Side Story – Autumn) Shadow of a Doubt

“Good morning!” Lucien greeted us as he entered our kitchen
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“Morning.” Blaine sounded grumpy, sitting at the kitchen island in front of his coffee, eyeing the new arrival.
“Good morning Lucien. Want some coffee?” I asked from next to Blaine.
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“Yes, thanks I’ll get it.” Lucien smiled at me. Still a rare occurrence for him.
“Surprised I don’t have to serve him yet …” Blaine mumbled under his breath next to me, earning a nudge.
Lucien filled his cup, looked at one of the other chairs, at Blaine, then left the kitchen.

“So how long is this supposed to go on for?” Blaine grumbled.
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“Not long, I think.”
“Meaning?”
“Blaine, I don’t know. Few more days, a week, maybe a bit longer.”
“It was supposed to be ONE night. Then it turned into several! Why can’t he go live at the Mafioso’s? Or Vitto’s? Or Vivian’s? Or Caleb’s? Or literally ANYWHERE but here?”
“Because Caleb asked us, not them.”
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“And we have the smallest house, by far, out of all of them! I am about to put an ad up on Craig’s List for a free squatter. Maybe someone out there is into that kind Masochism. I am not. Say what you want, babygirl, that boy ain’t right.”

Vader, our black dog, came into the kitchen, sniffing Coco, the white female dog, to make sure she didn’t score any treats, sniffed his food bowl and sneezed in disgust when Lucien came in.

“Ah, there you are you little bugger. I was going to give him a bath, if you do not mind.”

Blaine nearly spit out the coffee he was drinking, laughing.

“Sure, go ahead! Wash the bastard.” he chuckled.
“Blaine, don’t be an ass. Lucien, that dog has a bit of a short fuse, hence the name and he hates few things more than baths. I’ll wash him later, or Blaine will. He’ll tear you to pieces if he only thinks you are trying anything like that.”
“Really? He seems so sweet. May I try anyway?”
“Go ahead, pal.” Blaine grinned.10-09-18_2-13-38 PMHe crouched down, pet a happily wagging Vader, then grabbed the dog’s collar and lead him into the bathroom, I followed into the hall, waiting for distress calls and ready to save Lucien from the monster our black dog tended to become. I heard nothing, wondering if Lucien had been knocked out – or eaten –  so I carefully followed.
When I opened the bathroom door, I could not believe my eyes. There was our ‘vicious’ dog, foamed up and wagging, while Lucien, on his knees, was scrubbing him.
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Our white female dog, Coco, loved everyone. The black male, Vader, had serious anger issues, was rather aggressive with anyone not part of his pack and not amused by baths, vet visits or being reprimanded and pretty expressive about letting the world know. He had a history of attacking strangers and other dogs to the point that we had to keep him in the backyard unless one of us could take him on a leashed walk. Lucien seemed to be some animal whisperer. Impressive. I returned to the kitchen to tell my tale to Blaine who was on his third coffee.
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“Figures. Two evils get along well.” was his unimpressed comment.
“BS! You love that dog. Vader’s not evil. How could he be? He is Spunky’s and Bay’s puppy.”
“I love him because if I don’t I get in trouble with the wife. I think that Bay had a love affair with a gargoyle, a weedwhacker or something. Vader cannot be Spunky’s kid.”
“You should take that to the Jerry Springer show. Regardless, in my book, if dogs love you, you cannot be such a bad person. Ergo, Autumn was onto something with Lucien.”
“Glad to know that my input and instincts were overridden by that of a dog.”
“Blaine, you hate everyone who overstays visits at our house.” I told him.
“Damn right. Cuts into my sexual harassment time with you.” Blaine grinned at me.
“When has an audience ever stopped you?”
“Good point! Come here you.”

Lucien only stayed a couple more days, then he moved in with Autumn, who had found a two bedroom apartment in San Myshuno. Both of them were adamant that they were only roommates, but a blind man could see that was about to change, if it had not already. Just another odd dating story. Autumn seemed to blossom, after having been inconsolable after her mother’s death, so for what it was worth, I was happy for her.
Ezio had not heard about this just yet as he was traveling for work, and had taken Melissa along. I’d have to call him when he got back. Not looking forward to that at all.

*

Blaine walked up to the doorstep, it felt strange to him. This house was the very house he had lived in with Olivia when they were married and where they raised their kids. Not the best memories here as that marriage had been doomed from the beginning and there had not been even one single true happy moment. Mostly because of him.

He rang the doorbell. Few moments later Emmy opened and came outside.
“Dad, I didn’t think you’d show up.” she looked and sounded genuinely surprised.
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“You invited me. And I wanted to see little Robyn.” Blaine smiled. Emmy and her husband were expecting the birth of their second baby, Robyn was their toddler girl. This was a baby shower for Emmy.
The door opened again and Madison, Blaine’s other daughter slid out, shutting the door behind her.
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“Hi Madison.” Blaine smiled, wondering about the odd behavior.
“You’re out during the daylight now?” Madison asked without any greeting.
“Oh, yeah … kind of an upgrade to this whole vampire thing.” Blaine grinned.
“Didn’t expect you to be here, honestly.” she continued.
“That’s what your sister said. Here I got this for your little girl, Emmy.” Blaine remembered the box he was carrying and handed it to Emmy, who looked at it, but didn’t take it.
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“I don’t think you should have come. It’s better if you go now.” Madison told him.
“Why?” Blaine was hurt, but still hopeful, although his smile had vanished.
“Because to be perfectly honest, we haven’t had a father in a very long time, if we ever did. You were never there then, and now suddenly you show up out of the blue and Emmy is supposed to explain that to her babies? Besides Robyn finally stopped having nightmares about your fangs. I think – we ALL think – you should go. And stay gone. Our husbands agree. To us you died a long time ago, we buried you and you should stay dead.”
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Blaine felt like he had been punched in the gut.
“Maddie, I know I made mistakes then .. but …”
“It’s Madison, I am not a little girl but a grown woman. And honestly, save it. I don’t need you, Emmy doesn’t need you and nobody wants you here. Just go and forget we ever existed, you know, kinda like you always have.”
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“That is not fair! I know I made mistakes but your mother …”
“Leave mom out of it. You broke her heart, you made her cold, because you had to run off with that hoe!” Madison cut him off.
“Don’t ever call my wife a hoe!” Blaine got angry.
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“Would have been nice if you ever stood up for mom that way, instead of laying around drunk being a fucking loser, feeling sorry for yourself. Just get lost dude, we don’t ever want to see you again. Be dead and stay dead with your new family and play house with them, until you screw it all up for them too, which we all know is only a matter of time. Surprised you made it this long.” Madison said coolly, then pulled her sister Emmy in with her and slammed the door into Blaine’s face.

Blaine threw the gift box to the ground and ran, down the street, down an alley and behind some dumpsters, banging his fists into the wall, then dropped to the ground, banging his fists to the floor.
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A group of teens passed noisily on the street, laughing about crude remarks when one of them looked over in his direction.

“Hey guys, just go ahead without me, I’ll catch up later.”
The teen let his friends pass, then went down that alleyway stopping in front of Blaine.
“Dad, you ok?”
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“Just leave me.” Blaine never looked up.
“Dad, what’s wrong?”
“Go!” Blaine barked, still never looking up at his son.
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“Hey come on dad, I’ll take you home.”
“No!”
“Are you drunk?” Liam asked, sitting down next to his father.
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“Just leave me be. Go away.”
“Hey, let me help you up, I’ll take you home, ok?”
“Let go. No. Go.”
“I am not leaving you, no matter what you say or do, dad.”

Liam pulled the phone from his pocket. He had never seen his dad like that and was worried. He texted me. I was at work, but when I got his urgent text I just dropped everything and teleported here. Within seconds I materialized on the main road, looking around until I saw Liam waving sitting on the ground, waving, I hurried towards him.

“Mom, he is all weird, I don’t know what’s with him, he won’t tell me.” Liam sounded worried, worrying me too.
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“Ok, kiddo, I got it. Hey Blaine, what’s wrong, baby?” I knelt down next to him.
“You have to leave me. I am nothing but a fuck up. I’ll fuck everything up.”
“Ummm … where is that coming from?”
“Just go. Leave, while you can.”
“As if.” I said, purposely cocky, trying lift up his face to face me. He looked miserable.
“Talk to me.” I said gently.
“Nothing more to say. I am fucked up, I fuck everything up and I will fuck everything up for you and the kids, cos I am a fucking fuck up.”
“Wow, baby, that’s deep. Did you find that at the bottom of a bottle?”
“Not drunk. Wish I were though.”
“Blaine, talk. Did something happened at Emmy’s?”
He said nothing, but tried to hide his face, which I foiled, by pulling his legs down, then straddling him, lifting his head to face me. I did that so he couldn’t bundle up, could not jump up and run or teleport, as I explained before, that did not work when someone held on to you. He folded his arms around me, tightly, his head resting against mine.
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“TALK!”
“What else do you want me to say? I am a horrible person, a useless husband, a shitty father and I ruin everybody’s lives.”
“OK, so Madison was there, too, huh?”
He shifted slightly, I held on tighter, in case he was going to try to break free.
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“Hey, we have tried and tried with that girl. She hates us, there is nothing we can do. Just like Marco and I, I tried and tried with him, but it was in vain. You have to let go Blaine. It is unfortunate, but at least you got us.”
“Yeah, dad, I don’t think you are a bad dad at all. On the contrary, I think you are pretty awesome. I hear all the time from my friends how they wished they had a dad like you.”
“They just don’t know me.” Blaine dismissed Liam’s words.
“Erm – Corbin basically lived at our house for a while. He knows you. As does Leonie. And Nathan and Channing are over there all the time. So is Finn. Hello?! And what about Viv? OMG, that girl fangirls you all the time, daddy this and daddy that.”
“She does not.”
“She does!” Liam and I said in a chorus.
Blaine looked at me, some life seemed to have returned to his eyes. I climbed off him, stood up and offered my hand and pulled him up.
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“Babygirl, I really don’t want to ruin your life.”
“They only way you could would be by leaving it. So knock that out of your head – or I will!” I pulled him into an embrace.
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“Daddy!” Vivian came running from the street into the back alley, straight into an embrace with her dad.
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Blaine looked at Liam, who stood grinning, putting away his phone. He had texted his sister, too. Blaine smiled slightly.
“Oh what the hell! Gimme some of that huggy shit too, old man!” Liam pulled his father into a hug too.
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“OK, guys, I think we need to lay off this Brady bunch routine now, i think I am getting sick from the sappy.” Vivian laughed.

We managed to talk Blaine off the ledge, than piled into Liam’s car, who drove us home.
All of us, incl. Blaine had teleported here, except Liam.

While driving, Liam looked into the rear view mirror at Blaine and me in the backseat and said
“Good to know that I am prohibited from teleporting, but all of you just did it in bright daylight.”
“That’s because you’re still too little, squirt!” Vivian nudged her younger brother while grinning from the passenger seat.
“I wish I had some ejection seats in this bitch, then you’d go flying, Viv.” he threatened.
“Aww, little bro-bro is angwwwy … awww… need your bottle, huh?” she teased.
“I am going to make you walk, Viv!” he threatened her.
“Oh, that’s okay, since I can actually teleport … awwwww.”

The kids started hitting each other until I called them to order.

We made it home, Viv went straight to the kitchen to make – you guessed it, the poison of choice for the entire Cameron clan – coffee. The rest of the afternoon we sat, as a family in the living room, drinking coffee reminiscing about our lives, laughing about funny memories.
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Blaine visibly started to perk up. Poor guy. His past just always seemed to circle back to him to bite him in the butt and I knew he had always felt guilty about the Olivia thing. Understandable, he really had been a shitty husband to her, but I always thought that had I been Olivia, I would not have stayed with a man who obviously did not love me for so long and definitely would not have had three kids with him. Liv used to be my friend. Used to, until she blamed me for it all too and after many attempts to reconcile with her, I gave up on that friendship. Her and Blaine’s son accepted me, he was a great kid, their daughters hated me with a passion – and Blaine too. We tried so many times to change that, and after we ran into Emmy and her little girl during a walk through Newcrest last year, I thought things with her were on the up and up. Guess not. Either that, or Madison spit her poison and changed her sister’s mind.
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Vivian eventually left to relieve Silas, who was watching their toddlers, Liam went to meet his friends, leaving Blaine and me alone.

“Sorry about all that, babygirl. Pretty shitty of me to lose it like that.” Blaine smiled apologetic.
“Nothing that could not be forgiven by you doing a bunch of chores.”
“Chores? I was thinking you’d list some X-rated things now. Chores. Hmm.”
“Yeah, you’d like that now, huh? Scaring all of us and then getting rewarded for it. Dream on, buddy! I should cut you off completely for weeks on end for that stunt.” I joked.
“That’s just cruel.”
“Punishment usually is.” I said, got up to clear the dishes when he, standing now too, pulled me into an embrace.
“Just when have I ever done what I was supposed to?” he asked nuzzling my neck from behind me.
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When he let off, I smiled and said
“Pity. I actually have to finish a report for work tonight – since I was called away so abruptly earlier. But I am sure there is something good on TV for ya.”
Blaine just grunted at my words, picked me up and started carrying me into the hallway, when there was loud banging on the door.
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“Blaine, Viktoria? I can see you, open up this instant!” Ezio shouted from behind the glass inserts of the front door.

“Who’s in trouble or on fire?” Blaine yelled back.
“What? Nobody, I have something to run by you two.” Ezio sounded irritated.
“Not tonight, honey.” Blaine yelled back at him while walking into the bedroom, kicking the door shut behind us.

He had placed me on the bed, I was not even fighting him, and he had just peeled off all my clothing and taken off his shirt when there was knocking on the glass of the window by the bed.
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We both shot up, me clenching my bundled up top before me. Ezio! Gesturing to the front door. Blaine flipped him off, generating more knocking and some elaborate cursing by Ezio, which seemed comical as we could barely hear anything.

“He won’t leave, Blaine.” I said.
“Basement!”

So that is where we went, Blaine just grabbed my hand and pulled me along. I felt sorry for Ezio, but found it amusing as well.

I was in the coffin in Blaine’s arms, when said coffin was opened from the outside.

“Liam, privacy please!” Blaine yelled, trying to hold the coffin shut, unsuccessfully.
“No, not Liam, you moron! Me.” Ezio barked at him after opening the lid fully. Liam must have come home and let him in.
“Mafioso, what the hell!?” Blaine shot up and stood in front of Ezio, pulling on his jeans.
“Ezio, get out!” I was trying to find Blaine’s shirt to hide most of me under.
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“Nothing I haven’t see before. And serves you right just disappearing from work several hours early without even informing me! Blaine, I need to speak to both of you. Now.”
“You can speak to my knuckles when I punch you out, you friggin …” Blaine started going at Ezio, who raised his hands
“It’s about Autumn!” Ezio said with urgency.

Blaine halted, then dragged Ezio upstairs to give me privacy to get decent, which I did faster than a model at a fashion show.

“Is Autumn all right?” I asked, breathlessly just seconds after when I walked into the living room.
“No! She moved in with that … that …. creature from hell who did all that to her!!!”
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Oh, right, that was that phone call I meant to make, but forgot about. Yikes. Uh oh.

“Umm, Ezio. We kinda …. knew.” I carefully said, sneaking by to sit on the couch.
“YOU WHAT?!” he shouted at me.
“Hey hey, not in that tone there, cannelloni!” Blaine warned.
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“HAS IT CROSSED ANYBODY’S MIND EVEN FOR A SECOND THAT I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW ABOUT THIS TOO?!” He shouted at both of us now.
“I … forgot …” I stuttered.
“YOU WHAT?” He yelled at me.
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“Again, calm the fuck down. Final warning.” Blaine looked angry now.
“You can take your warning and shove it. You two knew about this and LET IT HAPPEN!? Are you out of your minds?! That girl is LIVING with her ABDUCTOR!? And you two probably helped them carry in their furniture! Unbelievable!” he was in a fit of rage now.

He rushed out, slamming the front door shut behind himself so hard that the walls were shaking.

“Damn, good thing he cannot get a heart attack or I think he would have had one.” I said.
“Honestly, he said what I was thinking. That just ain’t right. If it seems too good to be true and that Lucien really fits that … I am just not buying that he suddenly ‘saw the light’ or some bullshit.” Blaine said.
“Why not? People change. I can see it, plus Autumn is so smart, she would have noticed something by now.” I considered.
“What if he controls her?”
“How? Caleb stripped his powers.”
“Something is just not sitting right with me. Ezio is right.” Blaine said.
“Wow, words I thought I’d never hear from you.” I teased.
“Nobody will as long as he is around.” Blaine grinned back.

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