Chapter 22: Finn

Unlike Ophelia, I didn’t mind “comfortable.”

Comfortable meant peaceful. Familiar. Steady. I knew what she liked and she knew what I liked, but I knew she’d always crave more.

But I couldn’t give her more. I couldn’t give anyone more. My parents gave everything, time and time again, only to char themselves to ashes in the flames of their own passion.

When we were young, Rhys and I could try to look away, but we could never drown out the sound.

Even leaving the room wasn’t enough.

“Maybe we should try to help,” I suggested. I wasn’t sure how, but maybe if Rhys and I teamed up…

“Just ignore them,” Rhys said, acting as though he couldn’t hear them. He was good at that–pretending. He was the oldest, so maybe he had to be. “They’ll wear themselves out.” That sounded like our grandma, who always opened her theater’s doors to us if things got too chaotic. “Or they’ll just get another divorce and everything will go back to normal.”

But it was a never-ending cycle, the passions and the relative calm. Together, our parents were like both the moth and the flame, no matter how many years passed or how many times they divorced and remarried.

Maybe things would’ve turned out differently if they hadn’t asked Rhys and me to choose, if they could’ve come to some kind of an agreement back then instead. Gal was too young at the time, and I’d forever be grateful for that.

Even if Dad tried to hide it, I knew he got lonely easily. If neither of his sons chose to live with him, he’d carry that burden for eternity.

He always pretended like everything was a game. Mom hated that. But I could tell how relieved he was when I chose to live with him.

“Just us vampire men, eh, my boy? We’ll have plenty of fun without my lovely venomous moth flapping her wings at us.”

I wish we hadn’t had to choose…but I was glad to have a father when I needed one. He knew everything there was to know about girls, back when I had my first girlfriend, and…a surprising amount about boys, too.

“Do you think I should tell him, Dad?” I asked. Dad never minded when I stopped by his work–he always made time for me between shooting scenes.

“The Lyons boy, is it?” He laughed. “Careful with that family, Finn. If he’s anything like his mother, his legs–or cheeks–won’t be easy to pry open with casual hands.”

“I don’t want to have to pry anything open,” I said. Sometimes talking to my dad could be…difficult. “I really like him.”

I wasn’t sure when I first knew. Maybe that summer when we played the “manliest vampire game,” seeing how long we could lie out in the summer sun with only one application of industrial-strength sunscreen until one of us had to run back inside the house to avoid catching fire.

I’d bragged about my first girlfriend, and when he didn’t seem very impressed, I made up two more.

“But why do you need more than one?” Benny had asked. His B.O. was already pretty strong after seven minutes in the sun, but luckily I was a vampire and could hold my breath for eternity.

I didn’t have an answer for him, not at that moment. But I knew I wanted to impress him, and not just because he was older.

It was comforting, to text him about my parents’ divorces throughout the year and then look forward to seeing him during the summers. He even offered to dress up as a butler and spill tea on my parents to get them to stop fighting (except he spelled it tee–but I thought his terrible spelling and excessive punctuation were really funny in a cute way).

I wouldn’t have even considered telling him how I felt if it weren’t for all the butler pics he texted me. Rhys only liked girls, as far as I knew, but I took after our dad. And Benny texted me a lot of shirtless butler pics. A lot. I mean, maybe he really did want to know what I thought of “this monocle” or “those gloves” from his dad’s butler catalogs, but…

And just because he liked shirtless butlers didn’t mean he’d like me. I was scrawny. And not a butler. But I’d started working out that year… “So should I tell him?” I repeated, after my dad got distracted by the actress adjusting the neckline of her vampire dress.

“Ah, let a cruel, cruel Lyons crush your unbeating heart early, my boy,” Dad said. “Might as well get it over with as soon as possible. And the girl will probably be a beauty when she grows up–hmm. I do wonder how much she’ll take after her lovely mother…”

“Dad,” I said quietly. “If you ever lay a finger–or a fang–on Ophelia, no matter how old she is, I’ll move out and never speak to you again for the rest of my immortal existence. I mean it.”

“It was only idle curiosity, nothing at all to worry about,” he said smoothly, though there was a tinge of genuine fear to his words. But at least I knew he wouldn’t bother Benny’s little sister. He didn’t want to be alone. “And if he refuses, remember that the world is your buffet.”

“I don’t want a buffet,” I said. “I’d be happy with just a single plate…” Just Benny. Everything would be nice and easy and comfortable, since we were already friends…

But in the end, it wasn’t anything at all. Maybe, if my parents weren’t who they were, I would’ve mourned more deeply when he rejected me. I was disappointed, and embarrassed, but not…devastated. I probably mourned the loss of our friendship most of all.

I’d seen what it was like to love someone you could never have. I wouldn’t follow in my dad’s footsteps, not down this path.

You couldn’t watch and pine forever. You had to walk away at some point…

But sometimes I still thought of those days, when Benny and I spent our summers together. I knew that things were different now. Even after he ended up working at the coffee shop directly beneath my apartment, he always avoided looking at me when I passed by every single day. He was done with me.

But that was okay, because I’d always remember when he was my friend. I welcomed whoever wanted my company. And I could let them go. I was glad to be a part of their lives, for however long they wanted me.

I wouldn’t lie to myself about the present, though, even if I had to lie to other people. Dad had asked me to do him a favor, except it wasn’t for him, it was for my little sister. “The Strider boy was good for her, I think,” he’d said. “I think the girl might be good for her too.”

But I wouldn’t lie to my accomplice.

“Ohmigosh, I totally understand,” Daisy said. “I’ll do everything I can to make her feel welcome. And not just because of the free Starlight Shores rent, which is so totally generous! I’ll try reallyyy hard to be her BFF too. This town can be so cold and scary sometimes, especially if you don’t know anyone, and–”

“Maybe don’t try too hard?” I suggested. “And she can be kind of difficult to deal with. I don’t think she means to hurt people, but…she’s been hurt a lot. It’s the only way she knows how to be.”

Mom had always said Dad could manipulate people like chess pieces…but in this case, I knew he was just trying to be a father to his daughter. He was just trying to help.

And maybe Mom was right when she told Gal that I was just like our dad. Because now I was lying and manipulating people too…

24 thoughts on “Chapter 22: Finn

  1. Well, some of the giant coincidences are being explained as plans! Nice.

    I still love Finn. He may be my favourite. I can kind of relate to how he tries to always do the thing that would make other people happy.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pry open dat peach, Finn! I believe in you 🍑🍑🍑🍑

    Seriously though… poor Finn. Grisla have totally done a number on their poor kids haha I’m glad he’s got a good relationship with his dad though… someone with a ton of experience he can turn to for romantic advice 😛

    Though his “I couldn’t give ANYONE more” worries me. Does he fear getting into a serious relationship (the FWB arrangement makes so much sense for him!) Seeing such a tumultuous relationship between his parents can’t be easy. But hopefully he can learn to open his heart… preferably to Benny someday, if that boy ever wakes up 😉

    I love the reveal that Daisy was his doing… or rather, Graham’s doing, really! Gal’s family totally know she’ll never accept direct help haha so it’s kind of sweet to see them try in other ways 🙂 Just dont beat yourself up about it, Finn!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He got it from his daddy~ 🍑

      All the kids are kind of messed up in their own way. 😦 He tries to keep his distance out of fear and self-preservation. Ophelia could sense that, though she didn’t know the reason behind it. Benny might have issues with that if he ever does wake up…

      Graham’s spidery hands return. 😉 At least he’s trying to help his daughter and not Bianca this time. And Gal totally wouldn’t accept any help–sort of like Bianca, I guess, though for very different reasons. LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Uh oh…if Gal finds out about this manipulation…off with Finn’s head!

    Yay that he didn’t hurt Graham and decided to live with him. Honestly, Graham is more fun anyway. 😉 Maybe too much fun?

    Aww…those pics of Binn were so cute!!! They were such buds. I still wonder why Benny doesn’t have an attraction. It’s not like he hasn’t come to terms with his orientation. But I guess he just sees Finn as a friend? And then there’s Leonidas…

    I loved the shirtless butler pics. Ha ha…way to out yourself, Benny!

    Seeing Grisla angry and happy made me sad. Those little boys looked tragic, too, trying to cope with their situation. Divorce is the worst on kids.

    Graham has the ever wandering eye. 😉 Glad Finn protected Ophelia, but I think that girl can protect herself.

    Now I have to hope Gal doesn’t find out about Daisy. She may suspect if she figures out Daisy is Bas’ sister.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gal loves her brother, but you’re right…she won’t be happy with Finn if she founds out, to put it mildly.

      LOL, Graham is definitely a pizza for breakfast kind of dad–too bad they’re both vampires. 😉 Guess it’s more like porn for breakfast instead.

      As for Binn, as you call them (lol!), who’s to say that Benny doesn’t have an attraction now…? He did seem awfully jealous of Finn and Ophelia. But he is still fixated on Leonidas, and like Finn, he’s afraid of getting hurt.

      The Grisla kids had a hell of a childhood. 😦 And they all found ways to cope…

      You’re right that Ophelia could protect herself–though she’d probably enjoy the forbidden nature of a dalliance with “Uncle Graham.” Especially if she could get him to bite her. LOL.

      Hopefully Gal won’t find out that Daisy is Bas’s sister though…!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember when Ophelia said Graham refused to turn her because of his love and respect for her parents but now I think he refused to do it because of Finn, the only child who loves and respects him. That’s deep. I still like Gal a lot but Finn’s running a close second. That boy has such a big heart…well…a big un-beating heart…and now I’m rooting for him and Benny to get together even more.

    ‘…his legs–or cheeks–won’t be easy to pry open with casual hands.’ *eye roll* That’s such a Graham thing to say. LOL.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good catch on what Graham apparently said to Ophelia vs. what went down with Finn. 😉 Graham definitely treasures his relationship with Finn, the only close family relationship he has.

      Gal would want to know how you could like her more than Finn–but that could be the low self-esteem talking. 😉 Pammie would gladly make room on her favorite ship for you too. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Awww. I love Finn. Maybe at some point he will be forced together with Benny and they can “talk”or maybe pry open each other’s….never mind. Uh ummm.

    Eeek! I didn’t see that Daisy was planted – no pun intended – to watch out for Gal. I wonder if Bas is aware of that little factoid….

    All of these poor kids are so messed up – it’s so fun to see how they have all tried to cope with the hand they were dealt.

    Can’t wait to see how they all start interacting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Look at Finn, getting all the love! ❤ Also ROFL about the butt cheeks. Or the never mind. 😉 If only Graham got involved and helped his son out! …Or things could go horribly wrong.

      If Bas were aware about Gal, he really wouldn't be happy about it. But he's not…! Yet.

      And LOL, I'm glad you like seeing the Grisla fallout. I really do love their kids. And there will be plenty of interfamily interactions in the future!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, I was wondering about the chains of coincidence ! Now I see it’s machinations ! OK! Makes sense! We’ll see how it works out and how it back -fires! And Finn really does know how to love like an angel . .. Hope someone he loves will decide to stay a while . ..

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well , it could NOT backfire if Galatea realizes that the control is really a poorly executed expression of love, caring, and wanting the best for her, of giving her the attention she’s always craved (I mean, people’s entire worlds are being rearranged in her supposed interests), but to be capable of that realization , she, too , would need to be able to love like an angel . .. so, yeah. Bumpy roads !

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah Finn, you are nothing like your father…even if you manipulate folks and hold yourself apart from them. But you can see yourself in him, which makes sense then to wonder.

    Pretty sure the Finn x Benny train is fully packed, but I’m going to squeeze myself on and look forward to the ride.

    Knowing those two, Benny is fully unaware that Finn even confessed to him. Finn was probably subtle and testing the water to preserve his heart, and it flew over Benny’s head. I hope their mutual realization of that….in 500 more chapters is as delightful as when Penny finally got through to Byron.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Choo choo! 😉 There’s always room in the caboose. …I’ll see myself out.

      I think most of us can see a little of our parents in us, especially as we get older. But he’s still very different from Graham.

      Benny definitely didn’t realize the extent of Finn’s feelings–he thought he was messing around with him, either for fun or because of Leopold. He’s always worried about being the butt of a joke. And Finn didn’t make it as explicitly clear as he could’ve. ENJOY 500 MORE CHAPTERS OF NONSENSE. ❤


      1. Yeah Finn pretty much would have to say. I want to care for you and fuck you daily to get through to Benny. Probably repeatedly. Perhaps he should ask Penny for advice.

        And yay! I get 500 more chapters now. 😛 I win.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Something I liked about Graham in Gen 1 was he felt the most “vampirey” of the vampires in that he seemed the most capable of doing moving and shaking in the world all from behind the scenes. He was the most manipulative and controlling and had a major role to play in orchestrating major facets of the story. He’s perfectly capable of using that brain of his solely to further his own interests and whims (and he does) but I also like when we see glimpses of him moving mountains to try and benefit someone else without them even knowing he’s doing it.

    That’s the fun thing about Graham, I think, is he gives the best impression of caring about no one while making it obvious he cares deeply for at least a few, and never needing to say it. Finn, I think, gets it, but obviously Galatea doesn’t. Which is unfortunate.

    Anyway all this rambling means I like Graham’s characterization a lot and have since his introduction. I can see Finn inheriting some of the better aspects of his father’s nature and less of the pitfalls, which makes him fun to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, I’ve always described Graham as my most vampire-y vampire too! In gen 1, I felt like my characters stepped out of wildly different genres: Byron from a sitcom, Bianca from a regency romance, Saul from a police procedural, etc…and then Graham from an actual vampire story, LOL.

      He’s forever one of my favorites (I think he appears more than any other gen 1 parent for a reason…!), and I actually like that some people love to hate him and his scheming. (Others just love him, which is nice too!) He’s selfish and manipulative, but he does move mountains for the ones he loves, as you said.

      And Finn is a bit like his dad too–but he has some of his Uncle Darius’s softness, fortunately. So glad you enjoy Graham too. ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can totally see that, re: the different genres. Each character maintained a very different tone which I think made them even more fun to read.

        So yeah, I’m a Graham fan, despite his scheming. Maybe because of his scheming! I can see Darius’s influence a lot in Finn–he’s the most unlike either parent, even if in some aspect he still takes after them. It’s great how that’s worked with all the kids, seeing their parents in them and yet their own personalities, too.

        Liked by 1 person

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