OUR STORY CONTINUES
Last time, Penny struggled with werewolf training and frustration over Alice’s new relationship. Bella got into a fight with her partner and her vampire lover over her plans to bring Alice Martin to justice. Penny confessed her secret to Bella, and the two commiserated over relationship issues and dealing with the supernatural world. Meanwhile, the Brindleton Bay Men’s Club had a fateful vampire hunt and revealed their plans to kidnap Vladislaus Straud.
Pediatrician’s Office, Downtown Windenburg
This chapter contains strong language, adult situations, violence, gore, sexual situations, depictions of grief, trauma, and severe depression.
Alice watched Gwendolyn happily lick a lollipop as if the last forty-five minutes of screaming had never happened. The attempt at getting her height was a nightmare. The ear exam was miserable, and when the pediatrician tried to draw her plasma, she cried for her “Monster.”
“I’m sorry,” Alice whispered, patting her toddler’s head. “Next time, he’ll be here, I promise.”
She had a long list of reasons not to invite Vlad, largely inspired by Penny’s lack of enthusiasm. Her best friend was great, but she had a tendency to make Alice doubt herself. It was a weird part of their dynamic where Penny gave judgy advice because she had her shit together, and Alice took it because she was a hot mess.
Ugh, just thinking those words made her cringe. Why was she so mean to herself?
Sighing, she tried to turn her attention back to the doctor, but it was hard. Alice’s head was spinning. Why was Penny being so cagey? All Alice wanted to do was pass on the damn ticket Vlad bought her so she could come for a visit. tell her what was happening. “Hey, I might be a witch, and my boyfriend is a vampire” was not something you said over the phone.
“Sorry to interrupt your daydream,” Dr. Annis cleared her throat, “But we really do need to continue the check-up.”
Fuck. Alice hadn’t been paying attention. What else did they have to do? Did they already discuss the next appointment? This was why she needed Vlad; he was detail-oriented. “There’s more?” she managed to croak out.
“Yes.” Dr. Annis set out a large needle and a few small vials on a metal tray.
One look at Gwendolyn’s trembling lip, and Alice knew what she had to do. “Can we save that for next time? I think she’s done for the day.”
“Done? But we don’t even have a record of her phenotype! I can’t believe you’d let a toddler shut this exam down with a tantrum.”
Alice stood, lifting the Tiny Terror onto her hip. Maybe this woman didn’t have kids. Or maybe she went to the same parenting school as Cyrus Martin, but torturing your kid in the name of “propriety” wasn’t Alice’s style. She was Gwendolyn’s advocate. Sometimes, that meant ignoring a crying fit because it was bedtime and two-year-olds weren’t great at prioritizing sleep. Other times, it meant tuning in and taking her kid’s reactions seriously. “You don’t have to pretend you want to spend more time with my screaming kid,” Alice replied brightly, “I won’t tell the medical board.”
The joke fell flat. Dr. Annis pursed her lips, “When children are allowed to run the household, it speaks to a parent’s failure to establish proper regulations. Did your mother let you run roughshod over her?”
No, but only because Valeria Martin wasn’t around. She had her momentum conversion research, fights with Alice’s dad, and a classroom full of students—all who came before her eldest daughter. And it was fine because it helped Alice know what to do with her own kid, which was not that. And besides, who wouldn’t want to get the hell out of Cyrus Martin’s house? It was all good. Alice wasn’t bitter, she just wasn’t in the mood to discuss her family trauma with a stranger.
Yeah, that was it.
Dr. Annis’s expression softened. “If you didn’t have a good role model, it’s understandable that you wouldn’t know how to control your child.”
“Control my kid? I don’t have a problem with taking care of Gwendolyn!”
She continued as if Alice hadn’t spoken, her tone shifting to one of disapproval. “I mean, based on the skill tests we did earlier, you’ve got a gifted child. Without the right kind of care and attention, she’s liable to languish. Have you even thought about preschool?”
“It’s clear you’re alone, and you need support. Why not let someone capable help you? You won’t be able to do this yourself.”
Alice almost laughed. Now the “advice” she was getting was coming from both ends of the spectrum. There was Penny, who thought accepting help was cheating and that Alice would be happier doing everything herself, which was wrong. Alice did everything alone because Salim was an asshole, but it wasn’t better, and it didn’t make her feel more capable. It was hard as shit.
And now this woman. Thinking Alice was alone when she wasn’t. Vlad loved her kid and treated Alice’s affection like this precious thing he needed to breathe. He made her laugh and swoon and narrow her eyes in equal measure. Along with Latimer, they were a family.
“You think you have something on me?” Alice arched a brow. “Because I trust my kid? Because I know her limits? Because I don’t want to scar her in the name of pleasing some smug bitch in a white lab coat?”
“You heard me.” Alice scowled, “I don’t have to take shit from you. I’m capable, I’m a good mom, and I’m in love with Vlad.”
Shit! When did her inner monologue get so external?
“Love Monster?” Gwendolyn asked. “My Monster?”
“Uhh, she doesn’t know what she’s saying,” Alice cast about her diaper bag. “I’m just dating someone who’s really into cosplay, so I’m fine, we’re fine. Both happy. Really happy and…uh…now we’re gonna go.”
Without sparing Dr. Annis another glance, she sped out of the office, snatching the parking ticket off her truck and tossing it aside before buckling Gwendolyn into her car seat.
“Love Monster!” she squealed, doing a happy little dance.
“Yeah,” Alice couldn’t help but laugh, “Mommy loves Monster. And also, we are never gonna be allowed back into that office.”
THE REALM OF THE FAE
The Queen of the Fae could have written an entire treatise on dressing for investigations. Today’s outfit included cut-off jeans, cowboy boots, a blazer, and a scarf.
Caleb frowned. “Why are you dressed like a rancher?”
“You said I should wear better attire for blending in with mortals. Don’t they ride llamas, tip their hats, and say things like ‘hello lil’ lady’?”
She knew they didn’t, but the glimmer in Titania’s eye told Caleb it would be dangerous to disagree. What he meant by “dress like a mortal” was “wear underwear,” but he couldn’t say that because the distraction was his problem. “You’re fine,” he mumbled.
“Good,” she popped her hip and gave him a sweet smile, “Because I am wearing underwear this time. I want to avoid chafing.”
“My lack of underwear unnerves you, vampire; you can just say it.”
“It’s not your lack of underwear that unnerves me!” Caleb exclaimed, thrusting his hands out in front of him. “It’s that your lack of underwear has me thinking about your—” A tiny sliver of good sense forced him to snap his mouth shut before he finished the sentence.
“Thinking about my what?” Titania raised an eyebrow, pointing at him playfully.
“Nothing,” Caleb took a step back, mortifyingly breathless. “W-we should go if we’re going to get to campus before lunch.”
OKAY I love this introductory segment and I love Alice’s more modern parenting style. Some will call it letting her toddler get her own way, but the fact she takes her child’s discomfort seriously just shows she’s a caring mother. It’s not a case of Alice not establishing regulations, it’s that Alice isn’t going to use her motherhood as a tool to control her kid and force her to do shit she doesn’t want to. It’s not that her mother was like that with her, it’s that she doesn’t want to be like her mother < 3333
Ah, Penny's used to doing everything herself, so in her eyes that's the right way to do things, but that won't work for Alice, the same way it doesn't work for Penny. I love her clapback at the doctor XD I want to go to the fae world! I want them to break my legs dancing! Titania in short shorts is a sight XD (i'mnotlookingiswear) Caleb take your horny-ass mind off that fairussy!
Vlad, that playroom is great! Much better than those aesthetic mums who have their whole damn house in beige so Baby will never see a single colour until he's four years old XD I LOVE THAT SHE CALLS HIM LOVE MONSTER! MY HEART! Telling the fae not to kill. Killjoy! 'I hate small talk and the texture of polyester curtains. Small inconveniences send me into a murderous rage. Some days I’d rather die than be touched.' Ah yes, Vlad, I too am neurodivergent XD Yes you'll make adjustments…to the arrangement of the designer's body parts…
Even when parents are dickhead, there's an irritating part of yourself that refuses to try and distance yourself from them. I love that Vlad hates the puppy movie XD I love the argument over Titania wanting to kill Darrel and Caleb trying to play relative peacekeeper as he always does XD Hmmm getting everyone on the same page with a potion sounds like a lot of control-freak energy… I wonder where Darrel went earlier? Welp, Caleb's done playing peacekeeper and DAMN that expression is fierce.
Haha I am quite late to this reply. Yeah, Alice is really trying to break a lot of cycles and even if she’s a bit…er…disorganized, she’s definitely keyed into what she kid needs.
Yeah, I don’t think Penny realizes how much this doesn’t work for her.
Fairussy – lololololollloloool
Glad you enjoy Vlad’s unhinged playroom. “Werner Hertzog does Playrooms” is definitely not his style 😂
Vlad is Gwendolyn’s monster in every universe 😭
Yeah Darrel is into some shit. What will they get into next 😈
[It was a weird part of their dynamic where Penny gave judgy advice because she had her shit together, and Alice took it because she was a hot mess.] Hmmmmmmmm. I commented on this last chapter already, but I don’t like that dynamic at all 🤔
Mad points for Alice not forcing Gwendolyn through the rest of that physical exam. There’s standing your ground against toddler tantrums and there’s letting your child develop traumas. Every kid has their limits. Once those are reached, it’s up to the parent to protect them. Alice did a great job there <3 That nurse was waaaaaaay out of line oh my gods.
Lol Titania is way too much for anyone to handle, as usual. Why on earth did he invite her, of all people, to his stakeout? 😆
Vlad and Alice are absolutely chaotic and perfect together as always <3 never change, you two. Never change. The “I cannot imagine any scenario where someone would kidnap you” though… ominous foreshadowing right there 😅
Oooooh boy. Let’s go hunting indeed….
Yeah, you saw the writing on the wall. I don’t think their relationship is all bad, but Alice is definitely starting to see some stuff now that they are apart.
Alice protect! 👏👏 👏
Ooohh yes, that doctor was wayyyyyyy out of line 😈😈😈
Titania cannot be contained!!! Caleb wouldn’t want it that way, no matter what he says 😉
Vlad and Alice, my wholesomely chaotic babies ❤️
I’m sure Vlad won’t be kidnapped. Who could even pull such a thing off? 😈