A knock on the door. She answered.
“Vitto! I didn’t expect you tonight!” Vivian told him as they kissed.
He attempted to come inside when she held him back.
“Umm, Vitto, wait. I should tell you that I am not alone…”
“What?” Vitto’s eyes widened in surprise and disbelief.
“Yeah … sorry… I meant to tell you…but there is someone else.”
“We are not talking about one of your female friends or your family, I presume?” he looked taken aback and uncertain how to react.
“No, a male. Very handsome too. So very handsome. I could barely keep my hands off him all night.”
Vitto looked somewhere between hurt and angry when he bolted past Vivian into her apartment, immediately met by aggrevated hissing.
“A cat!” he exclaimed looking at a fluffy, striped grey cat, looking at him angrily through narrowed green eyes.
His hurried entry had obviously startled the animal who was on his way to see who was keeping his owner away for so long.
Vivian was in tears for laughter now, when Vitto woke from his shock and turned to her.
“This was not funny!” Vitto protested.
“Yes it was! Hilarious! Your face!” she burst into another fit of laughter doubling over, while the cat came up to Vitto, sniffing him briefly, shaking, then turning on the spot, tail held high as he marched towards a cat condo and climbed to the highest spot, only to be plucked off by Vivian, which the cat let happen without protest.
“Sorry sweet Vitto, I could not resist. Meet Chessy, Chessy this is the other man in my life. Hope you two can get along.” Vivian grinned, then kissed Vitto’s cheek.
“Chessy?” he frowned.
“Whenever you take a picture of him, 90% of the time they come out looking like he was grinning, like the Cheshire Cat in one of my favorite childhood stories ‘Alice in Wonderland’, so I went with Chessy for short”.
“Well, I guess I could get used to you sharing your affections with him to a degree. Why did you not tell me you were getting a cat?”
“Was kind of on a whim. I passed all my exams and wanted to reward myself.”
“I could have gone with you to pick him out….” Vitto complained.
“Well, you didn’t and he is here now. Plus, I didn’t think you would care what pet I get.”
“I should have had a say … I think.”
“Well, because sooner or later we will live together. Meaning he would too. And sooner, hopefully, rather than later, I might add.”
“Oh? Did I miss a memo? I feel like I just moved into this apartment a few months back. Didn’t realize I was moving again…”
“I figured once we are engaged … ”
“Yes. Engaged, unless you want to skip an engagement and just get married instead. Would make sense, considering we have known each other all our lives…”
“Whoa whoa whoa…. before you club me over the head and drag me to your cave by my hair, can we pull the brakes for a sec?”
“Brakes? You say you love me, you know I love you. You wanted time, after your divorce and to finish school. You have graduated and you have a job now. So what is keeping us from moving forward now? Even your ex-husband is engaged to be married again. Your younger brother had three kids by now, you have three, pretty much all grown, while I still have none. I would like to start our lives together. And a family.”
“Vitto, I just got the job. The ink on my contract is barely dry. I cannot start out a career in fashion while smelling of dirty diapers and with baby puke in my hair, nobody would take me serious. Or are you volunteering to quit your job to raise a child?”
“You know I can’t. But if I could, yes I would. Anything to have you as my wife and mother of my child. Or children.”
“Oh, now it’s children. Going straight from zero to plural. Before we start production, can I ask how many are we talking? Two, three, four, football team?” Vivian’s light green eyes sparkled with anger.
“I don’t know. We’ll see, I guess, but I’d like two. A boy and a girl maybe.”
“Sure, Vitto, I’ll put the order in now so they get it right once the time comes. You know who also pressured me to have a child? Yes, that’s right, my ex-husband. And I think that may have been what broke the camel’s back. I did it then, for him, thinking if he was happy, we both would be. WRONG! The next 17 years I spent paying for that. Not again. Sorry Vitto but I am not ready for marriage and children. Not now, not tomorrow and not in a month from now!”
“Vivian, at least agree to an engagement. Be my fiancée. Give me something.”
“No, sorry Vitto. If my word isn’t enough, I doubt anything will be. If all you know about me is not enough to wait for, maybe you should move on and find some girl who likes to be the breeding mare to the Auditore heir! Someone who would make your father happier than I would, too.” Vivian was very angry now and it showed.
“Vivian, no, please, you are misunderstanding me…” Vitto tried to touch Vivian’s arm, but she moved out of reach.
“Oh, am I? Sounded a lot like pressuring me into your mold. Or is it your father’s mold?”
“Vivian, no. Please, can we start over ..?”
This time she did not move away and he pulled her into a tight embrace. After many minutes, they moved to sit on the couch.
“I am sorry, my love. I never meant to pressure you. I just miss you when I haven’t seen you in a day or two and I want to have you always near me.” Vitto said quietly.
“I miss you too, Vitto. But we both need to be ourselves first, before we can dedicate our lives to being a married couple and parents. I am not ready for that committment yet. And frankly, I do not care what Silas does. So he’ll marry soon. Good for him. Doesn’t mean I have to lose myself again to beat him to the punch. I am not in some sort of contest with the ex. As a matter of fact, you think more about him than I do.”
“I did not mean it like that. But why would you lose yourself when you marry me? I don’t think I understand. When two people love each other as much as we do, isn’t it only natural that they want to be together, always, make their union official? And have children? I do not see how that is losing anything, but instead gaining something, something worth living for. A deeper meaning. A calling.”
“Oh Vitto. You sound like you fell straight out of some 1950s movie. And maybe you are right. I miss you too when we are apart, but I just want to be on my own for a little while longer. Just be Vivian, not someone’s wife. And we both now that everybody drowns in the Auditore name. Even your step-mom did. Actually I think Melissa STILL is not used to what being an Auditore means. I am just not ready for that kinda … quasi-nobility-drama.”
Finally the moods calmed down and they spend the night together. Neither slept, just each facing the window, or wall, thinking about the preceding events and the future.
The next morning was a different story. Each of them seemed to have decided to ignore the drama of the night before and things seemed like they always were.
The following week it was New Year’s Eve.
Vitto took Vivian out on a date at one of the hot spots in town. Unlike usually, where he let her choose, he was very forward, ordering their drinks immediately.
“Love Potion? Looks delish, but that name … seriously..” Vivian chuckled.
“I found it rather appropriate … considering that tonight could be a very important night to the both of us …” Vitto looked at her with a barely hidden expectation in his eyes.
“New Year’s Eve? It’s cool and melancholic maybe, but hardly THAT important.” Vivian grinned while taking a sip.
“It’s not so much that, I was referring to something else. Something I have been wanting to ask you for a long time now.” he had seemed nervous all night, but suddenly it dawned on Vivian. Her eyes grew wide at the realization, as she quickly gulped the rest of the drink in one big gulp.
“Vitto, whatever you do, whatever you had planned, please PLEASE, do not propose now. I swear I will run out that door and not stop until I reach El Selvadorama!”
One look at his reaction and Vivian knew she hit bull’s eye. Vitto didn’t respond, but looked like a wounded animal.
“Dammit Vivian! Could have been a little nicer about it, you klutz!” she reprimanded herself, while gently smiling apologetically at Vitto.
Later they went back to her place, as downtown they would be able to watch the fireworks. The mood remained slightly overcast.
Few days later, he came by her place after work.
On her couch, in the middle of a heated kiss, Vivian pulled away.
“Vitto, what is it? You seem so distracted and .. tense.” Vivian sounded unnerved.
“He keeps staring at me …”
“Huh? Who?” Vivian looked at the window of her second story apartment and only saw darkness.
“Oh, Chessy? Just ignore him.” she smiled, surprised and relieved.
“I … can’t … his eyes … so piercing. And he is … everywhere…”
She pulled his face towards her and kissed the tip of his nose.
“Eyes on the prize, Vitto.”
Vivian pulled Vitto into her bedroom and shut the door, leaving a meowing cat outside the door. Once they were finished making love both fell asleep contently.
Vitto awoke first, during sleep he must have turned away from Vivian, he felt her body at his back, when he finally blinked his eyes open he jumped with a muffled scream, waking Vivian.
“What?” she complained drowsily.
“My god, he startled me. Your cat, inches from me face, just staring at me.”
“He likes you … ”
“Not the way he is looking at me. He looks like he is taking measurements on how to best filet me! Or how to peel the skin of my face in one try.”
“Oh jeeze Vittorio, didn’t you grow up with cats?”
“Yes, but they didn’t look at me like they were gonna suffocate me in my sleep.”
“OK, couple things. First, you are a vampire, and hence, cannot be suffocated. Secondly, you mother’s cat and her offspring with my cat were hellacious. So, if any cat ever put a hit out on a human, it would have been you guys’ Tigger! Thirdly, I am making coffee now. And forthly, a round of applause to Chessy, he figured out how to open the door. What a smartie! Yes, you are!” she cooed at the cat, who purred happily and even louder when she pet him.
Vivian now climbed out of bed, Vitto instinctively wanted to hold her back, but when he tried to move his arm, Chessy started wagging his tail while quietly hissing and watching him through narrowed eyes. As soon as Vivian left the room Vitto mumbled
“Great. Same as always, always fighting another male for her affections. Just hope I don’t end up the loser against you now, too.”
Chessy meowed as if in response, then jumped off the bed and ran to Vivian.
Shrugging, Vitto got dressed mumbling something about buying some protective gear, before following Vivian into the kitchen.
Two weeks after that, Vivian stopped by Vitto’s place unannounced.
After their greeting, she gave him an evelope. Obviously a wedding invite. When he pulled it out to read he lowered it
“Why am I looking at this?”
“Are you free? Will you be my plus one?” Vivian smiled.
“You are going to THIS?” Vitto waved the envelope through the air, his face disgusted.
“Yes, I am. And you are going with me, right?”
“To your EX-HUSBAND’s wedding? I don’t think so! And neither should you. Why did he even invite you to this?” Vitto really looked annoyed now.
“Because of the kids.”
“The kids are grown now, Vivian. Young adults.”
“They are still my children. And they will be there. As will Finn. Silas is just being courteous.”
“I am sure he would be thrilled if I showed up there. And truthfully, I thought the next wedding I would attend would be OURS.”
“Vitto .. not AGAIN!”
“Hi mommy!” Vivian sat down after Blaine had lead her into the living room.
“Uh oh.” Viktoria made while snuggling a small Schnoodle dog she was holding, who kept trying to lick her face.
“What?” Vivian asked.
“Ever since you passed toddler stage, whenever you called me that, it means trouble of some sort. So what happened? Something with Vitto? I know you are not here to see our new dog, are you?”
“That obvious? He’s cute though.”
“Call it maternal instinct. So what is bothering you?”
“I’ll make it short. Vitto wants to get married. Like – yesterday. It’s the only thing on his mind these days.”
“And you don’t?”
“Not right now. Eventually yes.”
“Vivian, darling. I know you want to hear some surefire solution now, but there really isn’t one when it comes to matters of the heart…”
“Matters of the heart? Sounds sappy.” Blaine said as he walked back into the room from his bathroom stop.
“Daddy … not now… no teasing. Please.” Vivian gave him a pitiful glance.
“Oh boy. What happened? Did you get pregnant or married? Both? Hopefully at least the same dude on both counts.”
“Blaine, no funny. Sit down, and be nice or I will spank you!” Viktoria threatened playfully.
“Is that supposed to scare me into submission or get me roweled up? Because it didn’t do the first but has potential for the second, although ever since we got that mutt, you haven’t put him down long enough to get naughty and admit I would try a lot of things at least once, but draw the line at beastiality!”
“Vitto wants to get married badly and she does not how to react.” Viktoria ignored Blaine’s speech.
“Easy. Repeat after me Vivian: N-O! For some added bonus and to make your old dad VERY happy, add a hearty HELL NO!. There, fixed.”
“Dad what? I don’t see the problem. He wants to, you do not. So it will be a no-go until both are ready. Case closed. And I hope both will never be ready. That Auditore thing …”
“Blaine. Have a little compassion for Vitto.” Viktoria reprimanded.
“Compassion? For the son of the meatball? Mr. Moneybags Jr.? Can’t he just go dive into his father’s mountain of cash to get his mind off it? What’s the rush anyway? Has he not grasped the concept of being a vampire? We have forever. So wait. This problem isn’t one. You just be careful that he doesn’t knock you up. Auditore men have a history with such tricks…”
“Blaine!” Viktoria looked like she was really going to slap him, yet it still only caused a smirk on Blaine’s face.
“Dad! Vitto would NEVER!”
“Will you, Silas Barnabas Jacob Maria Rufus Blackbourne take thee here…” the minister rattled down the usual speech.
Vivian tried very hard to suppress the laughter, when she heard quiet snorting noises from next to her. When she looked at Vitto, she noticed he was bright red, covering his mouth and vibrating in silent, suppressed laughter. Somehow that very fact, looking at him giggling at the same inappropriate thing at the same inappropriate time as she was made her feel like they truly belonged together.
“Sorry.” he whispered to her.
“Don’t be. This is my second time laughing at the same thing at the worst possible time.” she winked.
Vitto smiled at her and looked so irrestible and cute to her, she took his hand and pulled him with her.
“Vivian .. no … where are we going? They are in the middle of the ceremony…” he whispered while following her, both ducking out of view of the other guests.
“Nobody will notice we’re gone.” she whispered back.
“We are two out of 8 guests total! I am sure they may …” he argued.
By now she had pulled him out the front door down the street, where she stopped and turned to him, kissing him.
“I am not complaining, but … what was all that about?” Vitto seemed slightly dazed after a very long, very intense kiss.
“I came to realize a lot of things over the past few days and at the wedding tonight. Vitto, I do not know how to really say this, but … the next time you ask me to marry you, the answer will be yes. Whenever you are ready. I would ask you right now, but knowing you and your conservative upbringing I think you would have a seizure so I chose to tell you that I am ready this way.”
Vitto just looked at her, smiling.
– to be continued –