at the bar. I should have money for college in no time flat!"
Frank and Sonny shared a looked. "That's…that's good news Abbey, but are you sure you want to work here?" Frank didn't like the idea of his little angel working so close to the monsters that roam in and out of the club. He trusted her to take care of herself, and all. After all, Abigail was nobody's fool, but as a father, it was his job to worry about her.
"Of course I do. It's not like I'm working in a dive or anything. It's a reputable place, made even more reputable by you, from what Lily told me. Is that why you wanted to come here? You get free drinks?"
"I…uh…this isn't about me young lady." Frank went into Father mode. "Dive or not, some bad people come in this place. I can't stop them all. I just don't want to see you get hurt. That's all."
"Dad, I can take care of myself. You made sure of that with all the self-defense classes you put me through in High School. I think I can handle a rough crowd."
Sonny shook his head. If there was one thing to say about Abbey, once she had made up her mind, not even Frank could change it. That was her mother in her. "I think it's a great idea, Abbey. Just be careful. Neither of us want anything to happen to you."
She smiled. Once she smiled it was all over. There would be no more discussion of the job that Abbey would be doing. "So, Dad, why did you stop writing. The last letter I got from you was telling me about your new girlfriend. Alexandra, I think her name was. What happened?"
A dark cloud crossed Frank's face. Abbey knew then before Frank opened her mouth. "She died. Jumped right into the bay. I threw myself into my work after that. Sorta forgot to write after that. I'm sorry."
"I'm sorry, Daddy. She sounded really…wonderful. You'll have to tell me more about her later."
"So, what about you, Abbey? Any boys in your life?" Sonny asked. Anything to get Frank's mind off of Alexandra.
"Are you kidding? I spent most of my college days in my room, studying my ass off just to get a D in Chemistry. You can ask my former roommate. All I did was go to class, and study. I sometimes forgot to eat." She sighed. "It still wasn't enough though. Math hates me. I should have listened to you dad, and gone into literature for school instead. I wouldn't be here if I had taken classes I could pass."
Frank placed a hand on the young woman's shoulder, and gave it a gentle squeeze. "Hey there, baby girl. We all know you did your best in school. Nobody's blaming you for that. We'll get you into a new school, where you can shine. I promise to help in any way that I can. I couldn't call myself your father, and not be there for you one hundred percent."
"Thanks, Dad. So let's drink to a new job, and a new opportunity at life." She raised her glass, and the men clanged their glasses gently against hers.
"To new beginnings." Sonny added.
"And to hope." Frank said.