“Hey Josiah, I got your voicemails. Sorry I had a really full schedule today. Where did you want to hang out?”
“Oh, I uh. Well I mean you could come over to my place if you wanted. I was just walking home from the park to see how my niece and nephew are doing since they just got out of school. Which I’m sure is fine of course they can take care of themselves, and their mom is actually home today.”
“Dude chill. Shoot me the address in a text and I’ll come over and we can hang out for a little bit.”
“I can not believe you have Hydroblaster 9000: A space Invasion. This game is super rare, there are almost no working machines left in existence.”
“Well, I mean… it’s not mine. It’s my brother’s and his family’s. But I mean I guess it’s mine right now until they don’t need me here anymore.”
“Need you? This isn’t your house.”
“Well not exactly. My sister and I were living together, but she just had a baby, and our older brother just died so I moved in here to help out with my niece and nephew.”
“Oh… I’m so sorry.” Darling said giving Josiah a hug, who’s knees instantly melted. “It’s really nice of you to be wanting to help out though, and cool of them to let you consider this your home. ”
“Yeah, I uh… well. Thanks.”
“You’re doing it again. Chill man. Chill. I’m not going to bite you or anything.”
Conversations got a little bit easier as they started playing the game. Josiah was terrible, and Darling was amazing.
They talked a bit about how they grew up since family had already been breached as a subject.
They watched the stars and talked about dreams of the future, and what they used to dream of when they were young.
To Josiah, the night couldn’t have been going more perfectly. He couldn’t believe he was laying on the ground having a conversation with Darling and be able to get out a proper sentence-finally.
As the stone chilled they hopped up and sat on the bench instead to continue talking. Josiah couldn’t help himself after awhile. He stood and clipped a flower from the bushes around the pool.
“Oh… that’s nice and all Josiah… But I don’t care for flowers.”
“Daisy call me asap. Urgent” Daisy looked down at her phone to see a text from Josiah. What was he yammering on about something urgent? Must be something to do with the funeral for Boston.
She unlocked her apartment and went inside taking her cold weather gear off at the door and hanging them on the hook to dry. It had been a little wet out earlier on her way into her interview. But she had landed the job as an intern at the hospital which she had been training for, for quite a while. She was also kind of holding out that Devan might like her once he graduated. But maybe someone else would come into her life. She couldn’t know at this moment, and she still had plenty of time.
She phoned her brother back and he answered on the first ring. “Daisy thank God! You’ve got to help me!” She listened closely as he explained that he’d developed a giant crush on his gym trainer. She was beautiful to him, but this other lady had insisted he go for someone more attainable like herself. And he had told her no that he liked his gym trainer, but he had given her a flower and she’d politely turned it down and then told him she needed to head home because it had been a long day. What should he do!
“Gracious and good heavens. Josiah I’ve never known you to care about what other’s think of you. If you like her just give her a second chance. Who knows, maybe she really did have to rush home.”
“What do I do?”
“How about give her a day or two to think it over. Maybe even head into the gym she works at after that since you regularly work there and see if she’s ready to talk to you. Work out like you regularly would without creeping on her.”
“Oh. Okay. I guess I’ll try that.”
“But like I said Josiah, it’s probably nothing. You just told her you like her and she needs time to process.”
When they hung up she got dressed and walked across the hall to her brother’s apartment. Santino and Eric had gotten her into the apartment in their building when she was ready to move out of their mom’s house. She and Eric were especially close and she was still holding on to one of his biggest secrets.
Santino opened up the door with a huge smile on his face. “Hey! Daisy!”
“Hey,” she said with a sigh, excepting her older brother’s hug. “We’ve got yet another family emergency.
“Our family is so big I don’t think it’s possible to not have a family emergency happening,” Santino said with a laugh. “But why the gloomy face? Come on sit on the couch.”
“Josiah has a crush and may have gotten turned down. I’ve got a crush and there is no chance he’d ever be interested because he’s so much younger. I haven’t been flirted with even once. It would be nice… ”
“So … which one is the emergency?”
“Oh, I’m just whining, you know how I do. Josiah is the emergency. You know how mean he can get. I don’t want him to slip up and say something stupid without her understanding that he’s just awkward. How should we go about helping him?”
“Well, who is she?”
“Some gym trainer that’s been helping him out. Oh by the way, do you know when the funeral is?”
“Let’s stay on happy subjects for now okay. We’ll all make it to our big brother’s funeral I promise. Let’s talk love first. I’m gonna go poke, Eric. He’s gotta be almost finished filling out job applications by now.”
“Did I hear Daisy out there?” Eric asked excitedly hopping up and giving his twin a hug.
“Yes, you did.”
“Yay! My favorite little sister is here!” He started moving towards the door.
“Uh, uh, uh. Not so fast bro. I need to see what applications you’ve put out. Just because you’re my twin doesn’t mean I’m going to have you sitting here mooching the entire time. Then you can go out and bug your favorite little sister.”
While Daisy waited she flipped on her favorite Doctor Romcom. As a prospective doctor, it was one of her favorite shows on all of television. She wanted to get in the mood for her internship that was about to start.
Daisy spun her head and saw Eric standing in the doorway. “Eric!” She jumped up and they hugged tightly. “I got the internship!” She squealed as they released and held hands. “You were right! I was being way to gloomy about it!! Now you’ve got to help me again, Josiah needs some serious help.”
“Congratulations! I knew you were going to get it!” He plopped on the couch on one end and crossed his legs propping his elbows on his knees to hold his chin up. “Now spill all the juicy family gossip you’ve got.”
Daisy circled the back of the couch and took the other side of the couch propping her legs up across into his lap and took Santino’s hackysack off the side table and started tossing it up into the air as she repeated the story she’d just told Santino. “And he’s living over with Boston’s family which is when he met her because he was switching gyms due to the new location.”
“Wait… he’s hanging out with Zechariah?” Eric had been massaging his sister’s feet because he knew how active she was and it always helped her relax and not be so gloomy, but he sat up and pushed her legs off his lap when she got to that part of the story.
Daisy sat up confused. “What’s the big deal about that?”
“Oh. er. Nothing. ” Eric scratched his cheek embarrassed.
“No… ” She looked at him closely and he averted his eyes and refused to make eye contact with her. “He is?!?” Eric nodded.
“It wasn’t so hard to put together, he looks so much like me and Griffin that I knew he couldn’t be just our nephew from marriage…”
“So you found out -”
“No, I had my suspicions, and I got them in touch with each other…” Eric looked guiltily away again.
“Eric… what did you do.”
“Nothing bad! I promise!”
“You’re still trying to -”
“Shhhh, Santino is still home. He’s getting ready for work.”
“Okay fine. You come over and see me later. Promise.”
“I promise Daisy. I’ll see you later.”
“Good.” She pointed at him with a playful glare. “I’m keeping you to that.” She stood up from the couch and called out, “Have a great day at work Santino! I’m going back to my apartment now bro!”
“Bye Daisy!” He called back from the bedroom.
Daisy went outside after she left their apartment to get some basketball practice in and was shocked to see her sister-in-law on the court already. “Kallie!” She called out as she jogged over.
“Oh hey, Daisy!” Kallie called back tossing her ball over the fence to Daisy who caught it, before grabbing a new one from the storage bin. “What are you doing out here?”
Daisy laughed and dribbled onto the court. “I live across the street. What are you doing here?”
“Well it may seem really strange… but I’m training for work.” She sighed.
“Oh no… Are you okay? I know the sound of a gloomy sim when I hear one. You having issues still with the paperwork for Boston’s funeral.”
“A little bit yeah. I haven’t been able to force myself to sign all of it yet. It would be like accepting that he’s really gone, and not just on tour or something. I knew this was coming because of the cancer. But it’s still so hard to accept.”
“Want to help with my cheer up mission instead?”
“Yeah. We’re all struggling with accepting this, and whatever we can do to help we will of course. That’s what family is for. But Eric, Santino and I are tackling a ‘Bring on the Happy’ project. And I have a feeling you’re perfectly placed to help me out with this one.” Daisy gave a quick rundown of what was going on.
“Oh yeah, there was a girl at the house last night that he was hanging out with. That must have been her.”
Daisy pulled out her phone and searched up the gym in Oasis Springs. People liked to upload pictures to show their support to everyone. Help them be motivated to keep going. She flipped through until she found her brother in the background of one. “Is that her next to him?” She asked pointing.
“Yeah, that’s her.”
“Oh, fantastic! Would you like to join me on the mission to make Josiah happy?”
“You know… I think this could help me feel better. Josiah’s a good guy and he’s been helping me out with the kids. Returning the favor would be nice.”
“What’s going on here?” A familiar voice asked. Daisy turned and saw her mom entering the basketball court.
“Oh! Hey mom! What’s going on?”
“Oh, the usual. Keeping up my contract even though it’s been years and years. But I asked you first.”
“Josiah has a crush!”
“Good for him, about time he got interested in someone. How’s it going?”
“Er.. well … badly.”
“Hello, Ms. Matriarch.”
“Oh please Kallie, call me mom or Jamie. You’re family!”
The three women continued talking until they all had to head in separate directions for their own scheduled plans. Kallie left feeling much better. She hadn’t been very close to her husband’s family because he’d been avoiding them for years and she’d thought it was the other way because he always talked so fondly of them when he spoke of them.
Daisy, however, walked back across the street and caught the elevator up to her apartment. As soon as the chime went off to indicate she had arrived at her floor she found Eric standing in the hallway waving enthusiastically. “I saw you coming back home so I’m keeping my promise.”
“You’re just trying to get free food and not bum it off Santino again.” She laughed, “Come on in.”
“Now… tell me if I’m right. Have you been contacting our vampire family members for the reason I think you are?” Eric nodded. “I thought we talked about trying to hold off on that. Living a little before you purposefully die…” Daisy said with a sigh.
“I know… but Griffin and Keith and Trent are so amazing. They are so strong and they have no fear. I’m nothing. I want to be like them. People make fun of me because of my love for cuddly things. If I was different… they wouldn’t make fun of me.”
“Eric…” Daisy sighed and hugged her brother. “I’ll be here for you no matter what you decide because I love you. But I still think you should wait…”
“I have been waiting. My life isn’t changing. I’ve put out so many applications and nothing is happening. I don’t have amazing skills like the rest of you. I’ve been doing all the research. I’d get protection from the Grand Master and it wouldn’t be such a big deal that I can’t find a job. I’d have new skills to get different kinds of jobs.”
“You’d have to move though… and I’d really miss you.”
“I’d come to visit, and you could come to visit me.” He hugged her tight. “I’m going to get you a friend to keep you company when I’m gone. It’ll be here when you get back from work tomorrow. I’m going to go through with this Daisy. I’m sorry. You know I’ve been dreaming about this day for years.”
She went into work the next morning for the first day of her internship and tried to keep the changes in her family from her mind. It was a hard day learning how the hospital flowed and not getting in the way of the doctors that were higher ranked. She mostly got tasked with cleaning up the rooms and sitting back and watching and listening. Nothing much hands-on with the patients yet.
She knew she could do the work though. She’d passed all the important classes, she just needed the hands-on experience to prove she could earn her full degree.
When she got home she was super surprised to see an entire cabinet sitting in her living room. There was a card taped to one of the doors and she quickly opened it and read it. “I know you’ll be sad without me around. So when I’m not around I hope this fuzzy cutie can help you through the days. I’ll always be a phone call away. I’ve saved up to have enough for him to have a good home and lots of food and liter changing wood chip things. It’s all inside the cabinet. I love you, Daisy!
Your best brother, Eric.”
She pulled the little guy out of his cage. “You’re going to need a name, aren’t you. I wonder what it could be.” She pet his little head and introduced herself. “My name is Daisy.”
Eric knew that Daisy would be home soon, he’d set up her surprise, but he didn’t want to be home when she got home. He finished grilling his hot dogs and then placed them on the counter covered in tin foil so that Santino could get them when he got home from his job. All he needed was one or two as he took a cab out to Oasis Springs.
Eric knocked on the giant glass mansions door.
He chatted with his niece while he waited for Josiah to wake up from his nap. She was sneaking a piece of cake while no one was looking and made him promise not to tell.
After a couple minutes Josiah came downstairs and Eric hopped up to meet him at the base of the stairs before Ebony’s cake plate could be seen. “Why don’t we go upstairs and work out some?” He suggested.
“Yeah, that sounds like a great idea.”
“That’s what I thought. You do have gym equipment here.”
Josiah looked up at his brother in surprise. “Pfffh, yeah what of it.” He asked angrily, feeling an unstated accusation.
“Well, I happen to know that you have a crush on someone at the gym since you’ve been going to the gym, but you could just work out here.”
Zech froze before turning the corner where he’d be seen. He was dreading what was going to be said next. The reason they went to the gym so often was that he needed to feed.
Josiah sighed, “Daisy told you didn’t she… I should have known that she would make sure to tell you at least. Yeah… I’ve got a crush on her, but I don’t think anything is going to happen.”
“Well, you need to trust what Daisy told you. She was practically trained by mom on how to get a date after all. Not that I believe mom is the best, but it seems to work somewhat since there are so many of us. But the point is you’ve got a crush, go for it.”
Zech stepped around the corner. “Hey Uncle Josiah, hey Uncle Eric.” He winked, “It is actually Uncle Eric this time right?”
Eric rolled his eyes. “Yeah, you should know that by now since you’re hanging out with us all so much more often now.”
“Actually Zech, I wanted to talk to you outside really quick.”
“Yeah whatever, you want to see Dad’s tombstone right?”
“Okay, no. I don’t really need to see the tombstone. I’ve got something else in mind. I want to be a vampire.”
Zech froze in midstep as he’d been moving to lead his uncle to the tombstone. “I. You… what?”
“Will you turn me into a vampire?”
He needed to try out what he’d learned sometime…”I… could. I just need to warn you I’ve never done it and I only know it in theory. It may hurt a lot.”
“I’m prepared for that. I’ve been doing my own research. I was going to ask my brothers, but I don’t think they’d do it.”
“I’ve… actually been looking into how to turn people… I don’t want to lose anyone else.”
“Well You’ll have to lose more family sadly, that’s life… but I’m sure some of us, like me, will be fine with it.”
“Okay.” Zech took a deep breath. “From my understanding, I need to feed on you first, and then you have to feed on me to try to refill what I’ve taken. But it will take my healing blood into you and you will… well.” He stopped talking, looking embarrassed. “You’ll basically be my minion because I’ll have created you.”
Eric punched his nephew, “And I’ll still be your uncle and older than you.”
“Okay, okay. Let’s just do this. And I’m sorry if it hurts.” Zech took his uncle by the shoulders and let his hunger take him over. He bit into his uncle’s neck and fed hungrily. Pulling back only when he felt he’d at least stopped the bloodlust. He licked his fangs that dripped with a small amount of venom. It tasted sweet to his own tongue, but he doubted that’s how it would taste to his uncle. nervously… he bit his own wrist and held it out to Eric.
Eric grasped his nephew’s wrist and drank hungrily. He’d dreamed of this day for years. The taste of blood has always fascinated him and had only told that to Daisy. He felt the blood coursing through him almost immediately and the sting in his neck toned down to a dull pulse, and then was gone completely. Zech yanked him off as soon as the wound on his uncle’s neck disappeared.
“Okay, that’s enough.” He let out a deep breath. “I don’t know how it works from here. I’m not exactly a normal vampire.”
Suddenly Eric let out a cry of pain and hunched over, “Oh my fluffy bunny butts!” He cried loudly, “It feels like my stomach is crushing in on itself.”
Zech rolled his eyes. “Well… duh. And what kind of curse is that? That’s stupid.”
“I like fluffy animals. Dear god that hurts!” Then just as suddenly, it settled. Eric poked his teeth and frowned. “I still have normal teeth.”
“I think the full transformation takes place over a couple days once you’re turned.” Zech said with a shrug, “Mine was over several years since I was born this way.”
When Eric got home he found his twin exhausted and sound asleep from a day at work. He quietly slid into the computer chair and searched for more information that might help him with the next few days as he transformed. He’d have to break the news to his brother soon.