1-13) …And All Falls Down

Ezio had late night meetings often, took clients out, some events. The company was trying to close with three large international companies and evidently, this was what it took.
Adrianna needed to blow off steam from the finals and was out with friends if she was not home studying, and Marco was into school sports and on tournaments a lot. Sadly, neither parent could join, due to work.  

Without fail, as soon as I was alone, Blaine would appear. Reluctant at first, I began looking forward to his visits. Sure, I could have just as easily gone to see him, but for some reason, I still could not bring myself to do that. When we were together, he was still the Blaine I knew, once I could get past the pale appearance, the strange glowing of his eyes, which was more evident some times and barely noticeable most of the time. And then those fangs. He once kissed my cheek, just a friendly peck, like many times when he was still … normal. A shiver ran down my spine as I could feel the fangs beneath his pursed lips. The odd coldness he radiated when I got near to him was something I had the hardest time with. Since we met in the very beginning of both our lives, there have always been hugs between us. And he had always been warm, aside from the times his parents had locked him out of their apartment, which happened when they did not want to deal with a kid, often overnight. By the time he had made it from the bad side of town all the way out to Windenburg, where mom and I lived, he was blueish and next to hypothermia. Mama would usually open the door, wrap him in blankets and run a hot bath for him, while telling him to take off his usually filthy clothes, then she would rub the blankets on his skin till the water would be perfect. As kids I was allowed in the bathroom, once he was in the tub. Later he was more self-sufficient and slept on the couch in the living room. Maybe that is where he picked up the habit of TV when in bed. 

Speaking of bed. I was in the master bedroom, changing, when I heard knocking on the window. I saw Blaine’s face, whom else? How? I didn’t want to know. The bedroom is on the second floor. Another vampire move he picked up. I realized I was in my underwear, grabbed my short silk robe to cover up and I opened the window, he climbed in, unasked.
“Not very gentle mannered, Mr. Cameron, visiting a married lady in the middle of the night in her bedroom while she is changing!” I half-teased.
“Never claimed to be a gentleman. And the visiting ladies in bedrooms is kind of my brand.” he smirked.
“Not surprised. Once a manwhore, always a …”
“Aww, you are breaking my heart. Here I am, taking time out of my crazy visiting-ladies-in-bedrooms schedule for you and all you do is insult me. Well, luckily I memorized this moment forever.” He grinned.
“Super. There won’t be another. If Ezio knew about this, he’d hammer it out of your brain with his bare fists.”
“It would be worth it. I must say, killer bod for an old lady with two kids.”
I went to hit him, like we did but found myself flung onto the bed, and in a second him next to me.
I got up immediately and reprimanded his behavior.
“No new rules just because you are … this … now! This is inappropriate!”
“Sorry, I thought we were play-fighting.”
“I think someone needs to learn their strength!”
He gave me a sad puppy look, playfully.
I sat down next to him, leaned my head into his shoulder.
“Any chance you could just forget you saw me like that?”
“Possibly.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. Until he continued
“But since I am a modern manwhore slash un-gentleman, I took a picture. Two actually, in case one does not come out right.” He held up his cell phone.
“Oh NO! Delete it, here, gimme that phone.”
A fight ensued with me trying to get the phone from him and him pretending to fight back. The truth was, he was so strong, plus his superhuman speed, if he wanted to he could have decided this fight in a second flat. But Blaine being Blaine, he enjoyed the chase. And me, I really meant it. Such photos should not exist.
I tried to pry it from his cold hand, and when I nearly succeeded, Blaine switched hands. I was on his left, so instead of walking around his legs I just jumped atop him and tried to launch myself towards that arm. I got a hold of it, Blaine fell backward and I was atop, trying to pry apart his fingers.

“WHAT THE F*** IS GOING ON HERE!?!?”

Blaine and I froze in our tracks and looked up towards the door. Ezio! he looked so very angry and upset. And I said the stupidest thing
“Ezio, this is not what it looks like.” 

“OH REALLY? THEN EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT THIS IS?!” his roaring voice echoed of the the walls.

“I just tried to get his phone …”
“Of course. It is perfectly commonplace for a MARRIED woman to have a man in the marital bedroom, to climb around on, in a state of undress, when she needs a cell phone!”
“What?” I finally had the sense to sit up, still straddling Blaine, who was half propped up on his elbows back behind him on the bed now, when I realized my robe had parted and what Ezio saw was really not flattering. I climbed off Blaine awkwardly and ran after Ezio who had left the room. I found him in the adjacent room, the home office.
“Ezio, let me explain ..” I walked over to him.
He interrupted me, something in his voice causing me to stop.
“Not needed. I don’t want to hear your excuses anymore. For twenty years I have been competing with him. Twenty long years in which I had hoped you would finally see I truly love you. I was understanding, I tried to be supportive. Always by your side, yet always just second choice. No more. I am done. I want you out of this house. Please leave.”
I inhaled sharply.
“Ezio, it’s the middle of the night. Where am I supposed to go? And you are so wrong. I love you!”
He laughed a joyless laugh. “You leave, or I will. Just remember the kids will be back tomorrow morning and whoever stays gets to explain this mess. Don’t even argue. They will hear about this. I am DONE with this charade!”
“Come on babygirl, let’s go.” Blaine gently touched my shoulder, while Ezio laughed again.
“How befitting. Yeah, take her with you. You can have her. You won. All yours. I don’t want her anymore!”
As if in a trance I packed a few things in a duffle bag and followed Blaine home. I was in shock. 

*

Sitting on Blaine’s couch we spoke about what had happened.
“Blaine, something I do not understand, he didn’t seem at all shocked to see you.”
“Probably your sister-in-law, who is married to that tattletale brother of Ezio’s. Vampires are a pretty close-knit society. She would know. And she probably told him and he definitely would have told Ezio.”
“And he said nothing to me?”
“Viktoria, there is some truth to it. He sees it. Everybody does. Just you and I didn’t, or we denied it. I came to my senses too late, just before I … died. But everybody knew that we belong together. It is time to stop fighting it.”
“What? NOW of all times you start trying to get me into your bed, Blaine? Have you lost your mind?”
“I am not going to deny THAT has crossed my mind more than usual after seeing so much of you earlier, but as shocking as this may be, it is not what I meant. I meant that we belong together. For good. As a couple.”
I lifted my hands and covered my face, shaking my head.
“Look babygirl. I hate to be the one to so openly dig around in fresh wounds, but have been at my place for 3 hours now since we left your home. You have yet to shed a single tear. Barely a day went by since I got my diagnosis last year until fairly recently that you did NOT cry.”
“How can you compare the two. You being sick was scary and final. I am sure I can explain this to Ezio.” I stopped while Blaine was shaking his head.
“What? One of your new vampire skills is that you can read minds?”
“Actually, it is, but unnecessary here. I can tell when a man is done. Ezio is done. He folded his deck, threw in the towel. Like it or not, babe.”
I slept at Blaine’s place, in the bed, he insisted, while he took the couch. 

The next morning I went to work, straight in to Ezio’s office. He looked up, his gaze distant. I walked around his desk to kiss him, but he turned away,  to instead pull a stapled document, about 15 pages by the looks of it, out of a drawer and handed it to me.
“I’d like you to sign this at your earliest convenience. After you read it thoroughly, of course.”
I read over the first few lines, turned pale, felt dizzy, when I looked up at him.
“Divorce papers?”
“Yes.”
“So you had the lawyers work through the night? Or did you have them already?”
“The latter.”
“Oh, how lovely. And who is she?”
“She is a he and his name is Blaine Cameron. When I heard he was back, I just knew it was only a matter of time. Looks like I am not as stupid as all this left me feel after all. Oh, and … umm … given the circumstances I think you would agree that it would be best if you could find a new job elsewhere as soon as possible.”
Ouch. Ezio seemed like a different man.
“Why all this? Ezio I never once cheated on you … last night looked bad, but really was harmless… why do you not believe me?”
“Thing is, bella mia, I do believe you. I am certain you never physically cheated on me. You have integrity, you are loyal. But what hurts the most is that you DO love him and he is always there, always present, even if not physically. A marriage is supposed to be two people. I am tired of three people in one bed. He wants you, you want him, I am stepping aside and walking away from the fight. You will see that I listed the house as part of my divorce settlement, I hope you agree, as I attributed its appraised value in cash into yours. I think my situation is just more stable for the children. Once they move out, if they do, I will probably sell it too or you can have it, if you wanted to.”
I stood in awe. This declined so fast. 20 years down the drain like so. He was so cold after 20 years. And what was most painful was that he was right. Ezio was always right. His intelligence and level headedness in adverse situations I always admired. Now I knew what it felt to be on the receiving end of this. I looked down at the papers in my hand, grabbed a pen from Ezio’s desk and signed it.
“No need to read it. Here you go.” I handed it to him, all businessman he handed me the second copy, which bore his signature.”
I left his office without another word, cleaned out my office. Then I went back into his office one last time to hand him my letter of resignation. 

*

“Back so soon?” Blaine was awake, sitting on the couch when I unlocked the door.
I walked over to him and handed him my copy of the divorce papers. He frowned, but said nothing.
After putting the box with my personal things from my office down I plopped down on the couch next to him. I should be crying. I should feel destroyed. Instead I felt a sense of relief, as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. A sense of clarity.
“Penny for your thoughts, babygirl?”
“Can’t you just read them?”
“Long story, but it’s not that simple …”
“Ok, I don’t have time for that. You and me, upstairs in the bedroom. NOW!”
You did not need to tell Blain twice …
  07-09-18_9-03-45 AM07-09-18_9-04-24 AM07-09-18_10-11-31 AM07-09-18_10-14-32 AM

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