There will be a few times in your life when all your instincts will tell you to do something that defies logic, upsets your plans, and may seem crazy to others. When that happens, you do it. Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else. Ignore logic, ignore the odds, ignore the complications, and just go for it.Judith McNaught
Cameron Lake House
Ana snuggled up against Riordan’s back, before she moaned and told him
“I love you, Ri.”
“I know. Took you long enough to finally realize it.”
“Argh! Way to ruin the perfect moment. You can be such a douche! WOW!” she sat up and Ri could almost physically feel her eye daggers in his back.
“What? I do know, just like you have always known I love you, ever since we were teens. Nothing has changed. And I know you know that.”
“Still nice to hear sometimes.” Ana’s tone was pouty.
She started to get up, with his vampiric speed Riordan pulled her back and held on to her while sitting at the edge of the bed, kissing on her.
“Anastasia, I love you.”
“Thank you, was that so hard?”
“Not hard at all, just redundant. I have spent my entire life proving to you how much I love you. You were just not ready for my kind of love. You wanted normal then. I could not give you that. Still can’t. But now you seem ready to accept that fact.”
“Bullshit! I wanted you all along. I fought like a lioness for you, but YOU had no balls and did what your uncle told you to. THRICE you left me hanging. And probably will again as soon as your uncle gets wind that we are at it again.”
“Wrong. I set you free because back then, you weren’t ready to deal with what it means to be with a vampire. Plus, uncle already knows. He’s no idiot. He knows I love you, and he knows I am with you all the time now. He knows you are divorced. Oh yeah, count on it, he knows. Just doesn’t matter anymore, he can veto and complain, but he cannot do anything about it now, not even exile me, let alone take my powers. I have since concluded my training, am now the Vice Grand Master of the entire region, meaning uncle can’t stop me from dating whomever I want now. He can bitch all day long, but that doesn’t mean jack squat other than that it’s annoying.”
“Oh wow! I guess I missed that graduation. You never said anything. Congratulations.”
“Thanks. And you didn’t miss a thing. Vampires aren’t as celebration-happy as mortals. It was a small rite-of-passage-style ceremony in a very small circle of Elders and that was all. Don’t get me wrong, a relationship between a mortal and a vampire will never be easy. The aging bit is only the tip of the iceberg, and if there are children involved it can really get iffy.”
“Right. Makes sense. OH MY … FUCK! Children! Ri, when we did our little celebration in the changing room at the lingerie store, please tell me with your lightning fast vampire speed you put on a condom.” Ana stiffened with a wide-eyed stare at Riordan.
“Why would I have even have had a condom in the first place? Evangeline broke up with me months ago and you and I were ‘just friends’, remember? I didn’t get any memos that you’d be ready for more this fast, and even if, I would have expected us to start with kissing, not hoeing it up in public.”
“SHIT! FUCK! CRAP!” Ana started to spiral into a panic, looking frantic, so Riordan tightened his grip slightly, bracing for another meltdown.
“Is this some odd game of curse Scrabble? If so, I don’t know the rules.” he attempted to diffuse the situation by making light of it.
“Quit joking, this is serious! Chase had a vasectomy, years ago!” Ana still sounded panicked.
“My condolences? Remind me to send him a ‘wish you were here’ card for his balls.”
“Ri, stop it! What that means is, I was off the pill all those years. Didn’t need it. Never got back on it.”
“Uh oh.” Riordan played it down, but now realized her anxiety was somewhat warranted.
“Uh oh?! UH OH?! That is all you can say?!”
“What do you want me to say?! Run in circles, crying, while tearing out my hair and begging God for mercy that he didn’t bestow Anastasia 2.0 upon us? Or would we be one of those modern name merge couples? ‘Ri-stasia’? Nah, sounds like a dandruff shampoo. ‘An-ordan’ maybe? Nah, even worse. Sounds like hemorrhoid meds.”
“How can you joke now?! Have you lost your mind?! I could literally be pregnant right now. By you! That is not funny!”
“It’s also not such a fucking drama. So we raise a kid. You already have two and I have been around Brendan’s enough, I can even change diapers and bathe them on my own. And feed them, that’s actually the most fun. I like giggling babies. They crack me up. Too bad Declan and Rett are older now.”
“Giggling babies?! Are you fucking nuts?! We cannot have a baby! We just started sort of dating, nobody even knows about it yet and it’s not even been half a year since I got divorced! And I’m in my mid-thirties!”
“Somebody should have thought about that before jumping my bones in a dressing room then.”
“I hate you! HATE YOU!”
Still bickering, they got dressed and went straight to a drugstore, bought a pregnancy test, once back home sat on hot coals until the timer went off. When it did Ana grabbed the test wand, stared at it, before plopping down on the bed. Riordan joined her. Wordlessly she just handed him the wand, he looked at it.
“Negative.” he said.
“Yeah.” she quietly confirmed.
“There you go. All that drama for nothing.” Riordan told her.
“I am not pregnant.” she repeated, her voice rougher than normal.
“I felt like I was.”
“Might have just been that last burrito you wolfed down. It was almost as big as your head!”
“I am really not pregnant.” Ana repeated, completely ignoring Riordan’s attempt at teasing her.
“Yeah, we went over that. Yay for luck on our side for once, right? Ana, are you okay?”
She started crying.
“Ana! What the hell?!”
“I don’t know. I am just so happy and relieved. Well, I should be happy … and relieved, but I am …. sad.”
“I can see that.”
“I honestly felt pregnant. I think I wanted to have a baby with you, Ri. What’s wrong with me?”
“You tell me. I have been wondering that since we were toddlers. Ana, baby, relax.”
“Relax?! RELAX?! I’m in my thirties! This probably means I can probably not even conceive anymore. All dried up! OMG – maybe I am heading for menopause now! Or maybe the rape broke something inside of me … I can probably not have any more children! I am getting old! It’s starting already. I am already too old for you now!”
“ANA – STOP! Snap out of it! You are a healthy young woman, you can have dozens of babies, with me or otherwise. We did it ONE time now. ONCE. I know that can happen, but those chances are low, even for people half our age and is always more of a lucky strike, and lucky has never exactly been the title of our book. If you really want a child with me, we can do that. Eventually. Not right now. You need to heal a bit more first. Clearly you are miles away from anything I’d even consider calling stable, you just proved that sufficiently again. And before we even dream about any babies, we need a plan. Okay, babe?”
“I think I really wanted a baby. With you. Oh my Gawd. That’s awful. The thought alone. A baby. With YOU! URGH!”
“Urgh?! Thanks. Lucky for you I am not easily offended.”
“No, Ri. I meant because of …. well, you are … you know … a vampire.” she pulled away, jumped up and looked absolutely miserable.
“A vampire?! Me?! Oh my God, are you sure?! I’ve never noticed anything like that about me! Not sure if I can take those news. Joking aside, Ana, quit running from me – and from the truth. Listen woman, me being what I am and us getting it on used to scare me for that very reason. But it doesn’t anymore. Your mom and my uncle raised me, and I turned out half-way decent by vampire and mortal standards. I am convinced we could do the same with a child of our own. In time. Not right now. I am going to buy some condoms, just in case you suddenly want yourself some more Ri uncensored, because I sure as heck am not gonna tell you no, and we will get to the other level, slowly. Okay? And now come here already I am getting dizzy trying to run after you!”
“So, first of all, as soon as you are calm again, we will figure out how to best tell your family and mine that we are back together. Let them stew in that for a while. Give them a couple weeks before we pile on any potential baby talk.”
“So, are we really back together? A couple? You and I? For real and out and proud then? No hiding anymore?”
“Did you think you could mess around with me at the bra shop like wham, bam, thank you man?! Nah, I don’t roll that way. You are my girl now, lady! Whether you like it or not.”
“Oh, I do like that! A lot. And you’re right they all should know. No more secrets. Never again.”
“Right. And let us get used to not having to hide, because, we never really had that type of freedom before. And then you will help me fix up my room at the Vatore Mansion to a degree that you will stay over with me on occasion too and I don’t have to constantly listen to your dad bitch at me for being here so much. And once we got all that down to something resembling a routine, I will put that baby in you, if you still want it then.”
“What? Did you expect me to break out in song playing the lute, standing outside your window, like a minstrel in the Middle Ages? Not really my style. And you aren’t really the girl for the sappy shit anyway.”
“A little sappy every once in a while would be nice though.” she managed out before he kissed her.
“All right, I can do sappy. I have been thinking about all this too, our future. And I have come to several conclusions, one of them fixing the biggest problem I had with it. Me outliving you. I don’t want that. I know my uncle trained me to be his successor, but he can take a long walk off the short pier. You will be my girl, for as long as you live now, and when your final moment comes, I will be able to sense it with my vampire powers that you hate so much. When I do, I will carry you outside and sit with you until the sun rises above us, then we will both perish together in each other’s embrace. It will be the end of the era of Ana and Riordan and our future child will then help shape the world for us.”
“Oh my Gawd Riordan! I have never heard anything more romantic, sweet and heartwarmingly creepy than that! Who are you right now?”
“Shocking, huh? Who I am is someone who constantly gets underestimated, but a smart man once said that this can be your greatest weapon of all. I got you back now and you even considering to procreate with me means more to me than I could put into words. I am never letting go again. Oh, and … I love you Anastasia. Now and forever. Just like I always have. I don’t know how to not love you.”
The following weekend found the three Vatores as well as Blaine, Anastasia and me assembled around a table. Yes, of course had we all seen the writing on the wall and figured it would only be a matter of time till we all got the speech about Anastasia and Riordan – reloaded. Seemed like tonight would be that night that we all officially found out they were a couple again. Joy to the world – sigh.
Riordan began the conversation.
“Thanks all for coming. Anastasia and I have some news. We have decided to take the next step, as most of you probably already expected, and are officially a couple again.”
Groaning and voices mixing, mostly sounding of distinct disapproval.
“Riordan, we have been through this before. I do not know what you two think has changed but …” Caleb started his intervention, but was cut off by Ana talking right over him.
“I am pregnant. It’s Riordan’s.” Anastasia blurted right into Caleb’s attempted speech.
“WHAT?!” came from all the attendees.
“Ana, don’t.” Riordan told her.
“You knew about this?!” Caleb roared, answered by Blaine.
“Course he knew, he dunnit, or you think she is the rebirth of the virgin Mary?!” Blaine retorted.
“Why would I not tell them all, Ri? Don’t you think they would eventually notice anyway? Besides, we agreed, no more secrets, clean slate as we start over.” Ana told Riordan.
“Ana, the test was negative. There is no need for this.” Riordan told her.
“The drugstore test was negative. But the one at my gyn’s office wasn’t. Neither was the blood test. I went in today just make sure that nothing was physically wrong with me, because of the rape, just have them kick my tires. Well, before they got around to running any fertility tests, the doctor came back to congratulate me. We are pregnant. Guess the drugstore tests aren’t always all that accurate or maybe we took it too early. Timing at the gyn’s confirms it, as does the fact that we only had sex once since my divorce. You and I procreated in that dressing room, Ri. Another one for the ‘nothing’s ever normal between us’ chapters.” Ana paused to let the weight of her words sink in, inhaled deeply, then continued.
“Also, sorry you had to find out like this, but I literally just found out myself and came to this meeting straight from the doctor’s office. I was going to hold off and tell you in private, Ri, but before everyone here starts deciding for us again I figured might as well. Too late for alternatives now. And I would like to add that I am happy. Surprised in a way, but somehow I knew it all along, I could feel I was carrying a part of you within me, Ri, just like I told you the night we took the pregnancy test. It may have said negative, but I just knew. And I wouldn’t change this for the world. Never thought I’d ever say this.”
“A baby?! I can’t be a grandmother! That’s just …. not right!” Lilith protested appalled.
“Did you say dressing room, Anastasia?! Because I heard dressing room. Riordan?! Do you have anything to say to any of this?!” Caleb asked, confused and agitated.
“Never mind that, uncle. Actually, oh what the heck. Yeah, that’s right. We did it in the dressing room of an Angel’s Secret store and evidently neither of us remembered their birds and bees talk. Evidently that one time did it.”
“Oh, for all that is holy! I really hope this is but a joke! Please tell me you two are having us all on!” Caleb roared.
His impending rant was halted and interrupted by loud laughter from Blaine, who now told him.
“HA HA HA – oh Vatore, pull that head out of your ass and open your eyes! This is awesome! Priceless! Hee hee hee, that’s my boy Ri! And my little girl. Hehehe, just pick up that long face already, Caleb, my old buddy, let’s not act like anybody at this table is really that surprised. Be a good host, Vatore, and throw a round of drinks for all of us, except my daughter. You get water, Ana. Brought that on yourself, kid. Oh, and also: congrats. Both of you owe me a new grandpa sweater, mine has four grandkids on it. Guess that makes it outdated then and I love that sweater so you better figure out how to add your latest creation! Just please don’t do what your brother did and name that baby after the place of conception. And you babygirl owe me a big fat apology! I told you they were screwing. Told ya! And as for you, Caleb, brother we’ll soon be grandparents to the same kid. I am dying here, man!”
“Oh yeah, about that guys …. there is a little more you should all know. It’s actually twins.” Ana added, and Blaine literally rolled off his chair from laughing so hard, while Caleb looked paler than usual and for a while I really wondered if there was a vampire equivalent to a heart attack.
Yeah … congratulations to all of us. Looks like Blaine and I will be grandparents again, to yet another set of twins. Oh, have mercy on us all.