The news of my pregnancy went over like a lead balloon with most people I knew, especially my kids and Ezio.
The kids tried to fake excitement, but I could see the dismay in their eyes. Ezio just seemed saddened by it. I tried my darndest to be civil with him, at first when Addy and Marco still lived there, later Addy moved to San Myshuno. She and I met for coffee or lunch every so often. Marco had become somewhat stand offish with me, yet I was invited to his birthday party, he was all grown up now, and naturally I went. Without Blaine, who thought it best not to stir it all up even more.
Walking through the once so familiar front door of what had been my home for two decades, I felt as if I were entering enemy territory. I faked a smile, made small talk with the other guests, celebrated when the candles where blown out but eventually hid in the garden. I looked down the long path behind the house which wound all the way down to the harbor. I had walked that path so many times over the years. At first with toddlers and strollers, then children, later alone. Always wishing I could have had a dog to walk with, but Ezio did not like pets. Curious about what it would be like now I just started walking like I had done a million times before. Everything still looked like it always had.
Once I arrived at the bottom of the hill, I inhaled the salty air, listened to the seagulls screaming and watched some fishermen pack up their boats. It was already dark, and nearly winter again, so the evenings were cool and crisp. I shivered slightly and rubbed my arms when someone wrapped something made of fabric around me. I could tell by the faint aura of aftershave and the fine Italian wool that it was Ezio. He came into view next to me, also looking out into the harbor.
“Now they are both grown.” he said, with melancholy in his voice.
“Yeah, hard to believe. Seemed only yesterday they learned to walk, and now we are watching them run.”
“Congratulations, by the way.” he added, refering to my already hard to miss baby bump.
Silence fell between us. I heard Ezio inhale sharply and knew he was going to speak again.
“I miss you.”
BAM! Ok, so this was going to be weird. How to best get out of this now, without making it into a scene? Think, Vik. I decided on being nice first, to see if I could just bow out that way.
“Umm, Ezio …” I pulled his jacket off and handed it back to him. “I have to go.”
“Please, not yet. Just a few minutes. Please.” he pleaded.
He wrapped his jacket around me again. I was unsure what to do.
“I wanted to apologize, bella mia. I have made a terrible mistake back then, which I have regretted every single hour of every single day. I wish I knew what to say to make you see that I have come to my senses, that I am a different man now. I know now that I always worked too much, I neglected you, which is why all this could have even happened. It can all be different … all I need is a chance to prove it to you …. I just …”
“Stop right there! I do not know why you are doing this, maybe you had too much wine, and it is a somewhat emotional day for everybody, so I will let this slide. But I am with Blaine now, I am his wife, I love him and as you already noticed, I am carrying his child. So let’s just drop this right now and …”
Ezio interrupted me.
“It is just your pain talking, mia cara, I know I have hurt you, I have abandoned you when you needed me. But how could you be the wife of someone else, who does not even really exist. And that child, we could raise it together as our own …” he stepped forward and tried to stroke my cheek when he was pulled back suddenly. He looked as surprised as me, when Blaine seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. He now took Ezio’s coat off my shoulder and slammed it into Ezio’s chest, while wrapping his own jacket around me, carefully placing his arm around my waist afterwards to demonstrate who I belonged with.
“I thank you to keep your hands off my WIFE and not make some future plans with MY child or you will find out how much I actually DO exist!” Blaine was tense and seemed very aggressive.
I always knew he had an aggressive side to him, that he was no stranger to brutality, taking it but also dishing it out freely as he saw fit, but I had never even once witnessed it first hand. I heard about the troubles he had gotten himself into since he was a boy, I knew about brawls and people he put into the hospital. But I had never once seen it. To me, it always sounded like an entirely different person, not ‘my’ Blaine. The only Blaine I knew was a cuddly, silly, somewhat immature teddy bear, always a joke at the ready, that crooked smirk. Not one single time had he even as much as raised his voice to me, even though I may have yelled at him plenty of times. Not a single harsh word towards me, not ever. Which is why I could never understand why my friends had such a problem with him. But now, I did not need to see him fully in action to know that a Blaine who had anger management problems while he was human would translate into a very dangerous vampire.
“Blaine, let’s just go.” I begged calmly. I felt his tension subside slightly. Until Ezio just HAD to chime in.
“She would never be your wife had you followed that rule yourself. YOU are the one who caused this mess. You wedged yourself into our marriage again and again and YOU are the one who broke it all!” Ezio bellowed at him.
Oh boy. This was not going to end well. And here we went. Blaine let go of me and walked up right in front of Ezio, just inches apart now, measuring each other up. WTF? This movie sucked. Oh wait, naturally no movie would be this ridiculous, it was my life.
“Boys, stop! Please!”
“Viktoria, go to the car.” Blaine said calmly.
“Not in your wildest dreams!” I meant it. No way I’d leave these two alone now.
“This needs to get settled, once and for all.” Blaine addressed Ezio.
“I agree.” He retorted, rolling up his sleeves.
You had to be kidding me.
Ezio initiated it by grabbing Blaine by the collar of his shirt and lifting it high up to under his chin. Blaine stood his ground and swung at Ezio, who stumbled backwards slightly, without ever letting go of Blaine’s shirt, before landing his own punch.
Unbelievable. I had worried that Blaine would bite Ezio or something, but by the looks of it, he intended to just do it the mortal way.
They continued brawling for a minute till I had enough and began to pull on Blaine, trying to pry him off of Ezio, who had now ended up on the ground beneath him. During Blaine’s human years this may have looked different, but vampires were very strong. As I found out myself, I pulled and Blaine would not budge, I would have had more success pulling on a brick wall. So I brought my face right next to Blaine’s. I was shocked at the angry expression in his eyes and the promise of brutality reflected in his facial features. It worked. It distracted him and he looked at me, his face relaxing and softening. I whispered “Stop. Please.” He seemed to be considering it, then turned his gaze to Ezio who was still pinned down uncomfortably, before standing up, pulling me up with him surprisingly gently. He even held his hand out to Ezio, to help him up. Once both men stood, Blaine addressed Ezio sternly.
“I am going to tell you this only once, and I recommend you take my words seriously. Vik is my wife and my everything. She is NOT coming back to you. And we will raise this child, OUR child, not you. If you want to blame your break up on me, be my guest. But know this, an intact marriage would not just fail, no matter how much I may or may not have interfered. I have been civil to you for the longest time, but you are really overstepping the boundaries now. And the truth is, you never deserved her anyway. You somehow lulled her in when she was vulnerable and I was to wrapped up in my own problems to stop it when I had the chance. So you need not talk to me about regrets. I have 20 years worth of them. And there is no way in hell I would let her slip through my fingers again. Get over her, and do so quick. Patience was never my best feature and I am afraid it has only gotten worse now. Do not try me!” he hissed.
Ezio remained silent, which was actually surprising to me. He was never one to back down from a challenge. But he just stood there and took it, then watched Blaine pull me up into his arms and carry me up the hill to the house, where my car was parked.