1-23) Practice Makes Perfect

07-13-18_4-08-39 PM07-13-18_4-08-22 PM
“Come on in, don’t be shy, we don’t bite… HAHAHAHA!”. The entire group burst into laughter. Blaine smirked. Good one.
“Have you ever been to one of these?” Caleb pulled him inside and beckoned Blaine into a large palor.
“Nope.”
“Awww, your first time, handsome … I’ll break you in right.” Lilith ran the back of her hand across Blaine’s cheek.
“Enough now! We have some pressing matters to get to. Let’s sit and talk. NOW!” A thin man with very long hair interrupted, a tone in his voice that allowed no resistance.
Blaine followed all of them into some room with a large table and many chairs. They all sat and different topics were discussed. Then Blaine was introduced. He learned that the thin man was the leader, some very old grand master vampire. Caleb whispered to Blaine telling him to avoid upsetting that man at all cost, as he had little patience and was very strong, merciless and brutal.
‘Fantastic’, Blaine thought sarcastically.
“Mr. Cameron, I know you are brand-new to all this, so allow me a proper introduction. My name is Vlasislaus Count Dracula of Carpathia, I am the elder here, hence the leader. Everything goes through me, I make the rules. Had you been here before, you would already know this. Since your master, Mythia, is a dear and very old personal friend of mine, I will let you off this one time and merely remind you that all meetings are to be attended when called, unless you have a very solid excuse. Such excuses have to be sanctioned by me, prior to your absence. Missing meetings, breaking code or other unruly behavior will be dealt with swiftly and firmly. This is not a friendly tea party, but a necessary convention to assure the endurance of our species. You are to attend training and lectures. Aside from all that, plainly, if I call, you will answer. Have I made myself abundantly clear?” the old vampire rattled down in a monotonous tone.
“Sure.”
“Fine. I would like to see how your powers have advanced. Please, demonstrate.”
“Umm, demonstrate what?” Blaine could tell by the scowl and the audible exhaling with his eyes closed, that the elder vampire did not appreciate that answer.
“Mythia has told you what to work on. Why have you not?!”
“I … forgot. Look, I have been busy. There has been a lot going on … I … got married … and my wife …” Blaine tried to explain, already well aware that his answer would not be enough by just looking at the face of the elder.
“SPARE ME! Wife. Tssk. Again, I will let you off easy today. Let this not become a habit. You need to work on your skills. I do not have the time or patience for this. Caleb, would you please!”
“Of course. Come with me Blaine.”
Caleb stood up, gestured Blaine to follow him. They went to a lower level.
“Is he always like that?”
“I have to warn you. He can hear you.”
“Here?”
“Yes. Best not to refer to him at all.”
“Noted.”
“Here are a few pointers, if you do not mind. Do not talk about any of us, unless you are either directly addressing us or on the same premises with us. Especially not with mortals. Do not speak about these meetings, to anyone who has not been in attendance. If you so want, what happens within these lairs, is to stay within these lairs.”
“What lairs?”
“Vampire homes. Lairs. It’s where we meet. You will be expected to host eventually. So make sure to be ready when the time comes. And best to have your wife out during the meeting. Mortals are not appreciated when we meet, especially not by the elders. The scrolls are very delicate and invaluable to us, as are the artifacts, and humans sometimes are just too curious for their own good, which brings on greed.”
“Scrolls? Lairs? Elders? Artifacts? This is starting to sound like a Lord of the Rings sequel. Or some video game.”
“Don’t say that to any of the elders. They are not known for their sense of humor. You’d be punished for making fun of what is sacred to us.”
Blaine sighed.
“Look Blaine. It is not as bad as it sounds. You are overwhelmed and the beginning is tough, but it will get better and you’ll start enjoying it.”
“If you say so.”
“Ok, let’s get started. I’ll go easy on you.”
Blaine spent most of the following hours on his back or face. Caleb laughed and told him not to take it personal, as he was a grand master and it would be unheard of for a new vampire to be able to keep up. He was a good and patient teacher. Eventually Caleb said they were done for the night.
“Mind a question?” Caleb asked.
Blaine shook his head, he felt weakened.
“She is your soulmate, right?”
“Who?”
“Viktoria.”
“How did you know about Viktoria?”
“There is really not much I do not know about you, Blaine. Also, I am acquainted with Viktoria. We met a long time ago, at least by human measure. Nice girl. Stubborn as a mule, though. Have you spoken to her about turning her yet?”
“Oh yeah.” Blaine sighed, causing Caleb to laugh.
“I figured. I once thought she would be a great addition to our society, but she was not impressed by my suggestion. Quite feisty, your girl. But I thought you may be able to swing her. You should work on that. It would be best. For all involved, really.”
“Ha, I am lucky that she tolerates me now. I have a feeling that I still freak her out sometimes. Have no idea how to break the news about a meeting with several vampires in our home, nor how to ask her to leave for the night. Especially now. She is expecting, you know.”
“Hmmm. Have you spoken to her about what having a child with a vampire entails yet?”
“No. Both of us had children before. Just a rinse, repeat thing.” Blaine said.
“I’m afraid not quite. There is a chance that the child will be a vampire. You are a very young vampire, so chances are lower in your case, but it would at least be 50:50. Vampire births are unlike regular mortal births. Also, vampire children need different attention. It would really be best if you could convince Viktoria to be turned. Afterwards, of course. It would have been better before she even became pregnant. See, vampire births can be … taxing for mortals. It is not unheard of that mortals die during the process. Also, you would have a home birth, as vampire babies would not have vitals. I do not have to tell you why you should avoid your wife having the baby at the hospital then, do I? Besides, a home birth would allow you to be there as well.”
“Oh man… Vik will kill me. But we were going to have her induced at night at the hospital, for my sake. So I would be there with her and for her.”
“They do not allow vampires there anymore. They have secured the exits and entries. You won’t be getting in. They think we’d raid their blood conserves. Ha, mortals. They all have a hard time separating fact from fiction.”
“Ummm… uh oh. Ugh.” Blaine knew those news would not sit well with Viktoria AT ALL.
“Sounds like you rushed into things a bit, huh?” Caleb smiled.
“Yes and no. The relationship part no. That has been a long time coming. The vampire part is just adding … complications.”
“Look, I’ve been through it. My wife is a mortal too. She is fine. She understands. I am sure your wife will too.”
Blaine was not so sure.

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*
The home smelled like concrete, sawdust, paint. Viktoria had decided she wanted to redo the walk-in closet in their bedroom. It already went on for several weeks, during which they slept on the couch in the living room. Why this needed to happen while she was in her last trimester of pregnancy and already very uncomfortable was beyond him, but vampire or not, he knew better than to argue with a pregnant wife.
Viktoria pushed herself up from the couch as he walked in.
“How was it?”
“Just another day in paradise.”
“Hmmm, that bad, huh?”
“Let’s just say I had serious flashbacks to my youth. Let’s just change the topic.”
“All right, I have something to show you, a surprise, that will probably get your mood up!” There was excitement in her eyes, as she smiled, took his hand and pulled him into the direction of the bedroom.
“Oh, I am sure I am eager to see!” he grinned.
They entered and as she closed the bedroom door behind them, Blaine pulled her close to kiss her, while attempting to undo the buttons of her shorts.
“No no … wait. Remember the surprise?” she pulled away from him.
“I thought that was what I was about to unwrap?” Blaine replied with slight disappointment.
“No. Open that door!”
Viktoria seemed overly excited when she pointed to a new door in the wall. Hopefully her ‘surprise’ was not that damn walk-in closet.
“OPEN!” she demanded.
Blaine opened, and was met by darkness and cold, but no hangers, rods or clothing. There were …
“…are these stairs?” Blaine was puzzled. How BIG was this closet?!
“Go down. There is light .. I know I know you don’t need it, but I do!”
She gently pushed him towards the stairs while reaching behind him to flip a switch. LED lights illuminated the small hallway and the stairs.
“Wait! Close your eyes. You do not need to see for the stairs, right?”
“Nope.” Blaine closed his eyes as requested and both descended.
Viktoria took his hand, lead him around the banister and a few steps further, then signaled him to stop.
“Open your eyes!” she sounded excited.
Blaine’s mouth fell open. They were in a cellar, and in front of him a coffin. Faint LED lights all around, and few items of decor signaling Viktoria’s involvement.
“Do you … like it?” she asked, slightly worried when he showed no reaction.
“Yes, oh yes of course! I love it! I am just really surprised!” Blaine told the truth. He would have never dared to mention a coffin, which helped vampires gain strength much faster than regular beds would. He had not known about any cellar. Viktoria explained that she had found some old blueprints showing a panic room at the beginning of the build, which was later abandonded. Her contractor was able to recover and add stairs.
Blaine turned to his wife and kissed her.
“Test it out!” she suggested, her voice still full of excitement.
Blaine opened the lid. This was a very nice coffin, definitely not cheap.
“After you, my dear …” he gestured.
“Ummm, oh no, I .. think I’ll pass. Besides, if I even got in it with this belly, I would never get back out!”
Blaine scooped her up, placed her in the coffin as she was giggling and screaming, then carefully jumped atop her, closing the lid. He nuzzled her neck when she screamed more.
“Blaine, stop, it feels like the ground is moving!”
“Not the ground, the coffin.”
“WHAT?!”
“Hey, I was told to practice, so I am practicing. And my lovely wife is the best incentive…”
Right as they were about to get serious about being naughty, the lid opened and both tumbled out, luckily Blaine hit the ground first and Vik landed on top. After a moment of surprise, he asked worried
“You and the baby ok?”
“Fine, thanks!” she laughed, he smiled, as he slid out from underneath her, stood and helped her up, still laughing.
“Sorry about that.”
“It’s ok, but three things before we ever attempt this again: 1) you really do need practice! 2) We are getting a really thick rug for underneath and 3) We need to find a way to fatten you up, buddy, I swear I am going to be bruised as heck tomorrow!” she kissed him.

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*
“Hmmm… water birth. I was always curious about that. What do you think, Blaine?”
Viktoria was leafing through informational material from the surrounding hospitals.
“Oh yeah, about that. Ummm … how about a home birth?”
Viktoria halted, then lowered her arms with the brochure she had been studying into her lap.
“HUH?!” she gave him a ‘are you insane?’ look.
“Yeah, home birth. You could be comfortable in your own home…”
“Let me interrupt you right there. I would be in labor, and not comfortable anywhere. I do not know where this is coming from now, but if you look at the calendar you may be surprised to read 2018 and not 1518! I am not pining in a birthing room with a midwife, while you pace the halls holding a cigar.”
“It would not be so bad, I think … I could be in the room with you .. helping …”
“HELPING? HOW? Would YOU have the child instead? In that case, we can do this on a park bench for all I care!”
“Relax babygirl …”
“I AM relaxed! So which hospital!? Choose!”
“We could get one of those water birth thingies for at home …” Blaine tried.
“Ok, enough of this rubbish now! Blaine Cameron, spill it!”
“We may not be able to have the child at the hospital.”
“Oh, and why not?”
“The baby may … or may not … be ummm ….”
“TALK!”
“A vampire.”
“What the heck are you talking about Blaine? You wouldn’t turn a helpless baby!”
“No, of course not. But it missed the part that babies with vampires could be born as vampires. Then again, it could be just a normal happy mortal baby!”
“You have GOT to be kidding me!” Viktoria jumped up. Blaine tried to calm her down best he could, vastly unsuccessful.
“Is that what they taught you at the meeting? Well, a little late, I ‘d say!”
“I am so sorry babygirl….”
“How are we supposed to explain pale skin and fangs to a nurse at the hospital?!”
“We won’t. We cannot go to a hospital. The baby could be normal, or it could not have a heartbeat, like me. And I cannot enter hospitals….”
It took him almost an hour to calm her down again.
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