An apology offered and, equally important, received is a step towards reconciliation and, sometimes, recompense. Without that process, hurts can rankle and fester and erupt into their own hatreds and wrongdoings.Margaret MacMillan
Del Sol Valley Cameron Mansion
For the first time in what felt like a lifetime, but really only had been a few months now, Scarlett had been the one to drop off Vivien for her scheduled visit with her father and didn’t just vanish as soon as Vivien got settled in. She stayed for some carefully chosen small talk, even accepted the cup of coffee Blaine had offered to her.
It seemed like an eternity for the coffeemaker to run through this time, as they both lingered around the kitchen awkwardly.
The feelings he had were indescribable, there were no real words for it, a mixture between happy and sad, awkwardly inhibited yet comfortably familiar, curious and afraid of the truth, and those were only the beginning and barely scratched the surface, from what little he could tell, Scarlett felt no different as he studied her from across the dining room table now.
“Let me start this off by telling you how truly sorry I am, for everything I said to you that day. For what it’s worth, I didn’t really mean any of it. I always thought and still think you are a wonderful person, one I would love to have as part of my life. I have honestly and truly missed you. You, the person, not just … you know.” Blaine said quietly, his tone sincere.
“Thanks Blaine, that means a lot. I am sorry as well. We both just looked for any ammunition to hurt the other that day. We were both wrong. Apology accepted and I hope you will accept mine as well.”
“100% accepted. So, you really got married?” Blaine started to feel her out about the thing that had been burning holes into his mind for months. His heart was beating fast, he felt like a teen boy on a first date with a girl he really didn’t want to strike out with.
“I did.” she confirmed with a rather tight-lipped reply.
“After only knowing the guy for a few months? Didn’t you always say you would never marry? Quite the drastic change of heart, from never to right away, if you ask me.”
“I didn’t ask you. You used to say the same thing about never wanting to get married. Sometimes things happen that change our minds, maybe they change us, maybe both. I also said that I would never take my husband’s name, yet you are looking at Mrs. Vecchiarelli.”
Somehow that statement rubbed Blaine very wrong. To him it sounded bought and paid for, whether or not that was the case or not.
“Ah. And how are things going with Vivien? Is he good to her?” Blaine growled.
“Adores her as if she were his own.” Scarlett said calmly.
“As long as he remembers she’s not! She is mine.” Blaine didn’t even attempt to cover up his disdain.
“Ours, Blaine, not just yours, mine as well. Lorenzo loves children. Eager to have his own.”
“You are going to have kids with that guy?!” Blaine repeated a few octaves too high to sound casual. He realized it and cleared his throat. Awkward. Must remember to keep feelings in line, he repeated in his head.
“Why wouldn’t I? I think I have proven to be a decent mother and I rather enjoy it. What else is there for me? Certainly not a career. At least not yet.” she took a sip of her coffee.
“Not yet? Ah, so you are going to work with him? Or for him? What does he do again?” Blaine probed.
Scarlett laughed, shaking her head.
“Hardly. And nice try, although not very subtle and definitely not smooth by a long shot. Don’t quit your day job, investigator is not for you.”
“Well, if you and he weren’t so cryptic about how he makes his money I wouldn’t have to dig. My daughter lives with that guy, who has a lot of money, most people would flaunt proudly how they made it, unless of course they made it in some shady ways. Not suspicious AT ALL.”
“Why the interrogation? What’s it to you? He has money, that’s that. Why do you need to know how he got it? You never asked my father how he got his. I grew up in a castle and nobody in my family works, yet you never second-guessed that.”
“Fine. So you all now live happily ever after at the creepy castle with your mommy, daddy and weirdo brother? I already know Riordan has a chick now and moved out into his own place, he was at the birthday party for Kai’s twins with the new lady, Layla I think was her name. Or does that Tartosian come with his own? Castle I mean. Yeah, pasta-wrangling Prince Charming with Barbie’s dream castle, some assembly required. Pah!”
“Funny you should say that, about some assembly required. Lorenzo, Vivien and I live at his home, a lovely original Tuscan countryside villa he actually had dissembled, brought over here and rebuilt brick by brick from his old home in Tartosa, it’s located just outside Oasis Springs, the view he told me, reminded him of home. May not be a castle per se, but sure feels like it and has quite the presence. I am sure you passed it before, driving by it. Hard to miss, big sandstone building, lots of marble right on the main road, across from the science research facility where your aunt Rory works. Ran into her a couple times. Shocked the Cameron grapevine failed you there but maybe she thought the subject was too touchy still.”
“Shit that’s a house?! I always thought that’s some museum or government building or crap like that! And did you just say Oasis Springs? The dustbowl?! You are telling me that a vampire moved to the desert?! You are having me on, right? This is a joke, yes?! It better be one, a real shitty one, gotta tell ya!”
“Nope, dead serious, that’s my home now. I would have told you sooner or later anyway, since your daughter lives there part time and you have a right to know. She will be attending a private school once she is old enough, not far from the villa. We actually already toured it, it is state of the art.”
“Whoa whoa whoa whoa – hold up just a sec. So all those years I begged you to come live with me, here in a comparably moderate climate of Del Sol Valley, you declared me a Grade A idiot for even suggesting it, because of all the sun we get – then you turn around and move to the fucking desert where there is nothing but sand and sun?! And what’s that shit about schools there? I thought once she reaches school age she’ll come live with me and go to a really excellent school here in Del Sol Valley! That’s what we agreed on!”
“We didn’t agree to anything, we just loosely planned ahead because I had nothing to offer her but darkness. Well, plans change. You will have your hands full with your new child once he’s been born. By the time Viv is old enough to attend school, your boy should be in his terrible twos. You’ll thank me then when you have to only juggle ONE rambunctious kid alongside your career, not two.”
“Scarlett … I don’t know how to say it without pouring salt into one of your biggest issues, but you do remember our conversation that it would be easier for me, as the father who officially exists to get her into a school, all things considered, right? I am not trying to decide for you, but in Vivien’s best interest. You know, about your … issues with things that require official documents.”
“Look at you, all concerned and gentle while driving the dagger deep into my sore spot. But see, that’s the beauty of it. There are no such hurdles for me anymore, nothing that Lorenzo couldn’t fix. Speaking of, sitting before you, an official human being, fully documented, even registered to vote. I am all official, thanks to him. Even have a driver license and a passport. Not that I desperately needed to know how to drive, or a passport, but helpful for keeping up appearances.”
“Not that again! You did that fake ID shit in college and you were so afraid of being found out! Riordan took it from you after your oh-so-almighty creepy council of delusional, misogynistic old vampire fucks nixed your political plans. You and your family all said they don’t like people going against their decisions and the punishment would be severe, whatever that means in vampire talk. They forbade you to have fake documents to mingle with the mortals again. So, that deck of cards got shuffled new and came out the opposite now, because they are all so happy for you and your hubby or did you just decide living on the edge was your thing now? Sounds like a steaming pot of bullshit to me, one ready to boil over! Either that, or you all lied to me all those years.”
“Oh no, Blaine, this isn’t anything like that. It’s more a fortunate alignment of circumstances and opportunity. Lorenzo knows the right people in the right places. I was officially added into the systems as if I had always been there, and the documents are government issued ones. Even if someone suspected a thing, nobody would touch me. And to the Elder Council I am a whole different person now that I am married and have a new name. Especially being married to someone like Lorenzo Vecchiarelli. He is well known among very influential people, my kind and the mortals. I get a real chance on life as I wanted it, Blaine. For me and our daughter.”
“Sounds like a bad movie plot and even in those this crap always fails. That Lorenzo dude can’t be more powerful than your own father, who would do anything for you, who also is like a vampire king or some shit like that, yet even the all-knowing, almighty Caleb Vatore could never fix all that for you. Now you think some slick Tartosian what-was-his-face-again can? Puh-leease!”
“Because dad is a vampire, so his power to change things is limited to vampire business and some behind the scenes stuff with mortals. None of that helped me. But Lorenzo isn’t a vampire and he isn’t limited like that. He has just the right connections in the high ranks among the mortals. There are a lot of people in his pocket. He deals with the vampires in a one hand washes the other kinda way and that is all I will say about that. Beyond that, he is giving me a lot, among it the kind of life I wanted and my dreams back, and all I have to give him in return is a son, eventually, and be his arm candy. No problem there. Especially considering he is very nice to look at, and feels good too if you catch my drift. Not a chore by any stretch. Let’s just say he knows how to handle himself, dressed or otherwise.” Scarlett let out a tiny giggle that just was more fuel in Blaine’s fire, so he exploded angrily.
“You really are trying hard to verbally kick me in the balls, aren’t you? So, that dude REALLY is a mortal?! What the fuck?! Now I am not getting anything anymore at all! You have always told me that’s the reason we could not be together, for a decade I tried to convince you otherwise, but no. I was too mortal for you, you were too vampire and refused to fix that for the both of us, even though you could have – and don’t even start with vampire laws. Your father would have found a way! Round and round we go instead, as soon as we have an – admittedly pretty nasty fight – you turn and marry the first random fucking mortal available?! You have GOT to be joking!”
“Blaine, chill the fuck out! He is neither just some ‘random fucking mortal’ as you put it, nor the first one available. I have known him for years and knew he was quite interested in me, but I was so wrapped up in the train wreck that was you, I didn’t even give him the time of day. Once you served me off cold, I did, after a little nudging by my father and guess what? Turns out Lorenzo is very well worth every second of my time and then some. He is downright dreamy. You know what else he can do that you can’t? He knows how to avoid unwanted attention. Nobody fucks with him. No obnoxious fans and pesky paparazzi everywhere we go, poking their damn noses where they don’t belong. And if, Lorenzo has men who take care of that. Nobody ever has to be told twice. So he and I can be a couple, don’t have to hide, we can go out, without me having to look over my shoulder all the time. I got to have a real relationship for once with everything that involves. Dating, romance, plans. Yeah, you better believe that I accepted his proposal without thinking twice and had him put a ring on it fast, cos I wanted this badly. And knowing you, I am sure you are wondering how he compares to you in the sack and I have to tell you, I don’t feel like I traded down there either. Quite the opposite actually. Giving him that son he wants from me will be a fucking delight! I might give him a dozen kids just for the heck of it! One bun is in the oven already, gender unknown.”
“What?! You are pregnant?! Wow. What the fuck?! Scarlett, you need to get your head back on straight. I get it, things went sideways between us, you were angry, had every right to be. But that dude sounds dangerous! And this is not you, marrying some shady Mafioso and popping out a baby for him after barely walking away from the altar to marry him! This Stepford wife crap isn’t you! I can’t believe your dad sanctioned this shit. Is that Lorenzo a criminal? You really shouldn’t get tangled up in that.”
“I appreciate your concern, but it’s not needed. What is he gonna do to me? Kill me? Ha ha ha, please, I can’t be deader than dead. Besides, he loves me, and I him. Also, we have been married for five months now, maybe I got pregnant a lil fast, but a far cry from a shotgun style wedding I’d say. Aside from that, let’s just say he is very well connected, very influential and independently wealthy, and leave it at that. Just another thing he and I have in common, anything below the surface is shady, best not to dig too deep or it could be bad for your health. As for us, Blaine, yeah, things went sour, we each said terrible things to each other, some that really left marks, but we both knew this was going to happen sooner or later. We both made mistakes. I knew better than to think you and I could hide forever, but couldn’t help chase an unattainable dream with you. I am woke now. Why can’t I do the family thing and enjoy it too? You weren’t like this, whatever you are now, Mr. Mom, purring like a fat cat whenever Bristol just snips a finger. There is nothing left of the old Blaine. Maybe that’s what life does to people, maybe this is what others call maturing. You have Bristol, I have Lorenzo now, and we both get a chance for true happiness, if we play our cards right. I’d say it all worked out in the end. Not quite as we had hoped and imagined it as teens, but what did we know, so young and inexperienced. And just like you have always been so pissed at me for missing out on the pregnancy with Vivien, I missed out too, on having my baby’s father there. Not this time. I get to experience it all for once. With the father of my child by my side every step of the way, not my cousin or other family. That’s big to me, Blaine.”
“Right. Okay, fine. But I hate this tension between us. I miss you, Scarlett. I don’t know how, but I would like for us to at least be friends. Now that we both saw the light and are happy with our partners, we should be able to accomplish that without – you know – unnecessary risks for slip-ups.”
“Maybe eventually, Blaine. It’s all still too fresh. We can definitely be civil, but I am not ready to call it friendship yet. You know what they say about friends who turned into lovers, it didn’t work and then they are trying to be just friends again. More often than not that is dead on arrival. Maybe we can, maybe not. I think I need this to blow over a little more before I can truly see us even trying. Just so we are clear here, it’s not a no, just a not yet. Okay?”
Blaine nodded, what else could he do? Soon after she bid goodbye, and disappeared in a black cloud, which seemed like a marker to signal the end of a chapter to him, one he had a hard time letting go off as his mind drifted off to a chilly Autumn night at Everett Heights when he was just 15 years old.