The doorbell rang and echoed a pompous tune throughout the also very pompous home. The Vanderbilt Mansion had been built a long time ago, then and now would be fit to receive royalty.
A maid, dressed in the typical maid uniform answered. Of course.
“May I help you?” she asked politely, yet it sounded artificial.
“I am here to see Marco … Auditore.”
“May I inquire what about?”
“It is personal. I am his mother.”
“Oh, I see. Please follow me.”
Our footsteps echoed loudly on the expensive marble floors in the entrance hall, then were muffled when she swung open a massive wooden door to a dark room with lots of wooden furniture, obviously exquisite and old.
“Wait here, please.” she said, gesturing to a set of heavy uphostery. I did as told.
Minutes later, the door opened, but it was not Marco who entered, instead Nicole appeared, heavily pregnant, yet still donning a meticulously tailored dress.
She put on her usual perfect smile, usually fake, and held out her hand to me.
I complimented her appearance, assuming like most expecting mothers it would be something she would enjoy hearing.
“Oh, thank you. It’s haute couture. The designer is an old family friend. Don’t know what I would do without him.”
Yeah, how do we other women handle when pregnant. Months of nakedness, because we do not know Paris designers.
“Is Marco here?”
“Oh, well. I am afraid he is not.” She pulled a sad face, then smiled again.
“When will he be back?” What a waste of time.
“He won’t. But you can find him at the Four Palms resort, down near the courthouse.” she smiled, tilting her head.
“A hotel?” I stood up.
“We both felt it was for the better. I am so sorry, but I do have things to tend to. It was lovely seeing you again.”
She nodded at me and left me standing there.
I called the hotel half a dozen times that day and asked for him, but was told the guest was not taking calls or was unavailable.
That night I got a text from Marco, asking to meet me at a restaurant I had never heard of, but I texted back I would come.
The restaurant was some run down bar & grill in the middle of the desert. Not exactly the kind of place either of us would frequent, least of all Marco. Just weird. I told the hostess I was meeting someone and was lead to a table where ‘part of my party’ was already waiting. It was Ezio. Ok, so a family reunion thing then, probably to tell both of us about him and Nicole. We greeted each other, then pondered the odd venue. Soon after Marco arrived. He ordered a stiff drink right away.
“Dad and I are very sorry to hear about you and Nicole.” I said.
“Yeah, sure you are.”
“Your mother is right. If you need anything at all…”
“Spare me dad. Hey, can I have another.” the last part was at the waitress who walked by.
“What happened, kid?”
“What happened? My life happened. Just as always. I lost the fucking election that is what happened. And Nicole has no use for a loser. Plus, she has what she wanted from me anyway, an heir to the Vanderbilt name. So I was pushed aside, just like I always am. Hey, you, keep ’em coming.” Marco yelled the last part at the waitress again. This was his third in less than 10 minutes.
“Those aren’t shots, son.” Ezio frowned.
“Tonight they are. So while I have both of you here I am going to make it short and quick, since I know that I never hold your attention for long. Yeah, my wife screwed me over and kicked me out, my career is done and over, probably because my campaign was compromised by my mother openly flaunting and fucking what I tried to abolish …”
“I beg your pardon son! You cannot speak to your mother this way!” Ezio sounded very angry now.
“No worries, daddy dearest, I was going to get to you …just had to have a son with one of them vamps, huh? You two disgust me!”
“Marco, you are drunk!”
“I am! So fucking drunk. I was drunk when I got here, otherwise I could not stand being within miles of the two of YOU!” he yelled, pointing at both, Ezio and me.
“Marco! I will not sit here and let you insult your…”
“Sit you fat ass back down old man! You have nothing to want or decide tonight. Tonight is about ME for once in all our lives. Tonight I am calling the shots! No Adrianna here to steal the show. Always Addy this, Addy that. And Marco fell by the wayside! Everybody always so worried about poor lil Addy, perfect Addy. Me? My last year in school was hell, because my own mother screwed around on my father with some loser wannabe rocker with a boyband reject hairdo and tattoos up to his eyebrows while my idiot father just stood by drooling! Then I am sent to work in your company where uncle Frederico and his sons made my life HELL because of all this! And what did you do? Same as always, nothing. Now I lost what little bit I had left, and I am not going to start all over again. No more of this shit!”
The next things happened so fast, within just a few seconds. Marco rose up from his chair, as did Ezio and I, thinking he would try to hit his father. Instead he pulled out a gun, laughed, stuck it in his mouth and pulled the trigger!
I do not recall much after that. Only the sound of a scream, my scream, echoing into eternity.
“Just put her to bed, the doctors gave her sedatives and she is in shock.” Ezio gently pushed Viktoria towards Blaine, who pulled her into his arms, beckoned Ezio inside while he put Viktoria to bed. Luckily Vivian was fast asleep.
He met up with Ezio in the living room, where he was told the full story.
“Shit. I am so sorry, man. You ok? If you want to crash here tonight … or if there is someone I can call for you … ” he told Ezio, who shook his head. The night had left its marks, but he was all businessman about it on the outside, composed.
“I should have seen that the boy needed help. I should have done something. What kind of father am I?” Ezio now said, shaking his head.
“You’re a good dad. Take it from someone who had a shitty one and knows the difference.” Blaine said.
“I am not so sure. The things he said to me before he … so full of hatred … I hardly recognized him.”
“You said he was drunk. People do stupid things they do not mean then. He was hurting, his career went down the toilet, his wife broke up with him … he did not mean it. I am sure. You know we both have never seen eye to eye, I have no reason to lie to you now. But Vik aside, you are a good man, a good father and from what Vik told me you were a good husband too. Definitely a tough act to follow.” Blaine smiled faintly, causing Ezio to nod.
“Appreciate it. I better get going. My wife will be worried. Not sure how to tell her about my evening …”