“As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands.
One for helping yourself, the other for helping others.“
“Chase? CHASE?! Colton? Maddie? Anybody?! Goddamn it, where are they all?” Hailey dragged out of bed, then along the wall to the nursery nearby. No Connor, no Keira. Only someone at the door who had been trying to beat it off the hinges, which got Hailey out of bed.
She dragged herself down the stairs, accompanied by ongoing loud banging on the door and ringing of the doorbell.
“I AM COMING, I AM COMING! Keep your damn panties on! Where’s the fuckin’ fire!?” Hailey yelled.
When she finally reached the door, through the glass, she saw her friend and neighbor Hadley outside, her swollen, red-rimmed eyes were telltale for what to expect. With an exasperated groan and cursing under her breath, Hailey opened anyway, only to cringe, shriek and stumble aside.
“Hailey, oh my God, you look pale – and you’re still in your jammies at this hour? Are you sick?”
“Get your ass inside and close the fucking door! Too bright!” Hailey hissed from behind said door.
Shocked by the unusual rudeness, Hadley obliged.
“Bright? It’s totally overcast today, but okaaaay. Hailey, you wouldn’t believe what I have to tell you … I am a total mess, because …”
“Wait! Before you say another word, is this about you and Hudson? AGAIN?!”
“Well .. yes.”
“Zip it! I need coffee first. No way I can take your bullshit AGAIN without caffeine. Kitchen now!”
Hailey groaned, then made her way to the kitchen, followed by a confused looking Hadley, straight to the coffee maker, where she watched Hailey pull a Post-It note off which was taped to the front of it.
SO BUSTED!!! YOU WERE TOLD TO STAY IN BED!
Anyway, since you are already up, the crew and I took the kiddos to the park. They were very rambunctious today and we all thought we’d get them tuckered out so they don’t end up annoying you.
Be back soon.
P.S.: You are allowed your coffee, but afterwards GET THAT CUTE ASS BACK INTO BED OR I WILL SPANK IT!
P.S.2: And not in a good way! 😉
P.S.3: I am serious, Patches!
Hailey sighed as she put the note aside, where Hadley read it.
“Oh, he is so sweet. You two are the perfect couple, I always thought that, I envy you so much! If we weren’t friends, I would literally hate you. You are living a dream. The perfect husband, SO handsome, and not just that, the lead singer of ‘2Dark 2C’, I mean, that alone sounds like a teen romance flick, and you have the cutest little boy together, and totally cool in-laws, and a whole village helping you raise your child, and you live with two friends and somehow that works so well and you always have so much fun together. Hailey Cameron, you are the luckiest bitch, seriously. Hey, are you sick? You seem off and you aren’t looking so fresh. Do you have a fever? Here, let me make the coffee. You go sit.” Hadley interrupted her verbiage when she saw Hailey lightly sway and hold her head, as if dizzy.
“No way! I had your coffee, it’s so weak, like dirty dishwater. I need REAL coffee, so strong the spoon will dissolve in it.” Hailey protested, but her friend pulled her away from the coffee maker by her shoulders and turned her towards the counter with stools.
“Okay, okay, Hails, I got this. Remember I have known you a few ‘days‘ now, I know you like your coffee so strong it can open jars for you. I will make you Cameron-worthy coffee that will raise the dead. Sit. You look like you are about to keel over. Are you hungover? Did you have a party yesterday? I didn’t even hear it or notice a bunch of people. Or did you guys go to one of those celebrity events Chase has to attend? I bet that’s it. Last time you had a serious hangover too.”
“NO! I don’t have a hangover! Quit babbling all that nonsense! And better question would be, what’s YOUR excuse to look like shit again? Maddie and I gave you a killer makeover, took you shopping, and here you roll up like someone rescued you from a Goodwill bin in a torrential downpour again. Did you lose your hairbrush?! Your hair looks like poured from a mold! Aqua Net much?! Did we fall back in time into the 80s?!” Hailey hissed at her old friend.
“OUCH! Why are you so rude today? I don’t recognize you! I look like shit, because Hudson’s Christmas gift for me was that he is divorcing me. He literally left me on Christmas Day! His parents came by, I thought for another one of their unscheduled visits to tell me what a failure I am and to make sure everyone’s holidays are thoroughly ruined, instead, Hudson went upstairs, and came down with packed bags. He took the twins. Left me the two young ones. Told me he has filed for divorce, and his mother was so kind to tell me that I was never good enough for him. I informed her that her son is a liar and a repeated cheater, and she said that if I were a real woman and not an unsightly and brainless mess, he wouldn’t have felt the need to look elsewhere. Merry friggin’ Christmas to me. How were your holidays? I bet a helluva lot more boring than mine.” Hadley’s words dripped sarcasm.
“WHAT THE FUCK?! That asshole has lost his mind completely now! And his bitch of a mother got some balls. Who lit her tampon on fire?! Had she said that to me in my home, she’d be pushing up daisies for sure! And my cheating husband would be helping her! Who leaves someone during the holidays?! What a loser and a mommy’s boy!” Hailey exploded, wondering herself where her sudden outbursts and potty mouth came from. Sure, she has cursed before, rarely, but nothing like THIS. Whoa!
“Tell me about it. His parents never liked me and he never stood up for me. I bet that was their idea and they are taking him and my kids to their place in Strangerville. He is literally leaving me to move back in with mommy and daddy. The twins are 13 now, very independent, not like a school kid who needs a lot of help and my toddler, they are too much work or he would have taken them too. Just how the hell am I supposed to go see my two oldest kids so far away?!”
“Well, honestly Hadley, it’s for the better. You and he should have parted ways many years ago, instead of having another kid every time he screws around on you. And how did he take the twins? They have school here. He doesn’t get to decide by the seat of his pants where which of your kids live. Who does he think he is?!”
“He’s an attorney, Hailey, and his parents are influential. They pulled some strings and had them already enrolled in the new school since the new semester starts in January. What hurts the most is, that they both WANTED to go with their father, not stay with me. They WANTED to go, Hailey. That is what tore my heart out the most. Where did I go wrong? How did my life get so messed up? What am I gonna do now?”
“Well, let the kids go with him and see how he really is when you don’t shield them from his bullshit, they’ll come running back to mommy in no time, while you get yourself a ball-busting attorney and take the fool for everything he’s got. Punishment! I’d make his ass walk out of the courtroom naked, I’d sue him for the dirt under his nails even! Everything!”
“Hailey, I don’t want a divorce. I want my family.”
“You are a moron, Hadley! Pull your head out of your ass already, will ya?! Do you STILL not get it? You don’t have a family! You have kids, that’s it. Your husband is a cheating ass, who doesn’t love you, probably never did, as I tried to tell you a million times but you didn’t listen, and your twins are entitled little assholes who need to learn the hard way. Give the other two kids to him too, make him see how much work and chaos that is, while you do you for a while, start over! Get a REAL life for once! Do what he did, get laid till you’re raw down there! And handle some issues, will ya? Ever since I’ve known you, you keep screwing everything up, the same mistakes over and over and over, then come to me to fix it! I am tired of Groundhog Day, Hadley! Time to move on and get real!”
Staring at her best friend in great shock, Hadley suddenly started crying.
“Why are you so mean to me? You are literally all I have left, Hailey. My brother moved to Sulani, my parents are dead, 50% of my kids hate me, the other two are probably just too young to have an opinion yet … I have no friends left other than you – and I probably can’t afford to keep the house. You cannot turn from me now too. My life is literally falling apart. I NEED YOU!”
“Oh, pull yourself together, like the rest of the world! Ever since I have known you, I have been there to dry your constant tears about something. First you had nobody, then you had Hudson, then – against my advice – you just HAD to marry him, WAY TOO YOUNG, instead of going to college with Chase and me. We barely made it home from your wedding it seems, when you already started popping out kids left and right- EVEN THOUGH I TOLD YOU TO WAIT! You are the older one between us two, yet, why do you keep coming to me for advice you never take?! Besides, did you EVER for one second wonder why you haven’t heard from me in two weeks? Did your ass come by here to check on me – only ONCE? NO! You only come when YOU need me, not when maybe I could use you or just to hang. I have my own cross to bear, Hadley, ever considered THAT, you whiny little bitch!?” Hailey heard herself shout, watched her best friend gasp.
“What is wrong with you?! Who are you these days?! You’re crazy! Fame’s made you insane!” Hadley slid off the chair to leave, but Hailey, grabbed her arm and flung her against the fridge like a ragdoll, even though Hadley was quite a bit heavier than Hailey. With a startled scream Hadley stood there stiffly staring at Hailey, who stared back wide-eyed.
“Oh my God! Oh shit! I am so sorry, Hads. I didn’t mean to do that! I don’t know what got into me.”
“What is with you? Since when are you so strong?! You are scaring me! This is not you, Hailey! Are you on drugs or something?! OMG – I bet that’s it. You hear all those stories about musicians and all. I heard some drugs can do this, change your personality and make you crazy strong when you need the next hit.”
“No, no, no! No drugs, I swear. Please don’t be scared. And it’s nothing like that. I am so very sorry, Hads. This is just some temporary side-effects, at least I hope that it passes. Look … we did it. Chase and I. We just went for it. Finally. That’s why we spent one week at his parents’ mansion. To do this without anyone interrupting. They even watched Connor the entire time while Chase and I … well … did it.”
“Another baby? Oh, isn’t that dangerous? You almost died having Connor.”
“Hadley! You are hopeless, woman! No, not a baby! He turned me. I am turning as we speak, that’s what’s wrong with me. I don’t know if I am coming or going half the time these days. I feel super weird and iffy, like I am looking at myself and have little control.”
“You said he would never! You told me he was always in control!”
“Argh – he is! He didn’t just lose control, Hadley. I asked him to do this. It was a mutual decision. He and I agreed, I told him I was ready and … well, he planned this elaborate thing – it was really sweet – and we did it. In Del Sol Valley. At his parents’ home.”
“Why would you do that?! Oh my God, Hailey! Do your parents know? You are not gonna get fangs now, right?”
“What? Of course, they know, my brother and sister do, too, and yeah, I am going to have fangs! What kind of vampire would I be if I didn’t?! And hello?! I am married to a vampire and we have a vampire son together. We decided to do this because this just makes sense.”
“But you … you .. are going to be …. like them …. what about cake?”
Rendered speechless, Hailey stared at Hadley for a moment, then couldn’t help but laugh, Hadley realized the nonsensical comment and laughed too. Hailey hugged her friend.
“Sorry about all that Hads. This transforming stuff is weird. REALLY weird. I thought it would be some wham bam done thing. NOOOO … that’s just the beginning. Evidently I am stronger and the light sensitivity has started. Either that or the earth moved a LOT closer to the sun. And I am a bitch on wheels now, apparently, no explanation for that but I am super-sorry!”
“It’s okay, you’re still a million times nicer than my in-laws were, and as far as I can tell earth and sun are still where they belong. Oh man, I thought I had problems. Now my best friend is going to be a vampire. Oh man, that’s just crazy and scary.”
“No, it’s not! Why would it be, Hads? You have been over here millions of times, around a lot of vampires. Chase, Colton, Caitlin, Scarlett, Blaine … list is endless. You never freaked out about them.”
“Yes, I have, in the beginning, I just got used to them over the years. You will take getting used to, I mean, for half our lives I have known you to be like me, and now you’ll be, well … different. Oh, well … and since you brought him up, Blaine … who cares WHAT he is, as long AS he is, right? And he is … oh boy … he is a whole lotta things, and soooo deliciously good, even when he’s bad, amirite?”
“He’s my father-in-law, Hads. Literally shares DNA with my son.” Hailey nudged her friend, who was wiggling her eyebrows.
“So? You can look. I can definitely look, now that I am gonna be single again. Oh man. Still can’t believe that is happening. Oh boy, there goes the distraction, back to me freaking out about my entire life dissolving right in front of me and I can’t do ANYTHING about it.”
“Right. That. Okay, so here is what we do. First of all, you are NOT going to lose that house and if I have to buy it for you. Secondly, I just had a brilliant little idea. I’ll get you an attorney. One who is going to be extremely motivated to make Hudson pay so hard, he will scurry away crying, sucking his thumb. We’ll give him a reason to wanna sit in his mommy’s lap!” Hailey smiled confidently, nodding at her own comment.
“That Liam guy again?”
“No. Much worse news for Hudson. Someone who will definitely be his biggest nightmare. The ballbuster you are gonna need to get even for the outrageous way he treated you. Her name is Lana Cameron, and she is the mother of that one girl Hudson cheated on you with, that paralegal who was here with Liam that one time. Lana abhors your soon-to-be-ex SO much. I mean, we are talking she HATES his guts. Lana will butcher him in court, for you and for doing what he did to her little girl.”
“Okay, I am not a vindictive person, but I think I would like that a lot. For as many times as he humiliated me, hurt me, made me cry my eyes out and never stood up for me against his evil parents. I kid you not, his parents are so demeaning and mean. No love lost here.”
The girls were still plotting about terrible things to do to Hadley’s almost-ex, when Chase, Colton, Maddie and the kids came home.
Hailey gave them a Cliff Notes version, they all agreed that Lana was the perfect address for this, but then Chase put his foot down.
“Hadley, I am genuinely sorry for what happened to you, but I need my wife to go rest up now. She is gonna have some rough times ahead, after the transformation is done, she will have to learn a LOT of things very quickly, her beautiful and smart little head will be smoking. Will be some weeks, maybe a few months, before we have anything resembling normalcy again here, but after that you girls have all the time in the world to do your girl things again and plot murders of exes and such.”
“You are lucky you already are a vampire or I would bite you for trying to treat me like a toddler! I am fine, Chase.” Hailey told her husband.
Chase gave her the type of smile that made Hadley go weak in the knees just watching her two friends interact.
“I am gonna refrain then from reminding you that among my kind – oops, OUR kind – I am actually your Master now.” he grinned wide, winking at his wife.
“Yeah, THAT will be the day, Gump! NEVER EVER will I call you that.” Hailey protested, then stuck her tongue out at him.
“I heard you call him that – in the bedroom.” chuckled Colton, who ducked quickly to dodge the peppershaker Hailey threw at him.
“He has the right idea though, you can nibble on me upstairs all you want, and I don’t care what you call me, but you ARE going back to bed. Your choice whether I stay or not. Sorry Hadley, but I have to be the party pooper here.” Chase said as he picked Hailey up and with vampire speed carried her to their bedroom.
After he put her down, she wondered.
“Does me turning mean my character will change? As in am I turning into one of the grumpy old men from the Muppet Show but with boobs and fangs?”
Chase chuckled, then kissed the tips of the fingers of her hand that he hand been holding.
“Oh, that! No, baby. Right now, all those tiny little molecules and particles inside of you are going haywire and probably bumping into your hormones. Once that all calmed down, you will be the same old sweet Patches as before.”
“Ooof – thank God, cos I had some serious extreme PMS moments today, I seriously bit poor Hadley’s head off and I couldn’t help it. I was a total bitch to her. Then I seriously flung my best friend off a stool and across the kitchen into our fridge. I have no idea where that anger or that strength came from all of a sudden! I am lucky she didn’t get hurt or call the cops on me.” Hailey told him, grimacing.
“Oh no – poor Hadley. I’ll talk to her about it later, bring her some flowers, and once you’re better you’ll take her to a girls’ day, spa and hairdresser and clothes shopping – on us. Did you tell her why you are a bit on the fringe?”
“Of course I told her! She freaked out even more after that. By her reaction you’d think I told her I am infected with rabies and turning into a zombie. She’s been around so many vampires over the years I don’t get why she even flinched at this. I mean, it was always gonna happen. Sorta. Eventually. Well, you know. It is to be expected, is what I am saying.”
“Yeah, maybe, but it’s not easy, not for anyone involved going through this including your parents, siblings and friends. See, I already was like this when they all met me, so we got the shock out of the way early on. But they know you as a mortal all your life, and you deliberately choosing this may feel like you removed a constant from their lives and replaced it with something that cannot yet fully fathom. It’s scary to them. And to be perfectly honest, I have been on the receiving end of your anger outbursts and – yeah – that is scary, actually. Makes me understand why the custom used to be to lock newly turned people into coffins until they were completely done. Luckily, this too shall pass, it’s just a brief adjustment phase, soon you will be the funny, kind and sweet Patches we all know and love, just with a twist. And a lot more energy. I know you are probably constantly exhausted now.”
“Did you go through all this?”
“No, because I was born a vamp. For us the transition is pretty quick and uneventful. We hit puberty and suddenly food becomes gross, sunlight becomes painful, and we start craving … other things. Only those who get turned have the long adjustment phase problem since what I put in you is now changing what was inside of you to become like me. Some people take it harder than others. From the stories I’ve been told – since this happened before I was old enough to understand it – my dad was a serious handful, he did his transition at Vatore Castle and my uncle Caelan and he kept getting into it constantly, my grandpa nearly went crazy trying to keep those two separated. I mean, under normal circumstances can those two not be in a room together without feathers flying, but back then, it must have been earthshaking and probably a few Benny Hill moments thrown in too.” Chase laughed, then kissed Hailey, as he pushed her backwards to lay down on the bed.
When the kiss ended, Hailey was passed out, fast asleep.
“Good thing I know not to take this personal right now. He he he. Rest up, beautiful. I’ll go next door and kiss Hadley’s ass for ya, make sure she’s okay and get Lana on her case.” Chase chuckled, gently kissed his wife’s forehead, then quietly left the room.