The letter arrived in a fit of black smoke, causing the Count to laugh uproariously, and answer it straight away. Since this rarely happened, it drew everyone's attention. Even Bertrand's, though he acted otherwise. "Hm? Oh that, just a little … trifling matter," was the Count's only response. Didn't quite wipe the knowing smirk from his face though, and when he announced a week later that their honoured guests where due to arrive, Vlad and Ingrid exchanged a set of glances that proved that not a lot could stop them from being the long-suffering sibling spawn of Dracula. The last time the Count announced the arrival of honoured guests... well, they managed to get all the blood off the ceiling eventually. Erin had looked questioningly at Vlad, but received a shrug in return. Until the Count told them otherwise, he was as much in the dark as she was.
The honoured guests arrived the Wednesday after and Vlad couldn't help but later look back and laugh on the odd appropriateness of that day. "Count Dracula!" Gomez Addams called happily, arms outstretched in a warm greeting. "Come on old man, it's been far too long!" he said, clapping the Count's hand and shaking it in that friendly but forceful manner only an Addams could manage.
"Far too long," the Count agreed readily, showing a pointed smile. "We really should have made it back one summer, but what can I say? The pickings on this little island..." he trailed off, into a throaty laugh that had Ingrid muttering curses under her breath, looking back into the gloom of the school waiting so invitingly, and Vlad rolling his eyes from his position of leaning against the wall. Erin shifted uncomfortably, and Wolfie... Wolfie was oblivious, running up to his sister with a stick, waiting on her to throw it for him. Bertrand was stiffer than usual, Vlad noticed from the corner of his eye, and it became apparent why very quickly after.
A dark beauty stepped forward, tiny steps in the hobble dress that Ingrid eyed in her critical but appreciative manner. "Cousin Bertrand," she smiled without showing her teeth. "You missed the family reunion," she reproached gently. Bertrand gave an expression that would have suggested a slight colouring. Were he anyone other than Bertrand, that is.
"Cousin Morticia," he greeted with an incline of his head. "I was... detained. By the Grand High Council," he offered as explanation.
Morticia gave a nod, understanding, and turned her gaze upon Vlad, Ingrid, and Erin – Wolfie had run over and attached himself to the Count when Morticia had come over to speak to Bertrand. "Ingrid, you're looking absolutely deadly," she said warmly, pressing her finger tips together. Ingrid gave a smirk, pleased to be the first greeted for once.
"I do try," she replied smugly. "You look like you haven't slept in months," she said. Erin paled.
"Ingrid, I don't think-"
"Why, thank you darling," Morticia smiled again. "But you're too kind, I'm sure it looks like I haven't slept in only days." She turned to look at Erin, inspecting her slightly. "Such a pale thin face," she said. "Yes, she is a charming little thing," she added, smiling that odd smile once more. "A charming pet, Ingrid, I'm sure she makes the most dreadful lover." Erin spluttered, her pale cheeks flushing just slightly at the words. Ingrid didn't say anything to this, just held a smirk in place. Morticia turned to Vlad. "We've been hearing so much about you," she said to him.
"It's all lies," Vlad responded, his mouth pulling up at the corner. Morticia's smile grew a tiny bit. There was a noise of a trigger being pulled and Vlad only just managed to grab the crossbow bolt before it pierced his chest. He looked up, to see Wednesday lowering her crossbow, a scowl on her face. No change there. An easy smirk appeared on Vlad's face. There was a laugh from Ingrid.
"You remember Wednesday, don't you Vlad?" Morticia said, looking between the two. Vlad went over to the girl, who regarded him silently. There was a moment, before she held out her hand. Vlad laughed softly, handing back the bolt and grinning.
"'Course I do," he replied. "Long time, Wed," he said sincerely. Then, as if struck by sudden inspiration, he lifted her hand, dropping a kiss on it.
"You're trying to be a gentleman," Wednesday said.
Vlad and Wednesday had went off on their own after they'd all been brought into the Dracula private quarters, and Erin couldn't help but feel, well, jealous she supposed. Vlad was, well, they were... Okay, so it was a little more complicated than she'd like but she had thought she and Vlad were sort of meant to be dating, and now he was going off with the daughter of the weirdest family she'd met. Well, okay, weirdest breather family she'd met, but considering that they'd claimed Bertrand was their cousin, she wasn't entirely sure they were all breather.
"So, um, what's the deal? I thought you didn't like breathers?" Erin asked Ingrid. She was still sort of smarting from the assumption earlier made by Morticia, but thought that if she ignored it, that would be for the best. Ingrid looked up from her magazine, questioning. "I mean, I thought that vampires weren't allowed to … socialise with breathers. So how...?"
"Well, it's the Addams," Ingrid answered plainly. Erin continued to look confused, and Ingrid sighed irritably, placing her magazine down on the table. "The Addamses are a very old, established family. They're connected to all sort of brigands, scammers, pirates, thieves, con-men, you name it." She paused, leaning back slightly in her wooden chair. "The whole family has a passion for the dark that's really very vampiric. Anyway, the last Grand High Vampire was married to an Addams Matriarch."
"Oh," Erin blinked. "So... how do you know them?" By this point, Ingrid had resumed reading her magazine.
"The castle next to ours in Transylvania was their summer home," she said, "we used to … play … together as children," she added conversationally. "They've got an elder son – Pugsley – he's away training to be a Witch-Doctor. The one that's spending time with Wolfie is their youngest, Pubert."
"That sounds filthy," Erin muttered. She had forgotten about that fact that vampires had far better hearing than most.
"They thought so too." Ingrid said, sounding as if the comment was a compliment. Erin stared for a moment, before shaking her head. There was silence for a few moments, as Erin tried to work out exactly what it was she wanted to say. She couldn't really put it all into words, they just seemed to get jumbled up and stuck at the back of her throat.
"So, Vlad and Wednesday...?"
"She kept trying to kill him, he somehow found it endearing," Ingrid sounded irritated at being constantly interrupted. She looked up, and saw the worried expression on Erin's face, and couldn't help but smirk at it."You don't need to get jealous, Erin. Wednesday's an Addams, they've been using arranged marriages since... well, since always," she said. Erin gave a shaky smile, and stood quickly.
"I'm just going to … go," she said, leaving the room. Ingrid smirked.
"How transparent," she muttered to herself, picking up the magazine again. A thought entered her mind, causing her to send it slamming back down on to the table. "No, they wouldn't do that, would they?"
The moon was full, and Vlad and Wednesday were moon-bathing on the roof.
"They sent you to camp, seriously?" Vlad's voice was incredulous, totally unable to believe what Wednesday was telling him. "Camp? You?"
"Uncle Fester was getting married," she explained. "To Debbie, she was our Nanny. She died though. Died an Addams death." He looked at her. "Yes, she also happened to be a psychopath who tried to kill us all to get the money." There was a pause, and Vlad turned away, a soft laugh coming from his as he did so.
"Sounds more like it," he said, grinning. Wednesday rolled her eyes, and smacked his arm – unusually lightly all things considered. There was a few moments of companionable silence, before Vlad spoke. "So, I almost killed Ingrid and Dad," he told her. She looked over, staring unblinkingly. "There was this thing, and I got taken over by my thousand evil reflections and... yeah, tried to kill them." A beat. "Obviously, it didn't work, I regained control, but still."
"You always did choke at the last," Wednesday scoffed lightly. "To think; you finally found your blood-lust, and I missed it." There was a tone almost like annoyance in Wednesday's voice, but Vlad knew better than to suggest such a thing to the girl. She had a habit of carrying daggers on her, and that would lead to slightly discomforting thoughts about where she might be hiding one right now. Vlad had long realised he'd be glad when puberty was finally done with him. "I always said you would destroy them within a day."
"Within an hour, please," Vlad rolled his eyes. Wednesday looked at him.
"Stop trying to sound impressive," she warned. "How is Cousin Bertrand getting on with your tutoring?" she asked, genuinely curious despite herself. "He seemed far more sullen when we spoke," she added, "it must be dreadful for him here."
"He seems to be enjoying himself, yeah," Vlad agreed, giving a shrug of his shoulders. "He knows the facts, and right now, I need those. If any of the clans turn against me, I'll have assassins after me." Wednesday's face gained a very sinister smirk.
The following day, and all the young vampires had to attend classes, Wednesday following Vlad like a growth. This meant Bertrand couldn't follow him around, which seemed to annoy him slightly. Having said that, at least it was his young Cousin doing the following, and not that half-fang so his anger was eased. The group, such as it was, did draw a lot of attention from their fellow Garside Grangers. Well, actually, it was Wednesday who drew all the attention. She was rather like her mother when it came to the fact that people found it hard to look away from her.
Vlad would have told them this was a good policy; looking away gives her an opening.
"Who's the Goth?" Becky asked Erin, when she separated from the group to go an speak with her friend. Becky eyed Wednesday up and down, taking a sip of her Coke in a manner that somehow managed to express jealously, annoyance, and curiosity all at once. "How come Vlad's letting her... hang all over him like that?" Erin glanced back. Wednesday wasn't 'hanging over' Vlad, there was a more than respectable distant between the pair. Besides which, Erin couldn't see Wednesday as the type to hang over someone. Now, hanging someone... well, that was a different story. "Thought you two were back on?" Becky's voice broke into Erin's thoughts.
"Oh, um," she began, "yeah, I'm not... I don't know what's going on, exactly." It wasn't technically a lie, Erin really didn't know what was going on between her and Vlad any more. "It's complicated, I guess," she shrugged, hitching her bag up her shoulder as she did. Becky looked at her serious for just a moment, before flicking her hair over her shoulder, taking another drink from the open can.
"Whatever, I reckon you're well shot of him." She turned to look at the pair, heads bent closely together as they spoke, walking up the corridor. "He's clearly got no taste." There was a pause. "Come on, we've got double Chemistry," she turned, heading towards the science block. Erin took a second to glance back. Ingrid was busy with her group of admires, and Vlad and Wednesday had already gone. She frowned once more, pulling on the straps of her bag. "Well, come on!" Becky called back.
With a sigh, Erin turned and followed.
Morticia and Gomez were taking tea with the Count and the infinitely charming Miss Alex McCauley in the Count's office. He had explained to him how the people referred to him as Mr. Count here, and they had both on the strain of hidden fondness when he was telling them about Alex McCauley. Morticia, having now met the woman in question, would have to agree. Infinitely charming, not to mention extremely no-nonsense. Something Morticia could admire, especially from a women in the professions. "You say you met in Transylvania, Mrs Addams?" Miss McCauley inquired politely.
"Oh yes," Morticia placed her teacup down carefully on the saucer – such finely chipped china was hard to come by. "Yes, we had the neighbouring castle. Such a dreary little place," she said in an exceedingly fond tone. "So many wonderful summers spent there." She looked over at Miss McCauley. To her credit, the women simply smiled back.
"And Wednesday, she would be?"
"Our only daughter." Miss McCauley recognised the look Morticia was wearing now, having seen it in many parents; pride in one's child was an admirable quality. "She and Vlad were such dear playmates as children, it's good to see them getting along so nicely now, after such a long period of absence." There was a pause, and Morticia continue, though far quieter, and in a manner which made it obvious it was not meant to be heard by others, but that she couldn't stop herself from saying it. "Of course, if that woman didn't keep betraying her family, I'm sure it wouldn't be quite so long."
And with that, Morticia Addams went up several places in Alex McCauley's regard. Of course, it didn't change the fact that her daughter was encouraging some of the more unpleasant aspects of Vlad's personality, but she did have to admit that she'd never seen the boy so... so happy as he was with the young Miss Addams around. If only she didn't encourage him to chaos.
"No, really old man, computers!" Gomez's voice grew louder as he spoke to the Count. "Fantastic investment, I bought stocks back in the 80's – they just keep making me money!" There was a pause, as Gomez chewed on the end of his cigar for a moment. "Madness, really."
"Really? Computers, you say?" Mr. Count sounded interested. He began searching through his desk. "Ah, Miss McCauley, didn't you put in a request for funds for new computers?" He said loudly, continuing to look through the papers, to find the request form. It took a few moments of frantic searching, before he found the form, crumpled and only slightly torn at the corners. "Ah yes, here we go!"
"You're going to release the funds?" Miss McCauley sounded incredulous. "But I've been asking for months now-"
"Yes, well," the Count cut in, not really wanting to be shown up in front of the Addamses. "Well, perhaps I was a bit hasty, yes? How much would be needed to fit one of those computer lab things?" he asked. Miss McCauley blinked, placed her cup and saucer carefully down on the table, before moving round to speak to him quietly. Gomez and Morticia exchanged similar looks. Ah, new love.