© Anna Qureshi Disclaimer: the characters in this story are owned by Spelling Inc./Fox and Revolution Films. (Except Julian?s family, which I made up). By using them I am in no way trying to infringe on their rights nor will I attempt to make any money from this story. The concept of "Vampire, The Masquerade" on which the television series "Kindred, the Embraced" was based is owned by White Wolf. Julian exhaled lazily as he floated in the water letting the sunlight caress his face. Days like these were to be treasured. There hadn?t been many of them since his father had decided to uproot his family including his then twelve-year-old son from New Orleans and bring them to San Francisco in search of gold. Not that the Lunas had needed more wealth. Even amongst the aristocratic community of New Orleans the family had been quite well off. But gold had always been the greatest allure in the life of Francisco Alessandro Luna. Though if nothing else Julian had rid himself of that pest of a girl, who had made his life miserable by following him everywhere, much to the amusement of his friends. He still caught himself turning around to see if she was there, even now full three years after they had left New Orleans. Evelyn d?Armagnac had been five years old when they had first met. At two years her senior he had at first been kind to the little girl. Right until the day the little minx had walked all the way from the French Quarters to the Luna mansion outside of town. There she had asked to see his father. Francisco had laughed for a week after Evelyn?s solemn request that he give her his son?s hand in marriage. Of course it hadn?t helped that his father had taken a shine to Evelyn and invited her to spend the weekend at "Shadows in the Mist", the family plantation. Evelyn had clearly taken the invitation as some sort of blessing and had continued to pursue Julian with the determination of an army general. Everywhere he went she just happened to turn up. Once he had snapped and yelled at her in front of his friends. He could still remember the sick feeling in his stomach at the sight of tears forming in her eyes. The next day he had gone swimming in a nearby creek only to find his clothes missing upon his return to the shore. It had taken half an hour to locate Evelyn sitting behind some rose bushes hugging his clothes to her chest. The look in her eyes had stopped him from tearing them away from her. She hadn?t cried, but there had been something terribly lost in her eyes. Something that had made him feel like the worst scoundrel in the world. It still made him wonder about his own sanity, when he thought of the ten-year-old boy sitting naked beside a little girl on a sunny afternoon. Yet it had seemed right to just sit there trying to reassure her that one day they would get married and have lost of babies. They just needed to be a little older first. Evelyn had raised her head and smiled through the tears, like the sun breaking through the clouds. He remembered looking at her and thinking that they probably would get married, but then his father had been caught up in the latest gold rush and that had been that. From that day and until they boarded the train that was to take them on the first step of their journey Evelyn had kept on following him around. Not only had she turned herself into a regular tomboy in the process, but the story of her devotion had spread through the city until people had started to invite her if they invited Julian and the d?Armagnac family if they invited the Lunas. Ah, well, enough memories for one day. His eldest brother was coming to visit all the way from New Orleans, where their father had left his Louisiana businesses in Damien?s hands. While drying himself Julian wondered briefly if there were anymore changes in the near future. Somehow the air had a slightly restless feeling to it. He knew that his father hadn?t been as taken with the California lifestyle as expected. Would they move again? By the time he got back to the house his brother had already arrived. His mother?s salon was filled with laughter and happiness as the Lunas caught up on each others? lives. And there was Damien in the centre of the room teasing and hugging his brothers and sister. "Julian!" Damien?s voice brought everyone to a halt. "Hey brother I bring you greetings from New Orleans," a mischievous grin warned Julian of what was to come, "The sweet Evelyn sends you her love and tells me that she can?t wait to see you again." Julian when are you going to marry her? When are you going to put the girl out of her misery, Julian? Oh, Julian how many babies have the two of you planned to have? Picked any names yet? Oh, Julian has the date been set? The teasing had gone on all night and continued the next morning until his father?s surprise announcement. He had decided to leave the San Francisco business in the hands of his second son, Alessandro, and take his wife and two youngest sons, Julian and Lucien, back to New Orleans. Damien would go to New York where Francisco?s brother, Angelo, would teach him the finer points of international trade. Their sister Alianora would go to Boston where she would attend a ladies academy for the two years until she was ready for her debut. Julian felt his head whirl. He had suspected yesterday that things might change and that that had been the reason behind Damien?s visit. Yet the knowledge that his family would all but split up and divide themselves between four states came as a total surprise. Then all of sudden something occurred to him and as his eyes met Damien?s across the table the thought became certainty. This might all be news to Julian, but Damien had known. Known and told. When the family returned to New Orleans they would be expected. God had decided to put Evelyn Edith d?Armagnac in his way again?