I climbed out of the coffin, Blaine was drowsily trying to hold on to me without even opening his eyes, but I wound myself out of his grip. Coffee! Now! And Viv search! Even now-er! No, the word on the street was correct, patience may be a virtue but certainly not mine. I quickly checked on Liam, who was hibernating in the third coffin.
So I went upstairs, used the restroom, then off into the kitchen, where I stopped by the door, startled I let out a pitiful meep. Someone was in our kitchen, pouring himself coffee at the coffeemaker, the broad back turned to the door. Oh, right, Silas. I had completely forgotten about him.
He heard me, turned around and looked me up and down. I did too and noticed I was not dressed for company.
“Oh!” I made, blushed and rushed out to put more clothing on. Yikes!
Afterwards I went back in the kitchen, purposely casual to overplay my embarrassment. And I was pissed at Silas because of this. Reasons unknown. I just was.
“Coffee?” he asked, smiling.
My pity had worn off and I just felt like slapping him again, like usually, but didn’t. Instead I forced a smile, semi-successful, and replied
Offering me MY coffee in MY kitchen. Argh that man. Vivian! Why that one!? Why not someone sweet, like Vitto. Oh right, Vitto. That one needed a verbal spanking too. And he would have one! Next time I saw him.
“So … Silas …” I started, then heard a ‘ding’ and my phone vibrated in my back pocket. Vivian? I reached back and read. No. Mel. Inviting us over. Did not feel like crowds much, but I wanted to see and talk to Mel so badly. I purposely had left her be, she was going through stuff herself, even though I had been exploding with need for girl time with her. I just texted my acceptance, without even talking to Blaine. He got a motorcycle. He tricked me into riding it. With a guitar. He was going. Because I said so.
“Right… what I was going to say was ..” I started again, but this time I was interrupted by a loud knock on the front door.
“What the fuck!? Not you, Silas, I’ll be right back.” I told him.
I opened the door. Vivian!
“There you are! Where the hell have you been?! What the hell Viv?! Do you not know …”
“Moooom.” she sounded whiney. Not like tough Viv.
I pulled her inside and straight back into the office with me, closing the door.
“Mommy, I am so sorry. I … I don’t know … things just went sideways. Silas and I … we ..”
“Yeah, spare me that. I got that already. Your HUSBAND is sitting in my kitchen.”
“Oh no, you know.”
“Oh yes. And your father does too! Brace yourself for that.”
“Mommy, what do I do?”
“I don’t know. About what?”
“About Silas …. about everything. I love him. So so so so much. But … I just don’t want to give up me, to be … his.”
And there it was. And I was stuck with it. What kind of advice would I give her now?
Yeah, pushover me. I went with the nice thing.
“Well, Vivian, a relationship is a compromise. He’ll give up some, you will, and that will make up the rest of your mutual time together, if you want this to last.”
“Why did you take daddy’s last name?”
“To get rid of Ezio’s.” I grinned.
“MOM! Fine, why did you take Ezio’s then?”
“He is old-fashioned. You know him. I just never thought about it. Never minded it.”
“Why not make him take yours.”
“I don’t know, I didn’t care. Viv, it is just a name. You are not giving up you. Just like dying your hair. It’s not like it’s no longer you because you are no longer just blonde but … ummm… well… all that.”
“It’s a shadow-root. Dark brown. Why does everybody get so hung up on that?!”
“Either way, if the name is important to him, and you love him, take his name. Or do not. But talk to him about it. You should have done that BEFORE the wedding.”
“Yeah .. I know… he just pushed my buttons and I … reacted.”
“Your daddy is an expert button pusher. Ask Ezio.”
“Did you ever regret marrying daddy? Or anything?”
“Nope. And let me tell you, girly, I used to be just like you. I was never going to get married, no kids .. but life happened. And I loved my husband … well .. husbands, truth be told, so I rolled with it.”
“So, do you think I should ‘roll with it’?”
“I think you should go to the kitchen, scrape up that heap of pitiful sadness that your husband is reduced to, who by the way your lovely mommy babysat after talking him off the ledge last night after YOU missed your brother’s birthday party …”
“OH SHIT! I am so sorry mom!”
“Tell Liam, not me.”
“I will… poor Liam-anator! I’ll take him to that horrible kids place he loves so much to make it up to him!”
“So, what are we going to do about the other problem? The one drinking my coffee in the kitchen?”
“I love him. I really do. Mom, can you go in with me?”
“Ummm..” I went through my brain to generate a bunch of logical excuses, but when I saw my little girl looking all helpless, maternal instincts took over and out came “sure.”
Off to the kitchen we went. Silas was sitting at the table, staring deeply into a cup of coffee, when we entered. When he looked up he almost jumped up, hope in his eyes. Vivian said nothing but ran into his arms. That was easy. I was about to leave them when I heard.
“Mom … how does Vivian Blackbourne sound?”
URGH. Why ME?! I glanced at her and her husband, who looked so happy now, kissing her forehead. OK, that was cute.
“Sounds lovely, baby.”
I was about to leave finally when the door was opened for me. Blaine came in, holding on to me. So I was still not leaving. Sigh.
“Ah, looky here, the lost daughter has returned. Explanation, now.”
Blaine gestured Viv and Silas to sit, sat down himself and pulled me into his lap, holding on to me. Nope, I was not gonna be leaving now. Darn it.
Oh yeah, Blaine let her have it. She was very tall normally, but after he was done with her, she could have passed under the table without ducking. Then he went on to Silas. Same thing. But at least both of them were holding hands during the Blaine unleash. And through it all I was on Blaine’s lap, gleefully sipping coffee.
When they left, they were googly eyed and looked happy.
“DAYUM, Mr. Cameron, what was that?!” I grinned at him. He shrugged, grinning back.
“She upset you, so did he. And me too. That is what happens when somebody messes with my babygirl.”
“So, what is my reward, huh?” he began nuzzling my neck.
“A wonderful evening with friends, over at the Auditore’s! Mel texted, and we are going.”
“Aww Vik…” his grin was gone. Replaced by a puppy dog look.
“Motorcycle!” I said firmly.
“I’ll get dressed.” he sounded defeated.
“That’s what I thought!” I grinned.