Vitto came into the bedroom again.
“Sweetheart, we really have to go now. We are already late.”
“OK, I’ll just go naked then. Nothing freaking fits anymore. Dammit!”
“Just wear what you have been wearing, honey…” Vitto tried carefully.
“Sweatpants and a hoodie? Outside? You have GOT to be kidding me! I work in fashion! If anyone sees me…”
“I could throw a towel over your head and guide you to the car, where you lay down in the backseat until we arrive at your parents .. ouch!” Vitto grinned until Vivian swatted at him.
“One more word and I will kill you! This is not funny! I am FAT! And not even in the second trimester yet. I am going to be a hippo by the time I give birth!” she looked upset.
“I’ll love you anyways … and you look like you always do …”
“Go get the car or something!”
Vitto was more than glad to get out of that discussion. He hated confrontation. If that was what those hormones were doing he had a fun 6 months ahead of him. Luckily some of that time would be spent getting un-turned.
Today was the day where all that would get started. Everybody’s lives would change tremendously.
They were on their way to Vivian’s parents’ beachhouse, where everybody would meet. He already knew his parents had agreed to do this. Liam was the initiator, unlikely he would back out and Vivian was doing it. For him. And for their unborn child. As Vitto was unlocking the car he smiled. She was really his wife now and he would really be a father, at last. And soon neither of them would be a vampire anymore. He felt like all his dreams were coming true one by one.
Even though Vivian had a temper, he had known her like that all his life and didn’t mind it much. He had always known that she would never intentionally hurt him, even those times when he tried to win her love and failed. Even that time he ended up with a black eye. It had all just been a series of unfortunate events. In school he was the quiet nerd and often picked on, but not under Vivian’s watch. She had always been very popular and fiercly defended her Vitto.
To Vitto, being mortal equalled a semblence of normality. Death did not scare him. Living forever did. He had seen what it did to other, much older vampires, like his birth mother. She was so very cold and emotionless. Caleb, her brother once told him she had not always been like that, but a sweet, warm, caring young girl. Hard to believe. Either way, he did not want to ever be that way and neither did he want anyone he cared about to end like that.
Chances were, if his parents were to lose his mortal siblings, one by one, they would grow cold. His father was still not over the death of his first son, nor over Adrianna’s.
Vivian came out to the car now. He smiled. There was a slightly visible baby bump in her very slender frame, and her usually fragile midsection had filled in. He loved that bump. It was new life, his child, and with her, the love of his life for as long as he could recall. He still could hardly believe they were married.
“You look ravishing, sweetheart.” he told her when she sat down in the passenger seat.
She gave him that look, but her angry expression, suddenly changed to a smile, her eyes softened.
“You are too much, Vitto. No matter how much of a bitch I am to you, you are just so sweet. I just want to eat you up.”
“Well, as long as you can do that while I am driving. I really hate to be so late.”
“Blame it on me. Nobody will be mad at you. You are way too adorable. Besides, they all know I am … complicated.” she chuckled at her own words, while Vitto grinned.
The drive was a short one, on foot it was barely a 20 minute walk, via car much less.
They arrived, knocked, received a tirade by Ezio, who happened to be the one opening the door, which almost lead to an argument between him and Vivian, which was interrupted by Blaine, who put his arms around both, kissed each on the cheek, smirked, then let go and went into the living room.
“What the … I should go get a rabies shot now. That was disturbing and disgusting, you fool!” Ezio complained rubbing his cheek.
“Dad, have you been drinking?” Vivian grinned, also rubbing her cheek.
“If I had a drink for every time that one bitched about you being late, I’d be in a coma now.” Blaine said, pointing at Ezio.
“Tardiness is a very bad character flaw and I taught my son better! Evidently Vivian has yet to learn how to read the time.” he told Blaine.
“Hey! I happen to be pregnant with YOUR grandchild!” Vivian complained.
“Guys! Do we have to do this every time you all come over?” I interfered.
“Your husband and daughter ..”
“…yes, Ezio?” one look at my facial expression told him to stop or face the wrath of momma bear defending her pregnant baby girl.
“Nothing. Let’s just get started aready.” Ezio grumbled and went over to Melissa, who was unusually quiet.
I pulled Blaine aside to whisper to him, which he mistook for me wanting to make out. When he finally came up for air, and I succeeded in fighting him off me, I heard Ezio clearing his throat vehemently.
“Blaine, can you not be nice to him.” I whispered to my husband.
“I kissed his ugly mug! How much nicer could I be? The alternative was punching him out, but I know I’d be deaf in one ear from you yelling at me had I done that.” Blaine told me, grinning.
“OK, ground rules. No kissing of anyone but family anymore.” I wagged my finger at him.
“Ha, the dude is family now. What else ya got, babygirl?” he winked.
I sighed, watching Blaine smirk victoriously, which made me smile too. It was pointless. Why I still kept trying was beyond me. It was impossible to win an argument against Blaine. I had known that since I was a teen.
“Mom, dad, you guys ready then?” Liam asked.
“Yeah, sure.” I grabbed Blaine’s hand and pulled him with me.
The discussion was brief. Everyone present was going to do it. All of us here, all vampires would undergo the un-turning. Since there was not much more to discuss, we collectively went over to Caleb’s home.
He patiently answered all our questions. He was a very nice and laid back guy, and luckily did not seem upset at all about losing 7 of his flock all at once and to pour salt in the wound, having to be the one performing the procedure.
I was sure that we would remain friends even after the un-turning.
“Now, I know I have said this before, but I cannot stress it enough. While this fundamentally is a very safe procedure and has been done countless of times through the ages, there are some risks associated with it. This is not meant to scare anybody, or discourage you, but I need you all to go into this fully aware of the risks. Without being too graphic, you all – at this point – are basically corpses. Whatever powers – or magic, if you so want – makes us vampires, will leave you, while your body is reproducing vital organs and functions. You will receive a steady supply of different fluids, including of course blood transfusions. As the vampiric powers leave you, you will fall into a deep coma from which you cannot be awoken until your body is ready. And once the process has begun, it cannot be reversed. Once you wake, you will be very disoriented, and most likely pretty unwell for several days. It is important for you to drink and introduce human food into your system, even though you will most certainly void it orally again.”
“Just say we’ll be barfing like llamas, man. We are not high society here.” Blaine interrupted grinning.
“But only some of us prefer vulgarity!” Ezio told him.
“Blaine, you would probaby be reminded of the times when you were very ill, with as sick as you will be, but in this case it is all normal and to be expected. Ezio, I would plan to be out of work for at least a solid month. Same goes for you, Vittorio. I think Liam already made such arrangements. Nothing is going to happen for about a full four weeks for either of you. Just be aware.”
“Four weeks? I thought two or so…” Melissa was shocked.
“That is the average time it takes for the transformation itself, you will not be able to work for some time after that. This is not a speedy process. And if you consider what all has to happen, it is amazing that it only takes a month.”
This was a lot of food for thought. Leonie had not yet arrived with her kids, so I immediately worried about Bandit. Caleb told me, he would look after him until Leonie would get here.
Less than an hour later, we all were on our way to the Drake’s large castle-like home on the hill in Forgotten Hollow. There were large caverns beneath, where we could transform completely unaffected and uninterrupted even thought a tornado or earthquake. All of our coffins had already been brought here.
We greeted Autumn and Lucien briefly, they could see that we all were very tense, and Caleb did not want our nerves to get the better of us, so he got straight to business.
“Do we have to take our clothes off or something?” Blaine asked.
“Yeah, you’d like that, punk.” Ezio told him.
“What? Could be…” Blaine argued.
“No, Blaine, no need. You will be turning into a human, not the incredible Hulk. Your clothes will be fine. In fact, I would prefer them on you, considering I will be the one having to check on all of you frequently. I love you man, but not like that.” Caleb grinned.
“Aww…” Blaine blew him a kiss, to which Caleb snorted a laugh, while I poked Blaine’s side.
“Are you trying to cheat on me here, husband?”
“Never. Just have to keep practicing my charm, so it don’t get busted like that one’s over there.” he pointed at Ezio.
“I’ll bust something on you here in a minute.” he retorted.
While the four of us were having the usual tiff, Vivian and Vitto were making out and Liam was facetiming with his family.
Just Melissa stood by quiet and tense, even the sudden laughter of one of us made her wince.
Within less than 30 minutes – temporary – goodbyes were exchanged, then we were all tucked away in our coffins where we would simmer back into humans.
I woke up. My head hurt something fierce, so I raised my hand up to it and rubbed it. Somehow the movement felt like in slow motion, but try as I might, it would not go any faster. I felt somehow congested, so I tried to clear my throat and coughed. Suddenly the lid of my coffin was raised. It was so very bright, and when my eyes were able to focus I saw Ezio.
“Viktoria, thank goodness! Here take my hand and go slow.”
Why Ezio?, I thought, but okay. I fought a bout of sickness, then I took his hand, he had to really pull hard, I was like a wet sack of flour, until he gave up and just reached in and lifted me out. As he sat me down on the ground it took a second for me to find equilibrium.
“You are doing much better than I did when I woke, I was worse than a drunken sailor.” he smiled.
“Anybody else up?”
“Oh yeah, everybody. Except you and …. ummm…. well, let’s get you upstairs.”
We managed the stairs and I had to say I was doing okay. Kinda slow, like you are after recovering from a bad cold.
“Where is everybody? I thought you said they were up.”
“They are. At home. We all woke up several days before you. Vitto is actually back at work, thankfully. Melissa is home, so is Vivian and Liam is with Leonie at your house. I think they might even be out looking at houses.”
“Ok, where is that rotten husband of mine? Couldn’t he get his ass over here to greet me? I mean no offense, always happy to see you too Ezio, but I kinda really want Blaine now.” I smiled excited to have my old Blaine back and be all human with him.
Immediately I could tell something was wrong.
I knew Ezio too well, even his business-face could not cover up the fact that something was not right.
“Wait. Before you say anything. Where is Blaine?”
“He has not woken yet.”
“What the hell? Maybe I should go check on him…”
“Viktoria no.” Ezio held me back by my arm. Now I really knew something was up.
“WHAT IS GOING ON?!”
“There have been complications.”
“What kind of complications?” my voice was a lot more shrill and loud than I meant for it to be.
“Viktoria, you are up.” I heard Caleb’s voice now.
“What is with Blaine?!” I almost yelled at him.
“There have been some …”
“If you say complications now I will scream! What kind of complications? And … fix it.”
“Viktoria, I am not a magician. Besides, you are now pretty much out of my jurisdiction and …”
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?”
“Please calm down.”
“I AM CALM!”
“See Caleb, I told you it was better if I waited and not Melissa or one of Viktoria’s kids…” Ezio said to Caleb, which made me really mad.
“Why are you treating me like I am some sort of maniac here?! I want my husband. Help him? If not, I will.”
“Vik, at this point there is not much we can do … we may have to face the possibility that he won’t come back.”
“WHAT!” I screamed, turned bright red, while tears shot into my eyes and ran like rivers after a torrential downpour.
“Viktoria, there there…” Caleb tried to console me or hug me, but I shook him off.
“Get off of me!”
I turned on my heels and ran back down the stairs where we had come from followed by Caleb and Ezio.
In front of Blaine’s coffin I stopped when out of my peripheral vision I saw Caleb gesture to Ezio to stand back.
Heaving open the lid, which seemed much harder now than it had been, I almost lost my balance twice. But I made it. What I saw now I will never forget in my life. My husband, my best friend since I could remember, now lay before me, paler than he had ever been, a bluish tint to his skin, his lips pale and blue. He looked as if he were cast from wax. He looked … dead.
I yelped and stumbled backwards, where I felt someone’s hands supporting me, but pulled away from them and went back to Blaine.
“No. No. No. No. NO.” I kept repeating.
“Vik, come on, you need to rest. There is nothing you can do here …”
“Get away from me!” I hissed, while lunging forward.
I knelt down and gently pet Blaine’s cheek. So very cold. It had never felt cold before. Maybe because I was now warm again. My Blaine, who was always so full of life, now utterly motionless.
“No. Don’t leave me. You cannot leave me. I need you. Blaine, you hear. I need you. I cannot do any of this without you. Blaine. Please Blaine.”
I tried to crawl into the coffin with him, but Caleb pulled me off. He was still a vampire and much, much stronger than any human, and no matter what I tried – and believe me, I tried – he threw me over his shoulder and took me away, while Ezio closed Blaine’s coffin back up.
To make a long story short, this landed me in a hospital with a nervous breakdown. Even there, I tried to escape to the point that I had to be secured to the bed. My children came by looking incredibly worried, Vivian had a noticable baby bump. My grandchild. Blaine’s grandchild.
It took weeks until I had convinced the doctors to let me go. I was not over it. I faked it. My first stop was not home, to rest, as promised, but straight to Autumn’s where I learned that Blaine had been moved. While neither she nor Lucien would tell me where to, I went straight over to Caleb’s. On my way I ran into Silas and his new wife, who was very pregnant. Silas offered condolences and I just about took his head off.
“Stop acting like he is dead! Blaine will be okay! You hear?!”
Silas looked almost startled and sheepishly agreed with me, while pulling his wife along with him and away from me.
You know you are pretty through the wind when you are a mortal and not one but two several hundred year old vampires are afraid of you.
I knocked so ferociously that I thought the door would come off the hinges. Luckily Caleb answered. I loved his wife Grace, but had no mind for her slow Southern polite ways now.
“Where is he?”
“Viktoria, you need to let go…”
“FUCK YOU. Where?!”
“I am keeping him safe. For now. But I have to set an ultimatum. If he has not woken by that time, we have to consider him lost.”
“Lost? LOST!? Blaine is not LOST. He is right there, where ever you have him. And since he is MY husband, and hencewith MY property, I came to claim him. I will take him home. Now.”
“To do what with him?”
“I do not know. But if he feels my presence, he will come back.”
“Vik he cannot feel anything right now. He is technically dead …”
I ranted and raved, but left tired, exhausted and empty handed when Liam came to pick me up. No matter how angry and desperate I might have been, I had no chance to win against a vampire Elder.
Once home I heard Everett’s voice asking for grandpa in the living room so I went straight into the master bedroom, locked the door, without greeting anyone in the living room. I heard scratching and whimpering, so I let my dog in and locked back up after him.
Picking him up I told him.
“Bandit, you and I KNOW better. He will come back to us. He’s just late. Blaine is always late. Screw all of them. Yeah, that’s right my lil snoopie-puppy. We will wait for daddy to come home.” I snuggled the little dog.
I almost believed my own words as I cried myself to sleep, trying to ignore that nagging voice in my head telling me that I basically am to blame if Blaine were to really die, cursing myself for having been so stubborn, insisting on doing this, when Blaine did not want to. I traded forever as vampires with him for a miserable life as a mortal without him.