“Love is hard to find, hard to keep, and hard to forget.”― Alysha Speer
Windenburg Isle Cameron Estate
“Thanks for coming out again. I promise, that should be it for weddings for a while, at least from us.” Jamie told Blaine, a few days after his middle daughter Leonie’s wedding to Zeke. Earlier that same year his son married Blaine’s daughter Vivien, leaving only Jamie’s youngest, daughter Abigail, unwed.
“Yeah, same here. No more weddings from our side for a while, those get crazy expensive! I sure hope that daughter of mine either means it when she says she never wants to get married, or at least gives me enough time to refill the bank account before she changes her mind. But seriously, thanks for coming out all the time for us, Blaine. I know Windenburg and the Bay aren’t exactly around the corner from your home and you have a little one and a teen to juggle.” Jamie’s twin brother Jordan added, who had a wedding of his younger son Eric only some weeks before. His oldest son was meanwhile divorced again, his only daughter, Everleigh, had just moved into a brand-new home with her boyfriend.
“Ah, no worries. Our shithead teen gets handed off to the wife’s parents to juggle, so they don’t forget what an insufferable little jerk their genes helped create, and our Caitlin has been to so many weddings in her young years, I swear that kid thinks that’s just something you do all the time and is gonna go into serious withdrawals if those stop now, so keep them coming. We got one more looming at the horizon anyway, one I am really not looking forward to. Tried to get out of it, but no dice. Wifey already threatened me with severest punishment if I flake on her. So, my wifey-whipped rosy ass is going and doing as instructed.” Blaine chuckled.
“What’s her threat? Buy you a dog house to sleep in and a leash to go with it? WOOF!” laughed Jamie.
“Yeah – go WOOF yourself, James! Nah, something much worse: No nookie. I’d curl up in the begonias to sleep all day and all night long, don’t give a shit, but I need me my Scarlett and she knows it. So, she whistles, I jump, my testies always firmly attached to her wrist, if not in a jar on her nightstand, where they have been ever since I met her at 15.” Blaine smirked.
“Goes without saying. We’re all married here and facing the same setup. Weaker sex, my ass. Maybe if you’re single … So, another wedding huh? Just attending or wedding party member?” Jordan inquired from across, while his twin brother nodded in agreement.
“Dunno, my master hasn’t told me yet. Which is actually hilarious, considering she literally is officially called my master in fanged circles after turning me. Not like she wasn’t before …” Blaine grinned.
“Assume that brother-in-law of yours you ‘love‘ so much would be the blushing groom then?” Jamie probed further.
“Yup, the very same. Oh, man I luv me some fucking Caelan, and the love at first sight is even mutual, too. And I am the lesser weird one between the two of us, if that tells you anything. I already feel sorry for that poor bride. Yikes.” Blaine demonstratively shuddered.
“I get ya, man. Creepy as fuck that guy. Only met him a few times at your mansion and that was plenty for me.” Jordan agreed, frowning in solidarity with his cousin Blaine.
“Tell me about it! My only son is married to that weirdo’s niece, and apparently, that Caelan and my daughter-in-law Vivien are pretty tight. A few times when I have gone to see Liam that creep was roosting there as well. Gives me the weebee-jeebees. No offense, Blaine, but I really do not like my son near him. Liam seems to handle it fine, I think he even likes him, probably because Vivien tells him to.” Jamie snorted dismissively.
“None taken, couldn’t agree more, considering his niece is my daughter and I don’t even like her near him. I could never understand why Viv loves that creep so much. But he is the wifey’s brother and the daughter’s uncle, and both are quite attached, it is what it is, I won’t get rid of him anytime soon, so, daddy has to suck it up and take one for the team and smile nice at a wedding of that fanged moron and whatever poor girl he dragged off against her will, like a good Neanderthal would. Seriously, if those two make it past the first year of marriage you can shave my head, wax me up and use me for a surfboard. I am getting the hives just thinking about that creep going near that poor girl. BLECH!”
While the men were gossiping in the living room, their wives were in the kitchen doing the same.
Scarlett barely could hide the yawn, then smiled apologetically at Averie, who put a new cup of coffee before her.
“Sorry, it’s not you guys, but my days have been flowing into each other seamlessly of late. Even my kind occasionally runs out of gas. I swear, if I were to lay down now, I wouldn’t wake till summer’s end. Maybe not, but sure feels that way.
“You and me both, Scarlett. You too Jen?” Averie pointed to Jenna’s almost empty cup.
“A bucket, if you got it. I cannot believe by year’s end I will have a screaming baby in the house again. And not just that, it’s gonna be my grandson. Me, a grandmother. And not even some teen pregnancy, Eric is at the normal age to be a father, 23 years old, even though Eric and Evey are MY babies. How did the twins get old enough to have babies of their own overnight?! My oldest, Ethan, is 27, headed towards thirty years of age! Holy crap, when did we get old? Didn’t we just leave college ourselves? How the heck did we end up with such old kids all of a sudden?!” Jenna sighed.
Scarlett huffed a chuckle. “Oh gurl, college was a lifetime and a bunch of kids ago. At least the rest of your brood moved out. We’ll never get rid of what we got left now. And even if we do, they keep coming back, like Vivien, that ping pong kid. I don’t even remember how many times she moved out, not counting college, only to move back in. I am so glad she married Liam now, meaning she’ll have to stay with him. Just like recently, when our former foster Celeste suddenly was at our door, crying up a storm, I thought she left her husband and wants to move back in now too, but not quite, she just hates Willow Creek, wants to come back to Del Sol Valley. So – we did the typical wealthy parent thing, the stuff we SWORE we would NEVER do: we bought her a mansion next door. Well, still better than having her and her husband, plus unborn baby move in with us. Let’s hope she continues to love the house and stays there. And that Vivien stays with Liam. Forever.” Scarlett smiled.
“Oh, I wouldn’t be so sure. For a while it looked like Ethan was going to move back in after his divorce – OMG, I have a divorced kid too, man, I AM old – but then Eric moved Emily in with us after his impromptu proposal, and Ethan just couldn’t stand the happy couple all the time, so he stayed in his house and only comes to visit literally ALL THE TIME. Thinking having him live so close I can literally wave at him from the living room window was a mistake too. Evey is super-excited to have moved out into her own home with Justin, and I have only seen her a handful of times since, even though she doesn’t live that much farther than her brother. So, two gone, one will stay forever and ever and ever … mostly because Jordan and I work from home and are therefore build-in babysitters once the baby comes. OOF.” Jenna sighed.
“Well girls, count your blessings about having your kids wanting to stay. Jamie and I hated it when Liam moved out into the city. Felt so far away, an hour, two or more with traffic, seemed like the end of the world at the time. Poor kid drives out here so often to see us, I give him that, but as his mother I then worry about accidents and such, him working so much, he is exhausted. Now Leonie and Zeke moved all the way to Henford-on-Bagley! As if they just couldn’t get far enough away from us. I am getting weak in the knees just thinking about that! That is a long flight, plus the three hours to the airport from here, same after arrival there. One thing is for sure though, Abby is NEVER moving out. That is one clingy young lady.”
“You can have your pick of mine to fill the house with. No, nix that, I am keeping the sweet one, Cait is a breath of fresh air, you can have Blake and Chase. Blake’s a sweetheart for the most part, but let’s face it, unless we just move to some undisclosed location, that kid will live with us forever. He’ll marry Mila and they both will live with us, I know they both want kids, so those would live with us too then, “Little House on the Prairie” Del Sol Valley edition. No, thanks! If Vivien or Celeste try to move back in with us – again – you can have those two as well! And then there is my Chase, oh that boy. He’ll probably NEVER get married, let alone manage to have kids, as he would have to pry himself away from the computer for too long to even make some. So we’ll have one of those basement dwelling 40 year old nerds too. Oof. Agh, Chase-y, so sweet in person, but attracts trouble like a magnet. Not a single day passes without calls from school, other kids’ parents, neighbors, … so Blaine and I just let him sit in front of that computer all day long, at least that way he won’t get into trouble.”
“Well, at least you are here to visit and we get some girl time in. We used to do that a lot before all the kids. And you can always have more kids, Scarlett, I envy you for that. I love being a mother, if I could, I’d have at least two more. If it only were the having the kids though, but all the fallout, at least for us non-vampires. Jenna and I are showing our age, Scarlett still looks like twenty. At least Jen managed to get her figure back eventually, after child two I had mom hips and after Abby was born I just kept gaining and gaining, no matter what I did, and having a degree in culinary arts, a love for cooking, baking and gardening sure does not help the matter. Hairdye barely even covers my greys anymore, but you, you do not even have one single grey strand, let alone a wrinkle Scarlett, and the figure you had in college! I hate you so much, girl. And you too, Jen. I KNOW you dye your hair, but at least it sticks. Hate you both!” Averie playfully matched her face to her words, which only generated a chuckle from Jenna.
“Well, don’t be a hater, Avie, I offered you to work out with me a million times, we just got that new CrossFit set installed, but NOOOO – that’s too much work for Mrs. Mayor of Windenburg, can’t be bothered to move her chunky tush out to Brindleton Bay for me to chase you around on the equipment and follow up with a 5 mile run. Can’t have the cake, eat it and be skinny too, gurl, not at our ages, and I am even older than you. Besides, I only wanted two kids and ended up with three because my husband has that twins gene. Getting back into shape was rough, but at least I only had to do it twice. Keeping it that way though, man it’s work, luckily we are a very athletic family, it helps. Yeah, I defer to Scarlett for any additional kids. I am so out! Jordan and I both got fixed after the shock with the twins.” Jenna shrugged.
“No more kids! I don’t know how often this body can bounce back. I may be immortal, and we don’t generally gain weight, since we can’t eat, but we CAN mess up the figure by having kids. We’re not made of rubber. No more babies for Blaine and me. Final answer – and I know he feels the same after all we are going through with Chase. Besides, once upon a time I wanted ZERO kids, zilch, somehow though I had three and ended up raising five! I am so done with kids as done can get!” Scarlett groaned, to the amusement of Jenna and Averie.
“Well, with that hunky hubby of yours I probably would have been constantly pregnant, a new kid every year. Vaaa-Voom! I love my Jamie, but I am not the only one who gained weight, what once was firm-ish is now dad-bod and the between the sheets story has been reruns of the same-old ever since kid number 2. If I look at your husband, Scarlett, damn .. that Blaine … I wouldn’t kick him out of my bed should he ever accidently wander in there, in some parallel universe. Sorry, Scarlett, but dayum your hubby is delicious … in the fifty shades of grey kinda way. I bet he is all Christian Grey in the sack too! More machine than man. And probably a very generous lover too, judging by the way he swings those hips on stage and sticks that tongue out when singing sometimes. Hmm hmm!” Averie giggled at her naughty thoughts.
“Averie Cameron! Holy crap, if our husbands hear you – or even worse, one of the kids! Get a hold of yourself, woman, and take some medicine! Good grief. Even though … gotta say, you are not wrong and I second everything you said. If I only imagine Blaine without a shirt, that buttery-soft-yet-always-kinda-raspy voice of his, that smile and the fiendish ways – and the way he moves, hmm hmmm! My Jordan is trim and fit, but he’s always got the next personal best time on the brain. I swear to you girls, last time we got busy in the bedroom I caught him checking his fitness band, probably to see his heartrate or something he is currently tracking. I just about chased him off the cliff our house sits on for that!” Jenna chimed into the giggle.
“Oh, ladies, pick a number. What you are telling me here isn’t anything I haven’t heard in one way or another a million times before. Truth be told, what once seemed like a curse, is now a blessing, I am glad I am a vamp, cos I couldn’t afford to age with him for a husband. You would NOT believe the female fans. You both would go limp over the things I have seen those chicks do, even with me right the heck there, right by his side. Just last week we came back together to the hotel room from an afterparty following a few performances he did, and there were several twenty-somethings sprawled out naked on the bed, each of them looking like a Victoria’s Secret model! I just about lost my marbles, my composure and my mind. I invented a stack of new curse words that night.”
“Oh no! That is disgusting! How the hell did you get rid of them?” Jenna wondered.
“Blaine did, with ease, there is a reason he is such a bigmouth. His sarcastic-prick-ways and nonchalance can come in seriously handy. The way he talked to those chicas would get him ripped into pieces if he ever spoke that way to me, but it worked as intended, they were pissed and humiliated and scurried out quickly. That kind of thing is precisely why Everett and Maeve are the way they are too, they lived that life for decades before us. Vivien has the same problem with clingy, obnoxious men trying to force themselves on her, which is why she likes to tag along on her father’s tours. No man would even dream of trying anything with her with him around, and if one were every foolish enough, I’d pity them. Was that way LONG before he even got turned.”
“So, what about that creepy brother of yours. What’s going on there? I mean, we obviously know it’s some sort of emergency, but what happened?” Jenna asked.
“Girls, you know I cannot talk about that stuff. Vampire business. Same as it always has been.”
“Come on, throw us a bone here.”
“Fine. Let’s just say there will be another wedding I get to help plan and attend.”
“Awww, he is gonna marry the mother of his darling little girl. Such a sweet and pretty thing, like a painting.”
“You are just biased because she is a redhead like you.” Averie told Jenna.
“So what? Redheads are rare, hence always special. Even though I currently have a whole house full of them. Guess we like to stick to our own kind … ” Jenna laughed.
“Well, you’d be wrong anyway. He is not marrying Seraphina. Someone else. Someone who wasn’t really looking to get married so soon, which makes it hard. Someone more like you two, who is about to me more like me, which is another sore subject and complicates everything further. But that is all I can – and will – tell you, and even that needs to be kept under wraps, okay?” Scarlett told them.
“Does Blaine know?”
“Of course he knows.”
“Well, then Jamie and Jordan are gonna know. And Rett and Maeve. And us. Our hubbies tell us everything.” Averie shrugged.
“Oh, I don’t know about that, maybe that motormouth will tell Jamie and Jordan, I don’t know, and I don’t WANT to know, but one thing I AM sure of is that Blaine would not tell his mother anything vampire-related. That woman still got a bad hit out on me for what happened. You guys should see the way Maeve looks at me when we get together as a family. I am just glad she loves all the grandkids, vampire or mortal alike, and focuses her hatred on just me.”
“Tell me again how that happened. The turning of Blaine, I mean …” giggled Jenna.
“Oh Jen, you are so bad!” Averie chimed into the giggling.
“Ladies, hello, I am right here. Calm your titties, I never told you details and I am not gonna start now!”
“No, but Blaine told his cousins EVERY DIRTY LITTLE THING, and they told us. Juicy! Starting to think if Jordan dies before me, I am getting me a male vamp just to test those bedroom theories out, especially the biting while … ya know, in the middle of doing it. What does a vampire bite feel like anyway?” Jenna wondered.
“I once heard it’s like a snakebite. But no venom. You don’t have venom, right?” Averie asked.
“Keep going and you both will find out. You two are terrible! Lucky for you both I am not easily offended. But if you must know, yes, that is how it happened. And yes, full disclosure, Blaine is up for it, all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. Has always been that way, but after he got turned it got even more intense. Which is actually quite customary for vampires, male and female, but he is just extra-hungry. So, buyer beware and be realistic with your day-dreaming, girls, your average vampire doesn’t easily accept no for an answer, no matter what the question was, so you may end up with more than you can chew if you plan on finding out first hand about vampires, in the sack or otherwise. Handle with utmost care is all I will say. Not all are like me or Blaine – or my father. In fact, most aren’t, which is why what my father, Riordan and Caelan do is so important or we would probably ALL be vampires here by now – or dead.” Scarlett said calmly as if reciting the weather forecast.
Speechless, while digesting so much honesty about vampire and bedroom matters, which was rather unusual for Scarlett, who wasn’t shy or humble, but very private if it came to certain matters, Jenna and Averie were silent for a moment, when almost on cue the front door burst open, startling them all.
Next, they heard sobbing, then Averie’s youngest daughter, 21 year old Abigail appeared, her mother Averie jumped up and hurried to catch her daughter in her arms, while her father Jamie appeared in the hall, his twin brother Jordan and their cousin Blaine right behind him.
While Averie tried to console her daughter, there was loud banging on the door, Jordan stood closest and answered.
“Mr. Cameron, I HAVE TO speak to your daughter! It is urgent!”
“Right name, similar face, wrong twin. I am the uncle. But bad time, kid. Come back tomorrow. Maybe.” Jordan told him.
“No, Mr. Cameron, I HAVE TO see her tonight. It is very important. She has to understand how important this is to me.” the new arrival, Elliot Evans, Abby’s boyfriend, insisted, now addressing the right twin, Jamie.
“I HATE YOU! H-A-T-E YOU, you unromantic cold-as-fish made-of-wood career-obsessed PRICK!” yelled Abby from the kitchen, in between loud sobs, before she ran past them all up the stairs, followed closely by her mother.
“All righty then – on that classy note, please leave, Elliott. She is not going to talk to you, at least not in any coherent, productive manner. Some other day.” Jamie now took over.
“Mr. Cameron, I am leaving tomorrow at 06 hundred … it HAS to be tonight.” Elliott insisted.
“Bruh, which part of ‘no’ are you having trouble with? James and Abby both told you to get, so get! Need it from all of us here in interpretative dance? No talkie-talkie, not happening, over and out. Your cue to get the fuck on outta here before I help you hop back down that bunny trail you came from!” roared Blaine now in is usual, unmistakable ways. He had been this way long before he ever got vampire powers, and he had proven before then that he was not afraid to put his money where his mouth was, despite his wealthy upbringing.
“I am sorry, who are you again? I know you were at Leonie’s wedding, but there were so many new-to-me faces …” Elliott addressed Blaine irritated.
“Your conscience, that’s who, telling you to go while the going is still good. Getting cloudy here, better skedaddle before it starts raining kickass on you, princess.” Blaine growled.
“Elliott, Blaine is right, you are not going to see Abby tonight, she is clearly in no condition to have a valuable conversation with you, this will HAVE TO wait. Now, have a nice evening. Good night, son!” there was finality in Jamie’s words, and he sounded all like the Mayor of Windenburg now, which he also was, and less than Abby’s father.
“Fine. Abby, I love you, you know that. We HAVE to talk. Call me!!” Elliott called he into the void of the hallway, then turned and left, leaving behind the others to exchange confused glances.
“He’s in the military,” explained Jamie quietly “I guess he is being shipped out somewhere and had to pick date night to tell my daughter. We all know Abby always had a hard time with things not going as she thought they should … I am sure it will all blow over.”
-TO BE CONTINUED-