Friday, September 7, 2012

Knox and Isaac: The Beginning: Chapter 1

 Hey guys!!! I am pretty excited to present the first installment of the Knox and Isaac story to you tonight. I know you're all pumped and are like whoa, that was quick. I kinda went on a writing frenzy this week and wrote part 1 of the intro. I already had the first chapter of the actual storyline ready to go, but this part was a little more complicated to write, the gspan . SO, I hope you like it.

That said, I have something else I would like to address. :) I've been getting a lot of people sending me messages through LIT Feedback regarding my blog stories--asking me questions, offering criticisms (which is perfectly okay), but not giving me a return address.

1. If you have a question, send it to my nighttempest gmail or leave your address when sending lit messages.

2. If you offer me criticism, which is welcome because it helps me understand my readers better, send me an email with a return address in case I don't understand. Please do not send me vague dislikes, one word critcisms over a comment as anonymous. If you didn't like something, tell me why and where in the story. This doesn't upset me in the least, it helps. Otherwise, when you do send those kind of comments or messages it seems like your trolling. LOL.

Quick second thing I wanted to say. Yes, I did muck up the the Cage/Gage situation. What had happened was...;P I initially started out with the name Cage, but felt it was so close to Cade that I kept getting confused, so I switched it to Gage. Crazy, yes indeed. But, I decided to change it back to Cage and will be fixing that nonsense within the next couple of days. So sorry about the confusion. Stay with me, sometimes I'm a mad hatter on the computer.

Thanks so much everyone and I hope you all like it. The playlist for this and for the next chapter will post with the next installment. ;)

With Thierry and Anton gone, the Haitians had taken up arms against the Royals. Growing in numbers, the enemy side had taken to making their own Rush with the last batch Thierry had given them. It wasn’t as potent, but it was still dangerous for everyone involved. The Guardians and their fellow Royal warriors were out every night—shifts filled with long hours, tired muscles, injuries that healed, but  ended with their emotions high on the scale. Micah and Cade were put to the test where Isaac was concerned, the small child being passed from person to person while his fathers were out there fighting for his future. They made time to watch their child grow, but it never felt like enough.

But the one person, Isaac wanted after Cade and Micah, never changed. A hulking male with bright blue hair, muscles that were made for killing, and ink that warded off the others around him—Knox was not exactly the nurturing type. Which is why he avoided Isaac like the plague, that and the fact that he knew it was wrong to care for your mate at such a young age.  He didn’t want to envision himself ever changing his mate’s diaper, or picking out his outfits, or playing with his toy cars. It seemed very wrong to be considered his uncle or anything of the sort. So, he stayed away.

That never stopped Isaac though. As soon as the tiny hellion could walk, he would run from whoever was watching him. He would go to look for Knox. Granted sometimes he didn’t make it far and would fall asleep under a desk or get distracted by Little Prince, but most of the time he knew right where his vampire was. Knox had taken to childproofing all his doors, built a baby gate to his private hallway, and even paid Hannah and Emma to cut the child off should he wander too far.

Again, Isaac would prove too clever for all that. He would always catch Knox when he least expected it. Avoiding all the gates and locks and going for a simpler approach. Knox could remember being ambushed by the toddler one Christmas Eve. The Royal was sitting in the library after Nova had gone to bed. He’d enjoyed hours of conversation with his brother, hanging out, talking about memories of when they were children.

Then there was a blissful silence, a time for Knox to kick back, relax and enjoy some downtime. The main lights were off, but the Christmas tree twinkled with brilliant white lights, complimenting the falling snow outside the cathedral style windows. Knox sipped his brandy, watching the beauty of winter. Not that he would admit it to anyone else should they happen by.

He set his drink down and felt someone in the room. Startled that he hadn’t sensed it sooner, Knox whipped around. His eyes slowly slid down until he saw who the intruder was. Looking up at him with wide blue eyes was Isaac. In little red striped pajamas and his dark hair a mess, the toddler held up a book silently, tucking a small blue blanket under his other arm.

“Damn it,” Knox cursed under his breath. “No, get back to bed before your dad comes looking for you.”

Isaac’s bottom lip trembled, his eyes tearing up. Knox turned away and pointed for the door. “Get out of here.”

“Ox,” Isaac cried softly, tugging on Knox’s pant leg. The kid couldn’t even say his full name yet and already he was driving Knox up the wall. It was getting harder and harder everyday—ignoring the little boy that was so beautiful he hurt to look at.

“No.” Knox’s reply was losing its edge. Little arms wrapped around his leg, holding on tight as Knox looked down. “C’mon kid, I can’t do this. It’s so wrong.”

Isaac started to cry, his little picture book falling to the floor as he held Knox’s limb tighter. “Ah crap. Don’t cry. You can’t be doing this to me.” With no other choice, because his heart felt like it was breaking, Knox picked up Isaac.

He bent down, grabbed the book, and plopped back into his chair. Isaac’s tears cleared instantly. The toddler snuggled within the vampire’s arms, his blanket tossed over his legs.

“Happy now?” Knox grunted. “You know this is wrong, don’t you? You live to torture me.”

“Book?” Isaac looked up with those sweet blue eyes.

Knox opened the book. “Don’t act all innocent with me. I know your game.” Isaac only smiled, patting the book happily—completely content in Knox’s embrace.

Fifteen minutes later, a lot of oohs and ahs from Isaac, and Knox found himself dumbfounded over the absurdity of the stupid book. “Goodnight light and the red balloon? Who the fuck says goodnight to this shit?”

“Goo night bur,” Isaac tapped the book. Knox looked down at the words, feeling a swell of dangerous emotion in his chest.

“Good nigh bear,” Knox repeated softly. “How do you know that? You’re two, you can’t read.”

“Goo nigh tar,” Isaac continued.

“Chair,” Knox corrected. “This is impossible.”

Not paying attention to the vampire’s words, Isaac snuggled into Knox’s chest and sighed, shutting his eyes.

“No, you can’t go to sleep here. Ah hell, kid. Why do you do this?” Knox couldn’t help, but put an arm around the toddler, inhale his scent, and feel something like affection for him. He knew what it really was, but he wasn’t going there, no way, no how.

“Knox?” Cade called sleepily from the door.

Feeling the blood drain from his face, Knox looked at Isaac in his arms with horror. Fuck, he thought, this is it. I’m done for.

“Yes?” He returned on alert.

“Please tell me he’s in here with you. I woke up and Isaac was gone. With Micah in the city until the morning, I’m down a set of eyes.”

Swallowing back his fear, Knox stood with Isaac still attached. “Right here.”

Cade sighed in relief then grinned. “Oh, now there is a Kodak moment.”

“You take a picture and this child will down one parent.”

“Yeah, right.” Cade yawned. “I’d whoop your butt before you ever laid a hand on me. Besides…” He grabbed a sleepy Isaac from Knox’s arms. “You wouldn’t want Isaac to be without his daddy? Would he?” Cade mused to his toddler, kissing his head and hoisting him higher on his waist.

“Whatever. Here’s the book.” Knox thrust the offending literature at Cade.

“He got you too, huh?” Cade smiled. “Ever since Maggie gave him that book, he wants someone to read it to him every five minutes. He’s even memorized the words. At one point, Micah almost had a heart attack. Thinking he could read already. Thought our boy was a genius.”

Knox pressed his lips together tight and narrowed his eyes at the sleeping toddler. “Yeah, a two year old that can read. That would be pretty crazy.”

“That’s what I said.” Cade chuckled. “He’s smart, but I think he can wait a while before he reads on his own. I don’t want him to grow up too fast.” The Guardian nuzzled his child’s hair and Knox was ready to burst out of his skin with anxiety.

“Wouldn’t want him to be eighteen overnight, would we?” Knox flicked his eyes away from the child.

“Eighteen! Dear God, don’t even say that. He’s only two and I have enough on my hands. I can only imagine him a teenager.” Cade wrapped the blanket around Isaac and smiled. “Well, have a good night. See you in the morning when Santa comes.” He winked.

“Yeah, have a good night.” Knox exhaled, letting all the hot air out of his body.  Welcome to my world, Cade. A world where your worst nightmare never ends, Knox sighed. Eighteen, he thought. If only.

The next year, things picked up. Oliver and Tate had made the decision to turn together and requested that Jacob Caldwell, Oliver’s father be the one to do it. Tate was a little skeptical. He still had a family, friends, and was worried what would happen, but he loved Oliver more. As the fairy tale saga continued among the compound, Tate wanted to love Oliver forever. They were turned on Valentine’s Day and a week later, they took a honeymoon to Europe to visit the vampire communities spread across the continent. They wanted the ‘full vampire experience’.

With them out of commission for a month, Jacob stepped in for his son and ran things on the managerial front, leaving Richard, Oliver’s former assistant and now Jacob’s second hand, to run Caldwell Industries. Nina formed quite the friendship with Jacob and offered him permanent residence at the compound as the new director. The old one couldn’t seem to handle her responsibilities and she ended up moving to Manhattan to live the city life. Jacob’s corporate experience proved worthy and his firmer hand with the Royals worked like a charm. Things with the Second City moved along smoothly. Five medi-centers opened that year to deal with immediate care for Rush stricken vamps and fight wounds. A church was also established in the heart of Soho. To the humans it was a private facility on the outside, but on the inside it was a place for the vampire community to worship the God of old, to wed in the new tradition as their prince and his mate had done, and to bless the newborns that were popping up all over the place. The church seemed to bring them all closer, to feel a little more human even when they knew they weren’t—it was a step towards balance.

Jessica and Frank were taking things one step at a time. He kept begging her to turn him, but she refused, wasn’t sure she could handle watching him die. The point came where he threw up his hands and left for a few days to stay at his and Knox’s bar, Sated. He slept on the cot in the backroom until she came looking for him, a complete mess without her mate. She fell to her knees and asked her to forgive him, for everything she had ever put him through. She loved him and she needed to finally let go of the past and really, really start a future with him. She needed Frank to make her life work. She needed the father of her children to be by her side forever.

That night, in the back of the closed down bar, while blaring Frank’s favorite Marilyn Manson album, Jess turned Frank into a vampire. A few weeks later, Frank took his Blondie down to Vegas for a little white wedding—Dan and Rowe tagged along. Dan refused to miss the event, no matter how small it was.

Isaac was five, Nanette only a few months older, and it was time for the two to start school. Harris was a small town only a little drive away from the compound. A good school district and safer than driving them to the city every day, the parents all agreed it was the best choice for their children. Armed with his Batman backpack and matching high-tops, Isaac was led to the vehicle—Nanette holding his hand the entire way. Micah crouched down to see Isaac’s teary eyes and pulled his child close.

“You’re gonna have so much fun, buddy. You and Nan are going to make lots of friends and…”

“I don’t want to go.” Isaac’s lip trembled. “I want to stay here with you and da.”

Nan put her head on Isaac’s shoulder. “Mommy says we have to go, Izzy. We’re gonna be okay.”

“See? Nan wants you to go with her. You wouldn’t want her to go all by herself, would you?”

Isaac sniffled and shook his head. “I’m gonna miss you though.”

Micah’s heart broke for his son. Those four little words tore him up inside. “I will be right here waiting for you when you get back. I promise, buddy. Da is going to drop you off and be there when you get out okay?”

Isaac rushed his dad with a hug—the little boy so small in his father’s large arms. “Show me how big you love me.” Micah smiled.

Isaac smiled, stepping back with arms stretched wide. “This big.”

“Oh my goodness, that’s pretty big, but guess how much I love you.” Micah stretched his arms wider with a playful growl. “This big!”

Isaac gasped and Nan giggled. The little boy broke into a fit of laughter as Micah swooped down and grabbed him, throwing him high in the air until Isaac begged for him to stop—smiling the entire time.

As the kids were put into the back seat and Cade along with Chloe got into the front, Knox stood inside the doorway. His heart pounded away. He should have said something to Isaac. Told the kid not to be afraid, it was just school, not the end of the world. He should have been the one to hug him goodbye. He should have been have said how much he…

Isaac pressed his hand to the window of the SUV, smiling right at Knox. The vampire’s eyes watered with unsaid goodbyes. I love you so big kid, I don’t have arms that wide. Knox thought and wiped his eyes before going inside.

Later that day, Isaac ran to his cubby at school for snack time. He was having so much fun. Forgetting that his parents were far away, he lost himself in all the crayons and books, the puppets their teacher had pulled out earlier. He and Nan ripped open their backpacks to see what their parents had packed with excitement. Nan gasped, lifting out a Hello Kitty container of Teddy Grahams and apples.

“What did you get?” She peered over.

Isaac’s eyes went wide. “Cheez-its and grapes!” They were his favorite. Delighted beyond belief, he put the container down and discovered a little paper bag at the bottom of his pack. “I got another one!”

“That’s no fair.” Nan pouted. “I didn’t get another one.”

Opening the little bag, Isaac grinned with a little noise of excitement. “Nan! Reese’s Pieces and smelly crayons!”

Nan frowned a little and Isaac smiled. “I’ll share them with you.” Her face lit up and the teacher called them over to grab their milk from the tray.

Even though he was a complete asshole, Knox had not been able to help himself. He always had chocolate to spare. So what was one bag and some crayons to him? Maybe not much to the vampire, but to Isaac, they were everything.

In the city, Mai sat down in her upstairs apartment and rubbed the small of her back. Her feet ached from all the standing. Her belly was so big, she was sure she was going to give birth to a small elephant, and her heart ached with loneliness. The last couple of years had been rough. She’d decided, after a lot of thought, to leave her home with the Yukuza— to strike out on her own.

With her father’s blessing, she opened the small tea house, and started her new life. It was hard work, being away from everyone she had grown up with, but she was determined to show her father she was more than a pretty face. Two months after she opened for business, her grandfather passed away. Her heart had ached for a long time. She knew that it was her father’s turn to take over the family business. She was sad and scared for him all at once. It was then, in her time of mourning, that she met Hank.

He was a contractor. She’d hired him to renovate the back rooms of the shop—open the space up for more tables and possible a private sitting area. He’d shown up the first day with his sweet olive green eyes and his shy smile. He kind of scrawny, but he was handsome to Mai. His kindness knew no bounds where she was concerned. Even while he was working, he always watched her, always was there to take the extra bag from her full arms or get her a glass of water when she was too busy to take care of herself.

When his job ended at the shop, Hank found more to do. He talked Mai into constructing a pagoda in the small Zen garden she had out back. Renovated the apartment upstairs to give her more closet space and widen the tiny bathroom. He built her new cabinets in the galley style kitchen and a few window boxes for her flowers. He never gave up on her, even when she struggled to accept his affections.

After a while, he wore her down and a romance bloomed between them. It wasn’t the elegant dining room restaurants, Broadway shows, and schmoozing she was used to with the Yukuza. Their romance involved walks through Central Park, a few hot dog stands, and a handful of daisies. To Mai, Hank was perfect.

They went along with no problems until Mai asked Hank to move in with her. He started acting strange, leaving before their favorite show came on—they always watched it together. He didn’t come in for lunch three times a week or offer to take her to the movies. He stopped talking about his friends and family, refusing to let her meet them. But there was always sex. Mai couldn’t resist the small touches or bits of affection when Hank was in the mood.

Unfortunately for her, the last time they had been together, was really the last time. Mai found herself pregnant and Hank wasn’t so happy about it.  Even though she had thought about it over and over, knew she was going to be okay. Thinking about that night still hurt her heart.

“I’ve got money in savings. First thing Monday, I want you to go down to the clinic and take care of it.”

Mai covered her mouth in shock. This was not the Hank she knew. Was she dreaming? “Get rid of it? I thought you would be happy! We’ve been together almost two years! What are you saying?”

“I’m not going to have this conversation, Mai. I don’t want a kid and that’s that.”

Mai grabbed his arm. “Why the hell not? Answer me, damn it!”

“Because.” Hank’s face was flushed, he was nervous, and he should have been. “I already have three of them.”

“What?” Mai felt her world spin as Hank stepped back and grabbed his jacket.

“I already have a household to support and I can’t afford another mouth to feed. It’s bad enough that I have to take you out every five seconds, spoil you rotten, and empty my wallet.”

“Another household? Spoil me with a hotdog if I’m lucky?” She whispered. Who was this man? This couldn’t be happening to her.

“It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with you. I thought, look at her Hank, isn’t she beautiful? She’s lonely just like you are. You’re wife never shows you this kind of attention, why not live a little? But I couldn’t stop with you. I just couldn’t.”

“You’re married?” Mai snatched his hand up, flipped it over to see the callous where a wedding band would be. “You’re married. How could you do this to me?”

Knowing he was in deep shit and this was not going to end well, Hank went for the door. “I’m sorry, Mai. I can’t do this with you anymore. My wife, we got problems as it is. I can’t have another kid, not with you. It’ll ruin everything.”

“Like you ruined me!” She blocked him from going through the door. “You said you loved me. You lied to me, your wife, and your children. How dare you.” She slapped at his hands in a rage that consumed her.

She trembled on the spot. This was really happening. She was a mistress to some man she thought she knew. It all made sense now. How he didn’t want to move in, how he always left at a certain time, and never brought her to meet his family. She had been blind because she was in love.

“I’ll leave a check for you on Monday.” He blocked her slapping hands, bumping her away from him. He flung the door open to the back stairs. “I’m sorry, Mai.”

He slammed the door in her face, his footsteps loud down the metal staircase. Mai clutched the wall and let out a painful sob. She slid down the wall, a hand over her still flat belly, and cried her heart out. The time came when she couldn’t cry anymore—her eyes dry of tears and her mind blank. A place that she knew all too well in her own mind.

After staring at the opposite wall for a few hours, she knew what she would do. The one thing she did know for sure? She would not got give this baby up, no matter how big of a bastard the father was.  She had been knocked down before, over and over in the worst ways possible. She would not be victim again. Getting up, Mai went to the small two person table and picked up her phone. The only male she would ever trust answered on the second ring.

“Chi Chi?”

“Mai-chan,” Mizuki spoke warmly. He hadn’t heard from his daughter in weeks. He missed her terribly. “I am so glad you called.”

“I have to tell you something.” Her voice was too calm. Mizuki knew something was wrong.

“Are you alright, Mai-chan? You sound…”


Mizuki was silent for a few moments. He would have smiled with joy had it not been for her tone. “ You’re pregnant? I didn’t know you were with anyone. Then again, I have not spoken with you in a while.”

“Two years now.” Mai ignored the loss in her father’s voice. “I was with him for almost two years, but he was with his wife for longer.”

“Wife?” Mizuki narrowed his eyes. “Did she pass away?”

“No, she’s alive, raising their three children in his home.” Mai sat in the chair and stared out the window to the busy street below. Her voice chilled Mizuki to his very core. “He said he’d leave me a check, to get rid of it.”

“You will do no such thing!” Mizuki slammed a fist on his desk, standing in anger. “That is my grandchild! Who is this man, Mai-chan? Who is he!”

Mai knew that if she gave Hank’s name to her father, he was as good as dead. You didn’t mess with a daughter of the Yukuza, shame her, abandon her with child and live to tell about it. She suddenly flashed on her walks in the park with Hank, his beautiful eyes, the eyes that his children probably had. As she stewed silently, her eyes cold to mask her grief, she shook her head.

“I can’t tell you that.”

“Yes!” Mizuki growled. “You will tell me who this man is that hurt you, a man who would leave my daughter this way!”

“I only called to let you know, I’m keeping the baby.”

“Of course you are.” Mizuki sighed. “Mai-chan, let me fix this. I know you are hurting. Even in your silence, I can feel it.”

She continued to watch the people go to and fro below. Knowing some of them shared a pain like hers. “Life has never been fair to us. What would it fix if Hank disappeared? His children would be without a father. His wife, who most likely loves him, will be just as stricken as I am now.” She curled up in the chair. “I am not the first woman to be abandoned by a man in this world and I won’t be the last. I will have no part in his death. I moved out of the Yukuza home for a reason and you know this.”

“How can you be so calm? I don’t understand.”

“Because I’m done crying over things I can’t change. I couldn’t save my mother from cancer. I couldn’t save Bou-kun from himself. I couldn’t make Hank love me enough to care. I cannot change the things I do not control. I can only make decisions for myself and I choose...” She took a deep breath. “I choose not to give up.”

“You have me Mai-chan. You will always have me.”

Mai ran her hand over the table top in thought. “I know Chi Chi. I know.”

Looking back only hurt her more and Mai wiped her eyes. She was due any day now. A little boy would share this apartment with her, a tiny baby to fill the empty parts of her life. A hand over belly, Mai smiled.

“I promise you my little Nori. I will never let you know pain or struggle. You will be loved above all others, forever mine.” She kissed her fingers tips and pressed them to her stomach, feeling her baby kick back.

Rush was moving over the drug front, going from a minority party favor to the talk of the club scene in the city. Due to the rapid production the Haitians had going, it was cheap, easy to get, and the dealers so many, they were hard to take out in mass. Nina, along with Rowe and Dan, had to put a stop to it somehow. You couldn’t jail the dealers, because they were in cahoots with the enemy—vampires could break them out in a snap. The cops had no idea what to make of the drug and they were being kept quiet by the managers.

The Cartel was trying to push other drugs in place of the Rush, but nothing hit the spot like a bit of vamp blood and a high so extreme it lit your nerves on fire. Even the Yukuza couldn’t keep up. Their specialty was weapons and they were busy keeping the vamps stocked and cleaning up their own turf. J.J. and Mizuki still had yet to develop an alliance between them. Both too stuck in their own ways, stubborn traditions and a cultural divide that didn’t sit well with either of them.

It was a mess and as the Royal population grew, the queen had no choice, but to declare execution upon any dealer or creator of the drug. It was the only way to cut the ties that continued to grow. Theo, now experimenting with every line of prevention he could, had tried to rehab a few of the humans who had taken the drug with no positive results. The humans developed an addiction to the distorted vamp blood component within Rush that made it almost impossible to counteract. The few human addicts in the doctor’s care had ended up killing themselves on the compound premises, the withdrawal too much to handle, and Theo had taken their deaths to heart.

That night, after a lot of drinking and weeping over his failures, he went to Rowe and begged to be changed—to turn so he could do the work he needed to do without hurting anyone else.

“I have to be one of you to understand it all! I won’t hurt anyone else! I was trying to help them. They didn’t deserve it. I didn’t…oh God.” He slurred his words, his nose running as tears stained his mocha skin. “I’m so sorry. Forgive me.”

Nova stepped into the room, having heard the commotion from the hall, and kneeled beside the doctor as Rowe crouched down. “Theo, it wasn’t your fault. You need to stop blaming yourself for that of which you didn’t do.”

“Yes, I did!” Theo screamed at Nova. “I helped create this! Every death, every addict, every life ruined is my fucking fault!”

“Theo.” Nova grabbed the man’s shoulders. “What you did to me was not your fault. They made you give up your life and took away your family, killed them in cold blood. You are not to blame, they are.” Nova wiped the drunken tears from Theo’s cheeks. “You have given your blood, sweat, and tears to help our kind. Without you, we would be nowhere and that is the honest truth. If you wish to turn, to better yourself, to keep fighting against this liquid enemy, I will do it.”

“Nova, I don’t think you…” Rowe began in awe, but Nova put up a hand.

“Theo, I offer you eternal life for your service to us, to me. I forgive you for laying hands on my body under forceful treatment and hold nothing, but gratitude in my heart to you. Do you accept this, do you accept my offer?”

Theo looked up into Nova’s kind eyes—dark as coal, but the light within them was so pure he wanted to cry again. “Yes,” he whispered.

That night, Nova took Theo to his rooms and shut the door. He wasn’t sure how to proceed, what would be the most comfortable for the doctor who looked ready to crawl out of his own skin. He knew the intimacy that was involved in the turn, or rather, the gentle touch he wished to give the good doctor instead of a clinical service of eternal life. Being quiet himself, Nova looked at this opportunity in a new light.

This was a chance for him to open up to another person in a different way. Sure he had become part of the family, he had learned so many things, and resumed the bond with his older brother, but he had never allowed himself to be open in a pleasurable way. The thought brought up terrible memories for him. Pleasure was connected to torture in his mind, but with Theo, he knew he was safe somehow. Despite the way they had met, he could still remember Theo being gentle during all the tests. He never raised a hand or spoke ill to him—Theo, always with the kind eyes that had been his only solace in hell.

“What do you need me to do?” Theo sat on the bed, putting his head in his hands.

Nova approached the bed slowly, feeling Theo’s emotions as if they were his own. “I wish you would relax. Your anxiety reflects on me.”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you nervous.” Theo trembled. “Never done this before.”

“Obviously.” Nova smiled before clearing his throat. “One last time, Theo, are you sure?”

“You know, I’ve thought about this day for a long time.” Theo turned to see Nova right beside him. He scooted over so the vampire could sit. “I think to myself, what do you have left, Theo? Why would you want to live forever when your wife and child are dead, murdered by the people who got you into this mess.”

“Why do you want to live forever?” Nova asked quietly, feeling the renewed pain in Theo’s heart.

“I’ve been in this since the beginning, Nova. I’ve seen so many terrible things happen to your race, but I’ve also seen the good. I’ve watched the children grow. I’ve watched people I now call friends fall in love. I’ve watched and been a part of so many miraculous medical discoveries and I think to myself, what would happen if I were gone? Would they miss me? Would I cause grief to the people I’ve grown to call family? Would I leave this world in the middle of a time when I was needed most? Is it selfish for me to give up the lifespan I was given, to live forever, when others die every day like they were meant to? Is it wrong for me to want this so badly, even if it wasn’t about the Rush?”

Nova couldn’t help himself. He took Theo’s hand in his and cradled it tenderly. “You are like family to me. I would miss you if you were gone. I would grieve in your absence and I know the others would too. I speak for my race when I say you are needed and cherished for your ability as well as your heart.  You are the least selfish person I know and fate gave me the courage to give you this gift. For you above any other, deserve it the most. It is not wrong to want something that was always meant to be. I believe in my heart that God sent you to us for a reason. As you were a gift to us, we wish to cherish you for the rest of our days.”

Moved to tears all over again, Theo allowed Nova to embrace him. Theo’s scent was equivalent to fresh apples, drawing Nova closer. He tried to push the sexual thoughts from his mind, the thoughts that the blood under the doctor’s skin evoked, but it was futile effort. His length hardened in his linen pants. His fingers tightened over Theo’s back. He knew it was the blood calling just like every other time he had to feed. He knew in his heart that Theo was not his to keep, but the connection they shared, the same longing for more, bound them as sacred friends. Friends sometimes shared intimacies too and Nova wondered if Theo felt the same.

In Nova’s arms, Theo felt the erection press into his thigh. He felt Nova’s heartbeat against his cheek and he took a deep breath. Vampires were sexual creatures. His medical knowledge knew this to be true. The scent of blood excited them, aroused them to a point where they could climax if only from the taste in their mouths. He knew Nova was gentle, quiet, and probably scared at the reaction he was having towards him, someone he knew better than a simple feeding.

On the other hand, even though Nova was a man, Theo felt complimented that the vampire found him attractive in that way. Despite the memories Nova most likely remembered of sex, what the act itself must bring out for the poor soul, Theo felt honored that he had not run away. Battling with his sexuality momentarily, Theo exhaled—his decision made. If Nova would honor him, open up in such a way that he never had before, he would accept this and return the attention between them.

Nova was beautiful for a man, Theo had to admit. It was nothing he had not seen before, felt, touched. He knew Nova’s body better than anyone, and if he was honest, he missed the close contact they had together. They were friends and sometimes friends shared moments together that took it to another level—a level that would only be between them, never going further, but always a memory. This would be one of those moments.

“It’s okay, Nova.” Theo finally caressed Nova back—showing him he wasn’t scared of what was to happen. “I’m not afraid.”

“I am,” Nova whispered, his fangs descending. “What if I can’t do this? What if I hurt you? This is…different.”

Feeling the vampire’s thick hair through his fingers, Theo made the first move. He brought his lips to Nova’s collarbone, swallowing back his mainstream fear of never having been with a man. The vampire tensed at the soft kiss to his skin. There were no screams of hate, no whips to his back like in the past, only a slight panic. He had never been kissed there or anywhere before—never showed that kind of affection that was supposed to go with this level of affection. A tear slipped down his cheek. His hand went to the stubble over the back of Theo’s neck.

The doctor trailed his lips up Nova’s neck, small kisses up his chin, before hovering over his mouth. Nova was as still as a statue, but his eyes swirled gold with want.

“May I?” Theo looked into Nova’s eyes, the tears that fell from them. Nova nodded and Theo pressed his lips to the vampire’s. No tongue, no grabbing at his clothing, only a gentle press of his lips. When Theo leaned back, Nova burst into tears. “Nova, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. God, what you must think of me!”

Instead of saying it out loud, Nova pulled Theo to him and cried. He’d never known such a simple sweetness—a gesture that rocked his ideals of intimacy, to let anyone touch him that way. He held Theo to him until his tears subsided. “I am most glad you did. Thank you, Theo. Never has anyone cared this much. I didn’t think it possible.”

“You liked it?” Theo swallowed, leaving enough room to look at Nova.

“Yes,” Nova admitted shyly. “I don’t think I could have done that with anyone else.”

“Me either,” Theo confessed, bringing a smile to Nova’s face. “Never kissed another man before either.”

“Me either.” The two broke into a quiet laughter, filling their hearts, and lightening the mood of the room. “Do you still wish to do this?” Nova looked down when Theo nodded along. “I…I would ask one thing though.”

“Anything, Nova.” Theo gripped his shoulder.

“I am attracted to you, truly I am, but I know that you are not mine.” Nova took a deep breath. “I would ask to save the act of love for my true mate. If that is what you had in mind.”

Theo smiled. Nova was a beast inside, but he had been so submissive for so long, that he was able to control himself better than any vampire Theo had ever seen. If Nova wished to save his first true encounter of passionate intercourse with his one and only, Theo saw no problem with that. In fact, he was kind of relieved, but more so, he found the pledge endearing. Whoever Nova’s mate was, he or she was a very lucky being indeed.

“No sex,” Theo agreed. “Not that I didn’t want to or anything, I just uh…”

“I feel the same.” Nova kissed Theo softly, reassuring him. “But I still wish to taste,” he whispered heatedly, bracing an arm around Theo’s waist, arching the doctor to his chest. “To feel if I may?”

The doctor couldn’t help his response. “Yes,” he breathed

Theo shuddered as Nova licked the skin of his neck slowly before fangs pierced his neck. No warning, which was probably for the best, Theo gave over to the pleasure that filled him. That night, he let Nova explore him, turn him, and change his life forever. Suarta recorded his turn as she did with all the others now. Their research developed into a medical text for all the vampires to have on reference. Mainly for the younger generation as they began to grow.

Three years later, Knox had taken a blade to the chest. There had been too many of them outside the club in the alley, only him against six Haitian vamps, and Frank was nowhere to be found. Two human girls, barely eighteen, shrank into the corner. Knox fought for all that he worth to keep them safe. His gun was out of bullets, his blade knocked out of his hand. The wind pushed out of his chest as he was slammed into the wall.

Frank had come into the alley right before the Haitian twisted the blade into Knox’s heart. The group took several shots to the chest, a few to the face before the other two guards at the club showed up to finish off the show. Knox was rushed to the clinic nearby. The knife had to come out sometime.

Eight year old Isaac was sharing a bed with Cage that night, the two fell asleep watching an R rated movie that they weren’t supposed to be watching. Suddenly, Isaac sat up with a gasp. He fell off the bed before scrambling to his feet to look around. He couldn’t stop the beat of his heart, the feeling of fear rushing through him. He thought he was having a heart attack. He couldn’t breathe.

“Cage!” He cried, the tears starting to fall as he went into full panic mode.

Startled out of his sleep, seven year old Cage looked around until he found Isaac on the ground clutching his chest. “Izzy!”

“Get my…please get them.” Isaac folded in on himself and Gage nodded, running as fast as he could to Cade and Micah’s room. “Uncle Cade!” He beat on the door. “Uncle Micah, wake up!”

Cade whipped the door open, barely having time to pull his pajama bottoms on. He took one look at Gage’s terrified face and went racing down the hall for his son. “Micah!” He called as he ran.

Micah appeared in the hallway, feeling Cade’s fear mirroring his own. Maggie and George came down the hall from their rooms to join them. When they all went into Isaac’s room, Cade was holding his son to his chest on the floor.

“It’s okay baby. You’re okay, just a dream. It’s okay,” Cade whispered, trying to calm his son down. Thinking Isaac was half dead, he could barely breathe.

“It won’t stop, da,” Isaac sobbed.  “It hurts.”

“Come on, let’s go see, Theo.” Cade lifted his son in his arms and marched past Maggie and George. Micah held onto Isaac’s free hand. Together they went upstairs to wake Theo. But as it turned out, Theo was already awake. The clinic upstairs was buzzing with activity.

“What’s going on?” Cade demanded.

King turned around. His eyes fell on Isaac and he pushed a guard out of the way. “He hurt?” In full father mode, King waved them inside. “Knox took a blade to the chest, real close call. They pulled it out, but the blade was in there so long, the flesh tried to knit around it. They had to pull it out again and he’s lost so much blood. He’s in bad shape, Cade.”

Isaac heard Knox’s name, struggling in his dad’s arms. He slid to the ground. “Isaac?” His parent’s called, but he ran into the clinic and stopped in front of Knox’s bed. “Isaac, you can’t be in the way, baby. Come here. We need to have you looked at.”

Isaac knew Knox didn’t want him around like he did the others, but he couldn’t die. He just couldn’t die. The pain in his chest swelled. He wiped his eyes on his arm.

Theo worked quickly to transfer another bag of blood to the metal rod above Knox. “It’s not working,” Nick hissed. “He’s still bleeding out.”

“I need more blood, damn it! Get me fresh flesh in here right now!” Theo checked Knox’s pulse again and it was then that Isaac knew what to do. He knew what Theo meant. Knox needed human blood. He ran to the metal tray next to Theo and snatched the little knife looking thing right up.

“Isaac!” Cade screamed.

He tried to push past the clinic staff, but it was too late. Isaac cut his arm and crawled on the bed. Theo and Nick stood back in shock at the tiny boy offering his blood to the dying vampire. Cade held his breath as Micah gripped him tight.  Knox shuddered below their son, his beast scenting the blood.

Theo nodded slowly. “Okay, Isaac, stay calm. Micah, Cade, what do you want me to do?”

“Let him do it,” Micah blurted.

“What?” Cade wrenched free. “That is our kid you are serving up as dinner to a dying vampire!”

“That is Knox in that bed, Cadence.” He leaned in close. “He is dying, damn it. Izzy looks up to Knox so much and gets shut down every single fucking time. Let our boy feel important for once, he will never forgive you if you pull him back,” Micah whispered fiercely in his mate’s ear. “Let him feel useful. He never gets the chance. Theo is right there. He won’t let anything happen.”

“If something happens to him and Knox takes too much.” Cade shook his head and pushed Micah away. “I will never forgive you.”

Micah stared at his mate, his fists shaking. “Go ahead, Iz.”

Isaac slowly leaned down, his blood dripping on Knox’s lips. He was so small sitting to the vampire’s side, tears staining his blue eyes, but he wasn’t afraid. They were all staring at him, waiting for him to screw up just like the other times. This time, Isaac had a chance to be brave, not weak. He pressed his arm to Knox’s mouth. The vamp’s eyes shot open, a furious swirl of gold, before his teeth sank deep into Isaac’s bloody arm.

Isaac’s mouth opened in shock, he felt like he was floating. Someone held his back, lowering him to Knox’s side. He saw his da above Knox, Cade wiping tears away. He saw Rowe run into the room, heard a fuzzy shout of rage.

“What the fuck is going on! Knoxtian!” He pushed everyone out of the way to stare at Knox with little Isaac wrapped to his side. “Isaac?” He leaned down to brush the hair out of the boy’s eyes. “Can you hear me?”

Isaac sighed from the happy place that overtook him and closed his eyes. An arm wrapped around him, Knox’s arm pulling him close to his chest. Knox could feel the strength returning to his body—the oh-so-sweet taste of his secret mate giving him the energy to heal his wound for the second time. His fangs retracted after a battle of wills. He couldn’t take too much. He could feel the boy starting to get sleepy. His head tilted to the side, nuzzling into Isaac’s hair as his eyes closed to the world.

“Theo?” Rowe whispered next to Cade who was gripping the railing of the bed.

Theo checked the monitor with a smile before inspecting the knitting wound on Knox’s chest. “He’s going to be just fine. Isaac just saved his life.”

Filled with emotion, the crowd gathered watched the Royal in the bed holding the little boy close, both of them fast asleep.

Cade covered his mouth and sat down on the stool his mate pushed forward. Micah, forgetting the spat they had just had, looped an arm around his mate and let him cry into his chest. “Our boy is a hero, baby. He’s going to be fine. You heard Theo,” Micah assured with pride.

“I don’t know how to handle this,” Cade whispered. “I thought…God I thought. I don’t even know.”

“I know, baby. I know.” Micah kissed his forehead.

The room emptied out and everyone went to get some sleep. Cage, Nanette, and Axel were huddled outside the door—fast asleep in a small pile under the watchful eyes of Hannah and Emma.

Cade and Micah were conversing at the end of the hallway—the Original still not coping well with his son’s actions or Micah’s. They whispered back and forth as the fourteen year old twin girls had their own conversation.

“I can’t believe Izzy cut himself like that, for Knox of all people.” Hannah looked at her twin who played with the drawstring to her hot pink skull pajama bottoms.

“He’s so desperate for Knox to like him, Han.  I think he would do just about anything. It’s weird though…” Emma looked to the clinic door where Knox and Isaac still slept.

“What is?”

“Gage said Isaac had his panic attack just as they brought Knox in. He was all the way downstairs, Hannah. It’s friggin spooky that it was at the same time.”

“You mean you think he’s got some Guardian shit going on?” Hannah perked up with interest. “Wouldn’t that be nuts, Isaac’s real father some secret Guardian?”

“No. I didn’t mean that. It’s just reminded me of how mom wakes up when dad is hurt or in trouble, when he’s not here. You know what I mean?”

Hannah snorted. “Yeah, okay, well mom and dad are not Knox and Izzy. It’ll be a cold day in hell before that asshat ever even thinks about Izzy like that. Poor kid, I feel bad for him.”

“Yeah,” Emma muttered. “Me too.”

Maggie cleared her throat, startling the girls. “It’s bed time ladies. Your mother is waiting downstairs.”

Maggie had heard the entire conversation, her heart breaking all over again. Emma had no idea how right she really was.

“Come on gran, we we’re just talking.” Hannah sighed.

Emma smiled. “Hannah, come on.” She leaned in and whispered. “We still have things to do anyway.”

“Fine.” Hannah rolled her eyes, playing along. “I guess we should go.”

Crossing her arms, Maggie knew all too well what they were up to. She’d fallen victim to their little spy game years ago. “Just make sure to keep your little operation PG this time, hmm? Jacob found your little camera in his room yesterday when he had company.”

“We have no idea what you’re talking about.” Hannah grabbed Emma’s arm and pulled her along.

“But if you did,” Maggie called after them. “You would probably be interested to know there’s a new family moving into the left wing. I hear they have a teenage son, who used to be in a band.”

Hannah and Emma stopped, looked at each other, and ran off laughing with excitement.  After they had disappeared, Maggie looked down at Isaac’s entourage. The three children who had tried to stay awake for their friend in need, but had fallen asleep in the process. Knowing they were safe and sound, she slipped into the clinic doorway and pulled a chair to the bed.

She reached out, planting a hand to Isaac’s back just to feel him breathing. A tear fell down her cheek at the sight before her. Knox had the boy in a tight embrace, a blanket covering them both. Even Cade had tried to pry the sleeping boy from the Royal, but it had been of no use. Knox, even in his sleep, refused to give the little boy up.

When the sun came up the next morning, Cade and Micah were still there. The first time that Knox stirred. They took their son back downstairs—leaving Knox all by himself. Feeling Isaac and all the others away from the clinic, Knox opened his eyes and wept. He rolled onto his side, wrapped his arms around himself and fell asleep with tears as his only company.

Two years later, Isaac sat on the stoop of the back garden steps. He watched the others celebrating Yuri’s son, Jaska’s birthday. Running around, laughing, and sword fighting with sticks—all the kids were having a good time, but he didn’t feel much like playing. Jaska, only seven, had received a birthday present from Knox. A present from the man who had never given Isaac so much as a birthday card in his entire life.  He wanted to cry at the beauty of the small blade Jaska had been given. He wanted to scream why me! Why do you hate me so much! But, he didn’t because it wasn’t his birthday and he didn’t want to upset his friend.

Noticing his son all by himself, Cade casually walked over and sat down. “Did you get any cake? It’s really good.” He nudged his son with a smile. “I think pop had enough for all three of us.”

Isaac cracked a smile to satisfy his da. “Yeah, I had a piece.”

“You wanna go for a walk?” Cade rubbed Izzy’s back, looking out at the party.

“No thanks. I’m good here.”

“People watching?” Cade chuckled. “You are so much like your pop it kills me. He notices everything before I do.”

Isaac shook his head. “I’m not like pop at all.”

Cade frowned. “Sure you are. You’re kind, sweet, smart.”

“But I’m not strong like you guys. I can’t keep up during training with Gage and Axel and their younger than me. I can’t even reach the top cupboard.” Isaac’s eyes wavered. “No one looks at me like them. Knox won’t even speak to me during class unless he’s yelling at me. Uncle Dan is always asking me what’s wrong in that sad way and I know he thinks I’m pitiful. Look at Jaska.” Isaac pointed. “He’s seven and they already like him better.”

“Isaac Hightower, you look at me.” Cade’s eyes swirled. “You are loved by this entire compound. Everyone knows how brave and strong you are. I know how amazing you are. You might be smaller, but you have a lot of fight in you and anyone who doesn’t see that is…well, they’re a dumbass.”

Isaac cracked a smile. His da never swore in front of him. Cade gripped his son’s shoulder. “Do you hear me, Isaac? You are just as good as anyone else if not better. I’m kind of biased on that part because you’re my kid, but it’s the truth. One day, you’ll feel it in here too.” He put a hand over Isaac’s heart.

Knox walked by, holding his breath as he had heard every word the father and son had shared. He felt like shit and rightfully so. He was an asshole to that poor kid, but it was the only means of defense he had. He couldn’t very well coddle Isaac, hug him every time he cried or was teased by the others. He couldn’t wipe the tears away because it was too damn close for his comfort.

Cade narrowed his eyes at Knox’s back. He was a friend, a brother, yes, but it didn’t mean he couldn’t hold a grudge against the man his son looked up to like a God. Both he and Micah had noticed it from a very early age. For some reason, Isaac wanted Knox’s approval more than anyone else’s. The fact that Knox acted like Isaac was damn near invisible boiled his blood. But they had had it out on more than a few times and nothing ever changed.

“Da?” Isaac screwed up his brows. “You okay?”

Cade sighed. “Yeah, everything’s good. You ready for that walk?”

Nan chose that moment to run up to Isaac, taking his hand and pulling him to his feet. “You’re on my team. Axel can’t run as fast as you and Jaska is an idiot.”

“Nanette,” Cade warned. “That’s not very nice.”

“Well he is!”

“Jaska is in love with Nan.” Isaac laughed.

“Is not.” She narrowed her eyes, smacking him in the shoulder.

“Oh yeah?” Isaac pointed to where little Jaska stared at Nan making kissing noises.

She screwed up her face. “Gross.”

Cade stood. “You two get out there and play. I’ll be over there if you need to talk some more.”

Isaac tried not to look Nan in the eye, but she knew all too well of his insecurities. “C’mon Izzy. Let’s wreck the score.”

Isaac returned her smile, running after her to play some football. Off to the side, Cade stood there with his arms crossed. Knox walked back by with a beer, only to be grabbed by Cade. The Guardian leaned in, the power rolling off him indescribable.

“You break my kid’s spirit,” he whispered darkly. “And I’ll make sure the blade makes it to the right place this time.” His hand fell. Cade walked to where Micah glared at Knox, leaving the Royal stunned to the spot. Shit, Knox’s heart raced, this was getting real.

Later that day, Isaac returned to his room for the night. He went about his business, brushing his teeth, changing into his pajamas before he finally went to his bed. It was there that he discovered the little black box on his bedspread. Curious and a little excited, Isaac unsnapped the top and his eyes widened. A blade, a real blade gleamed in red satin. His name inscribed along the tip, a black handle with silver tribal inlaid designs. It was way cooler than Jaska’s could ever be.

With a squeal of delight, Isaac ran to the sitting room and tackled his fathers who were watching television. “Thank you, thank you. Thank you!”

“Whoa there buddy.” Micah laughed. “What are you so excited about?”

Cade smiled. He hadn’t seen Isaac smile this big in a long time. “What do you got there?”

Isaac grinned, presenting the little box to them. “You know exactly what it is. I love it so much! Thank you.”

Micah and Cade shared a look of confusion. Micah gently took the box and opened it. He whistled low with appreciation. “I can see why you’re so excited now.”

Cade frowned at the blade, although it was beautiful, he was a little worried. “Isaac, where did you get this?”

“Oh come on. I’m not five. I know it’s from you two.”

Micah shook his head. “Sorry my man, we didn’t get that for you.”

“But it was on my bed.” He looked at the knife again with big blue eyes. “It even has my name on it.”

Cade sat back in thought. He had a feeling he knew exactly where it came from. A slow grin spread across his lips. Maybe someone wasn’t such an asshole after all.

Down the hall, Maggie hummed her way to the elevator. Spotting her partner in crime, she winked. “Mission complete.”

Knox got into the elevator with a blank face. “He liked it?”

“He loved it.”

“Whatever. Just keep this quiet yeah?” He pressed the doors shut, leaving Maggie shaking her head. That man was more confused than Isaac could ever be.

Isaac was fourteen and coming into his own. He had grown a little bit. His hair was longer. Not to mention his tastes were developing in a more mature way. He had shied away from sports, although he was forced to go to training with Knox still. At least he had Nan and Cage. Axel was his friend too, always would be, but he was kind of a loner. Hannah and Emma were almost twenty, had their own lives to live without worrying about the younger ones.  He still occasionally caught them at a good time. They were always entertaining and creative when they had time to spare.

It was the week after he had come out to his fathers, to his friends. He’d known for a while, but after an experimental kiss with Nan, just for the sake of science, he knew one hundred percent proof positive that he was gay. They had just returned from a family vacation at the Wharf house, his grandparent’s old home, and he was feeling better about things in general.

He was really excited actually. Tonight was Halloween and the compound was having a costume ball. Dan and Rowe had pulled out all the stops. Nina had recovered a few time period pieces from the vault on the other side of the basement and everyone was busy doing things to get ready. He looked over his own costume with a grin.

“You’re not ready yet? It’s almost time, Izzy!” Nan strode into his room and laughed. Isaac eyed her up and down, admiring her cat costume and the leather leggings. She adjusted the cat ears on her head. “Get dressed would ya? Geez.”

“I’m going, I’m going.” He scooped up his outfit and went into the bathroom. A few minutes later, he came out and Nan bit her lip.

“Damn, Iz. Look at you stunner.”

He walked to the mirror, looking himself up and down. Black leather pants, that he’d always wanted to wear like the others did when they went out, laced up the front. Black riding boots on his feet stopped right at the knee. A black billowy shirt left open in the front to expose his boyish chest and a wrap-around leather mask fit over his eyes.

“You forgot your hat, Zorro.” She put it on his head with a grin. “Come on. I wanna see the other costumes.”

A few hours into the ball, Isaac was mesmerized. People from all the territories filled the Great Room, the gardens, the courtyard. Candles were lit everywhere. A band played—filling the air with a dark, sensual tune. Costumes new, and some from their actual time period, graced the bodies of the world’s most glamorous vamps. He’d never seen such a big affair in his entire life.

He and Nan snuck a sip of bourbon that was left on the table, gasping at the burn it left in their throats. Nan elbowed him with a nudge of her head. Isaac looked up at the teenage boy staring his way. He had seen him around before during trips to the city, was from the Upper East Side if he remembered correctly, Jon something. But man, Isaac swallowed, was he gorgeous.

“I think he’s coming over here.” Nan giggled, taking another sip of the forbidden liquor. She slammed the glass down with a snigger. “I’ll give you two some alone time.”

“What? No, Nan. Don’t leave me,” Isaac begged nervously.

“You like boys. He’s a fine ass boy. I don’t see a problem.” She shrugged.

Jon made his way over to them, dressed like something out of a fairy tale. A blue velvet jacket with white breeches, his hair even braided down the back made Isaac see stars. He was so…

“Hey,” Jon greeted them. “Isaac right?” He was tall and lanky, at least a foot taller than Isaac.

Isaac looked up. “Yeah,” he murmured shyly.

“And I’ll be going now. It was nice to see you again Prince Charming.” Nan curtsied, ignoring Isaac’s eyes begging for her to stay.

“I hope I’m not interrupting. You don’t have to leave.” Jon held up a hand, looking between Isaac and Nan with mild alarm.

Jaska popped out of nowhere, dressed like James Dean. Leather jacket, tight jeans, hair slicked back. “There’s my girl.”

“Oh get bent. I am not your anything, you infant.” Nan narrowed her eyes.

“Feisty tonight huh?” The eleven year old with a lot of spunk countered. He grabbed her hand, whipping her his way. “That’s okay. I like feisty.”

“Ugh get off me you dweebus.” She batted his hand away, but he shook his head.

“Not until you dance with me.”

“No way! You’re shorter than me and an idiot. Get your paws off me.”

Jaska grinned. “I think I’m the perfect height.” He stared at her breasts with a raised brow.

“Oh hell no!” She roared, attracting the attention of everyone around her. “You did not just look at my boobs. That’s it, time to take the baby to his mama.” She grabbed him by the ear and yanked him along. “I’ll be back later!”

Left alone in a dark corner, with the gorgeous older Jon, Isaac wrapped his arms around his chest nervously. “Sorry about that. Jaska has it bad for Nan. He’ll stop at nothing to…”

Jon smiled. “Hey, it’s okay. Not that your friend isn’t lovely, but I uh…came to talk to you. I’m Jon by the way.”

“Yeah, I know.” Isaac bit his lip. “It’s nice to see you again.”

He was so nervous. Did Jon know that he was gay? Was he coming over to flirt with him or was he just being friendly and didn’t know anyone else. Was Jon even gay? He sighed. Isaac was so new to this part of his life. He had not the first clue on what to think. He knew he was getting worked up over nothing. Obviously Jon was cool with him if the guy was still standing here, sought him out actually.

“Are you alright?” Jon put a hand on his shoulder. Isaac froze at the weight of fingers on his body. They were bigger than his, palming his whole shoulder—a warmth that made his stomach flip-flop.

He chuckled. “Yeah, I’m good.”

People walked past them into the gardens. Isaac flicked his eyes to the open doors.

“Want to take a walk?” Jon suggested.

His heart thudding in his chest, Isaac nodded. “Sure.”

Twenty minutes later, Isaac and Jon sat on a stone bench overlooking the back pond. Isaac had his hands in his lap to keep them from shaking.

“And my dad wanted me to go to boarding school because that’s what he did, but my mom said no way. That’s how I ended up going to private school in the city. Honestly, I hate it. I wish I could go to public school like you. Harris isn’t that far and they actually have a football team. You play?” Jon looked over.

“No, I’m not really into sports. Always been too small, people think I’ll get hurt. I used to play soccer for the compound team, but I dunno.” Isaac shrugged. “Got old I guess.”

“That’s cool. Sports aren’t for everyone. A buddy of mine at school just started dance. The guys make fun of him, but seriously, he’s stronger than they are.” Jon laughed. “Muscles like you wouldn’t believe. So, I get it you know? Everyone has their own place, a thing that makes them tick, and I guess this part of our lives is where we find out what makes us…us. Kind of sucks waiting to find it, but we’ll get there.”

Isaac straightened up, a smile out of nowhere. “You’re a lot different than I would have thought. Most vamp kids are all about training and sports, money and jobs. I think that’s the first time I’ve heard anyone say that.”

Jon scooted over a little, their fingers brushing. “Good different or bad?”

“Good,” Isaac whispered. Shit, shit, shit, this was really going down. He swallowed loudly, his eyes unable to look away from Jon.

“Yeah?” Jon bent down slowly.

Isaac could barely breathe, but he managed to respond. “Yeah.”

Jon’s lips neared his. This was it. Isaac was in awe, his first kiss with a gorgeous guy in the perfect place. Jon’s hand covered his cheek, his lips sealing over Isaac’s in a sweet kiss. It started out that way at least, until Isaac reached up to feel the back of Jon’s neck—the braid that ran down his back. He opened his mouth and Jon pressed harder against him.

He was fourteen. His hormones were like a freight train with nowhere to stop. They just kept going and going until he felt like one day he would explode. He’d had so many nights to imagine what it would be like to touch another guy, to feel someone want him back just as much. Jon didn’t disappoint. His tongue delved into Isaac’s mouth. His head tilted to deepen the kiss. Isaac sucked a deep breath through his nose, bringing his other hand to loop around Jon’s back.

“Isaac!” A deep voice boomed with warning. The two teens broke apart with a gasp.

Knox stood there with eyes like fire. Blaze at his side, trying to look somewhere else. Both men were dressed as they normally were. No costume, no fun masks or glitter, nothing, but rage for Knox.

“What the hell are you doing? You!” Knox pointed to the taller boy he semi-recognized. “Get inside, now!”

“Knox,” Isaac cried. “We weren’t doing anything. He’s my friend and…”

“And he had his tongue down your throat in front of all your family and friends. How do you think that looks, Isaac? You are fourteen, damn it! Not old enough to let this kid make up your mind for you.”

“What does that even mean! I wanted him to kiss me, damn it.” Isaac shook from head to toe. He was mortified, angry, longing for Jon to come to his aid. But the guy took one look at Knox and ran down the path like his feet were on fire. Isaac hung his head, tears starting to form.

“Do you do this on purpose? Do you really hate me that much?” Isaac looked up with magnified blue eyes, his tears hot on his face. “Do you!”

“Dude, chill out.” Blaze leaned into Knox. “They were just kissing.”

Knox whipped his head to the side. “Fuck off, B. Not your call.”

“I want an answer!” Isaac stormed up the path. He shoved Knox so hard that he actually stumbled. “What the fuck have I ever done to you?”

A few Royals stopped and looked, whispering behind their hands. Knox stared at Isaac, realizing his jealousy, even if Isaac wasn’t ready for him, was ripping the boy apart. Isaac flicked his eyes to Blaze then back to Knox.

“It was just a kiss.” He seethed. “And if you’re implying that I’m the whore around here, try looking in a mirror.”

Knox slapped Isaac and Blaze covered his mouth in shock. Isaac straightened and narrowed his eyes, not even bothering to cradle the red that bloomed over his cheek.

“I hate you.”

All the breath left his body. Knox looked at his hand, back to Isaac with horror. “Isaac, I’m s…”

“Sorry! The fuck you are. You live to torture me, to make me feel like I’m worthless!” Isaac snapped inside. He was furious beyond furious. His first kiss, his first move into this new world of sexuality, and Knox hadn’t even let him enjoy that. He’d ruined it, just like he ruined everything.

“You know what, Knox?” He looked up and for the first time, Knox saw Cade in those blue eyes—a force that might be in a smaller body, but just as lethal. “Go fuck yourself.”
Blaze raised his brows, holding still as a statue. He waited for Knox to punch his future mate, to throttle Isaac until he turned purple in the face. But the moment never came. Knox was frozen in place, watched Isaac storm off into the crowd gathered
He couldn’t feel his own heartbeat. In fact, he felt dead.

“Knox?” Blaze dared a hand to his shoulder. “You okay?”

Out of character, Knox said nothing snide. He didn’t even look at Blaze when he moved. Instead he walked in the opposite direction, out to the courtyard, around the compound. He got into his car and took off. He didn’t return for two weeks.

At age sixteen, Isaac had been in dance classes for almost a year and a half. Even though Jon, the bastard and coward, hadn’t talked to him since, Isaac took his words to heart. His parents had been split on his decision to dance. Cade had been adamant that as he got older, he started taking his training more seriously. He tried to point out that Isaac needed to be strong, even if he wasn’t a Guardian.

Micah, the peacekeeper, had argued that this had been the first time Isaac had come to them with some sort of interest. That they should listen to him and be just as interested in their son’s wants. Maybe it would be a good thing, Micah had said.  Get him out of the compound for a few hours a week. He would still be keeping his body in shape. Dancers were strong as well as warriors. It would give Isaac an edge, should he ever take to the field, a grace and flexibility the others would lack.

Cade was sold when Isaac turned his big blue eyes to his da—the eyes that could not be told no. As it turned out, it was a very good decision indeed. Isaac began to build a little confidence in his self. Even Nan joined his class, albeit she wasn’t as graceful, but she tried. Chloe was thrilled that her tomboy was in dance class. The tulle skirts and leotards, something girly finally! It made her eyes sparkle and warmed her heart. Nan was happy to at least give her that. So she went along with all the frou frou what nots.

Hannah and Emma, who had been staying with their dad at the bar for the week, decided to take the younger ones out for a change. Isaac and Nan had been at dance class, the other twins had tagged along to watch. They didn’t get to come to city very often anymore, what with high school taking up most of their time. So, Hannah and Emma took it upon themselves to show off the sights, their favorite places. Their parents trusted the older twins with the younger kids because they had been through training. They thrived on weapons and martial arts, lived to fight and take out the enemy. That didn’t mean they weren’t given strict rules, emergency phone numbers, and an early curfew.

Piled in the back of the SUV, Nan, Isaac, Cage and Axel watched the buildings go by with interest. Axel kept his dark glasses over his eyes, but he leaned forward to get a better look. He always wore shades, even in the dark—his light eyes were sensitive, but the main reason he wore them was because he didn’t want others to gage his emotions. He rather liked being a stoic smartass.

Cage rolled the window down and stuck his head out a little. His hair, which was dyed teal this week, fluttered in the wind. “Hey ladies!” He called to the blondes at the crosswalk. “Lookin good.”

Emma pressed his window button, giving him only a few seconds to get back inside without injury. “Pig.”

“What’s wrong Em? Jealous that I’m not into Gothic chic?” Cage chuckled.

Slowly, Emma turned around. Her piercing green eyes stared at him as she flicked her lip ring with her tongue. “I wouldn’t touch your three inch dick with a ten foot pole. You’re a chauvinist, an airhead, and you probably wouldn’t even know where to put it. Unless you want to go back home to mommy and daddy, I would keep your lips zipped.”

Just as calmly as she had called him a chauvinist, she turned back around and sighed. Cage opened his mouth to argue, but he caught Hannah’s evil stare in the rearview mirror and crossed his arms.

“Only three inches? Sorry about that,” Nan commented, patting Cage’s arm.

Cage pushed her hand away. “Oh shut up, Nan. Have you ever even seen a dick before?”

“You guys are giving me a headache.” Axel turned to them. “Keep it down.”

“We’re in the city, dumbass. Get used to the noise.” Cage flicked his brother’s ear and like usual, got no reaction. “You’re so weird.”

“Ditto,” Axel replied.

In the very back seat, Isaac rested his head against the window in thought. He couldn’t get Knox’s words out of his head from yesterday. They had been at their last training session of the week.

“If you keep it up, you’re going to get killed one day, Hightower. I said with your wrist damn it!” Knox growled. “Again!”

Isaac held the dagger in his hand, flicking it into his fingers like Knox had shown them. He stared at the target taped on the wall of gym.

“Now!” Knox stepped forward.

With determination, he just had to get this right, just once. Isaac pulled his hand back and flicked his wrist as his arm moved. The dagger hit the edge of the target and bounced to the ground with a resounding clack of metal.

Knox was silent as Isaac turned. The teenager could tell, hell all of the group could tell, that Knox was furious. “Get out.” Knox pointed for the door. “I said get out!”

Going to pick up the blade that was engraved with his name first, Isaac turned around and silently left the gym. He didn’t say a word to Knox or the others. He just left.

Now as he sat in the SUV, he thought about the way Knox always got upset with him. The way the vampire always seemed to be on his case the most. Knox always told him he was going to die one day because he couldn’t defend himself. Then he would flick his eyes away, raise his voice even louder. It was almost like he was so upset at the thought of Isaac in trouble, that he could picture it in his head, the emotion leaking to the fury in his eyes.

“Why do you think Knox hates me?” Isaac said out loud, still in his own head.

The others looked at one another. They knew this song and dance all too well. Nan listened to Izzy cry almost every other day. She would wipe the tears away and tell him it would be okay. Cage practiced with him outside the gym, just so Isaac could say he gave it his all. Axel had always offered a more in depth perspective. Trying to get to the root of Izzy’s obsession with Knox and the reverse problem that Knox was just as obsessed with Isaac. He had yet to crack the mystery of the universe.

Hannah and Emma flicked eyes to each other. They had been trying to spy on Knox for years. Cameras, recorders, hacking into his computer had gotten them nowhere. Besides the occasional noisy proof that Knox was a total freak in the sheets, they had no answers to offer the poor kid in the back seat.

“Iz, come on bro. We’re gonna have a good time. Don’t start up with that tool. Have fun, loosen up a little. Just don’t think about Captain Asshat Montesego.”

“Easy for you to say, Boy Wonder. I’m surprised Knox hasn’t gotten down and sucked your three inches yet.” Nan countered. “Oh Cage, what wonderful aim you have. Oh Cage, the way you cocked that Glock made my dick hard.”

Emma and Hannah sniggered in the front seat.

“Oh brother.” Axel groaned.

“You wanna see proof that it’s more than three?” Cage laughed, wrestling over his brother to tease Nan.

“If I pull this car over and you have your dick out, there will be blood!” Hannah proclaimed, jerking the SUV to a stop. “No wants to see that invisi-penis!”

Nan grumbled back into her seat. Cage chuckled, but rested his head back on the bench. And Axel smoothed out his sweater with a grim expression. He hated when Cage was acting like Cage, which was basically all the time. Not that he hated his brother literally. He was just very annoying.

Axel turned to the back seat where Isaac was still looking out the window. He’d noticed how withdrawn Isaac had become, isolating himself from the others. That didn’t stop them from prying though. They wouldn’t give him up to his depression, no matter how much he fought them. Even Axel, who was the most independent of the bunch, would never let Isaac fall prey to his own self. Instead of feeding his hunger for answers with Knox, Axel always brought Izzy back with other conversation.

“I heard you have a recital coming up. That’s pretty impressive, Izzy.” Axel rested his chin on the bench.

“For him maybe, that wench wouldn’t put me on stage if her life depended on it.” Nan rolled her eyes. “Izzy this and Izzy that.” She winked at Cage to join the conversation.

Cage felt her train of thought loud and clear. “Yeah, I heard your teacher practically singing your name when she walked out of the class. You boning her or what?”

Isaac smiled at that. “I don’t bone my teachers. Thank you very much. Especially not lady teachers.”

“Yeah, he prefers three inch dicks.” Nan laughed. “You happen to dance too, Cage?”

“Ah you’re gonna get it now.” Cage leaned over to reach for Nan.

“For the love of God!” Axel pushed them apart, both of them laughing the entire way to their destination.

Isaac chuckled in the backseat. He caught the quick wink Hannah shot him from the rearview mirror before she pulled up to the curb. Isaac looked outside and groaned. A tattoo shop slash retail front was smashed between some bar that he’d never heard of and a laundry mat that looked like it needed to be cleaned itself. A neon skull hung in the window with the words Death by Ink. Red curtains were drawn behind it. An entirely black store front and no other signs made Isaac a little nervous.

“This is where you’re taking us?” Axel balked. “I don’t think so.”

“Sweet!” Gage leaned over.

“We’re just stopping by for a second. If I didn’t think Cage and Nan would kill each other, we’d leave you in the car.” Hannah shook out her black curls.

Isaac waited until they had all filed out of the vehicle. Hannah locked the doors with a beep, staring down the man eyeing their ride. She crossed her arms over her black leather jacket and narrowed her eyes.

“If it’s gone by the time I come back.” She whistled. “Shit is gonna get ugly.” She flicked her fingers, riding the bottom of her jacket up to show off an inch of her piece.

The man nodded casually with appreciation and walked the other way.

“Seems he took the high road.” Emma chuckled. “And stop flashing everyone. We got kids with us.”

“I’m fifteen, not three.” Axel adjusted his shades. “And I’m not the one that has a giant heart on my t-shirt.” He eyed Emma up and down. Taking in her lace up boots with pink soles, her broken heart t-shirt, and the black and pink mini skirt she wore.

“It’s called…”

“Childish, yes I know.” Axel waved her off and went inside the tattoo shop without another thought. Upper hand, he mused, upper hand indeed.

Hannah made a face and followed, opening the door with a chime. “It’s like someone split Uncle Rowe in two and made teenagers. So fucking annoying.”

She found Axel face to face with one of the artists. The teen stared up at the bear of a man, but you couldn’t really gage his reaction. Isaac was led along into the lobby. Pulling him close in a strange and protective way, Cage stepped in front.

“Is Mickey here?” Emma popped a piece of gum into her mouth, acting like she wasn’t bringing a bunch of teenagers into a tattoo parlor.

“Yeah, he’s in back, but what is this Em? We don’t run no daycare.”

“Just a side trip before we hit the cinema. Chill out, Beef.” Hannah leaned against the desk.

Beef shook his head. “Ah no way. You can bat those green eyes all you want princess, but I ain’t about to let a bunch of babies walk back there. No way, no how and besides, Mickey’s busy.”

“So, I watch him work all the time.” Emma went to pull back the curtain, but Beef snatched her hand away.

“Said he’s busy.” Beef flicked his eyes up to the ceiling.

Emma followed his gaze, knowing that Mickey lived in the apartment above. She also concluded what kind of busy her boyfriend was and narrowed her eyes.

“Oh shit,” Hannah cursed. She knew Em was about to fly off the handle.

Isaac sat in a chair in the corner and took in the pictures of all the tattoos. One caught his eye, a tattoo that belonged to someone he knew, an arm he had studied for years. Knox.

Upstairs, Knox found himself in an entirely different situation than what he’d come here for. Frank had been busy like fuck at the bar, Knox working in the back doing the office stuff. Frank had come to the back a few nights ago, mad as all hell, and looking for blood—the kind that came from breaking a man’s nose or removing his genitals.

He’d explained in a none-too-subtle way that Mickey, the ink guy from Queens, had been fooling around with his daughter. Rumor had it, Mickey also fooled around with lots of girls. Frank wanted Mickey’s head on a stake, but Knox had talked him down from cold blood, and had agreed to talk to his favorite tat artist man to man.

Apparently the rumor had left out one thing, Mickey didn’t just fool around with girls. He fooled around with boys too. What had started out as Mickey pacing the room, cursing up a storm, and begging Knox not to fuck him up, had turned into Knox admiring the ink over Mickey’s naked chest, to a hunger that he hadn’t filled all week.  Now he filled Mickey’s ass while his fangs dug deep into his shoulder.

Knox pushed Mickey’s face into the couch, the guy’s legs trapped under his thighs. He was just about to gear it up a bit when the door slammed open and a human female roared like a raging lioness. He turned his head and froze. In the doorway, staring at his naked ass and other shit, was Emma—Frank’s fucking Emma.

“Oh hell to the fuck no!” Emma walked to the kitchenette and yanked a rolling pin from the wall. “If I stab you, it would end too quickly. How about I beat you slowly?”

With no other choice, but to pull out of the warmth Mickey provided, Knox yanked his leathers off the floor. “Emma, get in the hall and wait for me. Now!”

He turned back to the doorway, noticing Emma hadn’t answered. Standing next to Emma was Hannah, but in front of them was Isaac. His mouth was a little opened. His blue eyes were almost flat, lifeless, as he watched Knox lace up his pants. Isaac flicked his eyes to the human on the couch, trying not to grip his chest to claw his heart out. He had no idea why he felt this way for the man that was so horrible to him, to everyone around him, but he did. He really, really did.

“Isaac,” Knox murmured. “Isaac, get in the hallway.” Never in his life had he felt like the world had fallen out from under him. Now though, Knox knew the feeling really well. He felt his stomach flip, the need to vomit his sins, to purge his self of the fuck up he was.

The twins looked at each other. Emma threw the rolling pin at Knox. He ducked out the way.

“Do you see now, Isaac?” Emma pulled the boy close to her, sharing his pain with her wicked tone. “He isn’t everything you think he is. If anything, you are better than he will ever be. Why would you want the approval of someone who should hate himself?”

“Exactly.” Hannah rubbed Isaac’s arm as he stood there like a shell of himself—unmoving, staring, heartbroken. “He might be good with a gun, someone’s back-up, but he’ll never know what it is to have a heart. Forget him, Izzy. He isn’t worth a sack of shit.”

The twins knew on some level that degrading Knox in front of the boy he seemed to hate would be a hell far greater than any beat down they could serve up.

Knox stared at Isaac, who watched him back like the soul had been snatched from his eyes. Again, Isaac took it all in and walked away. He didn’t even know if he would have the words to say how he felt anyway.

Knox gave King his training sessions for the rest of the winter. He avoided Isaac, Cade, Micah, even Rowe. It wasn’t until almost January that someone pounded on the door, calling his name that he bothered to move.

Knox shuffled forward, his face scruffy, his pajamas worn in, vodka breath for whoever was there to enjoy.

“What?” He opened the door to find Maggie standing there.

“Don’t you what me,” she hissed. “Get inside and close the door. You and I are going to have a chat.”

“I don’t have anything to say, Maggie.”

“The fuck you don’t!” She turned on him. Her eyes were like daggers to his soul. “I have sat by and watched you torture yourself and that boy for far too long. Look at you. You’re a mess. You smell, you look like shit, and you have put your brothers down a man for an entire season. Do you even know what’s happening out there, Knox? Do you know that two weeks ago someone pulled a gun in your bar and tried to take out humans? Do you know that Frank had to work over the cops all on his own because you weren’t there to help him?”

Knox sat in his favorite chair and took a swig of vodka. Maggie growled, pulling the bottle from his lips and throwing it into the wall. “What the hell!”

“That’s what I want to know too, Knox. What the hell is going on with you? I’m ready to march downstairs and tell Cade and Micah everything. Do you know that?”

“You wouldn’t dare.” Knox gripped the arms of the chair, his anger on the rise.

“Oh, I would. You don’t know what you’ve done to him. Not a fucking clue, what he’s become.”


“Isaac,” she hissed, grabbing his chin between her small, but painfully strong fingers. “I am done watching him turn into something he’s not. He was such a good boy, such a beautiful, kind person and you ruined him. All he ever wanted was a pat on the back or a thanks for trying your best. He never asked to be yours, you asshole. None of this is his fault. Yet you act like it is.” A tear slid down her face. “He has taken to skipping school, training, group session. He won’t talk to his own parents about anything. He locks himself in his room. Sometimes, he won’t even eat. Do you know what that’s like to watch, Knox? Do you!”

“No.” His voice cracked and Maggie let go of his chin.

“Of course you don’t, because all you are is a walking hit and run. You destroy and don’t care what’s left behind. You left that boy somewhere and I’m scared to death he won’t come back. You’re lucky as hell Cade and Micah haven’t gotten anything out of him and that he begged those girls not to say anything, because if they knew Knox? You’d be dead.”

“How do you know about the twins?”

Maggie scoffed. “Because unlike you, those kids trust me, they tell me everything that they don’t feel comfortable telling their parents. You are just so damn lucky, Knox.”

“I can’t help it,” Knox confessed, his own tears finally coming. “I don’t know what to do. He’s getting older, more beautiful every day. When I’m near him, I smell him, even from across the room and I feel like I’m dying inside. Every time I go out, get a craving for something carnal, I end up picking someone who looks like him. It’s so wrong, but I can’t help it. I want to hold him, tell him everything I’ve ever felt, beg him to forgive me, but I’ve fucked up. I’ve fucked up so bad. I don’t think I can ever tell him. I think…I think I have to leave.”

“What?” Maggie whipped around. “Oh no you don’t, you are not leaving now.”

“It’s the only way I can give him a good life, the only way he’ll ever be happy. I only make him miserable, because I’m miserable.”

“Make it right! Don’t be a coward, Knox. You’ve got less than two years until he can legally be yours. Spend that time getting to know him better. Make amends for what you’ve put him through.”

“I can’t be near him and not think about this.” He threw his hands out to the collection of chains and whips that lined the walls. “That sweet innocent teen hooked to my wall with a gag in his mouth while I tell him I love him. How sick is that!”

Maggie shook her head. “I can’t fault you for finding your mate attractive. It’s not sick and it’s not wrong unless you act on it before his time. He’s becoming a man, Knox, and you are as finely tuned to him as he is you. How do you think he feels? He has no idea what’s going on with him, but I assure you he wants you back. Only on his end, he thinks he’s the fucked up one. He thinks he’s in love with a monster and he can’t make it stop, no matter how many boys he tries to lose himself in.”

“Boys?” Knox growled, standing from his chair like the hulking warrior he was. “What boys?”

“Like I said, you have no idea what you’ve done.” She walked to the door. “Step it up, Knox. You’re in for one hell of a surprise.”

Upstairs, loud rock music played in the attic. Isaac grabbed the cigarette from Dion’s lips and took a drag before slipping it into a half full can of beer. He slid into the other boy’s lap and pressed his smoky lips to Dion’s. Every now and then, one of the managers would come for a visit and today had been like candy to Isaac’s mouth. Dion had come with his dad to the compound and while all the adults were in a meeting, it left the manager’s son open to play around.

Isaac had stopped caring about anything else. Himself, dance, school, his family—he just wanted to scream fuck the world from the top of his lungs. Half drunk, he ground against Dion. He slipped his tongue in as far as it would go. Dion slid his hands under Isaac’s tank top, playing with the top of his skinny jeans before slipping his fingers under the material.

Isaac let him continue, letting Dion further down his ass until he started to get nervous. This was the part where he always fucked it up. He loved making out, drinking, grinding, but the actual sex part had yet to be conquered.

“You cool?” Dion licked his neck.

“I, uh sorta.”

“Don’t tell me, you’re too buzzed to get busy right?” Dion rolled his eyes. “I hate a tease.”

“I’m not a tease. I just…we aren’t like in a relationship or anything. Just playing around, right?”

“You’re a virgin?” Dion’s eyes went wide with humor. “You are, aren’t you?”

Not feeling like such a rebel anymore, Isaac got off Dion and stood up. “So?”

“You’re such a poser. You can dance all over with your clothes on like a pro, but I bet you’ve never even sucked a dick, have you?”

Isaac looked at the ground, letting his long hair curtain around him. Embarrassed and vulnerable, he hugged himself a little.

“I’m out of here. When you lose the V card, call me.” Dion stopped at the stairs.  “Better yet, don’t. Fat chance you’ll lose it any time this decade.”

Isaac stared after Dion. Another item to add to the list of things he wasn’t good at—being gay.

Later that night, Isaac went downstairs for group. His parents had threatened to ground him, take away his license, keys, allowance if he didn’t attend three times a week. On his way to Maggie’s quarters, he stopped dead in the Great Room. Talking to Rowe and Blaze by the stairs was none other than Knoxtian Montesego. He hadn’t seen Knox in over three months. Rumor had it the vamp had gone off the deep end. The Royals called it his mid-life crisis, but Isaac knew what his problem was. Knox had finally realized what an asshole he was.

Despite his half-hearted hatred for Knox, Isaac still couldn’t look away. In fact, Knox was all he thought about. That is, when he wasn’t busy acting like he didn’t care about jack shit.

Scenting Isaac like a fine wine, Knox turned around. He did a slow check with his eyes to make sure he wasn’t seeing things before clearing his throat. Wearing black skinny jeans with a low chain belt and black boots in lieu of his casual jeans and t-shirt look was Isaac. A splatter-paint, skin-tight tank top covered his thin torso and black eyeliner made his blues pop like jewels.

“What the fuck are you staring at?” Isaac crossed his arms.

Knox made a face. “Excuse me?”

“I said, what…the…fuck, are you staring at?” Isaac narrowed his eyes.

“He heard you just fine, Iz. Why don’t you get along to group? Maggie will be expecting you this time around or so I’ve been informed.” Rowe crossed his arms. He’d been watching the kid like a hawk, making sure he didn’t do something really stupid while he went through his phase.

Isaac snorted. “I guess I’ll just get along then, won’t I? Wouldn’t want to be late for more vampire bullshit one oh one, would I?”

“Isaac, that’s enough.” Rowe sighed. “Get to group and watch the language.”

“Whatever.” Isaac stormed past Knox with his middle finger up. “Asshole.”

“Izzy!” Rowe shouted after the youth.

“Dude,” Blaze began. “You have no idea.” He answered Knox’s stunned face.

“Who was that?” Knox still stared after Isaac even though he was long gone, refusing to believe it was his Isaac—the sweet boy he had watched grow since infancy.

“Well, if I didn’t know any better, I’d have to say Knoxtian Jr.” Rowe chuckled tiredly, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.  “First Hannah and Emma, and now it’s Isaac. I’m waiting for Gage to get one of these girls pregnant and Axel barely says a word unless it’s to contradict you. Honestly, Nan is the only normal one of the bunch. Fuck, I just jinxed myself, didn’t I?”

“He’s nothing like me,” Knox whispered, ignoring the rest.

“Yeah, old friend, I’m afraid he is.” Rowe clapped Knox on the back. “Enough about him, I think it’s high time you and I sorted some things out. Care for a drink?”

Knox turned to his friends. Rowe had no idea that it was in fact all about Isaac. By the look on Blaze’s face, he knew exactly what Knox was thinking. “I think I’m gonna need one.

Isaac marched downstairs, his boots clomping along the way with anger. Leaning against the wall was Nan. She stepped into his path and eyed him up and down. “Where have you been? I’ve texted you four times, called you twice. We were supposed to have lunch, remember?”

“Sorry,” Isaac snipped. “I didn’t know I had a keeper.”

“I’m not your keeper, I’m your friend.” Nan took a step closer and shook her head. “You smell like a Nirvana after party. What the fuck have you been doing?”

“None of your business.” Isaac made to walk past her, but she grabbed his arm.

“None of my business? Are you serious?”

“Look, Nan. I don’t have to share everything with you. You’re not my walking talking secret diary.” He rolled his eyes, noting that she made no move to unhand him. “Fine, you wanna know what I was doing in the attic?” He stepped closer with narrowed eyes until she bumped into the wall. “I was letting Dion lick the roof of my mouth, touch my body while I rubbed on his hard as steel cock.”

“Izzy, stop it.” She pushed against him.

He shot out a hand, pinning her in place. “And then I sucked on his tongue while he touched my ass.”

“I said stop it!” She shoved him so hard he fell.

Isaac got up slowly. “And then when he put his hand between my…”

“Fuck off!” She screamed.

Maggie opened the door to her quarters and crossed her arms. “Get in here. Now.”

Both of them felt a chill up their spine. Sometimes Maggie was gran and other times she was not someone to be fucked with.

Nan didn’t even look at Isaac as she went inside.  Staring at Maggie for a second, he knew he had no other option and walked past her. The door slammed behind them. Cage and Axel sat around on the living room furniture. Cage nodded to the seat next to him. Isaac plopped down with a scowl.

“Isaac, why don’t you start group by telling us all why you smell like alcohol?” Maggie sat down calmly, but her eyes were very serious. “I’m sure everyone would love to know, me especially.”

“No comment,” he returned, looking at the floor.

“Really? I doubt that. Go ahead, we’re all waiting.”

“I said I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Then I’m sure your parents will be able to get an answer out of you.”

Nan knew Isaac wasn’t really mad at her. She knew he was going through some rough shit and if it was her, he’d do what she was about to. She sighed and looked up.  “It’s my fault. He would have never been drinking if I hadn’t brought it upstairs from the kitchen. I was trying to get him to relax. So if you want to blame anyone, blame me.”

Maggie could tell Nan was lying, but the way Isaac sat up and looked at his friend with pained confusion was about to work in her favor. “Go upstairs to your room and wait for your parents while I call them, Nanette. Even if your intentions were good, what you did was wrong, and I’m disappointed.”

Isaac watched Nanette hide behind her bangs and rub her knees the way she did when she was nervous. Why was he such a screw up? How did it get this bad?


“Yes, Isaac?”

“She’s lying.”

Maggie sighed. “I know.”

“I took the beer.”

“I know.”

“I was having a rough day.”

“I know.”

“I’m sorry, Gran.” Isaac looked at Nan. “And I’m sorry to you too.”

Nan just stared back before looking back at the ground. She was still hurt, even if she knew he was sincere.

“Dude, what’s going on?” Cage leaned over. “What is up with you?”

“I don’t know. I…” Isaac shook his head. “I just can’t get it right.”

“Can’t get what right?” Maggie asked casually. This was what group was all about. Not just learning about what they would become, learning how to cope in general. Knowing you would be a vampire, being surrounded by them daily, and being a teenager with emotions off the charts was a rough time indeed.

“Life,” Isaac sobbed.

“Baby.” Maggie chuckled. “You’re sixteen, you haven’t even begun to live yet.”

After a few hours of group, a lot of hugging and Axel trying to read way too far into the situation, Maggie took Isaac to Dan’s office. Cade and Micah had gotten the call from Maggie that they needed to have a talk and as the compound’s guidance counselor, Dan was a perfect mediator.

“I’m trying to understand, Isaac. Really I am, but this scares me.” Cade leaned forward in his chair. “Drinking and smoking? I’ve heard rumors of the boys, so don’t even deny it. You start dressing like that overnight. You swear at your elders like you’ve got a vendetta rolling off your tongue. What is it going to take to make you understand none of it is acceptable?”

Micah exhaled, rubbing Cade’s back to ease some of the tension. “Isaac, we can deal with the new look if it’s really an expression of who you are.” Micah got a nod from Dan and felt he was on the right track. “But your da and I are more concerned with how this change came about. Even you have to admit it was kind of sudden, right?”

“Sure.” Isaac sprawled out in his chair.

“Would you like to share with everyone or would you like us to leave so you can talk to your parents alone?” Dan gave Isaac the option and he looked to his gran who smiled.

The teen sat up in his chair, knowing he had to tell them something. He felt like this was his chance to get it out, but where did he even start? “I feel like I have no choice.”

“No choice?” Cade grabbed Isaac’s hand.

“I love you guys, I do. But I know I ‘ll never be one of you. I know I’m not gonna be big or a fighter or the first to be picked for dodge ball. I know that for sure and I have to live with it. I am not going to be a Guardian.”

“Okay.” Micah nodded slowly, taking in what Isaac was saying. It wasn’t news to him exactly, but the way Isaac was telling it felt different. “Are you trying to be special in other ways? Maybe being popular with the guys or the drinking to get noticed?”

“Not noticed, just to fit in,” Isaac admitted. “I’m bad at so many things and it’s like I’m stuck on the opposite end of everyone else. I even suck at being gay. I just get depressed and…”

“I was too scared to kiss a boy until I was almost twenty.” Micah shrugged. “You can’t suck at being gay. There aren’t any rules to your sexuality, Isaac.”

Cade smiled. “Everyone is different and I know you’ve heard that all your life and it gets old, but it’s the truth. Experimenting is fun. I’d be a liar if I said I hadn’t tested out all sorts of guys before I met your pop, but none of them were fulfilling. None of them mattered and I wish I would’ve been more thoughtful with how I went about expressing myself.”

“I’m going to act like I didn’t hear that.” Micah chuckled. “The point is, kid. We all go through this part of our life. We act out because we don’t know how to communicate what’s in here.” He pointed to his chest. “In your situation, it sucks because you see all these people around you who are mated, in relationships, turned, matured. You can’t handle the in between, the growing part. You don’t really know what’s out there for you because you’ve been too busy hating on yourself. How do you know what you want, if you haven’t looked? How do you know what makes you happy while you wait for the rest of your life to begin?”

“That’s not a bad idea, Micah.” Dan added. “Isaac, are you happy here?”

“At the compound?” The teen asked with confusion


“I guess?”

“Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live outside the compound? To get a change of scenery, faces? Not saying you couldn’t see your friends and family anytime you wanted, but do you think that would interest you?” Dan folded his hands on the desk.

“Move from the compound?” Cade scoffed. “No. I don’t think so.”

Isaac leaned back. “I’ve never thought about it.”

“I think it might be a good idea.” Maggie looked to Cade. “Maybe finish school with Yuri and Katrina. Get a taste of the city, more things of interest and more kids his age. There’s even an LGBTQ counselor over there.”

“You can’t be serious.” Cade’s face fell. “He’s our son.”

“And he always will be, Cade.” Micah kissed his mate’s temple. “I think he needs this, baby.”

“Do I get a say here?” Isaac looked around.

Dan nodded. “It would only be if you wanted to, Isaac. For how long you think you need it. You could come home at any time if you didn’t like it.”

“What about my friends?”

“I would suggest that you set up one night a week where the twins and Nan could come to visit. One night a week devoted to your parents in the city, a family night.” Dan offered. “The rest would be up to you. We’d never ask you to give up this part of your life. That wouldn’t be healthy.”

“And I could stay at Jaska’s?”

“I don’t think Yuri would mind in the least.” Maggie ran her hands through Isaac’s long hair. “I think he would be happy to have you.”

“Isaac?” Cade was having a hard time grasping this idea. “Would this make you happy?”

Isaac looked at his da. He knew he’d been such an asshole to his parents—put them through the ringer the last few months. Maybe some downtime would give them a break. Maybe being in the city with fresh faces would be good. His train of thought flickered to Knox—his unhealthy obsession that he couldn’t tell any of the adults about. Maybe he could feel better about himself without seeing Knox’s glare every day, now that the vamp had resumed his life at the compound. Even though something inside him said he would miss Knox like crazy, Isaac knew had to try this out. Yeah, Isaac thought. This would be good.

“I think,” Isaac started. “I think it would.” He got up from his chair and went to Cade, putting his arms around his da.

Cade burst into tears and squeezed his son tight. Micah wrapped around Isaac’s back and the three of them shared a moment that hadn’t happened in a long time. The little family knew deep down, this was for the best. Even Cade, who didn’t ever think he’d have to watch his son leave, knew in his heart his son was better off.

A week later, Cade and Micah started bringing Isaac’s suitcases out to the SUV. Knox frowned at the top of the stairs. “What’s going on, B?”

“Maggie said not to tell you.” Blaze turned to his friend.

“Are Cade and Micah moving out? Do they…oh fuck…do they know?”

“Not them, Knox. They don’t know anything yet.” Blaze leaned against the railing. “You sure you want me to tell you this right here?”

“Tell me what? What is it?” Knox watched a few more bags pushed out of the foyer before Isaac appeared.

“Izzy’s leaving.”

“Come on, B. For real, who’s moving out?” Knox snorted.


“No he’s not.” Knox inhaled sharply. “Cade and Micah wouldn’t let him do that.”

“Knox, you haven’t been around to witness Isaac’s undoing as of late, but yeah, yeah they would. And honestly, I think it’s a good idea,” Blaze admitted.

“How could say that?” Knox narrowed his eyes.

“Because he needs to find himself, Knox. He isn’t just a kid that you can push away until you feel up to the job. He’s a teenager who hates himself because he’s under the impression he’ll never be good enough. He needs to realize what he wants, what he likes, what he doesn’t like. He can’t do that here because he’s not like the others and we all know that. What he needs is time—time away from you.”

“But I didn’t…”

“Yes, Knox, you did.” Blaze walked down the stairs to see if they needed any help.

Left standing in his own depression, Knox watched Isaac hug Nan and Cage goodbye. Axel even offered him a hand. Something inside Knox made him take the stairs down closer and closer to the boy that was his world. Nan was crying as Cage led her away. Axel gave Isaac one last smile and he too went towards the stairs with the others. Knox didn’t miss the looks they gave him as they passed. He just chose to ignore them. He had to do this whether he wanted to or not.


Isaac turned around, mildly alarmed with who was there, but his tongue lashed out before he could think. “Don’t worry, I’m leaving. You can have that space back that I took up in training.”

Instead of a yelling, Knox smiled. “Who am I gonna yell at then?”

Isaac looked around to see if he hadn’t been transported to another dimension. Was Knox messing with him? “No idea, but I guess not me.”

“Too bad.” Knox clasped his hands behind his back, looking at the ground. “Where are you going?”

“Why, so you can come there to tell me how much I suck?”

Knox flicked his eyes up. “No, because I just want to know.”

“Yuri’s,” Isaac found himself saying.

“You coming back?”

“Why do you care?” Isaac searched Knox’s eyes.

“I do care.” Knox took a step closer. “And, I’m uh…sorry.”

Isaac was pretty sure he had cracked his skull somewhere and didn’t remember. The object of his desire, his hate, his teenage angst all rolled into one, had just apologized to him. For everything Knox had ever done, Isaac wasn’t sure, but he would take it.


Knox nodded. “Okay?”


After a deep breath, Knox pulled Isaac to him and gave him a hug. “Don’t do anything stupid. Always stay with someone and don’t go out after curfew. Just be safe.”

Isaac wanted to cry, he wanted this to last forever. He wasn’t sure he would ever know this again—Knox showing him the one thing he’d craved for years, affection. Knox didn’t hate him? How could he not have known this?

“Promise,” Isaac whispered.

Maggie watched from the other side of the foyer, her heart swelling with joy. She watched Knox pull back from Isaac and beeline for the stairs. She saw the look of elation on Isaac’s face, the way he bit his lip, and shouldered his bag with a shit eating grin. Definitely, she thought. Time apart would do them some good.


  1. Absolutely amazing!!! I can't wait for more. The characters are so real and the emotion is so real. I love it.

  2. That was so sad even the little hint of happy at the end couldn't make it feel better. My head is swirling with thoughts of how things might go as this moves forward. All versions involve Knox getting his ass kicked by Cade and Micah. Then tied up and punished by Izzy. His toys will get used all right, lol!

  3. Jam Packed awesomeness!!!

    What a terrrific beginning!!!!!!

  4. wow.... You keep out-doing yourself Night!!
    This new group is damn awesome and funny as hell... invisi-penis...LMAO!!!! I was dying there for a moment..
    All the pain Know and Isaac are going through just tugs at my heart-strings..
    Beautiful chapter Night!


  5. OH! MY! BOB! Girl could you be anymore fabulous?? Loved it. I don't know which part I loved more, Knox finally getting over being a shit to Isaac or that sweet moment with my fave boy Nova. Thanks for a great read.

    Kim R

  6. oh shit u got to get the rest done! like now!


  7. And this is just chapter one! I'm all over the place with emotions. The part with Nova and Theo was so sweet I couldn't take it. I can't wait to see who you pair with Nova he's so adorable. I knew everyone would end up hating Knox. I still love him but he definitely needs Maggie around to kick his ass from time to time. Please hurry with chapter two. I'm having withdraw symptoms already.


  9. I looooooove them. And I'm happy Knox is realizing what a giant asshole he turned into. It's so frustrating! The best kind, though.
    Thank you so much for this!

  10. This was so good.
    You have out did yourself
    again. Just awesome.

  11. Oh wow! That was a powerfull beginning. Knox really left a trail of destruction behind him. There is this little vindictive part of me that hope Izzy does not forgive him too easely. I just can wait for more.

  12. I hate Knox so much right now. I don't even know if I want Isaac to forgive him. Fucking coward. After what he's done, he deserves nothing less than having to standby while watching Isaac move on and fall in love with some hot macho hunk and be happy. Ah Christ, you always wring so much emotion out of me. I'm so pissed. Cadets and I should have a beat-up-knox party.
    Oh, and besides the fact that I'm seething, I loved it(: You connected everything very well, and kept everyone's personality in line. Very, very well done. I'm so excited!

  13. Oh, i'm so excited and piss off all at once! lol Damn you Knox! I loved it by the way! haha

    -- Whitney

  14. *thrfbfffzzzzz wipes nose, daubs nose, sniffles, gulps, honks/blows nose* I DO NOT CRY over characters in a story!!! I have never 'leaked' over characters the way I have over yours. I didn't cry a third of what I have cried over your characters, Night, when Harry Potter let himself be killed, and I thought that was a lot for me.

    Each snapshot of Isaac through the years was heart-rending and poignant *teary sniffles*. I don't even know what to think about Knox. He treats Isaac like crap then goes off to cry and drink and fuck anyone in his path. I still thinks he needs his ass kicked acrosss the compound, then given a hug and a big chunk of chocolate. At least he did mend a little fence with Isaac before he left. I think even when Isaac turns eighteen there is still going to be high drama, hysterics, rejection before acceptance; there has just been too much pain, damage and suffering. Well...they're vamps *grimace, sigh*

    I am some what amazed that no one has put it all together, especially after Isaac saved Knox's life.Cade what in the hell is wrong with you? I'm getting to think you need your butt kicked right after Knox.

    You can be a cruel and unbending author, sometimes, Night.

    I of course cried over Theo and Nova; another poignant scene. A good pairing.

    I am a little anxious over Mai; of course I cried over her broken heart. I am a little surprised at her running a tea shop(?). It reminds me a little of a gunfighter being a shokeeper. If I am not mistaken, not only does she have a significant impact to make on the vamps, but her son even more so.

    (Please forgive my rantings and ravings, but I have no one who would either understand or be supportive of this genre of writing; I am deep in the closet and writing in the shadows.)

    Again, thanks Night. You Are an inspiration. I think because of you I may someday drag my writing out of the closet.

    Goodnight, dear Night

  15. Damn, girl. Two chapters in four days? We are honored and grateful more than we can say. And this looks like one exciting story. You did a fine job bringing us all into the present with updates on almost everyone. I almost thought for a few minutes that Nova and Theo were mates. I was also hoping that Dan and Rowe might have some baby divas running around, but we'll have to see what comes out in the future. Dan as the compound shrink? It makes so much sense.
    Now Knox! Seriously I am so annoyed, he makes me want to hurt him bad for what he's done to Isaac. That poor kid, year after year, beating his head against a wall trying to impress him and make Knox notice, and what? He finally drives the kid away with his apathy. Even after Isaac saved his life he treated him like shit.
    I loved how Cade got up in Knox's face with the threats, but in the long run it didn't make a difference. He's just selfish and totally self-obsessed to the point he can't even take pity on a child.
    And what really upsets me the most is knowing that living in the city isn't going to do Isaac any good- he's going to be hurt and put in danger. He's the son of guardians and Rush and bad vamps are out there. So Knox better be prepared to go after him in full savior mode.
    No matter what happens he still needs his ass kicked.

  16. Crying reading that chapter and holy crap it was great. Loved how u mentioned everyone and Knox need a good kick in the ass:)

  17. OMG, I read this whole chapter with tears in my eyes. You really bring out the emotions and make us feel for Isaac. It should be really interesting when Cade and Micah find out, although I sometimes wonder if Micah doesn't suspect. It was great seeing all the kids interact with each other through the years. I so look forward to more of the story. Thank you.

  18. Oh Night, every chapter you write gets better and better! Poor Isaac...and that bastard Knox...I know he's so confused and can't figure a way to accept his lifemate is not an adult, but how can he love Isaac and not know how badly he's hurting him? Ugh!
    And the rest is superb! The next generation is coming of age, and you've gotten their personalities perfect for each and every one!
    And don't think I didn't notice that not even a glimmer of a hint for all these years was left about Ghost and Gabe. :( conspicuously absent, trickster! Not even a mention. I kept kinda hoping you'd mess up and give us a tiny little peek! Lol! I know, patience....
    Anyway, fabulous job!! Thank you so much for entertaining us with your talent!!

  19. I have now read this 3 times. I can't get enough! Damn you for making us wait for the next chapter. I can't wait; I will be checking the site obsessively now 10 times a day for the next chapter. Great job. Thanks :)

  20. Excellent beginning, Night! Knox is very...well, Knox, which doesn't bode well for a young, confused Isaac. As much as I want to see the two of them together as it is meant to be, I'm just bitch enough to hope that Isaac leads him on a merry chase first. I'd like to see him be happy with someone else just to spite Knox and give him a taste of what it's like to be on the receiving end.

    Eagerly awaiting the next installment and rooting for the couple...but not enough that I don't want Knox to suffer first. lol

  21. loved it soo much am waiting for the next chapter. i love all of your stories you are a truly gifted writer.

  22. Oh holy crap! That was so amazing Night. I really hope the next chapter goes up soon cause waiting will kill me. I love the suggestion that jadelilac made about Izzy tying up and punish Knox. It would be so fitting and, with how crappy Knox is feeling, he'd probably let Isaac do it too. You have to make it work out between them and make Knox stop treating Iz like and ass. Those moments made me so sad when all Isaac wants is Knox's approval and he gets hate instead. Knox is such an ass. Anyway, awesome chapter and I really can't wait for the next one. Post sooooooooooooooon, please?

  23. wow, this was really, really, really good. Your writing has improved tremendously. Your stuff has always been interesting and sexy, but often got a little incoherent with everything you were trying to accomplish. Can't wait for the next chapter.

  24. I was late to work last night. Three guesses why and the first two don't count. I was so damn happy to see this story. I was feeling a little set adrift with Rowe and Day getting their happy ever after. Now we have Isaac and Knox to keep us busy.

    This is starting off so good. Knox has always been one of my favorites. Issac is so going to give him a run for his money. It also makes me wonder if vampires can take Xanex. I think Cade and Micah are going to need it. I think the best part of this story so far is that these two are so stupid in love with each other at this point and neither one of them know what do do with it. So far, they are better at being stupid than they are at being in love. It will be so much fun to watch them grow as people. Isaac saved him once. He can do it again. :o)

  25. OMG!!!!!!!!! Night you have outdone yourself!!! THIS IS AMAZING!! OMG!!!! I loved the Theo and Nova scene. He definitely needs some lovin' and I can't wait to see him happy again! I love the quote about Axel and Cage "It’s like someone split Uncle Rowe in two and made teenagers. So fucking annoying." :) *bounces up and down on bed* I always loved Rowe's sense of humor! :) Glad we now have two teenage forms of Rowe that has got to make life more interesting! :) and my my my what bad language they all have too! Knox, you do not cuss in front of a 2 year old! *wags finger in his face* Sheesh! its not really surprising where they learned all that language! All the Badass vamps around them and all :)
    I liked how you caught us up with all the happenings. I loved the way you gave us the main updates without us feeling like there was anything left out and I liked how you didn't drag it out either. Here's what's been happening, now you've seen it so move on along we've got more to cover. I could see where I would be tempted to drag out the scenes, if I was a writer, but I thought you did an awesome job! :) Absolutely Loved this whole chapter!!!!! Will be checking site for updates every 2 minutes until the time when I can read the next chapter!! YOU are amazing Night!! :) keep up the good work!!!

  26. This is amazing! I love Knox and I know he's really hurting but I want to kick his ass so badly for the way he's treated poor Isaac!!!

    I thought at first that Nova was going to find the happiness he deserves, it was such a sweet scene between him and Theo though :)

    The kids are a hilarious bunch of wee sods, I laughed quite a few times at their banter :D

    I'm so looking forward to the next chapter! Great work Night :D

    Mo x

  27. Oh Night you spoil us! I think I was more excited to for this than the first chapter of Dan and Rowe!! Not that I don't love those two, this just promises for a lot of drama. And it centers around Knoxy-poo! I'll be the first to admit that I love your characters just a slight bit too much ;) It's so nice to see something get under Knox's skin for once! As ill-prepared as Rowe was to try to make a relationship with Dan in the beginning, Knox has it waaaay worse. Loved the bit about the Reese's Pieces, knew it was Knox right away. Can't wait to see how this one plays out!

  28. Thank you so much Night :D I love this story :) I am not as mad as I was at Knox when I first read the sneak peeks of Isaac and Knox. Their love story is so complicated but at least in the end, they have a great happily ever after, although getting Cade's approval might be harder than Micah's, or do a complete 180 and have Micah's approval harder than Cade's. That will be pretty funny. Oh poor Isaac :( I won't be surprised if there would be some tear shedding when reading the later chapters though :( I do love Jaska even though he is a bit annoying for Nan's taste :D I have a feeling that while Isaac is at Yuri's place, Jaska and he will cause a big storm :D

  29. I can't believe you were able to prep this chapter so soon. Issac and Knox making each other miserable in very well crafted. I have a feeling I may be crying alot before this is all said and done.

    Damn you, evil woman!!!

  30. I read the first half this morning and only got to finish this tonight. Am I the only one who kind of likes Knox? I think he's misguided and a bit of a stiff, but he's got an awkward heart beating under that tough exterior. :) Looking forward to seeing where this goes.

  31. Not at all Talia I still love Knox. It was touch and go when they found him with the tattoo guy but Knox has so much love in his heart for Isaac I can't hate him. He would struggle showing emotion with an adult do him dealing with this situation is so far out of his comfort zone he's failing miserably.

  32. Wow can't wait for more

    1. I could not read the whole postings but i am amazed to read comments. i think it is interesting. i will come back to read full postings.
      epdm liquid rubber

  33. I just stayed up way too late reading this so I don't have time for everything I want to say, but I am in tears. Actually crying. You are an amazing writer.

  34. love this first chapter. No hint of Gabe and Ghost yet...but hoping. Was kinda hoping Dan and Rowe would have had a little one but I guess that could still happen

  35. Oh God Knox.....Knox, Knox, Knox, I don't hate him, but I don't like him very much right now, poor Isaac my heart breaks for him. I'm gonna pray night and day that you post the next part soon, I'm seriously completely in love with this story already.
    Oh and I LOVED Cade and Micah's relationship with Isaac while he was growing up, they're such great parents, I love them.
    Anyways hope you post soon, thanx a million for the chapter

  36. I feel like one of my parrots when I comment on your stories. lol 'This was awesome, you're a great writer...etc etc.' lol I hadn't had time the last few weeks to enjoy reading this. I didn't want to sit down to it until I could enjoy it. It was worth the wait! I love that it makes me laugh out loud at several points. The personalities are so distinct where the characters, esp. the kids, are concerned. The teen angst is real genuine too. I'd like to see you go further into what they deal with as young vamps. What is it like for a vamp as they grow. I am just wondering if I have it right...they can't turn him until he's an adult b/c unlike the born vamps he'd be frozen where he is right. I can't wait to see Knox when Isaac finally gets him. I am wondering why it would be such a catastrophe to tell Isaac that Knox is his mate. I guess he doesn't want Isaac to want to be with him right that minute, but at the same time, he can't handle him being with other guys as he 'grows up.' I don't know why Blaze or Maggie haven't suggested telling him, b/c they must know how screwed up Isaac must feel b/c he has all these feelings towards knox his whole life and he doesn't get why. He must hate himself for wanting someone who he saw as hating him. It just seems alot more damaging to not tell him why he has all these extra feelings in addition to the teen thing and then being gay on top of it. THat is a lot to deal with at once. So why can't they tell him? I think he'd even be willing to go somewhere to help Knox if Knox explained how hard it was for him, but that he needed to wait. Anyhow, some great shit! I have to still catch up on the end of D&R! Lots of NT reading today ...yea!! :)