“Your failures should motivate you to look at your life goals from a different angle”Sunday Adelaja
Del Sol Valley Cameron Mansion
Aggravated voices echoed through the room, emotions were running high, one could almost physically feel the electrical charge of the built-up tension.
“I don’t get why this keeps coming up. For many years we have talked about this again and again. The same song and dance over and over and over … Just get it into your thick skull already! The circumstances haven’t changed. It was impossible when we first met, it has been impossible since and still is now! For the gazillionth time we are not a regular couple, we will never be a regular couple, hence we cannot do all the things regular couples can. I am so tired of having this same argument all the damn time, this is FRUSTRATING! YOU are frustrating!” Scarlett shouted.
“Straight back at ya! And you are wrong! A lot has changed, Scarlett. Everything has changed! We are a finally a couple, no longer sneaking on kinda-sorta dates like horny ninjas, we have a teen daughter, the next logical step would be you at least moving in, if not making this official! It’s what people do, Scarlett!” Blaine argued.
“People, maybe! But I am just not ‘regular people’, remember?!” Scarlett countered.
“Not that again! NOT AGAIN! You are like the rest of us, for the most part, you act like you are one of the mortals, nobody can tell the difference, obviously you want to be, so BE like us mortals! Quit the half-assery.”
“I am doing the best I can! This is as good as it gets. I am giving all I can give – and then some!”
“Are you?! Because from where I sit, it always seems more like I am the one always made to bend to YOUR rules. I gave up everything for you, several times, I believe this last time you asked me to make a choice, a ‘leap of faith’ is what you called it, so when is your leap of faith gonna happen, huh!?” Blaine demanded.
“You think I haven’t sacrificed? Are you serious!? For as long as I have known you, I have done nothing but bend the strict rules until they almost break, just to be with you! I watched you be with another woman! I watched you have a child with her. I even helped you have a child with her. All to make you happy! Because I thought that’s what you wanted then! At least that’s what you told everyone, including yourself!”
“And here it is again – like clockwork, served up steaming hot, the Blaine and Bristol marriage and your contribution to creating Blake, which apparently in your book makes my son the genetic collage of three people, add a healthy helping of self-sacrifice by you and voila – the permanent guilt trip you can lay on me! BULLSHIT, Scarlett! Let’s be honest for a moment, shall we?! You didn’t do all that because you thought it’s what I wanted, cos if that were true, you’d be a blithering idiot, as I always told you that I loved YOU, wanted YOU! But YOU were always the one to kick me to the curb, over and over, I gave you plenty of opportunities, since I kept coming back for more, again and again, because I am also fucking insane. You did all of that out of guilty conscience, because, let’s not forget you had no problems marrying that fucking rich Italian slime ball! You dragged him to the altar so fast, you broke the sound barrier! And what did that get you?! HUH!? Definitely couldn’t have done worse with me!” bellowed Blaine.
“You are such an asshole, Blaine! I never kicked you to the curb, I tried to protect you, give you a chance to find real happiness. Lorenzo was a mistake, I said it a million times before, and I am sure it will keep coming back up like Herpes! But YOU chose Bristol back then, you kicked me out of your bed and life at some point, after which I chose Lorenzo because I thought I could be happy too! Yes, I was wrong, now I know that too.”
“I only chose Bristol because – surprise, surprise – she wanted me and YOU didn’t want to commit to me! You wanted me to be your fuck toy whenever you felt like it! I am not THAT, Scarlett, not even for you, and truth be told, whatever it is we are doing nowadays is starting to taste a lot like that again! I am all for slow starts into a relationship, I definitely wouldn’t call myself the marrying kind, but come on now, there is a lot to be had in between friends with benefits and the altar, yet, we are treading in place – again – somewhere in relationship no-man’s-land, just no progress at all anymore – again! We’ve been spinning our tires with no end in sight. This isn’t gonna work for me forever, you know?!”
“If all you were to me was a fuck toy as you call it, you’d know!”
“Not sure I would! Every time I think I am sure about something with you, with US, you prove me wrong!”
“Argh!” Scarlett grumbled, then all there was left was a black cloud.
“Oh no, you didn’t! You bitch! You better just be in the hallway!” Blaine roared, stomped over to the door and tore it open … to reveal an empty hallway. Cursing, he slammed the door shut again, Scarlett could be anywhere, 100 yards or 100 miles away by now.
Scarlett meanwhile was in the kitchen, it seemed like a good place to vanish to at the time, now she was fighting her emotions, tears and anger, about Blaine’s stubbornness, her own, and the unchangeable, unsurmountable facts again.
“Dammit! DAMN IT! FUCK!” she said while banging her fists onto the counter next to the coffeemaker when Maeve walked in.
“Jeeze, I thought lack of coffee turned me into the insufferable Hulkina, but I don’t think I am as bad as you. We can make a fresh pot, girl. Joking aside, while I have you here, there is something I have been meaning to bring up with you, sweetie, maybe now is a good time for it, seeing how we are alone for once.” Maeve’s tone changed from joking to serious towards the end.
“Please don’t … I just can’t deal with any more drama now. Sorry if we got a little loud. Again.”
“Well, you’re gonna have you deal with it – and talk about it, girlie, that is part of being a mom, you don’t get to duck out of issues affecting your child. I had talks with my son about it, and I knew even before I did that you are the key part here, you are the – pardon me – holdup and unless you change your mind, there is no fixing this, no end in sight. Honestly, if you two didn’t have Vivien, I wouldn’t even dream about sticking my nose into this mess, trust me, I really don’t want to, but this affects my two grandchildren, so I have a lot of right to stick my sniffer in there. And it stinks, Scarlett. To high heavens. My parents used to fight ALL the damn time when I was growing up and it turned me into a very broken person for a long time. I ran away from home before I ever finished high school. Is that what you want for your daughter?”
“No, of course not! Maeve, I … it’s complicated. Just as you were afraid it would be when Blaine tried to introduce me to you and Rett as his girlfriend all those years ago. You were right then. It’s all so screwed up, would never work. We’re screwed.”
“Oh no, Scarlett. The reason I didn’t like you back then was not even the fact that you were a vampire, or different, I was honestly worried and afraid you would turn my son into one of you, that Rett and I would loose our only child. After getting to know you and your family better over the years, I realize maybe it wouldn’t be the end of the world, just not something any mother wants. We had a talk about that too, you and I, remember?”
“I do remember. And I would never turn him. Never. He wants me to move in here, with him. To Del Sol Valley, the exact opposite of where a vampire should live. He hasn’t come out and said it, but keeps hinting around on wanting something solid, sounds a lot like marriage to me, and … it’s just too much. I couldn’t even pull this off with Lorenzo – my ex, also a mortal …”
“Oh, believe you me, Scarlett, anybody, and I mean absolutely everyone, who knows Blaine, knows who Lorenzo is! We heard a LOT about him back when.”
“Really? Blaine … mentioned it?”
“Mentioned? Yes, Scarlett, he mentioned it. All the damn time. And yes, your plan worked, Blaine was eaten alive by jealousy.”
“Oh no, I didn’t do it to …”
“Scarlett. I am a woman too. A woman, married to a former womanizer, who used to cheat on my older sister, his ex-girlfriend, all the damn time. Then we also became famous, and now that former ladykiller had women literally throwing themselves at him. Sound familiar? I KNOW, Scarlett. I KNOW, how a woman then thinks. So, don’t insult me by giving me the smoke and mirror crap. You wanted Blaine to be jealous because he said no to you, for the first time ever. And you got a taste of what your constant yes-no-yes-no-rinse-repeat feels like from the receiving end. If my son is foolish enough to keep going back in for more, that’s his problem, he’s a grown man. But I will not have this affect innocent children. Two innocent children, whose psyche you are playing roulette with. TWO! No Ma’am!”
“You are right. Look, the problem here is, I do want him. So very VERY much. Ever since we were .. oh god, I think since we were teens I did. But – I love my independence, I fought so hard for it, because my people, except the very young generation, LOVE the old rites and rules, where women are kept on short leashes and get no opportunities to achieve anything, the highest of all feelings for them is to be someone’s wife and a mother. I fought that so hard, then gave up, married Lorenzo and I was miserable when household chores, being his arm candy plus breeding mare became my only tasks. Once upon a time I tried to be a politician and bring on change for the females of my kind, but hit the damn glass ceiling everywhere, despite my father, brother and cousin helping where they could. I am stuck between worlds here, can’t be a real mortal, don’t want to be the average female vampire, it’s a huge mess. Blaine doesn’t want to understand that I cannot give more without losing myself and all I fought for, while trying to make a square vampire peg fit into a mortal hole. I cannot be his official public girlfriend. I am fine with his family and friends knowing about me, but I cannot go to award events, concerts, and public appearances with him unless I do it with that mask as some sort of novelty act, careful not to accidentally touch or kiss him so nobody figures out I wasn’t just hired as an act from one of his music videos. If any reporter were to catch on – and were to uncover the truth, all my dad’s, Riordan’s and Caelan’s hard work of keeping vampires hidden in the world of mythology for everyone’s safety would have been in vain. Too risky.”
“Really Scarlett? First of all, take it from another independent woman, being married to the man you love and who loves you back as much as Blaine does love you, you are not stuck, nor are you reduced to arm candy and breeding machine. You know Blaine would never do anything like that to you, he’d be your partner, just as his father has been to me. I can’t speak to what being a vampire is like, nor do I want to know first hand, but glass ceilings exist for mortal women too. The entertainment business is cruel to women, which makes my life quite hard currently, if I don’t want to be yesterday’s news, I have no choice than as a 50-something year old to try and compete visually and physically with 20 year olds. Also, you are wrong about reporters regarding your situation. I am not gonna lie, if you get involved with celebrities, there will be media coverage, most of it probably not flattering, but nothing like what you are worried about. The only thing that could truly be damaging to you and the rest of the vampires could be verifiable photos or credible witnesses. Everything else is just sensationalism and will be replaced by the next big headline before you know it. Obviously, your vampire society knows how to keep from being found out, there won’t be any real evidence, so all it would be is some journalist’s ramblings nobody that matters would take serious. BS gets written about us all the time, can be very aggravating, but always goes the way of the Dodo. If this is what worries you so, you need to refocus your excuses, cos this can’t be one.”
“You mean … even if someone would figure out I am from Forgotten Hollow, which is, you know, … not the most cozy place for mortals and there are tons of rumors about what goes on there … I am sure the term ‘vampire’ would come up for certain! If someone then were to take closer looks at my teeth … the fangs … I can’t do much about those and would have no clue how to explain them away..”
“Scarlett, if they did, no renown paper or magazine would even consider running a story on someone’s teeth and debatably creepy hometown, so most likely it would just end up in someone’s online blog article, which hardly anybody would even read, 90% of people who would read it would fall over laughing, the rest would be some obsessed crazies who would start dressing like you, file their teeth into fangs, ask YOU for autographs and stuff like that. You’d be trending on social media, not ruining all the vampires lives.”
“Really? You think?”
“No, I don’t think, I KNOW! I have been in this business a LONG time, and I learned a lot of things the hard way, so Blaine didn’t have to, and neither would you. You’d be fine, Scarlett. Now, someone who already isn’t fine – not at all – is your daughter. You guys fighting is killing Viv.”
“I don’t think so. We never do it in front of her … we’re not that stupid!”
“Scarlett – you have no concept how much that girl notices. She may seem unaffected, unattached and just too cool for school, but I think she is trying to emulate you, also she and I had several talks about a lot of the worries she has.”
“Vivien never mentioned a thing to me. I thought she and I talked about everything and that she knew she could come to me with any worry she may have. Are you sure it’s not just a fight with one of her friends or school getting to her? We both know academics have never been her strong suit, she struggles a lot, always has.”
“Girl, this isn’t school or teen bickering. How would YOU feel if your mother and father lived apart most of your childhood, both even married to other people for a while, yet they constantly are getting back together, then splitting up, back together, and in between they yell at each other that the walls shake? Hmm?”
“That would have killed me. And Caelan. Oh man, I really need to have a straight talk with Blaine. We have to figure out something.”
“You and I will have a talk first. Look, like it or not, but Blaine literally fell for a woman like his own momma, minus the vampire bit. You and I are so much alike, it is scary and I am already seeing both of us in Vivien. Stubborn, desperately independent, … all that. Let me tell you a little story and tell me if something starts to sound familiar to you. I was in love with Rett since I was 13 I think, back then he was my sister’s boyfriend, I was invisible to him. He was so popular even then, an arrogant prick, man-whore, but there was something about him that just got to me. A few times he and I connected over music and then it was like there was only him and I in the whole world. But, most of the time he didn’t even see me. Then I ran away from home, I think I was 15ish and never went back, almost forgot about him, out of mind out of sight, until I ran into him at a club one night. I think he was in college then, visiting home. He saw me then all right, but didn’t recognize me. We went round and round for a while, but it took both of us getting our asses handed to us to form a sort of alliance to follow a seemingly impossible dream … and we became a couple somewhere along the way. Rett loves me the way I am, but we are both A-type personalities and we clash, but we also belong, we weathered tragedies together, we raised a child together, we have grandkids together, we work together, you have seen it many times, he still wants me and you have seen him shirtless at the pool or on stage, there is a LOT for me to want, physically, but also emotionally. Blaine is a lot like his dad, and like his great-grandfather was, the man your father still talks about so much, the original Blaine. They played the field, but once they made their choice, if it’s the real deal, they are loyal to a fault. You know Blaine in a way nobody else does. I know Rett better than anyone ever will. THAT is what makes me believe you two could overcome ANYthing, you just both have to pull your heads out of your asses first and give it a real shot! Imma gonna set you straight, from the mortal perspective. Like the mortal mother you never had – and probably never would have wanted. Let’s be honest, I know I am an acquired taste. And then we’ll talk about educated next steps.”