Disclaimer: Same as in "Goodbye Doesn't Mean I'm Gone." I do hold the rights to my original character of Callista, but Spike, Angel, and Drusilla are Joss's.
Four years had transpired since Billy said that goodbye to me. I was lost without him. He would send presents to me from Paris. Notes told me that he was enjoying Paris, but he longed to see me again. I was so flattered. I counted the days until Billy would come back to his parents and to me.
Billy's return to us was not what I expected. I could imagine his parents throwing an extravagant party for their only child returning from Paris with a degree in English literature. Everyone would what to celebrate Billy's homecoming. What made the return more special was the fact that Billy had visited twice since his tenure in Paris.
He was going to be a changed man, but at that point, I did not know how changed. My party idea was adopted and it was planned to intersect with the celebration of the summer solstice. Special foods and liquors had been ordered. Mrs. Harrington had included me in on much of the preparation. Since Billy's
departure, she had taken a liking to me.
She often invited me over for some conversation from the younger set. I began to see Mrs. Harrington as someone other than my potential mother-in-law. She was a woman who longed for a female companion. In the matter of days, her true baby would come back to her and she was happy. But she assured me that I would be spending time with her very soon. What did she mean by that? I was allowed to accompany Mr. and Mrs. Harrington as they went to London to retrieve our Billy.
The local train station had been closed, so Billy would be arriving at nine-thirty at the London station. That was an extra thirty miles to and from for us in the coach. My parents had taken responsibility for the last-minute details at the Harrington estate.
The conversation that took place in the coach was about Billy. Details that Billy had sent in letters were compiled as not to anger Billy because we had forgotten part of his adventures in Paris. I listened to the
conversation, but did not participate unless addressed. Something that was constant was the smile that had formed at the thought that Billy and I would be reunited. No more crying because mum had said I was a despicable girl, no more wandering the garden maze with no direction. My missing half would join with me
again. No one and nothing would break us up again.
The train was on schedule according to the station board. Mr. and Mrs. Harrington, two servants, and I stood at the platform waiting to catch the first glimpse of William. A train stopped on the tracks in front of us and we patiently waited. People began pouring out of the four train cars. I hoped I would spot Billy first, so I would be the first happy person he saw when he disembarked. I could not stop thinking about our reunion, but my hopes were dashed.
I was the first to see Billy, but he was not alone. A young man about our age and a striking young woman came off the train in front of and behind Billy. The three young adults were carrying on a heavy conversation. I did not allow my mouth to betray that Billy had arrived, I allowed Mr. and Mrs.
Harrington to see it for their own eyes. I stood back and waited for Billy to embrace his parents before he came to me.
This was not what I expected and I was slightly hurt. Billy would know that, if we really still knew each other. Things had changed on the outside, but did our insides still belong to each other? Finally, I felt a tap on my shoulder and I was swept into Billy's arms. I was pleasantly surprised by this display. He gave me a long kiss on the lips and allowed me to stand on solid ground again. When I did, I noticed he had grown
taller since he left us lasted. His face showed signs of a beard and mustache. Still, he looked the same to me his oldest and dearest friend.
"Angelus and Drusilla, this is the young lass I have been speaking so highly of. Callista, this is Angelus. Remember I spoke of a friend who was there when I need to talk. And this is Drusilla. She is an old friend of Angelus' we picked up in Brittany. She is from London."
Drusilla and Angelus greeted me with personality and charm that I did not have just yet. An extend arm and a cordial hello was all I could give to these strangers. You could say I was jealous that at the moment that I was not the center of Billy's universe. But that would be admitting too much of myself.
Once all of Billy's bags and trunk had been collected, it was time to set out for home. It was then that I realized Angelus and Drusilla would be coming back to the estate with us. Luckily, our coach was full, so they had to rent another coach to follow ours. Billy helped me into the coach and I watched as he came in after me. The seat next to me had been left open for him and he gladly took it. Mr. and Mrs. Harrington lingered outside until they were sure that Angelus and Drusilla could get a coach.
When everything was in order, we took off and led the way home. Even though we were under the watchful eyes of the Harringtons, Billy decided to talk with me, privately. Proper manners had not been met, but I was enjoying Billy's new rebellious side. A whisper in the ear started everything in motion.
"How is my Callista?" The tingle on my earlobe sent a jolt of electricity down my spine. Many guys had whispered in my ears, but never had one touched me as Billy's did.
"I am very glad that you have returned home. Four years is a long period of time and there was never a second that I did not remember you." My voice was mild enough that I did not need to whisper.
"Goodbye Doesn't Mean I'm Gone?"
"I remember that saying of yours. I got me through some of the times that I truly missed you. When Mum scolded me for burning her hair with the iron, and at my parties, I could feel your presence almost like you were a ghost. There were a few times I had wished that you would have been there in full body form."
"I'm here with you now. You need not worry about anything at all. Your Billy is back and he will do anything to defend your honor." A kiss to the nape of the neck made everything feel numb. She would be dancing for joy at the celebration today.
Billy's manners kicked in and he spoke with his parents about his adventures in Paris. What they couldn't see was that Billy had a hold of my left hand in his right. My dress covered the evidence quite nicely. A squeeze every now and then made my heart race. I longed for a walk in the maze when we arrived home.
That is where I could be totally free with my Billy.
Our journey came to an end soon after. We were going straight to the Harrington Estate where everyone who had been invited would be gathered to welcome Billy home. No one had uttered a word about a celebration. Pure shock enveloped Billy when he stepped out of the coach. He had taken my hand with
him out the door. I followed without falling. Smiling faces greeted the return of the graduate. Billy went around hugging friends and family whom he had not seen in four years. I stayed close to Billy the entire period that he was welcomed home individually. Mum and Da were watching from afar. They did not
make a move forward to take me away, so I maintain my position with Billy.
Drusilla and Angelus were following Billy and I down the path of people. When Billy reached the end of the line, he turned and said hello to his friends. They smiled and asked if they would be intruding if they stayed for the celebration. All eyes were focused on me because they saw me as one of the hostesses. I hoped to spend some together time with Billy, but I was not that cold-hearted to turn two weary travelers away from a party. I extend an invitation for the two of them to stay and enjoy themselves. They thanked me kindly, but I was becoming suspicious of this couple.
I did not know if they were truly a couple, but they were striking enough to me. His rugged good-looking and her unusual features made an impression on all they touched. A Celtic band was playing music in the back courtyard where the party had been setup. Billy heard the music and knew I would want to dance as
soon as possible. He pulled me close to him and told me that after four years of dancing to Parisian music, he could go for some good old Celtic clogging.
He took off his heavy shoes and walked away, bare-footed. I followed suit and disbanded my feet from their shoes. We met in the center of the open space left for the dance area. We bowed and began dancing. Billy was able to send me spinning and catch me when I was finished. Everyone was watching us dance the
way we had been taught. Billy and I were the perfect dance partners because we could anticipate what the other person would do next. Once our feet got started, we could not stop until they broke.
The service of the food was the actual reason Billy and I stopped dancing. He had been hungry as a growing young man should be and I had not eaten since breakfast. The guest of honor was able to sit at the only table in the courtyard. The other threes chairs were occupied by Angelus and Drusilla, whom did not ask if they were allowed to sit with Billy. I had been asked by Billy to sit with him due to the idea that I was his best friend. We had asked the cooks to prepare all of Billy's favorites on his homecoming. He got
rack of lamb with a special caramel sauce, potato soufflé, and bread pudding.
The conversation at the table was limited to compliments from Angelus and Drusilla on the preparation of the meal and my thanks. Billy excused himself from the table and began to pull my chair out. I understood that he wanted me to come with him. No one other than Angelus and Drusilla knew we were leaving.
Billy initiated the leaving, so I allowed him to take me wherever he wanted. I trusted him with my whole body. He knew I could not resist him. Billy gently led me down the steep hill that led to his garden. As much as I loved the maze, the Harringtons' rose garden was my second favorite place to be with Billy.
Words were not necessary, but the warmth of the other's hand in yours was. When we arrived in the garden, Billy took me to the middle, deep when no light shone through. It was there that a beautiful pale pink rose grew. The color was so identical to the color of my skin that Billy cut the rose and presented it to me. I was admiring the rose when I felt Billy nibbling at my neck.
It was much more than the kiss he had given me in the coach. His teeth were pinching my skin. I knew Mum and Da would see the mark if Billy continued for much longer. Then all of a sudden, I did not care. I was enjoying the attention Billy was paying to me. It made me feel so special. Billy put his arms around my waist. I turned around to see what had gotten into Billy. As I spun, Billy pricked his finger on one of the thorns still on my rose.
"I'm sorry, my love. I will stop the bleeding." I brought his finger to my lips and sucked on his finger like a babe would suck on his own thumb. I could feel the coppery taste in my mouth and it felt good. My eyes were focused on his and then they began to blur. Something strange was going on.
When I awoke, I was laying in my bed at my house. From the dim light from the window, I could tell it was about sunrise. When did I come home? Where was Billy? Why do I feel so powerful? I wondered if Billy had brought me home and away from the guests, to make love to me. I surveyed the room and found no
evidence of Billy being with me. A knock at the door made me wonder if I should pretend to be asleep or not. I laid my head upon my pillow again and peeked when the door opened. It was Billy and he was bringing me eggs and bacon. I did not betray that I had been awake and allowed Billy to wake me from my slumber. He did it ever so gently. I opened my eyes and was able to greet him with a giant smile that I could not stop. He looked at me with such kindness and tenderness.
"Good morning, my sweet. Did you have good dreams?"
"Yes, the best I have had in months. Maybe your homecoming has given my mind new freedom to be happy again."
"You do not know how glad I am to hear you say that. I was not able to express to you how much I have missed you in the years that we have been apart. Now, we will be together forever."
His choice of words frightened me. What did he mean by 'together forever?' "In all the excitement, did we become one body and soul?"
"Eternal life is ours. We have been made to live of lives as members of the communion of the undead."
A physical examination told me that the bump on my neck had healed already and my face was distorted. Billy's words were beginning to register in my mind. Communion of the undead were other words for the race of vampire. Was she really in for eternal life?
"Welcome home, my Callista," Billy said to me with his vamp face on. Instead, of celebrating Billy's homecoming, we were celebrating my homecoming to him as a creature of the night.
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