It was winter again, just days away from Winterfest. Every house in Forgotten Hollow was festively decorated. Well, all but one, the largest one up on the hill. The Count and Nicole’s home. Really no surprise there. Caleb and Grace’s home was decorated beautifully and they welcomed us at the door.
The girls were there and Vivian went off to talk with them, I spoke with Grace while watching her and Caleb’s toddlers, Brandyn and Callum. Very sweet kiddos. We learned that their oldest boy had moved out.
“The girls are next. That’s how it goes, even if your life runs eternal, kids still grow up and leave the nest.” Caleb stated with melancholy in his voice.
“Well, you have two little ones to keep you occupied for many years to come, darling!” Grace smiled at him as she gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“Hey man, did you know you can combine the evercast and the dazed spell? Here, let me show ya …” Blaine and Caleb went off to ‘play’ as usual.
“Men, human or vampire, they are just big kids, aren’t they now?” Grace smiled as she poured some spiced cider for us.
Grace had adjusted well and with her usual composure and grace (no pun intended this time) to her new life as a vampire. She had been turned about a month before me, but made it seem effortless and like she had never been anything else. I thought to myself that I wished I had such grace and composure, but I would freak out at certain things and not be cute at all when I did. Like when accidentally drinking too much and turning my ex-husband into a vampire. URGH! Still a sore subject. But luckily Blaine never even brought it up. I knew this was one of the last things he wanted to ever happen.
Here we were now. Home, sweet home. Blaine, Vivian and I had just returned from Addy and Casey’s, like every year prior we had stopped by the night before Christmas to drop off presents for Lauren and Autumn and to have a nice dinner together. Usually Ezio and Melissa would join, but didn’t this year. For some reason Ezio was feeling a little ‘under the weather’. *cough cough*. Yeah, Addy knew. And obviously Melissa did too. It was one of those things that was talked about once, and no more after that.
Now here we were, a little family like many others and yet so very different. Blaine, the once so messed up kid from a very messed up home, now all tame and a family man, me, the former wife of a wealthy business man and local royalty now clipping coupons and selling things I grew in the garden for money while attempting to be an author, a smart and beautiful teen daughter, her whole life so full of promise, yet now anchored down way too young by one bad decision, the whole lot unable to leave the house during the daylight hours, but yet there was so much love here despite of all.
This season always made me very reflective, I thought about lost family members, I thought about Ezio and was thankful yet again that he had finally found true love again, I was grateful that we could still be friends through it all, as I would always have a tender spot in my heart for him. I was grateful for new friends, like Melissa, who had become a bestie like I had not had since I was young. Well, except Blaine of course, but he ranked at a very different level for so many reasons.
“Mom, hello!?” Vivian reminded me that I had been standing by the window, staring out into the winter wonderland the still falling snow had created.
“The topper, Mom…” Vivian pointed at the Christmas tree topper in my hand.
“Oh right!” I sat it carefully atop the almost fully decorated tree. The room was small, like the entire house, so we had to decorate in installments.
“Why are YOU not helping, husband dearest?” I asked Blaine who was in the middle of the living room playing Christmas tunes on his guitar.
“Because, dear wifey, the only bull’s eye I ever hit it if comes to esthetics was slapping that ball and chain on you and creating that one.” he grinned and pointed at Vivian with his chin.
“Oooh, gross daddy. Can we not even have Winterfest without you two talking about or engaging in sexual stuff?” Vivian ruffled her nose.
“Look who’s talking..” Blaine grinned wider and winked at her, referring to her very noticeable baby bump.
“Urgh! I can’t even!” she turned around and continued trying to place the garland just right, while Blaine smirked his Blaine-signature-smirk and winked at me.
We finished the tree, drank Winterfest cocoa a la Blaine (meaning regular cocoa with candy canes in it and a healthy shot of high percentage alcoholic ‘seasoning’ for the adults). We sang songs, accompanied by Blaine on the guitar, Blaine sang a few funny renditions of old festive songs utilizing us or people we knew
“Tis the season to be preggers – falalalalala la la la laaaaa – while our parents are almost beggars falalalalalala laaaaa”
“Vodka run vodka run, Vik got drunk and bit, now ole Ezio roams the streets at night isn’t that just a hit…”
“Dad, can you pleeeeeeeeeeeease be normal for a moment?”
“Hmm, let’s see. Nope.” Blaine grinned at her and continued his terrible rhymes.
“Dad! Come here and light the tree. You too, mom!”
“Yes, Ma’am!” Blaine immediately put down his instrument and saluted, earning himself an eye roll from Vivian.
“Are you ready?” Viv smiled and clicked the button of the remote for the light controls. The room, previously dark as I had flipped the switch, was now engulfed in full Winterfest spirit.
“Ahhhhhhhh” I made, as Vivian clapped!
The phone rang. We all froze and looked at each other. Nobody called us on Winterfest eve normally. A lump formed in my throat. Ezio? Hopefully he had not keeled over ‘dead’ as his transformation began, right there during Winterfest in front of the kids. Melissa would have my hide!
Blaine answered, spoke some short words and hung up. His facial features told nothing. Then he looked up at us and announced that his niece Alexis just gave birth to a healthy little girl the named Ally. Oh yeah, since she and Vivian had the big fallout, we had barely been over there. Alexis’ had gotten around, so to speak, and according to Blaine ‘no wonder, as grandmother as daughter as granddaughter’, referring to his and Blythe’s bad youth as unwanted children of a drug and alcohol addicted mother who financed her habit by prostituting herself. His sister followed a similar path, although she had gotten married young to get away from her grandmother’s strict home, hence her and her children’s last name “Griffith” rather than Cameron. Whether or not the three children she had truly were her ex-husband’s nobody knew. They all looked a lot like the mother, the two older boys had the father listed in their family tree, the girl, Alexis, did not as he strangely already had died long before her birth. Either way, Alexis had found it necessary to gain the boy’s attention by giving herself away freely, which caused severe tension between her and Vivian when Alexis took a boy Vivian was sweet on from her. Which then lead Vivian to her desperate action that got her into her current dilemma. Well, at least nobody died, as Blaine put it.
“Mom, dad, I have no idea what I am going to name my child!” Vivian said, panic in her eyes.
“You still have a bunch of time.” Blaine dismissed her fears and hugged her.
“But still … I do not even have a clue!”
“How about Cameron? No need to remember two names, first equals last, how easy is that?” Blaine winked.
“How about Stephen?” I suggested the first thing that came to mind.
“Ugh, no!” Vivian shook her head.
“How about Buffy, could be male, too right?” Blaine laughed
“DAD! STOP! NOT FUNNY!”
“Chill, kiddo, maybe when you see the baby, a name will come to you, like with a puppy.”
“A puppy? Dad … seriously?”
“Baby, your dad has a point. I am sure a good name will come to you, just relax.”
“Ok, how did you come up with my name then.”
“HA HA HA, yeah Vik, tell her that story!” Blaine laughed. What a jokester. No way I would tell Vivian that she was named after a story her father and I spun while he was about to die and I was married to another man…. OH NO!
“No story, just thought it was a pretty name and that’s that. Right BLAINE?!”
“Whatever you say, babygirl.”
“Daddy, why do you always call mom that?”
“Depends what you heard me call her. And – was I mad at her when you heard it?” Blaine joked.
“Dad, I mean ‘babygirl’. Isn’t mom a bit too old for that?”
“Thanks, baby.” I said grinning. Teens.
“First of all, just so I do not get in trouble and maybe earn a few brownie points, no, kiddo, your mother is not too old for anything. She looks not a day older than when we first met, back in the toddler playgroup. Aside from that, babygirl originated from when we both were young and her mother frowned upon me calling your mother sweet tits.” Blaine laughed, Vivian frowned.
“Why do I even bother!?” she left the room.
“You really are trying hard to get laid, huh?”
“Well, a man has needs …” he joked.
“Yeah, it has been almost a full day …” I kissed him when the door bell rang.
“Yup, there goes that moment for Blaine. I’ll get it. If it is not life threatening, it will be when I am done with them!” Blaine joked.
Well, it was Santa. Despite Vivian’s complaints that she was not a child anymore, once we got to the gift giving part, she might as well have been, as she sat on the floor, glowy eyed, unwrapping pretty much everything from her wish list. The things we do for family …