‘The true measure of intelligence is the ability to change’-Albert Einstein
Del Sol Valley Cameron Mansion Scarlett's P.O.V.
The golden leaf dancing in the Autumn breeze, the first flower blossoming after a long, hard winter, life could be beautiful. Magical. Special. Precious, yet never anything more than a collection of fleeting moments in time.
To any Vampire a mortal’s life was also but a long, fleeting moment in time. Sometimes that moment was over long before we were ready for the curtain call. I know what you are thinking, you’re a Vampire, Scarlett, born that way, so what would you know about time running out? Well, it may not run out for me the way it will for you, but I have lost and continue to lose loved ones. The curse of life eternal. The ever-repeating pain of loss. It never gets any easier. You just learn to get stronger. While Blaine was slightly older than me naturally, even back when I was still aging, unlike him I had been a Vampire since birth, he had only been one since his late 30s, so I had a healthy head start on him, and was already well acquainted with the price of it all. Our children had grown up so shielded and sheltered, especially the Vampire ones, their biggest problem with it all had been trying to fit into a predominately mortal world. Then we had taken in a broken young woman on top of it all, the mother of our youngest grandchild, I’d call her Gavin’s girlfriend or ex, but both really upset my son badly, so I am just gonna say Bianca. Which ultimately meant, I had to be the strong one in this family, the glue, keeping everyone else sane. Tough job.
Within mere weeks the Camerons lost several members near and dear to them, like a batch of misfortune, when it finally seemed to let up, every branch of the family had been touched, mourning loved ones.
Sadly, this had also become a lesson for all of us about time all too often runs out if you wait too long to right a wrong. Bianca’s father Ezio had agreed to come visit to meet his grandson Jake, and to make amends with his daughter. Blaine and I had offered to port both of them over to his home, but he wanted to do it the proper way, come to us, since he acknowledged he had made big mistakes and wanted to fix them. Sadly, that never came to be, he had run out of time. The day before his scheduled flight to come see us he suffered a fatal brain stroke at the breakfast table. Right in front of his wife Meaghan, 31-years-old when she was widowed, and their 10-year-old son Lorenzo. Yeah, talk about one traumatized child. I know Ezio was an acquired taste, but his poor innocent son. Yikes.
Then the calls just kept coming. It was a tremendous amount of heartbreak for the Cameron family. One by one. First Ezio, then Jenna, then Averie, both of them the wives of Blaine’s twin cousins and long-time friends of both of us, then Hailey’s parents passed within days of each other, followed by Maddie’s dad, then the twins Jamie and Jordan, then Maddie’s mom. And then Kai, which devastated Blaine completely. He fell down a rabbit hole of bad habits, excessive drinking, I was able to keep him from drugs, but he took up smoking again … oof!
One funeral after the next to the degree that every Cameron winced whenever a phone rang for weeks.
The two kids, well, grown children of ours, who still lived with us, 24-year-old Fallon, unlike her happily married twin sister Blythe still unattached and seemingly not in a hurry to change that, and 21-year-old Gavin, both took the loss hard. Both had been particularly close to Kai who had always been a frequent visitor at our house, for some time after the death of his first wife, he had even lived with us. Fallon had a secret crush on him ever since she was a teen. Needless to mention that girl was a mess. She went through catatonic stages and then straight into party girl ones, where she came home drunk every night. If she came home at all. Sure, she was a Vampire, but I am still her mother, so I was out there looking for my child several nights a week now, only to fight her until she fell apart crying in my arms, before I could drag her home. Envy me yet? No? Well, wait, I got more.
Gavin had looked up to Kai so much that he even considered going to law school for a while. Kai had been the Cameron fixer, as we called him, our attorney, getting and keeping the celebrities of the family out of legal trouble, just as he had ever since he first graduated law school until Liam took that over when he and Vivien FINALLY got their marriage sorted out a decade or so ago. Gavin admired Kai, idolized him, our youngest child had never been the most ambitious young man, and now with Kai gone, doubtful Gavin would bother following through with the law career dream. Especially considering 50% of his time was now spent fighting, bickering, arguing, call it whatever you like, with the mother of his son.
Blaine was not himself either, for the most part he was found staring into nothingness for hours on end or he would bury himself in his music, composing, mixing. It was a coping mechanism, not actual work and I knew it, so I left him be, only forcing him to rest and feed now and then. My heart ached for him, but I knew there was nothing I could do except give him time and be there for him when he needed me.
I was heartbroken for all the great people we lost too, but didn’t have the luxury of mourning, I had my hands and brain full with our infant grandson Jake. Gavin tried to be a good father, and Bianca a good mother, but both were mentally and emotionally stretched thin by all the deaths, and by trying to figure out how they felt about each other, the awkwardness between them was still tangible and the baby could feel it and was fussy around them. I had pleaded my lips raw with both of them, careful not to push them into a relationship they may not be ready for or even want but ensuring that they didn’t carelessly let the last spark fade away. Unfortunately, was my patience not bottomless and I certainly wasn’t a violent type but by now I was at the point where I just wanted to grab my son and the mother of his child and smack their heads together.
It probably wouldn’t change a thing, except amuse me for a minute. Truth be told, at this point, I could not tell you for sure whether or not I even wanted them back together. This constant bickering and fighting, despite apparently loving and pining for each other tasted too much like Liam and Vivien for the majority of their relationship. We are lucky two great, healthy and solid kids somehow sprung from that mess, still beyond me how that is even possible. What this family didn’t need was a Liam & Vivien revival starring Gavin and Bianca, and no telling if little Jake would come out of that drama as well as Nick and AG had. I had no intention on finding out, I’d sooner raise their son on my own and I wasn’t keen on playing mommy yet again. 9 times had been exactly 9 times more than I ever thought I would. Oh, I had never been the domestic type. Had you told 16-year-old me I’d give birth to 6 kids, raise 7 from infant and 2 extras out of necessity, foster kids in desperate need of a stable home, I’d have had you committed. Guess all it took for me was the right guy, and Blaine still was that guy for me.
Bianca was a sweet girl, but a hot mess and a near hopeless case. By now I had sic’d every stylish woman in my life at her to help her gain confidence and find her look so at least she’d stop constantly putting herself down for her appearance and lack of style. Sure, she looked better now, but nothing else changed. Everyone gave up after a while, Mila, Cassidy, Vivien, Fallon, Blythe, Caitlin, even Bianca’s sister Adrianna when she and Nick came visiting.
I was at my wit’s end with that girl. I cannot even count the times I had to comfort her crying ever since she moved in with us. Gavin had too. The 50% of their time together that they weren’t arguing was spent that way, him comforting her in some way shape or form, telling her she was perfect and beautiful just the way she was, but also that he wasn’t ready to be in a relationship with her. Yet. I was starting to wonder if he ever would be.
Bianca was prone to meltdowns, and every time was the same tune as the one before. She idolized her big sister, and ironically me as well, making me uncomfortable, knowing I was living under the same roof with some emotionally instable girl who was perpetually caught between admiration and jealousy. To her, Adrianna and I were made off the same wood, everything just fell into our laps at will, with us just effortlessly beautiful, perfect even, successful and whatever we touched turned to gold. Those of you following this story know none of that is true in my case and I doubt it would be for Addy.
Everything I have I obtained through a lot of sweat, tears and sacrifices. And I can only speak for myself, but I am far from perfect. Something tells me Adrianna was no different there.
And Gavin, well, Gavin. Gavin didn’t know what he wanted. He told me he loved Bianca, but didn’t like her sometimes. This went on for the majority of the time Bianca had come to live with us.
And when he finally – FINALLY – started to come around, asking me things about how to know if something you feel for someone is real love, and how to show a woman you really love her, what to say that didn’t sound like empty platitudes to her, how to start building a life and a little family together, our goddamn Twiddledee Bianca finds out about her ex-husband Carson marrying some skinny blonde, got so upset about it, I think it was the timing of only a few months after their divorce and the fact that she looked like the exact opposite of Bianca, that she caused a major scene in our kitchen about it, in a very Italian, animated and loud way, which turned Gavin off and made him jealous.
So, instead of him professing his never-ending love for her in some sappy, romantic way, they ended up fighting with each other over nonsense until Gavin told her to go – well – rhymes with duck herself, and they haven’t exchanged a single word since.
Shoot me now!
Yeah, a real clusterf… wait, I am not Blaine. A mess. A big one.
But we’re Camerons. We can always go bigger.
But we also rally. We prevail. We come out stronger than ever.
We will be fine. Eventually.
Always & Forever