The Vampire Gene (Chapter 6, page 2 of 5)

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Chapter 6

"Never mind Lucy, she has been very grumpy recently. She has not shown any signs of becoming one of us yet, and I think it makes her feel left out," she whispered conspiratorially.

"Oh," I said. "You mean she hasn't started to metabolise iron yet?"

"No. How did you find out about the iron?"

"Their dad," I waved a hand in Angus and Marcus' direction, "he figured it out. And then Marcus managed to find the responsible genes. That's how they found me. They analysed my blood."

"Clever," she nodded. "Your parents?"

"Marcus thinks they must have both carried the recessive gene. My brothers aren't iron metabolisers. Just me."

"Recessive? We weren't sure of the mode of inheritance. I wondered if it might be autosomal dominant with variable penetrance," she glanced at me, and burst out laughing at my expression. "I have a degree in genetics," she explained. "I was never able to officially study our family, though. Might have raised some eyebrows in the academic world, and we don't need the attention. Autosomal recessive. Hmmm. That actually explains a lot."

"Like what?" I wanted to know.

"Lucy, for one. And Bill doesn't metabolise iron, though his mother did. We never knew who his father was. I married him because I knew his mother was an iron metaboliser, and I just assumed...." she sighed. "But he's not one, and now he's getting old, and I'm not." She looked across the room at her husband. "And Lucy will too." At the mention of her daughter ageing a sorrowful expression settled on her face.

"How old is she?" I asked.

"Sixteen. Simon is fifteen."

"She might still change, you know," I said hopefully. "I only changed a few days ago, and I'm almost eighteen. Marcus reckons it's because I was a vegetarian and drank lots of tea. And then I met Angus and he kind of precipitated the change..." I broke off, not wanting to explain the details.

"Really? That's good news. I'll have to let them know. Anyway, I am sure there are questions you have for me." She looked at me expectantly.

"Um, like what?"

She chuckled at my confusion. "Girl things. You already know we live for a couple of hundred years, but we can have babies right up until we die, more or less. Our pregnancies are a bit longer though - eleven months."

I hadn't even considered the possibility of babies. Good grief. I imagined making babies with Angus, and blushed furiously. Fortunately the tea tray arrived, and I was able to drag my thoughts away from the man who would be my husband in a few days. I stood up and scooted across to the tea tray, where a motherly looking middle aged woman was pouring it out. She handed me a cup and saucer, and when our fingers touched she jumped slightly.

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