(This segment is not necessarily in order, but to pick up the pace of the story a bit, I thought that I would offer up a short something from the “vampire’s” side.) While Catherine and Raquelle are investigating the ice in the well, what it holds, and the mystery of the “maniac” that visits the city of Orange Grove every 45 years, a new group has moved into the sleepy little town: The Family.
He sat. A loathsome imp banished to the lonely shadows to wait for the ‘favored’ ones to leave. On the damp grass, outside the house, he sat. Lean, sculpted arms wrapped tight about his knees. Hair, long and cascading, around him like a little brown drape. Mouth pressed to the arm of his denim coat, blue eyes staring straight ahead, unblinking. He sat. Waiting.
Quietly, he clicked his fangs together; the noise ricocheting in his mind, something to concentrate upon. Inside the Mother House, the Family was getting ready for the hunt. They were dressing, primping, talking. They were sharing with each other. Kind words, affectionate touches. Things he would never receive from them, or anyone. They did not know of his existence. Never had, never would. Phillipe kept him separated from them, telling Keegan that it must be that way. The Family members could never see him or speak to him. For, if they knew of his existence, they would surely kill him. Phillipe allowed him space and funds, but his protection of Keegan could only go so far. And for this gracious generosity and protection, Phillipe asked only two things of Keegan: That he obey Phillipe’s rules and carry out a few ‘requests’.
‘Commands’ were closer to the point.
Keegan was a henchman. Doing Phillipe’s dirty work for him. No matter what chaos was wreaked in the vampire world or the human one, nothing could be traced back to Phillipe. His hands were clean. The Family was protected from finger pointing. And, as long as Keegan kept himself anonymous, nothing would be traced back to him either, for he did not exist.
(No one in this Household knows anyone of “that” description, “no sir!” No one knows his name.)
So, he sat in the darkness each evening waiting for the time when Phillipe would summon him. Alone and despising it. Over seven hundred years, he had waited like this. In different places. At different houses. Listening to different voices chatting merrily inside. Locked out of their closely knit world by danger and out of the humans’ world by nature. He’d had only one friend, in all that time who had been able to accept and acknowledge him: Oliver.
As reluctant as he was to try and force Oliver back into The Family, Keegan had to admit that he was glad he would have someone to talk to again besides Phillipe. Besides himself.