Special Chapter) Substance Abuse Issues

Weeks had gone by.

No. Weeks had dragged by.

Ever since Leonie and the kids found a house and moved out, I stayed home a lot. No, also not true. I went full on hermit. I only ever left to buy dog food and sometimes food for me. And coffee. Loads of it. But most of the time I was home for days on end, barely made it into the backyard with the dog.

Before, when Leonie and the kids still lived with me while house hunting, I was gone a lot, or in my bedroom, to get away from their sickening happiness while I drowned in my sorrow, taking my dog Bandit and just going for near endless walks to the point that I had to carry the dog, as his little legs had gotten tired. Mine were too. But I just could not bear going home.
The problem with being human was that you tired a LOT faster now, especially since I wasn’t exactly twenty anymore, and temperature really affected you. Days were often balmy, since it was Spring, but evenings and nights were downright frosty.
Luckily it would soon be Summer.
Oh, Summer.
How I had painted such a very different picture in my head of Blaine, me and the kids with their kids playing in the ocean, barbeques in backyards together, dinner dates with friends, where we all would actually eat.

Instead here I was, on the outside looking in while all my dreams were happening for everybody but me. Or Blaine. I was pining my loss, without even acknowledging it. I was not letting go. Oh no. But everybody else seemed to.

I may have seemed fine to most of them, maybe somewhat eccentric, in reality I was in a deep depression.

I felt numb and hopeless. And could not stop reminiscing.

Unlike normally, when my kids and their loved ones would stop by to complain or look for advice, I dreaded it.
Normally I had always loved helping everyone.
I adored the sweet, gentle Leonie and knew I was more a replacement mother than a mother-in-law to her.
Which is why it was especially bad when one day she complained about Liam being gone for three weeks to Iceland for filming again, and I just snapped at her.

“At least you still have a husband!” I hissed at her sharply.
She stood in shock, while I took my dog and left the house, knowing she could not follow, as she had the kids with her.
Natty would soon be of school age, Jake was still a toddler and soon she would have another baby.

Melissa had called and been by countless times, with and without Ezio, but I even dreaded seeing her or them.

She and Ezio had now what I had wanted for Blaine and me. They went on so many dates, invited for actual dinners where Ezio put his amazing cooking talent on display, they were always out and about doing things, Ezio’s workaholic schedule and Mel’s budding design business allowing.
I loved my friends but I was so sore about not having Blaine, I began withdrawing from them.
They were taken aback by what had become of me, to put it extremely midly.
Yes, I was turning into a bitter woman inside. I didn’t like it then and am ashamed of it now, but anything I tried, failed. Some told me to go talk to a therapist, but the very last thing I wanted was to talk about it all again.

At that point, I was already living more in memories and a fantasy world, where I would see Blaine everywhere, have actual conversations with him and fold the empty pillow on the empty side of the bed just so that I could snuggle up to it and imagine it was him.
Most of the time I didn’t even know what day it was.

Caleb had had enough of my meltdowns and forbade me to come by his house again, after I had actually tried to break in one day – and feeling fully entitled and righteous about it, too, since he would not let me see Blaine.
A word of advice: do not ever attempt breaking into a vampire’s home, especially not if he is a high-ranking society leader. The only reason I am even able to tell the tale today is that Caleb liked me and I was his best friend’s wife.

I went to see my daughter and her new husband. Well, no so new anymore at this point. She was so pregnant with their child, a true love child, like Vivian had been to Blaine and … here we go again. I could barely stand to look at Vivian, too much about her reminded me of her father, so I mostly focused on Vitto, making him slightly uncomfortable.

I bowed out as soon as my coffee was empty, went home and dwelled in memories. It was more like me fleeing the scene of a crime than leaving a coffee date at my daughter’s and son-in-law’s.
How and why everybody just moved on when the world had changed so much, was beyond me.

Then one afternoon, don’t ask me a specific date or even day of the week, but I was sitting at home – suprise, surprise – when my phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and suddenly felt a surge of energy – and hope.

Caleb!
Oh thank god! I thought.

Blaine must have woken up!

Excitedly I answered, nearly dropping the phone.

“Is he awake!?” I nearly shouted into the phone.
“Umm… hello Viktoria. No but I would like to come see you, if you do not mind.”
“OK.” I said, disappointed.

The call disconnected and Caleb appeared in my living room. I could not gauge with him, if this was going to be good or bad news. He may well be playing with me, while Blaine was already waiting outside my door for Caleb to be done messing with me.

He came to hug me, I let him, even though I didn’t feel like it. Talk already! I thought.

“Shall we sit?” he smiled.
I nodded, we sat and he handed me some papers, he pulled from somewhere, maybe he had them in his hands, who knows?
Taking them from him I looked at them then gasped, feeling as if I were going to have a heart attack.

Caleb was gently talking to me, I didn’t hear a word, all I could do was stare at the brochures about funerals in my hands, looking at them as if they were poisonous snakes, while Caleb’s voice trickled by in the background.

One part I caught.

“…but at some point comes the time where we have to face the music. I have been more than lenient, he was my best friend and believe me, I did not want to give up hope any more than you do, but I have responsibilities as the vampire Elder and the usual allowance one gets to wake up is 6 weeks. We are well past that, heading towards 3 months. I can no longer support hopes and dreams and have to take action. I have set the date for Wednesday. A funeral WILL be held for him on that date, with or without you Vik. And I sure hope you will be there for his last rites.”

Caleb spoke some more but I didn’t hear it. The papers spread across my lap fluttered to the ground when I just stood up, picked up my dozing dog, grabbed the car keys and left Caleb standing in my living room.

*

Days later, it was now Tuesday, one day before the day they would take all hope from me. Every last piece of it.

I felt reflective and kept replaying scenes from Blaine and our long friendship and love together. I could barely remember a time we had not at least been friends. Time had stood still for something like 30 human years for Blaine and me, while we were vampires.
No, more than that.
Vivian was in her thirties now, and Liam in his late twenties. Their aging in relation to humans was still off, since they had been vampires until recently and on a slower schedule.

I was at a cabin in the woods.

Took my dog on many walks and just like back home, there was Blaine in everything here.
We had been coming here since we were both children.
No getting away from the memories piercing my heart. When I went to the store earlier to pick up food for me, something that still kept slipping my mind, I bought two big bottles of whiskey. I never drank that stuff, but it was what Blaine and Ezio liked, so it had to be good, right? I wanted to get drunk, I needed something strong, so I could forget everything.

Today and especially tomorrow.

Oh no, I was never going to attend any funeral for Blaine. I had already done that once. This time, and in the mental state I was in, they might as well toss me in with him.

“Screw it!” I filled two bowls of food and two of water for Bandit, let him out once more, he was still drowsy trying to recover from our long walk earlier. Soon as he had waddled back inside after doing his business, I locked all the doors, made sure the windows were all secure, and opened the first bottle.
Oh this stuff was nothing like my usual alcohol of choice, Moscato.
This here burned in my mouth and going down my throat, it smelled odd to me and it felt hot. Made my eyes water. But I started feeling odd right away. Few more glasses and the room began to move, after two more, it would not stop anymore, so I fell back against the couch and stared up at the circling ceiling.

When I closed my eyes, I was back here, but outside, staring at clouds when I heard something about them looking like female body parts from next to me.
Blaine.
I opened my eyes and tried to jump up but ‘up’ just did not happen for me I barely sat up straight-ish, I got dizzy instead and I realized that it had been another daydream, just seemed more real because of the alcohol.

Disappointed I took another sip emptying the glass, then fell backward into the couch again.

This time when I closed my eyes, it was a different scene from our youth. More and more memories played like movies.

I giggled at some, spoke to others, and yelled at myself for always reprimanding Blaine for being Blaine. Why had I done that? His crude jokes were part of his charm.

There he was now again, poking at me to go somewhere or do something. Not all scenes made sense to me right away, some had been a long time ago and my mind was clouded by the alcohol I was not used to.

“Vik? Hey babygirl… get up and show your man some love, will ya?” Oh, I missed him calling me that. He had started calling me babygirl when we weren’t even teens.
“I would, but I can’t.” I replied. I could not say if it was in the dream or if I had spoken.
“I believe that. Smells like they’re using whisky-scented room spray these days. Dang girl, partying by yourself huh?” I heard him laugh.
“No, …I don’t know.”
I heard him chuckle. Gawd, how I had missed that sound.
I smiled satisfied.
“Can you at least open your eyes? I kept it dark, so you don’t barf all over us when you try to get up.”
“No. When I open them you go away.” I told him, my voice very slurred. Weird convo. Even for as drunk as I was.
“Huh? Oh damn. You are WASTED, girl. OK, promise, I will not go away. Now pry them peepers open.” he said, sounding beyond amused.
I did and saw Blaine.

Moreover he was next to me holding me.
“Interesting, last time I did that you went away. But you were much younger then. And talking about boob-shaped clouds…” I analyzed with what little sense I could make. Let me tell you, it wasn’t much.

He laughed loudly.
“Yup, was definitely me then. Come on, let’s get you into bed.”
He pulled, I turned away, until he just dragged me up anyway.
“Up the daisy!”
I stood, his arm around my waist. He felt so real.
“Oh man, I really have lost my marbles now. It’s like you really are here. Like you are real.”
“I am here. And I love you babygirl.” he leaned in to kiss me, when I had the worst convulsions. He pulled me to the bathroom where I almost made it to the toilet bowl in time, give or take a few misses I am not proud of.
“Not the reaction I was hoping for. Good thing I don’t have any confidence issues.”
I tried to crawl over to the mess with a wad of toilet paper to clean it up, but Blaine took it from me and pulled me up.
“I’ll clean that up later. It’ll keep. Nobody ever steals messes. First, we are going to get you hosed down now. I love you, but you stink, baby. BAD!”
While he parked me at the sink to run water into the tub, I looked into the mirror and was shocked. As happy as I was to have a mirror image again, now I wished I didn’t.

And Blaine was right. I smelled awful. I didn’t remember my last shower. Had I even showered since I got to the cabin? It was all a blur.

Blaine started undressing me like you would a toddler. So weird, that was not like him, not even trying to feel me up or anything. Once I was naked he seemed to think for a second, then took off his clothes too. I smiled, when he saw that, he smiled too but said
“Not a chance, babygirl. I have standards. Not many and too low to even sit on, but I am not going to get naughty with a drunk girl, not even if she is my wife. Come on now, let’s get you clean. I am only coming in to keep you from drowning. At least that is my official story. Gawd I missed you babygirl. Wish you were a bit more lucent.”

Blaine washed me, patiently smiling and dodging my advances, while I kept trying to cuddle up to him and kiss him clumsily. Then it was off to bed. He picked me up and carried me, then gently placed me down. I think it felt like he was holding me. It felt so very real, I swear it.

I barely recall hitting the pillow and was asleep right away.
With a smile on my face.

When I awoke the next morning, the side of the bed next to me was empty. It looked untouched.
Oh!
It had felt so real, but was a dream after all.
Now I was beginning to understand why some people chose to be drunk so much. You get to create your own reality. I grinned, thinking that as soon as I was up, there would be a repeat.
I wanted more of that.
Until I sat up.
The room turned, my head ached, my eyeballs burned, I felt sick to the stomach, and when I got up finally, after many failed attempts I was shaky and just not a happy camper. Miserable is what I was.
Then I remembered that today was Wednesday. Oh no. The day of the funeral. Instantly I got so sick, I scrambled for the bathroom and hurled my life out.

When I was done, I collapsed to the ground. I would stay here till I was better. Oh no! My dog! Poor puppy, Bandit was probably exploding by now. I pulled myself up, glanced into the mirror and looked exactly as you would expect. When I opened the door, no Bandit. He was my velcro puppy and always there. I found him on the couch, asleep, barely acknowledging my presence with a wag of the tip if his tail.
“Hey Bandit, are you all right?”. Harder wagging, as he flipped over so I could pet his belly.
“You don’t want to go for a walk with mommy?”
The wagging seized and he flipped back over onto his stomach and curled up.
“You miss him too, don’t you?” I asked sadly.
“As amusing as this is to watch, I feel like I am going to need a box of tissues next.” a voice from behind me startled me, and I turned.
“Blaine? But I am not even drunk. And your funeral today…”
“I wouldn’t claim you are not drunk anymore. At least I would not try driving, if I were you. And I think I will have to miss my funeral this time, seeing that I am kinda not dead enough for one.” he smirked.
“So … are you real?” I was not convinced what was going on here.

He came over and handed me a coffee.
I greedily took it, while staring at him.
Real or not, I needed coffee. Tasted real. Nice and strong. Blaine watched me, grinning, then goosed me.
“Ouch! What the hell?!” I complained, rubbing my hind end with the other hand.
“They pinch people in movies so they know it’s real.” he grinned.
“Pinch them, not goose them!”
“What’s the difference? Since I already didn’t get the welcome-back sex I was hoping for last night, on account of my goody-two-shoes of a wife discovering her wild boozy side, might as well at least steal a feel now.” that crooked Blaine smirk.

I put my empty cup down on the floor, lacking any other surface and hugged Blaine tight as I could. We kissed, nay, we made out until I suffered from the aftermath of the drinking again.
“Babygirl, go sit over on the couch, while I pry your coffee mug away from that dog. Definitely YOUR dog. A canine coffee-addict. Bandit, last thing you need, pup, is coffee, you dynamo!” Blaine took the cup from him.

When he returned and sat next to me I snuggled up into his arms.

Then I bombarded him with the incoherent string of questions that were tumbling through my head until he kissed me, the typical Blaine way to shut me up, then he shrugged and answered.

“I don’t know why it took so long. Just glad I woke up when I did or I’d be digging myself out of the ground or something by now. Maybe because my insides were so messed up it took longer to reset it all. Who knows? When I woke, Caleb told me you went off the deep end. You were not home, I knew you would not be at the kids’ places, so I came here. Do I know you or what? Oh, and we all called you, but I found your phone at home with a million missed calls and messages. When I saw that the phone addict left her phone, I knew you were in bad shape. Never thought I’d see the day you nearly drank yourself into a coma, and not even on that sugar-water you usually sip, but on some cheap whiskey.”

“But … you are human now, right?”

“Yup, all mortal again, aging away as we speak.”
“Then how did you get in? I locked all the doors! I KNOW I did.”

“Babygirl, you know locks are at best a suggestion for a Blaine Cameron, right?”
Oh, right. He was a master lock-pick. Duh.

“Blaine?”
“Babygirl?”
“I know I look like death on wheels, but … I would really like to celebrate with you in the bedroom.”

Blaine smirked.

“Who are you even these days? You are rolling the entire sex, booze and drug substance abuse program now.” he laughed.
“Just some alcohol.”
“Some? And drugs too. I saw you take what looked like a whole handful when you got out of the bathroom.”
“Those were aspirin! And only the recommended dosage.”
“No matter, they still are … ding ding ding … drugs! I didn’t say illegal ones. But the answer is YES, yes I would very much like to make love to my wife right about now.”

The rest of the scene I will leave to your imagination. Just know we celebrated plentiful. Without alcohol. Or ‘drugs’.

And just to confirm: it was definitely Blaine – and he was definitely real!

*

Thursday morning we had coffee on the porch, Blaine played with the dog while I got ready.

We went on a walk with Bandit, then decided that the kids probably did not even know Blaine was back or if they did, they were wondering why he did not come see them. So we left, on to Vivian and Vitto’s. Liam would likely not be home, but we would go there next.

The reunion was heartwarming.
“Dang kid, look at you. Hopefully that is all the baby and not you learning the effects of human foods.” Blaine teased.

“Stop it dad. But we did have to let out Vitto’s pants twice already. Poor guy can’t get enough of food and then regrets it. I have to say, I didn’t even remember what all that tasted like from when I was a kid, but now I do. I am so much in trouble. Liam too! I laughed so hard. He is working out every day now, since almost every movie he is in shows him shirtless at some point and he was getting flabby. Pretty-boy is pretty touchy about that, so don’t bring it up unless he does.” she laughed.
“He has that from his mother. I am naturally skinny.” Blaine claimed.
“Oh really, Mr. Cameron? I happen to remember you filled in really nice when you lived with Mama and me there for a while.” I reminded him.
“Yeah, you two were trying to fatten up the poor kid. That does not count.”

“We shall see. Hope I haven’t forgotten how to cook.” I said.
“I betcha you haven’t. Ezio has been cooking up at storm over there. He’s getting a little chunky too. This is too funny.” Vivian told us and giggled.

“Just remember you will not be pregnant forever, Vivian.”
“I’ll just do what Leonie does and have one after another, so nobody will notice. Vitto would love that.” she laughed.

Marriage to Vitto had changed her. She seemed more at peace with herself and everything.

When we got to Liam and Leonie’s new home in Brindleton Bay, Blaine whistled through his teeth. We actually surprised the family playing outside. Including Liam.
I did not even realize it when they dragged me through it the last few times, what kind of sweet home this really was.

When Liam heard about Blaine waking – evidently Caleb called everybody – Liam requested extended personal time off and flew home. There were some issues again with filming anyway and they extended his time off until some time after the baby would be born.

So he would be home for months now.
And he did not want to let go of his dad.

Bandit ran around the house with their dog, Dakota.

The grandkids appeared and were beside themselves about grandpa being back. And I just stood there, taking it all in, smiling, more than grateful I got another chance with him, the love of my life.

And I would make this chance count.

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