The massive and elaborate front door swung open, the maid greeted us, then directed us through the large lobby with the marble floors into a large living space, as big as Blaine and my entire house, masterfully furnished with obviously exquisite pieces. I saw Ezio approvingly looking at various things. I bet he recognized the value and knew what that might have cost, as he had a love for expensive things and high quality as well. We attempted to sit on some elegant looking wooden chairs, with very thickly upholstered seats.
“Please do not sit on those, if you do not mind. They are antique, and decoration. Those over there are functional chairs.” Nicole was joining us and started out with her usual fake friendly commanding tone.
Ezio, Blaine and I exchanged confused looks, Blaine rolled his eyes. None of us had ever heard of functional vs. non-functional chairs, but rolled with it. Her house. We all went to sit in the assigned location. Nicole took a seat next to Ezio.
“It is so good of you all to come. I know we are all very busy. Some more than others.” the last part was said looking at Blaine and me. Addy was right, that girl was a piece of work. Addy had been invited too but could not get herself to go see Nicole. Probably for the better. Addy was such a nice person usually, who genuinely liked everybody, except Nicole.
“Oh Ezio, that suit is wonderful? Italian, correct. Oh, this material, like butter.” she gently stroked Ezio’s arm while smiling at him. Ezio just thanked her and ate the compliment up. Men.
“Umm, Nicole, why are we here?” Blaine asked.
“Oh, right. Thank you Blake. Is it ok if I call you Blake?” that witch knew full well my husband’s name was not Blake. Her ‘mistake’ was bitch-talk for ‘this is just to show you how unimportant you are to me, worm‘. Argh.
“No, but you can call me Blaine, since that is my name.” Blaine gave her a smirk, seemingly unphased by her.
“Oh, of course, silly me. Blaine, Viktoria, Ezio, I brought you here today so you can meet my beautiful and perfect children, your grandchildren.” Nicole gestured at Ezio and me.
“Great.” I said. What else could I say?
In that moment my cell phone beeped with a message. I looked at it briefly. Adrianna. “So???” her message read. I smiled, nudged Ezio next to me, he read it smiled and showed me his. He had one too. Throughout the evening we both would get a flood of Addy inquiries. Well, the suspense shall kill her, neither of us texted back.
“Fatima? FATIMA? FAAAATIMAAA?! Where is that useless girl?”
“Miss Vanderbilt?” the maid came.
“Where is that Fatima?”
“I think outside, Miss Vanderbilt, with your kids.”
“Outside? Argh, that silly girl. They get dirty outside I told her to keep them clean and tidy. Go get her, have her clean up the children so they are presentable and not an embarrassment and have her bring them. Go!”
“Right away, Miss Vanderbilt.” the maid hurried away.
“It is really tough finding decent help these days. That Fatima came highly recommended, but her English is awful. How can you not speak proper English these days. It is stressful.”
I rolled my eyes in my mind. Be strong, I reminded myself.
“May I offer you something to drink? Naturally that maid of mine should have offered, but as I said, help these days.”
She repeated her screeching for the poor maid, who in near lightning speed served us coffee and aperitifs. Ezio kept up most of the conversation, since she obviously had a sweet spot for him and he was used to dealing with arrogant and high and mighty people.
One of her Dalmatians came in, obviously unwell. Her dogs, all four of them were stunning.
“Aww, puppy, what’s wrong with you?” I cooed when the dog came to me, looking for help.
“She is pregnant, that is what’s wrong.” Nicole wrinkled her nose.
“Maybe she needs a vet. Something does not seem right, she looks uncomfortable.”
“Serves her right. That little bitch causes me so much trouble. That is the one that your dog ruined. And now she did it again, who knows what mutt got to her this time. All because of that incompetent dog ‘coach’ I have. Coach, ha. Fired is what he will be soon!”
“Dog coach?” I echoed.
“Yes, a coach. Like a fitness coach, but for dogs. Like when you do work outs. Of course you would not know too much about that, Viktoria, even though you may want to consider it, as a woman of your age. Just like Ezio does, obviously. And I must say, it does pay off. You do look better than most 20 year olds. Maybe you could show dear Viktoria here some proper techniques.”
Ouch! I got ready to return fire, but Blaine stopped me by putting his hand on mine, squeezed it and shook his head. I was fighting back tears. That was just mean. What a …
Eventually a knock on the door and a Middle Eastern and shy looking girl entered with a toddler on each hand. The babies were beautiful, although I could not see much of Marco in either of them.
Nicole received the children, gave poor Fatima an ear full and told her to hang back in a corner of the room.
We all interacted with those adorable little kids. There were a lot less toddler-y than most toddlers.
It did not take long until Nicole had enough of us peasants and began dropped obvious hints about how late it got etc. I took my chance. And regretted it.
“Maybe Blaine and I could watch the kids every once in a while, so they get to know their grandma and their little aunt. Gives you some free time too …” I smiled.
“Well, you see. I really do not think I would want my children exposed to all … that. They are, after all, Vanderbilts and that means something.”
“I am not sure I am following …” I was confused. Exposed to what? Fresh salty air in a rural environment?
“Oh, are you really going to make me say this out loud? Fine, I do not want them exposed to … poor people. It’s always so … dirty and cheap and … unelegant. Just no. And also vampires. You all know how Marco felt about it, the fact that I allowed you into my house is really as far as this can go. Really sorry. But you Ezio, you are of course always welcome and may pick them up if you like. If you manage to get rid of that son of yours, of course. No sense in running such a risk. No offense, but vampires are just the lowest of all lows. You all are unnatural and should not exist in the first place. Again, no harsh feelings, right?” she smiled that fake smile, right after that verbal roundhouse kick to all present.
Everybody stood appalled. Even Ezio. Soon after, we left. Ezio and I left, Blaine mentioned he needed to make a quick stop first.
Not long after he met up with us. Ezio was the one driving, had picked us up at home and was going to drop us off.
In the car, I sat in the passenger seat and Blaine was in the backseat of Ezio’s luxury ride, just one of many nice cars he owned, when I noticed something on Blaine’s side of the mouth. I turned around to wipe it and noticed it was blood.
“Blaine! What did you do?”
“Just had a heart to heart. I convinced her that vampires aren’t so bad at all. She may not agree now, but will soon.” he chuckled.
“BLAINE?! WHAT DID YOU DO?!”
“What do you think he did, Viktoria?” Ezio chimed in.
“No no, please tell me you did not?! Blaine Cameron how could you?!”
“I find it amusing…” Ezio said. I shot him one of those looks.
“Are you guys kidding me?!”
Simultaneous shrugging. Argh!
“Just one thing, buddy. I may or may not agree with your action just now, but do not ever even come near me with those fangs, deal?” Ezio addressed Blaine.
“You got it. And no worries. Last thing I would want is having to deal with your butt around my wife for all eternity, you are definitely safe from me.” Both men laughed, while I sat there, shocked. Unbelievable.