Getting Out and About
It had been a week or two since his conversation with Rowan and Eiryk. Blaise had actually graduated and was currently working on some college applications. His teachers and advisor were giving him the "I told you so" muttering about having waited so long, but he had graduated something he never thought he'd do. That triumph was totally taking the sting out of their frustration.
He'd finished up work for the night, yeah it was a shit job but it kept a roof over his head and it had been the only thing he could get without a high school diploma, and was taking Rowan up on his not quite advice and looking up Alex. As he walked Blaise started thinking with his GED maybe now he could get a better gig. He also thought now had the time to see if there was some small bit of Alfie's holdings that hadn't been claimed by either Evenhet or Anantya that maybe he could use to boost his finances and pay for his education better than his rubbish job.
But he reached his destination and those thoughts stopped. Blaise had never met Alex, just knew that he was a young vampire. But he'd asked Eiryk and had happily been told how to find him. In just two meetings with Eiryk and Blaise was starting to wonder if Eiryk did everything happily. He'd been told to go by a shot on the strip called Roughing It. Blaise had decided against going when the store was open and had immediately rejected the idea of a yoga class. He was really hoping to catch Alex as he was wrapping up for the night. He didn't want to get in the way or intrude.
Right now though he was on the sidewalk looking in the window trying to decide if he should knock or wait or try again later. He was actually unaware that he looked a bit hulking and like he might be casing the place. Mostly because if he'd actually been casing the place he'd have been paying a lot more attention to appearances.
As he came down the stairs he noticed someone looking into the shop. Youngish guy, maybe Alex's age, shaggy blond hair; a little shorter than Alex but also a bit bulkier.
Eiryk and Rowan had both told him to expect a visitor maybe. He couldn't help but wonder if this was he. He cleared his throat, trying not to startle the man.
"Hey. Hi. You wouldn't happen to be Blaise, would you? I'm Alex. Eiryk's husband."
Catching himself he grinned a little and relaxed as he heard all the right names and got a look at the guy. Something about Alex made Blaise think Cecile would have swooned over him. His sister had had a type. To the eye Alex looked about his age and they both looked maybe a few years older than either Eiryk or Rowan. Looks could be so deceiving couldn't they?
"Yeah, that's right. Blaise, nice to meet you. Sorry I didn't mean to lurk or interrupt or anything."
Blaise had never had much to do with any same sex couple and frankly not much to do with LGBTQ individuals. But Eiryk and Rowan had been very confident and easy when mentioning their relationships and Alex called himself Eiryk's husband in such a natural and casual manner that it let him just accepted it. Oh, he might be a little curious but he didn't find it objectionable or offensive.
"I can come back if you're busy but Rowan and Eiryk thought I should look you up"
"Not interrupting, and I'm not busy at all. I usually just do inventory or paperwork after hours, and even that I'm pretty much caught up on."
He switched the lights in back of the store on so passers-by didn't think he was open, and locked the door behind Blaise when he entered. With only the back lights on, it was obvious from the street that the store wasn't open to the public at the moment.
Since Blaise seemed a little hesitant, Alex busied himself with a little paper-rustling so he didn't fix the guy with his oddly-colored stare and make him uncomfortable. Eiryk and Rowan had been sort of non-specific as to what Blaise wanted with him; they'd just mentioned he seemed young and like he might need someone his own age to hang out with. Aside from the fact that Alex had felt slightly miffed, as if being relegated to the kids' table at Thanksgiving or something, he'd agreed that it could be tough when you were just starting out, especially if you didn't have the big extended family Alex had had the advantage of right from the get-go.
"So how are you? Eiryk said you might swing by, but he didn't really tell me much else about you. Just that you and I might be operating on a similar timeline."
He opted for truth, figuring it might cut through the 'first meeting' awkwardness.
"Appreciate the time. Really. Feel free to tell me to bugger off if you want though."
Blaise was still pretty damned leery of overstaying any kind of welcome whether that be with a person or the clan. Hell he was still half convinced Pakpao would get annoyed with him too. Honestly thanks to bouncing around the foster system and his habit of running away on too of that Blaise sucked at making friends and trusting people. He was trying though.
It finally dawned on him what he'd actually seen in the store and out that together with the name of the shop. He wouldn't have thought there'd be much of a demand for outdoor gear in a city like this. However, he also figured Alex was probably pretty clever and knew his business considerably better than he did.
"Looks like you've got a good set up."
Not that he had a clue. Blaise had never been camping or the like. Never had the opportunity really. Maybe that was just one more thing he should think about trying.
It didn't bother him that Alex seemed to be taking care of some things. Honestly it was a weird awkward meeting and Blaise was wondering if he'd made a bad call and was taking advantage of Alex.
"Me? Fine.. fine..."
Out of habit Blaise started to prevaricate, side step and otherwise avoid any kind of actual answer. He started to get some odd staticy music from Alex, got annoyed with his own ability (which just increased the static) and somehow that turned into a ripping point, especially as Alex had been pretty direct in his question.
"Fuck it." He muttered to himself before taking a breath and going for broke. "Honestly I'm trying to figure out how big of a mess I am and I've never been sure how much the old ones remember about starting out."
He figured there was even money that Alex told him to take a long walk off a short pier and Blaise wouldn't blame him or fight him on it.
"Oh." Alex smiled in what he hoped was a reassuring manner. "Well I think their memories seem to be pretty accurate for the most part, although maybe some of the details have faded. I mean, there's old and there's old."
He shrugged. "You're probably not any bigger mess than any of us when we started out. Well, except Aishe. Don't talk to her if you want to commiserate about messy turnings. Hers was about as orchestrated and comfortable as it can get."
Alex grinned, leaving out the fact that his was also pretty orchestrated - if secretive. He'd still created a little bit of mess in the process, and it had taken a little while to get back on an even keel with his friends - particularly Rowan, who Alex suspected maybe still felt guilty for not being able to fight off sepsis for him.
"What about it makes you think you're a mess? You look pretty put together to me."
He eyed Blaise with an analyzing stare. He didn't seem messed up on the outside, but didn't they all have things going on in their heads? Vampire life. Or unlife. What can you do.
Blaise said with a shrug and a grin. He wasn't entirely sure about Alex's perspective on older memories. Alfred didn't seem to always be all there and he was sure Jarrod bent the truth more often than not. Still maybe it wasn't all old vampires who were messed up. Eiryk and Rowan seemed more sane than not.
That was an interesting choice of words. Blaise tried to imagine a comfortable turning, something planned and not coerced. It was a wild idea.
Finding a wall Blaise slouched comfortably against it attempting to look more casual about things than he felt. Honestly he hadn't even really told Pakpao the whole story, he was oddly self conscious about it. Hell he still wasn't sure exactly how much detail he wanted to go into.
"Well... probably because I've been at least questionable since I was a kid, didn't even finish high school. Alfred, my maker, he was alright with that. Hell it worked into his plans, he didn't usually walk the straight and narrow himself. We started out as familiars, my sister and I, he always said he'd turn me when the time came. Some of my questionable activities got me in a world of hurt, literally, and the time came. Alfie probably would have let me die but Cecile held him to his word."
Blaise paused and studied the ceiling for a second. Thinking about his twin still hurt. He'd have turned her, at least tried, whether she'd wanted him to or not and damned the consequences, but he hadn't been given the chance.
"Any way... next thing I know not only are we on the wrong side of the law we're on the wrong side of a couple of clans and pretty much everyone I know is dead and I'm trying to sort out how to get on with things."
He'd said it all pretty bluntly, well maybe he'd toned down some of it and left out some key details even if he'd give them if asked. Blaise didn't really want sympathy not exactly he was just trying to be honest and open. He wanted this to work even if he didn't feel like he could really belong given his background. He'd run into a few folks from a third clan... Tach something... and he was a little tempted to spend more time with them. In some ways, the less than honorable ones, it was comfortable and familiar. But Blaise really was trying to change.
"Just got my GED though that seems to be a step in the right direction."
He said with a weak self deprecating grin.
Blaise seemed inclined to keep talking, so Alex just stayed quiet after that, listening, letting him say what he wanted to say. The story that came out wasn't completely unfamiliar to Alex. He'd heard plenty of stories from other Evenhet about the way they were turned. It seemed like, as with humans, some people weren't meant to be parents.
When Blaise was finished, Alex smiled empathetically at him. "Honestly, I get it. I had a shitty deal with my own parents. They didn't like having a gay kid. After I left home it they didn't speak to me much. When They gave me a loan to start my business, I thought that meant we had some hope of becoming a family again but it turned out they'd given me the loan to make sure I wouldn't ever come home. They made it clear they didn't want me in their lives once I paid them back. They've never come to see me, and they won't allow me to access anything that was mine that I left behind. They didn't come see me in the hospital when I had cancer, and they didn't call."
He cleared his throat. "Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can't always pick your family, but you can pick your friends. I didn't actually have any before I came here. But I have both friends and family now. And I was a plenty big mess myself."
He went around the counter and hitched himself up to sit on it. "They'll be your friends if you let them. I mean they're not all perfect but I think they're pretty close."
Blaise still wasn't sure if that was a rude question or not but he was trying to get a hold of what was actually considered old and young and how people got moving. Maybe Alex was older than he thought, maybe he just had more experience than being more or less tied to two nutters. He couldn't help but be curious.
He wasn't fond of his own story but Alex's sounded less than ideal. Maybe becoming a vampire was some kind of fucked up natural selection. It did make him wonder even more about Pakpao who steadfastly refused to say anything about her turning or even how old she was.
"That's fucked up. I'm thinking my folks dying and the foster system screwing my sister and I over is looking pretty good now."
At least his parents had loved him and even after he'd had his twin. No matter what had happened Cecile had always known he loved her and he knew she loved him.
"Listen I know it is none of my business but.... Ummm why haven't you gotten your stuff?"
If nothing else Alfie had rather taught him that. You took what was yours and if Alex was hooked up with a viking and a pirate Blaise wondered how he hadn't gotten pretty much anything he wanted.
Cancer also sounded like a seriously messed up way to wind up a vampire. Well depending... he could have been turned right away or tried to fight. Blaise decided not to ask, Alex didn't seem terribly comfortable with it and it really didn't matter. Rowan's card game mess, Eiryk's raiding, his drug deal gone wrong Alex's cancer. Damned didn't anyone come at this normal? Maybe he should ask to meet Aishe just to get another side of the story.
"I don't know you look pretty together you've got a home and a store and employees and what sure looks like a plan."
Blaise more or less echoed Alex's words to him. He meant it too, to Blaise this looked like a good life. The kind of life he'd occasionally day dream about when hooked up with Alfie.
Rubbing the back of his neck and rather guiltily looking at the floor he decided he should be a bit up front with Alex. Although was relieved Alex didn't seem to know. Apparently the whole mess hadn't been widely circulated which showed Evenhet in an extremely generous light. Still Blaise felt guilty and kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.
"Yeah... I'm not sure about that. I started out by kidnapping Pakpao. That got my maker and his other offspring killed. I keep wondering how much the sins of the father matter."
"Five years or so," he said. "Give or take a few months. So I guess long enough to be used to it, but not long enough that I don't think about it, if that makes sense."
When Blaise asked about his things, he winced. "Well, I had some of my stuff from when I moved out to live on my own. I tried to keep in touch with my parents at first, and they sort of tried to keep in touch back, but it was uncomfortable for everyone. They didn't like me being gay, and I didn't know how to not be gay."
He shook his head, burying the bitter anger he still felt when he thought about it. "Eventually things got too strained between us to continue. I mean, we weren't that close but the occasional birthday or Christmas call turned into a text, and then nothing at all. They didn't like me having a boyfriend. They eventually disowned me, basically. Stopped talking, changed the locks on the house. So honestly if I wanted any of my old stuff I'd be breaking and entering. It doesn't matter. I have everything important here in Nachton."
He nodded when Blaise observed that it looked like he had things together. "I do now, yeah. It took a lot of hard work to get here, and that loan from my parents which I paid off a long time ago. I worked a lot of jobs to make this happen, and if we're being completely honest, I'd still be working my ass off if I weren't married to Eiryk. It took a while for me to be comfortable sharing funds, if you know what I mean. He's helped me a lot."
Alex had had to swallow his pride quite a lot for that to happen, but he couldn't regret it. Eiryk had given him a lot of freedom, out of nothing but love, and Alex was grateful. He listened as Blaise further explained, snorting when the man admitted to what he'd done.
"You kidnapped Pak and you're still alive? That's amazing." He didn't know Pak as well as his other friends, but he knew she was feisty as fuck. He couldn't imagine.
"I don't know about the sins of the father," Alex said thoughtfully, "but it seems to me that like parents of humans, you can't really be responsible for what they do. Especially when you've just been turned. I mean, it's a new world. Everything is fucked up. I can see how you could be easily influenced or taken advantage of. I mean, Rowan told you his story right? I can't imagine having been turned and having no memory of my life. He's lucky to have had Henri. Imagine what might have happened if his Creator wasn't as... honorable."
He grimaced, knowing that that sounded a lot like Blaise's Creator, but maybe his opinion would help Blaise accept that he didn't have to follow in that person's footsteps. It seemed like that was a big worry for him.
"That follows. Those first couple of years you really kind of think about the new hours and the diet. I remember thinking how weird it was to be the one doing the biting instead of getting bitten.â€
Honestly, Blaise preferred doing the biting. That probably had something to do with his familiar bond with Alfred though, it had been awkward to say the least. He'd felt totally dominated by Alfred. It might be part of the reason he'd started to rebel against Alfred once he'd been turned, once he'd had the freedom to really think about and disagree with Alfred and even act against his will. Funny old world he'd been able to hate the man as a familiar, or even hate some of his plans, just had to do whatever he was told. Granted Alfie had been relatively liberal but when he wanted something done he'd -had- to do it. His sister's bond had been very different, honestly Blaise wasn't sure if that had worked out for the better or not.
"Again you can tell me to back of if I get too nosey, but I've never met anyone my own age as it were. Did you start as a familiar or were you already hooked up with the clan or was your doctor just really into alternative treatments?â€
Let's face it, it was hard to relate to some of the stories he'd been told about being turned. They just happened so long ago, under circumstances that were extremely unlikely to be duplicated today. Blaise really was looking for something to relate to, not better or worse just relatable.
Once more he frowned at the idea that Alex's family had really screwed him over. He didn't get it. OK so he wasn't the most aware of this whole LGBTQ thing, in fact Rowan, Eiryk and Alex might officially be the first gay/non-straight guys (he hadn't shaken the story of the three some) he'd ever met. But even Blaise was quickly coming to the conclusion that they were just guys and there was really no reason to treat them any different. They all seemed pretty sane and productive and like they weren't hurting anyone so he was having trouble seeing how it was 'wrong'. Heck back in the day when he'd been rather cheerfully breaking the law he'd probably been a significantly worse person.
Alex seemed, if not cool with it, resigned to it... kind of accepting and Blaise certainly didn't know him well enough to so much or even offer support that might sound more like platitudes than anything so he didn't say much just nodded thoughtfully.
"I don't know how the powers that be would feel about it, but I used to be pretty good at B&E if you need.â€
Granted Blaise was a little bit terrified of being kicked out of Evenhet and so didn't want to just run off and commit a felony but he offered. He couldn't say why but he suspected that both Eiryk and Rowan had already offered as well, they both seemed like stand up guys, so he doubted Alex would take him up on it, but he did mean it. It was one of his few skills and it might not hurt to keep in some kind of practice if he were going to live for a few hundred years.
Alfie had had money coming in and going out like mad when he'd first been turned and had at least put a roof over his head but he hadn't been much on sharing. And now Blaise was mucking along solo and very glad he didn't have trivial expenses like food to worry about. That had to be nice, someone actually helping you out. He didn't get any weird sugar daddy/sugar baby kind of vibe from either Eiryk or Alex, but he hadn't seen them together so maybe he was wrong. The point was someone actually helping you out, being a partner had to be nice.
"Holy crap. He's like way older than you? Isn't that weird?â€
Had he said that? yeah he had. He really hadn't meant to it just hit him out of the blue and had somehow gotten around his mental filter. Blaise actually cringed at what had come out of his mouth.
"Or I could not have said that. Your call.â€
Somewhere along the line Blaise had gotten a bit nicer, well more considerate about people. Not that long ago he would have just let a blunt question like that, or any of his other questions tonight, just hang there maybe even insist on an answer but he was trying really hard not to offend anyone these days. He figured he'd done enough offending for a while.
That observation actually got Blaise to laugh. Apparently Pakpao got out and knew more people than he realized and apparently she had a similar reputation with all of them.
"Yeah. I got out alive. Hell I think she walked out in worse shape than I did and she'd been keeping half an eye on me so I guess it is pretty much a miracle.â€
He did like her and wished she'd open up a bit more but she'd made it pretty clear she cared even if she wasn't running his life. Blaise suspected he wouldn't like it if she tried to manage him like Alfie used to do.
Blaise shifted about a bit restlessly as he listened to Alex. It made sense and he appreciated the thought. Sure Blaise still thought he should have fought Alfred harder but, really, how much would he have been able to do? He nodded though, slowly. Being newly turned was odd. You were, at least in his case, an adult a freaking adult you were supposed to be able to manage your life but all of a sudden you were basically a kid again you had to put a ton of faith in your maker or do your best on the streets. He grimaced as he thought about what Rowan had said about his own experience.
"I'll admit I thought about that when he said something. Alfie might have been able to screw me over even worse but he wouldn't have been able to lord Cecelie over me either so maybe I could have just walked out. Probably just a crap shoot and I'll never know the answer.â€
And that was the truth wasn't it? He was never going to know the answer, none of them. He could have just walked out and hoped his twin would have been OK. She might have been, Alfie could be crazy but he wasn't stupid. He probably wouldn't have killed Cece, but he might have. She might have still wound up dead when Anantya finally caught up with Alfred or they might have turned her loose or she could be with him now. First time it was slowly starting to click with Blaise that maybe this was less about Alfie and his own personal culpability and more that he was dead lost without his sister. She'd actually been the leader in so many way and now... well he just didn't know what to do now.
He smiled at the memory. "Anyway we gave it another shot. I realized I had to be willing to bend a little if Eiryk was worth seeing, and I thought he was. So things got better, we compromised and did our best, and then one 'morning after' if you get my drift, I sat up in bed and opened the curtains to let the sun in. And thus, I learned about vampires."
He couldn't help laughing, though, deep guffaws at the memory which had been scary for them both at the time but was just funny now. "Poor Eiryk," he chuckled, "I don't think I've ever seen him so unhappy."
When his laughter calmed down he said, "As for how I got turned, I don't know. I mean, I didn't want to be a vampire at first. I get ideas in my head about how life is supposed to be sometimes, and I forget to go with the flow. I told Eiryk I wanted to live a natural life, but I hadn't counted on getting cancer. I asked a friend to turn me if it came to it, someone who wasn't really in my immediate circle of friends so they wouldn't have to argue about it or feel weird about it. And my doctor was Rowan, actually, so alternative doesn't even begin to cover it. He tried everything. I mean, I think he would have traded places with me if he could. He's pretty serious about his job."
Alex spread his hands. "Anyway, when it became clear that I was septic and losing the fight fast, my knight in shining armor grabbed me, turned me, and made me the well-adjusted bloodsucker I am today. I don't remember the first part to be honest. I was completely out of it. I don't even remember drinking from him. I just remember the hurting, and then waking up."
The offer to break into his parents' house was a surprise, but Alex took it in stride. "That's tempting. And thank you. There are a couple things I'd like, if I got the chance, but honestly it's been long enough now that I don't feel like I need them. I have my friends and my Clan and my store. I'm good."
He felt peaceful as he said it, and it might have been the first time he really felt that way about it. Alex was happy. He'd like the mementos of his grandmother if he ever had the opportunity, but that was all.
The next statement was blurted out and immediately almost retracted. Alex just laughed again and shook his head. Blaise wasn't a bad guy. A little socially awkward, but honestly who wasn't? "Yeah I guess there's an age gap. Maybe it'd be weird if we didn't hang out with Rowan and Cris all the time. Eh, maybe that should make it weirder. I don't know. Aishe's husband is super old, too. Like ancient Egypt old. I think that's what you get in Nachton, maybe. All of our Elders are here after all. But no, I don't know that I feel the age gap with Eiryk. Sometimes when he and Rowan get going during storytime, but otherwise he's pretty young at heart."
Alex just nodded when Blaise speculated about his own Creator. "There are plenty of us here who kind of go our own way, you know? Not everyone has a relationship with their Creator. Some of them have complicated relationships with their Creators. Some of them don't know their Creators. I've heard a lot of stories, mostly from my friends. Maybe that's one advantage of them all being so long in the tooth. They know how to answer pretty much every question I throw at them."
"You guys sound pretty brave and like you were way into each other to make that work."
Eiryk had to have worked his ass off fudging the truth while they were dating. Blaise didn't think he could be that creative. Fuck the whole thing was a snarl before they got anything going. Well they were married now and Alex said they'd made it work so it could be done.
Given Alex's laughter Blaise almost missed or at least misunderstood what he was saying. When it registered he flinched.
"Fuck me. You didn't. That had to be a bich and a half."
Blaise didn't have any first hand knowledge here. He'd been told to stay the hell out of the sun and he'd believed people. He was tempted to ask how badly they burned but he kept his trap shut on that point.
Alex told the story so easily, hell he seemed happy, it apparently had become a good memory for them. Wild.
The story of Alex's turning, cancer or no, was reassuring; at least that was the best word Blaise could come up with. It was both very similar to and very different from his own experience but it wound up in roughly the same place. It crossed his mind to be bitter or jealous but only for half a second. Instead Blaise found himself liking Alex, he found him relatable and easy to like. Sure Rowan and Eiryk were nice guys too but maybe a bit more energetic and outgoing than he was inclined to be. There was something about the age factor too. Blaise found the older vampires a little intimidating. So he was glad his rather personal question hadn't offended Alex.
"Yeah both he and Rowan seemed pretty happy. Definitely not stodgy. Alfie was not like that."
It was funny how many of the vampires in Evenhet (not that he'd met too many, just enough to form an opinion) seemed fresh and modern, even if a few of them still knew what a slide rule was.
And then he did a double take.
"Wait...like pyramids old? Is that even possible?"
That was the oldest he'd heard of any one being. Blaise really didn't believe it could happen. Honestly the thought kind of scared him and Blaise decided to give the man a wide berth.
Blaise appreciated what Alex was saying. He was probably right, maybe there was no one way to be a vampire. If he didn't bring up Alfred and didn't follow in his footsteps and asked for help here and there it would be ok.
"That's good to know. I think I need to start asking more questions."
He also took Alex's words to mean that both Rowan and Eiryk had meant their offers of help. Hell Alex was younger than he was and he was helping just by talking to him. Maybe Blaise could make something of himself yet. It was encouraging.
Alex had been so damned understanding and extremely open that Blaise decided to open up just a little. He'd not even really expressed this to Pakpao.
"Maybe if I'd asked more questions with Alfie things could have been different. Might not have lost Cecile. She was my sister, twin" He clarified with a shrug, "Alfie's familiar too. Hell she drug me into the whole vampire thing. She... ... died in the fall out. I've been missing her. I keep wondering what she'd think of the way Evenhet does things."
She'd tried for ages to get him to go back to school even when they'd both been Alfred's. Maybe that was what was really triggering the memories so hard. She'd be giving home -such- an "I told you so"..
"Yeah, it was rough at first. I don't know if Eiryk is the one to go to for 'dating while vampire' advice, but he did okay. Rowan might be a better bet. Although I guess maybe it depends on your abilities, too. Rue has some advantages there."
As the conversation turned and Blaise asked about Kem's age, Alex had to shrug. "Honestly I'm not all that good at history. I don't know how old that is, exactly. You'd have to ask Aishe. She went to college for that kind of thing. I barely got my Associate's Degree in Business."
School had definitely not been Alex's forte. He was happier with his multiple certifications than his degree, really. They implied a level of hands-on that he liked.
Staying on topic though, he said, "You'll meet her husband sooner or later though, since he's one of the Elders too. Kem. He's cool. I mean, they all are."
He'd made it a point not to mention the name of his own Creator; Blaise was nervous enough. Alex wasn't sure if he'd react oddly knowing that the Evenhet Elder had turned Alex himself.
He remained quiet while Blaise talked about his twin, how she'd been a familiar. When he stopped talking Alex shook his head. "I'm really sorry you lost her. You'd think we could keep our families around forever, you know? Being basically immortal and all. That just isn't how it goes, I guess. I mean we can't all turn everyone we like. It sounds like your sister had a lot left to live though."
Blaise said with a fairly wicked grin. Sure he'd thought about it, the implications of being a vampire and trying to form a long term relationship for just a hot second. Fortunately, he remembered that he'd -never- remotely considered a long term relationship and some of his old cockyness returned even if it was just for a moment or two. If nothing else he had ages to consider such a thing and if he was really going to do this med school thing well he wasn't going to have time for a relationship.
"Besides I might be hitting Rowan up for help with school I don't think he needs to deal with my relationship crisises. I doubt my own dad would want to deal with that non-sense."
Not that he'd ever know one way or another. Certainly Alfie and Jarrod would have told him to fuck off but Blaise couldn't guess how his actual father would have responded. That, however, didn't bother him. He'd come to terms with the death of his folks a long time ago.
He'd met Aishe. Just the once, but she'd be very nice and helpful and he'd liked her. Apparently she was scarier and more together than Alex though and hooked up with someone even older and an elder to boot. Who knew cute could be so intimidating? Blaise also took a second to wonder about all these May December romances. Or would it be BCE CE romances?
Although idea of meeting anyone that old, let alone with the title 'Elder' tacked on made Blaise's palms sweat at least a little bit, he wasn't entirely put off. Maybe he was still a little ashamed but he'd half like a chance to proove he wasn't a total fuck up.
"I wouldn't mind running into him again."
Most of the night he'd nabbed Pakpao was pretty well burned into his memory. He remembered Kem being there.
"If nothing else I've heard Pakpao mention him. She seems to like him."
Of course there was a chance she liked him as well so that wasn't for sure a ringing endorsement. Blaise chose not to dwell on that.
He nodded and smiled a bit sadly.
"She was a decent kid, the good twin. Smarter than me, kept her nose clean, hell she's the one that had the plans and the future."
Even Alfred had thought so. But his maker had been a ruthless and possibly evil son of a bitch. Alfred had killed Cecile to punish him. There was no doubt about it, but Blaise wasn't going to lay that on Alex. He should probably find someone to lay it on though.
"Well no, not everyone."
Blaise agreed albeit a little reluctantly. He still couldn't help thinking she should have had half a chance thought. Maybe he was being petty or immature or maybe he just wasn't old enough to be wise and detached.
"She'd been rabbiting on about wanting to open an art gallery if Alfie ever let us settle in. If nothing else she'd be laughing her ass off at me voluntarily setting foot in a classroom."
"Well I can't recommend one way over the other. I'm hardly an expert. I don't think there's anything wrong with winging it, but I do know that no one would mind you asking too."
Blaise seemed to know of Kem, if not know him, so Alex nodded. "He's cool. He's nice, kind of quiet, and he and Pak are really close. I've never seen him angry or upset or anything. He just seems like a good guy."
Alex didn't have a ton of history with Kem. They'd hung out on occasion, and he liked the Nachton Elder. He was close with Alfarinn too, and anyone his Creator liked, Alex was inclined to like.
He didn't really know what to say about Blaise's family, since he hadn't known them. It seemed like the best thing to do was to let the other vampire talk, so he did. He smiled and nodded, and gave a little laugh when Blaise said his sister would be surprised at him going to school.
"But I bet she'd want good things for you, you know? I don't know. I don't have a good relationship with my folks, sure, but I still think about them and hope they're doing ok. And that they're happy. Even if that's without me around."
It was a melancholy topic, but it wasn't like he hadn't thought about that before. That his parents were happier without him in the picture.
"Damned. I don't think I'm ever going to get used to how bloody helpful everyone is."
It was so outside of Blaise's experience both mortal and immortal. He really liked the vampire gig. It suited him, he was just starting to wonder, if not wish, he'd come at it from this side. Still he was here now. He just had to bit screw up and make himself useful.
His grin went a little lopsided and he might have winced a bit. Just a little.
"I've only seen him a little on the vexed side. Trying to avoid a repeat."
Actually he didn't remember Kem being in a towering rage or out of control or anything. Just definitely angry and pretty ... assertive. Better than Hoang. He also remembered Kem being pretty darn protective of Pakpao and her looking at him a bit like a knight in shining armor. And yet he was utterly unsurprised they weren't an item.
The little laugh made Blaise smile again. If Cecile couldn't laugh at him it was nice to have someone laugh for her.
"I'd like to think so, at least when she was clear of Alfie she did."
The bond had muddied things a bit but there was still enough history, enough Cece that Blaise knew she had always tried to help him when she could.
"Well it is shit they don't want you about. Easy to take people for granted when you haven't lost anyone."
Blaise said rather bluntly. He wasn't exactly good at soft words. He really would have liked to have gotten to know his parents.
"But it's good you still care about them even if they aren't in your life. I guess it's alright for me to still care about her even if she's gone. It's a good thought. I appreciate it mate."
He did too. Blaise wasn't exactly in touch with his emotions and all that but he did understand that although Alex's loss was different, it wasn't less. The other man probably understood where he was coming from fairly well.
"Oh you must have made an impression," Alex said when Blaise claimed to have gotten their Nachton Elder vexed. Kem was pretty protective of Pak, though, so he could see it.
He hummed and nodded when Blaise mentioned Alex's parents, but he just shrugged instead of responding. He agreed; it was good to care about his folks even if they wanted him gone. Maybe he shouldn't care so much but he couldn't change his nature.
"Look. I'm about done here," he indicated his stack of papers. "There are a few really good bars around. Do you want to go grab a drink?"
He felt like maybe Blaise was sufficiently over his awkwardness, and so was Alex, to actually try sitting down and chilling. If not, he could always go home to Eiryk - which was bound to happen sooner or later, of course.
He gave a short half laugh at the idea of making an impression. That was certainly one way to look at it. Of course if he had been forgettable he might have been just as dead as Alfie and Jarrod or tossed out and clanless so maybe it wasn't entirely bad.
"They say any publicity is good publicity."
He said with a shrug of his big shoulders. He hoped it was at ia little true though. Blaise would be surprised if Pakpao hadn't kept Kem a little bit in the loop.
The idea of going out for a beer or two sounded good to him. Oh he wasn't looking to get drunk or anything but it sounded so freaking normal. Nothing school related, not learning how to be a vampire or sorting out how his empathy worked just something normal. Really there was no way Blaise could say no to that. He grinned broadly.
"Cheers. You're on and the first round is on me."
He wasn't rolling in dough but he could certainly afford to buy Alex a beer. The guy had been nice enough to let Blaise mop at him and answer some questions he'd more than earned a beer. And it didn't take long to wrap things up at the store and find a decent bar that wasn't too loud and make good on his word.
(((OOC... both out))