The Undead Life of Harlow Kaine · Writing

The Undead Life of Harlow Kaine (12)

February 2nd 1994

Love made people do all sorts of things; sweet things, surprising things, powerful things, inspiring things…stupid things. It was the topic of some debate for the last eight to nine months if Oliver’s situation should be regarded as surprising or stupid…most people leaned on surprising since…well…there was a baby involved. The stupid part was his everlasting optimism that his lover and child would survive not only the full term but also the birth. The whole Coven had gathered for the occasion at the mansion eagerly waiting with baited breath and hopeful gifts that Olivier’s optimism was not misplaced.

They spoke at length about how surprised Olivier had been when he discovered that he’d managed to father a child and everyone had done a tremendous amount of research to compile the various reasons why he might have been able to do so. Not that Dhampir’s were unheard of, but they were so rare that not much was known about them other than some information in nearly-ancient scattered texts and academic theory. One thing everyone agreed on was that the mother surviving the birth was so rare it was almost unheard of. As a result of their mother passing, often times the child would also perish; Dhampir’s had an alarmingly low survival rate and neglect was often the cause.

The short answer was “long-odds”; the longer answer was “magic”. As a “First Child” created directly by their founding Sire Beorcol, Olivier along with Sabine, August and Duncan had stronger coven magic. If they uttered a protection spell the effect would not only be more substantial but also last longer than the other member’s magic. In addition to “First Child” status Olivier was also their Master and therefore the strongest and most in control of the magic that framed their existence. This, combined with “dumb-luck” as some might put it meant that a Dhampir was about to be born.

Harlow and the others (minus Kiki who was tasked with delivering the baby) were gathered in the parlor quietly discussing the situation when they heard the front door open. The last they’d heard the baby was coming but it had been radio silence from both Olivier and Kiki for almost twenty-four hours. Everyone surged forward at once and Harlow was fortunate enough to squeeze through the door before it got REALLY crowded. She wanted to see Hilary standing there with the baby, she wanted the mother to have survived. Instead it was just Olivier and Kiki, solemnly standing just inside the threshold as the valet continued to unload the car.

Kiki, usually uncomfortable with taking charge in situations outside her practice, immediately set about shooing everyone back into the parlor and into their seats. “As you might have realized Hilary didn’t survive the birth. I won’t go into detail but it was a deeply troubling experience that neither of us would like to discuss. The baby is perfectly healthy and I’ve already encouraged Olivier to take his time introducing everyone. I know this isn’t what we’d hoped for and I understand if anyone needs to go home, especially since it might be a few days or more for him to to open up-,”

“Thank you Kiki, but that’s not necessary,” Olivier’s quiet voice came from the doorway. “I appreciate your thoughtfulness and everyone’s well wishes for a safe delivery but…sometimes we can’t beat all the odds,” his sad smile caused more than a few of the members to rub their suddenly itchy eyes or noses. “I’d like to present my daughter Harper Delphine Vaughn. Hilary and I decided beforehand in the event of her death that her daughter share her surname.” Olivier explained solemnly.

Everyone sat quietly and patiently as Oliver went around the room to each member and introduced his daughter, as he touched base with everyone in those short, private moments his spirits seemed to lift. When he reached Harlow at the end of the line he seemed happier somehow. “Harper, I’d like to introduce our Accountant and the woman responsible for not only making sure you have a college fund, but also that you’re even here today, Harlow Kaine.” She would have blushed if able hearing him reference that fateful day when she’d uncovered Jonah’s plot against Olivier, August and Rosemary.

“Don’t listen to him Harper, your father’s a smart man, he’d have caught on eventually,” Harlow responded as she gazed adoringly at the little girl asleep in her father’s arms. She looked back up at Olivier and smiled encouragingly. “We’re here to help you, all of us,” she whispered. “Don’t ever hesitate to ask.”

The new father smiled his still sad smile, but it would be that way for awhile. Even though Hilary and Olivier weren’t planning to spend eternity together Harlow knew that he was looking forward to the possibility of raising his daughter together with her mother. AS she watched him leave the room, she knew that Harper was in good hands. Olivier would be a fantastic father and she would have lots of “aunts” and “uncles” around to help out when need be; but there had to be time to heal. Oliver, as well as newborn Harper needed each other to come through this tragedy. Harlow didn’t doubt for a second that they would.

Prompt generated from this list of 120 One Word Writing Prompts and the use of Google’s Random Number Generator. Number & Coordinated Theme Generated: 73– Father

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