Everett loudly explained to Liam the current doll play at the dollhouse they were playing at, the story made little sense and Liam was laughing hard, while Leonie was teaching Natalie the alphabet.
“I wanna play with daddy!” Natalie complained, pointing at Liam and Everett, which seemed more fun to her than learning letters.
“Natty, baby, don’t you want to learn how to read anymore?”
“No, I like it better when you and daddy read to me anyway. I want to play dollies!”
“Fine, princess, but give mommy a kiss first, okay?”
The toddler got up, threw her little arms around Leonie’s neck and planted a big, sloppy kiss on her cheek before running into her daddy’s open arms.
“All righty, my princess, what are we playing?”
“Daddy! We already are playing. Without her. All dollies are busy. She can have the dog!” Everett protested.
“I don’t want a doggie. I want to be the princess!” she crossed her little arms and pouted.
“That is not a princess, she is an evil monster…” Everett informed her.
The toddlers argued amongst themselves while Liam took the opportunity to slip away, hug his wife and kiss her.
“They are quite entertaining, when they are not making you tear out your hair by the fistfuls, huh?” he asked her, grinning and winking.
“Luckily we have a butler and a nanny, because my awesome husband understands all that.” Leonie smiled and kissed Liam’s cheek.
“We did fine without help, too.”
“We only had one of those then, though.” she reminded him.
“Do I hear a faint regret, Mrs. Cameron?” Liam teased grinning. He knew full well that Leonie loved her mother role and would never trade it for the world, no matter how many sleepless nights and testing toddler tantrums it would throw her way.
She took it all in stride, was such a calm, sweet, kind-hearted and patient person with her soft voice and always a smile. Like an angel on earth. Ironic, that she of all people would be the soulmate to a vampire. No matter how “good” a vampire may conduct themselves, they were and would always be dark and considered evil.
“No regret. On the contrary. I wanted to talk to you about something. Not sure how, really, and you may think I am silly …” Leonie smiled at him, sweetly and somehow apologetic making him just want to stroke her cheek.
“Just say it, baby. I would never think you were silly.” Liam wrapped his arms around her waist, she looked up at him, all serious now. He could still easily get lost in those beautiful bright turquoise eyes of hers, reflecting the gentleness and warmth he always felt when with her.
“I know the kiddos are lots of work, cost nerves, and all the arguments against, but I would like to have another baby. A planned one for once.” she stuttered while nervously playing with her hair.
“Okay.” he smiled at her.
“Just okay?” she looked up at him, eyes wide.
“Just okay.” he confirmed, still smiling.
“You are not going to argue with me? Not even gonna put up a fight?”
“Nope.” he kissed the tip of her nose.
“Wow. I admit I am shocked.” she went to sit down on the couch in the play corner, he followed her while saying
“I love you, I love our children and we can afford another one. Hell, we can afford a dozen kids.” he chuckled.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, slow your roll Mister! I am not a breeding mare!” both laughed.
“I never imagined myself to have any kids, let alone 2 – or 3 – but my entire life changed – for the better – when you came along. I am onboard with it. So, are we going to get to work right away then?” he winked and smirked, making her laugh.
“Oh goodness! First of all, how about we wait till the toddlers’ bedtime, hm?”
“If we must.”
“Did you not want to talk to your parents about this?”
“Why? I don’t need parental authorization to have more children, do I?” he smirked.
“It’s just … you are so close, and I kinda like that. You can tell them everything … unlike my folks.” she seemed saddened.
“Hey, baby. My parents have basically adopted you. Meaning, you have great parents too!” he brushed her cheek with his hand, while her hand automatically went to search for the necklace with the green-blue-greyish pearl, the wedding gift from Liam’s mother. Unfortunately she was wearing a different one today, even though Leonie wore it almost all the time as it made her feel like there was a mother for her, who would be there for her, through thick or thin, unlike her own mother, who would always do what Leonie’s father told her to. Leonie remembered often feeling lost and unsafe as a child and teen.
“So, shall we really do it?” she looked straight into Liam’s light green eyes with her big turquoise ones, searching for answers.
“Sure. The more, the merrier.” he gave her an encouraging smile and put his hand on her knee when they heard someone clear their throat.
“Excuse me, but it is time for lunch for the little ones. Will you be joining us?” she asked politely.
“No, my wife and I have some personal matters to tend to.” Liam told her, who started collecting the toddlers, who were more hungry than playful now and very willing to tag along.
Leonie smiled back at him and started towards their bedroom, he followed.
He closed and locked the door, then pulled her into an embrace kissing her cheek.
As they stood there, his arm around her waist, he kissed her longingly at first before he halted then became serious.
“Leonie, there is one thing I need to mention before we begin trying for a child. So far both children were born as mortals. There is a chance that the next one will be as well, but there is just as much a chance it will be born like me. Vampire births cannot be in a hospital and I doubt we would be able to find a doctor like yours here, who would agree to a birth in her practice so I could be there. Leaves us with two options. We just take a chance, but may end up with a homebirth, which would not just be scary for you, to be honest. Or I could turn you. As a vampire, births are supposedly much easier. We would need to decide that before we even try as there are rules against it otherwise. Breaking those rules can lead to serious problems. My parents’ neighbors could tell you all about that.”
“Oh wow. I had not even thought about all that.”
“I know. But we have to.” he replied gently.
“What do YOU want to do, Liam?”
“You cannot ask me that. It needs to be your choice. I’ll answer any question you may have to the best of my abilities, but you need to choose yourself.”
“Shouldn’t it be a mutual decision?”
“Leo, I know I do not have to tell you what I want. I should be painfully obvious.”
“Not really …”
He took his arm off her and took her hand into his instead before looking straight at her.
“The fact that you are a mortal has scared me ever since we first met and I knew you were the one I wanted even then. Ever since we first got together, all I could think about it that you will age and I will not. Meaning that one day … I don’t even want to think about that. But I know how much you love life and living as a mortal. You told me so a long time ago before we even started dating, that you love all those things that you would not be able to do as a vampire. When you first are turned, it will take many years of hard training until you could reach a rank where you can try to become sun-resistant. You will never eat again without getting violently ill. And all the other things … no, I could never ask you to give all that up for me.”
Leonie kept looking into his eyes, obviously affected by what he said, then looked down at the ground, nodding, more to herself than him. That was a lot of food for thought. And one more thing that she was certain of: the relationship with her family was already very complicated now, since they had such a hard time accepting Liam and his family, among the many reasons the vampire part topping the list. If she chose to be turned, it would definitely be over for good, irreparable. And what about Rett and Natty? They were still so little. And mortal. Wait till they were of age and turn them too? Or watch her own children die one day. Liam was right, that was a very tough decision.
“I am sorry, baby, I did not mean to ruin the night.” Liam told her apologetic.
“You didn’t. I am glad you brought all that up, because I think otherwise we would have started putting the carriage before the horse tonight. I thought planning a child would be much easier than finding out by accident, but it seems the other way around now. I never had the opportunity to dissect our decision with Everett or Natalie. And now … all that pressure.”
“Maybe you should talk to my mom. She once faced that same decision. As did Auditore’s wife, Melissa. I am sure she would talk to you about it, if you asked her, next time we visit.”
“Didn’t your mom already have your sister then? Vivian was born a vampire. Different kind of decision, I think. Maybe Mrs. Auditore would be helpful.”
So they postponed their family planning and instead went for a walk with the two little ones they already had and loved so much.
Hearing the toddlers squeal for joy made Liam and Leonie exchange knowing looks.
They knew they would have another child. Soon. The only question was how Leonie would decide her own fate.
For now, they would enjoy what little time they had before Liam would be of school age.
His birthday was approaching fast.
Way too fast.