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|Night School(Blood Coven Vampire,book 5) by Mari Mancusi|
I stare at him in disbelief, my heart in my throat. All these years I’d assumed he’d taken the easy way out. Ditched his family for a younger woman, living the life of luxury while we struggled to move on in a fatherless existence.
Was it all true? Had he really done it all to protect us?
Had I been hating my dad all these years for no good reason?
“I know I missed a lot of birthdays,” Dad adds, his voice thick with regret. “But I didn’t know how much contact they’d allow me without getting angry again. And I didn’t want to inadvertently destroy the wonderful lives your mom had built for you. So I watched from afar and tried to move on, best I could.” His voice chokes on the last sentence. “But I missed you guys so much,” he adds. “Not a day has gone by when I didn’t want to call you or visit ...” He trails off and both Mom and Heather lean over to console him.
I look over at Sunny, who’s about as wide-eyed as me right about now. In fact, I don’t know which is more surprising: that we’re really descended from fairies or that Dad isn’t quite the bastard we’ve always believed him to be. It’s truly a toss-up, to be honest.
I decide to concentrate on the fairy part. I need more time to digest the rest. “So Sunny and I are princesses,” I interject. “Then why don’t we have wings? Or, I don’t know, magical powers or something?”
“Because you’ve never been through the ritual,” Mom explains. “Once a fairy hits puberty, they’re supposed to go through a magical ceremony to kick-start their transformation. It involves a lot of nonsense, like kissing your elbow.”
“Is that even possible?” Sunny asks, trying to maneuver her arm into elbow-kissing position. Mom’s eyes widen and she roughly grabs my sister by the hand.
“Sunny, this isn’t something to play around with!” she scolds. “If you become a fairy, there’s no turning back.” She glances at Dad. “Even without our wings, we still retain our powers. Though, of course, we never use them.”
“Never?” Heather teases, looking straight at our father.
“Well, just once in a while,” Dad adds, a little sheepishly. “When I can’t find my keys ...”
Sigh. Does everyone in this freaking world have “powers” except for me?
“So let me get this straight,” Sunny says, pulling her hand back. “Dad did what they said and now they still want us back?”
Our father nods.
“But why do they care? Is there a fairy shortage or something?”
“In a sense, yes,” Mom replies. “A couple weeks ago, we’re told that Dark Court agents invaded and killed your grandmother, the Light Court queen.”
Oh my God. “Grandma’s dead?” I cry. “And ... wait ... she was a fairy?”
Dad and Mom exchange glances. “Actually, the woman who lives down in Florida isn’t your real grandmother,” Dad confesses. “When you two were young, we ... well, we wanted you to still have some sense of extended family. So we hired a few actors to play the parts. Grandma, Aunt Edna ...”
I swallow hard, feeling my world crash down all around me. Everything I thought I was, everywhere I thought I knew, has all been a lie. My stomach swims and I’m this close to throwing up.
“In any case,” Dad continues, “the throne of the Light Court is now empty. And they need to crown the next in line.”
Sunny turns to Mom. “So ... you’re supposed to be the new fairy queen?” she asks, eyes wide.
“No, Sunny,” Mom replies gently. “You are.”
“This is so not good. So not good!” Sunny moans as she hits disconnect and sets down her cell phone after leaving her gazillionth message for Magnus to please, please call her. After attending the play, her vampire boyfriend had hopped on his private plane back to New England, where the Blood Coven’s headquarters are. He’d be incommunicado, he’d told her, for at least five hours. At the time, it hadn’t seemed like a big deal; Sunny had assumed she’d spend a peaceful night with Mom and Dad—a rare treat—and then jump on a plane herself the next morning to join him back home.
Now everything has changed. Our lives have been flipped upside down. And not being able to share the news with Magnus is tearing Sunny apart. My own boyfriend, Jareth, is also traversing the world somewhere without cell phone service, but, to be honest, I am in no great hurry to mention the skeleton wings in our family closet. I mean, fairy princess? Could there be anything more embarrassing for a self-respecting vampire? After all, everyone knows real vampires don’t sparkle.
After hearing the news, we somehow convinced Mom and Dad to let us out of the condo for a few precious moments of decompression. We’d found a local diner and gotten a booth, each ordering a cup of coffee to keep the waitress Nazi at bay. I’d have preferred a vodka straight up but unfortunately my fake ID was confiscated last night at the Excalibur and also as a vampire I can’t get drunk, so the spirits would be worthless anyway.
“Sunny, relax,” I tell my twin as she bangs her head against the table in frustration. I look around and catch the waitress eyeing us suspiciously from across the room. “It’s going to be okay.”
Sunny looks up, tears streaming down her cheeks. “In what freaking universe do you live that any of this could possibly be okay?” she demands.
“Uh,” I look down at my mug and notice a faint stain of pink lipstick on the rim. Good point.