Things were going well, for everyone, everything just seemed to be on the up and up. For once. This was rare enough for all of us, it seemed.
Addy and her family were doing well, she spent less time at work now and more with her family, and was training Vitto to eventually take over in her stead after college, which made for a very pleased Ezio – and Melissa, although, her goal was to have all children safe and happy, and I think he could have been a street artist for all she cared, as long as it made him happy. Having her husband content knowing his company would go into capable hands long term, obviously was a big plus for her.
Liam was more than happy about his internship, although I had the feeling it had nothing to do with planning his future and everything to do with Leonie.
Ben came over one evening, without Fey, which was unusual, but made a lot more sense when he carefully worked up to the decision that he was done with performing and had found a job as a realtor, leaving Blaine with the difficult task of finding new people to perform with in less than two weeks time. I knew he loved being there with his grandson. He bitterly joked to me about something being wrong with him, not only had I left him alone on stage, now Ben too. But Blaine wouldn’t be Blaine if he didn’t recover quickly, even though things went a lot differently than I had imagined. Ultimately he wanted what’s best for Ben, even if that meant losing him as a colleague.
He called up an old friend of his, who turned out to be very interested in performing with Blaine again, like they had apparently done at some point during the 5 years Blaine and I had lost touch. What he was not interested in was standing on the same stage in the same club on just weekends and sometimes during the week. He wanted to found a real band and actually had a bunch of leads. Personally I wasn’t really keen on that idea, but Blaine’s eyes lit up, so I supported it, wanting him to be happy. Lots of interviews, trial performances and late night meetings later they eventually had a new rock band together they decided to name “Crashd N Burnd”, and yes, purposely misspelled. I was fine with the two male members, despite them fitting the typical rock band member cliché to the T. The female member, she went by the name of Kat, so presumably her name was some version of Kathryn, was my big hang up. Everybody was pretty enamored with her, while I found her slutty and abrasive, which is still putting my true feelings about her mildly. Feeling was mutual, she looked at and treated me like I was some overly conservative, dowdy old schoolmarm. She evidently had the right type of voice and played the bass as well, Blaine was more than happy to hand over lead vocals to her, even though he had a great voice himself, but never was too crazy about the singing himself part, always preferred playing the guitar. He still did vocals for some songs and sang some duets with Kat. Tucker was the drummer and Rob was the keyboarder.
At first there were tons of rehearsals, then the performances at the club and then more performances in other places. They took off like a rocket, and soon they were going on local, regional and not long after that, even nationwide tours. Blaine was as excited as a kid in a candy shop, called daily and shared memorable or funny moments with me via text messages. But I still missed him, when he was gone for days at first, then weeks at a time. Not gonna lie, it was rough on me, and I am sure on Blaine as well. Liam was so wrapped up in his own issues, he barely noticed anything not to do with Leonie.
Luckily it was the end of the year, meaning busy times in the financial world, so I worked late often. Liam took his own car to work and I was not too concerned about him being without parental supervision. Since vampire teens do not eat, and I knew he was trying to get his grades up if only to impress Leonie, I didn’t worry about him home alone.
Friday night came. Liam was parked around the corner from the bus station in Newcrest where he was supposed to pick up Leonie. Not wanting to be late, he had been here over 30 minutes early, but now it was finally time to go. He started the car and wished himself luck. One chance. One single chance. Don’t mess it up, man! he told himself. As he drove down the street he could already see her, sitting on the bench by the bus stop and luckily, nobody else around. He stopped, she jumped up and straight into his car and off they went. Where to? Who knew? There was really no ‘safe’ place for them, with her dad being the Chief of Police, it did not matter where they went, if it were any typical hangout or date spot, they ran the risk of being seen together. So something unconventional, that would still put her at ease about his intentions, and was indoor so she would not freeze in winter. Liam had been racking his brain, but was still clueless.
“So, where would you like to go?”
“Wasn’t that your job to figure out? You had plenty of time.”
“What about emancipation? Why do I have to pick the spot?”
“Because YOU wanted this date.”
“Oh, and you didn’t?”
“Uh. Fine. Wanna catch a movie?”
“Are you crazy? Everybody is going to see us together. If any of them mention it to Steven, I am toast. So no.”
“So bowling and darts are out then too, huh? What about Club Zero?”
“Are your parents home?”
“My mom probably is. Dad’s on touring with his band.”
“That is awesome! Wish my dad was cool like that. Do you play music too?”
“Nah, my sister got all that talent. I can play a few chords, but not really into it. You think guitar is cool?”
“Oh yeah! And singing .. everything on stage, really!”
“My mom sings. Or used to. Now they have another chick doing the vocals with dad. She’s pretty good.”
“You need to get me tickets at some point.”
“No problem. Next time they are local at the Skyline we can go. I get in free.”
“So wait. You would go to my house? Even if nobody is there?”
“Sure. I have been there many times. Before dad came up with his stupid rules. Your parents always leave us be anyway, so no different than alone. As long as there are no more crazy exes doing their drive-bys.”
“If that happens again, I swear I am moving.”
They drove to our house, I wasn’t home, Ezio had me working late again.
The teens watched some TV, talked some more about their lives.
Within a few hours they gotten each other caught up on each other’s lives and felt like they had known one another for a long time.
A week had passed. Leonie and Liam were really hitting it off and while she still kept him at a distance, they saw a lot of each other now, at work and whenever Leonie could sneak out. Lacking other places due to their special circumstances, they usually hung out at our house.
Blaine was finally back in town from the tour. No rest for the weary though, not even unpacked from the trip yet ‘Crashd N Burnd’ were giving a concert in town tonight, at the Skyline. It was Friday and therefore would be packed. I had missed my husband and felt like showing support so I left work in time and went to see them. They were great, I have to admit that. After the show I decided to surprise Blaine in the locker room. He did not know I was in the audience. I was going to ‘kidnap’ him for a romantic night out, if he wasn’t too tired, which was unlikely, Blaine seemed to have boundless energy usually. Paired with the adrenaline from the show, it promised to be a really nice time for just us after a long time apart. If he was home, I was working, whenever I was home, he was performing somewhere. It had been weeks since the last time we had exchanged more than just a quick kiss. And I was ready for more. Overdue, actually. I put on really nice lingerie that morning in anticipation of things to come.
I walked backstage, talked a moment with one of the bouncers, they all knew me well. We joked and still grinning I went into the locker, didn’t bother knocking. My smile faded instantly at the view presented to me.
There was Blaine, shirtless, perched on one of the benches, and Kat sitting on his lap, wearing little more than what seemed to be panties made from dental floss and nothing else, his hands on her hips. When they saw me, Blaine jumped up, Kat slid off him and all I could focus on was the very obvious reaction to her in his crotch region. I gasped, my brain refusing to compute the scene when my fight or flight instinct kicked in, I finally unfroze after what felt hours but was probably only seconds. I just ran. I don’t recall how I got to the car, all I faintly remember was nearly hitting another car entering the parking lot while I shot out into the road like a bat out of hell. I was screaming in anguish while tears were flowing freely down my cheeks to the point that I could barely see where the hell I was going anymore. And frankly, I couldn’t have cared less at this point.
The same scene from Blaine’s View
The crowd cheered and demanded another encore but the band was done now. Once off the stage, Blaine’s ears were ringing, he felt the usual adrenaline rush when heading towards the dressing rooms. Tucker and Rob patted him on the back, congratulating each other on another great show, inviting him along for a night out on the town, but Blaine was done with partying for a while. He wanted to go home and have a nice, boring night in with his wife. As exciting as this dream of a successful band come true was, a new hotel room every night got old fast and he had missed her like crazy. Right now he felt grungy, not the way he wanted to present himself to Viktoria, so he took a quick shower. While still in his boxers, pulling out a change of clothing from his duffel bag, he found a brand-new package of replacement guitar strings and decided to put them on, before he forgot yet again. He sat on one of the benches and started working on his instrument when the door opened and Kat entered.
“Wow, that was a helluva show, right? I am wiped and wired at the same time!” she said in her raspy voice.
“Yeah, me too. Can’t wait to get home. Just gotta finish with ‘the Beast’, then I’ll make like a baby and head on outta here.” Blaine said.
“The Beast?” she said amused, one eyebrow raised.
“Yeah, my guitar. It’s a beast sometimes, just acts up. It’s old, probably should get it checked out.” Blaine explained.
“Get a new one, dude, we should have the dough just raining on us soon. Plus, you need it for work, so you can probably write it off on your taxes and shit.” she shrugged.
“Nah, I like this one. Has sentimental value to me. Was given to me a long time ago by someone very important to me.” Blaine’s eyes glazed over as he reminisced about his 13th birthday at Vik and her mother’s home when they bought this one for him. The very first song he ever composed was for her. He was smiling and lost in thought, when he looked up and noticed Kat was almost naked. There was only one locker room in the building, everybody had to share.
“Damn, I can give you some privacy, just needed to let me know.” Blaine put the guitar down and stood up, but Kat was now in front of him, surprised him with a rough push against his chest, sending him back into a seated position, baffling him just long enough to allow her to climb atop him.
“No worries big guy, I am not shy.” she cooed, running her finger tips slowly up and down his thighs.
“But I am married, and on that note …” he put his hands on her hips to push her off of him when the door opened.
He looked past Kat, saw Vik, and her facial expression.
Time seemed to stand still, everybody was frozen in their tracks just staring until Viktoria let out an odd yelping sound and put her hand over her face.
Instead of lifting Kat off him Blaine now simply stood up sending her down, she barely managed to catch herself to keep from falling, everybody unable to function. Once Blaine could think that he should move or say something, there was now only an empty spot where Vik had stood before, as the door fell shut. Blaine wanted to run after her, then remembered he was only in his boxers and the club was full of people. Grabbing his jeans and shirt he realized he had an erection, which in his boxers was hard to miss. This was NOT going to be easy to explain. By the time he was dressed, she was long gone and her car was nowhere to be found. Blaine cursed up a storm, texting her, calling her cell phone to no avail.
At the same time at home in Brindleton Bay
“Man, is this supposed to be prep work for Jeopardy? Who needs to know all this shit?” Liam complained.
“We do, if you want any decent score on your SATs. Which you need and want, if only because I say so.”
“Yes Ma’am. Cramming till it bursts in 3, 2, 1 – wheee!”
“Good boy! You may get a treat if you keep this up.”
“Great reward for someone who cannot eat anything…” Liam complained.
“Maybe I wasn’t talking about food … ” she gave him a look and a smile that made him hot and cold at the same time. She looked adorable, chewing on her lips, touching her fingers to her mouth as if contemplating something.
Liam was not sure what do to or say now. He knew what he wanted to do, but was dead set on keeping everything just friendly until she would tell him otherwise.
He saw her move, her hand coming closer, her whole body leaning in. In a sort of reflex he shifted his arm around her waist, while noticing her arm on the bed behind him, and then he felt her hand on his chest. He could have sworn his heart was beating hard, even though as a vampire he never had a heartbeat.
The next just happened, somehow.
Suddenly her face was there, immediately in front of his. He just leaned towards her and felt the kiss.
Liam did not know what to think – or say – once the kiss was over. His mind was going 90 miles an hour, his thoughts a mess and tumbling over each other. He felt happy, excited, adrenaline rushing through him – and scared. He felt that he should say something now. Just what? Something witty – or romantic? Just anything would be good about now. But his brain was completely blank.
Instead she spoke.
“You did it. I officially do not think you are an ass anymore.” she smiled at him.
“Oh really? So what do you think of me now?” he returned the smile.
“Definitely secret boyfriend material.” she winked then offered her hand to him pulling him up off the floor.
“Ask me.” she demanded.
“Ask you what?”
“If I want to be your girlfriend.”
“OK, do you want to be my girlfriend?”
“Maybe.” she giggled.
“You are evil!”
She kissed him again.
The rest of the afternoon was not very productive, instead spent making out.
“Mr. Auditore, there is a Mr. Cameron downstairs to see you. I do not have him on your schedule and am not familiar with him, but judging by the last name I assume a relation to Mrs. Cameron.”
“Blaine is here? Have security send him up. Wonder what that is about now.”
Minutes later, a knock on the door and Helen announced Blaine, letting him walk in, closing the door behind him to give them privacy.
“I admit, this is a surprise indeed. Is everything ok? You look terrible. Are you sick?”
“Have you heard from her? Is she here?”
“Who? Viktoria? No, she texted me that she was ill. I assumed she was home. Guess she is not? What happened? Please have a seat.”
“I can’t sit. I have to find her. Give me your phone!”
“No. Let’s take it slow. Do you want a drink? You look like you could use one.”
“I don’t want a fucking drink, I want your phone! Please!”
“Tell me what happened.”
Blaine told him the story. Ezio frowned, got up and poured two Bourbons, handing one glass to Blaine.
“Let me call her. Just stay quiet. I’ll see if I can figure this out.”
I was at some no-tell-motel where someone would finally accept some cash payment. Took me half a dozen attempts to find one that didn’t insist on credit cards. I had been sitting in this room for days now, since Saturday morning, feeling paralyzed. For once the fact that the police did not really rush to find non-mortals came in handy. Even if Blaine reported me missing, it would be weeks. By then I would have something figured out. He had sent me a pile of text messages and kept calling until I blocked his number for both.
Then, yesterday I got a message from Caleb. I was surprised, but him being the Elder, I read it.
Vik, it’s Blaine from Caleb’s phone. Please…
I don’t know the rest as I quit reading, deleted it and blocked Caleb as well. Your own damn fault, I thought, if you choose to help cheating assholes!
I could see that I was maybe overreacting, but the feeling was indescribable, and memories of my very first marriage came back. I never really worried about being cheated on, except that one time when a woman came to our house and claimed her baby was Blaine’s. Once I was able to think it came clear that she was lying, which was proven by science later. Aside from that, I had seen millions of times how women threw themselves at him, but never once truly thought he would go for it. Maybe I was the naïve fool for feeling too sure of our relationship. All I knew was that I could not forgive betrayal.
My phone rang. I looked at the display. It could be one of my kids. I felt bad for abandoning Liam, but thought it was up to Blaine to explain that mess to him.
The caller ID claimed it was Ezio calling. I was nearly certain that he would not hand his phone to Blaine, and he was still my boss, so I answered.
“Viktoria, thank goodness. Are you all right?”
“Sure. I won’t be in tomorrow. So sorry.”
“I am not worried about that. But – where are you?”
“Blaine is here.”
“Viktoria, please don’t hang up…”
I hung up, contemplating blocking his number too.