Finn felt sweaty, nervous and tense, but forced a smile when he noticed Alexa smiling at him as he steered his car up the driveway of the immense mansion just outside the city center of Windenburg. He had thought the old Blackbourne Manor was impressive and huge, with the most elaborate garden, but it now seemed like a little starter home compared to this.
Finn was not new to wealth and impressive homes. He was part Auditore, a fact he liked to forget about, but they were legendary for building and owning the most impressive homes.
He could see parts of his father’s house on their way in, just across the water on the island, remembering the time spent there. That house looked nothing like it had when he was there, Roberto, his biological paternal grandfather, had found the home lacking and had an architect remodel and expand it from the ground up. I looked more like a castle now.
Somehow everything to do with anything ‘Auditore’ just always disgusted Finn, the obvious flaunting of the wealth and status, their arrogance and entitlement. There were of course a few exceptions to that rule. Adrianna for one, his maternal grandparents’ neighbors another. After all, those Auditores were part of the reason he had a great dad now. His one regret had always been that he was not Silas’ real son, although you would never know if you saw them interacting. They looked nothing alike. Much to his dismay, Finn showed the telltale Auditore features, except of his hair color, which was light blond, contrasting his soft brown eyes. When he was still a boy, he had begged his mother to let him dye his hair dark brown, like Silas’. Now he realized that would only have made him look more Italian, more Auditore.
He had not been interested in dating until now, at 17, and only because of one of those serendipitous meetings when he and Alexa literally ran into one another in the school hallway. She was one of those kids from wealthy families that clustered together. Technically Finn would qualify too, Silas was very wealthy too, and even though Silas would buy him anything he would ask for, Finn never cared much about material things. Family and having a great father was what mattered to him. Still, he and Alexa hit it off, it seemed like only the blink of an eye and suddenly they were boyfriend and girlfriend. Oddly enough, they seemed to share similar views and values. She was a genuinely nice girl, her brother, who was a young adult, and she went to public schools as their parents did not believe in entitled schools solely based on your bank account. Her father wanted his kids rooted and well aware of the fact that money was a blessing, not something to just throw around.
Alexa was adorably cute to Finn, most people saw her bright red hair expecting a fiery temper but would be sorely disappointed, she was soft spoken, very quiet and calm, smiled readily, which would ruffle her nose and make the freckles on it dance. Finn had never been too affected by pretty girls, but she had something about her he just could not get enough of. Her eyes were a deep bluish green and reminded him of the ocean.
“Earth to Finn. We are here.” Alexa smiled at him from the passenger seat.
“Right.” he jumped out of his car and ran around to the passenger side to open the door for his girlfriend.
Silas had taught him that. Always open the doors for the woman you love, always walk on the traffic side of the street shielding her, always defend her honor, always respect her and never go to bed angry, he had said.
They arrived at the front door which was answered immediately by a butler, then they were shown into a living room, where her parents, grandparents and brother were already waiting. This seemed odd to Finn, considering Alexa lived here, but he went along without questioning it.
Finn knew about all the horror stories of disapproving fathers. Liam had been a prime example, he just went through hell with his girlfriend. Finn hoped for the best, yet expected the worst.
Introductions were made. Finn prayed he would remember all the names, as her maternal grandparents were also present, even though they did not live here, while her paternal ones still owned the estate.
“Afternoon son, come on in. How do you take your coffee? Or do you prefer tea?” Alexa’s father addressed Finn.
“No, Sir, coffee is fine. Just some milk in it, please.”
“Miles.” Mr. nodded at the butler.
“Of course, Sir.”
The butler served the drinks then excused himself quietly.
Finn had never seen an actual butler, his grandparents’ neighbors had what they called a butler, but she was female and more a person for anything and everything than a true butler. Silas would love this. He was still old-fashioned through and through. A butler would be right up his alley. Finn wished Silas were here. He would know exactly how to act.
Small talk was exchanged. Overall it was pleasant and not scary at all.
“Want to go on a walk? Dad, mom, you don’t mind, do you?” Alexa asked.
“Not at all, sweetheart.”
She lead the way, Finn was hanging back, too impressed by the amount of wealth all around, when Alexa took him by the hand and pulled him with. Once out of view in the backyard – which would more appropriately be referred to as a small park – they strolled along when she suddenly stopped in front of him and asked
“So, what do you think?”
“I think it went well.” Finn replied.
“They love you! LOVE LOVE LOVE you!” Alexa beamed.
“I like them too. Very nice. Not … too complicated at all.”
She leaned forward and kissed him.
“Now I want to meet your parents!” Alexa said, her big eyes on him, looking for a reaction
“Name date and time. I’d be more than happy to flaunt you.” he smiled.
“Strange that you haven’t introduced me yet. I mean, we have been together for 5 months now. Almost could take offense. Or were your parents on a world cruise too, like mine? Oh you know what?! Even better idea! We’ll get them all together! My family and yours! All of them at once! Ooooh, that will be so great! I cannot wait!”
Here we go Finn thought. He had talked about his dad, who was really his step-dad and adoptive father, a lot. About his mother, his twin siblings, his maternal grandparents and Liam, whom she knew from school anyway. The only thing he had omitted was the fact that they all were vampires. All except for him. While it was not blatantly obvious, vampirism was still not widely accepted and there was a lot of judgement cast. That was particularly true among the old money crowds in Windenburg, Willow Creek and San Myshuno. Actually, even the new money crow in Newcrest wasn’t in favor. Lilith Vatore had lived in Newcrest for a while, many years ago and she was run out of town then.
“Why do you keep zoning out, Finn? Are you sick?” Alexa asked. Finn wondered if she may have been talking to him, if she had, he missed every single word of it.
“No, fine. Feeling great.” he smiled apologetic.
“Then why do your eyes keep glazing over all the time today. The worst is over. You met them, they love you, all smooth sailing from here. Or are you afraid your parents won’t like me?” she looked in doubt.
“Absolutely not! They will love you. 100%. There is just this thing .. a small detail really … umm …”
“Miss? Your grandfather is asking you and your company to attend dinner tonight. What shall I tell him?” the butler interrupted.
“Finn?” she looked at him, her eyes begging him to agree.
The butler bowed slightly and left.
“So, what were you going to say?”
“Oh nothing. Just that my dad is not really my dad, but you already know that.” Finn lied. He needed a good plan first. Not like this.
“Babygirl, I can behave! I am not a toddler. Gimme millions of breaks. Not more instructions, I can get through a night without embarrassing all of you. After I get some air first!” Blaine stormed out. I was going to go after, but Vivian begged for help in the kitchen.
Blaine rushed down the steps of the front door and out the gate and stopped, looking across the plaza to the Vatore’s home. Maybe Caleb was home and had some high percentage alcohol to help him get through the nightmare? Should he chance it? Everybody inside seemed to have lost their minds about this meeting the parents thing. They were two 17 year olds, for heaven’s sake. Blaine closed his eyes for a moment, enjoying the rays of the late afternoon sun. Vik was right, this sun resistance thing was a blessing. He loved their walks, just him and her, just like they had done when they themselves were teens. Times seemed simpler then …
“Excuse me Sir, is this street called Enchanted Boulevard?” an old man’s voice pulled Blaine from his pondering, as he opened his eyes he saw the man pointing at the home he had just left.
“Yup.” Blaine grinned unamused, making sure his fangs were visible so the pesky old man would move along.
“Interesting, bright sun, and you are still alive.” the old man analyzed Blaine from a safe distance, like you would something you had never seen before.
“Straight back at you, you old geezer.” Blaine snarled. Just fuck off already. I came out here for some peace, not an analysis of my existence he thought annoyed.
“Excuse me?” the old man seemed appalled.
“Dude! The fucking cemetery is over there! Assume that’s where you wanna be! Either above or below ground for all I care.” Blaine barked.
“Father, you were supposed to wait by the car. Oh hello? You must be Mr. Blackbourne! I am Alexa’s father.” a middle aged man held out his hand to Blaine. Oops.
Blaine shook the offered hand but explained who he was, while the old man shot angry stares at him, as now the rest of the family trickled in. Oh good grief how many of them are there? Blaine thought.
Once Blaine got them to the front door, Silas, Vivian and I ushered them into the living room, approving glances since Blackbourne Mansion was an old Victorian style home with lots of old treasures and the décor to match. Personally, I like the modern and sleek so it was mostly lost on me, but I could tell this was all exquisite and not cheap reproductions.
Suddenly the old man, Ellington Senior, pointed at Silas.
“That one is supposed to be the father? Ha! He is no more the father of that boy than I am!”
“Father!” Alexa’s father, another Mr. Ellington, exclaimed.
“It’s true, Sir, I am Finn’s adoptive father, but always loved him like my own son.” Silas replied composed, while Blaine’s, Vivian’s and even my blood was boiling. As much as I’d like to blame the temper issue of our kids on Blaine, I was guilty as well.
“So do we know the biological parents? Obviously not fangs, since the kid is normal.”
“Father! Contain yourself!” Mr. Ellington repeated himself, smiling apologetically at Silas.
“My lovely wife Vivian is indeed the mother, Finn resulted from a previous relationship with a mortal, which is why he is himself a mortal.” Silas explained calmly.
“Ah. Oh well. So who is the father then, or do we not know? That one looks like she got around a lot.” Vivian’s cheeks turned the same deep red as mine, while we shot daggers from our eyes at the old fool.
“It’s Lucca Auditore, Sir.” Finn replied, obviously uncomfortable, since he hated that truth.
“Oh, an Auditore then! Now that changes things. How come he did not claim him? Now that you say it, he looks like … like … son, what is the name of your banker again?”
“Ezio Auditore, father, and he is not my banker, the term is financial advisor.”
“All that modern gibberish. We give him our money and he makes more money. He’s a banker. And why is his secretary here?”
“There, that one.” the old man pointed at me.
“Sir, I am not his secretary. I work for him, and with him, true, but I am a …”
“Spare me. I have seen you there. You were fetching him papers and his drink. I do not care much for all the poofy modern job titles to make everybody feel important, you are a secretary and that’s that. So why are you here? Also related?”
“First of all, Sir, with all due respect, but I’ll have you know …” I started, barely hiding my anger when Blaine interrupted me.
“My wife and I are the proud grandparents of Finn’s, obviously on the maternal side. Right honey?” he smiled at me.
I merely managed to grunt a response. Secretary! I did ‘fetch’ Ezio a glass of Bourbon during that meeting, because he needed it or he would have lost his temper. He had about as much of a grand ol’ time with the old man as I did. Secretary! I was simmering when my eye caught Blaine, contently grinning at me, now winking.
“A bit young to be grandparents? I see the having the kids while at school age runs deep in this clan.” the old man spewed more of his poison.
“Oh, we are not really that young, my wife just has some kick-ass anti-wrinkle cream and I admit I have been sneaking some myself. So happy it shows.” Blaine retorted, rubbing his cheeks, earning a disapproving glance by the old man, suppressed giggles by Vivian, while the old man turned to Silas.
“What about you, young man, are you related to the Auditores as well?” I mentally cracked up at the ‘young man’ towards Silas, who in fact was older than all of the rest of us combined. Yeah, vampires are fun, aren’t we?
“No Sir. Not at all. I hail from a long, old line of Blackbournes originating in York, England.”
“So where did you all meet, if you do not mind me asking? I always wondered that. Does a vampire just roam the streets and just turns someone they deem suitable into another vampire or do you dig up mates at the cemetery?”
Nobody replied, as nobody had words, when the toddlers started screaming. Silas and Vivian jumped up and excused themselves.
“Toddlers? How in the world would folks who do not even have bodily functions muster procreation? Do you lay eggs or how am I to …”
“FATHER! Absolutely enough now!”
“Do not prohibit me the mouth like a child. I am still your father and deserve respect.”
I looked over to Finn, who was next to Alexa, both stiff as boards. Poor kids.
The next part of the evening passed somewhat civil, until I was on my way to carry a tray with finger food to nourish the mortals from the kitchen to the living room, followed by Vivian who had coffee and tea when I heard the old man
“Can someone get the secretary for me, I dropped my cookie, have her clean it right quick.” I halted and trembling I went straight back in the kitchen, Blaine got up and followed me, while Vivian called after me
“Relax mom, I got it.”
After putting the tray down, I ran out the side door, which was in the kitchen, into the romantic garden, cursing loudly, till Blaine caught up to me, embraced me and rocked me gently.
“I am going to kill him! One more time and I will peel the skin of his face and…”
“Shhhhh, babygirl, shhhhh. Think about Finn. We are doing this for him.”
“Oh I do not know how much more of this I can stand!” my face was flushed with anger.
“All of it. But now you see why I hate these kind of things so much. Just like weddings. It’s the pits unless you fit the common picture of ‘normal’, which I never have.”
“I have never been to a wedding where they invited one of the old men from he Muppet show! I am not sure I am happy with Finn potentially marrying into that family!”
“I am pretty sure he would not marry the grandfather, so I think we are good.” Blaine grinned.
“Can you imagine the wedding where I am introduced to everyone as ‘the secretary’ by that old bastard!? You know what all I do each day at work? Secretary, my ass! I have not been a secretary in decades. I work very hard, very long hours, to be in the upper management position I am in now, I replace Ezio at many meetings and have a lot of responsibility on my shoulders. Does that sound like a secretary to you?!”
“No, but I think next time we’ll take Ezio along, I bet he’d have a good time with this too. Thinking about calling him to tell him about the secretary thing.” Blaine chuckled.
I engulfed Blaine in a flood of curse words who just stood there smirking, until he had enough of the abuse and just kissed me till I quit resisting.
“Ready for more?” he asked.
“How can you think of sex right now?”
“I wasn’t, there is Vivian at the window gesturing for us to come back in, but I like where your mind is, babygirl, and am currently thinking we should go with your option.”
I turned around towards the house and sure enough, there was our daughter. Oops.
“Oh.” I blushed at Blaine’s crooked smirk.
We managed to get through the rest of the evening in a civil manner. Alexa’s parents were actually very nice, the grandmother barely spoke, her brother – yet another Mr. Ellington, was a sweetheart, just the grandfather was a handful. Guess there is one in each family.
Meanwhile in Windenburg
“Ben? Ben, where you at, baby?” Fey called from the front door.
“Living room! Hurry up, our show is about to start!” Ben called back. Fey entered the living room and saw him fishing for the remote.
“Hold up! Before you turn that TV on I got something to show to you…”