”Sometimes you must hurt in order to know,~Nagato
fall in order to grow,
lose in order to gain,
because life’s greatest lessons are learned through pain.”
Britchester Campus On-campus housing Present Day
The door was opened after just a brief courtesy knock, right as Blaine was rubbing his eyes, sitting on his bed.
“Ah, good, you’re up. Good morning, get into the shower, breakfast and coffee are ready.” Kai, his best friend, said, purposely upbeat.
“Morning. I’ll just grab me a coffee … not hungry ….” Blaine slurred drowsily.
“Uh uh Blaine, you know better. Stick to the schedule. You know you need order and schedules right now. Eventually you can fly by the seat of your pants again, but that’s a ways out. So, shower now, then breakfast. You need to take your pills with food. Do you have all your papers done that were due by today? Can I see them and your class schedule?” Kai determined firmly.
“Come on now, man…” Blaine groaned.
“We promised your parents. And mine. We both gave all of them our word and I intend to keep my end of it. Just let me see … no biggie and I’d feel better.”
“Desk. I’ll be in the shower, unless you want to come watch to make sure I get it all squeaky clean, like a good boy.” Blaine’s retort dripped with sarcasm.
“Nah, pass. You know I love you man, but I am not gonna wash your ding-dong for ya. If your parents want that, they need to fly in and do that themselves.” Kai smirked back at him.
“Awww … sad face.”
A little while later at breakfast, Blaine’s phone buzzed, as it did every morning around the same time, with a text from his parents. He texted back right away, like every morning, while Kai put a plate with food along with a pill bottle in front of him. All that was part of the stipulation of letting him live on campus with Kai without parental supervision.
The background to this all was as simple as it was concerning …
Flashback: Glimmerbrook Woodland's Realm Cemetery About a year and some months ago
Blaine’s efforts to move on after striking out so badly with Scarlett had eventually come crashing down like a house of cards when just after his 17th birthday, at the funeral of his great-aunt Anastasia, he saw her again.
As soon as she walked in with her parents and little brother, his heart had been beating out of his chest, and he found it hard to concentrate on the sad event at hand, while his mind and hormones were raging inside of him.
When after the funeral he managed to catch her alone to finally make things right between them, his old feelings for her came out of hibernation immediately, same was true for her and her feelings for him. They cleared the air between them, maybe a little too well. Suddenly passion ran high, the flames of love and desire for each other flared up quickly and once they did, the next steps seemed unstoppable and inevitable.
It all ended with them having sex with each other again, right there at the cemetery, in an unheated, and hence freezing cold, smelly public bathroom stall in the midst of Winter right after a funeral service.
Once more not the most romantic of circumstances and it bordered on a miracle no family member of his or hers walked in on them.
When afterwards Scarlett – again – told him somberly they shouldn’t and couldn’t go any further than that, while Blaine’s hopes for them becoming a couple soared high once more, it stung badly, pulling out the proverbial rug from underneath him, especially when she inadvertently poured oil in his fire by calling what for Blaine had been the fulfillment of his every dream a ‘mistake’.
They fought again, standing in the middle of the small church on the cemetery grounds, their angry words echoing back from the walls as if to hold up a mirror to their bad behavior, but it ended with Blaine eventually flying back home to Del Sol Valley the next day upset and heartbroken once more, just this time adding on the guilt he felt for realizing he had also cheated on Bristol.
Seeing Scarlett again had made him completely forget about Bristol, whom he also loved, adding further disdain to the mount of bad feelings he already had about himself.
This time though he had a much harder time hiding his inner discord from everyone, especially from Bristol, his guilty conscience eating him alive, while at the same time he was also still pining after Scarlett, this strange conflict making him tense, leading to fights with Bristol, again and again.
While she obviously had no idea why Blaine was so combustible of late, she knew something was up and it was bad, plus she wasn’t one to put up with his bad moods without an echo, leading to said fighting, which was hard on both of them, as they still deeply cared about one another.
A vicious circle started with no way out for Blaine. He was too caught up in it all to be able to let go.
Both ended up drowning their worries, anger and discomfort in alcohol and eventually drugs, all readily available at the kind of rich kids jet set parties both attended.
Nobody carded anybody there.
Nobody cared about them being well underaged.
They were VIPs and would get whatever their hearts desired. So they did, to take the edge off.
For a while they managed to fly under the radar with their new found habits, but naturally it was only a matter of time their parents would notice. Both sets of parents had always been very involved. And they did notice.
The first time they got caught drinking and smoking weed, both were grounded, privileges revoked.
The second time they were caught by their parents drunk and under the influence of harder drugs, both were punished harder and threatened with rehab.
The third time they weren’t technically caught, but instead discovered after both had overdosed on a hard drug, following the worst fight yet, after during sex Blaine accidentally had called our Scarlett’s name in a drunken stupor.
It was nothing if not sheer luck and coincidence that Everett, Maeve, along with Bristol’s parents Dana and Myla, as well as her older brother Phillip had decided to go search for the teens after they broke curfew again one night, only to find them just in the nick of time.
After both were released from the hospital days later, Bristol ended up in off-site rehab for months. Blaine detoxed at home under strict supervision of his parents and a nurse.
Some weeks following his release from the hospital found Blaine sitting on the patio at his home, the realization of where his life was at had hit him hard, at only 17, already a recovering addict, wondering about the status of his relationship with Bristol, his parents and his future. His poor parents, while they tried to hide it from him, he could see the heartbreak he had caused them, making him feel ashamed of his actions. They didn’t deserve that. Not one bit. Enter more guilt.
High School Graduation was only a few months away, and it would be happening without him, since he had to retake several finals because he missed classes and exams trying to get clean.
So for him there would only be a principal handing him his diploma after attending classes all summer, and that was best case scenario IF he managed to cram all that knowledge into his skull in time in order to pass, while other kids got to enjoy themselves.
Trying to detox while stressing about finals wasn’t easy either, especially since Blaine had never been the academically inclined type, meaning keeping his grades up at a decent level had been hard enough before.
For the flash of a moment he allowed himself to think about prom, was taken back to junior prom at Windenburg High with Scarlett. There wouldn’t be a senior prom, at least not for him. Bristol would still be at the rehab clinic then and he just couldn’t see himself attending without her.
Instead of partying with peers after school and on weekends to celebrate the end of their high school days, his days were filled with classes, cramming, drug recovery and addiction prevention meetings, some alone, some with his parents present, twice a week he was seeing a therapist, he had to take drug tests every day and squeeze in belated college interviews, where his parents and he sat basically begging to get put on a waitlist.
The only reason any colleges even entertained that notion at all this late in the game was because it was “Rett & Reed” asking. Most administrators didn’t even try to hide that fact much, something Blaine found disgusting. It certainly wasn’t his impressive GPA or scholarly achievements, he was at best an average student on a good day. Dammit all!
Britchester University Campus On-campus housing Present Day
Which leads us back to the current days, Blaine being roommates with Kai sharing a tiny home on campus, both now 18, although Blaine a few months older, both freshmen at Britchester University, which Blaine basically only got in after his parents pulled some serious strings.
But he got in, now it was up to him to do them proud. Finally.
Kai seemed to somehow feel responsible for not having been able to stop the downward spiral of his best friend, so he had taken it upon himself to be his watchdog now, helping him stick to a very rigid schedule, a promise made to his own and Blaine’s parents in order for them to even allow Blaine attending in the first place. They were uncomfortable letting him out of their sight now and he knew, one single slip-up and he would be back home, no college for him.
It was a struggle, for both boys, but Kai was determined to help Blaine through it all even if it often meant for him that he had to pass on some great opportunities to party in order to babysit Blaine.
Glancing up at his best friend washing the dishes, more like a parent than a peer, brought tears to Blaine’s eyes. He got up and pulled Kai into a bro-hug surprising him, even more so when he ended up crying into the young man’s shoulder, signaling his inner distress.
“Hey, dude, it’s okay, you’re gonna be okay .. eventually. We just gotta keep at it and keep you out of trouble.” Kai said in his soft voice.
He had always been the calm, kind and caring type, since childhood days, balancing out Blaine’s loud, obnoxious and rambunctious ways.
“I am so sorry, man … so sorry …” mumbled Blaine now, meaning every word of it.
“Nothing to be sorry for. That’s what friends are for! We’re brothers man, from another mother and father, but we’ve always been brothers and we always will be! You’d do the same for me, if roles were reversed, I know that. And had I called you and Bristol out on all your bullshit instead of helping you hide it, we may not be in this position.”
“I hate that I am a burden on you. And that everyone knows about my crap. Dammit.”
“You’re not a burden, you’re my best friend! And only few people know, most of them family, only a handful outsiders, my dad did a great job keeping it out of the media. One day I’ll be your attorney, learned from the best, my dad, and then I’ll keep saving your ass and knowing you, you keep my bank account nice and brimming, you may well be the only client I ever need. Just kidding. This could be hella worse, dude. Now, let’s get or we’ll be late for class!”
“Yes, ‘dad‘!” Blaine quipped.
But try as he might, Kai wasn’t able to prevent more drama around Blaine.
It all started when some days later Kai left Blaine alone at their on-campus home to celebrate his and Cheyenne’s anniversary, she had flown in from Del Sol Valley just for this. Kai and Cheyenne had been a couple for 2 years now.
As soon as Kai left, Blaine instantly felt the weight of the silence, the loneliness weighing like a ton of bricks on his shoulders, crushing him along with a deep inner turmoil, the guilt about everything screaming inside his head, all of that driving him crazy.
At first Blaine strummed around on his guitar, singing along loudly, when even that wasn’t enough to drown out the suffocating loneliness he felt, he turned on a horror movie with a script shallower than a puddle that barely managed to occupy his mind, but he felt tired and heavy now, had just gotten comfortable on the couch with some junk food, when someone was at the door.
Moaning and groaning he sat up, eyes glued to the TV screen to follow one of the few actually sort of captivating action scenes for a few moments, while debating whether or not to answer at all, but then curiosity got the best of him, and he went to see who it was.
After he pulled open the door he nearly fell over.
“Scarlett!” he exclaimed wide-eyed.
“Hi. Not to sound rude, but mind if I come in? Still a bit brighter out than I like. Ya know …”
“Sure.” he stepped aside, wondering once more how it could be that after the way it had ended last time, she now strutted into his home as if they were best friends.
“Damn, you’re a mess!” she stated while looking him up and down, her tone casual, but her face reflected worry.
Looking down on himself, Blaine quickly patted chips crumbs and leftover flavoring off his shirt, wiping his fingers on the sides of his pants, just to realize he was only in his boxers.
“Uhh .. let me go put something on quickly.”
“Blaine, don’t be silly. No need for false modesty. It’s me. I have seen you in your underwear more than once. I can handle it and don’t worry, I didn’t come here to seduce you. Just a friendly visit to say hello. So how have you been?”
“Good. And yourself?” Blaine couldn’t help but find their banter instantly ridiculous. Evidently, so did she.
“Liar! You should know better than try to serve me off with platitudes. I heard all about your fancy new high-society problems. Dang man. You sound like a bad Lifetime movie script.”
“Thanks. All that compassion is going to make me cry.” Blaine grimaced, his tone dripping sarcasm.
“Please don’t. Was all that drug and alcohol drama because of me?” she asked unimpressed.
“Wow, self-absorbed much?!”
“Not at all. I just like to get straight to the point. I know the rest of the story the others don’t, remember. The missing puzzle piece. Look Blaine, truth be told, I wasn’t doing all that well myself, had my moments of wanting to give up too, trust me. Knowing you are so far away, with a girlfriend who gets to hold you whenever she wants in front of everybody, one time I snuck Riordan’s phone and stalked your social media, got to see you and her skiing and kissing and all that Simstagram posed BS … it’s not easy on me either.” she said and her admission made Blaine feel warm inside. So she really DID care too!
“Well, sorry to hear, but you only have yourself to blame. I wanted to make it work between us, somehow. But you verbally kicked me in the balls every time I suggested that, you didn’t even want to try. I guess to you I only serve one purpose …”
“Don’t flatter yourself. If sex was all this was about I could really have that easier and definitely more often, and I like to think a hell of a lot more romantic than tents in parks and public bathrooms. You know it’s not just physical. And I know you know. Let’s change the topic. Don’t you wonder at all what I am doing here?”
“Sure. I was just about to ask.” Blaine told her while still trying to process her ‘confession’. Interesting!
“No you weren’t, you got your head so far up your ass about your hurt ego, but I will tell you anyway. I am enrolled here. I finally found a way to make a difference. I will be a politician one day, and like all politicians I will weasel my way to the top and then change everything for the vampire community. Eventually. THAT is how I will make a difference, since I cannot follow in my father’s footsteps. And then I will only allow FEMALE vampires into my cabinet. May take me forever, but I have nothing but time.”
“Wow! Some ambition. But how did you manage to enroll without an ID and all that?”
“That is my secret and a bit on the illegal side. Actually, it’s completely illegal. Riordan helped me, he knows someone who … well, the less you know, the better. So as I stand before you now, I am just Scarlett Vatore, a high school graduate from Willow Creek and for all intends and purposes, mortal as they come. Just another girl, like all the others. I do live off campus and attend only the late classes though, for obvious reasons. We are practically neighbors now … sorta … it’s a hike, but definitely closer than Forgotten Hollow to Del Sol Valley.”
“Cool! Uh – wanna hang and watch a seriously piss-poor horror flick with me, the scariest thing about it being the terrible acting and horrifically incoherent and incomprehensible storyline?”
“Does it have vampires in it?”
“Actually, it does, I can’t help but laugh at them … so unrealistic. Even if I didn’t know you, Riordan, your family, … damn, I know a lot of real life vampires! Jeeze.”
“Sounds fun, ‘Count-Dracula’ me in.”
“OMG – You didn’t just go there! Ouch, that hurt, ear canals are bleeding.”
“Oh, sorry, not sorry, you drama queen! Who better to deliver a vampire pun than a vampire, right?”
“Well, now we know why there is no vampire stand-up comedy. Chips?”
“For what? To feed you, you pasha? You know I can’t eat.”
“Oh right, no, I totally didn’t forget that again … cough cough … and hell yeah, feed me, get crackin’ already, I am hungry!” Blaine smirked at her.
“I’m going to ignore that demanding tone and you’re on, I’ve been waiting a long time to stuff that big mouth of yours. I always imagined it to be dirty socks, but chips will do in a pinch. Plus, they seem to do a good job putting some meat on those bones, at least you are not the skeleton you once were. So disgusting. Do you have more bags so we can work on fattening you up?”
Laughing they bickered and play-fought, until suddenly – in one instant – it turned romantic. Calling this unexpected would mean we all are as much in denial about it as the two apparently were.
Blaine caught her wrists, pulled her in, their faces were inches from each other, and he kissed her. She didn’t even attempt to fight him off, succumbed to the kissing. And they kissed … and kissed … more and more intense.
He pulled her into his lap and it was clear where this was going to end.
Had it not been for the wrench in the wheel, as it usually happens when someone does something they know they shouldn’t be doing, let alone get caught doing.
They got caught.
They got caught right in the middle of another intense kiss when in just that very moment the door was opened, it being a very small home the new arrivals had instant first row seats.
“Dude, Chey and I got a present for ya, just picked it up at the airp … oh shit!” Kai’s voice and excitement faded in a heartbeat.
They were none other than Kai, his girlfriend Cheyenne – and Bristol!
TO BE CONTINUED …