After Star’s funeral, the Fiers returned to their home in Sulani. Aster followed.
Upon arriving, Aster began crying, perhaps remembering what it was like to lose her own mother. Asher meditated in the most vampiric way possible, encouraging his eldest daughter to do the same. The next few days would be difficult, but …
After composing herself, Aster went inside and immediately began helping out around the house. She did the laundry. She did the dishes. She took out the trash.
Dyna forced herself to go to soccer practice and returned exhausted. Of the five young adults in the house, she was the sweetest and the youngest. Whenever her twin, Darius, set the house on fire, Dyna would help him put it out and cheer him up. She even laughed at his horrid jokes. Dyna also had perfect grades and was awarded a full-ride scholarship to Foxbury. But because she was the youngest, she was often overlooked. Everything she did, her older siblings had already done and just as well, except for soccer—she wasn’t consciously competing with them, but the sport was something unique to her and perhaps why she pushed herself to exhaustion.
At any rate, Asher was in an interesting mood. Maybe it was talking to Aster that helped; maybe it was meditating; maybe Star’s passing made him realize some things.
Regardless, he spent the night, dare we say, lovingly? watching over his wife, Adelise, as she slept. Even though he hadn’t liked Adelise much at first (and had made it clear to everyone that she wasn’t his first choice), they’d married and he’d grown extremely fond of her. Those difficult times had been literal generations ago and despite how things were then, now he genuinely cared about her feelings.
Asher also cared about his daughter Dysis.
Lately, he’d been a bit cruel to Dysis (making fun of her, jokingly telling her to move out, questioning her intelligence, &c.). It was obvious that she was having a hard time, so the next morning, after more reflection and while annoyed with himself, he went to talk to her.
She was in the process of quickly downing a healthy breakfast of carrot juice so that she could catch up on her university work. Previously cheerful and confident Dysis was honestly stressed about everything: Star had just died; she wanted to spend more time with her boyfriend (but that was dangerous for a thousand different reasons); her grades were questionable; and her place in the family seemed iffy. Now, her father was coming to talk to her. She wondered what trouble he would start.
Asher was uncharacteristically nice. He told a questionable joke, but it worked on Dysis and she laughed.
They chatted happily for a bit and Dysis smiled.
But her smile didn’t last.