“People change for two main reasons,
Their minds have been opened
Or their hearts have been broken.”
Forgotten Hollow Castello Vatore
Initially, Vivien was a bit taken aback by the strange man cooing over her, kissing on her, but she liked Bristol right away, just staring in awe at her light hair and bright blue eyes. Within minutes of him loving on her though, the little girl warmed up to Blaine as well, and Scarlett began carefully introducing him as ‘daddy’, which got him recruited to playing with Vivien.
While Blaine was on the ground playing with the little girl, Bristol told Scarlett.
“Thank you for being so accommodating and flexible for us at the last minute. I do fully understand this can’t be easy for you, this situation is complicated for all of us. But I am confident we can all manage to work together and stay civil for this little sweetheart’s sake. Scarlett, your daughter is absolutely precious.”
“Thanks. She is my world. Uh, Bristol, I wanted to say thank you for being such a good sport about this. And apologize for everything that happened. I never intended to interfere with your relationship with Blaine the first time around. It’s been just a lot of wrong time, wrong place, wrong actions and reactions ever since he and I first met when we were about fifteen.”
“Scarlett, we all made mistakes. Big ones, small ones. I did too. Knowing that, I am willing to give all of us a clean slate. For my own sake alone, because there is no use or room for grudges, just makes you bitter, but won’t change a thing. Like it or not, but the four of us in this room are bound together now, for better or worse. If I may be so blunt, I am not too crazy about the fact that Blaine’s first child is not with me, but I suppose this is just something you have to be prepared for when you love a man like him. I much prefer it being with you than some random floozy he had drunk meaningless sex with on the road at some point. At the very least we all know she is a love child, not a product of intoxicated lust. Either way, I like to think higher of myself than to even dream of blaming an innocent child for any of this. Out of all of us, she may well be the only truly innocent one.”
“I am very glad to hear you say this, Bristol. I didn’t think I ever wanted a child, was devastated when I found out I was pregnant, but as she grew inside of me, my love for her did too. Now there is nothing I wouldn’t do for her. Including letting her go see her daddy … and step-mother in Del Sol Valley.”
“You want the best for your daughter. I get it. Looking at Blaine, I have no doubt he agrees. His parents will go nuts when we tell them.”
“Oh, I bet they will, but not as you are probably thinking. They never liked me. This is going to fly as well with them as a wooden balloon.”
“Scarlett, I do not know you, nor will I pretend I have all the insight or can even guess what really happened between you and Blaine, nor is it my business. I would have never thought I could deal with my husband having a child with someone else, but here we are anyway and as much as I may not like this strange situation, that little girl is absolutely darling and very special to Blaine. She will be special to me and to his parents. And if not, people know better than to mistake my kindness for weakness or they will learn to. You have my word I’ll make sure that Vivien is well taken care of and nobody ever dares to mess with her whenever she is in our care. I am not the monster you may think I am, Scarlett. We both just happened to love the same man, a complicated one. We both set him free at some point, the rest is just timing and serendipity.”
“Thank you, Bristol. You are right. There is so much I would tell you to explain some of the things that happened, and why, but I can’t. Family secrets and all that.”
“Understood. Look, I was born and raised in Del Sol Valley. Nobody there ever tells the truth, either because they contractually are obligated not to or it’s just too messy. As the daughter of a famous plastic surgeon, my family made our money by helping people tell lies. Looking at this castle, I am sure there are many secrets buried in its walls. When Blaine told me you lived at a place called ‘Castello Vatore’ I first assumed whomever built it suffered some delusion of grandeur, but seeing how this is a literal castle, probably owned by your family for hundreds of generations I realized everyone is bound by some sort of secrets, old or new. Very lovely place though. I am jealous. You really are a princess, like Cinderella.”
“Ha, Cinderella, that’s cute. More like Snow White, minus all the dwarves and the evil step-mother, but that’s a story for another day.”
Del Sol Valley Cameron Mansion
Breaking the news to Blaine’s parents went over as you would expect. Maeve had a brief melt-down, Everett nearly keeled over, but then they realized it was their grandchild regardless, Blaine managed to hint around the fact that Vivien wasn’t vampire, so they eventually arrived at a halted state of excitement.
About a week later Scarlett brought Vivien to meet everyone, the initial mood between Maeve and her was slightly frosty, but it melted fast when Maeve and Rett couldn’t help but adore that little girl and Vivien seemed excited about her new grandparents and the big, modern house. Naturally, they had a room ready for her with many toys which pleased the little girl, as did her grandpa. Rett amused her to no end.
“It’s probably the hair …” Scarlett chuckled “the rest of the family all has black hair and I don’t think she ever met anyone with such bright red hair.”
“Nonsense! Eat your hearts out everyone, I am just an instant hit with the ladies, young and old, just listen to her giggle, can’t keep her hands off me, see that babe?!” Everett said chuckling, the latter part aimed at Maeve.
“I see, I see. I just also remember that toddler fingers are never really clean, so enjoy it until you smell it. I bet some green boogers go well with that red hair, babe!” Maeve laughed.
When Scarlett caught Maeve alone in the kitchen a little later, she seized the moment.
“Ahem, I figured you’d be at the coffee maker. A word, if you don’t mind? Look, Mrs. Cameron, I know you don’t like me, and maybe you have every right to, but I wanted to make sure you know that I did not plan this, Vivien I mean, I really did not mean for this to happen.”
“Scarlett, honey, I do not hate you, never have, that was never what this was about. I was trying to protect my son, who can be a real dumbass at times, act first, think later, I am sure I don’t have to tell you that. And I know that it takes two to make a baby. I am a woman too and nothing would be further from me than blaming another woman for the product of consensual sex, there are way too many out there who still dare that. Nobody here blames you for anything. If anyone should apologize, it would be me. I had no right to judge you as harshly as I did back then, for what it’s worth, I am really sorry about that. You have a child of your own now, and I am sure you can understand how easily a mother can get carried away trying to protect her child. I feel partially responsible that you broke up, for that I am more than sorry, for your sake but also because I have never seen Blaine more heartbroken than after that.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Cameron, that means a lot. I really do understand why you reacted the way you did, I probably would have done the very same thing if roles were reversed, how could you have known? And no, I never blamed you for any of this. My entire life was uprooted, all my careful planning destroyed with one decision, which took away all my hope to ever be able to lead a real life with Blaine. That was neither your fault, nor Blaine’s or even mine. If it was anybody’s fault, then the goddamn stubborn, misogynistic Elders Council of my own kind, sadly, I cannot help what I am, nor that I am bound by their laws, whether I agree with them or not. But I am glad Vivien gets the love and acceptance she deserves.”
“Would it be all right if I hugged you, Scarlett? And also, please do call me Maeve.”
Scarlett smiled and nodded, then both women were hugging when Everett entered.
“Holy shit, dafuq’s going on in here? Did I walk into the wrong house or did someone get drugged?”
“Oh, shut up, you booger-haired grandpa and mind your own business, we are having a moment here!” Maeve laughed, Scarlett chiming in.