The La-Iin Series
“A Father’s Memories”
“ARGH! Woman down, woman down! I’ve been shot in the wing! I don’t think I can keep going! No, I must stay on my toes, for the sake of my family! Oh no! The cavernous abyss is right below me! I’m going to fall! HELP!”
“Mit-Sun can be so loud when she plays,” a woman sighed. Her husband, Beht-Soh, listened to his daughter as she began to play the part of police discovering the body of a Vampire woman.
“I think it’s great that she has such an active imagination,” he said. “That’s something neither of us have. I wonder who she got it from?”
“Well, I guess she is still a kid,” the woman sighed. “Still, it’s hard to listen to my own thoughts with how loud she is sometimes…”
Mit-Sun glanced over her shoulder at her parents, an indignant look on her face. “Why, would you rather I play some stupid lovey-dovey game? I don’t like those!”
“Neither of us were saying anything like that, Mit-Sun,” Beht-Soh said calmly. “You can keep playing as you were, don’t worry. Your mother and I were just talking about you.”
“It better not be anything bad!” She said, then went back to her game. The police seemed to be getting shot down, although Beht-Soh couldn’t tell what all the shrieks Mit-Sun made were meant to mean.
“I think the fact that she plays so loudly is a sign that she’s healthy,” Beht-Soh said. “And that’s a good thing. I want Mit-Sun to be healthy her whole life.”
“I do too.” His wife sighed. “But Beht-Soh, I’ve seen how you interact with her before. And with me, and with all your family, actually. Someday, someone might take advantage of that kindly nature of yours. And I fear you’ll spend far too much vuyong on Mit-Sun this way.”
“Oh, don’t worry, I won’t. All the dolls she has were very cheap. And I have you to balance me out, don’t I?”
“I suppose so…”
“And I know when to snap up and start acting more tough. But why should I bother around my family?”
“Because you have a daughter who loves toys and almost always wants a new one?” She sighed. “Oh, but know that I would never take advantage of you, Beht-Soh.”
“I know you wouldn’t, Ailie-Kenna,” Beht-Soh said. “And I won’t let myself be taken advantage of either.”
“All the wives and husbands are dead! Now it’s up to the children to care for themselves!” Mit-Sun cackled.
“Although, I wonder if we’ll ever get any grandchildren at the rate she’s going,” Beht-Soh said.
As Beht-Soh prepared for the day, memories of Mit-Sun’s childhood flooded his mind.
‘She acted a lot like how she describes La-Iin. I wonder if she plays the same at home. Though I don’t remember her being that shy around people she hadn’t met much before.’ A smile started on his lips as he thought, ‘Of course, she didn’t seem so shy last time I was over. I wonder if that was because Asul-Zenza was there as well? Or maybe because she’d already met me.’
“I swear, Beht-Soh, you spoil Mit-Sun! If she ends up a self-centered Daddy’s girl I’m blaming you.” Ailie-Kenna said.
“It’s okay, Papa. I’ve matured. You don’t need to buy this for me.” Mit-Sun said.
“Well, um…oh, how do I put this….today I found out you’re going to be a Grandpapa, Papa,” Mit-Sun said.
‘I really am glad she’s my daughter,’ he thought.
“Mit-Sun, you’re not playing with your toys?”
“Thank goodness for that,” Ailie-Kenna sighed.
“No, not right now,” Mit-Sun said simply. “I was thinking, maybe I shouldn’t play so loud. And maybe I shouldn’t play so much either. I have a lot of things to think about. Someday I’m going to be older, and then I won’t have as much time to play anyway. So I think if I get ready for that early, then playing now and later on will be even more fun.”
Both Beht-Soh and Ailie-Kenna blinked in surprise.
“I didn’t expect to hear you say that is all,” Beht-Soh said. “It was really profound, Mit-Sun.”
Mit-Sun’s cheeks flushed. “It was not. It’s just common sense.”
“Common sense is sorely lacking nowadays,” Ailie-Kenna said. “I’m glad to see my daughter has it.”
“I think even someone stupid would know that.”
“Well, a lot of people think the reverse way. Like you should keep playing because in the future you won’t get to do it as often!”
“I told you, Papa, I’m going to get ready for when I can’t play as much!” Mit-Sun snapped.
“Oh no, I wasn’t trying to tell you to do otherwise! I was just saying, a lot of people think differently. I think your idea is a good one, Mit-Sun. It might even make you efficient when it comes to doing serious things. Maybe you’ll pay bills faster than I do!”
“Is that even possible?” Ailie-Kenna asked.
“I don’t really pay bills all that fast,” Beht-Soh said.
“Thank you two. Well, I think I’m going to study math. It’s actually a little interesting how the numbers work. But maybe you could help me with it later, Papa?”
“You might want to ask your mother for help with that,” Beht-Soh said. “She’s better at math than I am.”
“Well, if I have the time, I’ll see what I can do,” Ailie-Kenna said.
Mit-Sun beamed. “Thank you!”
“Papa, you and Mama make it seem so easy to find someone who loves you back,” Mit-Sun sighed. “Yet I know that’s a lie, so tell me. What happened that put you two together?”
“I thought I’d told you this story before, Mit-Sun,” Beht-Soh said. “But I might as well tell it again if you really want to know. It’s really not a big story. I met her, we became friends. I ended up liking her a little more than that. She didn’t accept at first, and I was fine with that. But months later she ended up telling me she liked me. And, well, I still liked her, so that’s how it goes! She tells me that I endeared myself to her and that’s what changed her feelings. Speaking of, why do you ask? I’m sorry if this sounds prying, but is there a boy you have a crush on?”
Mit-Sun’s eyes widened slightly and her face flushed, but she didn’t respond to his question. “Romance seems so worthless sometimes.”
“Not to me. But I guess it’s one of those things that is for some people and is not for others. Some people don’t like being with someone like that. Some people really want someone like that in their life. For me, I didn’t really care either way. I only wanted to be with someone when I fell in love with your mother.”
Mit-Sun smiled at him, though Beht-Soh noticed her roll her eyes slightly. “You know, Mit-Sun, I never thought we’d have any sort of conversation about romance. You seemed like you really hated it when you were younger.”
“Well, back then it seemed disgusting. And can you blame me? I was a little kid. Not that I have too high of an opinion of it now. I like the idea of having someone that important to you, but the settling down part, I don’t know.”
“Do you think you’ll want kids when you get older?”
Mit-Sun narrowed her eyes. “Papa, I know you’re just asking that because you want a grandkid.”
“Well, it would be nice. But ultimately, it’s your decision, Mit-Sun.”
“Maybe someday, but definitely not anytime soon. A child’s a big responsibility. I know everyone around here’s all gung-ho for having children as young as possible so they can move out when you’re still a little young, but I don’t like that idea. I want to take my life by the reins and pursue education or a dream first. I want to have a good amount of vuyong stored up, and I’d rather have someone there to help me too. I want to feel fulfilled, and then take care of a child if I ever do. That way I don’t have to put my goals on hold for years.”
“That does sound like a smart idea,” he said.
“But it won’t be happening anytime soon. Also, I don’t think I’d have the patience for adopting a kid. You make it sound so easy, like good friends have a half-chance of falling in love in the future. But I know that’s not true. So it could take a while, if ever.”
“I know you know, but who knows? I’m sure even if you don’t want to marry there will be some man out there who takes a fancy to you. You have a level head, and there are many smart men out there who would appreciate that.”
Mit-Sun smiled. “Thanks, Papa. But I think for now, I’ll just focus on high school.”
Beht-Soh couldn’t help but feel a little uncomfortable sitting across from his daughter and her boyfriend.
Not only was he startled to meet the man Mit-Sun was dating, but he found Asul-Zenza to be rather imposing–he had a large stature and though Beht-Soh would not admit it aloud, his Vampire traits set him slightly on-edge.
“Um, hello again, Mr. Cahongyun,” Asul-Zenza said. “I know we did this already, but you seem plenty nervous, as am I. My name is Ghneckdo Asul-Zenza. I come from the Vampire society Vampira, nearby Vaelyn. You’ve raised a lovely daughter by the way, Mr. Cahongyun.”
“What does that mean?” Mit-Sun asked.
“It was a compliment, Mit-Sun. Both to you and to him.”
“Your compliments are weird.”
Beht-Soh smiled. “You two seem natural already. I expected you to still be nervous around each other.”
“Well, a few months together might do that,” Asul-Zenza chuckled. “I still haven’t introduced her to my parents, though. I suppose that will be harder. My parents live all the way off in Vampira, and Vampira is not exactly friendly towards non-avians travel-wise…”
“So, um, Papa–”
“You call him Papa? That’s adorable,” Asul-Zenza cooed. Mit-Sun’s face flushed. “Papa, you don’t have any objections about it, right?”
“Of course not, Mit-Sun! Even if I did, I wouldn’t be one to hold you back. But you know how I am. What do you think I’d object to? His species? We live in a multi-species society, Mit-Sun. All should be friendly towards all species.”
“Oh, I didn’t think you’d be worried about the Vampire thing….much….I meant his age.”
“For a Vampire, the fifties are not that old,” Asul-Zenza said, an edge to his tone.
“He’s right, Mit-Sun. In Vampire terms, that makes him even younger than you, doesn’t it?”
“I’m not so sure about that…” Mit-Sun said, rolling her eyes. “Well, glad to hear you don’t care about that all that much.”
“From what I’ve seen of you, Mr. Ghneckdo, I’m not all that surprised you’re the man my daughter picked,” he said. “You seem like you have a level head, just like her. I always suspected Mit-Sun would go for that in a man.”
“I’d say Mit-Sun’s head is more level than mine. I am still quite an immature Vampire, after all…”
“Let me tell you, he’s way too eager to fly to places,” Mit-Sun said. “And when I tell him we can do something that excites him, he acts like a little kid.”
“Don’t worry, though!” He said, motioning his hands as if asking Beht-Soh to calm down. Beht-Soh was thoroughly confused by the motion. “I am legally an adult by Vaelyn standards, so all is fine in that regard.”
“How about by Vampira standards?” Mit-Sun asked. Asul-Zenza flinched.
“You two seem good for each other,” Beht-Soh whispered. “Why not stay for dinner? I’d like to see more of how you interact.”
“We can’t stay too long. I have an early shift tomorrow.”
“I’d love to stay for dinner if you’re willing,” Asul-Zenza said.
“Alright, then, it’s settled. Oh, but before we go on, may I ask one question? You don’t have to answer if you consider it too prying.”
Mit-Sun began to look suspicious. “Yeees? What is it?”
“Are you two living together?”
Both Mit-Sun and Asul-Zenza’s eyes widened.
Mit-Sun cradled La-Iin in her arms. La-Iin reached out to her as if she wanted something. Mit-Sun held out her finger, only for La-Iin to quickly slap it away. She narrowed her eyes.
“La-Iin really is adorable,” Beht-Soh said. “I can see both you and Asul-Zenza in her.”
“Who do you think she looks more like, though?” Mit-Sun asked, her eyes still narrowed.
“You,” he said. “She might have the little bat wings but her hair and her skin, those remind me of you. And her eyes, too. They’re just like yours when you were a baby.”
Mit-Sun smiled and her eyes opened slightly.
“It’s a shame you and Asul-Zenza aren’t staying together, though.”
“We’re not compatible, Papa. I’ve told you this before.”
“I know. But I think he would be a good father.”
Mit-Sun sighed and rolled her eyes. “Alright, then, enough about Asul-Zenza. How is taking care of her?”
“It’s been fine, but I’m exhausted,” Mit-Sun said. “I thought that construction job took it out of me. La-Iin’s worse…”
“Babies can do that,” he said. “Although, I don’t think La-Iin’s as much of a physical strain as construction, is she?”
“Well, of course not,” Mit-Sun said matter-of-factly. “But it’s still difficult sometimes. I’m not unhappy she’s here, I just wasn’t all that ready…it’s better than when I first found out, but you remember what I said. I didn’t get to do all I wanted to do.”
A somber look crossed Mit-Sun’s face. “I’m worried about whether or not I’ll be able to take care of her properly. And I’m prepared to wait now to follow my goals, but they say half-Vampires age slower than Normals. So how long is she going to be like this, I wonder? How long is she going to be just a baby, how many years will she go without being able to walk or talk…”
Seeing Mit-Sun’s expression upset Beht-Soh. He pat her leg. “Anything you need help with, I can try and see what I can do for you, okay? Remember, you don’t have to go it completely alone.”
Mit-Sun smiled. “…I know, Papa. I’ll try and be positive. Thank you.”
Beht-Soh knocked on the door to the Cahongyun house. Mit-Sun answered it almost immediately.
“Hello, Papa,” she said. “La-Iin’s in the dining room. She just had a snack and now she’s playing her game.” She huffed. “I told her not to play it at the dining table, but she doesn’t listen, as usual.”
Beht-Soh pat her shoulder. Mit-Sun startled. “Everything alright, Mit-Sun?”
“Why, does it look like something’s wrong?”
“No, I just wanted to make sure you’re okay. Don’t hesitate to tell me if anything’s wrong, alright?”
Mit-Sun smiled. “I’m fine, Papa. Thanks for asking.”
Beht-Soh returned the smile. “Not a problem, Mit-Sun.”