“There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.”
Time flies when you’re having fun, they say. This held true for Blaine, Kai, Scarlett, Jamie, Jordan, Averie and Jenna.
All of them had been living and studying at U-Brite campus for the past 4 plus years, trying to find a good balance between cramming as much knowledge as they could into their brains, yet still leave room to enjoy being young and wild.
And then finals came, taking almost all they had to keep each other motivated, and seemingly suddenly – just like this – in the blink of an eye, graduation day was here.
That unattainable, far-away day, that initially could not come soon enough, and at times, seemed way out of reach.
But here it was, they all had made it, all with great to excellent GPA’s, hailing from them all keeping each other going, having become a close-knit group. Sadly, Scarlett was unable to attend the graduation ceremony for obvious reasons. It was a bright sunny day and involved a lot of waiting outside, so she had to miss out, yet another reminder how life would never be the same for vampires and mortals.
Jamie and Jordan had their girlfriends close, Kai was still doing the long-distance thing with Cheyenne.
Blaine and Scarlett had remained self-proclaimed singles and purely platonic friends, something Blaine’s roommate and best friend Kai would probably argue, had he not decided to stay completely out of it. So many little moments, glances, the whole dynamic between those two was undeniable, and then there was also this one morning he had walked into the kitchen of the on-campus home he shared with Blaine, just in his boxers and tee, only to find Scarlett there at the coffee maker, filling two mugs, wearing nothing but one of Blaine’s shirts. She insisted it was harmless, just stayed too late talking and studying, Blaine later insisted he slept on the floor and Scarlett had the bed – ALL night. Kai never pressed the issue. None of his business. Only they would ever know the truth. Only they needed to know the truth.
Anyway, now they all had graduated, with a laughing and a crying eye, all were about to scatter into the four winds. All of them would move back home in with their families for now, the rest remained to be seen. Bittersweet was the celebration. They all had gotten so used to seeing each other all the time, it would be hard to, once more, be so far apart in some cases.
Kai of course immediately started working with his father at the Del Sol Valley Law Firm, once founded by Kai’s grandmother Ana. His girlfriend Cheyenne had graduated from Del Sol Valley University as well and they were more than happy to be able to spend quality time together on a Sulani vacation, a graduation present by their parents.
Blaine hit the ground running in the studio at their Del Sol Valley Mansion, already had two hit singles on the market, even had headlined for a couple of shows for his parents, and now he was about to try and make this into a true career fully able to sustain the way of life he was used to. He hadn’t seen Scarlett since they said their goodbyes at campus, but had met up with Bristol a few times, for meals or to grab a coffee. Also purely platonic. Supposedly. Here too, Kai chose to withhold any opinions he may or may not have.
Scarlett was left with little choice than to take on smaller roles in other politician’s campaigns to gain insight and experience, without much ability to implement any changes of her own.
While it had been clear to her from the start that this would take time, it was more than frustrating and disheartening. She was ready for change now.
But at least there was this guy who was in the same boat with her, much like her he had spent time and effort to get a great GPA and a college degree only to find himself abused for derogatory fool’s errands by the more senior staffers. Instead of learning much about applied political-related tasks, they were making thousands of copies, doing mindless and repetitive data entry tasks and coffee runs. Luckily for Scarlett was her male counterpart funny, easy to talk to and easy on the eye …
Jordan and Jamie both worked downtown San Myshuno for a large corporation learning the ropes of management, which sounded a lot more prestigious than it really was. It involved a lot of being talked down to, even yelled at, by senior managers, being assigned tedious, unloved projects nobody else wanted to do, all starting at very early mornings and even later nights, plus a long daily commute, mostly spent sitting in stop-and-go traffic both ways.
It didn’t take long for them to start hatching big plans to maybe one day have their own marketing firm, in Windenburg of course, much closer to their home on the Windenburg Isle!
Jenna, Jordan’s girlfriend, worked a PR job nearby and they would most likely hire her on if that dream of their own business were to ever come about. Jenna was onboard with that idea, much like for the boys were the long hours and long commute back and forth to Windenburg not at all how she had imagined life as a young adult after university.
Averie, Jamie Cameron’s girlfriend, had the shortest commute, but the worst work hours, weekly alternating shifts from painfully early to graveyard and everything in between, using her Culinary Arts degree to work as a Sous-Chef at an upscale restaurant in Windenburg.
Where their lives would ultimately take them remained to be seen.
For two of them, the first hitch in their giddy-up came a little faster than anticipated.
It all began when Blaine was in town for a brief PR tour, several stops taking him to San Myshuno for radio and TV appearances, so he added two free days to his trip to spend time with his family there. And, of course, to see Scarlett. Unofficially, even though nobody was surprised.
Jamie and Jordan decided on a double date night on Saturday, and talked Blaine into picking up Scarlett to make it the six of them, almost the old group, only missing Kai.
It started with much laughter and the old familiarity of the old college crowd, still fresh in everybody’s mind, as they shared fun moments on the fairground at the marketplace in old downtown Windenburg.
Then suddenly Averie didn’t feel well, got sick and ended up puking her guts out. Fairground food is not for every stomach, evidently hers didn’t tolerate it, so Jamie took her home right away. A way too sudden ending to an otherwise uplifting and much needed day together, even though it had not even been two full months since they all left Britchester.
The next day around 11 AM Jamie took the ferry over to the mainland from Windenburg Isle, texted Averie to make sure she was okay enough to have him come by, then drove over to the LeClerq’s home. She was already waiting for him, he barely managed to greet her parents, while she dragged him up the stairs to her room, closing the door behind them.
“You okay?” Jamie wondered bewildered.
“No. I am not. We’re not. Jamie, I think I might be pregnant.”
“WHAT?! PREGNANT?! You mean with a real baby?! Like, by me? How?!” he blurted out.
“Keep your voice down! My brother’s in his room! Yes yours, duh! And how do you think?”
“That’s impossible. We used protection every single time. Can’t be. You sure it’s not just a stomach bug?”
“Don’t make me slap you! No, I am not sure, Jamie! But I am not clairvoyant either, I know I may have skipped a few periods during finals and graduation stress, sometimes they were weird or late. Then again with the new job. I didn’t think anything of it then, it’s kinda normal. The nausea is new though. Just a lot of coincidences. I am dying here, Jamie. I need you to take me shopping. Now. You know what for.”
“Yeah, potential death sentence sticks. ” Jamie grumbled.
“JAMIE! I need you as my rock now! I am this close to losing my mind here! I am a goddamn chef at a restaurant, I can’t start puking all over the patrons food or not reach the damn pots because of some giant baby belly! I’d get fired without them blinking twice! My parents would kill me!”
“Sorry, babe! Come here. We’ll be fine. Just some case of gut rot, no babies involved. Hopefully.”
She snuggled into his embrace, for a few blinks of an eye they stood this way, quietly.
“Soooo, just double-checking … how likely is it that you could be … you know?” Jamie finally mumbled.
“Are you kidding me?! If I knew that, I wouldn’t be freaking out! Or, I would know I have a good reason to. I know nothing. That’s even worse! I am just thinking we’re past coincidences here. Did the others wonder at all, about me getting sick and stuff? I don’t need any rumors out about this. Especially if it comes back negative. Or positive. Hmm, I don’t want this out, period!” Averie was close to a panic.
“No, they were all just worried about you puking your guts out. Nobody thought anything about pregnancies, least of all me. Sorry, but honestly … we’re 22 and barely out of college. We still live at home and I just make enough money for gas and to buy the suits they make us wear and the dry cleaning. Starting a family is just NOT on my list right now, Avy.”
“You think it’s on mine?! We don’t know if there even is reason to panic or not! And we won’t until I can take a test. So, quit whining, get your ass in gear, let’s get down to your car and drive!”
A tense trip to the drugstore followed, both of them confused and embarrassed in front of the selection on the shelves, hysterical giggles from Averie when Jamie grabbed a giant box of condoms, leading to puzzled looks from the cashier, triggering Jamie to say
“If the test says no, I am hoping she’ll say yes, and I wanna be prepared. Think positive, right?”
Then, once back home, more tense moments in Averie’s room.
“What are you waiting for?! Go! Do it!” Jamie pressed.
“But I don’t have to pee right now, Jamie! I am dry as a raisin!”
“Well, we are both close to losing our last marble, we got that damn test, you are taking it NOW and if I have to funnel water by the glass into you! I don’t think it works if I take the test for you, so go sit on the pot and try to squeeze some out. Just please, do it now and HURRY!”
So she did, followed by more tense moments while waiting for the timer to go off.
The moment both their futures were going to be decided. Both stared at their feet, avoiding even the general direction of the pregnancy test on Averie’s desk.
“I can’t look. You go check when the time is up.” Averie decided.
“Okay babe, I will.” Jamie sighed.
TO BE CONTINUED