Sorry about the wait folks. So much stuff. Please enjoy this next bit. Oh and if you want a special guest appearance of Hellboy's kids in the next chapter please leave a shout out!
Life was interesting for Lucinda when she woke up to find that there were not one but two new guests to the family house. Two which she had only heard of from stories her father told her, people she had thought were dead. She was technically right on both accounts since one was a ghost and the other was made up of several dead men. But when she meant dead it meant died and gone to the other side or heaven depending on what you believed in. According to her uncle the afterlife is made up of many places to go from purgatory, hell, the seven hells, heaven, reincarnation, and so on and so forth. Too much to go into at this time. It can be quite the college paper topic.
"Ah so you are Van Helsing's youngest. A bit scarier than I imagine." The ghost of a friar said observing her as a man of scholarly interest.
"I take after my aunt Lydia." She said widening her eyes slightly causing the ghost to shrink back a little. One can't blame him he lived in a different time period and spent most of his afterlife in the libraries of various places not getting out much. Unless he was asked to otherwise, such as his trip to visit an old and dear friend.
"The one who married that frightful ghost chap?" The idea still did not make sense to the ghost friar as he truly believed that death ended marriage. Till death do you part, isn't that the way it goes? The loophole is if the two were alive when married death separates when one of the couple dies. But if one is dead and the other alive. It just has no bearing.
"The only aunt I know of." She said coming down the staircase in her long dark bath robe with the spider web trim. Since she was still under the weather her face was paler than normal and with the restless night of sleep she had her eyes were getting dark circles. Oh yes she was starting to resemble her aunt in many ways. But by the same token she resembled much of her mother in personality.
"Lucy you should be back in bed resting." Her father said in a light scolding tone.
"I just wanted some orange juice, Dad. I should get up every now and again anyway. It's supposed to be better for your health" She said moving over to the kitchen where a lovely ghost lady was trying to finish up a surprise breakfast in bed for the sick girl.
"I was going to make you breakfast in bed." See? Barbra is quite a lovely lady.
"It's alright. I just came down to get some juice. Not make myself breakfast." She told her as she grabbed a glass from the cabinet and headed to the fridge for her juice.
"I was hoping that it could be a surprise." Barbra chatted as she was working on an omelet. At this point she had just put the eggs in the pan that were cooked to the smell of heavenly butter, onions, peppers, cheese and tomatoes.
"I have a solution." Lucinda put a hand over her eyes. "I didn't see anything and I shall leave the room not knowing anything." She continued to have her eyes shut as she backed away out of the kitchen. Making grand gestures as she repeated the words like a silly mantra stirring a giggle out of Barbra. It became a snort when Lucinda backed up into Adam spilling the juice on him. Most of it went right through him as a ghost he can't handle his liquids very well. Some of it did however wind up on his hair and glasses.
"Well…that's one way to get a drink." He wiped away the juice that was staining his glasses. Lucinda staying true to her word did not remove her hand from her eyes and continued to leave the room. Leaving the ghost couple alone.
"You think this is hilarious, don't you?" He asked his wife. Who shook her head rapidly to say no, but was betrayed by another snort like laugh. In good humor he laughed along with her.
Meanwhile Carl, Victor the Frankenstein Monster, Hellboy and Van Helsing chatted quietly amongst themselves about plans of action they could take to ensure the safety of not just Lucinda but whatever else could be testing the waters of destruction. Many ideas were passed around, but with the limitations of the Bureau's requirements they were unsure of how well they could execute such plans. The days of bandit like adventures were long behind them they had more rules and far more attraction by one too many interested parties. How could they even accomplish some of these plans without alerting or attracting the wrong attention wondered the four of them.
"It's not like the good old days is it boys?" Carl asked as he well aware of the time poured the others a drink of fine red wine.
"The only part that was good about those days was the way we could get rid of the evil in silence and not have to deal with the media." Hellboy said whilst he chugged his beer. He did not care much for the brandy or wine. Beer was his drink of choice.
"The one thing we have agreed on thus far as being a plausible solution to a small portion of the issues at hand. And that is with my position at Deadly Nightshade I can keep a closer watch on that unholy demon." Victor said sipping his wine quite carefully as not to break the glass with his unnatural strength.
"Hey!" Hellboy said crossly to the stitched up dead man to his left.
"I did not mean in your case Mr. Hellboy." Victor said. For he was quick to apologize to someone who was well renowned as a vicious fighter.
"What case did you mean?" Hellboy said his brow arched in order that he believed the explanation should be good for a laugh that is.
"Really now the two of you choose to bicker?" Gabriel said in an amused tone of voice. He swirled the red liquid of his drink awaiting an answer from the two.
"I guess it was about time for a fight. But normally it involves the fist." Hellboy responded as he stretched out his rock like hand's fingers.
"When doesn't it for you Hellboy? Remember that job back in Berlin, Warsaw, Budapest, and Vienna? Just to name a few."
"Glad you only named a few." Hellboy said sarcastically as he went for another beer.
"If I were to name all the cities and places you had started a brawl we would be here for three days. In order to check that we didn't repeat one and forget one." Gabriel jested in mock toast to his friends who in turn followed and drank heartily in slight merriment before the weight of the seriousness of the meeting set in again. What were they to do?
The afternoon at the house was met with much more activity as the Deetz's Delia and Charles's awakening. Delia was set on the belief that inaccurate placement of art was not helping her granddaughter's health. Quick to work on her new sculptures that were to bring good health to her granddaughter began with the sound of power tools as she was sawing away at metal bits that would later be infused with clay and paint and soon to be broken glass. The hub bub of art making was keeping Lucinda awake so like many teens of her time she went online and blogged. She was a modest success in terms of blogs. True she didn't have a book deal yet like Julie did. But at least she had fans that were growing little by little. Unknown to her was that a certain king of the night knew which blog she wrote and planned to use it to his advantage with his attempts to charm the Van Helsing girl. How it vexed him that the girl's sickness was keeping him from going ahead with his plans.
"Would it be too big a feat for humans to have cures for their diseases?" he muttered to himself as he continued reading the blog. He found it not that different in terms of topics of most blogs by teenagers. But this one was certainly better written than most. So far he found that she was careful about not giving away too much information about herself. How is he supposed to understand her if she would not open up about herself? Reading the blog was useless! In anger he swatted the machine away and it fell to the ground almost breaking the screen. But then something caught his eye. The new blog alert. He picked the machine back up and placed it on the desk and began to read. This one was different from the others. Almost perfect. Perfect that it revealed more than the others, almost because it wasn't written by her. It was too forced, too much of a coincidence. Something was not right about it. But not to look a gift horse in the mouth he made notes of what was needed and formulated a plan. A plan that went into action the next day.
The next day was the breaking of her cold and the beginning of her return to school. Lucinda glad to be out of the crowded house was more than happy to be back at school. Vivi was all smiles with a well come back to school package. Which included make up work, get well cards and study muffins.
"Glad to see that you are back and look better than ever." Brad said as he patted her on the back. Pushing her a bit forward as he forgot that his strength. "Sorry."
"It's okay. I'm glad to be back. So what happened while I was sick?"
"You wouldn't believe it but nothing happened. Nothing of real interest. But Vlad is acting more brooding than usual. That's saying something for a vampire. You know what I mean?" She said bopping her head from side to side. Sham Spade or Beetlejuice was taking his time with being seen. He hid inside of Lucinda's textbook not wanting to listen to teenage girls babble about things he didn't really care about. He still kept an eye out for trouble and the occasional tasty bug on the school floor.
"I guess. Are we making you the exception to the rule?" Brad said leaning in on his girlfriend.
"Of course. I rather smile. Especially when you are around." She stroked the side of his ear that he went into mush mode over. Lucinda rolled her eyes in good humor at the gestures while she put in the combination of her locker. She was in for a surprise when she opened the locker door she found a pleasing perplexing surprise.
"Oh." She whispered catching the attention of her romance loving friend. Vivi with peaked curiosity watched Lucinda pull out a small bouquet from her locker.
"Those are beautiful." Vivi said in awe of the flowers. "Whoever sent them is quite the…"
"That pompous ass!" Lucinda shouted for the world to hear. Slamming the locker door with the flowers still inside. She marched in search of the one she called the pompous ass. Trailing behind in case of emergency Vivi and Brad kept vigilant watch. Lucinda found her target at the basketball court shooting hoops with several guys. When Vivi and Brad caught sight of who she was after realization dawned. Brad in order to help intercepted the ball. Giving way to grunts and shouts of Aw! Come on! He indicated to the others that someone wanted to speak to one of them. When that one was notified he left the court and the game started up again without him.
Max strutted up to the two girls who were not happy with him. Not that he bothered to take note of it. He thought that it was all a show one little word from him and Lucinda would be all over him. Amazing the male ego is as if falls into a complete sense of wrongness.
"Hey, Lucinda. You're feeling better being at school or is it because you came to see me that you are better?"
"Cut the crap Max. What was the deal with the gift in my locker?" Lucinda said pointing to the school that held the locker with the gift in question. Max looked at her then blinked once then twice. He didn't say anything but his face was giving the answer of confusion. "You don't know what I'm talking about, do you?"
"Not a single clue. But if you just come to terms with us being a couple then hey I'll get you something." His smile was all but comforting or likeable. Just annoying and sleazy.
"No, you need to come to terms with the fact that there is no us as a couple. Not even as friends." Lucinda told him flat out and with her friends in tow went back inside the building. Once inside the ghost with most appeared in character.
"So sweethearts we seem to have a mystery on our hands about who sent the gift." He made the bouquet appear. A most interesting group of flowers isn't it. Black calla lilies. Haven't seen these since the trip to meet the witchdoctor, boy that was a good vacation." Beetl…Sham Spade said with a reminiscing tone of his detective days.
"They aren't the easiest flowers to come by. They are really expensive." Vivi said admiring the color of the flowers.
"So we have established that the person has to be rich or at least has saved enough money to purchase a ten flower bouquet of black calla lilies. That cuts a few people from the picture." Like that he began to cut up photos of the student body. Not that there was any need. The realization of who it was that sent the flowers dawned on Lucinda. The realization did bring questioning to her mind. How did He know that black calla lilies were her favorite flowers?
"I'm going to go back to my locker and get my books meet you at the classroom." Lucinda went back to the locker and gathered her books like she had told them she would and there she found the one she knew had sent the flowers. His sleek form leaned against the lockers looking at her with the eyes of one who held no hidden agenda of any kind. "Why did you send the flowers?"
"Do they not please you? Please do be honest with me" Dracula said moving in closer like that of a jungle cat. Sleek and powerful with a mighty air of desire.
"I love these flowers how did you know?" She was honest with every word but she did not let her guard down around the alluring vampire. Who in turn did not have his guard down. The information he had received had now been proven accurate, but it was still being the air of being too perfect.
"I am glad that you have enjoyed the flowers, rare as they are they express motives of mystery and danger. But I need to tell you that they are not to dissuade you into thinking anything else than what should be kind. I wish to start a new with you." He said it with a caring tone. One that could melt the hearts of any girl this included Lucinda. Yet it was in a way that was not just simple lust or high school puppy love. It was much deeper than that and felt by both parties. The simple touch he soon gave of the flesh of the hand to lie upon the blushing cheek upon the face of Lucinda. The warmth and cool touch clashed in a sensation that gave a jolt of the heart. A beat went through Vlad forcing his hand to his heart in fear of the new sensation.
In haste the girl ran behind a column far from prying eyes. She fanned herself with her hand, waiting for the moment her heart would stop pounding. Inside her head a berating bundle of curses running through her head about her reaction to the touch of the vile vampire. How is he accomplishing these reactions?
The bell sounded throughout the air and throngs of students came forth to their classes ignoring the oddities of two in particular. All through the day the two felt stronger emotions than before in days past. Not understanding how or why. Nothing had truly changed around them to cast such emotions. Unless they took into account the dreams. Set in scenes they were of both fantasy and history. How could it be?
To answer but half of what it was that has been causing the confusion among the two is the force behind the emotions. At least by some extent it was by this force. The ones hidden in shadows were the ones pretending to be puppet masters.
"Sister we must push harder in the course of our actions!" The brother did cry.
"Clam thyself my brother. For soothe we must not protest too much in simple slowness." A sister doth said.
"No more should you be allowed to read the great master, for you truly murder Shakespeare. And yet your words do bear fruit. For causing the force of action to soon we have scared more than we need for these two to be. Urge the memories to simmer upon their minds and cradle them kindly. Allow their slumber states to blend with reality. No nightmares quite yet for their dues are coming and we shall be there for that time. Brother, keep close watch upon them." The brother he exits. "And sister do keep eyes on him. His love of herbs will cost us plenty should they become obsession." The sister who doth murder Shakespeare in tongue went off to do the bidding of her sister. Meanwhile the sister bended on knee did pray for success on the mission at hand. For they had a chance at success that should not be missed.
Try as hard as they might there was certainly something forcing their natures into a mode unknown. Vlad found that he was unsure of how strong his teenage body was when competing with his sensible mind. Longings of touch and silken caresses through lips upon lips and tongue upon neck. The feeling of deep rooted longing from uncertain origins lied upon his mind. How he wished for but one kiss upon her lips to ease the building blindness of his tension. If he could convince her to give one willingly then he will be one step closer to gaining her heart and become his bride.
"Count Dracula." He turned to find the blonde one of the hope to become brides. She was the one that acted as the most independent of the group. Willing to act on her own separate from the others in order to gain whatever it was that she wanted to gain. More than likely that is what she was attempting to do right now.
"What is it you want?" he said polite as well earned for the vampriess.
"Such a harsh tone towards a young lady. What have I done to warrant this?"
"Do I have to list everything?" A glance of flirtatiousness the blonde thought.
"Come now Count. We have had our good times. Some very good times." Her voice was low and seductive as she pressed her chest to his. Her breasts spoke volumes of the fun the two may have shared. "Why should they stop because of some little trashy nobody with a murderer for a father?"
"Because I have had little desire to be around you for who you are. Now with your lack of couth I see that those moments you seem to cherish so well are vulgar and only ones of lust. And you should know well enough that lust means nothing. Be sure to tell that to your clones. I'm sure their special days will amount to nothing as well." A look of fury did not etch her face but her eyes they were the brimstones of the fuming hell inside of her. They grew as the Count moved away from her. As soon as he was gone she summoned her sisters.
"What is it now?" The brunette asked with a roll of her eyes.
"Did you find another one of those lesser vampires coming after you again?" The red head said.
"You know we can just have him dealt with by our bodyguards." The brunette said flirtatiously hinting at the male vampires that followed the three around and protected them like lost puppy dogs.
"How many nights have either of you spent with Count and not told me?" The blonde asked her sisters icily. The two look to each other not in guilt or fright from the question. Not even confusion. It was more of should you go first or should I go first? The brunette with a toss of her short hair thought what the hay I shall go first.
"Not many. Actually I have been spending the least amount of time with him compared to the two of you. Actually this brings up a good point for me to tell you girls this. The three brides are being dropped to two." She emphasized with holding up two of her slender fingers almost in a victory pose.
"What?! You girls are dropping me?!" The Blonde accused them.
"Ah! Reality check sweetie not everything is about you." The brunette gave a head bop as she spoke but stopped when she began again. "I was talking about me, duh. I don't the Count that attractive anymore. Not when I have tons of other hottie vampire boys to choose from."
"Why have a boy when you can have a man?" The red head asked not condescending her once sister bride.
"Because the man in question holds little interest and I prefer to be interested in. Doesn't every woman?" The red head and the blonde both nodded in understanding.
"But why lose the chance at being Queens of the Vampires? There is only one king and he is the Count." The Red head nodded, but the brunette looked confused and made that clear as she asked this question.
"If he is the king of all Vampires then why is he called Count Dracula? I mean even when he was alive he was a prince/king so why Count?"
"Silly goose." The red head said patting her friend's head. "When he became part of the undead calling a prince attracted far too much attention. So he went with Count. There were so many of them that no one really kept track of them. He still had the elevated status of high society that he was accustomed to and he was not always observed with a magnifying glass. Understand?"
"I get it. But why still keep it after all of these years that have gone by?"
"Nostalgia, my friend. Plain and simple nostalgia, plus Count Dracula rolls down the tongue with more finesse than King Dracula." The brunette nodded again. The Blonde sensing that the silliness of the conversation was drawing at its end she was ready to draw an end to something else.
"You have made your decision and you must stick with it to the end. You are no longer welcome to be in our group. Off with you." She did dare to make a shooing motion at her no longer friend and sister bride. Shock fell over the brunette's features while the red head rolled her eyes.
"Come now. We cannot just kick her out of our circle like she was Victoria. She isn't doing anything wrong really to disgrace the name of vampire. All that she is doing is allowing us to have a better chance of convincing him to take a bride. Three may be a bitter reminder of what he has lost. Two not so much. Besides don't all Queen's need their ladies in waiting?" The red head reasoned with her still sister bride. The fellow sister bride nodded her head as she listened to the suggestion and reason of the red head. Thinking it over allowed her to say these words to the others.
"I see your point and reason. Fine she will not be banished to the lower ranks of the world. But she is still no longer on par with us. If that is an unacceptable deal to you than you can just resign yourself to your fate." The brunette signed more out of annoyance over the length it took her once sister bride to say this than annoyance of just her. Though it was mixed in there that's for sure.
"I will be as one has already said before. The lady in waiting is indeed a waiting."
"Good. Now go and pick us up some mocha lattes with sprinkles. And don't forget the biscotti." The brunette blinked once then twice before the blonde started to lose patience with her. Sensing that the storm was coming the brunette took off to gather the drinks, but she was going to make sure that there was a little something extra in one of the former sister's lattes.
Meanwhile Lucinda was staring at the dark flowers that she did love dearly, but at the same time found such a bothersome section of botany. So many things did enter her head at the true notion of the flower's meaning. Scenarios of the bad, but a fraction of good was peeking its way out. Similar to the way a bud forces itself through the hard dirt beds of snow in order to reach the warmth of the sun's rays. Ironic metaphor isn't it?
"The more you stare at that flower the more Dracula is going to think that you like him." Function stopped in Lucinda's brain at the outspoken words of Vivi. "If that's the case then you have a choppy road ahead of you to explain to your father. I can't imagine what he's think." Vivi's pose suggested thinking while Luncida's was that of a heart attack scare.
"What are you talking about?!"
"Nonsense mostly. I had to do something to get your attention away from those overpriced flowers and onto other topics of interest. Like the party coming up!"
"What party?" A bubble burst around Vivi's joy.
"You forgot already? Jeez no wonder you're a wall flower. You don't bother to remember people's parties. Even after they go through the trouble of inviting you, helping you shop for the occasion and get a date for said occasion." Deadpan Lucinda reminded her of something rather important.
"You do remember that the last thing you listed didn't pan out that well." Vivi glitches for a second before gathering her energy for a retort.
"Well that was a wrench thrown in by a monkey into our plans."
"Vivi say what now?"
"My point is that this is just a minor setback. There are still others out there."
"I think I'll go to the party alone and just get to know people." Vivi's bubble bloomed forth again.
"Great idea. There will be a ton of boys there at the party. You can mingle and see which one strikes your fancy and then boom! You have a date for Sunday!"
"I don't think we should set something like that up so soon. I just feel I still need to get to know the other students here. After all dating isn't as important as establishing better relations between humans and supernaturals."
"The best relation is that of the romantic variety."
"Is love all you have on the brain?"
"Well it's a big part of it. Oh maybe it's a sign that instead of some designer of overpriced fashion I should be a matchmaker in order to help all of those who wish to feel the warm and gentle caresses of love's tender heartbeat instead of the terrible pangs of loneliness and despair that form from not knowing who one's true love is."
"And as a side job you can write poetry."
"You know that could actually help my matchmaking business."
"How do you figure?"
"Well it would work exactly like this you see..." Vivi looks at Lucinda's face and figured out what she really meant. "You don't actually care to hear the explination of how it works, do you?" Her hands lay on her hips.
"Can't say that I really do. Sorry."
"It's alright. Not everyone wants to hear everything that someone has to say all the time. It just takes picking the right time to say the right thing. Speaking of saying the right thing, what are you going to tell your Dad if he notices the flowers you got today?"
"To be honest I haven't really gotten that far in my thoughts on that. Most of my thoughts have been on the meaning and possible hidden meanings these plants may have. So far too many theories not enough proof of either of them."
"Why don't you take the time and pop in on a visit with your aunt? Maybe she has a clue?"
"What made you think of her as the one to ask?"
"She's had experience, she's a reliable person, plus compared to the other female figures in your life that you have talked about. She seems like the best choice. Your sister is always out of town or studying like a manic, your grandmother is a bit shall we say out there and Ms. Sherman is well…too close to your Dad. I mean they work together, more of a chance of it slipping out before you can explain things to him."
"Makes sense to me. I'll visit her in the Neitherworld after school. The spectral side of me is starting to get restless."
"What does that mean?"