“Being different is a revolving door in your life where secure people enter and insecure exit.”Shannon Alder
Forgotten Hollow Vatore Residence
Once again visiting over at Riordan’s house, when – much to Blaine’s dismay – surprise visitors turned up, interrupting their otherwise quiet get-together.
As the new arrivals were filing inside, they didn’t even notice Blaine standing quietly behind the door after Riordan invited them in, not even as they followed their host into the kitchen, engrossed in friendly and animated banter.
Frowning, Blaine tried to push the door shut as he begrudgingly passed it to join them, but felt resistance, then a girl around his age slipped inside, stuffing a cell phone into her pocket, before she glared at him.
“Wow, rude much?! Can you not look before you shut doors into people’s faces?! And who the heck are you anyway?” she laid into him right away, but all Blaine could do was stare at her, mouth hanging open.
Not only had she surprised him, something about her captivated him more than he could ever remember being in all his now fifteen years of life. She just seemed so different, interesting.
So there he stood, mouth still agape, cheeks flushed deep red contrasting against his pale skin.
She frowned, rolled her yes, grimaced while letting out an exasperated sigh, shut the door then turned back to Blaine.
“OMG – Helloooo?! Cat got your tongue? Lights on, nobody home? Can you not talk?! Yoo-hoo! Anything?!” she waved her hand in front of his face.
“Hello.” Blaine finally mumbled, completely out of context, still trying to get his bearings about him.
“Hello, he says. Seriously? We’re kinda past that already. So, is that a habit of yours to shut doors into visitor’s faces at homes you don’t even live at? I was just finishing up a phone call and you slam the door in my face. I mean, are you even for real?! Do you not look before you do stuff at your house?”
Blaine still couldn’t function beyond standing and staring at her, so with another eyeroll and headshake, she turned.
“Oh my god … this is ridiculous!” she moaned, then went to the kitchen, leaving Blaine standing there.
As he watched her walk off, Riordan caught his attention, who was waving at him and calling his name, Blaine now realized everyone was looking at him, including the girl.
On shaky knees he walked towards Riordan, who put his arm around him and pulled him closer to face the visitors.
“I know you haven’t seen each other in years, but you remember my uncle Caleb, his wife Breana, their son Caelan and their daughter Scarlett? Everybody, this is Blaine’s great-grandson, Blaine the second, almost all grown up. 15 years old now already, crazy how time flies, huh?” Riordan rambled on, hand on Blaine’s shoulder, while everyone else now stared at him. That was a lot of vampires eyeing him, making Blaine very uncomfortable. Gulp.
“Uh hi …” Blaine mumbled, eyeing the new arrivals.
He had only met Caleb and his family a handful of times, the last time had been years ago, Blaine was still in grade school back then, so he barely remembered them at all. Caleb scared him. A lot. He wasn’t so sure about the others. The fact that Riordan was a vampire usually escaped Blaine, but with so many of them at once, it had become hard to ignore. The fact that the two only females present were also breathtakingly beautiful didn’t help the situation one bit from this teen boy’s perspective either. Plus, one of them was already mad at him now.
“Young Blaine, you look more and more like your namesake! Not sure whether that makes me want to laugh or cry. Oh, he was a handsome devil, our old Blaine, your great-grandpa. I hear you got his mouth and knack to find trouble and drama already!” Caleb said chuckling, while hugging Blaine, who allowed it stiffly.
“Darling, go easy … that poor boy barely knows you! Easy on the PDA there!” Breana cautioned softly.
“Oh, love, of course he knows me! We Vatores and the Camerons are practically one big family, even if not by blood. My goodness look at you, Blaine, growing into a young man before our very eyes. You look so much like your namesake, it’s mind-boggling. He was my best friend, you know, still miss him every single day. Ah, the good old days. Looking at you brings back many memories!”
“Uh, yeah, cool. Uncle Ri, can I go outside and … look around?” Blaine asked a little too quickly. He was obviously uncomfortable and trying to get away.
“Sure, just don’t go too far. Easy to get lost here, with all the fog. Stick to the paved roads, okay? And don’t be long. Ana will soon be back with Natty and Rory and I bet they want to take you straight home then.” Riordan told him.
“Yeah, yeah …” Blaine mumbled already on his way to the front door.
“I’ll go with!” Scarlett offered catching up with him in seconds.
“I don’t need a babysitter. I’ll go alone. Go back inside or something!” he told her roughly.
“Nope. I am coming with you. I don’t want to hang with the adults or my little brother any more than you do.” she said, matching his fast pace.
“Then go on your own walk. Leave me alone!” Blaine said purposely rude.
Blaine hurried off, but she was at his side in no time. Vampire speed.
“Stalk much?” he snarled at her.
“Walk slow much?” she responded unimpressed.
“Just leave me alone!”
“Leave you alone? I am not doing anything to you just walking on a public road, free country and all, remember?”
“Can’t you go walk elsewhere?! Wish I had Garlic Noodles for lunch. Lots of them. That should take care of you!” Blaine played into the very obvious fact that she had to be a vampire.
“Very funny. I couldn’t care less what you eat! The only way that could bother me would be if you had straight up garlic by the pound and I’d French kiss you!”
“Tell me about it! So never gonna happen! Especially since I am not the hoe out of the two of us.”
“What is that supposed to mean?!”
“Means I heard all about you. You are some kind of famous – in a bad way. Sex at 14, and even too dumb to use protection! How much more trashy can you get?! Your poor parents. And your poor friends, if you even have any. You should be ashamed of yourself. Seriously!”
“Oh really, Dr. Phil, vampire-edition?! All that proves is that you are dumb enough to believe everything you read online or see on TV. That’s stupid. YOU are trash, not me!” Blaine blew up at her. How dare she?!
“Are you saying it’s not true?”
“None of your business! Leave me alone! Just go away!”
“Why don’t you make me, big shot?!”
“Seriously?! What is wrong with you!? Just fuck off already, girl!” Blaine didn’t like her attitude or knack to bring up sore subjects with him, so he was already groomed for battle.
“Hmmm …. let me think … nope. I won’t. So, are you gonna cry now? Boo-hoo. Make mommy and daddy come rescue you, with your wee little binky, then take you some other place so you don’t have to face the consequences of your actions? How about solving your own problems, you over-grown baby!”
“You are such a bitch!” Blaine roared.
“Why? Because I was trying to be nice to you, only asked you a simple question and you went off on me? Insulted me even, for nothing. Touchy much? Maybe you get away with that where you come from, you celebrity knock-off, but here, in my hometown and among my kind, I am even more famous than you. I am kinda like the equivalent of a princess. So suck on that, you pitiful wanna-be!”
“Princess, my ass! Gimme a million breaks now! Princess of this gloomy-ass hellhole? Not something I’d go advertise, pussycat! And valid question?! You’re kidding, right?! Where I come from asking some stranger about their sex life is considered taboo! And if that really IS a valid question around here, then YOU tell ME how many boys have you gone to ANY bases with, huh, PRINCESS?! Full list please!”
“That is comparing apples to oranges and definitely none of your business! At least I would be smart enough not to make the news with whatever I do or don’t do! And if I DID do THAT, I would definitely be smart enough to use birth control, you imitation stallion! DUH!”
“What would you know about apples or oranges, vamp?! Do you even know what those are? You probably meant to say comparing blood type A to B, huh?! And you started it!”
“I know you are, but what am I!?”
“Stupid, that’s what!”
“Go suck on a used Band-Aid, or something, you creep!” Blaine growled.
“Asshole!” she hissed back and Blaine wondered how smart it was to pick a fight with a vampire in the first place.
Scarlett turned to walk off, her long hair flying like a flag, briefly engulfing Blaine in a pleasant, girly floral scent which clashed with the gloomy, dark surroundings and the strange looking plasma trees pulsating purple next to them.
“Shit! Why did I say all that?! She’s probably gonna go tell her daddy I was mean and then I get crap from the Vatores and my own family! That is IF the creepy old Vatore doesn’t turn me into a human raisin first by sucking the last drop of blood out of me as revenge. Oh hell no!” Blaine mumbled to himself.
He ran after her, even caught up with her.
“What now?! You don’t know what you want, do you? If I go with you, you bitch about it, when I leave you come after me. Moron! And wrong direction! Ri’s house is that way, you idiot!” she told him, matching his unfriendliness.
“I know that! But where are you going then?”
“What’s it to you?!”
“Can you for ONE MINUTE not be like that?! I am trying to apologize to you. So … sorry.”
“Wow, if you kiss like you apologize, I now totally believe that the stories about you were just made up. No way you would get anywhere with even the most desperate girls if that is as sincere as you can get! What a loser you are.” Scarlett had stopped and turned to face him now.
“Oh, forget it then! Just go cry to your daddy about how I wasn’t nice! What’s a bunch more people hating on me, right?! I just can get anything right these days! Getting used to being the fucking outcast anyway!” told her, sounding desperate.
Something in his tone seemed to strike a chord with Scarlett, her anger dissipated, her eyes focused on his.
“Fine, lame-ass apology accepted, so how about a truce? And for your information, I am not the type to run to my parents with problems. I solve them MYSELF. Plus, I don’t give a shit about who you or your parents are. Means NOTHING to me or around here, okay? The only reason I bothered with you at all was because Ri told me you were feeling pretty down about life of late, but that you were actually a pretty decent guy. Well, either Ri’s totally delusional, has shit taste in friends or I caught you on a really bad day.”
“Yeah, sorry. I guess I was a bit of a dick. I can own that. And you did actually catch me on a really bad year. Everything just sucks these days. Why did you want to go with me so badly, if you don’t even like me, though?”
“I didn’t say I didn’t like you, I said I don’t care who you are, big difference. I went with you, because your reputation of getting yourself in trouble precedes you, so you were to get lost here in Forgotten Hollow, being a celebrity kid and all, we’d end up with the mortal authorities swarming the place, poking around where they shouldn’t be. That’s never a good thing, not for my kind or yours. This is my home, nobody wants drama here, so, I thought I’d go with to keep you safe. For the greater good of my people.”
“I don’t need a girl to protect me!”
“Macho! Did I stutter? I said nothing about protecting you! I said I went with you, cause I know my way around here. So what are you even doing here in Forgotten Hollow? Thought all mortals are afraid to come here?”
“I am visiting Ri. My aunt and grandma went to go home décor shopping with Ri’s wife, I tagged along to hang out with Ri. He and Anastasia used to be our neighbors in Del Sol Valley almost all my life, so … you know. We’re kinda buddies and all. I’ve just always called him uncle Ri.”
“Yeah, Riordan IS pretty cool. I like hanging with him too, guess you could say he and I are buddies as well. He’s my cousin, you know. I mean, for real. Lilith is my aunt.”
“So, are we like related then?”
“No dummy. You are only related to Ri by marriage, via your great-aunt, not by blood. Speaking of blood, looking at you up close, you could totally pass for one of us. You are almost paler than me. How is that even possible? You must be super-sick or something.”
“Nope, just the way I have always been. I wish I were a vamp. Maybe then I would finally really belong somewhere.”
“Yeah, to a community with ancient, misogynistic views.”
“Well, for starters, I am the older kid, should be my dad’s heir, yet, my younger brother will one day follow in dad’s footsteps instead. Dad tried to get the high council to make an exception for me, but caught major flack from those dusty old machos! Ri was in attendance too and told me what kind of shit show they unleashed on my poor, sweet daddy. No women allowed, case closed. Has to be male heirs. Tell me how that doesn’t suck! My kind is older than yours, yet we are like hundreds of years behind in evolution and emancipation.” Scarlett told him passionately, while Blaine could barely compute the idea of scary Caleb Vatore as ‘sweet daddy’.
“Can’t your dad or Ri train you anyway? Maybe some of those council dudes die and get replaced my more modern thinking ones or something?”
“They are vampires, Einstein. Chances of any of them dying are slim to none. Especially for the council Elders. They barely leave their secret and sacred halls, have loads of protection and have been around for centuries in some cases. They are going nowhere, nor is the old-fashioned woman-demeaning bullshit they decree and enforce! And you think your life sucks. At least you have options.”
“Okay, but why does your dad need an heir at all?”
“That’s different, you mortal wouldn’t understand. If I could become a Grand Master Elder council member, I could change the world, for all of us, make mortals accept and acknowledge my kind, so nobody would have to go through what Ri and Ana had to go through. I could make sure there would be peace on earth, among all beings. Instead, according to our rules, I am supposed to look pretty and be some other vampire’s arm candy one day. Seriously NOT gonna happen! Luckily my family agrees, but not much they can do. I’ll figure something out – eventually. After all, I have nothing but time.”
“That sucks. I get it though. Nobody takes me seriously either. I am trying to be a musician too, I am actually pretty good, but nobody really hears me, I am only ever Rett & Reed’s son to everybody. I seriously could fart nursery rhymes and people would applaud. Makes it meaningless. Same reason anyone only ever bothers with me. Because of my parents. I don’t even get a chance to really shine on my own.” Blaine talked himself into a rant, but had to smile when Scarlett burst into laughter.
“Aww, poor little rich boy. Well, if it makes you feel better, Blaine, you won’t be getting any sort of special treatment from me. I really do not care who you or your parents are. Even if I did, fame and public spotlight is literally the very last thing any vampire wants or needs, so … yeah. To me, you are just another annoying dude like all the others.”
“You don’t say? Hadn’t noticed. Hey, do you by chance go to Windenburg High? Haven’t seen you around there.” Blaine wondered.
“Vampires don’t attend public schools, duh. We have our own education system, have to, since we don’t officially exist. So, technically, per your own government, you have been talking to yourself all this time. Fun, isn’t it? Still want to be a vampire?”
“Do you like being one?”
“Not like I have a choice. I guess it’s okay. Do you like being mortal?”
“There you go again. It’s literally the exact same question you asked me, but when I ask it, you get your panties in a bunch. What a whiny little bitch you are!” she giggled.
“Okay, fine. Sorry again. Like you I had no choice, but I think I would like to be a vampire, like Riordan. He is just so cool. I wish I were like him.”
“Careful what you wish for … cos I am kinda getting thirsty here. HA HA HA … oh my god, your face is priceless! Relax, I was just kidding! You’re safe, dork! Nobody’s gonna turn ya. Come on, let me walk you back to Ri’s house. Bet your aunt and grandma have trickled in by now. Don’t want you to get in trouble again.”
“I am not a little kid, Scarlett! I can handle myself!”
“Copy that, so holster your insulted male ego again. I wanted to go back to Ri’s too, since my family is over there. Come on, dorky.”
Once they entered Riordan’s new home, Blaine’s aunt Rory and grandmother Natalie were indeed already waiting.
Blaine quickly and nervously introduced Scarlett, stumbling over his own words and feet several times, much to Natalie and Rory’s amusement.
To be continued.