Immature love says ‘I love you, because I want and need you.’Erich Fromm
Mature love says ‘I want and need you, because I love you’.
A.N.: While most of my chapters are standalone, this particular one is a continuation of the last chapter. If you skipped that one, I’d advice reading it first or this will not make a lot of sense.
Willow Creek Medical Center
Exam Room 3
Visibly tense, while nervously tapping on the armrest of the chair, then his thighs, he had been waiting for at least 20 minutes now which felt more like 20 years to him, Blaine grumbled some unflattering reviews about the clinic under his breath, things that likely would never make it into a Yelp review.
When finally the door opened after a brief courtesy knock, it still slightly startled Blaine, but not as much as the surprise that would follow as soon as he turned his head to look at whomever entered.
Blaine’s eyes grew wide.
Surprised and shocked he rose up from the chair, staring at the new arrival, which wasn’t the older, bearded, heavy-set doctor he had expected to see, instead it was his very own grandson Collin Cunningham.
“Grandpa, hi! Sorry for the wait, we just had a surge in urgent care admissions and Dr. Wilkerson was called away to emergency surgery, so I ended up grabbing your file. Imagine my surprise when I read your name! So, how are you? Dumb question probably, seeing you are here at a hospital … nothing too bad I hope? Where’s grandma? I don’t think I remember ever seeing either of you without the other these days.” Collin said smiling, while Blaine, still discombobulated, hugged his oldest grandchild.
“Uh … no offense, kid, but dafuq you doing here if you don’t mind me being so blunt?” he asked into the embrace.
“I work here now, if the lab coat didn’t give that away. Yeah, I left the Cunningham clinic, at least for now. Didn’t make a big deal about it, dad’s obviously not thrilled with my decision. Sorry, I haven’t been in touch much of late, been really busy, new job, lady troubles, I moved, still in the Bay but … long story. I’ll tell you all about that at the next family dinner. Just needed to not constantly have my father breathing down my neck and my step-mother circling over my head. No worries, there wasn’t a fight. You know my dad, the only one who could ever get him angry was mom, probably still is, but since they avoid each other like the plague, who can say for sure. I know I was supposed to inherit the Cunningham clinic and the Estates, one day raise a family there, but not with that step-mother so firmly planted in place. So we did a switcheroo, I got the big house on the cliffs dad intended for my younger half-brother who just graduated college, he can now keep the Estates with my dad and his mother roosting there. So I let them play happy family and do my own thing.”
Collin looked at Blaine, sitting tensely in the visitor’s chair, frowning and avoiding to look at his grandson.
“Oh wow …” Blaine mumbled now, when he realized it was his turn to carry the dialogue.
“So, what brings you in today, grandpa?” Collin asked as he took a seat across from Blaine, studying the older man who didn’t seem willing to contribute anything further.
“Look, Collin, I can just reschedule with the usual guy … I am no emergency, just some old man stuff you don’t need to bog yourself down with on my account. Go and help all those with their heads under their arms, bleeding pimples on their asses and holes where there shouldn’t be any. My stuff can wait.” Blaine said as casual as he could, hoping Collin would go for it, busy as he seemed to be. Blaine had specifically chosen this hospital in Willow Creek so he would not run into anyone he’d know here, least of all his own family. Yet, here they were. No thanks!
“Come on now grandpa, that would be silly! You’re already here, and I would love nothing more than to help you. Let’s just have a quick look-see. A-ha, yeah, all checks out. Really healthy, overall … your results from the last few times look good, all values in the green, oh, I see the notes say that .. you … you want a … oh …. a … semen analysis?! That’s … ahem … unexpected …” Collin looked up from the file, staring at Blaine as if he just turned purple.
“I think I best go. Maybe that girl at the reception desk misheard me. Who knows where her mind was at, probably her date from the night before, that she still had sperm on the brain, seriously, he he he.” Blaine shifted uncomfortably in the chair, but Collin quickly put his hand on his grandfather’s, which seemed to have the desired calming effect.
“No no, grandpa. If that’s what you wanted, of course we can do that. That’s no big deal at all. I am just a bit confused as to why, part of my job is to make sure we don’t randomly chase rainbows here. Obviously you already know that grandma won’t be able to conceive anymore. Men of your advanced age are not normally the most virile, the sperm quality usually decreases significantly after a certain age, and I also see here that you had a vasectomy back in … uh …” Collin paused while leafing through Blaine’s patient file.
“Yeah yeah … decades ago, after your uncle Brendan was born, long before your time. And no, I am not hoeing around on your grandma nor are we trying for a fucking baby at 80 if that’s what you’re thinking! Gimme a little credit here, boy! There is a long, very convoluted explanation for this. Look Collin, I may not be as as smart as you, but do know sometimes stuff just grows back together inside when it shouldn’t or however that works and knowing how things usually tend to go for me, well … Just tell me what you need from me and how long this will take.”
“All right, that is true, in rare cases the vas deferens will create a new path for sperm to be delivered, but not usually this long after the procedure and most definitely not in someone of your advanced age. Where I am confused here is that I am not clear whether you are hoping this sort of self-repair occurred or whether you are trying to make sure it didn’t? You know what, none of my business, if you want a sperm analysis we can absolutely get that done for you, the procedure is quick and easy, we need nothing from you other than the obvious. This clinic is fully equipped do do that on site and …”
“Collin, kid … I love your enthusiasm for your job, but really, not today. Bad enough that I ended up with my own grandson for this shit. Love ya, kid, but that is really not what any grandpa wants.”
“I get that, it’s iffy, even for me a little, but grandpa, when I am here, wearing this coat, I am a doctor first and foremost, detached from judgements, just want to help. I can separate that from my personal life. As a matter of fact, who could you trust more with your wellbeing than someone who is genetically programmed to love you, right? Okay, I’ll grab the things we need and get you squared away. I should have the answer for you tomorrow, I can just call your cell phone.”
“Great. Uh … Collin. Not a word to anyone, not Claire, definitely not your mother and not grandma. I’ll handle that. This is not what it seems like, please do not worry, just requires a long-winded, very convoluted explanation that I am just not ready to give now.”
“No worries grandpa. I know most of the time you think of me as the little boy sitting on your lap, but I am a grown man and a real doctor who swore the same real oath as all the other real doctors. I also know that things between my dad and you haven’t always been the best, but you also know you can’t pick your parents, he is not a bad man or father, just very different from you and the rest of the Camerons. But what he always has been and what he has relayed to both Claire and me is how to be a good doctor. I do take my job seriously and beyond that, I would never do or say anything to hurt you or grandma. That being said, I do not know what all this is about, nor is it my place to know, so I’ll just assume you have your reasons, sound ones. Just please, don’t let it be anything that would hurt grandma, okay?” Collin started out bemused, then got serious at the end.
“Oh no, kiddo, it really wasn’t anything like that. Just need to figure something out before I talk to her about some problem that literally forced itself on me. You know, the gather-all-your-facts approach for once as opposed to the ‘bass-ackwards’ stuff I usually throw out there.” Blaine attempted a calming smile.
Windenburg Lake House Next day, late afternoon
The time between him leaving the clinic until his phone finally rang with Collin’s update the following day seemed like an eternity to Blaine.
“Well, knowing how you dislike small talk and unnecessarily long phone conversations, here goes: the results show that your vasectomy is still fully effective, sperm count is zero.” Collin didn’t bother with platitudes.
“Thank God! Thank you kiddo! Hey, meant to tell ya, you’re a real good doc. Really calming, I desperately needed that. Made a world of difference. Proud of ya, Collin. Good job, kiddo, especially for someone so very young as yourself.”
“Thanks grandpa, but I don’t know about the ‘so very young’ part, guess that’s relative. Claire and I turned 30 earlier this year, you were at the party. To some people if you are 30 and unmarried you qualify as a shelf warmer and society reject which equals up to a total disgrace. Pretty sure my dad thinks that, even though he won’t come out and say it, at least not to my face.” Collin chuckled.
“Oh crap, that’s right! Damn you’re old kid. Damn, I am old! Jeeze! When did I become such an old geezer? Well, there used to be a time in my life when it looked like I wouldn’t live to see 8, or even 18, and without your grandmother and her mother I probably wouldn’t have, so I guess making it to 81 still fully functional is a blessing. Speaking of, you need to find a good woman. Or a man. I don’t care. But you shouldn’t be alone in that big house, kid. Not good for the mind or the heart. Or the other body parts.”
“Ha ha ha , yeah. I know grandpa. I really don’t have much free time, and I was dating for a while, you met some of the girls, but unfortunately, it just never worked out. There is this new person, very nice and interesting, but way too early to tell anything more. And with Claire looking at a divorce now, it’s probably not the right time to go around talking about me dating with hopes of more …”
“What?! Are you sure? What happened? We were just over there couple weeks ago for the boys’ birthday party and all seemed okay … Yikes.” Blaine asked.
“Grandpa, you really should call Claire more often. I know you and grandma don’t like her husband much, neither do I, and like you I avoid him as much as I can, but … I think she could use someone on her side other than just me, someone supportive, because dad and my step-mother are doing the usual Cunningham-thing, trying to talk her into staying with him, you know, to keep up appearances. ‘For the kids’ they say, when Claire and I agree that if it got to this point, it’s much better for the kids if the parents split before things are said and done in anger than can never be undone. Our parents are a prime example, when they split it was hard initially, but after Claire and I realized mom was so much happier with Riordan, we were fine with it – well, until dad suddenly pulled Beatrice out of nowhere, moved her in and they got married so fast it made our heads spin. At first she was pretty decent for a step-parent, until she got pregnant. Once Christopher was born she was pushing him hard, always trying to slide Claire and me into oblivion. Claire couldn’t take it anymore and married the first guy who seemed interested just to get out without having to burn bridges with dad. Now the inevitable happened, her marriage crashed and burned, because Lance is a drunkard on a bad day and a douchebag every day that ends in ‘y’, and rather than helping the daughter whom he loves so much by being supportive, ye ole Cunningham idea of how things should be seems too deeply engrained in dad, the same old story that sent mom running all those years ago. I guess Claire and I have too many Cameron genes to be able to just lay down and take it now. Sorry for the rant, grandpa. You and I REALLY have to hang out and catch up. Speaking of family and catching up, I am trying to fly out to Del Sol Valley after Fiona had the twins. I’ll be an uncle to four nieces and nephews then, at 30, phew! Maybe I’ll meet someone while there and become a personal physician to some rich and famous people .. ha ha ha.”
“Why not? I know that was a joke, but that’s pretty much what your mother did with the law practice and now your siblings are about to study law to take over one day, to keep raking in the piles of dough. If there is something people in Del Sol Valley will always need it’s lawyers and doctors, lemme tell ya. Maybe you can stay with Everett and Maeve in that giant mansion and see if you can make it there?”
“Uh, pass. The last few visits with them were plenty. They are way too ‘free love’ for me, after the extremely conservative upbringing I had thanks to dad and Beatrice, it clashes a little too much seeing my cousin and his fiancé chase each other around all day long. I walked in on them in the middle of stuff three times last time. Three! Towards the end of my visit I felt like a spy from one of the old movies, sneaking around, peeking around corners and looking over my shoulder all the time.” Collin laughed.
“I can’t fault Rett for that … maybe even more reason to send you out there, Collin, to get you to shake that stiff Cunningham hanger out of the clothes you are wearing. You need to loosen up more and Everett definitely takes after me.” Blaine chuckled.
“Oh, I know, grandpa. I remember you and grandma when you were younger … all that wasn’t THAT long ago.” Collin snickered.
“Younger? You think we stopped? Ha, we’re at best slower now, some days closer to sexy slow-motion rather than lightning fast passion, but it’s still happening, Collin. So, who needs to visit whom more often, huh?” Blaine joked.
“Touché. I’ll try to make it out this Sunday, promise. Sorry I skipped the last few family dinners. Had to work. New job at a bigger clinic means you get the crappy shifts and the overflow.”
Soon after he hung up his phone, Blaine came to find me in our home office, where I was innocently typing away on my next book and at this point still blissfully unaware of ANYTHING that preceded this very moment in time concerning him and by extension, me. Entering quietly, he just plopped down in the chair across my desk, looked down but said nothing, I briefly looked up at him, flashed a smile, then resumed typing, one eye always on Blaine. Yeah, something was up.
After that fateful night when I found him naked and without recollection Blaine had been different. Maybe a change too subtle to detect for most, but I had known him all my life and to me it was blatantly obvious. He had become withdrawn, unusually quiet, barely any sexual innuendos and he had not even tried to initiate anything romantic.
Normal for most people our age, maybe, but we had never fit that description. Naturally had I tried to get him to open up, but a Blaine who wasn’t ready to share, wouldn’t. He’d clam up or walk away, which was why I stopped trying, hoping he’d come to me when he was ready as secrets hadn’t really ever been a thing between us.
That very evening would be the moment Blaine was finally ready to share. He straightened up his back, looked at me and said
“Got a minute? I have some … stuff … to talk to you about.”
“Okay …” I said as upbeat, yet as neutral as I could, but my heart was beating hard and fast now with anticipation.
“We’ll need coffee for this. Nah, nix that. I’ll make us something stronger …”
“Blaine, no. Maybe some wine, you know the doctors said …”
“Okay, okay, wine.”
We left the office, grabbed said wine, then settled down at the dining room table rather than the couch, which struck me as strange, even more oddly Blaine took the seat across from me and the eager anticipation changed to worry as I watched him, tense again, while he poured.
Lifting our glasses, we cheered at each other, then drank quietly.
Correction: I sipped, Blaine chugged a full glass down, chased it with a refill but finally sat there with glass number 3, visibly trying to figure out how to start telling me whatever horrors he had to share. And then he did. Oh, I had known something was up, but I hadn’t a clue until he told me.
By now I was convinced this was terrible news – and I wouldn’t be disappointed.
After collecting his thoughts for a moment, Blaine looked up at me, swallowed hard, then began to tell me all he had been able to remember, things he was able to reconstruct in his head about that fateful night, I began to pale, as I listened to a memory so obviously terrible for him, and now for me.
Once he concluded, his eyes searched in mine for clues, while I said nothing, too shocked, unable to find anything to say that didn’t sound like platitudes, when Blaine said something that nearly broke my heart, as I had not even considered what other demons could be haunting him at the moment.
“Will you leave me now?” his voice little and full of honest worry.
“What?!” my response was instant and a form of reflex. How could he think that?! My poor darling!
“I know this cannot be easy to digest, babygirl. It’s not for me, but if I try to imagine how you must feel … I should have stopped it … somehow … I don’t know, but I should have. I shouldn’t just have let it happen … this should never have happened…” he began beating himself up.
“Blaine, no! Honey, this is not your fault, I don’t want to hear anything like that from you! First of all, if you really think I would leave your side now, when you are already on your knees, crushed by the weight of what happened, you don’t know me at all! I love you, I will never leave you, and I also won’t let you victim-shame yourself here. You forget the caliber of who we are dealing with! Lilith doesn’t fight fair. The powers she possesses are well beyond our comprehend and not something you or I could hold much against, Caleb himself warned me about that a long time ago. Unlike his sister, he follows a strict moral code, which he holds all his subjects to, including his sister. That is why his position as the Grand Master Elder is so important and why he needed Riordan to be his right hand. On that note, Caleb needs to know about this.”
“No! I don’t want anybody to know! Bad enough you know. I don’t want people to remember me with … that … in mind. It’s disgusting! I feel like a wimp!” Blaine’s head collapsed onto his arms on the table. A desperate gesture.
“Blaine, honey, baby, love – don’t be silly! Lilith may realize her plan failed and you know she doesn’t deal well with no. She may be back, try it again. Also, what she did was heinous, Caleb is your best friend and the leader of the vampires, so this falls into his jurisdiction! He needs to deal with this! Pronto! If he doesn’t – I will! I may tie that bitch down and force garlic down her throat till she explodes!” I ranted, gently stroking his hair, grey, but still full and thick as it ever was.
Blaine groaned, then nodded defeated, I called Caleb’s number, made it extra-urgent, so within seconds he materialized in our dining room. I briefed him, his jaw clenched, eyes narrowed, he shot worried glances between Blaine and me, then vanished without another word.
Windenburg Lake House The afternoon of the following day ...
Caleb returned the next day, this time knocking on the door, as soon as I let him in, he went straight to Blaine and bro-hugged him, long and meaningful.
“I am so sorry, brother. Forgive me.” he mumbled, just loud enough for Blaine to hear.
When then let go, he looked at both of us, before he said.
“I am here to offer my apologies to both of you, as the Grand Master Elder of the vampire community, but also as your friend. I have extracted the full truth from Lilith, and it is with great humility and pain that I have to confirm your suspicions. She did exactly what you accused her off, with the sole intend to create a child. This goes against any morals, breaks vampire codex. As the sister of the sitting Elder, I can give her no leeway, as your best friend I don’t want to cut her slack. Please know that she has been punished severely, exiled to a place she cannot leave without my consent, and won’t do so until I have been able to secure a husband for her, someone of my kind. I see no other way than to revert to ancient rules and traditions to assure she will no longer vindictively hurt others. I should have done that after what she did to Akira, but I didn’t, I should have taken action when she practically abandoned her own son, but I didn’t, I will certainly act on the third strike, making this her last. She will wed someone higher ranking than herself and he will keep her in line, so I no longer have to, but can focus on my own life instead for once. I think in excess of 500 years are plenty to make good on the oath I swore to my parents on their dying breath to take care of my sister long before we were turned. If they knew what she has become, they would be turning in their graves. I will no longer be part of the problem, but the solution.”
“Thank you, Caleb.”
“No need to thank me, I have to apologize, this is my fault. I am the enabler here, I knew Lilith has been acting like a bull in a china shop for decades, hurting people left and right. I despised her for what she had done to Akira, for not being a good mother to Riordan, but did nothing about it. Instead of punishing her, I kept fixing all the fallout in her wake. Something like this was bound to happen, because in her book, there never were repercussions. I would yell at her, a slap on the wrist and she’d go on as before, all out of some false sense of trying to be a protective older brother. That would be wrong for any mortal, but we aren’t exactly like you mortals now, are we? I would know that better than most, seeing how I am their leader, magnifying my mistakes even more. This is what I now have to live with, the knowledge that I am to blame here, I am the offending party, same as if I myself had done what happened to you, Blaine.” Caleb said with definite sincerity in his voice and words.
“Bruh, if you would have done that to me, I would have gone Van-fucking-Helsing on your undead ass already! Probably impaled you with your own schlong!” Blaine growled, then the corners of his mouth slightly curled into almost the crooked signature grin. A good sign. Blaine’s way to heal.
Caleb stood there, distraught himself, but even on his lips the hint of a smile appeared.
“No worries, my friend. You are as far away from what I’d consider my type as it gets. At the mere thought of doing anything like that with you, my ‘schlong’ crawls deep inside of me to hide!” Caleb retorted, both men measuring each other up. Things were relayed between the two old friends without being spoken.
“Well, part of me wishes it had been you, at least then I wouldn’t have felt the need to go pay a lot of money to jack off into a fucking cup, and to add the special cherry on top by having my own grandson count my little swimmers to make sure me getting my balls clipped decades ago is still working as advertised and no Blaine Juniors are on the horizon, because of your malicious little sister, you retched bloodsucker!” Blaine grinned.
Both men laughed, and ended in another bro-hug between the two unlike friends they were and had been for more than a lifetime.
It made me feel better, at this point I knew Blaine would be all right again.
And he was.
As soon as Caleb left he grabbed me, held me and kissed me. I melted into the caress, then laid my head against his shoulder.
“I am sorry, babygirl. For everything.” he said.
“Don’t be, Blaine-y. You have absolutely nothing to be sorry for, honey. I love you, Blaine.”
“I love you more. Hey Babygirl?”
“Feel like taking this show to the bedroom?”
“What? Isn’t that like the exact opposite you should be doing? I think you should finally relax again, take it easy. Are you even up for that kinda stuff after … you know?”
“Why don’t you check real quick and tell me?” he comically wiggled his eyebrows at me, making me laugh.
“Oh my god, Blaine Cameron!”
“That’s right! Hey, the good news is, I know for a fact you won’t get pregnant …”
I’ll leave the remainder of the night up to your imagination, maybe we weren’t too old to do naughty things, maybe we just spent the night curled up on the couch watching TV. But what I will assure you is that we were together, like we had been almost all our lives now and once more we had proven that no powers there’ll be could tear us apart.