Friends & Foes
a Fangs & Fins Sequel
Chapter 3: "The Burkes"
"I can't believe how easy some of my classes are!" Arianna exclaimed, while walking into the Collins foyer with Rose, Lily and Lewis at her side. "Hardly any tests or papers, the teachers are a lot more approachable and easy going and I've already studied the majority of what I'm learning in all of my classes! It's a freakin' cake walk!" Arianna plopped down on the Collins living room couch.
The others joined her.
Lily laughed. "You've only been going there for five days; believe me, it'll get a lot harder."
Shortly after, the room was filled with an awkward pause.
"So, what is everyone doing this weekend? It is Friday night after all." Lewis stated.
"I have to work both tomorrow and Sunday." Lily replied.
"Ew, that's no fun!" Arianna responded.
"I'm not doing anything." Rose said.
"Me either." Lewis said.
As if on cue, Mr. Collins walked into the living room. "Hey guys. Hope you guys haven't made any plans tomorrow."
"Why?" Rose and Lily said in unison.
"Because we're going to the Burkes for a nice get together. You guys finally get to meet Elisabeth as well as spend some time with Laurel and William. It'll be fun!" Mr. Collins explained.
The expressions on both Rose and Lily's face showed the look of disgust.
"Do we have to?" Rose whined.
"I can't go, I have to work." Lily stated. "What if Lewis goes for me?"
Lewis looked at Lily curiously.
"I don't think that's a good-" Mr. Collins started to say.
"Come on Dad, Lewis is practically family after all." Rose said.
It didn't take long for Mr. Collins to cave in. "Ok fine, I suppose he can come. It's a shame that you can't go Lily."
"Yeah, I'm sure I'll get the chance to meet them soon." Lily responded.
And with that Mr. Collins exited the room.
Rose groaned. "Ugh, I really don't want to go tomorrow."
"If it makes you feel any better, my mom and I are having the Woods over for dinner tomorrow. We were going to have it on Monday but she rescheduled it for tomorrow. Boy, I'm excited for that." Arianna explained with just a hint of sarcasm.
She really wasn't looking forward to tomorrow.
"Come on Rose, we're going to be late!" Mr. Collins yelled from downstairs. It was now Saturday afternoon and Rose, Lewis and Mr. Collins were moments from leaving their home to head to the Burkes'.
Rose was having a tough decision on what to wear. She glanced at the many items of clothing in her closet. She wasn't quite certain if this was supposed to be casual or not. What to wear, Rose thought. She finally decided on a lilac tank top and a pair of denim shorts. She quickly tied her hair up into a messy bun and headed downstairs.
She noticed that Lewis was already here, waiting on the living room couch and that her father had a not so friendly expression on his face.
"Took you long enough! Now let's head to the car." Mr. Collins stated. When Mr. Collins opened the front door, he was surprised to see Ben standing in the doorway. "Can I help you?"
"Um yeah, I'm here to see Rose. It's kinda important." Ben stated rather awkwardly.
"You can talk to her later, we were just leaving." Mr. Collins replied, while walking outside and heading towards his black 2000 Chevy Blazer, car keys in hand.
Rose walked towards the door. The moment she saw Ben, she froze up. She hadn't spoken to him since their argument the other day.
Ben noticed Rose was clearly uncomfortable. "This will only take a minute."
Rose shrugged, "Fine." She then yelled to her father, who was by now in the driver's seat, waiting impatiently for her. "I'll be right there!"
She turned to Ben and asked, "What could you possibly want?"
"I've come to offer a peace offering." Ben stated. He reached into his pocket and pulled out what appeared to be a locket.
"Hey, is that?"
"It is." Ben said. It was in fact Rose's mother, Violet's locket. Rose had the exact same locket, only the gem on her locket was red.
Rose was shocked. "How did you get this?"
"I have my ways." Ben smiled.
Rose remembered last seeing this on her mother, that horrible day at the fair; the day she was killed. Rose held up the silver locket, the purple gem gleaming in the sun. "Thank you, Ben. This means a lot."
"Enough for you to forgive me?" Ben responded, clearly wanting to be friends with Rose again.
"No, but it's a start." Rose politely smiled back. She tried to place the locket around her neck, but was unsuccessful.
"Here, let me." Ben grabbed the locket and effortlessly clasped the locket onto Rose's neck.
Rose touched the locket that was now around her neck. "Thanks again."
"Let's get a move on, Rosie!" Mr. Collins yelled out the window of the car.
"Sorry, I have to go." Rose apologized to Ben.
"Where exactly?" Ben questioned.
"Oh, to my Dad's new girlfriend's house. We're having this picnic and I'm not looking forward to it at all."
"Well I should leave too. I'm having dinner with James, my Dad and the Cromwells." Ben clearly looked unhappy about his plans for today.
"Yeah, Arianna mentioned that." Rose said.
An awkward silence surrounded the two.
"Well, have fun." Rose said to Ben.
"You too, Rosie."
Then Ben walked in the direction of his house while Rose ran towards the car, avoiding the angry look her father was giving her.
"What did he want?" Lewis asked, who was sitting next to her in the back seat.
"Oh nothing. Just gave me this." Rose pointed to the locket.
"Pretty." Lewis said.
Rose placed her head on the headrest and peered out the window, all while smiling. "Yep."
"We're here!" Mr. Collins squealed the moment they reached the Burkes house.
"This is where they live?" Rose exclaimed.
The Burkes' house was gorgeous. But was even more impressive was the amount of space the Burkes had. To Rose it seemed they had acres of land all to themselves, not another house in sight.
"Yay, you're here!"
Rose noticed a blonde haired woman had opened the white front door and was now heading this way.
"So glad you guys could come!" the woman said. She had shoulder length blonde hair, hazel eyes and was rather attractive. She was dressed in a knee length white skirt, light blue tank top and was sporting a pair of long dangly earrings.
"Thanks for inviting us!" Mr. Collins responded. Rose could tell he was having the time of his life, which was nice to see.
Ms. Burke extended her hand out to Rose. "You must be…Rose."
Rose responded by shaking Ms. Burke's hand and saying, "Yes. It's nice to meet you, Ms Burke."
"Call me, Elisabeth please. Ms. Burke makes me sound old."
Ms. Burke couldn't stop staring at Rose. "Oh, I'm sorry; you just look very similar to an old friend of mine."
Ms. Burke turned to Lewis. "And you are…"
"I'm Lewis. I'm Rose and Lily's friend, I just tagged along."
"I hope that's alright," Mr. Collins questioned. "Lily had to go to work so…"
"No, it's perfectly alright. The more the merrier." Ms. Burke smiled.
Robert Collins glanced around in search of Laurel and Will. "Where are Laurel and William?"
"Oh, they're around here somewhere."
"Oh there they are! Hey kids, come say hello to our guests!" Elisabeth Burke yelled to her children.
Rose saw two teenagers (a boy and a girl) about her age and a dog running up a hill and headed in their general direction. Actually the boy was running, the girl was fast-walking. In fact from the looks of it, it seemed that the girl was being lead by the dog.
When the girl became more in focus to Rose, she realized that the girl was in fact holding onto the dog. Rose noticed the dog had what appeared to be a handle as well as a leash and that the girl was holding onto the handle more so then the leash.
When both the teenage boy and girl (and dog) were there, Elisabeth said, "Laurel and Will, I'd like you to meet Mr. Collins, Rose and Lewis."
"Hi!" Will and Laurel both said in unison, Will's tone very deep and masculine while Laurel's was rather perky and upbeat.
Rose noticed that when Laurel said 'Hi' she didn't make eye contact whatsoever. Rose held out her hand to Laurel. "Hi, I'm Rose." Rose looked around and realized everyone was giving her disapproving looks, even her Dad. Rose brought her hand down to her side.
"She can't see." Will said, rather annoyed.
"Excuse me, I'm right here, I can speak for myself." Laurel yelled at her older brother. "Sorry. I take it from the awkwardness you tried to shake my hand?"
Rose nodded, but realized Laurel couldn't see her head nod so simply replied by saying, "Yes."
"I'm terrible at handshakes, and I find them awkward in general. I'm much more of a fan of the wave. So let's try this again. Hello, Rose Collins!" Laurel smiled at Rose while gently waving at her. "It's nice to meet you."
"And this is Bear." Laurel gestured to the ground at Bear.
"Now if you guys would follow me, the food is nearly ready." Elisabeth stated while heading towards the house.
Mr. Collins quickly followed her, followed by Rose, Lewis and Will. Laurel grabbed onto Bear's leash and he led her to the house.
James leaned back against the towel rack in the Cromwell's first-floor bathroom and rubbed his eyes.
A few hours earlier his father had barged into his room and dropped a clothes bag over his desk chair and ordered him to change into his suit. They had arrived at the Cromwells' home to find Arianna and Alena locked in intense conversation. Alena's attempts to soothe her daughter had failed miserably and Arianna had sat next to James with her arms crossed tightly, rebuffing any attempts at conversation anyone made.
There was a knock on the bathroom door. Arianna pushed the door open and slid in to the bathroom, closing the door behind her.
"They want you to come back out." James crossed his arms.
"You okay?" James asked her.
Arianna bit her lip. "Here, let me fix your tie."
James's hands flew to his tie but Arianna brushed them away. "I tied it myself! It took me an hour!"
"I can't believe they're doing this to us," Arianna snarled, pulling tightly on the tie, nearly choking James. "It's like they're pretending we're not first cousins."
"Maybe we're not. My dad cheated a lot anyway."
"It's still cruel. I want a choice." She snapped. "I will not let them decided this for me."
James sighed. "Let's go back out there."
"Thanks, Mom. Food was great," Will yelled on his way out the door.
"Yeah, Elisabeth, it was delicious." Rose and Lewis both said, while heading outside.
Laurel and Bear followed.
The five of them, Bear included, headed down towards the beach, which the Burkes were lucky enough to have located to the right of their house.
A giant hill separated them from the beach.
Laurel stopped, as did Bear who immediately thought something was wrong. "I'm fine Bear, I just have a fun idea."
Will turned towards Laurel. "Let me guess, a race down the hill?"
Laurel's tone was full of surprise. "How'd you know?"
"You always want to race. Probably so you can finally get a chance to beat me." Will responded.
Rose wondered how a race down a downhill hill was possible with Laurel not capable of seeing.
"Bear wants in." Laurel stated.
"How did you-?" Lewis questioned.
Laurel quickly changed the subject. "Rose, Lewis…you up for it?"
"I guess." Rose said with caution. Lewis also agreed.
The five of them got in position.
"On your mark." Will counted down. "Get set. GO!"
The four teenagers and dog ran down the hill.
Rose glanced at Laurel. Laurel wasn't even holding onto Bear! It's like doesn't have a care in the world, Rose thought.
Bear ended up winning the race. Of course he would, he's a dog, Rose thought.
Bear barked happily and ran around in circles, clearly his idea of a victory dance.
"Beary-Boo you won! Yay!" Laurel squealed, a huge smile on her face.
Bear pranced towards Laurel, head high and all.
Laurel knelt down to where she believed was the general direction Bear was facing. "High five!" Laurel held her palm in the air.
Bear reached up to place his paw on hers.
Laurel kissed the top of Bear's head. "That's my Bear!"
Elisabeth and Robert were at the kitchen table, peering outside the kitchen window at their children.
"Well, they're getting along." Elisabeth stated.
"Yeah, I'm glad too. I thought they'd hate each other." Robert replied. Robert paused then added, looking directly at Elisabeth, "I'm sorry for how Rose acted with Laurel earlier."
"It's fine, she didn't know. Believe me, it happens all the time. Laurel doesn't care." Elisabeth said.
"Yeah, she seems to worry about nothing. It's an admirable quality."
"Well, Rose seems to be a lovely girl. I bet you're very proud to have raised such beautiful and strong girls on your own." Elisabeth mentioned.
Robert chuckled. "Believe me, it wasn't easy. Sometimes I wish Violet was still alive, she'd know how to handle things."
Elisabeth nearly choked on the piece of chocolate she was munching on. "I'm sorry, did you say Violet?"
"Yeah, Violet. Why?" Robert replied, rather confused.
"I know you mentioned your late wife before, I just never knew her name." Elisabeth stated trying to fix the error she created. "I just used to have a rather close friend named Violet, that's all."
Laurel, Rose, Lewis, Will and Bear were lying down on the sand, simply talking. Will mentioned how he was transferring to Rose and Lewis' school sometime soon and how Laurel was debating on doing the same.
Moments past and the gang ran out of things to talk about.
"I'm bored." Will sighed.
"Why don't you dogs go and play catch or something." Laurel suggested.
"Did you just say dogs?" Rose asked.
Laurel hesitated. "Oh, um, I meant guys."
Rose and Lewis exchanged a look.
"Come on Bear, let's leave these girls alone." He glanced at Lewis. "And Lewis." And with that Will and Bear ran over to a different part of the beach.
Rose really wanted to ask this question to Laurel, she just wasn't sure how she'd take it. "So, how exactly did you become…um…blind?"
Lewis hit Rose on the arm. He clearly thought asking that question was a bad idea.
Laurel laughed. "Not much to tell. When I was young I started having trouble seeing. Then by the time I was twelve it had gradually reached a point to where I couldn't see."
"Oh." Rose responded.
"Its fine really. My Mom and Will really look out for me. And Bear is great too. I've lived in this house my entire life so I know where everything is." Laurel giggled. "It's funny, everyone always raves about how 'hot' Will is. But I just can't see him as hot. The last time I physically saw him was when he was about 14. He was going through his awkward stage, braces, acne, the whole nine yards."
Rose glanced over at Will's direction. She could certainly see how he was considered hot. From the looks of it, it appeared he worked out constantly, what with his huge muscles and all. As a matter of fact, Will was quite dreamy.
Rose noticed Bear was swimming in the ocean. As Bear was getting out of the water and heading over to Laurel, that was when Rose got nervous.
Bear was drenched in water. Any minute now, Rose knew Bear was going to shake his fur in hopes of drying his black and white coated fur.
Rose took a few steps back in hopes of not getting water on herself.
Laurel obviously couldn't see Bear approaching.
Rose was within a good distance to where Bear's shake wouldn't cause her to sprout a tail.
Bear suddenly shook his fur, causing water droplets to go in every direction, fortunately not on Rose.
"BEAR!" Laurel screamed at the feel of water touching her skin. "Bear, bad dog!"
Off in the distance, Will saw Laurel get drenched with water. "Laurel!" He ran fast towards Laurel, and quickly scooped her up in his arms. And with that Will and Laurel headed into a distant clearing.
Rose and Lewis exchanged confused expressions.
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
Arianna and James strode into the dining room and took their places. Ben was across from James, glaring at him. If he squeezed his glass any tighter James was sure it would break.
Alena clapped her hands. "Good, now we're all together."
"Alena, Benjamin." James's father's voice boomed from across the table. "Could you please excuse James, Arianna and myself?"
"Of course, Isaac."
Alena beamed as Mr. Wood ushered Arianna and James out of the dining room and into the tiny sitting room.
"Sit," he instructed. Arianna settled on the chaise and James went to sit by her. Mr. Wood occupied the large arm chair, his forearms resting on the chair's arms.
"Now," Mr. Wood began. "I'm sure you understand what will happen in a few months. Once you're blessed with your powers of course."
"Assuming we ever get them," James murmured. "I've been 18 for more than half a year and it still hasn't come."
Mr. Wood held up a hand to silence him. "I'm sure you understand how this works. It applies to all supernatural creatures - except for mermaids and sirens, but they are a...special case." Mr. Wood's tone was laced with bitterness. "It depends on the vampire. It is rare to find one of us who is fully able to use their power the day they turn 18."
"We just have to wait. And once they come, you'll be adults." Mr. Wood beamed. "I'm sure Benjamin's will come shorter after his birthday as well."
"...but aren't having powers rare, Uncle Isaac?" Arianna said softly. "Not all vampires have them; it's primarily something that is distinctive to mermaids - "
"You are both of exceptional breeding," Mr. Wood snapped. "I am sure you will both be gifted. Out of a hundred vampires, maybe five or so don't get powers. So no, Arianna, it is not rare."
"Now, as I was saying. Soon you will both be adults and -"
"Dad could I speak to you for a minute," James said, anxiety bubbling in the pit of his stomach. He stomped into the hallway. Mr. Wood followed.
"You're being unfair!" James shouted. "You can't tell us who to marry; you can't do this to us!"
"It is a tradition between Woods and Cromwells. You will not put us out of the Council's favor by your rebellious actions and insistence on associating with mermaids!" Mr. Wood countered.
"Why does the stupid Council always come above my happiness?" James shoved him into the banister and Mr. Wood lunged at him, fangs out, knocking James into a table.
"Because they are more powerful then you could ever imagine and you should be thankful that I'm a member or else they would have ended you by now!"
"What's going on?" Arianna came rushing out of the sitting room.
Mr. Wood turned to look at Arianna, smiling. "Arianna. James would like to ask for your hand."
"No, no I don't I -"
"It's been decided," Mr. Wood said proudly. His smile widened. "I'll leave you two to celebrate."
His smile was genuine. James hated him deeply.
"Oh my god," Arianna cried once Mr. Wood had gone to rejoin Alena and Ben. Her breathing was labored and her eyes were tearing up.
"I'm sorry," James gasped. "I'm so sorry."
"It's not your fault. Don't apologize. This is going to affect you too."
She leaned against the banister and looked up at the ceiling. "How are you going to tell Rose?"
"It doesn't matter. I'm sure stupid Ben will tell her anyway."
Arianna closed her eyes. "We can make this work. We can do it. We just have to hope they don't make us have kids or..." She trailed off.
"You don't want to fight?"
"Normally I would never lie down and die," Arianna looked at her feet. "But I can't do that to my family. We need to make this work, James."
The foyer was full of shadows, the porch lights off and the moonlight streaming in from the windows. James could still see Arianna clearly though. She approached him slowly, determined, but James could see that her upper lip was trembling.
Arianna tipped her head up to James's. She lifted a hand to his face, fingers a centimeter or so from his jawbone. Then she kissed him, her mouth capturing his. Her fingers curled around his shirt collar, while his flew to her hair, fingers grasping the curls. His mouth moved against hers, catching every broken breath she let out.
Something didn't work though. James did not feel a pleasant sensation in his stomach he felt when he kissed Rose, or other girls for that matter. Or when he'd been talking with Minerva -
"What a cute couple."
Arianna and James flew apart. Ben was leaning against the doorframe, holding a glass of blood.
"Just adorable." Ben continued.
"This isn't our choice." Arianna said.
Ben snorted. "Oh Arianna. I guess you can add 'hypocrite' to your ever growing list of negative qualities." Ben shuffled out of the room to join Isaac and Alena in the sitting room, slamming the door loudly behind him.
"That's it," James snapped, trying to move towards the sitting room to rip Ben's head off, but Arianna clung to his shirt too tightly.
"He's not worth it."
There was a long pause before Arianna spoke again: "It didn't feel right. It's not you or anything of course; it's that way with...a lot of people - "
"Arianna, its fine." James soothed. "We're going to get out of this. I promise."
It was time for the Collins and Lewis to leave. Elisabeth was outside to say goodbye.
"I'm not sure where the Will and Laurel are…" Elisabeth stated.
"That's ok, I'm sure they're busy." Robert said.
"Well it was nice meeting you two. Hope I get the chance to meet Lily one of these days." Elisabeth stated, glancing at both Lewis and Rose. "You two are welcome any time."
"Thank you. And thanks for having us." Robert responded.
"It was my…" Elisabeth glanced down at Rose's neck and noticed Violet's locket dangling from it. "…pleasure."
Rose noticed Elisabeth's staring.
"Oh, I'm sorry dear, I just couldn't help notice your necklace. It really is beautiful."
Rose in fact completely forgot she even had the locket on. "Oh, thank you. It was my Mom's."
"Oh, is that so." Elisabeth said through gritted teeth, but still having a smile on her face. "Well it was nice having you. Come again."
And Elisabeth Burke watched as the three of them headed into the car and drove away.
Elisabeth rushed to her bedroom. It can't be, she thought. Once there she walked towards her closet and pulled out an old dusty box. She placed it on her bed and opened it. Inside it was several things, but the one thing she pulled out was a photo album.
She didn't have to look far to find what she was looking for. She glanced down at an old picture of herself as a teenager and a girl. The girl had blonde hair and blue eyes and was wearing the exact same necklace as Rose Collins. In fact, the more Elisabeth looked at the photo, the more she realized that the girl in the photo and Rose looked alike. But it is, Elisabeth thought. The girl in the photo was none other than Violet, Rose's mother.
Hope everyone liked the chapter! Just so you know, I wrote the beginning as well as the Burke/Collins scenes and Maddie wrote the Cromwell/Wood scenes.
And also I would really appreciate it if you could vote for my cousin's dog (aka the real life Bear). Bear is in a contest and it'd be awesome if he won! :)
Here's the link: http:/wciuDOTcom/udogDOTphp?section=vote (replace the DOTs for "."s)
I know this chapter is kinda crappy (I was pressed for time), so I promise the next one will be better!