EPILOGUE

Brin came out of the lab and found Raoul busily at work in the kitchen. She usually spent most of the day in the lab but this day she had decided to have lunch with Draagard. She had found that he was able to eat regular food but got no nutrition from it so she would occasionally have Raoul prepare a special meal just for the two of them. She smiled at Raoul and headed toward the study.

As she entered the study she noticed that Draagard was not in his customary seat behind the desk working. She did see Malcolm in the study wiping the books in the bookcase down with a damp cloth. He did this about once a week to keep them clean.

"Malcolm have you see Draagard?" she asked.

"I believe Master Scott is upstairs, Mrs. Scott," replied Malcolm. "He mentioned something about taking care of something he had been putting off for a while."

"Malcolm, Draagard and I have been married for more than 3 months," said Brin. "And I've been here for quite a while. I've asked you several times to call me Brin, not Mrs. Scott."

"And as I have explained on each occasion it would be inappropriate for me to be so familiar with you, ma'am," replied Malcolm. "As the mistress of the house it is appropriate for me to address you formally. I'm sure that Master Scott has explained it to you."

"Yes, he has," sighed Brin. "It's just not something I'm used to. Or completely comfortable with."

"I do apologize for your distress, ma'am," said Malcolm. "I'm sure that soon you will become more comfortable with it."

"Thanks anyway," said Brin as she turned and headed upstairs.

She wasn't sure where Draagard was but she decided to check their bedroom first. She was curious about what the "thing" was that he had been putting off. He hadn't mentioned anything. But he was still getting used to sharing things with her. Something he had not had for more years than she actually cared to know about.

As she reached the door to their bedroom she glanced up the hall. Something was unusual about it. It took her a moment to figure out what it was. Suddenly she realized that there was a light on the floor in front of Aryianna's room. Which meant the door was open. And since Draagard had the only key to that room, it wasn't hard to figure out where he was.

Cautiously she moved up to the door and looked inside. Draagard was in there, of course. He occasionally went up to the room. He had always invited her to join him but she had always declined. This was his private place. The one place in the house where he could go and be totally alone when he needed to be. And she did understand that at times everyone had to spend time by themselves.

Instead of sitting in the chair in front of the painting of Aryianna he was standing at the dresser looking over the jewelry that still sat there. He picked up one of the necklaces and looked at it and then placed it back on the dresser. Then he moved over and looked at the painting for several moments.

"Am I interrupting?" question Brin, stepping in the room. "I can wait for you downstairs."

"No, that's all right," said Draagard, smiling at her. "I've just been thinking for a while now. This room is exactly as she left it the last time she was here. Everything exactly where she left it. Even the book she was reading. It's still on the nightstand with the bookmark where she placed it. There are a lot of memories for me in this room."

"Well, she was your first love," said Brin. "Everyone remembers their first love."

"Hardly my first love," he said, smiling at her.

"Please allow me some indulgences," she said, putting her arm in his. "I realizes that in more than 5,000 years there must have been at least a few women you were . . . close to. I prefer to think of Aryianna as your first. I'm not sure I could handle knowing the real truth."

"As you wish. Besides you no one has entered this room since she . . . well you know. Not even Carter has been in this room. Lately I've come to realize just how much of a shrine this has become. I think I'm going to clear it out. Turn this shrine into a living area."

"No," said Brin softly. "I'll admit when I first got here and saw this room I looked at it as a shrine, too. A shrine to a woman who had been dead for many years."

"It is," said Draagard.

"Maybe it was at one time. But I think it's different now. It seems to me it's more of a memorial than a shrine. A memorial to someone who meant a great deal to you. And probably still does."

"Yes, I have to admit she does. I suppose she always will. Does that intimidate you?"

"Maybe a little. But nothing I can't handle. There's always some baggage no matter who you're in a relationship with. But I don't think you should clear out this room. Leave it as it is. With the possible exception of having Jenny come in here and clean the place up. If it's going to be a memorial you shouldn't let it get so dusty. We need to honor Aryianna's memory properly."

"Thank you. I was afraid you might be intimidated by the ghost of someone I knew a long time ago. I wouldn't want to make you unnecessarily uncomfortable."

"Well, as long as she's not a real ghost, I think I can handle it. I came up to let you know that lunch is just about ready. Raoul is going to serve us in the dining room as usual."

"What did I ever do to deserve you?" he asked looking at her.

"Well, for starters you saved me from Dr. Harrold Richard Beckham III. And I'm sure if I think real hard I can come up with a few other reasons."

"Come on," said Draagard. "You know how Raoul can get if we aren't on time for one of his meals. Especially when he's prepared a special meal."

"That I do," said Brin as they left the room. "You know, I've been meaning to ask you something for a while now. You mentioned a ghost in the room. I was just wondering about other so-called myths. Before I met you I always believed that vampires weren't real. I was just wondering if things like werewolves and the like were real? In 5,000 years I'm sure you've met a few if they do exist."

"Well, it sounds like I know what we're going to be discussing during lunch," said Draagard hugging her close.

Brin just smiled as they headed for the dining room. Draagard may no longer be the immortal he once was. But they would be growing old together and she knew they would have a wonderful time as they did.

The End