“Over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley.”Theodore Roethke
Del Sol Valley
Into the rhythmic beat of the music being played loudly over several speakers throughout the house, Colton Vatore suddenly heard Blaine Cameron’s melodic, deep and carrying speaking voice – the voice of a seasoned musician with lots of stage experience.
“Hey kid, you know the one about what the barkeeper said when a horse walked into his bar?” Blaine said casually after joining Colton in a quiet corner of the terrace.
“‘Why the long face’?” Colton guessed as he turned to face his best friend’s father.
“Nah, he said ‘Dafuq’s a horse doing in my bar!'”
Colton couldn’t help but snort a brief laugh.
“Is there a point to this, or just another random Blaineism?”
“Da hell’s a Blaineism?” wondered Blaine.
“Basically, almost anything you say.”
“Ah, interesting. Didn’t realize I was the walking, talking equivalent of a meme. Say, what the hell is my – ahem – how are we related again?”
“We’re not. I am just your son’s best friend.”
“Ah, good, finally someone I am not related to for a change. I’ve always sucked at figuring out family relationships, your last name throws me for a loop, since it’s my wifey’s maiden name and the daughter still uses it as her stage name, but I know the Vatore family tree has a lot of very distant branches, some of which fell off and grew into their own little trees and don’t have much to do with the original anymore, much like the Cameron tree which is more like weeds in a field than some neat tree after so many generations now. Seems like your family and mine have that in common, both good genes spread like wildfires at some point generations ago, and while a bunch of folks out there in the universe may have the same last name, nowadays relatedness is more diluted than the booze at a cheap bar. Anyway Colton, I have known you all your life, I know you are the quiet brooding type, you and Chase are practically twins, so what the hell is my son from another mother and father doing all alone out here when there is a killer party with lots of good music, lots of teen shit to do and even more unattended booze in there, with the other teens tirelessly trying to sneak said booze and you are out here, stargazing?”
“Booze? Are you trying to get me in trouble? Is this a trick question? If it is, I know nothing. I thought you were the cool dad, but then again, who isn’t compared to mine?”
“Quit being so twitchy, I know you are not a rat and are chronically innocent. Riordan is a good dad, but him being ye olde Caleb’s right hand means he has to keep his kids in line and hold you and your sister to higher standards. Not his fault. He never even wanted that job, Caleb determined that when Ri was still shitting into diapers, but we all heard that gripe of his millions of times. Besides, cool dad or not, I never said any of you would succeed with the booze theft but it’s highly amusing to watch. Can’t bullshit the bullshitter. I wrote the book on any trouble a teen can get into, so it takes a lot to sneak a fast one past me. That’s why I know how much give I can let each of your little shithead’s leashes have. Even though you look like you could use some stiff drink. Here, have a sippy-sip of this. It’ll put hair on your chest, kid.” with an undefinable smirk, Blaine handed Colton the glass of deep amber liquid he was holding.
“I already have hair on my chest, Blaine.” Colton said tentatively.
“Well, this will turn you into a bear then.” Blaine winked at him, chuckled.
Smirking, Colton looked at the glass offered to him, then grabbed it and took a quick sip, regretting it as he coughed, tears watering, while Blaine took the glass back from him, laughing, until Colton finally found his composure and voice again.
“What the heck is that?” he coughed, his voice sounding strangely hoarse.
“Fine, old bourbon. Our lovely fearless ruler Caleb drinks this with great enthusiasm and after having been part of his council for some long months now, I can see why he would need it. At some point he offered me some, and while I have never been one to turn down free booze, I had the same reaction you did a handful of times, amused him greatly too, until I actually started liking it myself, now the joke’s on him, as his wifey makes him share his stash with me whenever Letty and I go visit.” Blaine explained, then took a sip, which didn’t affect him at all.
“Whatever that is, it disinfects your insides for sure. I wonder how mortals do with that stuff. Probably drop dead after one sip.” Colton quipped.
“Nope. My father loves this shit. He is as mortal as they come and would drink it like a drain, were it not for my mother slapping it out of his hands when he tries.” Blaine grinned.
“Your family, seriously, something else.”
“No argument from me. Back to you, Cole. What’s got your panties on fire tonight?”
“Ha – I wish. They’re more iced over than on fire. Remember Nadia?” Colton said.
“The grape popsicle girlfriend of yours? Sure, hard to forget.” Blaine chuckled.
“Well, the popsicle broke up with me.” Colton said plainly, making Blaine’s smirk vanish instantly.
“Ah shit, that sucks. Sorry kid … why?” he wondered.
“Damned if I know.”
“Colton, I have been through enough break ups in my day to know women always have long laundry lists of shit they overlooked for a long time and are no longer willing to. On their way out they usually don’t hold back until you find yourself curled up in a corner somewhere sucking your thumb about what kinda douche you apparently are. So?”
“She did have that, but it was bullshit made up crap, all of it and I know it. She’s tired of me. And if you want to know why I think I got dumped without a warning, it’s probably because of what I am. I am not a regular man, I don’t feel or act like a regular man, because I am a vampire. Not much I can do about that. Apparently she is into pink skin, heartbeats and body heat now. Dumped me for some mortal douche. Maybe it makes more sense for a mortal to be with another mortal. I mean … right?”
“Bullshit, kid. No, it doesn’t make more sense or less, don’t let anyone ever tell you that. I used to be mortal for the majority of time I have been with Scarlett, one way or another, and now I am not. Still makes the same amount of sense, us being together, Letty just lost her chance to ever get rid of my ass when she accidentally turned me. Now I am stuck to her like a skin tag for all eternity. Anyway Colton, whatcha gonna do about it?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, you got exactly two choices now. Accept it, and move on, or try to fight for her, win her back. Which one?”
“I have one choice, Blaine. How would I accomplish winning her back when she said she doesn’t love me anymore? Am I supposed to talk or beat love back into her or something? Or do you happen to have one of those zappy sticks from Men in Black so I can make her forget she doesn’t want me anymore? Cos I sure as fuck don’t! She decided we’re done, she already went out to get herself a new man, and I am left to eat it. You want a reaction from me? I am doing all I can to not go to Nadia’s place find her lover, tell them what I think about their relationship while I rip their fucking throats out like she ripped out my heart, then I drink them dry and wait till my dad and Caleb sic Caelan on me to put me out of my misery for good. There’s your fucking reaction, Blaine! Happy?!” Colton’s eyes nearly had sparks coming from them, showing withheld anger simmering deep within him.
“Whoa – pump the hate-brakes you fuzzy lil animal. Your problem is that you are so much like your dad, maybe too much. Riordan is always so composed and calm, no feelings shown whatsoever. That’s cool when it’s about business, but if really big personal crap hits you right between the eyes, while ripping your heart out, the more normal reaction would be to break stuff, inanimate stuff. Scream your pain and anger out, while you decide how you want to try to proceed from there. Eating the big stuff into yourself will only backfire and end up consuming you, usually after you lost your shit badly, especially at your age. Your dad knows that’s true, cos his ass lost it big time after his first wife died. We all thought he was a goner and he really did go on some serious rampages. You are showing some familiar signs, my man.” Blaine said.
“So what now, Blaine? You want me to get arrested for public disturbance as I run screaming through downtown Del Sol Valley telling people what I really think about all this? I am sure dad would just love that. I’d be grounded till graduation – probably beyond, every time I come home to visit from college. And I don’t see how that would make any difference about how I feel.” Colton’s tone was desperate and dripping of the pain he had been hiding.
“Oh for heaven’s sake, Riordan Junior! You go straight from choir boy to manic vampiric serial killer to wet blanket. We need to get you back into equilibrium. Come with me, now.”
Blaine grabbed the 17 year old and ported away.
Del Sol Valley
Several Hours Later
Blaine reappeared in the mansion’s kitchen – alone – long after the guests had gone home and most of the clean-up had happened, where he found Scarlett and Chase.
“Well, looky there, I still do have a husband, imagine that. Better call my lover to not come over after all.” Scarlett said, visibly unamused about her husband’s sudden departure without notice.
“Funny girl. Let him come. I’ll make sure he loses interest in you for good. I have extremely convincing arguments.” Blaine smirked as he kissed her cheek.
“Where’s Cole, dad?” wondered Chase.
“Colton’s at home, in bed. Said he’ll call you tomorrow. Well, later today I guess.”
“Blaine … mind sharing where a grown man and a 17 year old boy disappear to during a party FOR the teens?
“Almost 18 though …” Chase interjected.
“Thank you Chase. I haven’t needed help counting since I was about 5. Well, Blaine?”
“We had a guy moment. He was broken up with. I helped him work through it. That’s all you need to know, Letty and he can update you himself Chase.”
“Dad – did you get Cole in trouble?”
“Me? I would never …”
“I am calling Riordan …” determined Scarlett.
“Nope. Not a good idea, baby. Colton may or may not be a teeny weeny little intoxicated. I managed to sneak him into his room and got him into bed past his parents without detection, so let’s not get him in trouble now. Or me. He just needs to sleep it off.”
“Blaine Cameron, you cannot get teens drunk. Seriously …!”
“Yeah dad, and thanks for taking me along, since Colton is only my best friend and you are only my dad, but no, I don’t have to get to have cool fun …”
“Chase! How about you go rest up a bit?”
“Mom .. I …”
“Good night Chase. Now!” Scarlett said, without ever taking her eyes off Blaine.
With a grunt, Chase obliged, while Scarlett shot Blaine a glare.
“Uh oh … I am in trouble, aren’t I? Do I need to put on boots to wade through all the shit I am in?”
“It’s up to your neck, boots won’t help ya. What were you thinking?”
“You wanna know what I was thinking? I was thinking of us being that age, Letty. I was thinking about how it hurt when you broke up with me, because of who and what you are and what I wasn’t then. I was thinking that I know exactly what the boy is going through now, wondering if things would be different if he were what he is not. So, I helped him work through it … and then we got a little drunk. He’s a vampire, Scarlett, not a mortal. We cannot hold them to mortal teen standards. A hurt and angry young vampire even younger than him can wreak serious havoc without much effort, and he was displaying some serious warning signs, babe, he started looking and sounding like his dad after Ana died, except Colton was so sheltered and never learned to deal with such feelings. Testosterone, lust for blood, anger and pain can be a recipe for disaster, and trust me, he was too calm for this to ever end well, so I chose the lesser of all evils. Got him to smash some already broken crap at a junkyard while screaming his anger and frustrations out into the night, then I got him a little shitfaced, … guarantee you, he won’t feel like going after his ex and her new dude when he wakes up, cos for the first few hours he’ll be too busy snuggling the toilet bowl. After that, he’ll be too thrilled his insides finally stay put again and will remember how to use his brain before acting. Cos Letty, he was gonna go do something stupid eventually had I not given him some other outlet, talking and bro hugs couldn’t make that go away. But he won’t now. Promise. Perspectives, Letty. Sometimes rules need to be bend till they almost break to avert disaster. We are just not dealing with mortal teenage boys here, in certain times that’s just more apparent than others, we cannot treat them like that and except it to work then.” Blaine’s voice was calm, clear and sincere.
Scarlett’s glare slowly turned into a smile, she she slowly shook her head.
“You and your unconventional, but always brilliant ways, my rebel. Come here you.”
They embraced and kissed, until Blaine whispered
“So I am not in trouble?”
“Maybe a little bit .. but baby, you reek of stale alcohol and … old rubber?”
“Yeah, that would be from the junkyard I took him to to work off his aggression and anger. Wanna help me wash it all off … in the shower … together?”
Giggling, Scarlett vanished into a black cloud.
“Ah, my girl wants to play … that’s a good sign!” snickered Blaine before he too left only a black cloud in his wake.