A few days later Orlando stood next to his mother as people said nice things about Isabella. She had been cremated, like Patrizio, and placed in the family mausoleum with Orlando's grandparents, Claudio and Olivia, who had died when Romeo was young.
He wondered what it would be like to bury a parent. Saying goodbye to Isabella was hard enough. They had been especially close, Orlando always having more time and patience than his mercurial sister for gardening and cooking lessons.
"You want to impress a lady?" Isabella had told him with a wink. "Fix her a dinner she'll never forget."
"Grandma," he had said, blushing.
So now, standing here, he had renewed understanding of his father, who was becoming less of a god-like figure and more human every day. How had Romeo and Mercutio felt, losing both parents to one accident in the same day, suddenly left with only their grandparents to raise them? Romeo had been eight, Mercutio seven.
He glanced over at Katrina. He didn't like her new look. She looked hard, angry, but he supposed that's what she was. She'd been working out a lot, lately, too, with a set look on her face that could only mean trouble. Their mother had been a vampire hunter, once. He wondered if Katrina was following that same path. But then he saw the tears running down his sister's face and his attitude toward her softened. She had loved Isabella, too.
Romeo reached out a tentative arm and put it on Katrina's shoulders and she buried her face in his chest and sobbed. Orlando saw that his father was crying too, as he held her and kissed the top of her head.
So maybe some good had come out of this. Trust Isabella to have perfect timing.
"Let's go out to dinner," his mother said on the way to the car, her arm around Orlando's shoulders.
So they went to the Boho Cafe and ordered lobster and the kids were allowed to have some wine, in Isabella's memory, and they talked, like a real family.
"I love you, Daddy," Katrina said, quietly. "I'm sorry."
"I love you too," Romeo said, squeezing her hand. "And there's nothing to be sorry for."
"I hate that there are vampires," she said.
"Me, too," their father agreed.
Adrienne looked up at stared. "Who does she think she is, the Duchess of York?"
They all looked up to see Ariel Thompson walk in, dressed like she was going to a fancy ball.
Katrina giggled and Orlando snorted.
"She looks stupid," Katrina whispered. "Who dresses like that?"
"Guess this whole prince affectation is in earnest," Adrienne said after Ariel had passed their table.
"Hmmm," said Romeo, frowning.
After dinner Romeo went outside to start the car while Adrienne and Katrina used the loo. Orlando stood in the entry way to the cafe, waiting.
"Psst," said a voice. "Orlaaando." The door swung shut in the dark entryway.
Orlando turned to see someone standing in the shadows watching him and stepped forward to see who it was.
"Hey," said Poppy Summerdream. Her skin looked ashy, as if she'd been ill.
"Hey," he said.
"Want to hear a joke?"
"Come closer," she said. "It's a good one."
"Sorry, Poppy, the joke's on you," said Orlando, and staked his former girlfriend through the heart.
"Orlando, what in the--" Adrienne and Katrina stood there staring.
"Mom, can we make a stop on the way home?" he asked, and to his horror burst into tears as his mother and sister held him.Next Chapter