Maggie smiled and settled into Gianna. The next morning, Molly would come bounding down to see what Santa had left in her stocking, but for the moment the two had a few hours to pass in harmonious quiet.
"Does that take much focus?" Michael asked.
Fay tilted her head to one side. "Not really. Making a flame never has, and I suppose I've just gotten used to making sparks."
"Huh. You know, fire burns different colors when you use different materials or temperatures?"
By the end of the evening, she'd gotten red, green, white, blue, and a yellow Michael insisted on calling gold. Fay smiled. The flickering flames formed into a triangular tree, with a white star at the top and varied spots of color all over it. "Merry Christmas."
"How do you feel, Lila?"
The new vampire's eyes snapped to her. Amanda had enough experience to avoid asking right away, but Lila had barely drunk her fill of blood—or blood-substitute, she supposed, though she couldn't imagine blood-blood would taste much better than this. "Sharp," the newborn finally replied. No more than a second had passed, she was sure, but she'd felt every instant. She knew the pattern on the walls, saw two scars from vampire bites on Amanda, watched the other newborns sprint past her and not blur at all… Eternity was going to be quite long, if she felt every instant like this.
Lila smiled at the thought.
Turning was…surprisingly boring, really. Dahlia's mate had been an old vampire, and one who had been smart enough to figure out the Volturi. She didn't expect the vampire to trust the Golden Coven anytime soon, which was why she'd brought some friends to turn with her. Evidently, that didn't set off any alarm bells, perhaps because Dahlia's friends, like Dahlia, were nervous but not violent. Really, her mate's description of turning would make anyone nervous; she wasn't even sure if the others were nervous of the Golden Coven.
For now Dahlia was watching It's a Wonderful Life and waiting to finish so she could find her mate again.
"Kelly," Rose said, barely above a whisper, "I love you. I want to spend every moment with you. My heart is yours, and my soul, too."
"Rose," Kelly answered, still bursting with excitement to have found her, "I love you. I cannot imagine stopping. I am as much yours as I am." Not, 'as I am anyone's', though some had suggested it. Simply, 'as much as I am.'
"Do you, Kelly, take Rose to be your wife, as long as you both shall live?"
"And do you, Rose, take Kelly to be your wife, as long as you both shall live?"
"I now pronounce you wife and wife." (They both liked the original rhythm.)
"What about when I die?" Jillian asked.
"Are you planning on it?" That got a rare smile out of his dear lovely.
"If I am."
Lyle leaned back a little. "I go on as best I can, I suppose. I would be an interesting experiment at worst, and an inspiration to widowed immortals at best." He's not quite allowing himself to think it, because the doubt will eat away at him more than even the fact would. "I do hope you choose otherwise."
Jillian nodded. "I need to think about it."
Lyle's heart skipped a beat. She was making a big decision, so she'd asked him. That was… "I love you," he said, unable to keep a touch of hope out of his voice.
His dear, lovely, hard-eyed Jillian looked straight at him. "I love you, too."