Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.
Following my total meltdown, and me spending the following day in the hurt locker with the worst hangover ever recorded by mankind, Blaine had taken the reigns with Anastasia like I never would have expected him to. After a few times of him and Ana headbutting, quiet and coziness returned to the Cameron household, for the most part. Nothing we couldn’t handle.
He used to be the worst kid and teen imaginable himself – no really, Blaine used to be insufferable except with me.
This meant he knew all the tricks in the book and also how to counter them. While Ana was never going to be the quiet wallflower type, her behavior improved rapidly making being a family fun again.
We were now a solid parenting team, Blaine and I. He usually did the punishing – violence-free, of course – and as he had promised, suddenly I wasn’t so uncool and naggy, but ‘mommy’ again, the good parent who Ana would run to, because Blaine could be brutal in his punishment and the delivery of it and now took most of the heat – or the cold shoulder – from Ana.
He made her so angry so often, and he really didn’t care.
Not one bit.
He just had the confidence to know that she loved him anyway, and she did, they shared many good, fun and peaceful times together.
Both kids had inherited the artistic gene, and Blaine patiently taught both how to play the guitar. Watching Blaine teach his kids his greatest passion was one of those true feel-good moments. Something to remember and cherish forever.
Ana’s grades were still good, she now even did her homework without us having to remind her of it at gunpoint, so that was a relief.
Brendan was overall an easy child, a really sweet boy, smart, good grades, did his chores without having to be after him all the time, but that didn’t mean he didn’t give us a run for the money on occasion.
His specialty were pranks. He was notorious for them.
I cannot tell you how many times Blaine and I sat in the principal’s office of Brendan’s school, both of us equal parts astonished and shocked about our son’s ideas, and more often than not trying our best not to burst into laughter.
But it didn’t stop with school.
One of his preferred targets was his older sister. As if she needed any help being upset at someone or something.
Whenever he got caught by her, he took her rants with stoic patience, a slight smirk and his father’s total disregard for her moods. One time he told me that she would yell at him for something anyway, might as well make it worth the while. Yeah, mini-Blaine for ya.
That kid, seriously.
Oh, let me tell you this story: for his 8th birthday Brendan had asked for a science station.
Blaine and I exchanged looks of sheer parental torture and fear, but of course we folded and got it for him anyway. Against all instincts and better knowledge.
I will never forget the morning, maybe three or four days after his birthday, when he came into the kitchen.
“Hey mom, hey dad. Uh, mom, just wondering, how attached are you to those curtains in my room?” he asked with that look.
You know that look.
Uh oh. My eyes grew wide, I now noticed the slight aura of burned something enveloping my son and the remnants of soot on him.
“OH SHIT!” Blaine said, we ran to my son’s room. Yup, his beautiful curtains were goners, along with two of his stuffed animals. Blaine took over the disaster zone clean up, while I went to wash the kid, which was followed by a mommy-daddy lecture for Brendan, delivered ping-pong style because that had scared the bejeezes out of both of us.
We did away with curtains altogether in Brendan’s room after that.
Of course had taking the science station away altogether crossed our minds, but he seemed to enjoy experimenting so much, had good grades in science classes in school, and practice arguably made perfect, so one of us now supervised him until we felt confident he wouldn’t set the house ablaze.
And then Blaine was nominated for a Starlight Accolade again. We made it a family affair, well, sans Charlie, sweet old Charlie, Caleb was watching him, while we travelled to Del Sol Valley for a long weekend.
For once, no moaning and groaning from our sweet, hormone riddled daughter. Quite the contrary, she ate it up. Loved it. Star struck and all.
Blaine and I exchanged many glances, we both saw the heaping pile of foreshadowing, which to us, smelled an awful lot like … manure. We both knew sooner or later that talk would happen, where she wanted to be a star. Over my dead body!
Anyway, we did the sightseeing, then got dressed up and headed to the event.
Yes, of course did Blaine call his entire family up on stage and of course did he do his usual PDA with me right there.
And of course was the presenter uber-annoyed, even more so when our lovely daughter took over the microphone commandeering it for a good 15 minutes. Shy, she was not.
Neither was our son for that matter, who grimaced and made fart noises on stage, had the entire audience first in a state of shocked silence, then roaring with laughter, while Blaine finally let me out of his embrace to realize what was going on. Blaine plucked Ana away from the microphone, while I dragged Brendan along.
Invite us and the circus is in town – on national live TV. Yikes.
After we returned home it soon became fall and we did what we had done every year: go to the pumpkin patch.
There was a cute little diner-type restaurant, so we ate some wholesome old-fashioned food, enjoyed the crisp autumnal air, the scent of fall in the air.
Surprisingly we all had a good time and a good meal. And I didn’t have to cook or clean up, bonus!
And afterwards we picked and carved pumpkins. Both kids had a LOT of fun. We all did. This was the good life. This was how family should be. A little bickering here and there, but overall unity.
The finished work turned out just as you would expect and definitely reflected their respective creators.
Well, anyway, after some initial failures to launch we were a cute little family, with the usual hiccups here and there, but overall, we had a lot of fun together.
And then one night Caleb came over. Unannounced.
With Lilith, Riordan – and a girl in tow.
Well, a young woman really, a sweet and soft-spoken little thing, whom he introduced to us as ‘Amelie’ and she was obviously a love interest of his, judging by the lovey-dovey glances they traded and the way he seemed to be unable to keep his hands off her. I kept waiting for Caleb to start giggling like a school girl, which would have made my day, but no such luck.
To Amelie we were introduced by him as his family. Hear, hear, I guess we had adopted us some vampires without knowing it. Joking aside, it just showed how important we all were in each others’ lives. A vampire of Caleb’s caliber found it necessary to introduce us to his new girlfriend or date or wherever they ranked with each other.
Naturally Riordan and Anya didn’t care much about us adults, but immediately made a beeline for the couch to talk about all the incredibly important stuff teens have to discuss all the time. Those poor kids hadn’t seen each other in almost 2 days now. Understandable, right? Pardon my sarcasm, but they acted as if it had been years, not hours.
It was okay, Caleb had an iron grip on the boy, Riordan had major respect for his uncle, nothing would happen without him sanctioning it. Blaine and I had given up trying to keep the two of them separated, it was impossible, they were fused together too much already. Best friends, for better or worse.
Naturally at some point I had to go to the bathroom, when I came back out Caleb was loitering outside the door, and immediately pulled me right back inside with him.
“HEYYY! Seriously, Caleb? If you gotta go for little vampires I am sure you don’t need me to hold it for ya, do you?!” I protested.
“What do you think?” he asked, ignoring my speech completely.
“I think that this is weirdly and wildly inappropriate!” I frowned.
“No, not this. Her. What do you think about Amelie?” he asked with importance.
“She is beautiful, seems sweet, polite, kind, I like her a lot.” I told him, discombobulated.
“Good! So glad to hear that, as I intend to wed her.”
“Wed her? As in get married?” I couldn’t believe it.
“Oh, I didn’t know you two were so close already. Well, congrats!”
I was about to hug him when a knock on the door interrupted us and Blaine entered.
“Uh, mind sharing what are you two doing in here? Together … in our pisser. That’s weird even by my standards. And those are low.”
“Blaine, Caleb is going to marry Amelie!” I explained.
“AMELIE!” Caleb and I said simultaneously. Gawd, sometimes that man’s memory had more holes than a strainer.
“Oh, the girl you brought. Cool beans, brother, congrats. Is it normal for vamps to discuss and announce wedding plans on other people’s crappers?”
“Never mind that. Do you like her? Think she is a good fit?” Caleb now asked Blaine.
“Yeah, sure, why not? Seems sweet, can hold up a conversation, easy on the eyes, good ass, nice knockers …”
“BLAINE CAMERON!” I exclaimed.
“What? If he marries her, he’s gonna wanna fuck her and see her naked if he hasn’t already. Always a bonus if that checks out.”
“Thank you Blaine. It checks out, let’s just leave it at that, shall we?” Caleb said, shaking his head.
“Does she know yet? About your … condition?” I asked carefully.
“My con… ah, I see, yes, she does indeed. In fact, she suffers the same ‘condition‘.” Caleb told me.
“OH MY GOD, THE GIRL’S A VAMPIRE!?!” I blurted out. I was surprised. Really surprised.
“Louder, Vik, the next towns over had a hard time hearing ya.” Blaine said.
“Really Viktoria. But yes, she is, which makes things infinitely easier for all involved. Now, she is a fairly recent creation, only been a vampire for a little over 30 years or so, just transferred to the local district, so she is under my jurisdiction now, which is how we met. It was instant attraction. Mutually. Love at first sight, if you so will.” Caleb explained, and started smiling half way through. Ooooooh … Caleb’s in luuuv. Tee hee hee.
“Ha, juris-dick-tion, huh? Get it? Bet you instantly and personally did a detailed health check up on that girl with your juris-dick-tion, huh, brother?” Blaine laughed winking at Caleb, and ruined my sweet “awww!” moment with his usual crudeness. Grr.
Blaine got arched eyebrows times two, Caleb wasn’t too impressed either. Oh, he was serious about this girl for sure.
“Dude, what happened to your sense of humor? Or is it because babygirl’s in here and you gotta play the refined gentleman shit out? Still trying to impress the panties off my girl, huh?” Blaine complained and I cannot tell you how much of that may have been teasing and how much him being serious.
“He is about to propose to another woman, Blaine. Take the hint!” I grumbled.
“Hey, never seen a ring plug a hole before, right bud? But I know ole Caleb here knows these holes are property of me and plugged for all eternity.” Blaine smirked and winked at Caleb. More grrr.
Either way, Caleb did as he said and married the girl in some barely there ceremony and this time not in our dining room. She was beautiful, wholesome, genuinely sweet as pie, you would never guess she was a vampire, as she looked nothing like what you would think they look, had freckles, the most amazing blue eyes so deep they looked almost violet, she wasn’t even pale, but from Lilith I knew there were tricks for vampires to look less pale or even tan, some of them, like Caleb, just didn’t bother.
Caleb confided in us that a child was already planned, even if not expected yet, but rest assured, the production process certainly had started.
I was happy for Caleb. The more often I met Amelie, the more I liked her. She was a very sweet girl, and truly perfect for him.