On the eve of her birthday, Delmarya (Deli), had much to consider. She was the fourth vampire sired by Asher Fier and his thirteenth child overall. It was obvious to her that he wished to create some sort of vampire empire, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to be part of it. She had doubts about remaining a vampire at all.
Not feeling comfortable discussing her feelings with either of her parents and not telling them where she was going, she sought her eldest sister, Aster.
Aster greeted Deli warmly, but as soon as they sat to talk, Deli got nervous.
Even though they were sisters, well half-sisters, they’d never lived together and Aster was much much older—Deli had only recently begun getting to know her. How could she just unload: What’s it like to bite someone? Can you still eat food? How do you think our father would feel if I became human? What did you give up for the sun? What was it like when our brothers, the ones I never knew but who grew up with you, died?
Those questions needed to wait … and if she wasn’t comfortable asking them, she probably also wouldn’t be able to give Aster’s answers enough consideration either. What had she been thinking? A lot was changing for her and she probably didn’t have time to properly delve into the nuances of vampirism now when she’d soon be busy with university and a new job. She needed time to mull over everything and reflect on it as a person with at least some life experience as an adult.
Instead of talking about deep things, they engaged in small talk. Aster humored her.
Deli told Aster about her intention to enroll in the maximum amount of college classes while working full time.
Aster: If it’s too much, don’t hesitate to cut back.
Deli: Don’t worry. I’ll manage, but what were things like after you finished high school?
Aster: I went straight into journalism, because I’d done a lot of writing while in school.
Deli: But you’re an actress …
Aster: Actually, my first love was writing, not acting, but things didn’t work out. My journalism career ended abruptly and unfortunately. Let’s not dwell on it now—How’s Sulani?
Never willing to miss an opportunity to gush about sunny Sulani and sensing that there was a lot to the story of Aster’s journalism career that would be better discussed later, Deli talked about her hometown.
Aster: You know that I can help you become stronger? If you become strong enough, you’ll be able to enjoy the sun again. Want to train a bit now?
Deli accepted the offer. She was willing to become a slightly more powerful vampire, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to become a grand master (or anything close to that) like Aster and her father were.
Deli left her sister’s home and rushed to the library because her father called, curious about where his still teenage daughter was and what she was doing at 3:00 am the night (morning?) before she became an adult.
Deli arrived just in the time as Asher arrived moments after her in swim trunks. He’d apparently run over in whatever he was wearing.
Deli: Dad, why are you here?
Asher: Are you okay?
Asher: What are you working on so late? You don’t need help?
Deli: I’m fine. I’m just thinking and writing in my journal.
Asher: You’re not stressed about something. You don’t want to talk about emotional control?
Deli: Emotional control?!?
After changing his clothes, Asher read a novel and gave Deli advice on stress and emotional control, which was incredibly ironic, given his personal struggles with empathy and emotional control. Honestly, he may not have maintained his “emotional control” if she’d shared all her thoughts about being a vampire with him.
Regardless, Deli felt optimistic. She’d accomplished everything she set out to as a child and a teen. Some would say she’d done way too much:
But to her it was just the right amount. She missed the being-outside-in-the-sun-without-burning-up aspect of her childhood…
But Deli was still happy. She wanted a small celebration at home with family for her birthday, so that’s what she got.