Deli Strikes Out (Delmarya)

The five fourth generation Fier “children” were growing up. None were actually children anymore and many were interested in dating with marriage in mind.

Given that, they hosted a small get together with friends and a few single acquaintances at their second home. It was supposed to be casual and just hanging out, but some of the girls decided to dress up anyway.

Delmarya (Deli) had adopted the saying “third times a charm” as her motto because she was very interested in one of the men who’d shown up. First, there had been Landon, an absolute bust; second, Cabe, who was just a friend; and now, this was the third time. This was it.

This new guy wasn’t anything special, but that was the beauty of his appeal. He was cute in a boy-next-door sort of way and he seemed nice.

She approached him posthaste and introduced herself politely.

His name was Rashad and he was a townie whose family was somehow acquainted with her father, Asher, but no one he knew could quite remember the exact connection (because Asher didn’t want them to…). Regardless, Rashad was interested in meeting people his age, so he decided to come.

Meanwhile, Dysis had also seen Rashad and was absolutely mesmerized by his charm. She laser focused on him and gave no one else even the smallest bit of her attention. She didn’t notice Deli at all. Deli hadn’t been there anyway, right?

Rarely lacking in confidence, Dysis’s approach was swift, direct and obviously flirty. Rashad was 100% into it.

Annoyed, Deli backed off. She like Rashad, but didn’t want to compete with her sister who hadn’t even noticed her. Fighting over boys was peak stupidity. Deli told herself that she wouldn’t even consider it. Let Dysis have him—well, maybe. It’d only been five minutes, but they seemed to be hitting it off. Dysis was the conventionally pretty one; Deli was … the vampire. As much as Deli wanted to be in a relationship, she wasn’t even sure if being in one with a normal human was the right thing to do. So forget it—she was leaving.

Feeling both envious and annoyed at herself for feeling envious, Deli moved to get away from everyone. She didn’t even care to say hello to Cabe.

But before she could leave the room, she was engulfed by a compulsion to revel in being a vampire right in front of her father. For the tiniest of moments, Deli considered that if she expended just the slightest bit of effort and became a properly strong vampire, she’d be able to control Rashad and every other normal person.

She might as well experience more of the benefits of her unique condition instead of all these bad things like not being able to enjoy the sun—or not. How could she lose control over a stranger? This was awful. Luckily, only Asher saw her.

Feeling a complete mess of emotions, Deli went outside to do the one thing that always put her mind at ease: homework. If she could count on anything, it was pathetically this. As a kid, she’d worked so hard to impress her father that studying well had become both a habit and a comfort.

Asher followed her out to see if she were okay because as much as 1) he wanted her to embrace being a vampire and 2) felt smug about her finally deciding to show off her powers, he recognized that such behavior was unusual. Now was his chance: if he hit the right tone and offered the right sort of advice, maybe showed her how to have some mischievous fun in an academic way that somehow appealed to her?, she’d be happier and more open to becoming a powerful vampire.

Before he could make things better or much worse, Calanthe, his second eldest daughter and another vampire, called, asking to meet Deli at a restaurant.

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