I don’t care how poor a man is; if he has family, he’s rich.~Dan Wilcox
Brindleton Bay Cameron Cliff Home
Blaine snickered at Jordan, who just finished a rant about being the first of the three old friends, brothers or cousins respectively standing together on his patio over a few beers to have been made a grandfather by one of his three young adult children, a little boy named Rhys, six months old now, Blaine’s grin turned into a laughter when Jordan’s twin brother Jamie simply said
“I don’t see what you two have to whine about.”
It was summer now, come next spring, and barring any complications, Jamie and his wife Averie would be grandparents to five babies, by all three of their children. Jordan chimed into the laughter, making even Jamie chuckle. His youngest daughter Abigail would be the first to deliver, triplets, who would be named Ewan, Esmé and Emmy. Next would be their oldest child, son Liam, who was expecting a little boy with Blaine’s oldest daughter Vivien, they decided to name the baby Nicholas. Jamie and Averie’s middle daughter Leonie just called earlier that day, she lived in another country, to tell him and his wife that she was now expecting little Oliver.
“Yeah, yeah, laugh it up you two.” Jamie groaned.
“Hey, one of yours will be my first, since we are Camerons and our shit never goes straight, but if you are really quiet, you can hear the banjos playing in the distance. Unless, of course, you are counting my former foster daughter, then I am already a grandpa too since that girl got herself knocked up at 17, and she has not a drop of Cameron-Curse worthy blood in her body, so I am thinking that curse is contagious AF! I have the feeling that little Vaughn is gonna grow up calling me grandpa anyway and that’s just fine by me. And mark your calendars, Blake’s gonna have Mila knocked up before the year is out. Bet my ass on that. Those two are just itching to procreate. He has that from his late mother. Gawd, if Bri could have, she would have had twelve kids.” Blaine shrugged.
“Well, I will probably have two weddings before long. Neither Everleigh nor Ethan have breathed a word about it yet, but I know my kids. Now that Justin’s proposed to Evey all seems well on their home front, and Ethan is just in such a rose colored daze with Vanessa. He doesn’t even notice that Jenna seizes out every time she remembers our potential future daughter in law is ten years younger than Ethan, barely out of high school. Just you wait. Hoping they both get that knocked out before they get knocked up or knock up. Man, but seriously, Jamie is right. Only yesterday we were in college, wondering how to get through classes so we can party on the weekend.” Jordan said.
“Blaine didn’t party too much. He was too busy sneaking around with Scarlett, behind Bristol’s back.” Jordan’s twin brother Jamie chuckled.
“Hey now – I was only with Bri for some of the time, gramps. And there was only so much sneaking we could do with my best friend slash roommate slash pain in my ass slash saving grace slash chaperone still to this day, aka. Kai breathing down my neck all the time.”
“Speaking of, how is he? I only saw him and his family briefly at Blake’s wedding.” Jamie wondered.
“Since my family needs a lawyer on stand-by 24/7, I hear from and see the Kai-man a lot. Gray-haired and old is what that motherfucker is, making me feel old even though I don’t age anymore, but technically I am a couple years older than his ass. That princess quit dying his hair now every time I look at him I see his dad and keep censoring myself.”
“YOU? You have a filter?” Jamie acted shocked while smirking, earning him a grimace by Blaine.
“Nah, but a conscience. Kai’s dad knows my parents so … you know my mom. Old as fuck and still feisty as get out. I swear if Finn called her with a complaint about me, she’d manage to spank me, even now. She’s still so pissed at Letty and me about the turning thing and that was years ago now. Whenever we go see her she freezes out Letty, pulls me in to whisper ‘my rainbow baby’ into my ear, then spin me around for a swift kick in the ass.” Blaine said, grimacing. An exaggeration. Maeve had calmed down about it a lot, was nice to Scarlett again, but did bring that mishap up every chance she got.
“Yeah, I know, Blaine. We’re neighbors, so we run into her and your dad Rett all the time. She’s pretty outspoken about all that. And since she just cannot keep Jordan and me apart, even though I wear glasses and his vain ass won’t, she tells him too when he comes over.” Jamie chuckled, referring to his identical twin brother.
Blaine’s cell phone rang, after glancing at the caller ID he answered.
“Riordan Vatore – hey what’s up, you old fuck?! Come join the other old fucks, we’re reminiscing about our fading youth and beauty over here at Jo’s house in Brindleton Bay. Uh huh .. WHAT?! WHAT THE FUZZY … yeah, I’ll be right there!” Blaine’s tone had gone from happy to tense in seconds.
Blaine’s good mood was gone by the time he hung up.
“Gotta go fellas. My youngest son is a fucking moron. I’ll be in touch.” Blaine said, then only a black cloud remained in his wake.
Forgotten Hollow Vatore Manor
He already materialized at Riordan’s home, where Riordan’s wife Layla let him inside, pointing to the dining room, after a briefer than usual, yet still very warm greeting.
In said dining room Blaine found Chase being stared into the ground by Riordan, while a pretty worse for the wear looking Colton stood quietly and humbly by. Colton was Riordan and Layla’s teen son, a vampire like all of them, same age as Blaine’s son Chase and his best friend since anyone could recall.
“Blaine, take your boy home, I have to deal with mine. Colton is gonna have to go to school on Monday with a shiner and a broken nose because of Chase, not exactly helpful when we are already trying to hide how different we are and just blend in with the common mortals. Colton is not gonna blend in looking like this, now I can look forward to being called to the principal’s office because my son looks like I chopped wood with his face after the weekend! I expect you to punish your son accordingly, Blaine. See you around.” Riordan’s tone was cold and final.
“Gotcha. You, kid, home. Now.” Blaine said.
Del Sol Valley Cameron Mansion
Mere seconds later he and Chase were standing in the lobby of the Cameron Mansion.
“So, explain yourself.”
“Nothing to explain. Colton fucked up and I called him on it. The end. Much ado about nothing by Riordan. Colton gets the same training as I do, if the bitch still doesn’t know how to defend himself, it’s not my problem. Blame grandpa Caleb.”
“Nah. More meat on them bones here. I have seen Colton, he looked like he’s been in a bar brawl while you look fresh like a spring morning. I have been in enough fights to know how that happens. You must have been very angry at him, clearly you attacked him. That wasn’t a friendly love tap on the face to set your buddy straight and help pull the old head from the ass. Colton and you have been each other’s shadows since you could barely crawl. Peas in a pod. Care to elaborate what he could have done to make you go from ‘oh daddy daddy, take me with you, I want to hang with Colton …’ seamlessly into beating the snot out of the kid?!”
“I don’t say ‘daddy daddy’ … like … ever.”
“CHASE CAMERON! WHAT THE FUCK!? Focus, quit deflecting, and answer my motherfucking question!”
“Oh my god, dad. NADIA. NADIA!!!”
“OK, still makes no more sense to me when you yell it at me that it echoes off the walls while repeating to to me like I were a fucking parrot learning to talk. What’s a Nadia?”
“Nadia Osborne. My friend. Well, Colton and my friend. Well, former friend I guess. Mine, not his. Still his. Anyway, you and mom have met her like a gazillion times. She even came to see us here during Spring Break … Nadia.” Chase said the last word as if it was something each child would know. You know, Nadia.
“Oh – the pink lollipop!” Blaine exclaimed, clear sense of remembrance in his tone.
“What?” Chase inquired irritated.
“Skinny girl, with a huge head because of the poufy short curls, in pink.”
“Her hair is purple, dad.”
“Right, grape lollipop then. Now bells are a’ringing. So what about that Nadia?”
“Well, I met her at our usual hangout spot, Vatore Park, where the three of us always meet when I am in town. Colton was running late, so I seized the moment to tell Nadia .. stuff. Personal stuff. To which she told me other stuff. Negative personal stuff. You can figure how that felt, then Colton showed up and you know the rest”
“I still know nothing. Oh, wait. Wait a second. Are you saying you are into Nadia, but Colton was faster?”
“Something like that. Total bro-code breach. He never told me. They have been talking, ya know, TALKING for months now, and neither of them assholes told me. I was bouncing around in some oblivion vacuum, I had to make a fool of myself in front of Nadia confessing humiliating shit to find out she’s already with him. Best friend my ass!”
“Oh shit!” Those two words were filled with all the compassion Blaine felt right now for his son.
“Yeah. Had she liked me back like that, I would have told him right away. But he can have her. They both suck! Deserve each other, lying pretentious bastards!”
“Shit son. Well, I still have to do the parent thing and give you the spiel: no beating on anyone, bad boy Chase, never do it again. Now come here. I’ll give you a parental bro-hug, cos THAT feeling right there I know all too well myself.”
Usually Chase was in a very aloof ‘hate the world’ phase, but he melted into his father’s embrace, and Blaine held on tight when he noticed his son trembling, trying to hide his tears. At fifteen now, Chase had his first broken heart … caused by none other than his lifelong best friend, even if not really on purpose.
Blaine prayed on the inside that the boys could get that ironed out, eventually. While they lived thousands of miles away, that type of physical distance was laughable for a vampire, however emotional distance was just as unsurmountable to vampires as it was to regular mortals. Ouch.
Later that night, Chase was sulking in his room and this time, neither parent tried to pry him away from his computer games. At least those took his mind of the heartbreak and fight with his best friend. Scarlett knew now, of course, Blaine had told her everything, she agreed with Blaine’s handling of the situation. They were just about to snuggle up to watch a movie, when her cell phone rang.
“Hey dad. Yes. Yes, I know. Yes, we talked to Chase.” Scarlett’s tone was soft and respectful as usual when talking to her beloved father, but while Caleb was evidently talking on the other end of the line, Scarlett’s eyes narrowed, she jumped up and Blaine could tell she was fuming.
“Dad. DAD! Yes, I know you were still talking and I don’t care. I don’t want to hear any of that, and I am talking now! Tell Riordan to take his whiny overprotective daddy BS a couple notches down and to mind his own son, Blaine and I will raise ours as we please. What?! Oh, I’d be happy to tell him myself. BYE!” Scarlett hung up, her eyes glistening for anger and only a cloud remained.
“Well Ri, you done gone fucked yourself buddy, should have let it go, now you poked the wrong momma bear. May god have mercy on your soul, dude. Too bad I wasn’t invited along, I’d love to be a fly on that wall.” Blaine smirked mumbling to himself, while imagining Scarlett laying into always composed Ri, her temper like fireworks all around him, while Caleb and Caelan were sweating it to calm her down again.
She was brave, feisty and ruthless if protecting her own. She was also Caleb’s secret favorite, so if Ri would even try to yell back, he’d get his ass handed to him by Scarlett’s daddy dearest and then again by her overprotective little brother. Blaine chuckled. He liked Ri, everyone did. But like every parent he wore blinders when it came to his children, who could do no wrong and if anyone hurt them, he was relentless. Well, they’d all yell at each other for a while, when the dust settled, things would be as before. It was always that way, just like any other family.
Over the following weeks Chase became even more of a hermit than usual, he continued to attend the mandatory vampire training at Vatore Castle with Colton as before, but from what Blaine and Scarlett could tell, the boys interacted only as much as necessary with each other, didn’t meet up outside of training, vampire meetings or family affairs. They used to facetime and chat daily, but Chase ghosted Colton now.
Blaine and Scarlett – and even Riordan and Layla meanwhile agreed that boys will be boys and everyone had high hopes that the two teens would overcome their differences in due time.
And sure enough. After a few months of pouting and stewing, Colton showed up at the Cameron Mansion unannounced, then disappeared with an initially reluctant Chase in direction basketball court. After a couple hours both were laughing about some nonsensical teen flick in the family room upstairs, surrounded by soda cans.
Even their old dream of going off to Britchester University together after high school was back on, living together in the same on-campus housing as Chase’s father Blaine had done with Kai, and older sister Vivien with Liam. The topic of Nadia, however, would remain a sore subject between them for a long time.
P.S. Author’s note … here is a picture so you can remember Nadia. You know, NADIA! 😉
And before you go and judge the poor girl, none of this is really her fault. Chase is an oyster with his emotions and feelings, she had no clue he liked her more than as a friend, and Colton seized the day to confess his crush to her during a school dance, since he and Nadia attended the same high school, without even thinking twice that it would also affect Chase. Then he and Nadia felt guilty and decided to better not tell Chase, which made everything into teen drama. And, as was said before, boys will be boys …