6-23) Circle of Life

Life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.
~Rossiter Worthington Raymond

It had been several months since Hailey had shown up at Blake’s door. They did follow the ‘take-it-slow’ rule for a while, but then both realized it was futile.
Both had learned that they belonged.
Both wanted it that way and learned to compromise to make it last this time.

By now it was official, for the past few months they had been a couple again.

Blake was house-sitting the Beach House with Hailey, while his grandparents, father and Grace were visiting Josh’s family in Sulani, they were due back the day after next, and it was just days before his 25th birthday. Hailey was 23 now.

Blake looked worried as Hailey returned from the bathroom again, pale, the fifth time just since the movie they wanted to watch together had started.

“Hailz, that’s it now. I am tired of listening to you puke your insides out. You have two choices: either I am taking you to the ER or we are going to the drugstore.”

“Drugstore?” Hailey looked confused.

“To buy something I think we may need to ‘test’ the reason for your puking, if you catch my drift.”

“Oh gawd, don’t even joke about that!”

Less than an hour later they had made the quick run to the local store, done the ground work and Hailey had gone off to the bathroom to check the results.

“So? What’s the verdict?” Blake asked from the door.

Her answer was a facial expression with every emotion known to man reflected in it.

“No way!” Blake said.

She nodded.

Blake burst into laughter, making Hailey frown more.

“Did you just loose your mind?” she asked.

“Lost that long ago. Come here, mama.” he stepped towards her and embraced her, still chuckling.

“You’re not mad?”

“Mad?” Blake raised on eyebrow.

“Upset. Disappointed. Anything negative? And like me, wondering how this could have happened?”

“Oh, I am more than clear on the ‘how’. We’ve been at it like rabbits, trying to make up for all the lost time, I suppose. No birth control in the world could have kept up with us of late. Nah, I am okay with it, just in awe about the responsibility that awaits. We both know I am not the greatest with thinking stuff through and such. But we’ll manage. Bigger dumbasses than me have made pretty okay dads.” Blake kissed her cheek.

“You would be a great dad. I always thought that. But we shouldn’t get too carried away just yet. You know what happened last time …”

“Shhh – none of that talk. That kid is a strong one and a fighter, like we are. That one is here to stay. We will be parents in .. however many months are left. Also, happy birthday to me.” Blake smirked.

“Oh shit. This mess right before your birthday. Sorry baby.”

“Quit apologizing and come sit before we both faint. Really, this is a cool gift, definitely unexpected and a surprise. This was in our future, just did not happen like we both would have planned it, but I think that’s kinda how our life and relationship goes. Ha, you know who is going to get a major kick out of this? My grandpa! He told me all along that we would end up with the Cameron curse. He’ll laugh his ass off! My dad, too!”

“My dad won’t find this so funny. Nor will my mom. You know how they are. All I am going to hear is about our rocky relationship and how a baby complicates things … especially for an unwed mother. Oh man, not looking forward to that lecture.”

“They’ll be okay. Not like they don’t know me. They have known me since you were still a toddler and your brother Lyle and I went to kindergarten together. And since not a lot of things ever go as we planned it, might as well. I was gonna do this in front of everybody at my birthday party, but  ….”

Blake lifted his index finger to signal Hailey to give him a moment

“Hailey Marie Loughlin … this is probably the lamest way and place to do this, but fuck it all. I love you, I have always loved you, you cured me of never wanting to settle down, you are going to be the mother of my child, making me the butt of many jokes by my grandfather, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

He had slid off the couch and was now kneeling before her, holding her hands before he continued, while Hailey was trying to not fall apart for anxiety, happy tears and smiles

“Hailey, will you make me complete and the happiest man on earth and beyond by becoming my wife? Preferably before you become the mother of my child so your father won’t kill me?” Blake flashed his signature smirk.

She burst into laughter as she nodded and he slid the ring on her finger, briefly kissing the digit.

“That was the weirdest proposal ever, but something I never thought I’d ever hear out of you. Yes, Blake, yes I will marry you. And I agree, preferably yesterday.” Hailey beamed.

“Not a bad idea, there’s already a party planned in a few days, just need to add your family and friends to the guest list.” Blake joked.

“You are seriously the worst! But this may well be the happiest day of my life! I think I have been wanting you to ask me that question on one knee since I was like … 15. I love you, Blake! But where in the world did the ring come from all of a sudden?”

“Well, there was this other chick I met in a strip club while on tour – OUCH! What? Can’t take a little joke?!” Blake protested grinning as Hailey slapped his arm, shaking her finger at him.

“THAT is not a joke. Not even funny!” she warned, trying to hide laughter. She knew he was being silly.

“Fine, truth is, I was gonna ask you anyway, even without a baby in our immediate future. At my birthday party, in front of all my family and Lyle. Grandpa went with me to pick it out a couple weeks ago. I kept carrying it around everywhere I went, to make sure you don’t accidentally find it. Pretty sly, huh?” Blake grinned.

“You! I do not even know what to say!”
She kissed him instead.

“Then quit your yapping and give me some sugar!” Blake teased as he pulled her backwards with him, making out.

Into their kissing and laughter, Blake’s phone rang, he looked at the Caller ID.

“Whaddaya know, it’s my dad. Good to know his dad-radar still works. Whatever, he may be the first to hear some news that’ll make him shit his breeches!”

He got up and answered, then said casually and grinning

“Hey dad, speaking of the devil. I was just about to call you too! I got something to tell you that will knock you out of your shoes. Grandpa doesn’t happen to be near you, right? He needs to hear this too! I’ll be able to hear him laugh all the way from Sulani – without a phone.”

While listening to his father, Blake’s smile vanished, his face hardened, and without another word he stared into the void.

As if in a trance he sat back on the couch, still speechless, just staring at the phone.

“Blake? Baby, what’s wrong? Blake?! You are scaring me!” Hailey tried but Blake was like paralyzed.

He kept shaking his head to himself, again and again.

She noticed the light on the phone, pulled it from his hand and saw the call was still active.

“Hello? Mr. Cameron? This is Hailey. What is going on?”

She listened to the reply and inhaled sharply, closing her eyes for a moment.

“Uh huh .. oh my God! Yes, yes, I understand. Of course. No, I will look after him. Yes, absolutely.”

“Oh, Mr. Cameron ….. my deepest and most sincere condolences for the loss of your parents.”

***

Blake’s 25th birthday party was of course cancelled. The day didn’t feel special to him and nobody felt like celebrating. It felt painful and dark. He never got to tell his grandpa about the child he and Hailey were expecting.
Blake felt numb and dizzy most of the time.

He remembered little about the funeral, and what he remembered, he wished he could forget.

Blake was in so much pain but could see the same pain in his father Ethan’s eyes. And his brother’s, aunt’s, uncle’s, cousins’.

He wanted to comfort his father, but couldn’t say a word. He couldn’t even move without falling apart every few steps.

Nobody in the family was all right. KC and Evey had touched so many lives and the entire family was so close. Everybody was in a state of shock. Life wouldn’t be the same for anyone, not for a while, if ever.

The reading of the will a few days later had the usual flat and business-like feel to it as most meetings involving an attorney do at first. Nick took it over, apparently having a tough time with it as well, but trying to be as disconnected as he could muster, for his own sake. He assembled the small group of named heirs at the Beach House rather than his offices.

Everleigh’s last will was read first, it was the very detailed and precise document you would expect from her. Nick was able to detach himself from the fact that these were the final words of a woman he truly loved and admired, his late mother-in-law.

KC’s was also written in the way you’d expect from him. Everyone tried to keep a straight face, Nick had a tough time reading through it, having to pause every so often, but by the middle, everyone in attendance was chuckling and crying at the same time until he got to the last page, which was almost entirely dedicated to Blake.

… and to my grandson Blake, the favorite I know I am not supposed to have, but what can you do, right? Blake, I often told you how much you reminded me of myself at your age. The rash decisions, not thinking your actions through, a tendency to clear out any given liquor cabinet if the occasion called for it, and sometimes such an occasion could have plainly been ‘it’s Monday’. But there had always been something else inside of you, in your actions, the genuine kindness from within, without trying. And then it occurred to me: you reminded me of Liam. So much Liam. You look nothing like him, for one he was about a foot taller than you, squirt, but then again, who isn’t, right. Sorry, kiddo, I had to. Love you.”

Nick’s voice faded, he inhaled deeply, then continued.

“You used to spout that bullshit about ‘I don’t date, never settle, no kids’. Well, I am writing this part of the will after you drove me nuts about the engagement ring for Hailey. Never in my life was I happier to see someone finalize a purchase. Damn kid! Make up your mind every once in a while, will ya?! Can you use the word ‘damn’ in a will? Well, if not, sue me. Ha ha.”

Nick interrupted reading for a moment to clear his throat, shoot a worried look at his wife, then continued reading KC’s final words.
 
“In case this is being read before that engagement plan was made public, sorry, and also: spoiler alert.
Serves you all right though, since if this is being read without y’all knowing, it means I don’t get to witness the wedding.
Darn it!

I tried to hold on for as long as I could, but guess the only one with the eternal life is that pale one, somewhere in the audience and the reason why the will is being read close to darkness. Yeah, Heath, I knew.
I knew it had come back, that the un-turning somehow wore off or whatever.
Evey didn’t tattle, but I knew. Not as sneaky as you thought, huh Chompy? Hoping that this time, the humans and the vamps manage to get along, seeing how I am not gonna be around to save your pale ass over and over. And yes, you saved my life too. Whoop-dee-doo, looks like nature was quicker now. If Evey survives me, you better hope that ghosts aren’t real, cos if they are, I will be back to haunt your undead ass for eternity if you go near her as anything beyond a friend! She is, was and will forever be MY Evey. I always needed her much more than you, oh pale one. Sorry to hear about Sam passing, but you need to go nibble on someone outside my family. For what it’s worth, I missed hanging out with you. If you weren’t trying to take my girl, you were pretty fun to be around.

Anyway, I knew Blake would marry Hailey and I know you two will have kids. Or at least one kid. And you will look to your dad so many times for advice, help, to regain some semblance of sanity especially if that kid takes after the Cameron side, and you will also think of me, think of all the tough love we gave you, where you thought your dad and I were assholes and then do the same to your son. Or daughter. Or both. And remember this – and it is important – do not, I repeat DO NOT, dare to name that kid after me. I will come back and haunt you, but not cutesy like in the movies with some dang bed sheet over my head. I will look scary as all get out and throw shit around when you and your girl wanna get it on and stuff. You won’t like it, kid.

It continued like that, a few more notes for others, and the really emotional parts that send everyone over the edge, including Nick who needed a few more brief breaks. When it was done, everyone was affected, but nobody knew whether to laugh or cry anymore. Most went with the latter.

The group split up to talk about what they just heard, about what to do with whatever they were assigned from the estate. Naturally Blake inherited the Beach House, since he was the only one without a home yet.

Ethan found Blake on the patio.

“How are you, kiddo?” he asked softly, his voice rough from earlier crying.
“Probably same as you, dad.” Blake’s response was equally raspy.

“I love you, Blake, just want you to know that. Always have, always will.”

“I know that and I always loved you too dad, even if I didn’t show it. I always knew you meant well. I was just so screwed up. Oh, and while grandpa already mentioned it, I asked Hailey to marry me. Sorry you found out this way. I was going to propose in front of all of you at my party, but then did it the night we found out I will be a dad. How’s that for fucked up proposal?”

“Not as fucked up as my beach vacation with my parents. Was supposed to be fun and relaxing. Not end like this.”

Ethan smiled a sad smile and hugged his oldest son. Having run a business now helped him keep his composure.

“I am proud of you, son. And now I owe a dead man 20 bucks. Your grandfather called it. He knew she was pregnant. He told me the day before he passed. Dammit dad!”

“I don’t even know how life is supposed to work without grandpa now.”

“Nobody knows, kid. We’re all wondering that. But it will continue and we all have to suck it up and do your grandma and grandpa proud. And congratulations, son. Making me a grandpa at only 47 years of age. But still the best news I heard in a long time. I assume it wasn’t quite planned that way?”

“Oh no! We did talk about it, just wanted to travel first, naturally get married, hence me buying the ring. Turns out this thing someone once dubbed the Cameron curse is real … and she doesn’t have a dad as awesome as I do … so we’ll have to forgo the over-planned wedding and go for speedy.”

“My son – who was never going to get married or have kids – and his shotgun wedding. Joking aside, you really made me proud, kid. That’s the Cameron spirit. Your grandfather is definitely rolling with laughter now, wherever he is. You have finally become a grounded young man, ready to take on responsibility. God knows you’ll need to be for what is forthcoming for you. Parenting is not easy, but know that I am always there for you.”

“I know, dad. I know. And hope you know that I will be taking you up on that a lot. I really need my dad now, and hope you are ready to be the Cameron patriarch.”

– to be continued –

***

In Memoriam of a once troubled boy without a future and the little girl who loved him all her life, Kieran “KC” (McCoy) Cameron and Everleigh Rose Cameron.

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3 Replies to “6-23) Circle of Life”

  1. Gahhhhh. Tons of real tears. So so sad. Maybe Ethan can step up but he has mighty big shoes to feel. Enjoyed the slide show.

    Liked by 1 person

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