Friday, July 1, 2011

Chapter 15 - Memories

NOTE: This story has a rating of PG-13. It is intended for a mature audience, as it contains strong references to things such as woohoo, crime, violence, language, etc. You have been warned!

Three months along. Most would say if a baby was lost that soon, it was saying it wasn't meant to be. But Whitney held herself completely responsible. Even if Jordan had gotten her pregnant against her will, the baby hadn't deserved this.

She tried to tell herself that if she had known the cure was fatal for a baby, she wouldn't have taken it. But a selfish part of her feared that even if she did know, she'd still have taken it. How could one feel good after that?

Sleep didn't come easily to her for several nights, though she'd hoped it would. But she also hadn't anticipated this. She felt so lost and alone, and she longed for someone to talk to. But who? Riley was dead, Darcy was afraid of her (though she didn't know Whitney was no longer a vampire), and she didn't know anyone else well enough to trust them not to go to the press.

That left one option - her family. The thought of them filled her with hope. There are always times when a girl needs her family. At the very least, she could see her father. Daddy's girls always needed their fathers during hard times.

So Whitney called her house in Riverview and asked if they'd like her to visit. Everyone agreed it would be nice, even her mother (after Whitney had said she was no longer a vampire). So Whitney prepared to leave that weekend.

Before she left, she got rid of her "vampire" wardrobe (which were mostly all black articles of clothing, which she bought when her "dark" side emerged) and tried to make herself look like she had before she left. Although, with the tabloids, it was possible her family had seen that side of her anyway. They knew she'd been a vampire. But she mostly wanted to talk to them about how she felt, and she wanted to tell someone else the truth about what had happened to her on that fateful night with Jordan. She needed a hug from those that cared for her the most. And if she had to go out of town to get it, she would.


Whitney's agent hadn't been too thrilled about her turning back into a human and going to Riverview, but she'd worked it out to where she'd still have an agent when she returned.

Not wanting to cause a scene or draw attention to the press, Whitney rented a car and drove to Riverview on her own. A limo would cause a major ruckus and alert every journalist and news anchor around. She wanted to stay on the down-low.

When she reached her old house, Whitney parked the car and walked up the porch. She felt slightly nervous, as she hadn't seen her family since she'd left for Bridgeport. She'd barely even talked to them at all, though she had been busy. Still, that was no excuse.

So Whitney swallowed her nervousness and rang the doorbell. She heard pounding feet inside, meaning her brother would most likely be the one to answer the door, most likely expecting a girl. Well, she was a girl, but not the one he was looking for.

The door swung open and it was indeed Dustin. But he didn't look disappointed. He actually looked surprised, but in a good way.

"Sis!" he exclaimed. "Wow, what's up?"

"Not much. Didn't Mom and Dad tell you I was coming?"

"Yeah, I just sorta...forgot."

"Your brains are going to turn into spaghetti if you keep playing those video games."

"Nah, I'm not totally obsessed with them like those big 500 pound people who do nothing else, and don't even get up to eat or go to the bathroom."

"Good, because if you were, I'd kick your butt."

"Who's at the door?" her father's voice called from inside. Whitney was relieved to hear Gavin's voice. If anyone could make her feel better, it was him.

"It's Whitney!" Dustin called back, holding the door open. "Come in sis, you can come in your own house."

Whitney laughed and followed her brother inside. The familiar cozy house brought back so many memories. Her father walked out of the kitchen, where he'd been cleaning vegetables, and embraced his daughter in a warm hug.

"It's so good to see you, Whit!" he exclaimed. Whitney suddenly felt safer and more secure than she had in a long time. Only Riley's hugs could compare to her father's.

"I'm glad to be home," Whitney said, tears threatening to burst from her eyes. "Thanks for letting me visit."

"What are you talking about?" Gavin asked as he stood back to look at his daughter. "You can come visit any time you want. You don't even have to call to ask permission. You're welcome here."

"Well, I didn't know if...everyone would feel that way."

"Don't worry about your mother. She's just relieved you're not a vampire."

Whitney grinned. Then she looked around.

"Speaking of Mom, where is she?"

"She went to the store, but she should be back pretty soon. She was actually going to make a special supper for you tonight since you're back home."

"Hamburgers would have been fine."

"That's what I told her, but you know your mother. Everything has to be perfect."

As if on cue, the door opened and Laura came in, her arms filled with brown grocery bags. When she saw Whitney, she set them down and walked up to her. Then, with some slight hesitation (and a quick inspection she didn't think Whitney saw), she gave her daughter a hug.

"Welcome home, Whitney," she said.

"Thanks, Mom."

"I'm glad you're safe. I was so worried about you."

The hug didn't last long, but Whitney wasn't surprised. Some things never changed. She could tell her mother still wasn't too thrilled about her decision to go to Bridgeport, and the fact that she'd become a success meant her mother had been proven wrong. Laura hated to be wrong. But Whitney knew better than to bring it up.

Instead, she said, "I'm okay now, but thanks. Can I give you a hand with the groceries?"

Even though Whitney was technically a guest, Laura happily let her daughter help her carry in the groceries and put them away. The two did chat while doing so, but not in the hearty way Whitney and Gavin would have.

"So tell me," Laura said as she put milk in the fridge. "Why did you become a vampire?"

Whitney couldn't believe her mother was bringing this up now. She hadn't been home ten minutes.

"It wasn't by choice."

Laura looked at her daughter, who looked back at her, sincerity in her eyes. She couldn't hide the truth forever, especially from her family. She'd just hoped to tell Gavin first. But maybe she still could.

"What do you mean, it wasn't by choice? I thought that's how it worked."

"Not all vampires are good."

"I could have told you that."

"Mom, uh...can we not get into this now? I just got home. And so did you."

"You're right, I'm sorry. I'm just glad you're back to normal and nothing bad came of the situation."

Whitney bit her lip. Maybe she shouldn't tell her father, who would probably run to her mother with the news just out of concern, even if she wanted him to keep it a secret.

Gavin came into the kitchen then and said, "Hey Whitney, I'm about to do some gardening. Care to join me?"


So Whitney followed her father out to their small garden. Dustin retreated back to his bedroom to play video games, as was his custom.

Gardening with her father brought back many memories for Whitney. She wasn't as good as her father, but she did know the basics - get rid of weeds and keep the plants and vegetables watered regularly. While father and daughter worked side by side, they conversed. And Whitney couldn't hold back any longer.

"Dad, this probably isn't the best time, but do you think we could talk in private sometime?"

"Of course. But Whitney, I have to say, you've changed."

Whitney almost dropped the water bucket. "I have?"

"Well, not that much. I mean, I notice you have a tattoo, and then the whole vampire thing, not to mention what we read in the papers about you being in some guy's apartment. That's not the Whitney I knew."

"That's actually what I wanted to talk to you about. I didn't become a vampire by choice."

"Well, then, why did you wait so long to get the cure?"

"I sort of...started liking certain things about it. Did you know vampires can read minds?"

"No, and that makes me never want to go to Bridgeport. Reading minds is an invasion of privacy if I ever heard of it."

"Well, it worked for me when I was going through some difficult times. But I got tired of who I'd become. My music and even my wardrobe got darker, and I didn't feel like me anymore. Plus, I was tired of going out during the day and burning to a crisp. Literally. So I got the cure. Cost me 3,000 simos, but it was worth it. But then I decided I wanted to come home and see my family. I hoped it would make me feel completely like myself again."

"And do you?"

"For now. It's nice to know that regardless of how much I've changed, some things stay the same. Like things that happen here."

"I'm sure you can count on things around here always being the same. At least for the most part."

Whitney and Gavin finished up their gardening and by that time, it was time to eat. Laura's meal was grilled salmon. Whitney hadn't had that in a while, so she didn't mind. Her mother wasn't the best cook though, as the salmon was slightly burnt, but it was okay. She eagerly dug in, thankful for a home-cooked meal with her family.

"How long are you staying in town?" Gavin asked as he consumed his salmon.

"Probably for the weekend, but maybe longer if my agent lets me."

"It's so funny to hear you say 'my agent'," Dustin laughed.

"Well, she wasn't too happy that I turned back into a human and then decided to go out of town, but I've been bringing her in a lot of money, so she can't really afford to get rid of me."

"But have you played since you turned back?"


"How do you know your agent won't drop you?" Laura asked in a tempted nonchalant voice.

"I don't know, but she'd be shooting herself in the foot if she did. My ratings might drop for a little bit, but I'm working on my third album, so hopefully that'll make a difference."

"You can always come back to Riverview if this music career doesn't work out. It's never too late to go to medical school."

Whitney clenched her teeth together. Some things never changed, but that didn't mean it was a good thing.

"Mom, I'm staying in Bridgeport, and that's it. I have a dream, and I'm going to make it. Haven't you ever had a dream? Other than swimming in cash?"

"You may be a celebrity now, but I'm still your mother. Don't take that tone with me."

"Well, Mom, I've been through a lot, and I came home to see my family, and you still can't be proud of me."

"You expect me to be proud? You get written about in the paper for being in some guy's apartment with your underwear on, you turn into a vampire, and your music is hardly country! What am I supposed to think?"

"Laura, that's enough," Gavin jumped in.

"Forget it, Dad," Whitney said as she stood up. "It's like talking to a brick wall. You know that."


"Dad, please. Just...forget it, okay? I think I'll go check into a hotel."

"No you won't. You're staying with us. For God's sake, we hardly see you or hear from you except from what we read in the tabloids and see on the news, and we're not going to turn you away."

"Well, the way Mom's talking, she's making me feel like a skank."

Laura stood up too then and pointed her finger at Whitney.

"You haven't done anything to clear your name. For all I know, you could have been sleeping with everyone in Bridgeport. First that, then the vampire thing, then the depressing music and wardrobe. Nothing would surprise me anymore."

Whitney slammed her fist down on the table. "Okay, if you think I'm a sleaze who sleeps with everyone and that I wanted to turn into a vampire, you go ahead and think that! But I'm done. I'm done trying to convince you that I want to be a musician. Music is very important to me, and I don't give a damn that you want me to be a doctor. Maybe you should get off your lazy ass and be one yourself! But oh no, that would be too hard for you, since you're such a couch potato who likes to mooch off Dad's money!"

"Whitney! If you were still a kid, I'd turn you over my knee for using that language and that tone with me! What kind of disrespect has that city been teaching you? I forbid you to go back."

"Forbid all you want, but I'll do what I please. I'm not a kid anymore, and you can't tell me what to do. And you can go to hell."

With that, Whitney turned on her heel and ran to her bedroom, slamming and locking the door behind her.

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