the one year anniversary of Tomlin and Lilia's Embrace
Exactly one year has passed since Tomlin and Lilia took their first steps into their unlife. Their
kindred parents planned to celebrate that fact.
The group was no longer staying at the old farm house as their numbers had outgrown the
place. Now the cluster of Nosferatu Roman and Agnes lead found haven in a large network of
caves in British Columbia. The caverns seemed nearly endless and many of the younger
Nosferatu in their group took to exploring and mapping out the area.
It was difficult living there for Agnes. It’s the first time she and Roman lived in a place that was
and truly felt like they were underground. It took a lot for her to become adjusted and
comfortable there, but eventually she found peace with their home. One location within this cave
system had become the family’s favorite spot. It took quite the climb to get to but its precarious
entrance was worth braving for the view and tranquility it provided.
It was a wide cavern rather flat despite the several large rock formations. The wall of the
chamber curved slowly to the right, creating a nook. Eventually the ground raised up into a flat
area that gradually increased in steepness and rockiness the further back you’d go. A long pool
of perfectly still water took up the left side of the chamber and directly above it was a large hole
in the ceiling that revealed the night sky. The pool beautifully reflected the sky, making it seem
as though the stars were close enough to touch.
The raised area had a flat surface to sit on and was the perfect spot to take in the view. This
was where Agnes and Tomlin would sit to watch the night together. There the ceilings were too
low for Roman and Tomlin to stand under, and even Lilia and Agnes felt the need to duck. Two
puzzles in progress take up a decent amount of floor space on the landing and there’s, normally,
a neat pile of blankets and pillows stored in the back corner. Currently, the blankets and pillows
are now laid out on the lower half of the cavern, right in the crook of the curve. Roman and
Agnes came here when they first woke up to set up a comfortable sitting area and to leave the
presents so Lilia and Tomlin wouldn’t notice them.
The walls throughout this cavern are decorated with many works of art, mostly created by Lilia.
There’s a crate full of painting supplies, a crate full of old books, magazines, and newspapers,
and an old, well used guitar that rests propped against the wall. On the wall nearest the raised
area there are four handprints of varying sizes painted on the wall, representing each individual
in the Barclay family.
“We’re almost done with our puzzle so you guys might as well forfeit now,” Lilia said as she took
Roman’s hand to allow him to help her all the way up on the ledge. She spoke in reference to
the two puzzles set up on the rocky platform. They often did puzzle competitions, where they’d
split into two teams and race to solve a puzzle.
“Never,” Roman teased, “we are close to winning this time, I’m sure” he added as he gently took
Agnes’ hand to aid her final climb as well, kissing it before he let her go to offer his hand to
“You’ll eat your words when we win, Lilia,” Tomlin warned, smiling as he brushed his hands off
on his pants. The dust and dirt from the cave stuck to them all no matter what, but by now
they’re all so used to it that they barely notice it on their clothes.
“If,” Agnes corrected as she walked towards the set up, barely able to contain her excited smile
over their surprise. Lilia laughed, following after Agnes with a pep in her step, already feeling
victorious since Tomlin failed to have a quick response.
Roman clasped Tomlin’s shoulder, giving him a warm smile as they followed the girls. It was
Roman’s idea to start a puzzle competition the night before, knowing they wouldn’t have enough
time to finish it so it would give a lovely excuse to get everyone up here without any questions
“Come, sit,” Agnes said as she knelt on one of the pillows, beckoning everyone close. Soon the
family all found a pillow to sit on, shifting and getting comfortable. The puzzle competition out of
each of their minds. Agnes was certain her children sensed something was coming and judging
from their small smiles they were excited.
“Tonight is a big night,” Agnes started, making eye contact with Roman as they shared a smile
before she looked to her left, at Lilia, and then to her right, at Tomlin. Each of them nodded in
agreement, “a year ago you both took your first steps into the kindred world and we all became
“We wanted to celebrate that,” Roman added, his eyes shining with love as he gazed at his wife
before glancing at their children. “So,” He said, nodding at Agnes. Then the two of them each
pulled out a wrapped box that had previously been hiding out of sight.
He handed his gift to Tomlin who looked surprised and then inspected the box which was
wrapped neatly in red wrapping paper, a darker red ribbon tied around it. Agnes handed the
similarly wrapped larger box to Lilia who excitedly took it, gushing a thank you.
The parents shared an excited glance as Tomlin looked up at Lilia, nodding his head towards
her, “you first,” he said with a smile. Lilia didn’t argue, instead she tore into the wrapping paper
and excitedly revealed her gift.
A cherry wood box that shined with polish, a beautiful painting of a pink rose on its lid. She
gasped quietly as she ran her fingers along its pristine and smooth surface, “this is beautiful,”
she murmured before looking at Agnes who smiled and nodded.
“Open it,” Roman eagerly prompted and Lilia obliged, a soft twinkling song then filled the
cavern, causing the young woman’s smile to grow even more. She watched the exposed metal
workings as they turned out a tune that the whole family took the time to listen to and enjoy. A
beat passed after the last note filled the air, then Lilia said, “thank you,” and hugged Roman
before turning and hugging Agnes, “thank you so much. I love it.”
“We were hoping you would,” Agnes said as she returned the hug. Lilia then excitedly gestured
to Tomlin, setting her gift next to her as she said, “okay, Tomlin, your turn”
Tomlin nodded, carefully picking up his gift again. He untied the ribbon and unwrapped the
paper in a way that ensured it could be reused if anyone desired to reuse it. He revealed a
simple black box, which was obviously not his final gift, but before lifting the lid he looked
between his parents, “you guys didn’t have to get us anything, you’ve already given us so
Agnes’ heart swelled with love and she nodded, whispering, “we know,” Roman smiled, clasping
Tomlin’s shoulder as he added, “we wanted to”
Tomlin smiled, his eyes drifting back to the box in his hand as he lifted the lid. His eyes widened
as he revealed a silver pocket watch, engraved with shapes and lines to give it an intricate
design. He pulled the chain up, the watch dangling as he set down the box and then grabbed it.
He clicked it open, looking over the watch face and listening to the steady ticking of time.
He looked up, a pleased and grateful expression on his face, “thank you, both of you, so much”
he looked down at the watch once more before closing the lid. “I love it,” he added, nodding
towards Roman before giving Agnes a hug
“You are both very welcome,” Agnes said, reaching out and squeezing both of their arms,
sharing smiles with each of them. “That day was one of the happiest days of my whole life. We
are so very grateful to have you both.” She said, her voice full of love and pride. Roman nodded
in agreement, equal amounts of love and pride in his eyes. “Now, who’s ready to solve a
No one made a move to get up except for Agnes whose movements were soon paused by
Roman speaking up, “actually, my love, there is one more gift to give.”
Agnes tilted her head with confusion as Tomlin and Lilia shared an excited look. Roman
beamed, pulling out another box, wrapped in the same wrapping paper but not as well as the
first two gifts, “for you, ma cherie. To celebrate a year of endless love and care. To celebrate
dreams coming true. A gift to cherish in all the many years we have ahead of us.”
He handed the small box over to a stunned, but very happy, Agnes. Gently she took it, meeting
his gaze with a loving look that said a million things. She smiled widely as she looked at the gift,
carefully peeling back the wrapping paper, much like Tomlin did.
She revealed what appeared to be a jewelry box, looking up to give them all an excited glance
before she lifted the lid. Gasping quietly at the beauty of the jewelry piece that rested inside.
She pulled out the golden locket, the thin gold chain hanging below. She ran her thumb over the
intricately carved designs before feeling the clasp and releasing it. Opening the locket revealed
two tiny painted portraits. On the right side was Tomlin and Lilia, and on the left was one of
Roman. She ran her thumb over each, covering her mouth with her other hand as happy tears
threatened to fall.
Roman moved closer, sitting on his knees as he reached out for the necklace. Agnes looked up
and handed it to him, knowing exactly what he intended. She turned her back to him and he
reached around her with the necklace, the locket resting on her chest, lowering slightly when he
clasped the chain and moved his hands to her shoulders as he kissed the top of her head.
“I knew you would love it,” Lilia said with a grin and Agnes nodded while saying, “it is perfect.
Thank you,” she turned, hugging Roman tightly and smiling at her children over his shoulder,
“thank you all so much.”
A moment passed as everyone admired their gifts, then the youngest among them spoke up,
“Ready to get your butt kicked?” Lilia teased Tomlin as she stood, both eager to continue their
game but also wanting to give a moment to her parents. Tomlin scoffed at his sister, getting up
and grabbing his pillow to bring with him to sit on, “ready to kick your butt” he retorted with a
grin, and together they went to the puzzles.
Agnes watched them lovingly before looking at Roman who was already looking at her. Her
hand gently held her locket, fingers gently fiddling with it, “I am sorry I didn’t think to get you a
gift, my love” she murmured regretfully, already thinking of what she could do for him.
Roman shook his head, shushing her a bit, “You are the greatest gift in the world, Agnes. Every
day with you is a gift,” He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her to him as she rested a hand
on his chest, cupping his cheek with the other.
She kissed him before saying, “I love you,” against his lips, Roman smiled adoringly as he said,
“and I love you”