The hardest thing in friendship is when your friend is in love with a person that you love.
With my back turned to Lilith I listened to her ranting as I was rolling my eyes about the endless tirade.
Evidently her brother’s new wife didn’t suit her, she was very unhappy with Caleb’s choice, she didn’t like the fact her brother had just ‘gone and married that girl’, let alone moved her into the home Lilith shared with Caleb and her son Riordan. Or maybe she was upset that Caleb now had other interests beyond watching her kid for her. Either way, she had a lot to complain about, my head was already spinning and she had only been here for less than ten minutes. Supposedly just to say hi, but she didn’t seem to be inclined to leave anytime soon, so I resigned and made coffee for us.
“What I am saying is that he went so long, centuries even without being wed, when he finally decided to tie the knot, his significant other should have been someone much better suited to be the wife of a Vatore, and more particularly of Caleb Vatore, Grandis Magister Vampyrus Immortalis Sempiternus.” she finished her current rant with an air of respect for her brother’s long and to vampires evidently very impressive and awe-inspiring title, undoubtedly just a theatric pause to start in on a new rant before long.
I was out of things to stall with, hoping she’d get bored and leave, but that didn’t seem to happen, so istead I poured the coffee for her and me, placed the cups on the bar, hers in front of her, then my big pregnant belly and I labored up onto the barstool next to Lilith.
“Cat got your tongue now?” she asked when I didn’t respond.
“Uh – no. Just what do you want me to say about this, Lilith?”
“Well, first of all, why in the world you found it necessary to throw such a creature at him is beyond me. He was perfectly fine with the way things were, before you practically forced him into marrying that girl.” she shook her head, her tone accusatory.
“Me? Forcing Caleb? That must sound ridiculous when you hear it out loud, even to you! Good grief Lilith, what in the world are you smoking?” I laughed at the notion of little ole me controlling such a powerful and old vampire as her brother.
Did I look like a real life Van Helsing to her?!
Viktoria, the vampire wrangler. Ha!
“Laugh all you want, we both know how much he thinks of you. You have him wrapped around your little finger and you know it, you used that power to fix him up with that frail little hussie for reasons beyond my grasp. Or maybe I can guess why. You wanted him to be unavailable too, since you are. Either way, that silly little girl is a walking, talking insult to the Vatore name. That is where you messed up.”
“Oh, did I? All right, Lilith, enlighten me. What should I have done differently? All I did was introduce them, Caleb is a big boy and did the rest. I do not recall making him propose to her at gunpoint – or in you guys’ case I should probably say at stake and garlic point – and him marrying her in my dining room at Harvestfest was most definitely not my brain child. That was all your brother dearest. So, your complaints to me are misplaced, take it up with him.” while I said that I knew she wouldn’t dare.
Caleb’s word was law, his actions beyond questioning, to all vampires of the area including Lilith, which I was well aware of and the only reason I dared challenge Lilith rather than have my tail tucked, even though her temper was legendary.
“Well, for starters did you really have to have another child with Blaine? Whatever for?! What you should have done instead would have been to leave him, marry my brother, I would have taken over Blaine. That constellation makes infinitely much more sense than what we have now. I am the type of strong, powerful, confident woman a man like Blaine needs, those paparazzi wouldn’t bother us much, at least not if they know what’s good for them. You are – well, subservient, quiet and a little boring, just like Caleb, but you are not as delicate as that Cassandra-chick, just perfect for my brother and much better suited to carry the Vatore name on. And you have light eyes like him, meaning your future children would as well, since you are apparently already so fertile, which would appease Caleb once you gave him strong sons with striking features. Bonus: we would have live-in girlfriends in each other since naturally you would move back into our home. Win-win. Instead now he has that insufferable girl and you are pregnant yet again barely able to fund the child you already have. What for, all of that nonsense, I ask you?” she ranted, her tone increasing.
Oh boy. Whimper. Did she just say all that? Yep, she most certainly had, as cruel candor was her brand.
‘Breathe, Vik, breathe!’ I told myself in my mind.
You see now why I find her so hard to deal with? I wanted to kick her ass until my boot got stuck, but she was, after all, a vampire and I thought it best not to engage in physical altercation with her. And why did everyone think I was so subservient and boring? Ask Blaine how much I have fought, especially helping him, throughout our lives. I was composed, big difference.
“For heaven’s sake, Lilith, can you please arrive in modern times and also use your brain? Marriages nowadays are completely voluntary and spring from love, as do children, not strategically placed like chess figures on a board. If you ever fall in love, you will realize how dumb what you just said really was. Relationships aren’t a deck of cards to be shuffled anew until they suit your wishes!” I simply said, anything deeper than that would not get through to her anyway. This was not the first time we had this aggravating conversation.
“Dumb? Hardly. Realistic and truthful. Love and beauty fades, well, at least for you, very evidently so, no offense. So strategy is key. And you mortals are all the same, every single one always talks about wanting the truth, but none of you can really handle it. What you really want are lies, pretty ones that make you feel better about yourselves and your miserable little fleeting lives. Fine, then lie to yourself. Caleb will figure out that this Cassandra girl is neither what he wants, nor needs and if he doesn’t get the foolish idea to turn her before he realizes the truth, she’ll be gone one day, old, grey and feeble, and my problem along with her. I can out-wait her. Now did you buy a different brand of coffee or did you forget how to brew it? This tastes like old flower water. Simply awful!”
“I never had the desperate idea to drink old flower water, so I will take your word for it. If you do not like the damn coffee, then don’t drink it! I am pregnant, as you well know and cannot drink it as strong as usual.” I rolled my eyes again.
She was in rare form today and ‘boring subservient’ me about to forget my manners and slap that witch silly.
“Poor Blaine.” she sighed after theatrically gulping down the sip of coffee she had taken.
“Yeah, poor Blaine indeed.” I growled. ‘And poor me. Poor, poor me.’ I thought while giving myself a mental hug. If she was supposed to be a friend, I did not want to meet my enemies.
“Well, unfortunately I have to get going now. Thank you for trying to be hospitable again. One day you’ll get it down. See you soon! RIORDAN! Where are you?! Come here you little brat!”
And whoosh, gone she was with the vampire speed and the little boy along with her, who had been playing with Anastasia in her room, leaving my daughter surprised and crying in their wake.
I cringed when I realized it wasn’t gonna be just a brief sob, but a full fledged tantrum, which I now had to go and try to fix.
Damn you, Lilith!
When I finally had Anya calmed, her last tears dried and tucked into bed I ran into Blaine in our hallway. He had a performance downtown San Myshuno tonight and evidently just got home.
“Man babygirl, what did you do to that sweet little angel? I could hear her wailing over the Beast’s engine from a mile away! Sounded like you were skinning her alive!” he joked as he kissed me.
The “Beast” was his motorcycle.
“Tell me about it! That was some serious tantrum your ‘sweet little angel’ just threw. I was seconds away from crying along with her. You can thank Lilith for that.” I groaned.
“Ugh, she’s here? I may have to run some last minute errands I just made up.” Blaine grinned as he gently stroked my cheek.
“Nope, you just missed her. Grabbed lil Riordan right out of playtime with Anya and was gone, which was what caused your daughter’s meltdown.”
“Pity I missed the bitch. What did she want this time?” Blaine asked.
“Social call, mostly, since she seems to think she and I are friends, even though she is ghastly to me. Before I forget, she wants me to divorce you so I can marry Caleb and you can marry her.”
“Awesome, let’s get right on that. Nothing like a good piece of ice-cold decaying meat between the sheets who probably bitches at me before, during and after nookie. Lucky me. Hmm hmm.” Blaine chuckled, then kissed my cheek.
“I feel sorry for Cassandra. With a sister-in-law like Lilith, she must be cursing me every day for introducing her and Caleb in the first place.”
“Nah, you underestimate Caleb. My boy can hold his own and he is very much in love with Cass, he’s already set Lilith straight about that. She may talk the talk, but I guaran-damn-tee you she ain’t walking that walk around him or his bride. At least she wouldn’t make that mistake more than once.”
“I hope you’re right. Cass is such a sweetheart. And Caleb deserves his own happiness.”
“Hey, Caleb’s is my friend, I have on good authority that he’s happy, because of you, Cassandra is happy, because of you, so quit worrying and come here to give your man some sugar!”
So I did quit worrying.
Well, at least about that. A few days after that evening we had the ultrasound and found out we were going to have a boy this time.
While it was a nice notion to have one of each gender, I finally had down how to care for a little girl, now I would have to relearn it all for a little boy.
But Blaine was happy about the news and his enthusiasm was contagious.
We spent the last days of Autumn going on many family walks.
Soon it was winter, one morning we woke up to Windenburg powdered with snow. Very pretty to look at, but I was carrying our boy low and heavy and already had enough problems walking as is.
Blaine was once more invited to the Starlight Accolade awards, and once more he won. I was bursting with pride. And pee. Gawd the pregnancy made me having to go pee ungodly numbers of times, day and night. I could not wait for that bit to be done with. At least I wasn’t as sick as I had been with Anastasia.
And once more he dragged me and my gigantic belly on stage for a display of love.
At least this time some of our friends were there.
Soon it would be Winterfest, and sometime after that we would face our son’s birth.
Were we ready for it?
Probably not, but we’d have no choice.
Blaine had already undergone the surgery to avoid future pregnancies.
Once sufficiently recovered from the birth, so would I.
We loved our children, born and unborn, more than you could fathom.
But two children was already two more kids than we both though we would ever have.
So for now we’d enjoy the toddler days with our little girl and look forward to meeting our son very soon.