The La-Iin Series
La-Iin sat on the couch, feeling slightly nervous.
Before going to sleep, she had planned out how she would like the day to go. Already, one of her plans had been ruined by how late in the day her grandfather was visiting. She had thought she’d feel better about the visit if Fer-Shi were with her, but the Sanhuuns had called and said there was something they needed to do today, so La-Iin was on her own, save for Choungetsu curled up next to her and Mit-Sun pacing near the door.
“You’re anxious, aren’t you, Mama? He’s your Dami. Why are you anxious?” She asked.
“I haven’t seen him in a while, La-Iin. And it’s not as if I’m scared of seeing him again…I’m just excited. You always get excited when Asul-Zenza comes over. Well, I’m excited because my father’s coming over.” She walked over to La-Iin and stared her down.
“Look, even if you end up disliking him, can you please not be obnoxious about it? Like I said, I haven’t seen him in a long time–it’s been over a year since our last meeting. So if you don’t like him, I don’t care if you go and take Choungetsu out for a walk or play with Bes-Isa, I just–”
“Mama, you’re a hypocrite,” she snapped. “You’re telling me that if I don’t like your Dami I should keep my mouth shut, but you don’t like my Dami and you never shut up about how much you hate him. And you almost always make him go home early. I don’t see him very much either, and unlike you, I never got to live with him!”
“Well….you did when you were a baby…” Mit-Sun sighed. “Sorry.”
La-Iin glared. Mit-Sun walked away from her daughter and went back to pacing in front of the door. Choungetsu seemed to have heard their argument and was now awake. He looked exhausted and glanced around the room as if looking for anything he could jump at. La-Iin stroked him on the head instinctively.
While La-Iin was relaxing and Mit-Sun was on edge, someone knocked at the door. Mit-Sun nearly leaped backwards onto La-Iin, who flinched when she noticed what almost happened.
“I’m coming!” Mit-Sun called. She opened the door as fast as possible.
Standing at the entrance was a short elderly man. His grey hair had streaks of blond in it. La-Iin could see where he resembled Mit-Sun even through his wrinkles, and despite the fact that it was evident he was older, he looked much younger than La-Iin was expecting. He had a smile on his face as soon as his daughter opened the door, and it only widened when Mit-Sun hugged him.
“It’s good to see you again, Papa,” she said.
“Good to see you too, Mit-Sun,” he said. They stayed as they were for a few seconds more before separating. “How have things been for you lately?”
“Boring,” she said. “And work’s as much of a pain as ever. But I guess there have been upsides.”
La-Iin didn’t realize she had started to try and hide behind Choungetsu. Choungetsu stared intensely at Mit-Sun’s father.
“Well, I hope things become a little more fun for you,” he said. “As for me, I haven’t been doing much. There’s not much for me to do now anymore, though I’ve taken up sewing. I thought I could maybe make some clothes for La-Iin, if she’d like. Though I doubt they’d come out as good as anything you can sew.”
La-Iin stood up on the couch.
“I’m sure she would love a new dress. She likes having an excess of them….if you look in her closet you’ll notice there are tons of dresses. It can wear on the wallet sometimes…so having you to make her dresses would be great. That is, if you wanted to. And I’m sure they’d come out great.” As she said that, she put her hand on her father’s shoulder.
“I’d certainly be happy to,” he said. “Speaking of La-Iin, where is she?”
“On the couch,” Mit-Sun said. La-Iin started to hide behind Choungetsu again.
“You never told me she was shy,” he said.
“Trust me, she isn’t. I don’t know why she’s acting like this today.”
“Hello, La-Iin,” he said. “I’m your mother’s father.”
“I know,” she said.
“It’s good to see you,” he said. “I know I’m older now, but it feels strange to me, having a granddaughter. I’m grateful for you.”
“Is this your dog?” He asked.
“His name is Choungetsu,” she said.
“Asul-Zenza brought him by,” Mit-Sun scoffed. “La-Iin loves him, so I figure he can stay so long as she’s the one who watches after him when she can.”
“He’s adorable,” her father said. He stroked Choungetsu on the head. Choungetsu flinched at first, as if uncertain that he was okay with being touched by him, but soon relaxed and began to loll his tongue.
“I’d like to get to know you better,” he said to La-Iin. La-Iin stayed silent.
“Don’t you want to talk to him?” Mit-Sun asked.
“It’s alright if she doesn’t,” he said. “If she’d like, she can go and play and we can get re-acquainted.”
“You can be such a doormat sometimes, Papa…” Mit-Sun said.
“I’ll talk to you,” she said.
“Thank you. I’ll let you lead the conversation. I bet you have a lot more interesting things to talk about than I do.”
“…do you want to come up to my room?” She asked.
“If you’d be alright with that,” he said.
“I would be,” was La-Iin’s only response.
“Before you two go upstairs, would you mind if I talked to La-Iin for a little bit, Pa….erm, father?”
La-Iin wondered if Mit-Sun noticed the sly grin she gave her. Judging by her reaction, she assumed so. She walked over to Mit-Sun.
“Why do you seem so shy today?” She asked.
“I was trying to assess his personality,” La-Iin told her. “He’s not so bad…”
“I’m happy to hear it.”
“I’m sure Dami’s parents would have been much more fun to talk to, but he’s okay. If I didn’t like him, I would have just stayed quiet…maybe.”
“Okay, you two can go upstairs now,” she said. “I’ll go with you, but I won’t follow you into her room.”
“Alright,” her father said.
La-Iin led the way through the house and to the staircase. She didn’t turn around to see how far behind Mit-Sun and her father were.
“You already know how to fly?” Mit-Sun’s father’s question caught her off-guard. Her flying became slightly uneven.
“It’s a pretty young age for a half-Vampire,” Mit-Sun said. “But she had been practicing for a long time, and I think big wings run in the Ghneckdo family…”
“Yeah, Asul-Zenza did have big wings, didn’t he?” Her father chuckled.
“Yes, he did…” La-Iin could hear an edge to Mit-Sun’s tone.
Once the trio was upstairs, Mit-Sun waved to them and head off toward her own bedroom. La-Iin led her grandfather into hers.
“It’s decorated nicely,” he said.
“Mama let me decorate it,” she said.
“I don’t even remember if this was the room slept in as a baby. I don’t remember a room like this at all when I last came by…”
‘Mama’s right–he is a doormat,’ La-Iin realized. ‘That’s a good thing. He’s so nice it’s a little sickening, but that nature of his makes him a good potential asset.’
“I like my room,” she said. “I’m glad I have my own and don’t have to share with Mama.”
“Having a room to yourself is nice,” he said. “But it can be a little lonely too.”
“I’m not lonely in here,” she muttered.
“I understand. But some people get used to having someone to sleep next to them, and when they have to sleep alone again, it’s kind of lonely…” La-Iin noticed a look in her grandfather’s eyes that seemed to be both nostalgic and melancholy. He shook his head.
“But I suppose that’s not what we came here to talk about.”
“It isn’t,” La-Iin said. “Did you want to see my dresses?”
“I’d love to. You heard what me and your mother were talking about, yes? If you’d like me to make a dress for you, I’d like to know what sort of dresses you like.”
“I don’t always wear dresses,” she said, “though I prefer them. And if you want to make me a dress, Granddami, you’ll have to remember to include wing slots.”
“I will. Maybe if I make you a dress I should get your wing measurements….have you ever measured your wings?”
“I think I did at school…I don’t remember what it was.”
She opened her closet. Her grandfather closely examined the dresses. “So these are the types of things you like to wear?”
“Yes. This one is my favorite.” She took out a purple dress with black and grey. “Mama sews for me sometimes too, but it takes her a while. I think I should have her make a bigger version of this when I get bigger.”
“It is a nice dress,” he said. “By any chance, is your favorite color purple, La-Iin? I see a lot of it in your room.”
“Yes it is,” she said. “I love purple. Purple’s the color of e–!”
La-Iin stopped herself, but she wasn’t sure why. Her grandfather seemed confused. “I just like purple,” she said, her cheeks burning. She closed the closet door.
“Granddami, what do you think of Makeshire?”
“I’ve read some of his works before. I’ve seen some of them performed before too. He’s a pretty good writer of his time. So does this mean you like Makeshire, La-Iin? That’s a bit of a surprise.”
“I don’t like everything,” she said. “I like some of them.”
“Which one’s your favorite?” La-Iin shrugged in response. She flew up to her bed and glanced around her room. She wasn’t sure what to show her grandfather next.
“Bes-Isa?” She hadn’t expected to wake her doll. She levitated Bes-Isa up.
Her grandfather flinched.
“It’s old man Mit-Sun!”
“It’s her Dami,” La-Iin said. “Granddami, this is Bes-Isa.”
“O-oh, I see…er, it’s Haunsum-Cahongyun Bes-Isa. But Haunsum is easier.”
“Don’t you mean Bes-Isa is easier?” She asked.
“It’s good to meet you, Haunsum,” he said. “Is she your V-Puppet, La-Iin?”
“I’ve heard a lot about V-Puppetry, but I’ve never actually met a V-Puppet before. I saw a few at my store though. The relationships some people have with theirs are cute.”
“Cute!?” Bes-Isa sounded indignant.
“Well, er, that’s only some of them…”
“Hmph. Alright, Mr. Cahongyun, we’ve met. Mind if I ask one question before I demand to go back to sleep?”
“Yes, what’s that?”
“How do you put up with Mit-Sun as a daughter? I’ve seen what happens when a parent isn’t as pleased with their child as they would have hoped. How can you tolerate her?”
“Bes-Isa doesn’t really like Mama,” La-Iin said.
“As if that isn’t obvious…”
“I’m not displeased with Mit-Sun,” he said. “I’m happy to have her. I admit, she’s done some things I would have never hoped for, but that doesn’t change how I feel towards her. She’s my precious daughter.”
“Gag. Would those things you never would have hoped for happen to include Asul-Zenza?”
“Oh no, I actually like Asul-Zenza,” he said. “I was a little sad when she told me they broke up. He was a good man. I thought they were nice together.”
“Geez, La-Iin, this guy…do you know how to feel anger at all?”
“Of course I do,” he said calmly. “But I’m not angry right now. La-Iin told me you don’t like my daughter. While I’m not thrilled that’s the case, I want to get to know La-Iin better, and I figure a good way to do that is to meet her V-Puppet.”
“Yes, well, I’m not La-Iin, so I have zero idea how meeting me helps you get to know her better. Whatever floats your boat, I guess. Weirdo.”
“Did you have anything else you wanted to talk about, Haunsum?”
“One of them I was asked by La-Iin not to ask you about,” she said. “Otherwise, I’m only curious about your take on Mit-Sun’s relationship and on La-Iin being a Dualbreed. You saying you liked Asul-Zenza stoked my curiosity.”
“Oh…well, like I said, I thought they were good together, and Mit-Sun seemed happy around him. Though I suppose I should have been a bit worried at certain points. I did look forward to seeing Mit-Sun get married–I had been looking forward to it since the day she got her first crush, I’ll admit. I only got more excited when they got engaged. My own wedding day was one of the best of my life. I was hoping my daughter could experience that too.” He turned to La-Iin. “So I hope that if you ever get married, I’ll be around to see it.”
‘What a poor fool….’ La-Iin thought.
“But I’m not mad that they broke up. I do miss seeing them together. And I worry sometimes about Mit-Sun balancing her job and childcare. But I trust her. And I don’t mind that La-Iin’s a Dualbreed. She could be mixed with anything and I wouldn’t mind. Though I worry sometimes about you being half-Vampire. I’ve heard about the lifespan….”
La-Iin bowed her head. “Way to touch a sensitive spot, Mr. Cahongyun. She doesn’t like talking about that.”
“I’m sorry,” he said. La-Iin looked up. “Let’s talk about something else.” She snapped her fingers and Bes-Isa landed softly on the bed.
“What’s school like for you, La-Iin? I had heard you were going to a mixed-grade one now.”
“There are good things about it, and bad things. But there are a lot more things I like about it than everyone else who goes to school with me.”
“I see. Mit-Sun hated school when she was a kid. That seems even more common now, for kids to hate school. It’s interesting that you like it.” He smiled. “In a way, you’re sort of a child prodigy, aren’t you?”
“Going to a mixed-grade school, I’m sure they teach things that older students learn sometimes,” he said. “And when I talked with Asul-Zenza back when Mit-Sun was pregnant with you, he said that people with Vampire blood tend to age really slowly and that you might be basically a baby for a very long time. But to me, it seems like you’re growing up at the speed of a Normal.”
“I think I am,” she said.
“That’s amazing, I think,” he said.
“Me too…” She looked up at her grandfather, smiling wide. “Granddami, I don’t need to just talk about myself. I wouldn’t mind hearing about you too.”
“Well, I don’t know what you would be interested in hearing about,” he said.
“I don’t know. Mama as a kid? Was there anything big that happened in your lifetime?”
“There was something big, and when I say that I don’t mean something like getting married or having Mit-Sun,” he sighed. “I was born really close to the start of World War IV. And I don’t remember it as well because I was pretty little at the time. But it was horrifying to hear about. I lived in one of the safer areas, so things weren’t as bad for me, and since I was a kid I didn’t have to fight. But my Dad…there were some times he left. Thankfully, he always came back, but it was really hard without him, and he was badly affected both mentally and physically. My Mom always made sure to remind me there was no guarantee he would come back….I still remember that shriek in her cries…”
A shiver went up her grandfather’s back. “I was one of the luckier ones, but war isn’t a fun time to live through. I hope you never have to live through a World War V.”
La-Iin debated whether she should tell her grandfather that she planned on causing it herself. She ultimately decided against it. ‘It would be better to surprise him.’
Still, a part of her just didn’t want to hurt her grandfather. That part upset her, but she listened to it anyway, deciding that it might help keep her out of trouble with Mit-Sun.
“Can you tell me about Mama when she was a kid?” La-Iin asked.
“From what Mit-Sun’s told me about how you act normally, I can see where you got that part of your personality,” he chuckled. “Mit-Sun was very playful as a young child. She played with her toys whenever she didn’t have something better to do. She used to get mad when I would watch her. I think it’s because I always used to comment on whatever she was doing.”
‘That does sound annoying…’
“Still, it was fun to watch her. And in the end she was a good kid. Some people called her a violent tomboy…I’d never say that. A little tomboyish, maybe, but not violent. She never lashed out at people in any way but verbally. She started changing a little when she went through puberty, and she was a lot more serious by fourteen. Though I could still see traces of that playful young child she had been before…I wonder sometimes if she still wanted to play as much as she did before, but felt she needed to be serious because she was older. I hope that’s not how she felt, because if it was, had I known I would have told her it was okay to cut loose…”
“How much of an average teenager was Mama? And when did her puberty end?” La-Iin figured the questions might sound odd to him, but after hearing her grandfather say she and Mit-Sun had similarities, she was curious to see what path she might go down.
“She wasn’t completely typical, but she was average. She got crushes like a lot of teenagers do, though all her crushes were on boys around her age–I don’t remember her having a crush on an adult. She was never super secretive, though. She actually used to get annoyed when her mother would treat her like she was your run-of-the-mill teenager. She was serious in those days and focused on her studies. And when she finished puberty? That’s a strange question…she told her mother more about what was going on than she told me, so I’m not entirely sure….but she did stop asking her for advice around thirteen or fourteen, and altogether by fifteen. She was a bit of a late bloomer in some fields…it worried her mother at times.”
‘What does that mean for me?’ She wondered. ‘I guess at the rate I’m aging, even if I have a late puberty for a Normal it’ll be early for a Vampire….’
“You know, I’ve always found Mit-Sun’s personality interesting. There’s so many parts to her that I feel like I’m learning something new every day. I remember when she introduced Asul-Zenza to me. By then I thought I knew practically everything, but around him, she took on this attitude…it reminded me of her serious attitude and that playful irritation she showed me whenever I commented on her games. And it seemed sweet as well. I don’t know what to say about it. But I really love Mit-Sun. I’m glad she’s my daughter. If she was some other man’s daughter, well….I’d be really jealous of him, that’s for sure.”
“Do you like me?” La-Iin asked. He smiled. “Yes, I do. I was expecting you to be a little different, I’ll admit. Mit-Sun has told me a lot about how you’ve been doing and I was expecting you to act like that, but I suppose you’re not completely comfortable with me just yet, and that’s fine. I’m glad you’re my granddaughter.” He hugged her.
“I like you too, Granddami. I didn’t think I would.”
“Well, I’m glad you do. I hope we get to know each other better soon. I’d like to be more involved in your life from here on out, even if it’s just through phone calls. You’ll probably be the only grandchild I’ll ever had. I’ll always cherish you.”
‘He really is a doormat,’ La-Iin thought. She smiled and hugged him back as well.
“Does she always eat her meat like that?” Mit-Sun’s father asked. He watched La-Iin suck the meat with her fangs.
“She pretty much always does ever since she started sucking blood,” she said.
“Does she suck your blood?” He asked.
“She said she doesn’t like it, so no.”
“I wish you could try it this way, Granddami,” she said. “It’s delicious this way.”
Her grandfather stuck his canines into his meat.
“I hink it huck,” he said. Mit-Sun pulled the meat off.
“It’s fun to do, though!” He said.
At the dinner table that night, both her father and La-Iin were happy, but Mit-Sun was the happiest. She was certain that today was one of the best days of 2014 thus far.
She watched with a smile as her father sipped the blood from his plate and grimaced. La-Iin started to laugh.