When I say, “I love you,” it’s not because I want you or because I can’t have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I’ve seen your kindness and your strength. I’ve seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You’re a hell of a woman.Joss Whedon
Forgotten Hollow "The Forgotten Mansion" Ballroom
I never thought I would ever write this, but here goes.
Blaine, Brendan, Natalie and I had joined Caleb, Lilith, Caleb’s mortal daughter Cara and a bunch of other vampires we didn’t know for a vampire wedding ceremony in some creepy old gaudily furnished and decorated mansion in Forgotten Hollow.
Whose wedding you wonder?
Yup, Anastasia said yes to Riordan. Well, sort of. Most of it was as straight forward as you would expect. A few weeks prior he had taken her to their bench by the lake near our home, then lead her underneath the tree where they had their first kiss when they were 17 and 18, hit one knee and surprised her with his proposal. She surprised him with an instant and resounding “Yes!”.
When they came back home half an hour later, both of them beaming, they surprised all of us with the news, but then here come the disclaimers.
To us mortals and our bureaucracy it wouldn’t be acknowledged as a real wedding, since vampires didn’t officially exist and what doesn’t exist cannot get married. For all intends and purposes she would still be just as single as before, a recent divorcee, but among the vampires she would now hold a sort of first lady status, even though she was marrying the second in command to their leader Caleb. To the vampires she would be Riordan’s wife, and their children would be fully accepted into the society. Yeah, even the immortals had their own bureaucracy and rules to follow.
Regardless of all that, watching her now, looking surprisingly beautiful in an all black gown, something from the traditional vampiric vaults of the Vatore family, while she was exchanging oddly phrased vows in the ceremony officiated by one of the vampire Elders, also very high ranking, as Caleb explained to me. The guy’s name was Vladislaus Straud, we had been introduced to him briefly before the ceremony and creepy didn’t even begin to describe his person or demeanor.
Strangely, Ana looked right in place here, more so than at her first wedding, a real wedding, to Chase. She was glowing, maybe it was because of the pregnancy or the lighting here, but she and Riordan both were like two pieces that had been missing from the same puzzle for too long.
While I was melting into a puddle of goo, awwing over and over, trying to hold back my tears of joy, Blaine leaned over and whispered
“Hey, when that old creep is done babbling and the fruit of our loins runs off to seal the deal with Ri, wanna go find a coffin and screw in it? Never done that before and looking at this creepy ass shed, there are bound to be coffins up in this bitch.”
“BLAINE!” I exclaimed a little too loud, heads turned to me, I blushed while I was shushed, underlined by Blaine’s smirk as I now jabbed my elbow into his ribs.
The ceremony was sealed with a kiss, just like any mortal wedding. Riordan let out a “WOO!” followed by “Let’s consummate!” as he pulled a laughing Ana with him to disappear through some door, presumably a bedroom.
Ahhing and oohing mixed with laughter all around me, made me realize that vampires and mortals really weren’t all that different in many aspects. The faces around me looked just as lost in the romantic idea of a young couple celebrating their union as mine probably did.
I couldn’t help but smile and cringe at the same time. I loved Riordan, and Caleb, but this whole vampire business just wasn’t my thing. And now my little girl was tangled up to her eyebrows in it.
“Babygirl, quit looking like you’re on the crapper. Be happy, be excited, think about the positive at least he can’t get her any more knocked up than she already is. Want a drink? They actually have a bar and I spotted some really decent shit there.”
“Yeah, sure. Surprise me with something.” I agreed. Blaine could be really sweet and romantic, today, apparently, wasn’t one of those days.
“You got it. Anyone else?” he asked Brendan and Natalie who had joined us.
“That was surprisingly … romantic … in a very goth-y way. Plus a distinct Blaine-esque touch at the end. Did you ever notice how much Riordan is like Blaine?” Natalie giggled.
“Oh yeah. Painfully so.” I admitted.
Blaine snorted dismissive, but said nothing.
“Hey, I’ll go with you dad, Nats and I could use some drinks too. Let’s have you show their barkeep the ropes. I don’t want to miss that.” Brendan chuckled then left with Blaine.
I briefly glanced at the scene where a very mortal 60+ year old Blaine was trying to bench a possibly very old vampire to show her how to mix drinks ‘properly’ by Blaine Cameron standards. Well, Blaine had never been easily scared or shy.
“Say, which one of these is Ri’s dad?” Natty now asked me, looking around the room.
“Oh, none of them. He wouldn’t be here. Riordan and he don’t have a relationship. His father is mortal and never liked the idea of having a vampire son. Caused lots of heartbreak and is the reason why Caleb, Blaine and I basically raised him. Ri’s mother isn’t really – ahem – let’s call it ‘maternal’ either.”
“Yeah, I noticed that a long time ago. Weird person. Very rude. I can tell you and Blaine had a hand in Riordan’s upbringing. He is very sweet, with a rough side. Just like Blaine. But his dad not being here at all is sad. So, is he not even going to know his grandkids then?” Natalie said.
“Probably not. It’s sad, but probably for the better, if I recall that last few times Ri tried to talk to his dad. Didn’t go over well, and I have a hard time believing it would be any different with his grandkids. Here’s to hoping that this marriage will work out for both of them. Even though it’s not an official one.” I sighed.
“Yeah, Brenny mentioned that to me. Why don’t they make it official? I mean, I think we all quit trying to fool ourselves by thinking those two don’t belong. Might as well. They have never been able to stay apart, no way they aren’t meant to be.”
“Complicated to explain. In a nutshell, Riordan doesn’t officially exist. Just like all the other vampires you see here, including Caleb and Lilith. Ri has no papers, isn’t documented anywhere, as far as our government is concerned, he was never even born. Can’t get a marriage license without all that.”
“Oh! That’s sad! And totally not his fault. I’ll talk to Brenny about that. He would know how to get him some papers …”
“Natalie, absolutely not! Please, by all that is holy, don’t. It could cost Brenny his job, and his freedom. Let’s keep things as they are and have him see your boys grow up from this side of the bars.”
“Fine. But that is still wrong. Why doesn’t the government acknowledge vampires, since clearly, they are real, and just give them some special licenses and IDs?”
“Oh Natty. If anyone knew about all of them, they’d hunt them, turn them into lab rats and it would probably create a mass panic a la ‘zombie apocalypse’. Nah, I can see why they prefer to fly under the radar.”
“Good point, but really clashes with the romantic side of me. I want to see a happy ending.”
“Trust me Natty, everyone does, but not by risking Brendan’s future. I think this is as close to perfect happiness as they all can get. And from where I sit, they are happy now.”
While the guests were celebrating on the bridal couple’s behalf, mind you, since this was a vampire wedding and those usually didn’t include mortals, there was no cake or any food, just booze. They did have music, and dancing, but most everyone stood around talking, just like any other party.
In the meantime, Riordan and Anastasia were in a bedroom together, after some making out, Riordan got serious.
“All right, here is the hard part. In order to properly consummate a marriage among my kind, we have to taste each other’s blood. I know this is going to be ….”
“Just do it. Show me how.”
“Yeah. As long as you don’t turn me or something, I am in.”
“Of course not! However, I will have to bite you, but will be as careful and gentle as I can, I will feed a little, then I will open an artery on my wrist and you will drink from me. Are you gonna be okay with that?”
“Assume there is no alternative?” Anastasia frowned.
“No, not really. The Elder who officiated will then inspect our bite marks and declare us officially married.”
“Seriously? So amongst your kind there is no screwing on your wedding night?! Instead you feed on each other? Man, that’s … weird.”
“Well, of course there is, but that comes after. Best to get the necessary evil out of the way first. So, what’s the verdict?”
“Get cracking! Nookie is the part I was waiting for, so get a move on.” Ana told him.
“Yes, dear, right away!”
Riordan carefully kissed her neck, until she closed her eyes and let out a content little moan, then he quickly bit, Ana winced and in a reflex tried to pull away, but his grip was like iron claws.
As he pulled away just seconds later he studied her face.
“Are you all right, my love?”
“Fine. Wasn’t as bad as you’d think.”
“You are an amazing woman, Ana.”
Riordan quickly bit his own wrist and offered the slightly bleeding wound to Ana, who looked at it, then at his eyes, exhaled deeply and leaned in to suck on his injury.
Riordan closed his eyes, a moan sounding of pleasure escaped him, when Ana let off and looked back up at him, wiping her lips, which made him smile.
“Blood of my blood, united for eternity and beyond. Well, there you go. That was it, you did it like a pro, I am really impressed and proud of you. Maybe I should change my mind on turning you after all. I think you would make an amazing vampire bride.” Ri chuckled, winking.
“Try wife. And no thanks. Now to the part we have been waiting for. I see a bed, are there no coffins here?”
“You think I would marry a vampire, exchange blood and then go have flower sex in a bed?! I want the full vampire experience, please!”
Riordan just shook his head and smiled, as he gestured to the door. As soon as they stepped outside there was the Elder, waiting to inspect their bite marks.
“Is it done?” he asked as he stepped closer.
Riordan nodded and showed him his wrist, Straud then inspected Ana’s neck, nodding.
“Everything seems to have been done properly.” he confirmed as he stepped back.
“Exactly per the writs. We’re blood of each other’s blood now.” Riordan said.
This generated an artificial looking smile from someone who clearly didn’t smile much, he nodded at Riordan, then Ana, before he said.
“Congratulations Grand Master and Mrs. Vatore. I declare this union as valid and consummated, united for eternity and beyond.”
He bowed down slightly and left.
“Mrs. Vatore? Uh …”
“Ana … just among my kind. Don’t worry, I remember the speeches about how important being a Cameron is to you. I would like my name as part of our children though.”
“Of course. They will be Cameron-Vatores. Or maybe even a new line, Camore. Yes, I like that. But enough stalling now. Wedding night! Now!”
“Come here.” Riordan embraced her and teleported with her to the cellars of the mansion.
It was instantly a lot more chilly than it was in the ballroom and mezzanine, which were illuminated by floods of candles, warming up the air. Here it was cold radiating off the stone walls, Ana could see three coffins without even having to crane her neck.
“Take your pick. All of those are used only for rituals, like weddings and such.” Riordan gestured at several coffins.
“All right, how about that one.”
They stepped closer, Riordan opened it and ….
“Oh, hey kids. Just at the right time, no worries, we are done and decent. Thanks for the assist, couldn’t figure out how to get that damn thing open from inside.” Blaine snickered.
“Ah, yeah, hi guys and congratulations again. Come on Blaine.” deeply flushed I awkwardly slipped out from underneath Blaine and climbed out of the coffin.
Blaine joined me, grinning at the kids.
“Man, dad, seriously?!” Ana groaned.
“Don’t act like you’re new to the concept of screwing. Exhibits A and B growing inside of you as we speak, so chill and get over it. And why should you two be the only ones getting laid tonight?”
“He has a point.” Riordan chuckled.
“That one’s pretty comfy actually, I’d give it a pretty good Yelp review. Come on babygirl, let’s get us a drink.” Blaine told Ana and Ri, pointing at the coffin we just literally emerged from.
Riordan burst into laughter and even Ana couldn’t help but smile.
“Your parents, seriously.” Riordan wheezed.
“Yeah … that’s the gene pool you dipped the Vatore genes into now.”
“Ah, right, speaking about that. Come on, babe. How about that one over there?”
“Sounds good. Let’s get going on this before my belly is too big for us to close the lid!”
The rest of the evening passed as most any other wedding night …