Spring was in full swing now (oh, that rhymed, too). Vivian and Alexis were inseparable, much to the dismay of little Vittorio, who still struggled with other people and Vivian was literally his one and only friend. She tried hundreds of times to introduce him to other kids, but he just blocked it off immediately. Poor kid. Unless he changed his ways, life would be rough on him.
Being a vampire was kind of normal to me now, we had occasional vampire society meetings, which were mostly going through the motions and more tradition than necessity. With Marco’s death, his newly assembled anti-vampyrism party had somehow scattered into all four winds and since most vampires laid low anyway, we were for the most part ignored by the human society and just flew under the radar. Blaine and I had started to successfully grow Plasmafruit, vastly eliminating the need to feed on humans.
I received a call from Ezio one night, informing me that his younger brother Petruccio had passed away.
I went over right away.
He sounded so sad. Melissa had to work, she worked in fashion design and had to help with some important project.
Man, he needed a friend. To say he looked distraught was putting it mildly.
“You too?” he asked, lifting a decorative crystal bottle containing a deep amber liquid, which I knew would be some expensive Bourbon he decanted into décor bottles. Or better, his staff did. Ah, the good life.
I shook my head. Wine was more my tune, the sweeter, the better. He remembered that too, went to the kitchen and came back opening a bottle of my favorite Moscato, poured me a glass and handed it to me. We clinked glasses and drank. Well, I sipped, Ezio gulped. Poor dude.
I hugged him, he held me tight and started vibrating slightly. Took me a second to realize he was crying. Since Auditore men did not cry, this ended up being the world’s longest embrace. Eventually he let go. We sat down in the living room this time, not our usual spot at the raised deck, due to the time of day. It was still light out. Sad really, as it was my favorite place in his house. Honestly, were I ever to break into his house and steal anything, it would be the raised deck. No wonder he almost lived on it himself. The view was unbelievable. Don’t get me wrong, the entire house was impressive, including the living room. Well, both of them were great. Yeah, did I mention Ezio was rolling in the dough?
Silence at first, which I broke by saying
“I am truly sorry about Petruccio.”
“Thank you. Means a lot coming from you, considering how he used to chase you around.”
“You knew about that?” I was surprised.
“Of course. But I knew you could handle yourself and also that he would go no further than flirting.”
“Well, he was a nice guy otherwise.”
“A little mislead, but yeah, good kid. And seven years younger than me. Not very comforting. But the Auditore men always had three things in common: we work too much, we eat too much and we drink too much. All that combined makes for a weak heart. Speaking from experience. I’m probably gonna be next. Hopefully I at least see the kids grow into toddlers…”
“Oh come on now, Ezio! You are tough as leather. You’ll make it to a hundred before you even start slowing down. Especially now that you have those adorable babies. And Melissa. You cannot marry her and then leave her. You are too much of a gentleman for that, right?”
“Your words in God’s ear, cara mia. Reality is, when I found out that we were expecting, after the initial excitement wore off, I felt sick. Babies at my age. Two of them. Soon they will start crawling. I do not know if I can handle toddlers again.”
“Sure you can. If not we get you one of those grabber thingies the old folks have … hahahaha” I laughed. He smiled.
“Thanks a lot.”
“Only the best for you, dear!” I winked at him.
“I am glad this has not changed your sense of humor.”
“What? The Petruccio thing or the babies thing?” I asked.
“The vampire thing.” He was all serious now.
“Ha ha ha, did you think I’d turn into some dead serious Nosferatu now?”
“Who knows. I cannot claim to have all the answers if it comes to vampirism.”
“That’s a first. Something the great Ezio Auditore does not know. I’ll mark the calendar.”
“Funny girl. But since you are in such a good mood, I would like to apologize for something I have done to you a long time ago, hoping you will not hate me for it and to finally get it off my chest.”
“Oh boy, maybe I should switch to the motor oil you are drinking before you get started.”
“Yes, maybe. And I have you know that this is the finest Bourbon, a small family distillery where they only make one batch…”
“Ezio.. seriously?” I interrupted the sales pitch.
“When you got pregnant with Addy … and also with Marco … and you could not understand why since we took all the precautions, yet they miraculously failed both times …. I may have had something to do with that.” He avoided looking at me, looked out the window direction ocean instead.
“I knew it! I always felt it. Why?”
“Isn’t the answer obvious?”
“So you had no faith in your sales pitches and reasoning to butter me up eventually?”
“I may be able to sway million dollar deals my way with ease, but I do not think anybody alive or dead is a match for your stubbornness.”
“Thanks. Oh, the flattery.”
“Wasn’t intended to flatter, merely the truth. But my confidence took a real damper when I heard about your pregnancy with Vivian. Once more Blaine outdid me, he did not need to trick you into it.”
“Urgh, here we go again…the measuring contest.” I sighed, emptying the rest of the wine in my glass in one gulp, then reaching for the bottle.
“No worries. Just wanted to be honest with you.”
“If it makes you feel any better.”
“Will you have another?”
“Melissa is talking about wanting a big family. I just cannot see it. Unless of course, and at this point purely hypothetically speaking, I would ask you to turn me. Then I would have much more time.”
“HA HA HA – Ezio! You are too much! I heard about men in their midlife crisis, but you didn’t just take the cake, you took the entire block the bakery was on! You wanting to become a vampire, which you generally despise, so you and your wife and multiply like rabbits?! HAHAHAHAHHAHA!” I was folded over in my chair and in tears for laughter. Ezio merely smiled.
“Yes, you definitely have not changed at all.”
Through a curtain of tears for laughter I blinked at him. “Huh?!”
“You were always such a child. In a good way. All business when I needed you to be, but off the clock you were just so free and light. I was never like that. This is one way how being with you made me better.” he mused away.
“I am sure Melissa would love hearing that.”
“She is not the jealous type and knows that you will always have a place in my heart. But I love HER, and she knows it. She wants more children with me. And I hate having to tell her no. But I hate the thought of leaving her all alone too soon even more.”
“Here we go again. Ezio, you are some tough old cookie. You are not going to die. At least not anytime soon. And even if you did, you wouldn’t notice as you probably would still run off to some meeting or merger or what the heck else.”
“I do mean it though. If I were to ask you sometime in the future to turn me, would you? For old time’s sake?”
“Umm … I can’t. At least not yet. You have to reach a certain level of experience as a vampire before you can muster that. I am not there yet. And I am pretty sure Blaine would refuse as all get out. But I could ask him, if you like.”
“Oh no, I prefer you didn’t. He made himself perfectly clear to me about that before. I’ll pass on the lovely outlook of having your geriatric boyband member impersonator get that close to me.” Ezio shuddered demonstratively.
“You never seem to mind to get up close and personal with him when you are drinking. Or fighting.”
“That’s different.” he dismissed my argument and poured himself another glass.
“Right. Because man-code says so.” I added sarcastically.
“No, because one is beyond your control when you are intoxicated, and the other is because you cannot fight from a distance.”
“Every man is a little bit Neanderthal.”
“At least I am the Neanderthal in a tailored suit and with a proper haircut.” Ezio grinned.
“Careful now. I may not be able to turn you, but I can still drain you! And I just may if you keep insulting my husband.” I play-threatened him.
“You would have to face the wrath of Melissa then and I would not wish that upon anybody. Well, maybe on Blaine. Just maybe.” Ezio laughed.
“I’ll be sure to let him know.” I joked back.
On my way home, which honestly, was less than 2 minutes since Ezio’s mansion nearly sat on top of my little shed, it sunk in what actually transpired. Was Ezio really considering becoming a vampire? Oh Lord help us all if Blaine ever got wind of that. And I would sure not want to be the one to turn Ezio. For several reasons, Blaine being number one.
“Strong tobacco!” I heard, jumped, and saw Blaine leaning up against the sign proclaiming this to be “PRIVATE PROPERTY” by the path down to our house, which was towards the side of the mansion and not the usual gated way in and out most visitors had to take from the road.
“Hey honey! Why are you loitering around here?”
“I was originally loitering around over there, cos I wanted to see what your mafioso was up to these days.”
“He is not my mafioso, he is Melissa’s. Besides, he is not a mafioso at all. He makes his dough honestly, as you know.”
“A business man who is honest and successful? Even I know that is an oxymoron. So he wants to join our ranks, huh? I was waiting for that.” Blaine smirked.
“Have you been eavesdropping?”
“Call it what you want. I just do not trust that dude around you. Better safe, than sorry, isn’t that what you always say?”
“Right, because constantly having to try to keep your grabby paws off me is just not enough for me, I need me a side-dude as well. No sure, you got it Blaine!” I rolled my eyes.
“It’s not you that I am worried about, it’s him and his temper. I wouldn’t put it past him to get drunk one night with you there and go all Italian stallion on you.” Blaine winked at me, then kissed me.
“So that justifies spying on me in your book?”
“Fine, mean Blaine, good Vik. Happy now?”
“You forgot Ezio.”
“No I didn’t. He can take a long walk off the short pier, for all I care. But I tell you this, babygirl. I am not going to turn him and neither are you! I am putting my foot down there. If he really wants to play vampire, he needs to find somebody else. Now let’s go home, the grabby paws thing is not going to do itself.”
“But I can tell you what IS going to do itself tonight, if you keep that up!”
He tickled me, we giggled like school kids and went home.
Amusing little anecdotes, right? But as you know my story usually twists and turns like a gnarly old tree. Well, surprise, not this time. But I got some amusing news. Guess who got themselves knocked up?!
No, not me! Come on now! No, the ice princess and the old creep. Yes, really! Currently taking bets on what that Satan’s spawn will look like. Hard to fathom what you get when you cross something that looks like a merger between an old worn out sandal and a scary nightmare with a perfect little Barbie. Either the most beautiful kid the world ever saw, but with horns and the ability to breathe fire or some crazy ugly contraption where you would not even know which way is up.
Either way, this meant my lil Vivian was going to be free and did not have to be forced to be some version of a vampire Sith overlord, which Vivian was so far from that it wasn’t even funny. She loved everything and everyone, human, vampire, animal and they loved her back. Not the stuff a scary vampire master elder is made of now, is it? Ever since the “happy news” were announced at the last vampire society meeting, Blaine and I have been curling up on the floor at home for laughter about our fantasies of what that kid will be like.
Hey, we never claimed to be prime examples of maturity.
Hopefully we would get to see that kid at all, as rumors about the marriage being rocky soon came up. They were still newlyweds. Interesting that even for someone of Vladislaus Count Dracula’s magnitude a Nicole Vanderbilt may have been too much to handle.