It had been 2 months since I had last seen Blaine. Worried sick I had spent every free minute searching for him. This was the longest we had ever been separated and I barely knew how to function without him. Mama had helped search, we even went by Blaine’s mother’s and stepfather’s apartment, and even his grandmother’s home, all claimed to not have heard from him. Mama had set fires under the police’s butts again and again, since they had never been too enthusiastic about wasting their time finding a problem teen. My intuition told me that he was still alive. Just where?
Lawson asked me to be his girlfriend and I experienced my first love, which took my mind off missing my best friend a little. Blaine never liked Lawson, I knew that, and somehow it left me feeling awkward. Mama said that I could not live my life moping after a boy who made his decision. She always said that Blaine just needed to get out, get away and that he would come back when he was ready. She liked Lawson, but was never as warm with him as she had been with Blaine.
High school graduation came and went, summer flew by and soon it was time to leave for college. I had graduated with honors, and gotten into one of the best colleges, my number one pick, with an academic scholarship making the rest of the tuition affordable for Mama and me. I should have been so thrilled, and I was, I had dreamed of this moment since I was young, but something essential was missing from my big moment, that had always been there in my dreams: Blaine. Had had vanished years ago, and still was gone without a trace. Somehow I had hoped he would at least show up for my graduation. I kept looking for any hints of him when I packed up for college. Maybe he would at least see me off. Nothing. Maybe he had just forgotten about me. Moved on. Maybe I should too? Lawson and I had broken up in the meantime. He wanted to go to a different college and decided for the both of us against even trying to uphold a long distance relationship. In other words, two weeks after high school graduation I was dumped when his family went on a cruise for the summer.
College was generally a good time for me, I enjoyed business studies, received good grades, and just as I had done in high school I focused mostly on academics and just partied every now and then when my roommate just would not leave me be. I eventually met a guy, an engineering student, Shawn, we dated and eventually I became his girlfriend.
Just before finals he took me on a romantic date and proposed. And I said yes even though I never wanted to get married. Never wanted to be tied down like that. Yet, here I was ready to take that plunge after all. Why? I couldn’t tell you now. It felt right at the time. We graduated and a month later we got hitched, before a justice of peace, since neither one of us had the money for a big wedding or a honeymoon. I had on rose colored glasses and was so head over heels. We moved in with his parents in the dismal town of Oasis Springs, hot as hell, basically nothing but desert, the exact opposite to my hometown of Windenburg. I was miserable but wanted to be a good spouse and supportive. Finally we had the money for a down payment on a tiny starter home in Willow Creek. Two weeks after we had moved in we got two visitors and I was confronted with the knowledge that the guy who I thought loved me and was monogamous had two lovers all throughout our relationship, and now both were pregnant. Somehow they had found out about each other, then about me and decided it was a great idea to pay me a visit. I had not even gotten around to change my name to his when I already filed for divorce. Luckily he didn’t bother fighting it. The entire stint lasted less than 6 months altogether. Here I was now, barely at legal drinking age, yet already feeling like a failure and a completely incapable fool. I moved in with Mama at first but knew I needed to start over completely. I found me an apartment in the big city, where the best jobs were, gave myself a makeover and went on the quest to start my life over.
So here I was now walking the busy streets of San Myshuno, I had gotten lost again. Too much going on, bright city lights, the hustle and bustle on the streets and interesting store fronts everywhere distracting this girl. Finally after walking for about 45 minutes into the direction I hoped was toward home and not further away from it, I heard music and ruckus which I followed along with the signs explaining it to be a summer festival. That sounded interesting for one and also happened to take place in the Fashion District, which was where I had just moved to, so I would find my home at the same time. My feet hurt from walking around all day in my new fashionable heels while exploring the city, but a little more walking wouldn’t make much of a difference now.
As I turned the corner and saw the first colorful decorations and light and people, I heard rhythmic music, guitar to be exact, obviously played live. The guitar had always been my favorite, since I was a child. Mostly because of whom it reminded me of.
I followed the source of the sounds, now could make out some street musician performing for money, surrounded by an all female crowd. When I got closer my heart began to beat faster. Could it be? It couldn’t, right? Or could it?
I had found a spot closer to the performer right when he looked up and directly at me. My heart skipped a beat; I felt my cheeks flush, when I noticed the young man smile, which reached his light green eyes. Blaine!
Did he recognize me too? Probably not, as I had changed so much. My hair was much shorter now, barely touching my shoulder and lightened from my natural dark blonde to a platinum shade. I wore fashionably sophisticated clothing and high heels now instead of my jeans and hoodie look from yesteryear and wore perfectly applied make up now. The typical look of a fresh business college graduate trying to make it in the big city working in one of the high rises.
He was done with the song soon and told the crowd that he needed a break, resulting in disappointed moaning. He hopped off the plateau he had stood on and came straight towards me. My heart was still beating so fast, and I could not move, until he just pulled me into his arms and whispered into my ear as I hugged him back and closed my eyes.
I felt like my knees would have given out had he let go. I do not know how long we stood there like this but it felt like an eternity and not long enough at the same time.
Eventually we decided to get a coffee from one of the stands, but his groupies were annoying and kept interrupting our reunion. Some were pretty forward throwing themselves at him. Disgusting! I invited him to my new apartment, pretending to need help assembling a bookshelf. After seeing women practically rub their female bits in his face in public I might as well play the damsel in distress.
Once we entered my tiny two bedroom apartment in one of the modern high rises in the high demand and hence overpriced Fashion District he whistled through his teeth appreciatively. “Not too shabby, babygirl! Not at all.”
“Oh stop it, this place is barely bigger than a shoebox even though it costs as much as the entire shoe store. There is that shelf. I built the rest of the furniture myself but needed a break. My arms were about to fall off. It’s really simple, I promise. We just need to sort the boards into the right order, a few nails and screws and it’s done. If you wouldn’t mind helping, we can have that done in less than 10 minutes.” I didn’t need help, but it gave me a good excuse to keep him here a little longer without it being potentially awkward.
Naturally this was still Blaine and awkward was his specialty, as I was reminded by his reply, delivered with a wink and a smirk.
“No prob babygirl. I’ll screw and nail whatever and wherever you like me to.”
“Umm, yeah …. coffee?” I tried to ignore his innuendo, while he stood there grinning, watching me blush.
“Nah, but I’ll take another hug, if you don’t mind. Come here, my little Barbie doll.” he didn’t wait for my reply and already pulled me into an embrace. I put my arms around his neck and it felt so good, I felt so safe that I didn’t even realize I had started crying. I had missed him, was relieved he was here, and I had some rough times behind me. That mixture along with being tired and exhausted from moving got the best of me.
He of course noticed, got serious, and patiently held me, after pulling me into his lap on the brandnew couch. Once I was able to get out full sentences he gently wiped my tears away and listened to my story about my very brief marriage.
While Blaine told me about his life since we last saw each other I looked him over. He had loads of tattoos now plus his bottom lip pierced, I wasn’t sure how I felt about all that. It wasn’t the look I normally preferred in men, but it suited him perfectly. The rest of him looked grown up, yet still unmistakably Blaine how I had always known him. Still the lived in jeans and dark t-shirt look, the shaggy messy hair, that had always been his style. I would never admit openly that I was so very relieved to learn he was single. When I heard he was homeless I didn’t allow any backtalk and made him move into that tiny second bedroom that I had no idea what to do with anyway. I had stuck my computer desk and bookshelf in it. And now added a bed for Blaine. Even though I suspected – and secretly hoped – that he would end up sleeping in my bed anyway, although I was not sure. We were no longer children and a lot had happened since we had last seen each other. I went to bed alone and fell asleep, but then at some point during the night I felt the mattress move and then Blaine’s arms around me as he snuggled up against me. He seemed less tense then before and somehow had injured his hand, which I saw in the bright moonlight. He told me not to worry about it. It wasn’t until years later that I learned that he had gone to pay my ex-husband a visit that night and beaten him to a pulp. Not that I normally condoned such behavior, but I cannot honestly say that I don’t admire Blaine for that. We spent this night, and many after that together in this bed, but always purely platonic. Blaine was not the type to turn down an offer for intimacy, but I never offered and he never attempted anything with me.
Within the first weeks of him staying with me I realized two things, painfully so. The first was that he was a ladies man. He never brought any girl to the apartment, but whenever we went out together, no matter where we went, women were all over him. I felt invisible and even with me right there next to him, some ladies would still flirt with him, some as much as offering themselves directly to him. Which lead me to realization number two: I was still crazy about him. As a teen I already had a major crush on my handsome bestie, but was too afraid to tell him and he never seemed interested in me in that way. Moreover, with so many offers from women who seemed a lot more capable of pleasing him in a way he was probably used to by now, while I had mostly focused on academics and then my horrible ex, leaving me far from sexual deviancy. Highly unlikely that I would be able to hold the attention of an experienced man like Blaine for long. And once you went there, it was pretty much impossible to come back as just friends. No way would I want to risk losing him again. Plus, I was already so used to heartache, what was one more?
Soon I started my new job at a financial management firm working for an attractive, successful and wealthy man, a member of the esteemed Auditore clan, some sort of local ‘royalty’. And what do you know, little old me caught his eye. We ended up in some sort of affair.
Until I found myself knocked up, despite my best efforts. A stomach flu was likely to blame, rendering my birth control useless and Ezio was not the man to carry condoms. When I told him, he basically dumped me. Blaine was away on a tour with a band he had joined and I did not want to call him with my drama. He returned the day after I had an abortion. Few days later he and Olivia dragged me out to a club. Olivia was a friend of mine from college, who also lived in San Myshuno. When she came to visit me and met Blaine, she immediately was obsessed with him. They started seeing each other.
At the club I ran in to Ezio, my boss and ex-lover. Another awkward encounter that turned into an even more awkward fight ensued once he learned about my decision to end the pregnancy.
I was so down and destroyed once I got home, utterly inconsolable, no matter what Blaine tried. I told him I just wanted to get drunk, he obliged and somehow we ended up spending the night in bed together, but this time not as just friends. I was not used to alcohol beyond a glass of wine or two and cannot remember everything from that night, but the next morning I awoke elated and relaxed, which was followed by a crash from cloud nine when I realized we had crossed that damned line, risking the friendship I cherished more than anything in the world.
To pour oil in the fire, Olivia walked in on us standing buck naked in the kitchen. I burst into tears about the break up with Ezio and the embarrassment with Olivia and because of crossing the line that I never wanted to cross. Let’s just say it reached new levels of awkwardness and embarrassment. Blaine moved out of my apartment soon afterwards.
Weeks later, Ezio Auditore just appeared at one of my parties, uninvited. My feeble attempt to avoid him in my tiny apartment by hiding in the bedroom, was foiled within minutes by him knocking on the door. I let him in to avoid potential drama in front of my friends. We talked. Well, actually it was mostly him who spoke. Somehow he seemed genuine about missing me, wanting me back. Long story short, within few weeks from that day we were married. Ezio was and is a wonderful man. We spent more than two decades married, happily so, for the most part.
Becoming the wife on an Auditore was so exciting, new and busy that I noticed too late that I had neglected Blaine, who had become illusive and married Olivia after finding out she was carrying his child. I tried to reconnect, but as I well knew you could not force a Blaine who did not want to be found. The next decade passed as if in fast forward. One kid, then another kid, work … life. I had little contact with Blaine and one by one my old friendships faded as we all got busy with our own families. Blaine had come to a few parties with Olivia, but he seemed distant and aloof, never even the hint of a smile. Several of my friends had become distant, even Eric, my other best friend since childhood, so I just assumed that was how life goes. When I thought about it, it made me sad, so I did what most of us do in such cases; I put it into the very back of my mind. I never stopped missing my friends, above all, Blaine. And still, whenever I would see him, my heart would race but he felt so – distant, unavailable, so we would exchange some general small talk and move on. I heard rumors about Blaine and some sort of substance abuse, but didn’t know for sure and didn’t think it was my place to meddle in his affairs.
Then suddenly everything happened very fast. Ezio and my daughter, now a teen, stubbornly started dating Blaine’s teen son, despite her dad’s and his family’s wishes, causing major drama.
At the same time Blaine’s marriage failed. And somehow he and I reconnected. Then I almost lost him. When he returned my marriage failed.
This is when the story of Blaine and Vik finally began.