The Ratchet Vampire Chronicles #9: A Whole New Life

Okay, so I’m writing more furiously than ever now so I can get this series up on Amazon by the end of the month! I need to go write. But I hope you enjoy and weigh in with thoughts!  I’ll probably release another one of these in the morning. I’m moving at warp speed now. I will try and post in a few days about the series and the cover reveals. But you can see a peak at the Facebook page and Twitter in my new covers over there.

For those just dropping in, this is paranormal vampire romance. Enjoy!

***MATURE READERS ONLY 18+

Once I got back home, I stood in front of Moms, unable to suppress my smile.

“Boy, what are you talking about? We ain’ goin’ nowhere,” she snapped.

“Ma, I’m going to play European basketball.”

She could see in my face that this was no prank. Her eyes glazed over. These few seconds, the joyful shock on her face, I had worked and sweated for my whole life.

Moms stared at me like she didn’t know whether to hug or hit me. Eyes brimming over with tears, she started play-hitting my arm. “Shut your mouth.” When my own eyes welled up, her mouth. “Oh, my God. My God. Why didn’t you tell us about this? How long you been knowing? How? When?”

“I have a good connection now, and she’s going to take care of all of us. Of Pops. Treat us real good. Good doctors. Good healthcare. Everything.”

Happy as she was, I watched her fear instantly set in. Moms wasn’t buying it. Anxiety marched into its normal spot on her face. She didn’t want to take any chances, and refused to pack a thing. “A connection? Boy, please. You are out of your mind! Don’t you see how he’s all hooked up? Where does it look like he’s going? We only have a few more days. How dare you even think about jeopardizing the little life he’s got left!”

So when the big Mercedes bus rolled up, complete with nursing staff and a private specialized physician, she almost passed out. So did I. Medical staff started explaining the treatments they could give him to ease his suffering, and maybe even extend his life by some weeks. I saw the hope and anticipation all over her. Her tired eyes actually brightened a little, looking at me and wringing her hands. People around the neighborhood lined the sidewalk to see what was going on. Cousins, aunts, and extended relatives started calling.

“Ma, we’ve been here our whole life. Let Pops see something different before he….” I swallowed, still unable to say it. “Let somebody else do all the work, so you can just… focus on you and him.” My voice shook, with me fighting to hold my tears. Yet they started trickling down anyway, and I tried to avert my eyes from Moms’s.

She fought the emotion too. Crying, she managed, “How? Where’s this coming from?”

“The woman I’m going to play basketball for. The team owner, she’s going to help us out.”

Shaking her fists in front of my face, she pressed. “But whyyyy?”

“She’s a business woman, Ma, she’s got the money and shit, so why not? Maybe she’s just a good person, doing something good for good people.”

Moms popped me upside the head. “Did you just curse in front of me?”

Once I explained it to her, what could Moms say? No? Please don’t give my husband all these amazing life-saving treatments that we’ll never get with our medical insurance in the ‘hood? Moms knew, just as well as I did, that Pops would be dead in days, maybe even hours, if she said no.

Pressing her lips together and cutting her eyes at me, she stewed, “Any woman who’s giving you all this damn near for free, wants something from you, boy. Not just to play ball. Where is she? Why can’t we meet her?”

“You will eventually, but like I said, she’s the team owner, not some local store manager who can just stop by.”

No, this didn’t make any sense. But again, who were we to question it? And what were our alternatives? Finally, all those years of practices, sweat, and sacrifice could pay off.

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Even as Moms wrung her hands, the family finally began packing for a European vacation. My grandparents— even Big Papa, my father’s dad— came along, and three of Pops’ six siblings. One was in prison, another in New York, and yet another in Florida. Plus cousins and a couple of Pops’ good friends.

I know. I’m about as stunned as you. Within forty-eight hours, things had changed completely.

Just like that.

Moms and I rode in a private helicopter with Pops to the airport, so we could make sure he was handling the transfer well from the hospital. The rest of my family rode to a private airport on the Mercedes bus. I watched the worry on Moms’s face turn into a mixture of wonderment, shock and fear of the unknown. Once we began flying on our own plane, my sisters and brother wavered between excitement and melancholy over Pops.

Pops awakened from sleep, his eyes cracking open while Moms signed transfer papers and authorization documents giving Fallon’s doctors permission to treat him. His face scrunched up in confusion, still halfway in a daze from the medications.

“Don’t worry, Pops. We’re getting you the best doctors money can buy,” I said, comforting him. But rather than look relieved, even in his dazed state, his face twisted. “I’m going to play basketball in Europe, Pops. And I can afford to get you better now.”

His lips attempted a weak smile, sending the brightest tremors through me that I had felt in weeks. At least he could enjoy some bit of special, individual attention during the time he had left. Finally, after looking out of the plane at the clouds, laughing with my siblings and relatives, and being waited on hand and foot, Moms slept.

We arrived in the seaside town of Deauville, Normandy, along the French Atlantic coast. It wasn’t simply the kids’ mouths that hung open. Grownups’ jaws also fell slack. Moms couldn’t stop running her hands over the cream leather seats inside the Bentley Mulsanne. “I ain never been in anything this nice my whole life.”

We entered a huge green lawn with freshly cut grass, pruned bushes, and pink flowers lining the driveway, as the Bentley rolled over the gravel. Smiling servants opened our limousine doors. In front of us stood a two-story privately owned chateau, on a quaint estate that seemed to date back for centuries.

Quiet and secluded, tucked away from a myriad of other tourist hotels and casinos, we walked through the spacious country living room and dining room to the opposite side of the six-bedroom home. Once we exited the back French doors, a wide green yard stretched into endless, glittering beach. Water from the Atlantic crashed ashore only about fifty yards ahead, curving toward other secluded homes and then into more compacted colorful buildings. My siblings jumped and frolicked, hugging Moms and me in a frenzy, while running like crazy around the front patio. Already they itched to go play in the ocean.

Moms hugged me in tears while wait staff carried their things inside. I could see hints of worry still lingering on her face, about the uncertainty of everything. But her eyes grew the size of quarters as servants brought out what had to be the largest meal we’ve ever sat for. Covering her mouth with mortified delight, she watched the staff put down one large dish after another, of coq au vin, honey-glazed roast pork with apples, French lamb stew, steak diane, French bacon, potato and reblochon casserole, crepes suzette and cherry clafoutis.

Standing at the end of the long, white country table, she looked at me. “D, Baby, go down there to the head where your daddy would usually sit. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.”

“Amen,” one of Pops’s friends said.

Trying not to choke up, I took the seat at the head of the table, and we all joined hands for prayer. Moms winked at me to say grace, and then she bowed her head.

“Dear Lord,” I started. “Thank you for bringing us here safely. We are are so grateful for this incredible blessing you’ve brought to us, and that you’ve made a way when it seemed there wasn’t one. Thank you for showing us how awesome you are. Please continue to keep us, protect us, cover us, and heal Pops. Amen.”

“Amen,” the others joined in before we sat down to dive in. For seven courses, we inhaled the cooked varieties of duck, steak, oysters, lamb, wrapped, baked and creamed in all kinds of foods we never knew existed. We stuffed ourselves until our stomachs hurt.

Right now, Moms’s face… priceless.

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