I didn't know how to feel. Mom just looked at me like she did not understand a word I was saying. "Honey, what do you mean "the Removal"" she asked me in an uncertain voice.
"Mom, after finding out that I could hurt you… that I could kill…" but I could not finish the sentence. It was too hard to look at her. For a moment I thought I saw her face pale slightly.
"Sophie…" she trailed off slightly. "Honey, you could never hurt me".
"Mom" I countered "I don't think you understand fully, I could, I could kill you. I know I could not live with myself if anything happened to you. I love you too much."
"But honey, your father told me what the removal could do. That is one of the reasons we are separated, why he …" she stopped herself.
"Why he what?" I asked, frantic to know what she was going to say.
"Nothing. It's not my story Sophie. He should be here in a weeks time anyway, so you can ask him then."
I could tell looking at my mother that it was not a conversation she was going to have with me, especially with my roommate within hearing.
"Mom, you remember Jenna?"
"Hello again," she said addressing Jenna. "Wow, you girls' room sure is Pink?" It almost sounded like she was asking if we were crazy for having so much pink in one place. Nice subject change; I thought. Then she looked over at my side of the room. "Oh honey, you should have asked me to bring you more of your belongings to brighten up your side too. I could bring you some things from home or go shopping seeing as you are staying?" She sounded so concerned.
"Mom," I exclaimed, "I didn't know you where coming to ask, besides… I don't mind; it's fine… really… don't worry". Jenna got up to leave the room.
"Hey, I am just going to head down the hall for a bit" Jenna said picking up a book and heading out the room before I had time to protest.
Mom turned back to me. "Sophie, I know about the removal process and you are not doing it. Neither your father nor I will allow it. It is just too dangerous." I started to argue, but she was not having it. "And no arguing, I know you Sophie, better than you know yourself. I am proud to see the young women before me so concerned and caring for other before yourself, but I know you will not hurt me. The only way you could hurt me is to hurt yourself. ….Sophie, look at me," I had tears in my eyes as she continued to discuss with me. "Sophie, you are too important to me. I don't care if you're a witch, a demon, or a … a monkey, you are my little girl always." She hugged me tight. "Are you sure you don't want to come home with me? I am sure I can talk to your father and we could find another solution."
"Yeah mom, I'm sure. I still think you should consider letting me go through this removal… it is probably like getting your tonsils out; it is easier when you are younger." I thought my lame attempt at a joke would lighten the mood, but my mom just looked at me as if she were worn out with worry.
"We will talk about it more when your father gets here. I think he will be able to tell you more about it than me anyway."
I walked mom out to her car after a long talk with between her and Ms. Casnoff. Mom asked again if I needed anything, so I finally gave in and asked her for some flip flops and slippers.
The next week went off in a blur. Everyone kept whispering about the events out in the woods. None of them knew what I was yet except Jenna… and Ms. Casnoff recommended I kept things that way, at least for the time being.
It was the end of the week and my Dad was scheduled to be here just after lunch. Everyone was excused from their classes for the afternoon due to the arrival of the council. I was so nervous to meet him. I mean, it is not every day you meet your dad for the first time in person. I wonder if he was sweating like me. I mean I had talked to the man or I guess I should say half man/demon on phone, but this… this was special. Darn it, I sound like a rambling idiot in my own head. How pathetic? "Sophie," Jenna brought me out of my pampering, "he is going to love you for you, stop freaking out". Is she a mind reader, I thought.
"Easier for you to say" I started to say something nasty like… You don't ever have to see your parents, but then thought better and said "It's just, this is the first time I have ever met him face to face. What if I am just one big disappointment to him Jenna? What if when he gets here, he does not even want to see me, because he is on official business? I mean, it is not like he has ever stopped to pay attention to me before?"
Jenna's annoyed expression turned soft in understanding. She really was such a great friend. "I will be here for you, don't worry. I am certain he will want to see you. Remember, your mom wanted you three to talk anyway right?"
I knew she was right; I just did not want to believe I was important enough. I mean I had already lost Archer and Elodie, even if they were kind of or should be seen as my enemy. But instead I said, "Yeah, I am sure you are right."
About forty minutes later, there was a knock at the door. Jenna opened it and there stood Ms. Casnoff and a man I recognized from the photo mom had given me when I asked her what HE looked like. "Sophie?" he said. I just stared at him and Jenna and Ms. Casnoff exited the room. "Sophie" he repeated, and I came out of my daze. He was such a handsome man, his eyes so much like great grandmother Alice's eyes/ my eyes, I had to blink a few times to clear my thoughts.
"Dad" I said, then he smiled at me for calling him dad, and I could not help but smile back. In an instant I ran to him and hugged him. I don't know why, but it felt so right being held by him, like I had been there before, safe and loved, instead of not my whole life until then. He took a step back and looked at me. "Oh Sophie, you are prettier than your pictures do you justice. You are such a lovely woman, just like your mother. I missed you little one."
"Why?" I started, "Why now… why not before?"
"Oh little one," he began, "I wanted to, I did, but when I feel in love with your mom and then I knew you where coming I got scared and I thought, well I thought I might hurt you. You have learned about your grandmother now and all of the death attempts on my life, and yours if certain people new about you. Not to mention, the Council threatened to take you away if I did not work with them. However, when you came into your own powers and it was safe for me to be around you again, your mother and I thought it best for you to attempt a normal life outside of this world until you had to join it."
"Join it? I was born into it. But I guess I can see your point with mom being human and all. But I still do not agree or like what you did. That does not explain why we never saw each other face to face before now." I told him.
The air filled with awkward silence. "Your right, I should have seen you sooner. It is just, well… We are still not sure what sets someone like us off the "deep end", if you'll allow." I noticed that he did not say the "D" word. "And I did not want to risk it with my own child, but I am here now."
I sighed. I had grown up with him as a voice over the phone, so I had heard some of this before, but never understood its true meaning until now.
"Now little one, what is this I hear about you getting into a fight with your betrothed?" I looked at him like he was crazy. What did he mean? He must have guessed I was clueless by the look in his eye. "The Cross's basically went into hiding after I was told you got into a fight?" It came out more as a question. I just looked at him like he grew a second head.
"W-what?... b-b- what? What are you talking about dad? I just find out my dad is on some, some Council, then I – I find out my great grandmother is going around killing people for blood and by the way I am a demon with these really scary powers and could kill my mom and now I am be- betrothed? Seriously, is this a joke? To top it off, oh yeah, how could I forget, he wants to kill all living things such as myself?" I ranted and I would have kept going if my dad would not have interrupted.
"Hold up little one, he tired to what?"
"He is part of the Eye Dad. I thought you knew that." I exclaimed frustrated and still mad that I was betrothed and apparently Arch must have known about it.
"Oh that, he can not help that, he was born into it, but his family was working for us, trying to see if the killer was here." I started to breathe and clam a little. Maybe that is what Ms. Casnoff meant when she said we did not have to worry about the Irish coven. Then I started to feel a little week to my stomach. Oh no I thought. I attacked my possible future whatever that I think I was pretty much in love with.
Dad saw my face and hugged me again, only this time a little part of me wanted to push him away. Part of me was still mad at him for betrothing me to someone without me knowing. Part of me wanted to know the details, but another part of me just wanted to get Archer Cross back here so I could either punch him or kiss him, I wasn't sure at that point. God, I hope he is ok and safe. I hope I did not put him in any danger outing him.
"Do you know where he is?" I asked.
His voice was softer this time when he replied. "He and his family are in hiding at head quarters, until things cool off. Not everyone in our world understands the benefit of hunting down our own kind from time to time. Everything needs balance, even us."
I understood him, because I felt the same. I now understood that look Archer gave me after the meeting on the stairs that day we first touched hands and I told him that what if witches were the ones that crossed the line. Suddenly I had to know, "Is he safe? Can I see him? Oh God, what if he does not forgive me…" I am sure I sounded crazy. I guess this is what Archer was saying about the connection we had with out betrothed once we agreed to the connection. I was cut off again with my ranting.
He had an amused look to his eye now, but it was still a little sad and concerned. "Not yet little one, I am sure he will forgive you once you talk to him. You two were betrothed for a reason, trust in that at least." And I am not sure why, but I did.
Then he started to ask me about Alice, he seemed sad about everything and deep in thought, when there was a knock at the door.
Ms. Casnoff walked through a few seconds later. "Miss Sophia, your mother is down in the dining hall. I thought I would come get you to meet her while I have a moment with your father." I looked at my dad and he smiled and nodded. I knew they would need to go over the happenings from her point of view as part of his "business" trip. I was just so happy to have him to myself for once; I did not want to let him leave my sight. It looked like he felt the same and understood.
"I will be there soon little one. Please tell your mother, and save me a place to sit?"
I could not help but smile, which he returned. "You bet!" And I quickly left them and went to the dinning hall to meet my mom.
I hugged my mom and saw that she was already seated with Jenna at a table to the side of the room. They were having a special spread in honor of the Council being here. So naturally the whole school seemed to be present. I gave Jenna a quick hug too and went into my first meeting with dad. Afterward, Jenna and mom went onto discussing how to decorate my side of the room, while I tuned them out and reflected on my meeting with my dad. I remember I did not talk to him about the "removal." I did not even think about it, I was just so excited to see him, it completely slipped my mind. I will HAVE to talk to him about it before he leaves. I don't want to end of insane like Alice. I would not want to hurt mom, Jenna (granted she is really durable), or Archer (if he ever talks to me). Archer… how do I tell Jenna about him? She is my only friends and she hates the Eye. Mom must have noticed my zone out, because she and Jenna were snapping their fingers and waving their hands trying to get me to focus. "What?" I asked kind of dazed.
"What has you so out of it?" asked Jenna. "Nothing", I replied and she seemed to let it go for now and went back to the normal discussion. "So we were thinking we should do your side up in royal blue and mix them with some of my raspberry, maybe some satin pillows too? What do you think Soph?"
"Yeah, that sounds… great." I could not think of much else. I was not a fashion misfit, but decorating really was not my thing. I was a function kind of girl when it came down to it. They nodded and went back to talking. I made sure to smile and nod best I could. I did however notice that mom, no longer worried about Jenna being a vampire, which in turn relaxed me.
Some time later, I saw mom tense up and then saw a smile spread across her face that I only saw when she was in deep thought or she was proud me. I followed her eyes and saw my dad. He was looking right at her with the same smile. And then it clicked… he did not just leave me; he left her to for her safety. She was not keeping me away because she wanted to, she thought we had to.
I wondered for a few seconds what this reunion would be like.