1-76) Dates

The sun began to set over San Myshuno. I looked up from the proposal I had been reading over and out of the window, leaned back in my chair, propped my feet onto the desk. Still loved this view, even though it was pretty cloudy and foggy today. Still amazing in its own right. San Myshuno.
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Man, my life had changed so much since I had once moved here as a young college graduate all those years ago. Never for a second would I have ever expected my life to go the way it did. It sure had been a rollercoaster. And still was.
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My oldest child and her husband were expecting their third child and first boy, my best friend just had her fifth, an adorable healthy boy with an amazing set of lungs, my youngest daughter Vivian was trying for a child with her husband, since everything seemed to have changed for the better after some big argument they had, which admirably they somehow worked through without involving Blaine and me for a change.
Vitto’s life had come around and Ben and Fey had moved into a house in Brindleton Bay together, and I just knew that they were going to get engaged soon, possibly even have a child. Yes, indeed, it was raining babies and as long as that did not include Blaine and me, I was happy about it.
Blaine’s career was going well, he thoroughly enjoyed performing with his grandson, whom he had been so involved with raising since his dad, Blaine’s older son, died suddenly when the boy was still a teen.

And I was here in the office, doing things I loved, with people I cared about, most of all my daughter and Ezio. Work was sometimes rough, and there were bad days, like in any other job, but overall it was a great opportunity and it made me happy. Plus, our bank account was finally looking really healthy. We had started some home improvement projects. Nothing too elaborate, but at least a bathroom overhaul. For now.

“I do not pay you to daydream out the window, young lady!” Ezio scolded me jokingly, startling me.
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“Well, thank you for the young lady part .. ” I winked at him, swinging my feet back down, directing my attention to some last minute emails, while Ezio came over to me.
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“You are welcome, although I am not sure how much of a compliment that really is as a vampire. Kinda makes me wish I would have gotten turned sooner, when I was still not too shabby myself.”
“Ha ha ha, oh come on now. I am not even going to go there. You would not have Lissa and 5 children if you didn’t still have what it takes to make the ladies swoon. But I bet you didn’t come see me to exchange compliments. Anything you need from me?”
“Indirectly. Lissa has been stuck at home for the most part or just doing the usual routines. I was thinking maybe the four of us could have a nice night out. I am open to venue suggestions. Do you have plans tonight?”
My lips drew into an evil grin as I turned towards Ezio.
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“Oh no, Viktoria, I am NOT going THERE!”
“Way to be open, OLD MAN.”
“Hey, that is a low blow! I just do not like that particular kind of music. And I am using that term loosely.”
“We do not have to be there for the entire performance, but I know it would mean a lot to Blaine – and Ben – if you and Lissa could show some support. I know Melissa has been dying to go see Blaine and Ben live.”
“What makes you think I want to show support for that … you know what, fine. We’ll go. But after that we go to something truly cultural, and maybe get our hearing tested.”
“Prejudiced much? And I got culture covered.”
“You do? May I ask what you have in mind?”
“No, you may not. You will be surprised and happy. That’s an order. And now let’s get finished up here and ready to go, I need to make a few calls. Oh, and Ezio, you are in charge of transportation, unless you all want to pile up into the Golf or better yet – Blaine’s bike.” I got up to get us both ready to leave on time.
“I will have the driver on standby!” Ezio said.
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Once Ezio left my office, I sat in one of my visitor chairs and called Blaine, telling him to get a ride to work with Ben tonight and about our plans.
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He was a baby about it at first but then agreed. Oh yeah, the Blaine vs. Ezio thing was still a thing. I think they just did the bickering and complaining out of habit now. He had to leave before I could be home, so we would catch up with him at the Skyline, the club where he and Ben had regular performances.
After that I had something else planned, which needed to make some calls for. I was kind of excited about all this. We had never done anything like this before. Sure, the four of us had been out together before, more times than I could count, but never a true double date night.

Walking into the club, Ezio looked as out of place as he probably felt, while Mel and I blended right in. We took him into our middle, which seemed to make him more comfortable. Made it up to close to the stage, despite the show being in full swing. At first Ezio was being a drama queen, covering his ears and pulling faces, while Melissa and I were dancing and singing along to the few covers they threw in between the original songs. Suddenly I looked next to me and saw Ezio tapping his feet to the rhythm, soon he was cheering and singing, complete with his hands up in the air, just like everybody else. Told ya.
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We were all reddish for excitement in the face when I took them backstage. It was fun.

After that I gave Jefferson, Ezio’s driver, a piece of paper with the location. We ended up at the movie theater for a action comedy that had just come out and seemed to be a hit.
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Melissa had mentioned she wanted to see it. We were all rolling on the floor … and enjoying ourselves tremendously.
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After that we stopped for drinks at the Stargazer Lounge. We had not been here together since Ezio and I had the big fight here many months ago.

When we finally got home, Friday had long turned into Saturday. We were all exhausted. Liam was spending the night at the Auditores, along with Liam and Autumn, Addy’s child, and Vivian and Silas were watching them. To get more practice, as they told me. Hopefully they would not need THAT much practice, but really, that would be up for them to decide.

*

She knocked on the door.
Finally she heard it being unlocked. Vitto looked surprised.
“I come in peace.” Vivian smiled.
Vitto hesitated for a second, but stepped aside and let her in.
“Do you not speak anymore?” she asked.
“Sure. Sorry. Just surprised. And not really that eager to have some angry husband knock next, looking for you, punching my lights out in the process. Or wait, I think it would be your turn again.” the hint of a smile now turned the corners of his lips.
“Oh, I swear, no beating tonight. Beer?” she walked over to his fridge grabbed two bottles of beer and a bottle opener, setting both on the couch table before sitting down.
“Umm, not sure we should. You know … so nobody forgets themselves and behaves … odd.”
“Aww .. I don’t think that is a really problem anymore.” she opened two bottles, handing him one.
“Meaning?”
“Addy and mom have told me things about your lil Miss France ….”
Vitto blushed deep shades of red.
“Aww, you are so adorable! Come here you!” she hugged him, he stiffly returned the hug. Last time he got beaten by her husband when he hugged her.
“Oh, loosen up, Vitto. So let’s sit and tell me about her. I have something to tell you too, a secret, you’ll be the first non-immediate family member to hear, but you go first.” she beamed.
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“I can already guess your secret, Viv.”
“Oh, can you now? Try me.” she smirked.
“You’re pregnant.”
“WHAT? How did you know?” she looked like a kid whose balloon was popped.
“I may be a nerd, but am not an idiot. Plus I have known you forever. It’s obvious by the way you act and that perma-grin. And congrats. But should you be drinking?”
“Both parents are vampires. No biggie.”
“I still think we better celebrate with something else.” he pulled the bottle out of her hands before she could drink, went to kitchen and came back with a can of soda for Vivian.
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“WOW. You will make a great daddy one day.”
“Slow your roll, will you? I am still not fully over the Alycia shock. No babies for me anytime soon, please!”
“I think my mom set you up all right for that.” Vivian was referring to a giant box of condoms I had gifted Vitto. More a functional dare by Blaine.
“Ha ha. Does everybody know about that now?” Vitto blushed again.
“Not yet, but if I can’t even have a sip of that beer from you, I will tell the world!”
She grabbed it from him, took a healthy sip and handed it back to him.
“You know, for a while there I really thought I lost you as a friend. Now I still feel like an idiot, but at least we are still good. We are good, right?” Vitto said.
“Hey, you are my first address re. the baby news. What do you think?” Vivian smiled at him.
“I am glad. Sorry to ruin the surprise. Want my best shocked face to make up for it?”
“Nah, I got plenty of that at the Alycia/Fey incident at your dad’s.”
“No kidding. I have just been feeling totally incapable over the past months.”
“Oh, you’re capable. Just carrying around some unresolved issues you need to work through. Learned that myself not that long ago.”
“What unresolved issues would YOU have?”
“Hello? Lucca, for starters…”
“Oh, those issues. Well, I guess then I have you beat. Which of my shitty mothers shall I start with, the biological one or the gold-digger?” he asked sarcastically.
“At least you have a good one now. But I wanted to say something to you regarding all that, too. Namely that I am sorry Vitto. Truly sorry. You have been nothing but awesome to me and I have treated you like shit. Not intentionally, but still. I realized it, actually Silas made me realize it, and I felt horrible ever since. Surprised you are even still talking to me.” Vivian said sincerely, looking straight at Vitto.
“Is that why you brought the beer? To lube me up from the inside in case I were still upset?” he grinned.
“Maybe.” she winked at him.
“Truth be told, you were kinda shitty to me. But I assume part of the responsibility. I was so blinded with rose-colored glasses that I just could not understand that you meant no, when you said it. I should have counted my losses then and gone home. It’s just that your dad told me to not give up prematurely. So I thought maybe there was hope. But I am really done with getting the shit beaten out of me now. And besides, I know I am no Adonis. The only thing I really have going for me is my last name, or dad’s wealth.”
“Vittorio Auditore! How dare you speak about my best friend in the whole world like that! I should beat you up for it!”
“Been there, done that, wore the bandage.”
“Joking aside, you are one of the cutest, smartest, coolest and awesomest dudes out there. Really. You are just not MY type, but I betcha there are a lot of cute girls out there that are NOT gold-diggers who would fall over themselves to date you. You just need to get out there. You learned good lessons and now you can put them into action. Or just go after that French gal. Madison or something.”
“Madelaine.”
“Right. So what’s going on there?”
“I am sure Addy already told you about what I did.”
“Aaaaand?”
“Well, let’s just say she is not so mad at me anymore and no longer thinks I am an asshole.”
As if on cue there was a knock on the door. Vitto looked at Vivian, surprised, but went to open.
“Madelaine!”
She kissed him.
“Bon soir … it’s not bad time, non?” she asked when she noticed Vivian.
“Oh no, not at all, come in in. Let’s go sit. Beer, soda, coffee?”
Vivian had gotten up off the couch.
“Hi, I am Vivian.” she offered her hand, smiling.
Madelaine turned to Vitto, pointing at Vivian.
“Is that the whore or the one that hits?”
Vitto blushed, while Vivian laughed and answered for him.
“I am the one that hits, his best friend, but I promise I’ll be good tonight.”
“Bon, I’ll take a beer, sil vous plait, mon Cherie.”
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Vivian just grinned when Vitto and Madelaine got cuddlier and cuddlier – until she pretended needing to leave, but the real reason was to give them privacy. She smiled all the way home. Good for you, Vitto! She’s perfect for you! she thought to herself.

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*

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