That'll Be the Day - Chapter Eight Pt. 1
Published Apr 23, 2017

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Chapter 8 Pt. 1:

"We're Never Good"

Hey everybody, welcome to the second season of That'll Be the Day, I hope you remember what's happened so far. If not, you can skim through the previous chapters. I split this one up into two parts, partly so that I could get it up sooner, partly because it was kinda long, partly because it felt like it made more sense to me in my twisted way of thinking; so the second part should be up pretty soon. Anyway, hope you enjoy reading.

Chapter 8 Pt. 1:

"We're Never Good"

Hey everybody, welcome to the second season of That'll Be the Day, I hope you remember what's happened so far. If not, you can skim through the previous chapters. I split this one up into two parts, partly so that I could get it up sooner, partly because it was kinda long, partly because it felt like it made more sense to me in my twisted way of thinking; so the second part should be up pretty soon. Anyway, hope you enjoy reading.
”I’ve always been terrible at this game," Esme admitted as she stared at the board, baffled. She sat rubbing her temple with her fingers and strained her eyes over the carved wood.

Katrina was in awe of the amount of effort Esme was putting into her move, "You are rather inadequate."
Caleb entered the room then, "Katrina, Hearth wants a word."

"That’s never good," Katrina laughed and rolled her eyes, then to Caleb, "You take my place." She got up and left the room.
Esme and Caleb stared after her until she was gone, then Caleb looked over the board and stated plainly, "You don't look like you're doing so well."

Esme shrugged her shoulders, "I guess this has never been my strong suit.”

Caleb sat down, "And Katrina is very good, which exacerbates things.”

"So you understand my plight." It was a statement.
"I played against her when we were kids; I understand." Caleb laughed, he eyed her discreetly, “So what is your strong suit?”

She gave a determined smile, “Well, I’ve had my fair share of experience with scrabble.”

Caleb smirked, he further surveyed the pieces, "Move your knight here," He pointed.
"I think this was supposed to be a test, Katrina probably doesn't want you helping me," Esme warned.

"It is a test, it has to do strategic planning whilst keeping your eye on everything around you, a balance of speed and strength of mind is what she was looking for."
"Well I've failed then,” she laughed, "I can't keep track of all the different pieces."

Caleb smiled, "Move your knight."
I stopped playing and stayed as quiet as I could when I heard the front door open, and then my mother say, "Esme's in her room, dear," then footsteps on the stairs, and finally, a knock at my bedroom door.
"Come on in," I said as I put my guitar down against the wall, and in entered Danny. He and the other girl in our group were coming over to start this history project that we had. She wasn't here yet, and Danny wasn't supposed to have been here for another hour and a half.

"Hey," he muttered and walked across the room to collapse into a chair on the far side of it.

"Hey," I replied faintly, I observed him pick up a book from the top of the stack I had beside the chair and opened it to a random page. He proceeded to slump down in the chair and lay the book over his face as though he were asleep--or dead, "What's up?"
He stayed motionless for a moment, it creeped me out a little and I began to worry about him, between the pages he mumbled, "I'm so tired, Esme." He closed the book, put it back down and jumped out of the chair with a new-found surge of energy.

This was strange behaviour, "Did something happen, Dan?" I asked him.
He sighed, "Nothing new," he walked over to my desk and rand his fingers nervously over its contents, "It's just, Dad came home early today and Taylor wanted him to read this poem she'd written at school and she was so excited but he... he just pretty much ignored her and… it’s… just not fair.” Now this made sense. He's always had issues with his father, who wasn't around much anyway, but Danny always felt guilty that his dad paid so much more attention to him than to his sisters. Which in turn makes Danny very protective of them, especially the younger ones, Lydia and Taylor, and especially when they are slighted by their own father.
"Oh Dan," I couldn't really think of anything to say, but I understood his pain, I only hoped that was enough for him.

He came over and sat next to me, I gave him a hug when he did, it was all the comfort I could offer. A minute passed and he seemed to brighten a little, he tried to smile and said, "Okay, so let's get started on this thing.”
He meant the project, "Danny, Lauren's not even here yet, she won't be for another hour."

"That doesn't we can't throw ideas around."

Yeah, it kind of did, but I let it pass, anything to take his mind off of his family life, I guess. I pointed to my desk where I had a notepad and pens. He sat down in the desk chair and scooted closer to the bed with the paper on his lap, he clicked the pen and stared at me intently, waiting.
Katrina came in quietly, she said, "Apparently, Hugo's finished the letter."
This startled both of them, the sudden voice and the contents of the sentence combined, Esme said, "Hugo?" Esme tried to match the name to a face, and when she couldn't, she asked, "Who's that?"

"He manages the technological side of things," Katrina replied, as if this information would jog Esme's memory.

Esme suddenly remembered the conversation with Jane she'd had the other day, she had mentioned the name and suggested that it wouldn't be long before she met him. Esme was still puzzled though, "But I thought that was Logan's job."
"No," Katrina said, as if Esme should know this already, "No, Logan was here as part of his training in questioning and interrogation, because his dad runs the research department of FADS and he wants to take over when his father abdicates."

Esme just wasn't in the mood to get deeper into this conversation, and so replied with nothing but, "Oh."
"Have you read it?" Caleb asked Katrina.

"No, Hearth has sent me to take you two down there."

Esme piped up again, "Does Hugo live here?"

The other two replied in unison, "Yes."
"Why haven't I met him?" Esme felt the ground beneath her heart shake a little, "Are there any more people in this house that I don't know about?"

"Well, he's a little reclusive," Katrina thought for a moment, and in response to Esme's second question, "And I don't think so."
Behind one of the doors in the underground base was a dark room filled to the brim with strange objects that had no immediately visible purpose. Someone was sitting with his eyes glued to a computer screen when they came in the room.
"Hello my peoples,” Hugo said, swivelling his chair to face them, and quickly becoming the most extroverted recluse Esme had ever met, "Is this Esme?"
Esme was taken aback that she had never heard of this person's existence and he already knew her name. She could easily deduce that he was a vampire, she had come to learn how to discern a being's species through her lessons with Caleb and Katrina, as well as her frequent interaction with them.

"That's me," Esme smiled, and awkwardly pointed in her own direction.

"Nice to meet you," Hugo reached over to shake Esme hand, and then fell back into his chair and pushed himself away from his desk, the chair rolled across the room to a lightbox with a reconstructed piece of paper on it, "I believe this is what you're looking for. I've taken a scan of it and re-written it to be more clearly read but the original handwriting is there if you wanted it."
He scooted back over to his computer, and brought up both the scan and the re-write on the screen, then he printed out hard copies of each and handed them to Caleb.

"I have something for you guys," he said and pulled out a box filled with unfamiliar items, all of them seemed portable and all of them seemed to be more complicated than they looked.
Hugo held the box out to them, "You two know what most of these are, but someone's going to have to explain them to her. Can I trust you to be sensible?"

"Of course you can," Caleb said taking the box from him, "Aren't we always?"
"There's something new in here," Hugo picked out three wristwatches, "These show the location of the others in relation to where the first is, the screen is hidden so if you put pressure on the side here it'll display three different coloured points, you and the other two, but as soon as you release the pressure points the screen disappears and you have an average looking clock face again. So it also tells time." Hugo grinned at them, pleased with himself, "There's another couple in there that are a bit more formal. Be nice for the next assignment, huh?"
"'Alec,'" Caleb began reading the letter, "'You know we're looking for you, and you know why. I need you back at my side; you were my eyes and ears; I am both blind and deaf without you. My spies are inadequate and out of practice. We are in the dark. You used to have such a passion for The Cause, where did that fury go? Did the girl you claim to love bury herself so deep in your heart? Has she softened it to such an extent? That kind of 'love' doesn't last, but family does and you are like a son to me, Alec. Come back to us, we need you.'" "He's a bit of a smooth-talker, isn't he?" Esme remarked, and followed to speak frankly.

Caleb looked at the printed copy of the original, "It's not signed, but it is certainly Snipes' handwriting."

"Or someone imitating his handwriting," Katrina stated.

"Maybe, but I think we can safely say he still dictated it."

Katrina didn't argue.
"Do we know how long ago it was written?" Esme asked, wondering whether or not the question was actually relevant.

"I'd say not long after Alec left, which we date to a little over 8 weeks ago ago," Caleb replied.

"But how did they get the letter to him if he was already on the run? I mean, if they delivered it in person, they would have had to find him first and if they found him, why didn't they just capture him then? Unless Snipes really wants him to come back on his own." Esme thought for a brief second, "And what prompted him to tear it up now? Why not 2 months ago when he got it?”
Katrina replied, "They could have used a locator spell, I suppose. That would mean enlisting the help of a witch; willing or otherwise."

"If they did use a spell there would be magic residue on the paper."

"And we could reverse it to find the location of departure."
"Like the return address on an envelope,” Esme pointed out.

Katrina turned to her, "Exactly like that."

Caleb stood and stretched slightly, "I'll go ask Hugo to scan the letter for traces of magic."
“I feel ridiculous.” Esme stood biting her lip and glaring at herself in the mirror, Katrina fastening the straps of her dress, Esme looked into her own eyes and felt confusion. “Why can’t you do this? I don’t even know what to say.”

I can’t do it,” Katrina declared simply, she had her hair tucked up in a wig for the purpose of not being recognised by those Esme would come into contact with tonight, that and her sly ability to not be seen if she didn’t want to. She would have worn colour contacts, as Esme had done, but she had an aversion to touching her eyes. Katrina had an experience when she was 12; Caleb accidentally scratched her eye during combat training while he was in wolf form, she had to have several stitches and it was swollen for a week. She wouldn’t admit it, but Katrina has been sensitive about her whole eye area since. Katrina continued, “Because they know what I look like, if I got too close to them, they’d certainly recognise me. You, on the other hand, are a fresh face to them.” She cupped Esme’s chin in a motherly gesture. Because it’s Katrina, it came out patronising. “Now, look at me so I can fix your face,” She meant so that she could apply Esme’s makeup, she pulled out a zippered case and dropped it onto the sink basin, the contents scattering.
“What about Caleb? Won’t they recognise him?” “It’s not as likely, they haven’t had as much experience with him as I have. And Caleb is a good actor, he can get himself out of almost anything.”

Esme smiled lightly, "I used to know someone like that," She spoke to herself under her breath.
Esme started, ducking away from the brush Katrina threatened to paint her with, “But what if they ask me something I don’t know the answer to?”

Katrina opened her mouth to answer, then quickly shut it when she heard someone open the door. The conversation was finished and neither spoke again. They wouldn’t look suspicious with Katrina fixing Esme’s eyeliner in a club restroom, they might, however, look suspicious if they were violently whispering while doing so; they couldn’t take any risks.
Esme was shoved into the club, it was loud and smelled like a sticky-sweet mixture of sweat and perfume. She stumbled her way across the dance floor in her 6 inch heels, moving in-between the dancing bodies. There’s something about alcohol that makes dancing ugly, but in an ideal situation, you’d be too drunk to notice.
Esme ordered a glass of water, trying to steady herself. She looked to Katrina for support, and turned around to face her task. Esme made her way to a cluster of seats in the corner, she mustered the most seductive walk she could without embarrassing herself. And as she neared it, the only person she recognised at the table called out to her, “Ah! Here she is. “Join us,” Caleb held out his hand for her to place herself beside him. She wore a absent expression, and slipped into the booth beside Caleb as he slid an arm around her waist. Esme was highly aware of his fingers resting on her bare skin, but they were in character, so she pretended not to be affected by it.
This part of the room was such a contrast to the rest of the club, this and the surrounding tables reminded her of old movies where the men would retreat into the study and talk about purely manly things. It was a juxtaposition, she sat in the epitome of sophistication, and a few short feet away, there were dozens of people dancing aimlessly to bass-heavy wordless beats.

Esme knew she was a daydreamer, easily distracted, she used to zone out in class, then the bell would ring and she would have nothing to show for coming to school. The boys let her copy their notes if that was the case. Esme examined the men at the table, she tested her perception skills; there were four others—two of them were vampires, a werewolf, and… a witch? Genie, maybe? A fairy? They had ways of hiding their wings. She tried to remember the signs for each different species. She was careful not to stare. Funny that the vampire they were after sat at a table like this, considering Snipers were so against other species.
They were talking amongst themselves about subjects Esme couldn’t fathom. She didn’t have much to do until they moved on to the next phase, until then, she amused herself. In a strange way, began to imagine what it would be like to be who she was supposed to be portraying: an absent-minded human who was fascinated and familiar with the supernatural. She looked at Caleb the way she might if that’s who she was, to be able to see the appeal of a species that was apparently so much more complex than her own—a monster, in short, and yet, so civilised. If she really was his lover, what would she be inclined to feel towards him?
She pressed her lips to his neck. So I plan to have part 2 out soon and in the meantime, sit tight and feel free to read the previous chapters to get a grip on what's going on, and let me know your thoughts or questions or comments.

Thanks for reading!

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