DISCLAIMER: You may need tissues, some very sappy and sobby parts in this one.
Liam and Vivian walked out of the beachhouse together.
Both visited their aging parents as often as possible, usually with their spouses, sometimes with their children, who were all grown now, busy with their own lives. Leonie and Vitto had office jobs, their kids were in college or working, so sometimes the beachhouse would be filled with only four Camerons; father Blaine, mother Viktoria and their two adult children Vivian and Liam who were both parents of adult children of their own. Whenever it was just them, time seemed to revert and it was just like it was when they were all much younger again.
Most often the topics were a variation of always the same.
Either the grandchildren – even though Everett, more than any of the other grandkids, stopped by with frequency anyway – recent occurrences and eventually the past.
When old photographs were involved, like there had been today, the older generation usually was left with warm smiles of reminiscence, while the younger ones left with melancholic expressions on their faces, as it had been brought to their attention how much time had already progressed and that it was starting to run out.
“Hey Viv?” Liam said.
“In times like these I feel so very bad for ever bringing up that un-turning. If we were all still vampires …” he could not finish the sentence.
Vivian hugged her younger brother and held him, when she said
“No bro-bro. We would all have had to do it anyway. The virus, remember? You just gave us a headstart on it all. Don’t you worry. This has never even crossed anyone’s mind, least of all mom and dad’s.”
“But had we waited, they would have that much more time now …”
“Liam, enough! I love you, squirt, but any more of this and I will spank you! I am having a hard enough time keeping it together. Man, who knew this would be so hard, seeing your parents age. Never ever even occurred to me that they even would age. They always seemed the same, and then suddenly I turn around and they have grey in their hair, time after that they are almost white! They still sound like themselves, and certainly still act it, unless they get up and the body doesn’t want to follow as fast as they want to go, or dad can’t play his guitar because of arthritis. They still seem so fit when they are sitting down with us, drinking coffee, cracking jokes. So misleading! Confuses the heck outta me.”
“Viv, quit turning around then. Or turn the other way. Maybe that will reverse it.” Liam quipped.
At some point they hugged each other goodbye, walked to their cars and drove off in opposite directions, but both living nearby.
“I like having the kids and grandkids over, but do they all have to come so often and stay so long all the time?”
“Jeeze Blaine-y! Other grandparents complain they never get to see their families and here you go whining about seeing them too much. Just have to be different, huh?” she grinned at her husband while nudging him.
“I just want alone time with my babygirl…” he smirked that lopsided way she loved so much and winked at her.
“Good grief. I really always thought one day you would calm down and be like most men, contently sitting in your armchair watching sports, reading the paper and not that interested in .. THAT ..”
“Well, you were WRONG!” he kissed her, and she snuggled up to his shoulder, smiling.
That same evening in the living room together, he suddenly spoke into the chattering of the movie flickering on the TV.
“Penny for your thoughts, babygirl.”
“Oh, it’s nothing…” she deflected
“I can hear the wheels turning on overdrive – louder than the damn movie. Out with it or I will harass you in the worst way until you tell me.”
Both giggled, she planted a kiss on his cheek.
Silence fell for a moment, before she spoke.
“Blaine-y? I am worried about Everett. He works too much. He is so very young and if he keeps that up he may work himself into a hospital … and maybe even push away Katie.”
“Relax, babygirl. He and I had a talk about that. She is just as eager to build that business, they both don’t want kids yet and seem to be a helluvalot better at preventing it than we were. They’ll be together forever, just like you and I – and Liam and Leo.”
“They are in their early twenties, basically just met, Blaine-y … still so very young, no telling how serious they really are.”
“We were 6 and 7 when we met … and I knew right away that you were the only one for me, babygirl.”
“Mommy, what happened?! Is daddy … ok…?” Vivian and Liam stormed into the bedroom, both had received a brief and disturbingly incoherent call by their mother and both arrived at the beachhouse almost simultaneously soon after, then let themselves in with Vivian’s key, where they found their mother standing by the side of the bed holding their father’s pale hand, his eyes shut, his face oddly pale.
Their mother’s face was soaked with tears, she was still sobbing, her only reply a shake of her head, never taking her eyes off her husband. Instead she now collapsed atop Blaine.
Vivian fought with tears as she started dialing on her cell phone, while Liam could only stand by, stiffly, his eyes widened, whispering “Dad?” in a cracking voice.
All attempts of prying their mother away from their father were in vain, she would only get very upset, but not as bad as when the paramedics arrived. She fought them tooth and nail until they gave up and left her be, after only the routine checks, before the lead went to speak to Vivian and Liam in the hallway quietly pulling the the door to the bedroom shut behind him.
“I am sorry, but we could only confirm your father’s death. Your mother may be in a state of shock, we’ll give her some time, but if you could go talk to her, I’d like to administer some light sedative to calm her a little. She is not the youngest anymore and such aggravation is not good. Does your mother have any history of heart issues?”
“It’s gotten a bit weak over the years, but nothing chronic, no. But mom and dad … they are … just not good if separated. I don’t know if we can get her to give him up… I’ll try. You coming Liam?”
When they entered the bedroom they found their mother had stopped the uncontrollable sobbing and was instead laying next to her husband on the bed, likely asleep from all the excitement. She had managed to wrap her husband’s arm around herself and was holding on to him, a visual Vivian and Liam had seen so many times over their lives. Their parents looked merely asleep together.
Vivian traded glances with Liam. This wasn’t going to be easy.
“Shall we wake her or just have them try take daddy?” Vivian asked Liam.
“Nah, we have to wake her, or she’d be livid if she wakes to us trying to ‘steal’ dad literally from underneath her. She’d have our and the paramedics’ hides!” Liam replied.
“OK. Mom? Mommy, hey, mommy, it’s Vivian and Liam…. I know that you don’t want to…. mom? MOM! Oh my God, LIAM!” Vivian’s eyes had grown big as she stared at her brother fearfully.
The paramedics could only confirm her death, not even an hour after her husband’s.
They had the hardest time separating them, as rigor mortis had started to set in by the time the coroner arrived. As Vivian and Liam stood and watched them prying their parents apart, holding on to each other even in death, both lost it completely.
They buried them next to each other on a plot near relatives and friends lost long ago, and even near Ezio, who had passed years back. Blaine had been one of several people to hold a eulogy at Ezio’s funeral, instead of the somber notes read by other speakers, his had been ad hoc and filled with funny memories of a long, odd friendship, making people laugh at the moments pictured by Blaine’s words, even though after he was done Blaine had left the podium wiping tears, shed for a former foe whom time had turned into a dear friend sometime along the way.
The one who took the loss hardest and was nearly inconsolable was Everett. He had that special bond with his grandpa since they first met. He looked lost now, despite of a tight relationship with his parents, his grandfather had remained his go-to guy for his questions about life. Deep inside he had always hoped his grandparents would both live to see him marry Katie and hold their great-grandchild one day. Once he told his grandfather this and Blaine had told him, that his would be a wedding he’d gladly attend.
Now a selection of people sat in an attorney’s office for the reading of the last will. There were two, one written by Blaine and one by Viktoria, undoubtedly her idea, just in case she passed first, a notion which Blaine had rejected vehemently and stubbornly, but it would appear that like with many things over the years, she eventually had worn down his resistance and he succumbed to her wish after all.
“Thank you all for coming. Umm.. this is indeed a rare occurrence and I am afraid I have no instructions on which will to read first. Not even sure which one would take effect, but presume if we apply logic we would go with that of the person who passed last, which would be Mrs. Cameron.
He read it, it was a short document. Basically only making official and legal what everyone would have done anyway, or NOT done, her only two stipulations being that the beachhouse not be sold but remained with family and that she and her husband would be laid to rest next to one another. It ended with a brief address to every member of the family, telling them a very specific memory and how much she had loved each and every one of them. Everybody fought tears already, but most lost that fight when the attorney got to the part intended for Blaine.
After that the attorney asked if he was to read the second will, which was unanimously agreed to. He glanced at the document, wrinkled his forehead, shook his head and cleared his throat.
“Umm, this is truly most unusual, but I shall not judge, instead proceed. This reads:
Told ya so!
I love you – in life and beyond.
P.S. Kids, listen to your mother!
P.S.2: Kids, check if there is a way that I could be buried on top of your mother instead of next to her. If not, then definitely next to her but away from that Mafioso! Actually, beneath her would be good too!
Love all of you, more than I ever had the words to say. But your mother had plenty of words all her life, so whatever she said to you, goes for me too.
P.S.3: Rett, you will be fine. You are a smart kid and you got this. I am part of you, no need to want to be like me. You are version 3.0 anyway, the idiotic part has been bred out and lots of smarts been added over two generations. Since you were a tiny toddler you have done nothing but make your grandpa proud in all you do. Love ya, kiddo.’
When the attorney looked up, everybody was in tears while chuckling or downright laughing. He was unsure how to react so he gave them space and left the room, shaking his head.
Into the silence that fell soon after, Vivian asked “Am I the only one who is hearing dad play that dun-dun-duuuuuunn chord on his guitar?”
Laughter broke out again, while tissues were handed around, as everyone present needed them.
This truly will end an era of a long love, in life and beyond, between a man whom society had written off long ago, but not the girl he had loved all his life, who never stopped believing in him and loving him.