Chapter 1: Weeping Willows

Haven ran past the willow tree, out of breath.

"I'm going to get you!" A male voice yelled from somewhere behind her.

Haven let out a small laugh.

Ever since her father died it had been just her and her mother, but now that her brother William was back from business she felt as if they were a family again. Just then she heard the rustle of leaves come behind her. Haven lifted up her gray silk skirts and ran faster.

"Ahhhh!" William laughed as he sprinted closer to his sister.

Haven grinned as she looked behind her and saw an exhausted young man out of breath.

"Alright! I give in! You win again!" William panted as he collapsed onto the soft grass beneath him.

"For being immortal you really are quite slow and pathetic." Haven grinned.

"Vampire's are not always fast! I mean look at Mr. Gibens for Christ sake, that man can't walk a block without getting winded!" William let his head rest on the ground.

"I swear you are getting more dramatic each day, you are starting to remind me of mother." Haven pushed a piece of golden hair away from her eyes.

"Well it's comforting to know you get something from me." A voice startled the two.

A woman in a light blue gown emerged from the stone pathway behind the willow.

"Mother." William said as he stood up and brushed off his black pants.

"I see you two have been skipping your lessons this evening." She said as a stern look came to her face.

"Well we felt as if some fresh air was in order. You surely don't expect us to stay in that castle all day?" Haven smiled and walked up to her mother. She gave her a small kiss on the cheek getting a smile in return.

"Your majesty, your guests will be arriving shortly." A small servant said from the garden wall.

"Yes of course. Now you two may go and change. I'll expect you both at dinner in an hour; looking your best." The Queen said trying to hide her grin.

Haven and William bowed their heads as their mother left.

"Who do you suspect is coming to dinner?" William asked quietly.

"I have no idea, but I dearly hope it is not Mr. Black and his daughters…they could not keep their eyes off you the last time they stayed!" Haven said as her gown blew in the summer breeze.

"Well you can't blame them, I am quite dashing." William winked.

Haven looked in the mirror. She was wearing a long sleeved pale red gown and her hair was in an elegant bun.

"You look stunning Miss Dashwood." One of her maids said.

"Thank you." Haven sighed and put in her long diamond earrings.

Suddenly there was a knock on the door.

"Come in." Haven called.

Her brother slowly walked in the door.

"Why the long face brother?"

William was silent.

"William?" Haven stood up from her vanity and walked over to him.

"I was just told who is coming this evening." He said softly.

"Well who?" Haven smiled.

"The head family of the Northern Clan. They are here to discuss marriage." He forced his amber eyes to meet Haven's lavender ones.

"Marriage, but how can that be? You have not yet reached 150? Unless…." Haven sat down at her vanity and gasped.

"They are here for me aren't they? I am the eldest." She said both bewildered and enraged.

"Haven listen to me, you are the strongest, bravest, most beautiful woman I ever knew. Do you remember on your 19th birthday when you were turned; I hid behind your curtain and waited for you wake up?" William said as he grabbed his sister's hand.

Haven nodded slowly.

"I never left your side, nor will I now. You will get through this."

"I just don't understand! The Northern Clan has never mated with the Central Clan!" Haven started to breath heavy.

"Maybe we can fix this; there has to be a way." William put his hands on his sister's shoulders.

"We will fix this." He whispered to her. "I know we will."