“A creative train of thought is set off by the unexpected, the unknown, the accidental, the disorderly, the absurd, the impossible.”– Asger Jorn
University of Britchester
On-Campus Home Cameron / Vatore / Hanson
Colton entered the on-campus home to find Chase and Hailey looking less than enthused.
“Do I wanna know what crawled up you guys’ asses? Are you both breaking up with me or what is with the doom and gloom here?” he wondered out aloud.
“Semester grades came in … Both Patches and I dropped to a mudderfugging C and are on probation for missing too many classes. That fucking tour did me in and I dragged Hailz down with me, since she always wants to help and won’t go to bed until we do. All my fault. Goddamn it!” said Chase with a doom-undertone, while pointing at some opened mail on the kitchen table, along with some still sealed envelopes.
“I can handle the grade, but the probation? Mom and dad will KILL me!” sing-sanged Hailey, frowning.
“Well, maybe we can get buried together, cos my parents will kill me too. I don’t know exactly how vampires can be murdered, but I am confident they will figure out the slowest and most painful way for me, laced with endless lectures and dad’s terrible dad jokes, maybe some of the grandparents’ ancient stories of how things used to be when they were young and wild, followed by grandpa Caleb’s endless history lectures that I have only heard five million times before for extra torture. Urgh!” agreed Chase.
“Jesus guys. You do remember that we are all 19 years old around here, not 9, right? Besides, we started out strong, this is only one bad semester of many still left to go, so how bad can it be? We knew we wouldn’t be able to pull off straight As with the band and all the performances, plus creating new material. It’s a fucking C, not an F, we’ll just sit in every class and study extra hard and done. And why would your parents kill you anyway, Chase? You already fulfilled your dad’s deepest wish by being his one son who attended college. There was never a word about grades. Just make sure you don’t drop any further and don’t miss any more classes and voila – no more probation. And what’s your problem Hailey? You two are gonna get married anyway and then you don’t need a job. Nobody will look at what grade you graduated with or if you ever got some hate mail from administration. You know our boy here is loaded, not like you need a high paying job to make a living, you can chill by the pool and be a trophy wife and you Chase make sweet music knowing your arm candy won’t ditch you at the first rough patch and can actually speak in coherent sentences cos her IQ is bigger than he bra size. All that already makes you more accomplished than 75 % of the entertainment crowd. So what’s the big deal here?”
“Are you literally KIDDING me right now?” Hailey snapped at Colton.
“I was gonna ask the same. Did the Winter storm blow your brain out, brother?” Chase laid into him.
“Not the storm, but something … or shall I say someone may have. Highly recommend that to you Chase, very nice stress reliever. Pucker up Hailey, time to practice the trophy wife tasks.” Colton wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.
“Excuse you!? You’ll pucker up and think trophy wife when I hit you square over the head with one of Chase’s soccer trophies!” Hailey drew her brows, folding her arms across her chest.
“Seriously bozo, knock that off. Last thing we need from you is bedroom advice or snarky remarks about what my girl should or shouldn’t do with me and to me. Besides, do you really think your grades are gonna be any better than ours?”
“Chill guys, where is your sense of humor, I was just teasing you both. No, I already know I sucked a fat one, I checked online, mine are same as yours, duh, since we all three attended the same tour and are together like 80% of every day anyway. Who cares? We’ll make up for it, or we won’t. I seriously am not gonna loose sleep over this nonsense.” Colton defended himself.
“Ahem – who cares, he asks? You kidding?! Your parents, for one? I have known Riordan and Layla all my life, they are not gonna jump for joy when they learn you are on probation, my friend. Your ears and butt are gonna be burning, just like ours will be. And until we graduate, you betcha all our parents will be up in our business, no matter if we are 19 or 90.”
“Well, I am an adult, so what are they gonna do? Ground me? Hardly. Kick me out at home? Cut me off? So what? I wanna do our band anyway, if they pull funds I ditch this shit and go straight to music full time. What’s this music degree gonna do for me anyway? You think I would sit in some grand orchestra sawing around on some violin for a living or some shit one day? Think again!”
“Wait a second, Colton, topic change and let’s backtrack here for a moment. Who would have given you that ‘relaxing treatment’ you recommended to Chase? I don’t remember you mentioning that you started seeing anyone, so who ‘blew your mind’ tonight then? You’re not doing the one night stand thing again, right? You swore after that one incident you would change your ways. Oh, gawd, please do not say Nadia! Urgh, if you say Nadia I will send you through the garbage disposal, Colton.” Hailey wondered.
“Nope, I have been a saint ever since you guys saved my ass, not one single one night fling and most definitely no Nadia. I am 100% over her. She can be all gay with her girlfriend and whodunnit baby. I got me something better. MUCH better.”
“Do I wanna know?” Chase grimaced.
“I am not gonna tell you anyway, whether you do or not, and you’d never guess. Just gonna give you these hints: her hair is bright, but a natural color, not pink or purple this time. And she is 100% GORGEOUS! And special, so very special. Oh man, she is something else. And best of all, you already know her, she knows us, so no weird moments trying to explain the vampire stuff at some point down the road, and no bad surprises or secret fangirl crap. She’s for real and wants me, not the fame and also isn’t trying to use me to get to you, Chase, or the rest of the prestigious DSV Cameron family. Nope, I’d say she’s the real deal for me.” smirked Colton, his eyes glazing over with fresh love.
“What? So, why the secrecy? I am your best friend. What have you to hide? Colton, if you are getting yourself into trouble again …”
“Chill man! I am not hiding anything, no trouble, it’s just not ready to go into print yet. Soon, I’ll promise. I am taking you guys’ advice, taking it slow, making sure it fits, feels right and it does. You’ll both know before anyone else will, when I am good and ready, trust me! I’ll be in the shower now. If you guys still have more interrogation questions, feel free to join me. I can always use extra hands to get that back scrubbed.”
Chase and Hailey exchanged glances until the door to the bathroom shut.
“He’s getting into trouble again, isn’t he?” suspected Hailey.
“I’d bet all I own on it. Just really hard to run interference without knowing what we are up against. And the wayward glazed look he got when he talked about his secret girl tells me talking him out of whatever he is getting himself into again won’t be easy. What do you think? Nadia again, even though he denies it? Maybe she dyed her hair something normal for a change. I have no clue what her natural color is anyway. She’s been a rainbow from day one.” Chase wondered.
“No, I don’t think so. He wouldn’t lie to us like that. No, it’s not Nadia, I believe him there. Besides, she seems pretty settled in her ways and cured of Colton now. And what did he say? Bright hair, but natural no fashion colors? So she must be a redhead or some platinum blonde. But why would Cole be so secretive, he usually trusts us, and overshares when he’s excited about something. Makes me suspicious. Maybe it’s a prof? Or a girl in a relationship? Maybe married? Yikes, I hope he’s not going the homewrecker route this time!” Hailey started guessing.
“Yeah, going down the list of girls with bright natural hair he and I both know, but I can’t see him dating any of those. Maybe a chick we met while we were touring? I honestly don’t remember half the people we were introduced to. Were there any bright hair colors among them?”
“I don’t recall anybody we met either was all such a blur, so hectic and all. But wait, didn’t he say that girl knows about you guys’ vampire thing? That seriously limits the list, doesn’t it?”
“It would, but I still got nothing. Doesn’t add up. We just got back from touring just over two weeks ago, so how in the world did he conjure up this person we know and who knows about us? Besides, he was flirting with any and every female on tour, so how big can that love really be?
“No kidding, and I am not 100% convinced flirting was all he ever did, no matter what he says. Chase, can vampires get STDs? We may want to strip down our Colton here to his birthday suit and soak him bleach and alcohol overnight just in case.”
“Eeew! Patches, WTH?!!”
“Oh, don’t gimme that. It’s a valid question. You guys are immune to most diseases, but we found out first hand last year that you are susceptible to colds and measles, even though it doesn’t knock you out as bad as it would me.”
“True. I know you are just joking, but in all seriousness now, I couldn’t even tell you if we vamps can catch venereal diseases or not, I really don’t know. I’m kinda curious now, but this is not exactly something I could Google. Just for shits and giggles, maybe I could see if I can casually tickle the answer out of my dad without him getting suspicious, I am sure he would know. I could sell it like something I heard on campus and that made me wonder about our kind versus mortals or something.”
“If you must. Just PLEASE make sure Blaine knows your question is 100% hypothetical and you are NOT worried about having caught something from ME! I don’t need THAT kinda rep with my future in-laws!” Hailey said.
“Oh baby, come on. They know you better than that. If anything, they’d think I was the whore out of the both of us, after all, I am a Cameron, he’d assume that I stuck my stuff where it don’t belong, so I would get the lecture of doom until proven innocent. Not you.”
“Ha – hate to burst that bubble, Gump, but NOBODY would think that about you. No matter how famous you become, you are so socially awkward, especially around girls you do not know, Cameron or not, you are not the manwhore type, even if you tried. They’d all be too busy laughing at you stumbling over your own words and feet.” Hailey smirked at Chase with a devious look on her face.
“WOW. Thanks. Glad my girl thinks I am all that.” Chase said, but couldn’t help chuckle as well.
The loud, energetic knock on the door startled both, another glance was exchanged then Chase went to answer, while Hailey followed him into the living room.
Chase pulled open the door, and a beautiful girl came into view.
“Hi Chase, hi Hailey. Is Colton back yet? I know I wasn’t supposed to come here, but I found his cell phone between the seats of my step-dad’s car, must have fallen out while we were … ah … talking earlier. Anyway, I didn’t know what to do, but figured he might need it …” she held up said smartphone, while smiling apologetically, handed it to Chase, waved at both and hurried away.
Neither Chase nor Hailey could react right away, only stare at the girl with the naturally bright red hair quickly hurrying down the steps to a car parked in a no parking zone. Leeora, whom both Chase and Colton had known all her life … and whom Hailey had met at parties. She was Chase’s cousin, she knew about Chase and Colton’s secret, since her father was Chase’s uncle Caelan and also a vampire, even though Leeora was not. Chase knew Leeora was a witch, but hadn’t explained that to Hailey yet. More weird stuff about his family. Yikes. How much more would Hailey be able to swallow before she’d run far away from him and his weirdness?
Hailey and Chase exchanged a knowing glance again, realizing this could be good for Colton, but could also have the potential to snowball into drama. Leeora’s dad wasn’t famous for his patience and diplomacy, was often unpredictable, so either he would be over the moon with the idea that his precious princess was dating a fine young vampire from a good background such as Colton, or he might loose his temper, because even though Leeora was a very mature 16 year old, she was still not 18 and Colton was 19 … a small gap that could be significant.
In that very moment Chase’s phone rang, it was his mother, so he picked up right away.
“Hey mom … uh huh. Uh huh. What? Heath did WHAT to granpa Rett!?! She what?! Grandma Maeve MADE grandpa Caleb do WHAT!? Mom, are you drunk? Or high?! Is this a prank? Did dad put you up to this? Fuck this, I am coming home right away. Oh wait, no I won’t because of the probation. Oh, nothing. Nah, it’s nothing. Okay. Yeah. Okay. Good luck with the two new additions to the circus. Yeah. So about a week till they recovered. Got it. Yeah, I’ll be home this coming weekend. Love you too.”
He disconnected the call and cursed colorfully.
“What now? Do I even wanna know?” Hailey looked at him, concerned.
“I am not sure I wanted to know any of this. Urgh. In a nutshell, from what I understand, apparently my family back home had a turning to vampire spree courtesy Heath. I am gonna have to go home next weekend and see what the hell they are all doing out there. I’d offer to take you, but I am not sure how safe that is at the moment. Sounded like Heath lost control, blacked out and accidentally turned my grandpa, then my grandma made my grandpa Caleb turn her or something. I think I best go check that out alone, besides Colton may need a babysitter especially on the weekends. I’ll only be gone one day max, not the entire weekend, and may even bring my sister Vivien back with me, if she’s not on some promo tour, in case uncle Caelan finds out about Colton and Leeora. Vivien is the only one who can keep him from losing his shit something fierce should he not be cool with it.”
“Wow. I’ll be sure to have plenty of garlic around, just in case. Hey, turn that frown upside down, Gump. Look at the bright side, at least you don’t have to worry about more funerals like for your great-aunt and uncle … and what’s one or two more vampires in your family at this point, am I right?”
“Yeah, you got a point. Why can’t my family just be normal? Seriously Patches, being me can be friggin’ exhausting.”
“Tell me about it. Being WITH you can be exhausting. Lucky for you I love you. We’ll get through this. Just another hiccup. Don’t worry, just go be with your family, stay the entire weekend, I’ll keep Colton out of trouble. Should your uncle Caelan show up I’ll call you right away and project my anger about the probation on him. That should keep him busy until you get here. You know how I get when I am REALLY frustrated.”
“Yeah, Caelan would be too confused and amused and melting from how adorable you are when you are trying to be angry, Patches. All three of us have to get through this week first though, cos of the probation, which I then will also have to tell my parents about while I am there. My grandparents are both out of commission now anyway, mom thinks they should be up and about by the weekend. Honestly, I have never actually been around anyone who got turned, back when that happened with my dad I was too little and they kept me away from it all until he was fully recovered, so I don’t know what to expect, and I really think you should skip this visit. I’ll take you along again next time. I don’t know how I’d do it all without you, babe.”
“Well, then make sure neither of us ever has to find out, Mr. Big Rock Star, no matter how famous you get, always keep your hands to yourself or on me.” Hailey giggled, winking at Chase.