Out of the blue Faith received a call from the science facility. They had somehow been informed of her interest in all things biological. She had been making quite a name for herself with her teachers, being top of the class in every subject and even tutoring other kids.
It turned out that they were eager to know what Faith's plans were for after graduation and were quite hoping that their facility would be a part of them. They were willing to give her free reign of the compound, including access to their private garden which included some very unique and rare plants. Faith had to admit it was a pretty intriguing offer.
While Faith was busy being courted by her prospective future bosses, Morand was sent out on an emergency. His heart sank when he realized the address was Cecil and Jett's apartment complex.
Please, please don't let anyone be hurt, he silently prayed to himself.
Cecil and Jett were safe outside.
"Khalilah!!" Cecil was screaming, "Dad, Khalilah's in there, you have to save her! Please!!"
Morand immediately sprinted inside and up the stairs, his heart pounding in his chest. If anything happened to his granddaughter, the devastation to his family would be irreparable.
He burst into the apartment to find it completely engulfed in smoke and flames. He could barely see anything in front of his face. Sweeping the room he didn't see a sign of her.
"Khalilah!" he shouted, his voice barely audible over the roar of the flames.
Morand pushed his way through the apartment and broke through the door of the nursery, fearing the worst. The flames reached up to the ceiling, almost everything in sight was on fire. His granddaughter's crib was starting to char and melt and it took everything he had to look inside.
It was empty.
Constantly shouting the girl's name, Morand continued to put out the inferno, only hoping that she was safe and he wouldn't have to retreat downstairs with news that would break his son's heart.
Finally, after what seemed an eternity, the last of the flames died down and the physically and emotionally exhausted Morand looked around, searching for his missing granddaughter.
Who he found hiding in her toy chest in the living room.
He scooped up the girl and hugged her close, on the verge of tears. "Pappy!" she squealed when she realized it was him and snuggled herself close into Morand's sooty chest.
One more crisis narrowly averted, Morand thought with a huge sigh of relief.
Faith awoke early Saturday morning and rode her bike out to her favorite fishing spot. True, her latest passion had become horticulture, but there was always a soft spot for her first hobby, fishing.
And the fish really seemed to be jumping today, which made her happy. There would be fresh fish for dinner tonight! The rule of the house was if Faith catches it, Morand would cook it.
However, the main reason for this fishing trip wasn't for catching tonight's dinner, it was to use this solitary time to think. There was a lot going on in that genius brain of hers. Thoughts of the future, of where her life was taking her, of where she wanted it to go.
All these thoughts of the future were particularly important today, because this was Faith's birthday.
When she got home, she was shocked to find the place completely decorated. Balloons in her favorite color were scattered all around the house and the radio was even tuned to her favorite station.
"Surprise!" Morand said, smiling wide, clearly proud of his decorating abilities.
Faith shouldn't have been too surprised, though. She knew her Dad would make a big deal out of her birthday, even if she didn't.
"I know you don't like big parties and whatnot, so I didn't invite over a ton of people," Morand told her, "but I couldn't let your biggest birthday come and go without any kind of celebration. Because I only have one daughter, and you know who that is..." he teased her.
"Me!" she laughed. Her father sometimes forgot that she wasn't a kid any more, but she couldn't help herself from playing along with him. He was the only one that could ever make her act like the kid she was, to everyone else Faith had been 'one of the adults' since she was a child.
"Thanks, Daddy," she said, giving him a hug.
"I love ya, kiddo," he replied, not quite ready to see his little girl grow into an adult.
Morand had only invited over Cecil and his family for the party. Unfortunately Khalilah wasn't feeling very well and ever since the fire, Jett and he decided she wasn't to be left without one of them home at all times. So, Cecil came by himself.
The three of them continued the family tradition of turning every party into a dance fest, with Morand breaking out some of his signature moves. Cecil, being the big time sports star he was felt that dancing was a little above his pay grade, but obliged his sister's request. It was her birthday after all.
While Morand prepared the fish that Faith had brought home, Cecil took the time to catch up with his little sister.
"How have you been, girlie?" he asked her.
"I've been great," she answered, "I've been basically guaranteed a job right out of school, at the science lab, so that's great news. I'm pretty sure I've also aced all my finals as well, though I think I might only be getting an A- in advanced history" she finished.
"Yes, yes, I'm sure that's all very fascinating, Faith. Work and school aren't the only things in life, you know," he teased her. "What about friends? Boys? You seeing anyone these days?" he asked.
Faith bit her lip.
Cecil caught her hesitation, "So there is a boy! Spill it, girl, tell me all of the details," he persuaded, a large grin spreading across his face.
His sister didn't seem too eager to share, "it's not really like that. I'm just trying to help him out. I haven't even talked to him in months," she finished, a hint of disappointment in her voice.
"And what is this cassanova's name, pray tell?" Cecil asked her.
Once again, Faith hesitated, "Drake Dracul," she eventually confessed.
"Oh, Faith, no," her brother said worriedly, "please don't tell me you've gotten involved with the Vampires. They're dangerous! They hurt people, they drink blood. You are far too good to get caught up in all that!" he begged of her.
"But Drake is different, Ceece! I mean, yes, he drinks blood, but he doesn't like it. He doesn't want to have drink it. That is why I'm helping him, because he's different. Don't worry about me, I'm not 'getting involved', I'm just interested in seeing if there's something I can do for them," Faith defended.
Like father, like son, Cecil could only say, "Just please be careful, ok?"
She hugged her brother and told him she would, as their father yelled "Dinner!" from across the room.
After the outstanding meal of fresh caught fish came the cake. Faith thought long and hard about what to wish for. Her mind automatically went to "Getting straight A's on the finals" to "Reaching the top of the field" in her dream career. However, she eventually settled on something a little more... personal.
These two really enjoy parties.
While her father and brother cheered her on, Faith blew out the candles and entered adulthood...
Title / Queen