1-24) Summer of Change

Our Vivian was born 10 Minutes to midnight during one of the worst summer heatwaves we ever had. Blaine was with me during then entire time. The home birth was no walk in the park, but nothing as I had feared, and after hours of labor quick and smooth. My baby was born a vampire, but just as beautiful as all babies are to their parents. We named her Vivian, just like in that dream we once shared during Blaine’s last night as a human in that cabin.

Vivian was a happy and content baby right from the start, not at all what I would have expected from a vampire. It made me sad to think she would never play outside in the sun on a playground or beach with other kids, until Blaine told me that children usually were able to tolerate sun until they hit the teens. Basically the onset of the human puberty. Well, at least something. Truthfully, I was still not too sure how I really felt about that fact, secretly I had always hoped Vivian would be a human.
Blaine was surprisingly committed, doting on me and the baby.

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Some weeks ago, while I was still very pregnant, Blaine held his first vampire society meeting. I was way too heavy with the baby to go anywhere and it was not like I had a lot of friends left to go spend the night at. Blaine had always been a friend deterrent, sadly, no matter how I had tried. Some of my friends knew or at least suspected that he could be one of “those”. At first few people were aware of vampires. Most, me included, until I met Caleb over 20 years ago, still thought them to be part of myths and tales. Truth was, unless you watched closely and realized certain hints, you would never guess unless a vampire wanted you to know. It had taken me several months of hanging out with Caleb, always with other people around, mind you, until I realized it. When I did, he dragged me aside to another room and it took a serious effort to calm me down. Truthfully, I really liked him until that day, afterwards I just couldn’t look at him the same way. Him calling me over to his home, to which young innocent me foolishly went, only to try to talk me into getting turned gave me the rest and I avoided him since. But the fact of the reality of their existence became more and more public. As with everything that was different it caused fears, rumors and unjust reactions. Not to say that vampires were sweet and cuddly as kittens, but the majority obliged their strict rules and were just another facet of life. Unfortunately, most of my friends were not really on board with vampires and hence avoided me.
Obviously, Caleb is part of the vampire society and he was the one who talked the leader into allowing me to stay. Ha, allowing me to stay. In my own home. But let’s not get into that.

The leader, or elder, is some unlikable old-fashioned, arrogant, strict, misogynistic grump whom everybody just addresses as “master”. When I opened the door for him he instantly gave me the once over, frowned and tried to order me around. That would not have flown under normal circumstances, but pregnant and miserable with already a thorough dislike for him, I politely but firmly laid out the house rules to him.

Everyone else in the room literally froze, all staring at us, until he began to laugh and told Blaine that he had his work cut out for him with me, then decreed I should sit next to him for the entire meeting. On my own couch, mind you, but evidently this was some high honor which I could have passed on gladly, but obliged and forced a smile for Blaine’s sake. The old vampire looked and smelled like he died when dinosaurs still roamed. Creepy.

Caleb was very nice to me. His sister Lilith was the usual bitch, and were she not so absolutely perfect and well calculated in every movement, she would have likely tumbled over herself to tell me that she was now dating my ex, Ezio, and they were expecting a baby. Well, congrats Ezio, I thought. You got yourself another baby just like you wanted. Hopefully you are ready for the vampire challenge.
There were two older vampires, I later learned those were Caleb and Lilith’ parents. And one vampire that looked like he was about Blaine and my age when he was turned, but very quiet and aloof. But VERY handsome. I had to be careful, as I never knew who could read my thoughts. But dang … let’s just leave it at that. Blaine knew nothing about him, other than that his name was Silas, but Caleb told me he had been turned during some tumultuous war time in the Renaissance era and while he was turning into a vampire, which is a time of weakness for vampires, he had to watch the love of his life and soulmate being burned at the stake, utterly unable to even move, let alone help her. This, understandably, made him bitter.  I felt sorry for him. Tried to address him a few times, but he barely replied and avoided me. At some point I mentioned that to Caleb and he expanded on his story by adding that his wife/soulmate had been carrying their first child. Yikes. I could see why I, in my current condition, had been salt in his wounds.
I still could not grasp the whole concept of vampires technically dead, yet living. Unable to feel, yet capable of some feelings and sensations such as smelling, in certain situations. It was not like one could read up on that online or check out a book at the library, as most was fiction. Even Blaine did not have many answers.

And then I kept catching myself thinking about having Blaine turn me. It would make things a lot easier in some aspects. And tremendously harder in others.

*

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One day, late summer now with the first harbingers of the impeding Fall season all around, Vivian was sleeping peacefully in her crib, Blaine was ‘hibernating’, Spunky and I went to play outside and just enjoy the sunshine, when I suddenly heard a familiar voice say my name.

Ezio! In my mind I sighed a ‘not again’.

Instantly my memories took me back to a little get together we had at our home about a month ago, a baby shower if you so want even though it wasn’t really one. We invited every family member we have, and some even came. Even Marco! And he brought Ezio, who we had purposely NOT invited, which already made it all very uncomfortable. I stiffened when he walked in but all was civil. Sadly, half way through I felt ill from the pregnancy, and decided to lay down. I was awoken by loud voices and noises. When I rose I saw they were in the bedroom. Ezio and Blaine in the midst of a fist fight. Lovely. Once I finally managed to get on my feet again, I gave both men a solid piece of my mind, and ended the party. Ezio was not in the greatest shape after the fight, which according to Blaine, he started. Served him right. Do not pick fights with vampires. Period.

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Had not heard from Ezio since then. Until now.
“I am only here to give you this and to congratulate you.” he spoke, while holding a gift wrapped in ‘It’s a Girl’ wrapping paper.
“You didn’t need to do this.” I said, but took it anyway to be polite. I knew Ezio loved children.
He even bent down to pet Spunky. OK, maybe he was trying.
“Mind if we sit for a moment?” he pointed at the garden bench behind me. I shrugged and we sat.
“As usual when we happen to meet these days, I have to apologize. I truly am sorry about ruining your party. I didn’t mean to.”
“Didn’t mean to? So it was an ‘accidental’ brawl, and in my bedroom, no less?!” I sarcastically said, shaking my head.
“He just pushes my buttons, Vik. And I still … umm … care about you.” I knew he was going to say something else, but luckily had the decency to correct himself.
“I am sure Lilith would be thrilled to hear.”
“Oh. You heard.”
“I did. Congratulations on the baby, by the way. Maybe I should give this back to you?” I pointed at the baby gift.
He shook his head. Strangely, whenever we had been expecting he had been beaming.
“It’s going to be a boy.”
“You should be doing cartwheels and backflips.”
“I should …”
“Then why aren’t you?”
“I cannot give you an answer.”
“Secrets?”
“No. If I were to be honest with you right now, you would ask me to leave. I do not want to lie to you. So, let’s leave it at that.”
I knew instantly what he was hinting around at.
“For heavens sake, Ezio. Why in the world are you so dead set on making all of this so complicated? Is it the fact that for once in his life even a successful man such as yourself cannot have something he wants?”
“No. I really do love you. Still. I cannot just turn that off. I maintain that I made a mistake. I cannot fix it and I do not expect you to change your life.”
“How kind. Then why did you knock up Lilith? And why Lilith of all people?”
“After Marco’s party I was so … destroyed. She was there. She was single. It happened and I let it.”
“Man, who are you these days?”
“I wish I could tell you.”
“Are you getting hitched?”
“We already did. You know me and my upbringing.”
“Well, congrats.”
“No need. I’ll be honest with you. I do not love her. I only hope I can love that child. And I hope it is human…”
“Well, if not, there are worse things.”
“So your baby…?”
“Yup.”
“I do not know what to do Viktoria. I feel like I can run a business, blindfolded and make it a success. But I feel like I failed at life. I do not know to even begin to make my life normal again, let alone be happy anymore. It seems like some essential piece of the puzzle is missing. Help me, Vik. Please.” he pleaded.
Honestly, I hated seeing him like this. I still cared about him too, maybe not in a romantic way, but I did not want him to suffer as he evidently did. I looked at him now. His hair had turned a deep slate grey with many silver streaks running through it, glistening in the sunlight, his face showed wrinkles from worry. But it was his eyes that made me almost consider hugging him and to tell him what I truly thought. They were sad, dull and seemed as if he had lost all hope.
“Ok, Ezio, you want the truth? You are not going to like it, not one bit.” I warned.
“Lay it on me.”
“You and Lilith won’t work. I am not exactly BFFs with her, but I am quite sure you noticed she is not wife material. And she’ll be the first to tell you, so I do not even know how that happened. Secondly, how did you even get that past the kids? Isn’t that the same as my situation? But because it is not Blaine, Marco is fine? Thirdly, I feel sorry for the baby. Lilith hates kids. Ask your brother, or better yet, their kid. She’ll tell you in great detail about her childhood. Also, you are a great guy. Handsome, kind, smart, funny if you want to be … and not to mention wealthy, you should not need to have to settle for some ice-cold bitch, pardon me saying so.”
“Ha, the kids. I had signed the house over to Marco when he got married. As soon as I married Lilith, he asked me to move out.”
“Oh, yikes.” Dang Marco, that was an ice-cold move by him.
“I live in our old home now, in Newcrest.”
“Ummm…” Of course, he did.
“You are right. I will end it with her. Maybe I will raise our son, as a single parent. But I would like a friend to help me through this. Happen to know anybody who would take pity on an old fool?” he looked at me.
“Sure, Ezio. Count me in.” I smiled. And for the first time, I saw life return to his eyes and a smile that seemed genuine.

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