"Thomas, it's too heavy," whined Kasandra, jutting out her chin and stomping her feet up the manicured driveway as if the feeble grocery bag were filled solid gold bars. As the youngest of the house, you'd expect her to get some form of special treatment, but their mother, Suzanne, continued up the driveway with a firm clicking of her glossy heels. His other younger siblings followed behind like a cluster of geese, glossy eyed and exhausted from settling into yet another day of being the new kids. That was how his parents ran things, on pure, unfiltered paranoia and enough strict discipline to have them trained like dogs. Thomas never understood the method behind her parenting, but stopped questioning it after his many attempts to confront her ended in nothing but misery and more work than he was dumped with in the first place. Sure, he understood the danger the feud with the Montoya's put them in, he'd experienced it first hand- but the moving, and the constant uprooting? Being vampires meant they could never truly integrate with society, but having another family breathing down their necks made it significantly worse. If it wasn't for his personal vendetta he'd developed over years of brawling, he'd think the whole dispute was trivial. It was doubtful if they even remembered what they began fighting about in the first place. "Here," he resigned with a sigh, plucking the bag from her gossamer, manicured fingers, "just go ahead and play, okay?" Kasandra nodded silently, her lips pressed together in almost triumphant appreciation, making him regret giving in so easily. Making it to the doorway, a faint buzzing in his pockets alerted him to a message from one of his rare longer lasting friends. -Are you still going to be able to make it tonight?-, it read, displaying a perfect example of unnervingly perfect Gabe's texting was. He 'd known the guy since elementary school, and despite his overbearing personality, he'd been a rock over the past few months as Thomas went through a breakup with his fickle girlfriend. -Idk, still pretty down about Hannah-, he replied, grimacing at the sight of her name. So much for true love, right? -More of a reason to go dude-, Gabe replied quickly, -get your mind off that bitch-. "Hey, buddy, you just going to stand there all day?" His father interrupted, grossly misunderstanding the social importance of phones. For him, it was just blank screen that had nothing- or nobody- behind it. Mumbling something reminiscent of an apology, he slugged the groceries on the counter and threw himself onto the hearest chair, cringing when he landed on a discarded toy. Digging the plastic dinosaur out from under his back, he stabbed out a reply. -Fine. I guess. It's at nine, right?- Waiting for a few minutes and not being granted a reply, he figured he'd been correct. ----- Later that evening, when the sky had paled to a pleasant muted gray, he drove a few blocks to reach an equally spacious mansion owned by one of the smaller families that served theirs. Body guards of sorts. Though they never actually did much."So, I think I know a girl who's going to be there, you'll love her," Henry explained boisterously after they crashed on a sofa to watch whatever garbage caught their eye. He was probably recruited by Gabe because he lied and said Thomas was plunging into abysmal depression or something. What a sell-out. Giving the side of his friend's face a disapproving frown, he tried not to be irritated by their unjustified concern for his love life. Love's a sensitive topic right now, he retorted internally, but instead opted for something more amicable. Living with his upbringing at least had one perk, having thick skin. "Oh? Well, I guess I'll just have to see. I'm not sure I'm ready to go rushing into things though, y'know?" Thomas replied, giving a smile that was hardly committed to. Henry shrugged, probably at the end of the lines Gabe fed to him. "Anyways, we should probably leave in the next hour or so," Henry said lightly, dismissing the topic with visible relief and turing back to the rapidly flickering light of the TV.