Walking down the alley, our footsteps echoing in the late evening, I looked at my husband. We were holding hands, like unusually when we went anywhere. His grip was tighter than normal, and I could see his jaw was tightly clenched. He noticed my gaze, his expression softened and he smiled at me. I stopped him by pulling back on the hand I was holding and stepped in front of him. Kissing the tip of his nose I told him to relax. I did not know why he had such a rough time with this, guessed it was a father thing as Ezio had always been the exact same way with Addy.
We continued our journey until we reached the old home, the house I grew up in. And Blaine too. Knocking on the door always felt weird, but especially so today. Vivian greeted us at the door and told us that Finn was already asleep. Roxy and Beryl’s kitten, all grown up now, greeted us but as cats are, lost interest fast. We went into the living room where Silas already sat. He got up to shake our hands. Blaine played nice, but his eyes where just glaring at Silas. Vivian had prepped drinks, which were on the table and chatted about college, funny events etc. Silas barely spoke – yeah, flashbacks for me – but neither did Blaine. And then the crescendo came.
“Well, one reason I asked you here was because I wanted you to get to really meet Silas. I know you know that we are seeing each other, but I wanted to officially tell you. Before you ask or wonder: Nope, not getting married, no kids, just us being together. For now. The other thing is – and I wanted you to hear it from me first. I dropped out of college and got a job instead.”
I thought Blaine would be the one exploding, but it was me.
“Mom… before you …”
“Vivian Cameron! I am probably the most supportive mother this world has ever seen, but this is not even .. it is … this is … I ….” I literally had no words.
“Messed up?” Silas offered. Him of all people.
“Yes, that. It is. What the hell, Viv?”
“I’d like to know as well.” Blaine said. Calmly. Hm, what do you know.
“I felt like I was running in place in college without getting anywhere. Like a hamster in a wheel. And I do not think that anything they teach me would be what I need. So, I am going to work now, it pays the bills and I do music as a hobby.”
“So that job, do I dare ask what you are doing?” Blaine asked.
“Good grief! Viv!” I would not have been more appalled had she told me she had taken up taxidermy.
“Mom, I know. It is only temporary. And whatever you and dad could say, I already heard from Silas. And from Vitto. And from Addy. But if it makes you feel better, tell me what kind of an idiot I am, throwing away my future blah blah…”
“You’re an idiot!” Blaine said.
“Thanks daddy. Feel better?”
“Not much. But worth it.”
“So what is YOUR role in all this? Just décor?” I snarled at Silas. He looked surprised.
“What did I do now?”
“I am your daughter’s boyfriend. What more do you want to know.”
“Well, since you asked; I really cannot figure you two out. Is this the loving-gazes-in-the-sunset thing or more a piece-of-ass kinda deal?”
Everyone present gasped and looked at me with mouth open.
“Dang Vik!” Blaine looked bewildered.
Silas answered, calmly and matter-of-factly “All right. If you must know, I could not tell you. Started out as the latter but has potential for the first, except your daughter does not want to anything to do with marriage or white picket fences.”
“Appreciate your candor. Still, can I see you under four eyes just for a sec?”
Blaine sat there, one eyebrow raised.
“Sure Viktoria. Kitchen or bedroom?” Silas already stood.
He lead the way, gallantly opened the door and let me pass, then closed it.
“So let’s have it.” he offered.
“I just wanted to tell you this in a way that it may get through that skull of yours; mind your step around Viv. I am not going to tell you the sappy shit, like don’t break her heart blah blah. Vivian is well capable of taking you out herself. But if you dare to make her fall for you, make her think that this is more than you are willing to give, if you knock her up and then ditch or so, if you for one second think my girl is some form of afterthought or side-chick, I will come after you. You may think Blaine is your big problem, but whatever he would be able to do to you, buddy, does not even come close to what I will do to you. I have dealt with pretty boys who think they own the world all my life and Viv already had her run with one. There will be no more. And if she is 80 years old, I will make sure of it. Copy that?”
I was about 2 inches away from his face, hissing all this at him. Something about him just irritated me. At some point during my rant we ended up sitting on the bed – kinda of did it at the same time on autopilot – maybe to make all this a little less like a battlefield. Maybe it helped. Finally he cracked the hint of a smile. Somehow I did not feel it was dismissive, but more a signal he understood.
“Copy, bosslady.” he smirked.
“Ah look, the mute is being funny.”
“Hey, I have known you for a near decade and this is the most we have spoken.”
“Not a mute, just had nothing to say. I prefer words to mean something.”
“Aww, look who’s fishing for approval.”
“Wrong. Just still being honest. Look Viktoria, I can understand your problem with me. Really, I can. I would probably not like me either. But from what I hear about you, you like to hear both sides. So here is mine. I am not the asshole you seem to think I am, for reasons beyond me, since, as you pointed out, I have not said anything to you. Or anybody else for that matter. You want to hear my intentions with your daughter? OK, here goes: she is my soulmate. At least I think she may be. Maybe I am wrong. Only time will tell. But therein lies the problem, I do not seem to be hers. Or maybe I am, but I have not been able to figure that one out. All I know for sure is that I have spent a long time walking this earth, numb. After meeting your daughter I have felt things. Lots of things that I had already forgotten and no longer thought I could feel. Very well possible that I am just the piece-of-ass here as you put it. But I’ll stick around as long as she lets me. I like Vivian’s zest and spunk, she is braver than most men I have known in my pretty long life and now I see where she gets it from. My intentions with her are to ultimately marry her and have a family. But you heard her, she wants other things. Since time is on our sides I will just wait and see. Before I was turned, hundreds of years ago, very different times then, my wife and child were taken from me. All my vampire existence I pined after them, thinking she had been my soulmate and I lost her. I did not have much to say after that. Until I met Vivian.”
“Sweet story, but wrong address. I am not the Harlequin novel kinda gal. But I am willing to give you a chance. One false move though, sugar, and you only thought whatever the Count did to you was bad. I’ll beat you into the next week with my heels.”
“I believe you will. But as it stands now, can we at least call a truce?” he smiled, holding out one hand for me to shake.
I briefly measured him up, returned the smile and shook his hand.
“You may have potential yet.”
Truth be told, I thought he was actually pretty cool. He was honest. A big winning point with me. But I was not going to let him get off that easily.
The rest of the night was not bad at all. Vivian and I had a moment alone in the kitchen and she just told me that I was either the best or the worst mother ever, but kissed me on the cheek when I told her that it was what it was and I was the one she was stuck with. Offending Vivian was pretty hard to do. She was a LOT like Blaine in that aspect. She basically was a female Blaine with my hair.
I could tell that Blaine was exploding with curiosity. When I told him at home about the talk I had with Silas he just grinned and kept shaking his head.
And then there was a knock on the door. Ah yeah, when you are a vampire and know other vampires, nighttime is when all the visits happen. So I went to answer. It was Vittorio Auditore. I admit, I did not expect to see him.
We hugged and went to the living room where Blaine looked similarly as surprised as I was.
“So you met Vivian’s boyfriend?”
“No, I was at the club in Windenburg and saw you drive by, coming from there. Just put two and two together. There is really not much else to see down that way.”
“Yep, met him and ol’ Vik here tore him a few new ones.” Blaine was still amused.
“You heard about Vivian’s news?”
“I tried to talk her out of it. But she didn’t listen. Of course not.”
“How are things between you guys? Any better?”
He shook his head. “We’re civil, but it’s still iffy.”
“What was that fight about anyway?”
“Not like it matters anymore. I love Vivian, have loved her for a long time, but she won’t hear of it. I said something I shouldn’t have and we ended up arguing and I think I lost my one friend now too.”
“Awww, Vitto, no way. She’s just really preoccupied with everything.”
“I’d be interested to hear what you said to her.”
“Nothing Mr. Cameron. It doesn’t matter anyway.”
“If it’s nothing you can say it.”
“I’d rather not.”
“Blaine, leave him be.”
“I don’t think I will. We all know Vivian. It’s not easy to piss her off for long. So this needs to be something with some staying power and I betcha I can guess what that was.”
Vitto looked tortured now.
“Blaine, leave him alone.”
“No, he wants to be a man. He wants Viv – and other girls – to respect him. So suck it up Buttercup. Tell me to my face what you said.”
“OK, fine. I told her I loved her, she said we are just friends. I told her so were you and Mrs. Cameron until you admitted you were more. But you didn’t do anything about it and then had to steal her from my dad, breaking his heart.”
Uh oh. Oh no he didn’t. I was getting ready to tackle Blaine to the floor to protect Vitto. But he just sat there, nodding to himself.
“Is that what your dad told you or what you really think?”
“Well, it was before my time, so dad told me.”
“You wanna know what really happened, kid? I’ll tell you. But you may not like it.”
“Guys .. how about …”
“No Viktoria, this is going to happen.”
“I want to hear it.”
“You know that I have known Vik for all my life. She was my soulmate before I even knew what the hell that really was. And you know what I did about it? Fuck all. I let her slip through my fingers several times, and then felt sorry for myself and drowning a bunch of others in my pity parties. Took me getting really sick and becoming a vampire to figure this shit out. And you betcha I took her from him. Actually, he basically pushed her on me, because of his idiotic pride. But had she not been mine to take, this would have never happened. The morale of the story, kid, is this: if you are sure about Vivian you need to grow a pair – fast – and get after it. Or let her go and mean it, let her go and be happy with another man, be happy for her. There is no in between.”
My eyes were big as saucers. Did this really happen? Did my husband not only stay calm but also tell Vitto to – what? Compete with an old vampire for our daughter?
Vitto looked at him, then got up, Blaine did too. Vitto held out a hand to Blaine, but instead of shaking it, he bro-hugged him. Vitto gave me a hug and left. I shut the door and looked at Blaine standing in the door frame to the living room. He grinned. I shook my head.
“WTF was that, Cameron?”
“Some tough love and the best advice that boy has ever received.”