Growing old is mandatory;
growing up is optional.
Time had the habit of marching on relentlessly and sometimes got away from us all.
Our puppy grew into a beautiful large dog, definitely high content shepherd dog, as we had assumed, the only thing distinguishing him as a mix was one floppy ear that he never fully straightened out. A flaw that was none, at least not to us, it was darling and added to his charm.
No more hint of the once broken soul, unloved, who had come so very close to losing its life before it even truly had begun, had it not been for Blaine. Instead now Charlie was confident, content, smart, attentive and hilarious, a real joy, despite a slightly devious side sometime, but always happiest around us. Like I said, a four legged Blaine.
The two legged one took amazing care of him, we both turned the rambunctious puppy into a well behaved young dog.
Lilith gave birth to her baby, a little boy, with eyes as dark as coal even as a baby, and very obviously a vampire like her, even though the father had been a mortal at conception. She and her brother Caleb named the child Riordan. Akira Kibo proved to be an absent father, completely uninvolved, Lilith’s relationship to him was strained and uncle Caleb was already more of a father figure throughout the pregnancy and even after. Both Blaine and I will attest that – vampire or not – Riordan is absolutely precious!
Few months later our little Anastasia was born. Man, what an affair. I was so glad to have Blaine by my side through it all.
Despite our best efforts to be prepared for all eventualities, all our life was out of whack after she had arrived, nothing was as it had been anymore, all was up in the air, nothing went as planned, but eventually we found a new normal, new routines.
And then suddenly while we are busy parenting, the years went by in fast forward, in what seemed to be the blink of an eye it was Blaine’s 30th birthday, I blinked again and it was mine as well just about a year later. 30. Wow.
Weren’t we just teens, me barely fifteen, him teasing me and making me laugh until I almost cried in Granite Falls.
Or him chasing me through the Windenburg meadows, us both tumbling down atop each other into the soft blooming grass – or was it snow? probably both, as this had happened several times – his face so close I could feel his breath on my skin, his full lips so close to kissing mine.
Instead he gave me a strange look, jumped up and ran away, not to be seen again until dinner that night, leaving my innocent teen heart behind, crushed, thinking he didn’t find me pretty enough to want to kiss me like I had seen him kiss all those other girls.
Yet, it was always my bed he would sneak into each night, every single one, as it was only me he would feel so safe next to that he would not need to drown his terrible nightmares in alcohol and drugs.
Now it was blatantly obvious that he very much wanted to kiss me then, and ever since, was just trying to keep away, trying to do right by me, convinced he was bad for me.
And yet, here we were now, fifteen years later, deeply in love, married and parents to a little girl. Thank you fate!
Still, I felt no more ‘adult-like’ than I had in those fields. Although it was pretty clear that nowadays he and I did a lot more than giggle under the sheets sharing the same bed. Exhibit A was three years old now, walking and full of her daddy’s spunk.
I was an adult, sort of half my life behind me, a wife, a mother to a now very active toddler. Anastasia had grown into a perfect fusion of Blaine and my genes, her hair raven black like Blaine’s, my silvery grey eyes and pale skin, but Blaine’s confidence and charisma.
Since the only friend of ours that had a child around Anya’s age was Lilith, Anastasia grew up playing a lot with Riordan. Together, they grew into adorable toddlers and were adorable to watch together.
At least for now.
Whether or not we would feel comfortable allowing that friendship as the children grew older would remain to be seen. While having a childhood friend to grow up with was great, this particular friendship was built on thin ice.
No matter how nice Caleb seemed, he and Lilith – and Riordan – would never be part of society as we knew it and Blaine had spent too much time on the edge of society himself to want that for his daughter, even if only by association through her friend. Even now, both Blaine and I always watched the toddlers like hawks, more so than normal overbearing parents would.
Our inhibitions were nothing personal, Caleb was Blaine’s best friend, and I thought highly of him.
Caleb was very controlled, and as I knew now, a very powerful and high ranking member of the secret vampire society, maybe even a leader.
He and Lilith were from a different time, born hundreds of years ago, which was why Caleb had much say over Lilith and even his nephew and she abided by her brother’s wishes, though normally Lilith was everything but subservient, furthest from it. Don’t be fooled by her innocent visage.
I suspected Lilith being the true reason that charming Caleb never married, unable to juggle his complicated sister and his own happiness in a world that didn’t even allow for his kind, making it necessary to exist in the shadows when Caleb so clearly wanted to be part of it all, trying his best to fit in.
If left to her own devices, Lilith had a tendency to be easily upset by the smallest issues, to a point to becoming dangerous, very impulsive, as she had proven by turning her son’s father when he did not want to marry her once she found out she was pregnant. In her anger she had worked sloppily, making it necessary for Caleb to find the man and finish the job properly or Akira would have likely died. It was no secret to anyone that Akira Kibo despised Lilith for turning him and wanted no part in her life or their son’s.
The one most hurt in all this was their son, even though he didn’t know it now, but certainly would as he grew older.
The only force keeping even keel among all this was Caleb. You see, not the perfect scenario to have your precious daughter mixed up in. Plus, Lilith still seemed to hold some grudge against me because I had Blaine and she never got him. Seeing him as the attentive father that he had become, while the father of her own son had run for the hills added further insult to injury for her. Either way, we sort of got along, but Lilith was not my fan, and truth be told, the feeling was mutual. The only reason we ever still bothered with her was because of Caleb and now Riordan.
Both of us hoped that once Anastasia was old enough to go to school, she would make new friends and Riordan would fade into the background, since his path would most likely not have him in any public schools. For our little girl’s sake, we truly hoped for this. Shame for the sweet little boy, but sadly nothing that could be changed.
Plenty of other fish in the sea for Anya to make friends with.
Don’t get me wrong, currently Riordan was a typical toddler, adorable, you would never guess now how different he really was. His hair was black, like Anastasia’s and the few times I had offered to watch him on play dates with Ana and we ended up on a playground together, people would think both were my children and twins. Ha, if they only knew.
At the very latest once he would hit puberty all this would change and he could be dangerous, like his mother as that was the point where he would turn into a full vampire and shed every last inch of mortality-likeness he may now exude.
So far it seemed though that Anastasia had Riordan wrapped around her tiny little finger, much like her dad and me. Caleb was kind, but firm with the child.
Our other friends, the mortal ones, were light years from settling down, still.
Penny was not even interested in a steady relationship, not even a boyfriend, Joaquin was a lot more into Blaine than into any of the girls he always invited to the parties he kept throwing, his roomie Sergio was recently single again, Candy had met and started dating my ob/gyn at one of Anastasia’s birthday parties no telling where that would go.
Surprisingly Penny did keep in touch despite not being very much into my daughter or babies in general, so sometimes I would leave Ana with Blaine and visit her on my own.
While visiting Penny, who still lived at the apartment complex where Blaine and I used to live as well, I ran into Justin, whom I briefly dated while my relationship with Blaine was in question (read here: Chapter 4) Surprises). Justin was now Penny’s neighbor, as I had already learned from her, he lived here with his daughter from a previous marriage, Evie, and his current husband Ulysses, so I agreed when he invited me into his apartment, thinking nothing could be safer.
Well, I was wrong. His husband was not home, and in front his his little girl Justin started coming on to me, even tried to kiss me.
Naturally, I stopped his advances, and immediate left, very confused. I had been convinced he was gay now, being married to another man.
Of course I never breathed a sound of that to Blaine, knowing how jealous he could get, especially when I learned from Penny that Justin’s current marriage was already on the rocks again and he was facing the next divorce. Oh boy. The silent waters.
Blaine still wrote music and performed, even though he had stopped bar-tending now that our account had a little bit of cushion and we had a little girl to think of.
He was not only a wonderful partner and husband, but also a great daddy and I truly enjoyed being a wife and mother, especially considering that once upon a time neither of us even wanted either of those roles.
Sometimes fate knows best.