More years had passed.
For the most part, all the adults had settled into a comfortable, if predictable routine. There were ups and downs, but nothing drastic.
Most noticeable was the unstoppable progression of time by looking at the kids, babies turned into toddlers, toddlers into children and soon there were teens who suddenly left for college. For them it was exciting, for the adults it was melancholy.
Liam and Leonie, age 37
Everett, age 16
Natalie, age 13
Liam sat down next to Leonie, whose eyes were glued to the TV.
“I am kind of worried about our son.” he said, which broke the spell, and caused her to look at him.
“Worried? Why?” she asked surprised.
“He is 16 now. Still no girlfriend. Barely a date. When I was his age …” Liam stopped himself, remembering that when he was his son’s age, not only had he dated half the teen girl population of the region, but also gotten into loads of trouble. And he was already together with Leonie then.
She smiled at him, but was kind enough not to rub his face in the facts.
“He is taking his time. There is nothing wrong with that. He has plans. Just like I did at his age.” she said instead, smiling.
“What plans?” Liam was honestly confused.
“Liam! He told us over dinner with your parents last weekend. Were you not listening?!”
With his forehead wrinkled, Liam tried to remember. Leonie shook her head and told him
“He wants to become an architect, like Corbin. Wants to build a big architectural business from the ground up, like Vitto’s father did with Auditore Financials. He has the grades and drive for it. Your mother was pretty impressed and said she’d help him in any way she could, which he loved, since she was instrumental in helping Ezio build his back when. Where were you during that conversation, huh?” Leonie was not mad, just amused. With four kids, who all had good grades and lots to say, it was not hard for a parent to zone out sometimes.
“Interesting. What did my dad say to that?”
“Typical Blaine stuff. Something funny. But we both know he would support that kid – and your mother – if that really comes to be. And I have faith in our son. He can do this.”
“A successful Cameron, without any drama detours? That would be the first in the entire legacy. Wondering if he even really is my son.”
“Hardee har har. You actually have a paternity test saying he is, remember?”
“I was joking. One look is enough to realize he is our son. Which is why I cannot understand that he is not interested in girls. Or boys. Whatever makes him happy.”
“We’ll see. Prom is upon us. I know Natty has been begging him to take her as his ‘date’ …”
“Absolutely not! I won’t allow it!” Liam puffed up.
“Relax. He told her no already. He is a good big brother and you know he is very protective of her. And they have been peas in a pod since she was born. He really already is a very responsible young man.”
“Child. He is still a child. No need to speed it up any more.” Liam argued.
Leonie shook her head laughing, focusing back at the movie while snuggled into Liam’s arms, feeling him relax eventually.
Around the same time at the beach house Blaine and I were in the sun room watching the colorfully turned leaves being moved by the early Autumnal winds, some twirling through the air then gently float to the ground.
The year slowed down, the melancholy did not exclude vampires. Under normal circumstances we would both have been well into our eighties by now, but as vampires our clocks stood still.
Vincenzo, Vivian and Vitto’s son had been enrolled in a private school from the beginning, after some drama Liam and Leonie moved all their children over to the private academy as well. While Liam had been retired from his acting career for many years now, his movies were still frequently shown on TV and people still knew his name. His kids were either teased in school, or other kids tried to befriend them – or in Everett’s case date him – just because of who his father was.
The academy was filled with the offspring of parents who were wealthy and somehow famous in one way or another, making it possible again for all to focus on academics instead of dodging fangirling and hazing.
Everett did not care either way, Natty hated it. The two young ones didn’t know it any other way and loved it there.
Everett was unlike his father and grandfather, even though in appearance the relation was undeniable. He was a scholar, cared little about social gatherings, partying and dating even though not for lack of offers.
He was driven and determined to make a name for himself, but in a more solid field than his father and grandfather before him. He cared little about the arts, but all about science, mathematics in particular.
At some point while visiting Corbin and his new wife, Everett saw some drawings and was enamored. Corbin took him aside and explained what being an Architect entailed and from that moment on, Rett was fixated that this was what he wanted to do. He wanted to create a legacy in his own right, found something solid to hand down to any children he may have. Or child, as he was quick to tell you. He loved his siblings, but loved the way his aunt Vivian, uncle Vitto and cousin Enzo lived much more and was certain there would only ever be one child, and only after he was on solid ground with his life and career.
While Blaine and Liam merely grinned at his plans and let him talk, knowing that life may have other plans for him, and had a way of forcing them on you, the women of the family and Vitto applauded such maturity at his young age. All his life, even as a child he had appeared more mature than any of the other Cameron kids.
Now, at 16 he had begged his parents to let him spend his summer doing an internship at an Architect’s office, which was not a popular request with his siblings, who prefered to spend the summer break at a beach somewhere. Rett already tried again for the next school break, during which the original plan was to fly to Selvadorama, a hit with Everett’s siblings, after their grandparents had shown them photos and told tales of their time there. It got rambunctious until Blaine and Vik offered to have Rett stay with them for the time they would be gone. Liam and Leonie disliked leaving one of their children behind, but Rett assured them he cared little about hiking through the jungle.
So while the little ones drew calendars with countdowns, Rett checked out books about architecture and interior design from the library.
“How about that grandson of ours?” Blaine said now with the same familiar crooked smirk Viktoria had loved for so long now. He was still the same attractive man she had married so many decades ago. She looked him over, he caught her glance and smiled at her.
“Do I pass inspection?”
“Always.” she smiled warmly.
“Penny for your thoughts, babygirl.” he mumbled near my ear, after a kiss, so gentle for such a edgy looking man.
The same old sentence he had used since we had been teens.
“Oh, just thinking about time and age. I cannot believe Rett is almost a young man. Looking at him I see Liam at his age.”
“Looking at him, yes. But he and Leo lucked out with their kids. I think had Liam been like Rett, you would have agreed to another child with me.” he grinned.
“I would not have, but it would have been great to have a little less drama, although, I would not want to change a thing. He always had a good heart, was just a bit … mislead. But once Leo was in his life … and when he found out about Rett, you have to admit, he has been the easiest kid imaginable.”
“Easiest kid imaginable would be our daughter’s son. Seriously, that Vincenzo is not even real!”
“Maybe it’s the Auditore blood … or Vitto’s influence.” Viktoria giggled, teasing.
“I am going to let that slide. Viv definitely deserves an easier time with one kid. Finn is solid and was back then, but she was so young and that damn Lucca, Finn’s no good sperm donor. Then that Silas and their brood. I think she finally gave up on that witch girl Zoey.”
“Yeah, trying to make off with her mother’s jewelry during her half-brother’s birthday party … and then Vivian of all people walks in on her with the hand in the cookie jar. That was not pretty. Poor Viv. I really do not know what’s wrong with that girl. Maybe Caleb should have let her die back then … oh, listen to me. What a horrible grandmother am I?”
“I was thinking the same, so our horrible matches.” Blaine grinned, winking at her.
“Looks like we get another chance at parenthood soon, when Rett moves in for a while. Poor kid was so bummed that he couldn’t do it sooner.”
And then it happened, though nobody truly knew how. Suspicions and speculations were plenty, but no one ever owned up to it and nobody could ever proof anything, but suddenly there was a terrible, gruesome epidemic among all vampires. A virus surfaced, only affected vampires, which nobody could explain, but it was fast and those infected perished within hours, maybe days in the most horrific way. The immortals were suddenly in fear of their lives and the only way many saw to escape certain death was to get un-turned. Suddenly, there was a rush to become human, even among those who would have never considered it. Caleb, usually always calm no matter what, was in despair when he, after un-turning every last member of his chapter was the only one left standing. He came to Blaine for help. They were still fast friends and Blaine naturally helped. Sworn to secrecy about the secret rituals needed, he then relentlessly babysat the entire Vatore clan as they were shedding their immortality to become as perishable as the rest of us. Those who had chosen to be humanized years ago counted their blessings and no longer second guessed their decision, as it may well have ended up saving their lives, at least until Mother Nature would claim it naturally.
Within mere months the entire vampire population of the world was no more, one way or another.
All the vampires we knew survived the un-turning procedure and were alive and well, even though Caleb seemed lost. Blaine was right there by his side until his friend regained his composure and confidence.
Time would move on and on. The old would pass, young would be born, eventually the young would grow old. The circle of life. A cross to bear for some, a blessing for others.