Weeks passed, a sense of normality set in. A week after we lost Adrianna, Liam’s childhood best friend Corbin’s grandmother, Elsa Bjergsen, also passed. He was now living alone in a big house on the Windenburg island. I do not have to tell you that a herd of 16 and 17 year olds alone in a huge house are not the most comforting thought to anyone, even if one of them is a vampire. Corbin was pretty down about now being all alone, as were Liam and Finn about Addy’s death, so those three hung out a lot working through it together. As long as we did not detect any substances we were okay with it. All three boys had nice girlfriends and great friends who did their part in keeping them straight.
Then school was out for summer break.
Liam’s mood increased significantly when he finally reached the level to sun resistance. After thorough testing courtesy of us, to the point that we were fully satisfied that he was indeed sun and light proof, we let him loose to go and finally surprise Leonie with the news. He had been bursting at the seams with it and wanted to make some big entrance at his upcoming 17th birthday but could not wait that long. So he went over to her house in the middle of a bright, yet still cool Summer day, a Saturday. She just about fainted when she opened the door and saw him – in the bright daylight.
“You scared me half to death, you idiot! Couldn’t have given me a heads up?” she yelled at him, once he had explained it all to her.
“Would have been a pretty shitty surprise if I told you up front.” he grinned.
“Well, true, but man, you scared me. I do not deserve to be tortured like that by you.”
“That was not torture, but this is!” he began tickling her with an evil grin, till tears ran down her cheeks for laughter. Her mom and brother were not home, they had the entire house to themselves.
“STOP! Please stop!”
“What do I get for stopping?”
“What do you want?”
“I can think of a lot of things, but how about a kiss?”
“I can do that.”
“I have a question for you too.”
“Will you go to homecoming with me?”
“Finally! I was beginning to consider other offers! Yes, of course I will!”
“Other offers, huh? That’ll cost you another kiss!”
Days were getting warmer and our son, who had been living his life mostly in the dark since his 13th birthday, was now doing typical teenage things in the bright lights. We had never seen him like that. Still, the majority of his time was spent with Leonie.
Early summer fun for Liam and Leonie at her house.
Young love in the summer.
Hanging out with Finn, who is only a few weeks older.
“Hey dude, good to see ya!” Finn said.
“Yeah, been almost a full day since we were at the bowling alley together.” Liam joked.
“Have you asked Alexa to homecoming yet?” Liam asked.
“Overachiever! Wanna share a limo? I can see if Corbin and Channing want to go in with us too and we’ll just take Nathan for free, since he is still single.”
“We need to get him pimped out. Know and available girls?” Finn asked.
“Yeah, Tara.” Liam grinned.
“Oh hell no. That would be super-evil. But I heard Michelle is single again.”
“Too bad, looks like the landing a rich dude didn’t pan out for her after all. Doubt Nathan would be wealthy enough for her taste.” Liam said bitterly.
In other news – Blaine decided to quit the band. It was not an easy decision and while I half-heartedly attempted to talk him out of it, I was more than glad that he did. I hated having him so far away for so long at a time so often.
Blaine, Liam and I decided together to not accept Adrianna’s house and let Vitto have it instead, for whenever he was ready to start settling down and start a family there. He was an Auditore and it was the Auditore House, so it just seemed right.
Besides, turned out that both Blaine and Liam were just as attached to the tiny little house we called home. Ever since we bought this place, Blaine had seriously stepped up his handiness game and by now could probably fix just about anything. I had to give up so much that I was attached to, I was just not ready for more. But with Blaine home more, we would do some more needed remodeling. Blaine decided to take up bartending again. He had always enjoyed it and would write songs for the band against royalty payments. Win-win.
Me, I still worked my butt off at Ezio’s business, more now with Addy gone until Ezio could hire more manpower. Blaine and I still managed to have lots of time with each other.
Oddly, one of our most visited spots was the cemetery. Many loved ones buried there. Plus, it was located in Forgotten Hollow, where Vivian and family lived and Caleb, so we would often combine the visits.
Nathan finally found a girlfriend as well, when a new family moved in right next door to him and invited the entire block to a housewarming party. They had a teen daughter, Mae, and she and Nathan hit it off right away.
According to Liam those two went from a few dates straight to boyfriend and girlfriend. All the other boys had girlfriends so this was good news, meaning poor Nathan was no longer the fifth wheel.
One by one the teens from the clique turned 17. First Nathan, then Channing, Corbin, Finn then Liam and Leonie and somewhere in between the other kids too. They all celebrated together during summer break by spending a weekend at some teen hangout place out in the boondocks somewhere. There was a pool, skating rink, dancefloor with DJ booth, a campground and BBQ-ing spots plus room for a bonfire.
Liam stayed behind after everyone else went home after the weekend birthday bash.
A mistake. Guess whom he ran into. Yup, his crazy ex-girlfriend Tara.
It was too late to run, all he could do was think ‘Oh shit!‘
“Liam! Why did you not invite me to your birthday party?!”
“I am almost offended, Liam!” she scolded him.
“And I am literally almost speechless. Are you shittin’ me?” Liam was truly not sure if he was being had or if she was off her rocker again.
“I don’t get it.” she said, looking puzzled.
“Makes two of us. OK, just to recap, we are no longer together. Finito. Done. Ring a bell?” Liam was already more than annoyed by this conversation.
“I am just not talking to you right now. You owe me an apology. I am leaving now, don’t even dream of following me, until you are ready to apologize!” she put up her hand, turned and stomped off.
We went to see Ben and Fey’s little baby boy Jax. He was so adorable, Blaine was all gooey eyed, when he turned to me, rubbed my shoulders and said
“Still looks good on you, a little baby.”
“More a suggestion.”
“Oh no. We are not having that discussion again.”
“Because only a few years ago you wanted to strangle the kid we already have with bare hands, and years before that, same with the other one. You yourself thanked me for not having more children.”
“You once said it was a maybe, not a no, once the current one is more self-sufficient. Liam is pretty sufficient now.”
“Blaine NO! The end.”
Then summer was over. Liam was so sad about it. It was time for school orientation and back to school photos. It was not customary for parents to be there but Blaine and I were kinda sorta already in the neighborhood. Kinda.
“Mom, dad! What are you guys doing here?!”
“Oh my baby boy! I love you so very much!”
“MOOOOOOOMMMM!!” Dad, do something.”
Blaine strikes a pose.
Work had slowed down, Ezio had reassigned and rehired a bunch of people, and with Liam back at school and gone with his friends and/or Leonie most of the time, I had too much time for unhappy thoughts.
So I began the project of remodeling our home, like we had said so many times that we would. Finally we had the money for it and I had some time. When my first room was done I could not wait to show my men.
I lead them in with a theatric entrance.
As I was showing them around, we lost Blaine at the dresser, head tilted, forehead wrinkled.
I tried to ignore it and kept explaining the reasons for my choices.
“Blaine, hello? Come on!”
He came, but kept looking confused.
“Blaine, what is it about that dresser?”
“I just do not understand what was wrong with what we had, but least of all, why we have a mirror that we cannot use in a room that we hardly use and why there is a bird on our new dresser looking at fish.”
“OMG Blaine. The mirror belonged to the set, and the décor had the right colors and flow as the rest of the room.”
“Even the dog is confused!” Blaine said, pointing at Vader, who stood and stared mesmerized just like Blaine just had. URGH
“So you hate it?” I said, disappointed.
“I did not say that.”
“But you don’t love it either?”
“Babygirl, I have never ‘loved’ furniture, but I love YOU and if that makes you happy, then I am happy with it.”
“What a dude thing to say.”
“Well, last I checked I was one. Even though you always seemed to have my balls in a jar on your nightstand.” he smirked.
“If I did, I don’t anymore. All gone, all donated.” I quipped.
“Shall we try out the new bed then?” Blaine grinned and reached for me.
“Sorry, can’t I have to check on when the rest of the stuff is being delivered.”
“The – rest?! How much more do you want to squeeze in here?!”
“Not in here, in the other rooms!”
“Oh lawdee help me!”
“Mr. Auditore is in his study, follow me please.” the maid told Blaine and pointed.
“Not necessary. I know where it is.”
“Sorry Sir, but I should announce you.”
“All right, then let’s go announce me.”
Blaine shook his head grinning, following the maid, who went to the closed office door, knocked, awaiting the response then opened the door and mentioned Blaine’s name, then gestured him inside, closing the door behind him.
“Blaine, what a surprise. Please, sit. Want a drink.” Ezio said, shaking Blaine’s hand.
“Nah, I am good. What’s with all the pomp all of a sudden? Announcing me.”
“Not sudden, you just never simply stopped by unannounced like this. Where is Viktoria?” Ezio asked.
“You should know. At work. Where for some reason you aren’t.”
“Ha ha ha – it’s called being the boss and owner. But why are you here? Melissa is not in.”
“Vik told me you were playing hooky.” Blaine winked.
“So what brings you here? Hopefully not more bad news, I have had too many of those of late and cannot bear more.” Ezio ignored Blaine’s joke.
“Nah, honestly, I wanted to talk some man talk. I feel like I am about to grow boobs.”
“Sound painful. But I must commend you on your outfit. For once, not the same things as always. I always hoped that at least they were washed nightly.”
“Yeah, that is part of it. Who knew that back to school shopping included house and husband. We go to buy things from Liam’s list and come back with a makeover for me. Yesterday I came home from work and there is a moving truck at our house. Turns out we made over the master bedroom. I am not going to even comment on how much flack I caught for asking totally valid questions, such as why she found it necessary to make over the least used room in a VAMPIRE home – who sleep in coffins, or why there was now a bird staring at fish on our dresser.”
“You should have known better.” Ezio shook his head.
“When we went by the school last week for Liam’s returning for senior year pics, Vik embarrassed the heck out of that kid, having a ‘my baby is growing up’ meltdown, smooching him in front of all his classmates.”
“Did you save him?” Ezio inquired.
“Hell no, I was laughing too hard, that boy can save himself.” Blaine chuckled.
“How are things going with him?”
“Fine, he ended grade 9 with a weak A. I never had that kind of grades, so weak or not, I am proud as hell.”
“Yeah, he is a good kid. Did really well during the internship. Despite the … distraction.”
“He is definitely a much better kid than I ever was. Tried as I might have and no matter how much Vik and her mom helped, I mucked everything up. Makes me kinda want another.”
“Get outta here! You!? What does Viktoria think about it?”
“I give you three guesses.”
Ezio laughed so hard he ended up coughing.
“How did you do it, the … you know … manipulation thing?”
“The mani… oh, you mean the birth control. Oh no, don’t do that. I was also young and foolish and should have never. Besides, if that happened, and she found out you talked to me, she would slice and dice me. No. Do whatever you did to talk her into Vivian. Or Liam, however that came about.”
“Nobody knows where Liam came from, but a few years ago I would have told you straight from hell.”
“And I would have agreed.”
“Are you planning on more children?”
“Possibly, but not right now. Certain wounds are still too fresh. But I do have a piece of advice for you …”