First love is only a little foolishness and a lot of curiosity.George Bernard Shaw
Brendan was now a freshman in high school, his sister Anastasia a freshman at university. She had been accepted to law school, but decided to commute rather than live on campus, which made Blaine and me incredibly happy. Blaine and I both worked in San Myshuno, so she would carpool with one of us most of the time.
Both of our children had their birthdays, our little girl was now offically 18 and an adult, our son a teen, and both meanwhile found their way through the initial labyrinth of confusion and were integrated well in their new schools, made new friends, spent time with their old ones and were doing well.
Brendan had the same type of sudden and unstoppable growth spurt behind him as his sister had when she was around his age. He would undoubtedly grow into a healthy and handsome young man.
Hopefully just not too fast. I desperately needed my kids to slow down, wasn’t ready for them to be so grown up yet.
Anastasia was now a young woman, a college student. Where had the time gone so fast? It seemed only yesterday that Blaine and I realized I was pregnant with her. Man, I wasn’t sure I wanted her back then, and now I was dreading the day she would decide to move out. I’d probably cry for days straight.
What a ride it had been already. I didn’t know it then, but we were far from the homestretch of the roller coaster that was our life.
With a meep Ana stumbled backwards, looked startled for a moment, then that look changed to annoyed.
“Are you out of your frigging mind?!” she angrily hissed.
“Sorry, I didn’t expect you to be … like …. this … in the middle of the day.” was the answer in a young man’s voice.
“It’s late afternoon and showers are not limited to certain hours of the day at my house. Dude, seriously, one minute later and I’d have been flashing you – without my towel – to get dressed. And since when do you just come inside without asking?”
“Hey, you always told me I don’t have to knock on your window, just come inside. When I finally do, you yell at me for it. Possibility of you being naked at this hour never even crossed my mind. Yeah, bad timing on my part, I guess. Next time I’ll try to arrive one minute later to at least catch a nice view while you bitch at me.” Riordan grinned.
“Ha ha – this is not my amused face, you creep!” Ana’s tone underlined her words, as did her face.
“No, it’s the usual resting bitch face. So what gives? Just extra stinky today or felt like wasting water?” was Riordan’s unimpressed answer.
“I am NEVER stinky! If you must know, I am going out. So I am taking extra care to look my part.”
“Out? Like a date … with a dude?” Riordan’s tone was no longer the teasing one, but concerned.
“No, with my dog. Of course with a guy. And yes, a date. Duh!” Ana rolled her eyes, while crossing her arms.
“Nobody you’d know. He’s nice, athletic, good-looking. We’re in some of the same classes.”
“Do you … like him?” his question was quiet, like one you don’t want the answer to.
“No, Ri, can’t stand him, so I thought I’d go out with him so I can murder him.” she said, then rolled her eyes again, ending with a sigh.
“Now we’re talking.”
“What exactly is your problem?!” Anastasia asked annoyed.
“Why are you wasting time going out with men you will never have more of a future with than from here to nookie then straight to getting dumped? Even I know that’s how college works and how boys are while in college. You won’t find no Mr. Right there. You are there to learn, not waste your parents’ money trying to ruin your rep.”
“Oh, thank you for this in-depth analysis of college life, probably based on teen movies, Doctor Vatore, phd. Never heard the term ‘college sweethearts’?! How about we’ll instead talk about how you have no business in my room when I am not even dressed?!”
“So get dressed already or are you waiting for me to lay out your clothes for you?”
“That would be the LAST thing I’d want. But you could be a gentleman and turn around, since I can’t ask you to wait outside my room, both my PARENTS and brother are home and definitely would see you. If they find you here, especially with me only in a towel, they will literally kill both of us.”
“Why are you so bend out of shape about this. You got nothing I haven’t seen millions of times before.”
“Not you! Not everything I do is always about you.”
“You are trying to tell me you have seen millions of chicks naked? Where? In porn magazines? Puh-lease!”
“I date. When I am away at training there are girls too. Pretty girls. Beautiful even. So we do normal stuff. Date and all. And see each other naked. So what?”
“I am supposed to buy that? If that’s true then I have seen millions of naked guys too. Weekly.”
“I bet you have, if you accept every single time any random boy asks you out. You’re building a great reputation for sure. Ana Cameron, the college bicycle, everyone’s had a ride.”
“Excuse me?! And now you are worried about my reputation?!”
“One of us has to be.”
“You are an ass! Now turn around or I am going to be late.”
“If you sleep with that guy, you may be late on more things than just dates.”
“No worries about that, I’ll just think about you, best birth control EVER!”
“Aim to please!”
“Shut up – and don’t you dare peek!”
“Don’t flatter yourself, I can contain myself. And you cannot get dressed when someone’s talking to you? Wonder if college really is for you. May be too much of a challenge for you.”
“Just shut up! I am usually already dressed in lectures. My professors at least don’t just show up in my room unannounced. What the heck you even got a cell phone for if you can’t even use it for a courtesy text.”
“Even if I had texted, you wouldn’t have gotten it, unless you replace that stick up your ass with your cell phone when you shower.”
“I do not have a stick up my ass!” Ana shoved Riordan, who in a reflex turned around to retaliate, but both froze when they realized she was only in her underwear, apparently forgot that she hadn’t made it to the rest of her clothing before he set her off again.
And then things just happened like an avalanche, uncontrollable and unstoppable.
The stares turning into a kiss.
That kiss turned passionate.
Without them realizing it, they somehow ended up on the bed, with Riordan’s clothing now on the floor, as he flipped her atop of him to quickly rid her of her underwear. When he tried to get back on top, she stopped him briefly.
“Ri – let’s go slow. Gentle…easy.” Ana whispered.
“You …. haven’t done this before …” his statement was also a surprised question.
She shook her head.
Right as Riordan reached for protection to put on, someone knocked at her room door. Both of them froze in mid-movement, the passion immediately forgotten, replaced by fear of discovery. Anastasia never locked her room door.
“Hey Ana … ?” Blaine’s voice echoed through the door.
“Shit, it’s my dad!” she whispered sharply.
Riordan let go of her, both jumped up, he grabbed his shed clothing off the floor and vanished in the usual dark cloud.
Ana scrambled for her towel, unsure what to do or say.
“Hang on dad, don’t come in! I am getting dressed!” Ana yelled at the door, panicked.
“You may wanna step on it, sweet pea. There is a young man at the door, says he’s here to pick you up for a date.”
“Oh shit, he’s already here?! I’ll be right out. Thanks, dad!”
Anastasia exhaled when her father just walked off without ever entering, then blushed, for many different reasons. She had totally forgotten about her date, while making out with her best friend and more – while her dad almost walked in on them! They really had been reckless, brainless and flirting with disaster!
All day long she had meticulously planned out her date outfit, make up and accessories in her mind, now instead she absent-mindedly just grabbed some random clothing that she would wear to class, barely put on mascara and lipstick and left.
She could not recall greeting the young man, Aaron, let alone a single thing about the date. Through it all her mind was on overdrive, recapping over and over that almost happened. Round and round and round again, while her date happened practically without her. She didn’t even register her date’s annoyed glances when he never received any answers to his careful questions.
Had she been in any condition to even realize it, she would have at least tried to be pleasant, but her mind was well gone, occupied to the fullest, no room for anyone else.
Almost-sex with Riordan! What the hell was she thinking?! Why did this keep happening? Ever since their kiss last winter things had been odd between them. Those strange moments where the slightest, most innocent touch makes everything weird, where you cannot look at each other or talk to one another sometimes. Like at her 18th birthday party. Everybody hugged her, and kissed her cheek, even uncle Caleb. But when it came Riordan’s turn it was so different, somewhere between best feeling ever, pudding knees and heart attack. Just iffy.
Riordan looked at her strangely sometimes and she caught herself many times imagining what he would look like without his clothes on, blushing upon realizing it, twice now she tore pages from her notepad after realizing she had been writing her first and his last name complete with little hearts all over the pages instead of her homework assignment. If anybody else ever saw that, she’d be in a world of drama.
What if dad wouldn’t have dad-blocked them, what if they really would have gone through with it? How could they ever be friends after something like that. How could she have ever looked him in the eye again? Or herself. Of her parents. Or their friends. Or uncle Caleb. Oh, uncle Caleb would know, he totally would just know. Oh boy. That would be so very bad. So very very VERY bad. And he’d tell her parents. Oof!
“Well, at least I am religious about birth control. I’d definitely not end up with some unplanned pregnancy.” echoed in her ears, now she realized two things: her date was staring at her across the table of the restaurant they were at, because for some idiotic reason she had said that last part out loud.
During their date.
A FIRST date with someone she barely knew.
Several people, including waitstaff, had heard and were staring at her as she blushed in a deep crimson shade.
Oh, holy bananas!
“Okay, that’s good to know, I guess.” he tried to gloss over her outburst, but looked like he thought she was clinically insane.
“I am .. so … very sorry! I don’t know why I said that. So sorry!”
“Maybe you should get tested for Tourette’s?” Aaron suggested unnerved.
Anastasia face glowed hot for embarrassment.
The rest of the date was lackluster, once the bill was paid Aaron seemed more than happy to deliver her back to her front door as soon as possible, never even attempted a kiss goodbye.
The following days had Anastasia still very shaken up about her incident with Riordan. She could barely focus on classes or even at home, her mind kept going back to that moment again and again, wondering how things would be had Ri never shown up. Maybe the date would have been a success? Her mind also kept trying to go to a place where Riordan and she had not gotten interrupted, but she pushed that thought far away each time. Friends! They were FRIENDS and that was all there was to it. The end.
Maybe she should just sleep with the first boy who’d have her to get it out of her system? Maybe that was it? Her body just wanted it and Riordan was just always there when it hit? All her male friends had already lost their virginity years ago and none of the girls she now knew seemed a stranger to all that. Yeah, maybe she should just sleep with a nice boy, still better than doing nothing while what-if-ing herself into insanity and probably more humiliation.
Brooding over homework assignments while her mind was jumping fences again, a knock on her window startled her. Riordan!
She opened the window, watching him climb in she grimaced.
“Oh, it’s you. Isn’t it a bit late to act civilized now? Why not beam yourself straight into my lap, instant face-to-face, right?” she growled at him.
“Yeah, of course me. How many guys do you have coming to your window after dark? And cut me a break, will ya? If I knock, you complain, if I just come in, you complain. You really do not know what you want, woman. Damned if I do and damned if I don’t.” Riordan chuckled amused at her rough reception.
“Can’t you just use the fucking front door, like everybody else?”
“Whoa, hold the fire-breathing. And if I were like everybody else, I would use the front door. But I am not, so tada!”
“Fair point. Sorry. So what do you want?”
“What I want? Since when do I have to want anything to come see you?”
“Right, sorry. How have you been?”
“Busy. Uncle loaded me up with training like it’s going out of style, but I guess you figured that since it’s been over a week since we’ve last seen each other.”
“Oh, has it really?”
“WOW! Thanks, glad to know I was missed.” Sarcasm and disappointment sounded in Riordan’s words.
“No, right, sure … I just thought it was because … I thought you … “
“You thought I … what?” Riordan demanded.
“I thought it was because of … our slip up.”
“Please don’t tell me you forgot what almost happened between us, right there on that bed.”
“Of course not, just that I wouldn’t call it a slip up.”
“Right, disaster is more like it. Damn Ri, what got into us?”
“Do you really want me to tell you the obvious answer?”
“No, I’ll pass. Did your uncle Caleb suspect anything?”
“How would he? He’s a vampire, not a forbidden romance detection hound. And I would hardly be standing here if he had as much as a suspicion and you know it.”
“Right. We need to fix this or one day it will be a total avalanche, burying us beneath it.”
“Happy to hear any brilliant plans you may have.”
“I guess it’s pretty obvious. Apparently we’re both … uh … well, both should get laid – by other people obviously – and that should fix it, I guess. Maybe we’re just both really randy and … ya know?”
“Oh, dear Lord. Spoken like a true virgin. I think that statement is going to commit suicide because it cannot stand how stupid it is. “
“What? Got any better ideas how to fix this and prevent it from happening again? I am all ears, Master Yoda, vampire edition.”
“I think us doing it would be a better idea than that. If you were serious and this would have been your first time, it should be special, and you don’t want to just toss that on some random what-was-his-name-again like cheap candy. I am not a girl, but pretty sure that would haunt you forever.”
“So, was your first time someone special?”
“Very special. Well, it would have been, had it not been for her dad almost walking in on us.” Riordan grinned sheepishly.
“Wait, hang on. Are you saying … you haven’t either?! You seemed like you had done this a thousand times before!”
“Of course I did! No man will ever admit how inexperienced he is. I was nervous as all get out, but you weren’t gonna know if I could help it.” he told her.
“OMG – Riordan Vatore! You lying dawg. So what about all those – and I quote – millions of girls you have seen naked?”
“Maybe there weren’t really millions. Maybe there weren’t any girls, except you. And maybe I have watched you a little now and then.”
“OMG – you are such a creep! What the hell?! When? Where? And … why?”
“Why? Seriously? I am a 19 year old man full of testosterone and adrenaline and you are beautiful and do not believe in drawing curtains shut. Anybody my age would peek, given the chance. We don’t have any filters if it comes to chicks. And of course I am a creep, I am a vampire, comes with the territory.”
Both stared at each other for a moment, then Anastasia started laughing hysterically, Riordan smiled confused.
“You are too much, Ri. I know I should be offended and appalled, but instead I am imagining how I could get you back for that, like climbing up to your room at your uncle’s creepy home and watch you until you finally notice me then tape you as you pee yourself, scared to death.”
“Well, I can save you the trouble of climbing anywhere, because you’d have to dig down, I rest in the basement where all the coffins are.”
“OMG – yuck.”
“Why yuck? They are brand-new when we get them, like a bed, not pre-owned from the cemetery.”
“Honestly Ri, how much of me did you see?”
“Nothing, really. Not until that afternoon when we … you know. I didn’t look when you were in the bathroom or dressing, just other times. I’d rather it to be offered to me voluntarily.”
“Now that’s the Ri I know! That’s kinda adorable in some strange way …”
“Yeah, trusty old Ri, forever in the friends zone because of what I am and who I am related to.” his voice sounded bitter.
“So why is it such a problem? I mean, why does anybody even care if we were to … you know? All I know is that it would be different and complicated, but not why. We wouldn’t be dumb enough to not use protection and me getting knocked up so young, which is literally the only thing I could think of for anyone to worry about. I don’t want that either, neither do you, so we’re both careful. Your dad was mortal when he and your mom were dating and uncle Caleb knew about that. So what makes us so different?”
“Because we just are. And we just can’t just argue that fact away. Trust me, I don’t like it either, obviously, but even if we would, the only thing we would accomplish would be that we’d never see each other again if anyone found out. And you know how it goes, someone always does. I couldn’t take being separated from you, so I rather do … this.”
“I get that it wouldn’t be easy, and that a lot of people would be pissed at us, but what is anyone gonna do? We’re both adults now, 18 and 19 years old, not minors anymore. You can teleport. Whatever your uncle says or wherever he’d send you, you just teleport back here.”
“Do you really think that if my uncle would prohibit something, he wouldn’t know how to enforce it. Make no mistake, I love my uncle, the only father I have ever known, but he is strict and very powerful.”
“Why does he even care? I know he kissed my mom once when we were little. So he of all people should get it.”
“He does and that’s why he’s so strict. He could have just taken your mom from your dad if he wanted to, turned her, because I am pretty sure my uncle still has feelings for her. But he cared too much. He wants to protect me from that. Just my terrible timing again, if his children had been born before me, I would not be in this situation, his own son would be. But I was born first, and now I have stricter rules.”
“Why? I mean, you’re only his nephew, no offense, but all of you are immortal, why can’t he wait till Desmond is old enough and torture him with all that training, and leave you be?”
“Because I am the firstborn to the Vatore name, making me the male heir. Vampires don’t have children as often or as easily as mortals. The older they get the less likely procreation gets, which is one of the few reasons some of them even bother with mortals, which makes conception a lot more likely. Considering my mom’s and uncle’s ages, I am pretty much a miracle, special, I get no say in it, and him having the twins is just as much of a miracle. I was chosen as the one who will one day take over for my uncle. Vampires do age, just not as fast like mortals. They can even die from certain things, which is why for someone in my uncle’s position an heir is so important.”
“So how does this work? He’ll pick you a wife one day, like in medieval times and all that?”
“No. I may not have a wife – or even a relationship – until I am done with training. Too much of a distraction. Training won’t be completed until I am as powerful as uncle, which will take me many more decades at least, more realistically several mortal lifetimes even. Relationships with mortals do happen, but are frowned upon for regular vampires, for someone my status it’s simply unheard of, so I would have to find a vampire girl … or at the very least turn any mortal before I could officially be with her. That is a high price to ask anyone to pay, I would never do that to anybody, particularly not someone I love, period. I just wouldn’t. Which leaves us where we are now.”
“That is all so super-old-fashioned and stupid. You’d think the rules evolve with the modern times like the vampires do. Uncle Caleb is hundreds of years old, but looks and sounds like everybody else, so maybe he should seriously take a good, deep look at that rules BS. If he is as powerful as you make it sound, he could change it, right?”
“Good luck telling uncle that. I tried to argue all that with him a hundred times. He and my mom just gang up on me. We just had another one of those convos and I am pretty sure they are over me trying to fight it all. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty, my ears were ringing for days from the tongue-lashing I got for questioning tradition.”
“What if you just ran away?”
“You cannot run away from a vampire Grand Master of my uncle’s caliber. He’d find me anywhere, sooner rather than later and until he would, I’d have to live in constant fear of being discovered. And when he would find me, I’d be severely punished, not just a slap on the wrist. I am stuck, Ana, that’s the bottom line. I always knew it, but it seemed so distant. Now I feel trapped with no way out. The only way for me to get out of it all would be to end myself. And believe me, I have considered that.”
“Riordan! Don’t ever say something like that again! You’d break so many hearts. I am sure there is a way, we’re just overlooking it.”
“We’re not. This whole thing is black and white, no gray areas. Not for us.”
Footnote Trivia: The nice boy from the very failed date was Aaron Flex, Marcus and Mila Flex’s son (nee. Munch). Yeah, they are married in my game (thx to a mod)