Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chapter 12: The Vampire's Muse, Part 2

Lily's never been much of a homebody, and even though she's pregnant she still frequents the bars and restaurants around town.

This afternoon, Lily meets up with Phillip to tell him about her pregnancy and engagement to Leo.

Poor Phillip sometimes gets confused now that he's older, but he smiles feebly and wishes her and Leo all the best. It saddens Lily to see him like this, but she knows deep down that he's happy for her.

Lily is just about to go rescue the bartender from Phillip's aimless ramblings when a woman comes over and introduces herself.

"Hello," she murmurs quietly. Lily leans in, struggling to hear her wispy voice above the music. "My name is Tessa Lockharte, and I'm new to town." She glances at Lily nervously before adding, "I noticed that you're pregnant as well."

Lily laughs. "Yes, I'm still quite a ways from my due date though. What about you? When are you due?" she asks, eying her large stomach.

"Oh, any day now," Tessa tells her shyly.

"I'm Lily West," she says as she firmly extends her hand in greeting. Lily notices that Tessa's grip is weak and her skin feels cool and clammy.

The woman seems taken aback. "You're Lily West?" she asks, stunned.

Lily gazes at her, confused. "Well, yes... Do I know you?" she scans her face, trying to place her.

"Oh, no. I'm sorry for being so forward," she mumbles apologetically. "Kristopher told me all about you. He neglected to mention, however, that you were pregnant..."

"Kristopher?" she repeats. It's been a few months since she's heard that name, and although it sounds vaguely familiar she can't quite match a face to it.

"Kristopher von Hagen..." Tessa says patiently as she anxiously stares at the ground.

Suddenly, his image materializes in her mind, and she recalls their last encounter as if it were yesterday. She hadn't even realized the vampire was still in town. "You know Kristopher?!" Lily tries to sound calm, but a hint of panic rings through her voice. She can't put her finger on it, but even the sound of his name puts her on edge.

Tessa smiles timidly. "I know him intimately," she replies as she gestures toward her swollen belly.

Lily racks her brain, trying to remember her last conversation with the vampire. He had mentioned a traveling companion, but she hadn't realized he'd arrived with his girlfriend.

As Lily stares at the woman, trying to get her mind around this new bit of information, Tessa squirms uncomfortably. "I'm sorry for how Kristopher treated you," she begins. "He can be a bit overwhelming at first."

"Tessa," Lily hesitates, unsure of how to broach the subject. "Kristopher was rather, um, forward with me when we met," she tells her, desperately hoping that she doesn't need to spell it out further.

Tessa laughs, but her eyes are serious. "Lily, you seem like a sweet girl. Can I be completely honest with you?"

Lily nods, and Tessa takes a deep breath before launching into her story. "Before we came to Riverblossom Hills, Kristopher and I lived in a land up North, a wild and lawless place where the ruling families fought with each other for control. After years of turmoil amongst the vampires in our clan, Kristopher tried to overthrow our leader. When his mutiny attempt failed, he and I were to be executed. We narrowly escaped alive." She pauses, watching Lily intently.

"We were planning on going all the way to Bridgeport," she explains, "but as soon as we arrived in Riverblossom, Kristopher got a whiff of your scent. He told me that the Watcher sent him a vision, a vision of two families united to form a powerful entity, practically undefeatable. He made it very clear that we were to stay and set up our home in Riverblossom Hills."

Noticing Lily's puzzled expression, she continues. "I was grateful to stop here. Exhausted from our journey and on the brink of starvation, a visit from the reaper was imminent. That night when you first met Kristopher, he was searching for medical care for me. We found out about my pregnancy that evening at the hospital, and I knew Kristopher was right. We had to stay and make Riverblossom our home.""

Lily stands silently listening to Tessa in disbelief. Vampire clans? Mutiny attempts? Visions from the Watcher? It is all too much.

Sensing her skepticism, Tessa pushes forward. "I understand this may be a bit hard to swallow. Sometimes, even I wonder if Kristopher knows what he's talking about. But I have to have faith in him. He's all I have left."

Lily glances around, making sure no one is listening. "He kept mentioning fate and destiny," she whispers to Tessa. "Honestly, I just assumed he was trying to get into my pants..."

Tessa frowns. "Don't you understand?" she interrupts. "In his vision, you and he joined together to create a mighty family, worthy of conquering the clan that exiled us." As Lily stares at her blankly, Tessa continues. "You are destined to mother his children, Lily."

Realizing the full scope of Tessa's statement, Lily's mouth falls open. "Tessa," she exclaims, "In case you haven't noticed, I am already taken..."

Tessa furrows her brow. "Yes... Yes, indeed I did. Kristopher is not going to be happy when he hears the news..."

Lily stops for a second, thinking over Tessa's last remark. "How do you feel about his 'vision' Tessa?" she asks. "You are already pregnant with his child... Surely it must bother you that he is actively seeking out another woman?"

Tessa laughs softly, but her eyes look sad. "In our country, poly-amorous relationships are the norm. I was one of many back home. His other lovers were not so fortunate as to be able to escape."

Lily looks shocked. It bothers her that any man would take advantage of this quiet, unassuming woman.

"Tessa, I need to go," Lily tells her. "But, why don't you come over tomorrow?" she offers. "You can meet my family, and we can talk some more."

Tessa, in turn, looks flabbergasted. "Really? You mean it?" she asks softly.

Lily smiles. "Absolutely."

The next morning while Leo works upstairs in his daycare, Lily and Tessa sit on the couch and chat. They keep their discussion light and easy and avoid talking about anything too serious. Mostly, they talk about babies, and their mutual fear of giving birth.

They quickly become close friends, so when Lily decides to have a bachelorette party, she makes sure Tessa gets invited.

Dakota is thrilled by her daughter's pregnancy and impending nuptials. Lily begs her mom not to come to her bachelorette party, but Dakota can't resist.

And boy, does she make her presence known:

 First she hits on the male dancer that someone (points finger at Dakota) hired for the party.

After harassing the innocent male stripper, she insists on terrorizing Lily's friends with a potent bottle of champagne. Luckily, Lily is a bit preoccupied tonight.

Kristopher shows up to the celebration unannounced and uninvited. When Lily notices him, she immediately loses her temper.

"What the hell do you think you are doing here?!" she demands. 

"I had to come and see for myself," he tells her coldly. "Tessa mentioned that you were pregnant, but I didn't believe her. Unfortunately, it appears that she was right."

"What does it matter to you?" she yells. "I want nothing to do with you or your vampire cult!"

"No," he says quietly. "No, I suppose not. Perhaps I was mistaken. Perhaps you are not the woman in my vision. Perhaps it is your child that I need..." he mutters to himself.

Hearing those words, Lily snaps. "Stay away from me and my family!" she screams at him. "We want nothing to do with you or your kind!"

His cold eyes meet hers, and he smirks. "You can only protect your family for so long Lily. You are mortal after all and will perish long before I even start to age. Then, perhaps, I will have my chance."

And with that, he turns and leaves, speeding away before she can even respond.

When Tessa shows up later that night, Lily immediately heads over to talk to her.

"I think you need to leave Kristopher," she tells her, cutting right to the chase. 

Tessa frowns. "Lily, he's all I have left..."

"He's evil, Tess. You need to protect yourself and your unborn child and get out of that house before anything happens."

"Lily, I know you think you're looking out for me, but Kristopher is a good soul. He just comes across a bit strong at times..."

Lily looks at her sadly. She knows it's a losing battle, but it would kill her to see anything happen to Tessa. "Just promise me, that if you ever feel unsafe, you will leave him immediately."

Tessa smiles. She's never had a friend who cared about her so much. "I promise Lily."

That night at the party, Tessa goes into labor.

With Kristopher nowhere to be found, Lily rushes Tessa to the hospital. After a long and difficult labor, she finally gives birth to a baby boy. But Tessa's joy turns to anguish as her weakened body struggles to handle the painful delivery. As Lily sits beside her, soothingly stroking her hair, Tessa's life quickly fades. She dies that night, without even naming her newborn son.

"What did she want to call him?" a nurse asks Lily.

Lily sits on the edge of the bed, tears pouring down her cheeks, her fingers tightly intertwined with Tessa's lifeless hand.

And, as if Tessa was whispering in her ear, Lily says "Ethan. She wants him to be named Ethan."

Challenge Notes:

I definitely went in a different direction here, but I hope this update explains things a bit more. I apologize for the walls of text and minimal pictures, but a lot of it was dialogue and those chatting photographs get repetitive really fast.

I struggled with a name for Tessa's son. He was born with the name "Dusty", and I really didn't find that fitting. Ethan means strong, and I think it suits the circumstances surrounding his birth.


  1. Oh, how sad! poor Tessa!
    Really great update! I loved Dakota at the party, that was classic. Not classy, lol, but classic.

  2. D : Poor Tessa! And just as I was getting attached to her too. I hope Ethan will grow up alright. I'm curious to see if Kristopher takes him or if Lily tries to get custody.

  3. Kristopher is scary! And poor Tessa :(

  4. Aww, I didn't see Tessa's passing coming. =( I, too, wonder what is to become of poor little Ethan. I'm hoping that Tessa was right and that Kristopher is just misunderstood, but Ali is right - he's a bit scary!