Betrothed, p.19
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       Betrothed, p.19

         Part #6 of The Vampire Journals series by Morgan Rice


  Caitlin flew through the air, Scarlet on her back, Caleb beside her, holding Ruth, and Lily on Caleb's back. Coming off the proposal, Caitlin was still ecstatic, riding on cloud nine, and her life felt surreal. She had been brimming with joy the entire flight, ever since they'd left Leeds Castle, ever since the moment Caleb had proposed to her, and since they had adopted Scarlet. They had stopped only to pick up Lily at Windsor Castle, and to tell her the news.

  Lily had been so ecstatic and delighted, she hadn't stop screaming for ten minutes. She'd gushed over Caitlin's ring, and embraced them both. She'd insisted on coming with them, on being there when Caitlin broke the news to Sam and Polly and Aiden's entire coven.

  They had been flying for hours now, heading towards Warwick to break the big news, and all the while, Caitlin hadn't been able to stop turning over in her mind the big moment when Caleb had proposed to her. It had been so surreal, had happened so quick, out of nowhere, and she kept reliving it, again and again. Her heart filled to the brim. She felt that now, flying beside Caleb, and with Scarlet, Ruth and Lily there with them, and about to be surrounded by her brother and all their friends, she truly had all that she needed in the world. She wished that she could just freeze this moment, and that everything would stay like this forever.

  In fact, she wondered if maybe it could. She had no idea where her next clue led, and no concrete leads to follow until she figured it out. Unless Sam had a new lead, she saw no reason why she couldn't stay with Aiden's people for a while, live in peace, and enjoy this moment. And, of course, plan the wedding. She figured that a vampire wedding, as rare as it was, must be an extraordinary event.

  Caitlin dove down with the others as Aiden's coven came into view. She found them all, as she suspected, on the training ground, and spotted Sam in the middle, facing Aiden. She was happy to see that he was here, training, and that Polly was not far from him.

  They dove in and landed, and as they did, the coven parted ways for them. She set Scarlet down, as Caleb set Ruth and Lily down.

  Polly broke through the ranks and hurried over to her.

  "OH MY GOD!" Polly screamed out, as she reached over and lifted her hand, holding it close, inspecting, "IS THAT A RING!?!?!?"

  Polly screamed in delight as she grabbed Caitlin's hand and held it up, inspecting it, her mouth wide open, her eyes wide in excitement, bringing her hand to her mouth in shock.

  Caitlin beamed, knowing that Polly lived for news like this. Polly got excited by even the smallest news - so news like this must have been like an earthquake in her world.

  "Yes," Caitlin said, beaming, "it's true. We're engaged!" A big roar of approval rose up from all the coven members, as the tension in the air seemed to break.

  Polly jumped up and down like a child.

  "OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD!!!!!" Polly screamed, over and over. She gave Caitlin a huge hug, wrapping her arms around her tight.

  Caitlin smiled over her shoulder, and hugged her back.

  "I'm so happy for you! I'm so excited! How did it happen!? Tell me every detail! When is the wedding? Can I be your maid of honor?!?"

  Before Caitlin could respond, Polly broke away from her and ran over and hugged Caleb.

  Caitlin didn't know which question to answer first. She hadn't even thought of when the wedding would be, and hadn't given any thought to a maid of honor. But as soon as Polly said it, she realized that felt right. She would be honored to have her as her maid of honor. Although she still had no idea what was involved in a vampire wedding, or what it would even look like.

  All the other coven members quickly hurried over, surrounding Caitlin and Caleb, embracing them, asking them a million questions at once. Caitlin recognized so many faces from the past, and she felt very loved. She was thrilled to share the news with all of them, and delighted to see the excitement on all their faces.

  Sam stepped forward slowly from the crowd, and looked at her. As he did, he looked dazed and confused, as if he had just been interrupted from something. She could not figure out his expression, or what was going on with him. She couldn't tell if he was happy for her or not. He just looked startled.

  "Sam?" she asked. She truly hoped that he would be happy for her.

  "Is it true?" he asked. "You guys are getting married?"

  Caitlin nodded back, beaming. She reached over and held Caleb's hand. "It's true," she said.

  Sam stepped up and hugged her, a strong embrace, and she could feel the power coursing through his veins.

  He slowly turned and looked to Caleb, then reached over and hugged him, too.

  "I've always liked you," Sam said. "Take good care of her. "

  "I will," Caleb said.

  "When is the wedding?" Polly asked.

  "Where are you guys get married?" Tyler asked.

  "How many people will you invite?" asked another.

  "Are you going to have an engagement party?" someone else asked.

  Caitlin's mind spun with all these questions. She had always dreamed of her wedding day, and now that preparations were finally here, she felt overwhelmed by all the things that lay ahead of her.

  "Can I be your flower girl?" Scarlet asked.

  Everyone laughed.

  Caitlin draped her arm over her shoulder, and kissed her forehead. "Of course you can. " Caitlin picked her up and held her, and suddenly turned to everyone.

  "Everyone, Caleb and I have more big news: Scarlet is our daughter now. "

  The entire crowd shouted with excitement, running over and giving Scarlet a big hug.

  "I never knew that you had such a big family," Scarlet said to Caitlin, and the crowd laughed.

  Aiden stepped forward, and Caitlin turned to him. She hadn't considered what his reaction to all of this might be, and seeing him now in the flesh, she was a bit worried, wondering what he would say. He was always so serious, so focused on training, she wondered what he would think of a wedding. Would he consider it a distraction?

  Behind his silver beard, she saw him break into a small smile.

  "Happiness is a good thing," he said. "Very powerful. But remember: you have an important destiny in this world. Never lose focus. "

  He turned and disappeared into the crowd, and before she knew it, he was completely gone.

  As Caitlin turned she saw Sam standing there, his head down. He had a funny expression, as he watched Aiden leave. She knew something was wrong with him, and wanted to know what it was.

  Was it related to her engagement? Or was it something else?

  She also wanted to know what clue he had found, and why her father's letter had sent him to this place.

  "Sam," she said, approaching. He looked up. "Can we talk?" Looking despondent, he slowly nodded.

  Caitlin leaned in and kissed Caleb. "Excuse me for just one moment," she said, as she took a few steps off to the side of the crowd, which was now swarming around Caleb and Scarlet.

  "What is it?" Caitlin asked Sam, as soon as they were out of earshot. "Are you not happy for me?"

  "No, not at all," Sam said, suddenly putting on a forced smile. "I'm thrilled for you. I'm sorry. I didn't mean for it to seem that way. It's not that at all. "

  "So what is it?" she asked.

  "It has nothing to do with you," he said.

  "Well?" she prodded. "What is it?"

  Sam hesitated. Finally, he took a deep breath.

  "It's Aiden. I realize it now. Everything he said is true. I'm not in control of my emotions. I behaved badly. "

  Caitlin understood. She had been there. It had been a long, hard struggle for her to regain control, and she still felt as if it were a daily battle, and that she were learning something new every day. She felt her journey was far from over, but she also felt she'd come a long way. She remembered what it was like in the early days, and how Sam was feeling now: emotions and passions seemed to consume you, it was so h
ard to control them.

  She reached over and placed a conciliatory hand on his shoulder.

  "It's okay," she said. "I've been there. We all make mistakes. Training is a process. It doesn't happen on day one. "

  Sam seemed to brighten a little. Caitlin remembered how she had always had a way of making him feel better, even growing up, even in their terrible little apartment in New York.

  "Tell me about the clue," she said to him. "Warwick. Dad's letter. What did you find?"

  Sam slowly shook his head.

  "That's the other thing. Aiden told me that there is no clue. That he is the clue. That this place is the clue. My being here. " Sam lowered his head. "He said that you are the one who's meant to find Dad. I'm only meant to protect you. My part of the mission is ended. You are the special one. "

  Caitlin was shocked at his words. She had never imagined that she was more special than Sam, or that their missions were different. It made her feel burdened, as if she carried the final remaining clue to whatever it was they needed to find.

  "But I have no idea what my clue means," she said. "I'm been thinking about it, processing it over and over. I have no idea what the mount of judgment is. Do you?" Sam slowly shook his head.

  Caitlin sighed. "Then I'm afraid that there's nothing for me to do either, until we figure it out. "

  "And when you do?" Sam asked.

  She paused. "Then I'll go pursue it, whatever it is. In the meantime - "

  "In the meantime, there's nothing for you to do but enjoy yourself," Lily said, coming over, putting an arm around her shoulder. "It's your engagement after all. Cheer up! Celebrate. I insist that you do!"

  Caitlin smiled, warmed, as always, by Lily's presence.

  "In fact, I have decided that I'm going to throw you to an engagement party. Right now. We need to celebrate. " She turned to the crowd. "Don't we?" The crowd roared back in approval.

  "There's a new Shakespeare play opening today at his new Globe theater," Lily continued.

  "Romeo and Juliet. We're all going to see it. " She turned to the crowd. "Let's go celebrate these two.

  It's on me!"

  The coven roared back in approval, and Caitlin's heart lifted, as Caleb came over and kissed her.

  "Mommy?" Scarlet asked. "Can I come? Please? I've always wanted to see a Shakespeare play.

  Please. Please!"

  Caitlin smiled. "Of course you can, sweetheart. "

  "Yay!" Scarlet jumped up and down, Ruth barking beside her.

  Caitlin was blown away. Romeo and Juliet. She couldn't fathom its being called "new. " Or hearing Shakespeare being called a "new playwright. " Or his "Globe" being called a "new theater. " But it was 1599, after all, and everything that was old was new again.

  Caitlin's heart filled with delight. Her entire life, she had wanted to go to a Shakespeare play.

  And now, she would be going to actually see one of the first productions of Romeo and Juliet, in Shakespeare's theater, while Shakespeare was alive - and who knows, maybe even there himself.

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