Emily placed a hand over her heart and stared into my eyes.
Emily: “Oh God. You must be mistaking me for her… I’m sorry Darling, my name is Emerald.”
???: “Hey Emerald, is everything okay?”
Remington had given us a little space, but he made a beeline over.
Remi: “Don’t worry. We’re cool, Moss. Right guys?”
Emerald: “Remi, do I have a brother?”
Remi: “Em’… we talked about this. He’s your brother… Jett?”
Emerald: “So you’re Jett? Emily told me so much about you! You’re even more lovely than she said.”
Remi: “Hey Em’… if this whole being Emerald thing has been some sort of long con or joke, you might want to knock it off. I don’t think Jett finds it as funny as I do.”
Jett: “For your sake Remi, it had better be a joke, because if your stupid meddling caused her to have a full psychotic break–“
Emerald: “You are adorable! I can see so much fire in your eyes.”
Emerald: “Emily always said there was fire waiting to be lit in you.”
Emerald: “For the last time, Darling. My name is Emerald. Emily’s asleep now.”
Jett: “I- I don’t understand.”
Emerald: “I’m tired too though, I think I’ll rest for a while. Remi, bring me a drink.”
Emily– no Emerald waved her hand at me lazily and walked away to the tables. I sighed.
Remi: “Ghouls are supposed to be a vampire’s servants… what the fuck.”
I sat down and looked over at Remington.
He begrudgingly complied and sat down next to me.
Emerald: “Jett! You are the guest in this place. Act like one!”
Was Emi yelling at me? She’d never yelled about anything before. Gah.
Emerald: “You’re a mortal. You put yourself at risk acting like… acting like–“
Remi: “Yeesh, cool it Em’.”
Emerald: “He’s going to get himself killed.”
Jett: “Did you just say killed?”
Emerald: “If the Prince–“
Remi: “The Prince won’t mind a single visitor.”
Emerald: “Emily would be devastated if I let her brother die because he was sticking his nose where it didn’t belong.”
Remi: “Chill Em’, I’ve got this.”
Emerald: “Says the vampire that created a ghoul without the blessing of his sire!”
Remi: “Keep my Dad out of this! I’m not a childer. I don’t need his permission to do squat!”
Jett: “Can you two just shut up?!”
My voice started to spike as I spoke. They were spouting nonsense and talking like I wasn’t even here.
Jett: “What the holy hell is going on here?!”
I was too busy being at wit’s end to notice the dark purple man Emi had been dancing with walk over.
Moss: “I think the earlier assessment of everything being cool was incorrect. I’ll repeat my earlier statement: Is everything okay, Emerald?”
This guy’s voice was quiet. I shouldn’t have been able to hear his voice over the music, but the sound cut through the pounding beat and sliced through the tension. I looked over the bridge of my glasses at Remi. Everything was cool right?
Emerald: “Mostyn, this is apparently my brother. Isn’t he lovely?”
Mostyn sat down and looked over at me. I tried to give him a nonchalant look, but there was something just a little off about this guy. He was more like my uncle than Remington. I should probably watch myself.
Moss: “He is. He’s not a ghoul though? Remington, is he part of your herd?”
Remi: “Fuck no… I’d rather starve than drink his blood. He’s my cousin. The thought makes me gag.”
Jett: “I’m not here for any vampire weird shit. I was just here to check up on my sister. Our parents worry about her.”
Moss: “It must be nice to have a family that cares so much for you.”
Emerald: “It is. It’s lovely to finally be awake and to feel their love.”
Moss: “I can only imagine what it would be like. My family- did I have parents? I can’t remember anymore. I had… I have a cousin as well?”
Mostyn’s gaze started to wander off as he lost his train of thought. Remi’s eyes in turn went wide as another vampire came up to our table. This man was the same dark shade of purple as Mostyn, but he had none of the softness.
Mostyn looked over at the similar man and smiled.
Moss: “Roland, I’m glad I didn’t imagine you.”
Roland shook his head and put his hand on Moss’s shoulder.
Roland: “No, I’m real, Cousin. Now Remington, what trouble have you brought down on us?”
Moss stood up and smiled.
Moss: “I think I will get a Plasma Jane. I like those, don’t I?”
Roland: “Yes, you like them a lot.”
Moss wandered off and Roland took his seat. Roland looked over at Remington.
Roland: “Since you aren’t talking, make yourself useful.”
Remington stood up and pushed his chair back in with a scowl on his face.
Remi: “Be right back, Cuz. Watch what you say.”
I didn’t have much of a chance to say anything before Candy made her way over to our table.
Candy: “Scoot over, Roland. I want to sit next to Emerald’s brother.”
Roland: “I shouldn’t be surprised you already know him.”
She made a scooting gesture and Roland moved over into the chair that Remington had occupied. Candy sat down next to me and smiled.
I won’t lie. I felt a little safer with Candy next to me instead of Roland. It was the difference of sitting next to a lioness rather than a viper coiled to strike.
Candy: “You two do look so much alike! And you’re both really attractive… Don’t you think so too, Roland?”
Candy’s smile was mischievous as she looked over at Roland. He snorted and didn’t say anything.
Candy: “Don’t mind him. He’s just being a grumpy old man.”
Emerald giggled and leaned forward.
Emerald: “Jett and this vessel are so pretty because their parents are famous.”
Candy looked intrigued and she leaned forward closer to Emerald. I avoided looking since it put more of her chest on display. Okay, I may have peeked.
Candy: “They are? Anyone I know?”
Roland: “I don’t have time for gossip. Take your sister and go home, Human.”
I prickled up at his tone and stood up straighter in my chair.
Jett: “I’d love to. Come on Emi.”
Emerald snarled. She didn’t have the same fangs as a vampire, but it sort of reminded me of the time I caught Remington having a hissing contest against my cat, Wallace.
Emerald: “Emerald is not going anywhere! You’ll see the one you want returned to you in the morning.”
I wanted to scream. This was too stupid. Too convoluted to be true. I sucked in a breath and held it for as long as I could manage it.
Roland: “I don’t think she wants to leave. So that means it’s time for you to leave alone.”
Candy: “He doesn’t have to leave. He’s a guest.”
Roland: “He’s a liability.”
Candy: “I’ll keep an eye on him. No one would dare lay a finger on a human under the protection of the daughter of Lord Flash Silver.”
Roland: “One of the many children of…”
Candy: “Don’t be such an asshole.”
Roland grimaced. It was as close to an apology as Candy was going to get from the looks of it.
Candy: “Emerald or Emily or whatever her name is adorable and I like having her around. She’s a lot more fun that you stuffy lot of broody boys. She’s under Remington’s protection so she’s safe here, but her brother- wait, what did you say his name was?”
Jett: “My name is Jett and my sister is Emily. She’s just calling herself Emerald.”
Roland looked over at Candy with a odd look. Candy returned the look. I don’t think they bought my line, but they didn’t say anything. Emerald looked over me with a smile, but it wasn’t genuine.
Roland: “Candy, I’d suggest you stay out of family matters.”
Candy: “Nonsense. Jett is under my protection and that’s the end of it.”
Roland: “And what about Emerald?”
Candy: “Remington isn’t a fledgling, even if he acts like one. The Prince has no right to interfere with a neonate creating a ghoul, especially since she was willing. What do you think Emerald?”
Jett: “What the hell are you people talking about?”
Candy: “We’ll explain in time, but just know for now you and your sister are safe.”
Emerald: “Thank you, Candy! You too, Roland.”
Roland: “Don’t thank me for something I’m doing against my will.”
I put my head in my hands. Why was this happening to me? I should have just stepped in and stopped my cousin from destroying what little sanity was left in my sister.
Emerald: “Cheer up, Emily’s Little Brother. We both get what we want! I get to exist and well…”
Jett: “And well what?”
Emerald: “I’m sure there’s something, but I’m not sure I care!”
She giggled with glee.
Roland gazed at me from across the table with pity in his eyes.
Candy looked a little confused.