Tragically, there weren't enough of Charis' remains to 'reincorporate' her so we had to have a funeral instead.
I loathe funerals because it means one has to make polite chit-chat to relatives that one only sees at forced family functions. Weddings and christenings are other equally great places to be cheated out of hours of one's life (or unlife, depending on one's persuasion).
It was at Charis' funeral that I got stuck with the vampires from the far branch of the family tree. Luckily, only three could make it: Uncle Raven & Aunt Immaculata DeVyse, and Great Aunt Beryl DeVyse.
Honestly, that old bat* can talk for the Underworld. But only coherantly when she's taken her teeth out. There's nothing worse than Great Aunt Beryl sucking on her fangs to keep them in her cat's-arse mouth as she tells you - in great detail - about how young people don't look after themselves these days.
She only moans because she can't stand the taste of the new blood that's around. She much prefers 'Ye Olde Days' when one could sip from the blue bloods. Mostly because they were all too inbred, insipid and lifeless to put up any resistance. That and the fact she'd eventually acquired the taste! These days 'youngsters', i.e. anyone under the age of 90, have too much spirit, they fight back and, horror of horrors, they're too common!
Anyway, I found myself cornered by the canapes by Uncle Raven and Aunt Immaculata. I hadn't even had chance to fill my plate nevermind pop a vol au vent in my mouth (and they looked like chicken & apricot - my favourites). Uncle Raven began talking at me in his monotonous, level voice about how well his sons were doing in New York. He was interrupted now and again by Aunt Immaculata's breathy** reminders of how much money they were making, or how many young virgin girls they'd either 'deflowered' or drained.
As I squirmed, trying to catch someone else's eye - anyones - in the hopes of striking up another conversation and escaping, Uncle Raven uttered the dreaded words:
"So. Have you got yourself a young lady, then?"
My brain froze and my lips locked. Shit! What do I say? Why hadn't I rehearsed an answer? Why couldn't I remember the translocating spell to get me out of there?
Eventually, neurons and synapses flicked into gear - the wrong one - and I replied:
"Ummm... No. Not yet. Haven't met the right girl." I died a little bit more, inside.
Why couldn't I just say: "Of course I haven't, you silly old sod. I'm a bloody, buggering poof! Are you blind?" before giving them both a withering look and inserting a jumbo sausage roll in my gob with a smug, self satisfied look on my face? Why?
At this point Immolation and Infernal DeVize, my twin cousins from 1746, 'just happened' to glide past smirking at me. Damn their telepathy. And damn them for not rescuing me.
* Almost literally. Beryl's not too good at keeping her shape in her old age. Many's the time we've found her asleep, hanging from the curtain pole with moth wings sticking out of her mouth.
** I think her corset was too tight. She looked like she was being squeezed to death. her boobs were spilling over the top like a couple of wrinkly blancmanges stuffed in two egg cups. Bleeurgh!