“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”–Lao Tzu
University of Britchester On-Campus housing Cameron/Vatore/Hanson
With an annoyed groan, Colton pulled open the door, unhappy about the interruption of his and Chase’s practice session, while Chase continued without him.
They were in the middle of fine-tuning a few still slightly rough parts of new song for an upcoming event they had been booked for, where they would perform as the already very successful newcomer band “2Dark 2C”, which was a play on their secret vampirism as well as their first names.
Their debut single as a band, rather than Chase as the already established solo artist, had shot straight to the top of the charts, pure brilliance written and composed by Chase. The title was clever play on their secret of being vampires, while the lyrics could be taken as if it were just boys being players. That song title became their band motto as well “I Bite, You Bleed, You Fight, I Feed”.
Both boys hated being distracted by pesky real life whenever they were ‘in the zone’ with their music, normally Hailey would deal with interruptions so “her boys” could practice, but she had taken on a late shift at the café, no matter how much Chase tried, she insisted on paying her own way, sometimes even when they went out. Chase knew it was her way of proving she wasn’t with him for the money, and he wondered if she would finally quit that once they were married. He had already told his brother-in-law and DSV Cameron family attorney Liam not to even bother bringing up a pre-nup once the time came, knowing if anyone even breathed that option around Hailey, she’d want it.
“Yeah?!” Colton grumbled at the visitor opposite him.
“Hi Colton.” a familiar voice said, a slight frown on the face from the rough reception.
“Can I help you?! If this is some fangirl drive-by, keep trucking, chica, nobody here is that desperate and we’re busy.” he roared, increasingly annoyed.
“No no no, Colton .. it’s me …” the female said, which then triggered a shock-like recognition twitch in Colton.
“Oh hell no!” he roared, then slammed the door shut.
“Who was that?” wondered Chase, who had now stopped playing too.
“The fucking ghost of Christmas past, that’s who!” Colton growled, then stomped off “I need a break, am taking five!!” it echoed from the hallway, before his room door slammed shut.
Taken aback by Colton’s out of the ordinary reaction, Chase sat down his guitar, went to the door, opened it and peeked out, to find the visitor was still there.
“Hi Chase. It’s me, Nadia Osborne. Sorry to bother you guys. He really hates me, doesn’t he?” the female said, and by the voice Chase recognized her.
“Nadia? Wow. Ahem .. come on inside. Sorry, I didn’t recognize you. The hair is so different … I mean, looks cool, just so … well … different.”
She nodded and Chase sat with her in the kitchen, where she declined the offered coffee.
“No thanks. Not good for the … you know.” she said, pointing at her swollen stomach, where the first signs of a pregnancy were beginning to show slightly.
“Yeah, we heard. So it’s really true …”
“Yup. It’s all true. Everything everyone says about me is probably true, one way or another.”
“It’s not …ahem … Colton’s, right? The .. ahem … baby.” Chase asked carefully, feeling awkward.
Nadia shook her head.
“No, it’s not. Even though I wished it were more than anything. I was so stupid, Chase. I regret what I did and I miss him so much. Even if he doesn’t want me anymore, I wish I at least knew how to make Colton stop hating me so much. He has every right to, but I never meant to … for any of this. I just got scared … he never wanted to talk about your guys’ secret thing … you know .. and a mortal like me just has questions. So I started reading about vampires, you know, fiction and mythology, then asked him if any of that were true, but he got so very mad, thinking I was trying to make fun of him. So we fought … and never really made up. I was too stubborn to give in, so was he … I felt he was wrong and should apologize. On top of all that was the tension of living with my older sister, her husband and their toddler in a way too small home, you know our parents died when I was little and Chantal didn’t let me move out until I was 18. Add in the pressure of graduation and finals and all – so I went out to party to forget about everything, I felt so damn lonely and abandoned by Colton … well … one thing lead to another, I ended up making out with a mortal boy, and it was so different. Colton was my first boyfriend, my first kiss, first everything. So I didn’t really know how different being with a vampire was from being with someone like me. Warm skin, breath, heartbeat. You vampires are such old souls, even when young, it felt good being crazy and silly and dumb teens every once in a while. Colton’s always so serious, brooding, quiet, doesn’t laugh much. The other boy was so easy to talk to, funny, outgoing, spontaneous. He liked me too, made me feel seen and special, we went out a few times and … well … I thought that was what I really wanted. I broke up with Colton, to be with the other boy, and it was great while it lasted. When I told him I was pregnant though, things took a bad turn. You know, the usual story, we all heard it so many times before. Here I am now, on my own, in a tiny shoebox of an apartment, trying to make ends meet and hoping I will be a decent mom once the time comes, wondering if the daddy is gonna be involved at all, or will just send a monthly check which I have to accept since I just can’t afford being stubborn about it. Maybe Colton will feel better knowing I am royally screwed. You know, what goes around …”
“I am sure that’s not how he feels. You know he’s a good guy, with a good heart, vampire or not. He’s just bitter and upset still, but I am 100% sure he wouldn’t want you to go through all that. Wow. That really sucks. Look, Nadia, I don’t know what to tell you. If you ever need help, like money or something, please let me know. I know this is iffy for both of us, considering we both have some sort of awkward history too, but we used to be friends for too long to piss that away now just like that, and I hope we kinda still are. I get that Colton is still angry with you, I really hate being stuck in the middle here, and I rather not have to pick sides and all, but for full disclosure I should probably mention that Colton is seeing someone new …”
“Oh. Okay. I see. Okay. Thanks Chase. Oh – and … belated congrats. On your birthday and the engagement. Really cool and very romantic of you. Hailey’s a lucky girl for sure. Pleas tell her I said hi, whenever you see her.”
“You can tell her yourself, she should be home soon.” Chase smiled.
“She lives here? You two live together? On campus?” Nadia seemed surprised.
“Yeah. It’s the three of us here, Colton, Hailz and me. Since we’re engaged, nobody batted an eyelash at Hailey and me sharing a room, since this place is only a two bedroom house. I mean, we’re adults and all and are most likely gonna be married in a few years down the road anyway.”
“Right. Ahem, that girl Colton is seeing … is she like … me … or more like … you?”
“Yeah, she’s like me. Not you. One of us.”
“Oh. Okay. I see. Right. Well, please tell him I never meant to hurt him. I was just immature and stupid. Getting knocked up really made me see things a lot clearer now.”
“SHE’S STILL HERE?! Get the fuck out!” Colton came down the hallway like a freight train, causing Chase to jump up, positioning himself in his path, shielding Nadia.
“Hey, chill! I let her in.”
“Why? WHY THE FUCK, MAN?!”
“Why not? She just wanted to …” Chase started, but was interrupted by Colton yelling
“I DON’T CARE WHAT SHE WANTS! SHE NEEDS TO LEAVE! NOW! GET THAT WHORE ASS OUT OF HERE!”
“SERIOUSLY DUDE!? FOR THE LAST TIME CHILL THE FUCK OUT, NOT GONNA ASK AGAIN!!” Chase yelled back.
“Chase it’s okay. I am going. Thanks for listening and sorry for everything again.” Nadia said, her voice cracking with sadness.
Nadia scurried out, once the door clicked shut, Chase turned to his best friend to lay into him about his completely irate and immature behavior, when he halted.
Colton looked miserable. On the verge of falling to pieces, genuine pain written all over his face, and for a moment Chase imagined how he would feel if Hailey were to suddenly leave him and ended up pregnant by someone else. No, he didn’t even want to imagine. It hurt too much. And it would definitely explain out-of-character behavior. Poor Colton. Poor Nadia. One bad choice, born out of frustration over Colton shutting her out from his vampire side. Both made mistakes and it landed them here, both victim and villain at the same time. Yikes.
So, instead of a lecture, he gave his best friend a hug, wondering exactly what this meant for Colton’s relationship with the girl he had been dating for about two or three weeks now. An attractive young vampire by the name of Luna, who had been through the wringer herself after a terrible breakup with her mortal ex, which gave her and Colton some instant common ground on several levels.
Luna seemed okay, Chase didn’t have much of an opinion on her yet, even though Hailey and she didn’t seem to warm up to each other much, definitely not the kind of almost friendship Hailey and Nadia had.
And clearly, Colton was still not 100% over Nadia, making Chase wonder if he ever would be. Was it fair to Luna, to cast her unknowingly in the role of rebound girl? Did Colton even realize he was doing this? Probably not. So as he released his friend, who was fighting for his composure, he told him
“Not tonight, Hailey will be home any moment, and knowing you, you wouldn’t want to do all this with her around, but tomorrow when she left for class, you and I need to have a serious talk.”
Colton just nodded, and right in that moment the door was unlocked and Hailey entered.