“Some people come into our lives and quickly go.
Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same”― Flavia Weedn
Windenburg Island Cameron Estate
Seated at the dining room table, feeling like prey about to be devoured by three raptors, Blaine’s eyes were widened as he frantically looked back and forth between his parents, then at his grandmother Natalie.
“Just another semester, dad! No big deal. Please? You guys are probably busy with the new album and …” he started begging, but his father cut him off quickly.
“Blaine! Enough already! It won’t wash and that wasn’t the deal. One semester in Windenburg. ONE! Your poor grandparents, aunt and uncle didn’t sign up to frigging have you live here till you retire, this was to help you out TEMPORARILY! You are coming back home! We miss you, Kai misses you, don’t you miss your room and friends? And maybe, just maybe, us?” Everett grumbled.
“I …. sure … I miss you guys, miss hanging with Kai, we Skype every other day, but … I … finally I … ahem …” Blaine almost said more than he wanted to share.
“You what?” Everett inquired annoyed.
“Nothing. Just please, one more semester. Just ONE!” Blaine pressed.
“Damn Maeve, you hearing this shit, babe? Windenburg High must have become some kick-ass riot party since we attended. I remember it as some sleepy-ass lame school like most other small town high schools, nothing anyone with half a brain stem would fight so hard to stay at for another round. Man, they must have some hella good classes these days …” Everett told Maeve laughing, while still eyeing their son.
“Yeah, I’ll say. I don’t think I would have fought at all to stay here … especially not if I could have gone to some elite academy in Del Sol Valley instead. Seriously curious.” Maeve agreed, her tone sarcastic, implying both parents knew something else was causing Blaine to want to stay so badly.
“It’s not the school, guys. There is a girl Blaine is sweet on.” Natalie let the cat out of the bag, earning her a quick, mortified side-glance from her grandson.
“Ah, now that sounds a lot more believable. Care to put some more meat on those bones for us, son? What girl? Details please. Or do we have to wait for it to come on the news later today again?” Everett poked.
“Rett!” Maeve shook her head at him.
“WHAT!? Seriously SO not funny dad! And no! Grandma’s wrong. No girl! Just friends. Not a girl thing. Hashtag fake news! Seriously.” Blaine denied, shaking his head like a maniac.
“No, girl, huh, Blaine? So what would you call whom you went to prom with then? A figment of my imagination?! Looked pretty real to me in the pic with your cousins and their dates, who undeniably were girls. Especially considering Jordan and Jamie are still dating them.” Natalie grinned, calling Blaine’s bluff.
“Awww, that’s right! Our little boy went to his very first prom! Sorry, but that was all such a blur for us then, we were in the middle of that PR tour across ten countries in five days and jet-lagged as heck when all that came up, so I totally forgot about it! I need to see that picture!” Maeve giggled.
“Yah, I want some of that too! Hit us with that, mom!” Everett smirked gleefully at his son, then his mother.
“Of course! I have it on my phone, hang on let me find it quickly. That’s Jordan and his date, Jamie and his little girlfriend .. ah, here they all are now. Look at how adorable they are. Your son looks just dashing, and his imaginary girl looks beautiful and amazingly – totally like a real girl!” Natalie smiled, then handed her phone across the table to Maeve, who stared at said picture with Everett.
“Grandma! Urgh! Whyyyyyyyy?!” Blaine collapsed face first onto the table, while the adults ooh’ed and ahh’ed.
“Oh my goodness, Rett, look! Our baby boy looks all grown up in that suit, and his date is gorgeous!” Maeve swooned.
“She is a looker, all right, my kid’s got good taste in women, just like his old man! Hey, wait a second, the girl looks familiar though … is that? … please tell me it’s not …” Everett shot an inquiring glance at his son, whose face remained buried, then his mother, who just shrugged, obviously unwilling to say the words, but confirming Rett’s suspicion with her lack of words.
“Who?! Rett? I need a memo here to decode this, please. Who is that?! You know her?” Maeve wondered.
“I think I may! Blaine! Tell me you are not dating Caleb’s daughter!” Everett demanded.
Blaine mumbled something incoherent from his position on his arms without ever looking up.
“Caleb?! As in Caleb Vatore?! You mean she’s a …. Oh for fuck’s sake, Blaine, you gotta be kidding me! Sorry, Natty for the cursing, but seriously, Blaine!” Maeve ranted.
“Well, you’re preaching to the choir, Maeve, we all kinda agree around here. Don’t get me wrong, she is a sweet girl, but … you know, she is what she is. I adore Riordan, but I never could fully wrap my head around him being .. you know. Now there is another one on the radar. We’re all trying to be supportive, but I haven’t exactly been doing cartwheels.” Natalie admitted, which caused Blaine to shoot up straight and get defensive.
“Can you guys quit being so judgmental and shit?! Vampires aren’t anything bad! Just a bit different! And we are NOT dating. We are friends, she did me a solid so I could actually go to that damn prom without having to stand in a corner like a reject or have to attend with some gold digger hanging off me all night long! Don’t think they don’t got that type of chicks here! Trust me, I get notes slipped into my locker almost daily with phone numbers from chicks I couldn’t pick out in a line up. And Scarlett wanted to see what prom’s like. So did I. So we did it together. I mean, that came out wrong. We didn’t do IT together. We did prom together, nothing else. Nothing. Well, except, but no, that doesn’t count. Nothing.” Blaine’s tone was annoyed, even more so when he felt hot and cold at the Freudian slip.
“Ha – the way you come at us guns blazing tells me that whatever you are telling us is barely the tip of that iceberg. Can’t bullshit the bullshitter, son. Not a secret that I liked girls when I was your age, plenty of them, sometimes at the same time, but I can honestly say none of them were occult, even though plenty turned out to be screeching banshees and witches, with claws and fangs coming out, but not in the true sense of the term. Seriously though, of all the girls, it had to be THAT one? Old Caleb would go off like a rocket if he were to find out about that Romeo & Juliet shit.”
“Caleb doesn’t have to find out, he knows, they all know, his wife and Scarlett’s brother, they were all there when I went to pick her up with the driver grandma & grandpa hired.” Blaine replied, his tone snotty.
“Excuse me!? Wait a minute! You mean to tell me that you guys KNOWINGLY let our son go to Forgotten Hollow ALONE?! To meet a vampire?! At night?! To the Vatore’s home?! And none of you went with him!?” Maeve exploded.
“Maeve, relax, the Vatores are old family friends. They’re obviously unconventional, but would never hurt any of us, plus there are strict rules about all that vampire stuff. It’s just as safe or as dangerous as it would be for him to pick up a date in Newcrest or Willow Creek.” Natalie explained, while remembering that her reaction wasn’t all that different when she found out about who and what the Vatores really were many decades ago. Not for the faint of heart.
“NOT A DATE! It wasn’t a DATE!” Blaine grumbled.
“Well, either way, you are packing NOW. You are so coming back home A.S.A.P.!” Everett determined.
“What if I refuse?!” Blaine challenged.
“Refuse, my ass. Get packing kid! We are so leaving!” Maeve hissed at her son, still visibly fuming at the perceived danger her only son had been exposed to in a place she had deemed him perfectly safe.
“Screw that! I’ll wait till grandpa comes home! We’ll see what he says!” Blaine pouted.
“Your grandfather won’t change a thing here, and I resend that sort of macho talk in my own home, young man!” Natalie’s finally had enough of her rambunctious grandson.
“It’s only your home because MY mom and dad bought it for you all!” he snapped at her.
“What the fuck?! That’s it! Pack NOW! AFTER you apologize to your grandmother of course! How dare you speak to her like that!? After all she’s done for you! I am not for child abuse but you make me want to peel your scrawny ass out of your jeans and beat it till it glows in the dark, son!” Everett was furious now.
“Okay okay, sorry gramma, I didn’t mean it. But it’s not a fling! Isn’t anyone listening to me?! Can you guys not hear me, or are you ignoring what I am saying?! And if I go, I want to at least say goodbye to everyone. I cannot just sneak out like a politician evading taxes! That’s not how I roll and it’s just rude!”
Everett clapped demonstratively, while fake cheering.
“Bravo! Bravissimo. What a performance. Whatcha think about that shit now, babe. The fruit of our loins being dramatic. Good to see those acting classes we’ve been paying for even though you never go to any of them paid off after all.”
“Daaaaad .. I …. please … I just don’t want to leave without proper goodbyes. Is that so much to ask?”
“Yeah, sure, almost believable. Almost. Did I not tell you that you cannot bullshit me, kid?! You have been here for visits spanning several weeks many times before and NEVER – not once – have you given a rat’s ass about saying goodbye to anyone that didn’t happen to cross your path on the way to the airport! So wanna try that again?! Maybe – I don’t know – you could spruce it up with some TRUTH in there to change it up a bit?!”
“Fine! Yes, okay, you got me, I want to go say goodbye to Scarlett! There, I admitted it. Happy now?! I cannot just leave without letting her know. So you got me, dad. Father of the year award goes to you, you know your kid. Woot! Standing ovations. All love you for this dedication to find the truth.” Blaine’s retort dripped with sarcasm.
“Not happy about your tone, kid, but tickled fifty shades of fuzzy pink about the fact that you remembered what the truth sounds like! At least something.” Rett growled.
“Ok cool, yay me. You all must be so proud. You all did it, you caught me, got me to admit I want to go see Scarlett. So can someone take me over there, or what?! I am dying here. Seriously dying!” Blaine urged.
“Oh, cut the melodrama, kid. And even YOU can’t possibly be delusional enough to seriously think that after your snarky behavior we would reward you by chauffeuring your ungrateful butt all the way out to Forgotten Hollow to say goodbye to a girl you also said is not a girl at all, not a date, barely a friend? You must really think us barely functional in the brain! We don’t have time for that. You go pack, we will figure out how to have a nice dinner together as a family before we leave on the red-eye out. A nice cozy meal together to thank your grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins for putting up with your bullshit for several months. That’s award-worthy, and it should be your priority, not some summer-fling you don’t even seem sure of. Know who really has your back when it counts, Blaine. Life lesson. Spoiler alert: it’s not some random girl! Take it from me, chasing chicks may seem worthy and important now, but I learned the hard way it’s a waste of time!”
“WHAT? NO! What do you mean dinner and then airport?! Red-eye?! What the fuck?! What’s the sudden rush?! I am so not going! I want to go say goodbye to Scarlett! I have to! Just a few minutes. PLEASE. After that we can go kumbaya around a fucking dinner table and all that shit and I’ll walk back to Del Sol Valley crossing deserts, lakes and mountains if that’s what you want. But not like this. It’s not like we never had a family dinner before! I need to see Scarlett before you drag me off!”
“Watch your tone, Blaine! I am so done with this discussion now, it’s not even funny!” Maeve warned.
“No no no no! Can we please go?! Please! Mom, dad … gramma! Please, just a few minutes. Take the gas money out of my allowance! Anything!” Blaine tried all that came to mind.
“Leave your grandmother out of it! And no. Not after that performance. You can call that girl to say your goodbyes. Or Facetime or Skype or whatever. But your ass is staying in Windenburg until it’s time to go to the airport and that is FINAL!” Everett decreed.
“I don’t have her number, dad! I don’t have anything … ” Blaine realized, leaving him feeling desperate with panic rising.
“Well, that should tell you all you need to know. If you took a girl to something big like a prom and you still didn’t get her digits, the meaning is pretty universal. Through the ages that always meant the same thing, kid, she’s not that into you, and all this drama was for nothing. So, this discussion is over, either you are going to pack now or I will dump the contents of all drawers into some trash bag you can drag around the airport like a racoon that found a dirty diaper! Will look great in First Class and definitely get you that attention you hate so much! Get to it – NOW!”
“Fuck no! Fuck Del Sol Valley! Fuck you, dad, fuck all of you and fuck this shit!” Blaine’s voice tipped over for agony about the inevitable departure, the fact that his father hit a very sore spot about the lack of Scarlett’s number in his phone and the feeling of being cornered.
Blaine jumped up and ran off, they heard his footsteps on the stairs then a door slam upstairs.
“Oh, I am going to wipe the floor with his bony lil ass!” Everett growled, about to get up, but remained in his seat when his mother and wife shook their heads and Maeve placed her hand on his arm, while his mother calmly spoke.
“Rett … let him cool down. Hormones are getting the best of him, I am not angry, I know he didn’t mean it. This is probably pretty rough on him, going back home and having to adjust all over again.”
“Yeah, Rett, I agree with your mom, just let him come down for a moment. Truth be told, I don’t want to deal with that brat for a minute, and think if you go after him now it’s only gonna get worse.” Maeve said.
“Fine. I’ll listen to my girls. That kid got what he deserved, ungrateful whiny little bitch, and he is not done getting some of me. I am keeping a tally of every single time he as much as looks at someone crooked between now and when we get back home, and he’ll be paying up. That boy may well be taking out trash and scrubbing toilets with his toothbrush for the next 50 years or so!”
“I agree with Rett, Natty. Blaine is a handful on a good day. If we go weak on him now, he will be teaching us tricks in no time. And honestly, I am not a fan of him dating some vampire chick. He can really do better. Sounds like they only just started, so best to nip this in the bud. Likewise for his behavior! Please tell me he hasn’t been that way the entire time he’s been here.”
“Oh no, don’t worry guys, for the most part he was a very sweet boy, really quiet, too quiet in the beginning, but then he came around, got more spunk in him again, went out to Everett Heights and burger joints and such with the twins and their friends. All in all, with the occasional hormonal blowup reminder that we had three teenagers in this house, it has been pretty smooth sailing. And Scarlett only really appeared on his radar two or three weeks ago, so it cannot be anything really serious. They maybe have met a handful of times. But you know, your son has a temper. This isn’t over in his book. That will be a long flight for you if you do not throw him a bone. Maybe letting him see her one last time might not be bad.”
“Mom, I love you, but no. That kid’s ass stays out of Forgotten Hollow. Had he not been such a bratty bitch, maaaaaybe, we could have swung by there on the way to the airport, maybe I could have been convinced he deserves his teary-eyed teen drama goodbye, even though honestly, I don’t really see the point, by tomorrow, they’ll be thousands of miles apart and by the time we come back for Thanksgiving they’ll both have moved on and forgotten about each other. Either way he gambled that privilege away when he started mouthing off like a dock worker, especially to you.”