“In life the only thing that you can expect is the unexpected;
the only surprise is a day that has none.”
Windenburg Everett Heights Park
Blaine and Bristol had been back from their honeymoon for about three weeks when Blaine’s illustrious career demanded its tribute again. He hit the ground running, doing interviews and live performances, at some point he got invited for interviews and live performances at a few different radio and TV shows in San Myshuno.
Naturally, as he always did, he added a little extra time in to see his family there, as a special treat sent Bristol and all the other Cameron women off to a day spa, followed by shopping and lunch on him, the men used the opportunity to knock things off their honey-do lists, so Blaine offered to take little Liam to the playground to do his part to help out.
Being Jamie’s child, Liam was very special to Blaine, and he enjoyed the little boy’s spunk. At some point in the not too distant future he and Bristol would probably want to have a child, so might as well get some hands-on toddler wrangling practice in, right? Unfortunately for Blaine was Liam not the easiest to learn with, he definitely didn’t have Jamie’s calm and obedient personality, so much was certain. Blaine had no idea what he was in for when he stubbornly insisted he could handle the little boy, regretted it already 10 minutes later on the ferry ride from the Windenburg Isle to the mainland and on the brief car trip to Everett Heights while trying to keep that rambunctious toddler out of literally everything.
Much to his relief Liam seemed to be very enthusiastic about the other kids and the playground equipment once they arrived at the playground, so Blaine let the boy run for it while he himself dropped down on the bench with the groan of a man much older than his 25 years and a sigh.
“Good grief, kid. I literally have to be in top shape for performances, but you already wore me out good in minutes, little man! Definitely gave me a brand-new appreciation for Jamie and Averie. Holy mother of craps! How do they deal with you after they work all day? How does uncle Declan deal with you all day alone WHILE working from home? What kinda superhero shit is that now?! I am gonna talk to Bri about a nanny for sure once we start getting into it for realz!” he mumbled to himself when he noticed Liam now hugging a little girl, somewhere around his own age after the older kids all wanted nothing to do with a toddler. Blaine chuckled.
“Look at that ladies man. That’s my boy right there! Doing uncle Blaine proud. Even though I am not really your uncle, heck knows what we are to each other, but close enough.”
Before Blaine knew it, the toddlers were engrossed in play. He relaxed, closed his eyes for a moment, listening to them babble nonsense at each other, a few real words sprinkled in here and there, making him chuckle.
Suddenly Blaine felt watched. Quickly he opened his eyes, turned his head.
When he did, he noticed a woman standing a few feet away from him now, who hadn’t been there before, two silvery eyes, it startled him, he jumped up and exclaimed.
“Scarlett! Holy shit! Why are you creeping around here?! It’s not even dark! You need to get inside!” Blaine exclaimed whatever came to mind at that moment, then he remembered he was still mad at her and cursed himself for sounding like a scared teen.
“It’s fine, mostly overcast. I am stronger now and can take a little bit of sunlight and stay mostly in the shade anyway. Just ignore me, do what you were doing, I am not here for you, don’t worry. You are absolutely safe. Just a coincidence. Honest. I didn’t know you would be here. Never ever would I have expected to find you here.”
“Right. You just hang out on playgrounds in bright daylight now, sure, makes perfect sense, gotcha. Looking for a bite-sized snack? Or just stalking exes? Oh, and how’s the cousin-fucking going? Still enjoying incest every bit as you used to, you nasty ass whore?! Oopsie, filter came off, my bad.” Blaine hated himself for showing his anger so openly. He had intended to sound demeaning, but only sounded bitter, vulgar and pouty.
“Everett Heights holds a lot of memories for me, beautiful ones, it’s a public place, so I have every right to be here, just like you. How could I have known YOU of all people would be at a playground? Nobody would have guessed THAT, you have always been very vocal about how you feel about kids. Besides, insult me all you want, but at least keep your voice down. There are children around. Their ears and minds are like sponges. You should know that, seeing you spend time with your little cousin once removed. Sorry, I overheard you struggling with the same old family relatedness things as always. Good thing you don’t have siblings.”
“Oh, thanks for the lesson on relations and children, Professor Fanged-Super-Nanny. Now you are suddenly worried about Jamie’s kid? Ha! Gimme a break.”
“I am not worried, but interested. Jamie and Jordan are my friends too, or used to be, from college, four years can’t just be shaken off just because you and I didn’t work out. Liam is very sweet. Such a handsome and funny little boy. No need to ruin him with foul language, no matter how much you may hate me. None of this is his fault.”
“How do you even know about Liam?! Are you stalking my family?! Don’t you dare! Leave them alone! Especially Liam! He is an innocent child!”
“That is nonsense and you well know it. You know me better than that and you also know there are strict rules. You better believe several of them regard children being off limits, as if any decent person of my kind would need to be told that. Get a hold of yourself.”
“Well, I thought I knew you, also thought you were decent, yet never would have thought you’d ever replace my spot in your bed with your own cousin, so who knows anything for sure anymore, right?”
Before Scarlett could respond to it they were interrupted, diverting both their attentions.
“MOMMY! MOMMYYYYYY! Cookie … pwease … hungwy tummy!” Liam’s little friend came running their direction, Blaine turned to look behind them, but there was nobody there, only to turn back and find Scarlett on the floor to catch the toddler in her arms, showering her with kisses on the rosy, pudgy cheeks, making the little girl giggle. His eyes threatened to come out of their sockets.
“What the FUCK is this shit now!?” he said way too loud.
“Blaine! Enough! Stop it NOW!” Scarlett hissed at him, her face very angry.
“Fhhhhuckk … tchit .. nowwww.” the little girl parroted right away, Scarlett’s face instantly softened as she looked back at her.
“No baby, that man said duck just doesn’t speak clearly. He thought he saw a duck sit down and said wow. Do you remember how a duck makes?”
“Mmmmhhh … waddle, waddle, quack quack QUACK!” the little girl replied excitedly clapping, giggling and wiggling her butt in Scarlett’s lap, while Blaine was speechless, paralyzed and thought he was about to collapse.
WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?! it screamed in Blaine’s head.
Then things happened all at once within seconds. Scarlett raised up with the child in her arms. The little girl looked at him briefly and a stroke of lightning shot through him, like in a trance he reached out and gently pat that little girl’s chunky pink cheek, mesmerized, through a thick fog as if about to pass out he heard Scarlett tell him Liam was eating sand.
He looked over to the boy, found she was right, hurried to the toddler, scooped him up, while reprimanding him he turned back to Scarlett but there was only an empty spot. No Scarlett, no girl, just emptiness. He fought his initial reflex to run after them, well aware that it would be in vain.
“Liam, what’s your little friend’s name?” he asked hurried.
“I dunno. Uncwle Bwaine, I want cookie. The lady had cookies. I want a cookie!”
“Well, you’ll have to wait till we get home, little man, I am sure they stash tons of cookies there, especially knowing your mommy is a chef. Let’s go check on my theory unless you filled up on nasty sand already. Seriously, kid, major yuck! Cats pee in that.”
“Eeew! Cookie, pwease! I miss daddy. And mommy. And grampa. And granma. And Baiwey puppy. And my teddy … and”
“Okay okay OKAY! Chill lil dude! Home it is. Let’s go. Carry or walk?”
“I big boy! I can walk. But … up! Sweepy eyes, tired.”
Blaine delivered Liam back home, the little boy was all tuckered out and fast asleep in his arms before they got to the ferry, then bid his goodbyes and went back to their hotel with Bristol, who had returned from the spa day with the rest of the Cameron women.
Snuggled up on the bed with Bristol, who was telling him about her day with the rest of the ladies, Blaine was absent-minded, mostly doing Math and creating timelines in his head. That girl from the playground looked younger than Liam, maybe by a few months, maybe more, hard to tell. That would put the girl’s age right into the timeframe … NO … that just couldn’t be! Must not be!
But the eyes.
Those were Cameron eyes. Just like little Liam’s. They were HIS eyes. The exact same shade of green. Green eyes weren’t anything unusual or special per se, but it would be a gigantic coincidence that she would randomly have this distinct shade of green. It was a green, like many green eyes, but it was also the Cameron green, passed down through generations. Scarlett’s were silver grey, and Riordan’s were almost black like coals. Blaine knew little about genetics, but even he knew that combination would never amount to this green.
Her skin had been rosy and warm, unlike Scarlett’s, which was always cool to the touch. That girl was pinkish and didn’t have that distinct slight translucency all vampires had in common, even the darker skinned ones. Her skin had been opaque and well circulated with blood.
That kid was a mortal. Had to be.
But then there was no way this could be Scarlett’s child with Riordan, this Blaine knew for a fact, ironically, it had been Riordan who once told him this, many years ago when Ana was still alive. Two vampires could never have a mortal child. One parent had to have been mortal for that to happen, and then there was always a 50% chance for the kid to be either.
The little girl’s father had to have been a mortal. Like … him!
“That is totally my child, only way any of this makes sense.” Blaine startled himself – and Bristol – when he accidentally said those words out aloud.
He could feel Bristol’s beautiful turquoise eyes staring at him, could imagine the worry and confusion written all over them.
“What?” her voice was barely a whisper.
Blaine felt heat rising up inside of him. Oops, this no filter impulsive thing got him again. Now what?
He kept thinking of lies to tell his new wife, then nixed that idea. She deserved better than that. It should be her choice what to do with those news, especially since he didn’t know anything for certain. They were a team, no lies, no hiding. He swallowed hard, slid to the edge of the bed and pulled Bristol towards him, gently, then into his lap.
“Bristol, baby, beautiful, love of my life, my world, we have to talk about something. Something serious, a suspicion I have, unconfirmed, but I have a feeling about this and reason to believe that I am not wrong, even though I think I wish I were. Beautiful, you’ll have to be strong, this won’t be easy to hear. What if …”
What if …?