Over the long weekend I packed up the family and took them out to the farm on the Delta where the Elders, Eleora and Tellias live. My brothers were to meet us there for a night of family fun – as much fun as a family of Modern Vampires can have (which is pretty darned fun). Teddy, my husband, looked forward to sharing some new wines. Garrett and Clara, our teens, looked forward to visiting with their uncles and the Elders who never seemed to run out of tall tales. As the only sister it is my job to make sure my brothers are happy and not being stupid.
Upon arrival I noticed my brother Andy had cut his waist long chestnut colored hair to just a few inches below his shoulders. It short of flipped up on the ends but still looked like guy hair. Smart, artistic and sexy guy hair.
“Looks good Andrew. Did you cut it for her?” I asked running my fingers though my brother’s hair.
“Of course not. I wouldn’t change my hair for any woman. I just like this length better.” He gave me a twitchy look, like he does when he is annoyed. “I haven’t seen her for a month. She doesn’t know what to think of me. I can’t change who I am.”
“Did she ask you to change?”
“She hasn’t asked me to do anything. I think I confused her so much that… I know she likes me, and she might be in love with me, but she isn’t like us. She isn’t a Vampire.”
“Then if she loves you she’ll love you for who you are. She’d be crazy not to.”
“She’d be crazy if she did fall in love with me.”
I gave him a hug and sent him off to the back room where the rest of my brothers were.
It was one of those rare nights when all five of us, my four brothers and I, were together.
My husband and my sister in law Verity (my brother Aaron’s wife) were sitting out front on the veranda with the Elders, avoiding the potential drama.
Garrett, my 17 year old came up and put his arm around my shoulder. “What’s up with Uncle Max?”
“A girl rejected him so he can’t stop thinking about her.”
“What about Uncle Andy?”
“A girl he is in love with doesn’t know what to think of him.”
I knew he was right. Teens sometimes get relationships because they aren’t looking for perfection. They’re looking for someone to go to the next dance or football game with. They’re looking for a study partner who might also like to flirt and hold hands. Sure they make mistakes and get their hearts broken but they don’t brood for 50 years and get all bent out of shape forever due to their own predisposition to jerkdom.
Sure teen love is complex. OK it is simple. But if given the opportunity they can look at a situation and make better sense out of it than a lot of grown ups I know.
I just keep thinking of what my husband Teddy tells all the teenage girls, including his own daughter. “Boys are stupid.” That pretty much says it all.
He didn’t ask about his other two uncles. Aaron is happily married (and I mean that in the most real way) and the other, Val, is happy and always well adjusted enjoying his single state with every woman he meets.
Teens don’t see adult romance the same way they see their own romances and crushes.
Adult romance is based on a lot of things that don’t make sense, due to the fact that adults seem so bad at it.
Max told me the woman he knows, who has frustrated the crap out of him, would be perfect if she just changed. He always expects them to change, but they end up wanting him to change. It never makes any sense to me. I always resented anyone who wanted me to change. I hated it.
If you want someone to change, if that is a qualifying factor for your love then it isn’t love. It is ownership and control. If you need to change someone you might as well find someone else. If someone wants you to change you need to run. That is the world of romance according to Juliette, Modern Vampire, Modern Woman.
We all change and we change together. But if only one is required to change then the relationship will always be off balance.
My 14 year old Clara came in and joined her brother, taking my arm. I hugged them both.
“I have important relationship information,” I told my darlings. “Repeat after me darling children of mine:
1. I will not change who I am for you.
2. I will not wear the ugly shirt you don’t like but I will not change my morals, values or core beliefs for you.
3. I will wear the shirt you gave me because it looks good on me but I will not change my hair for you.
4. I will hang out with you but I will not drop my friends for you.
5. I will not do anything for you that degrades me or makes me feel like I am not a whole person.
6. I will be open to educated change, agree to disagree and discuss differences but I will not be forced to change in exchange for your love.
7. If you force me into an ultimatum to change, your life will change because I will no longer be in it.
8. If I change for you it is not love, it is fear that you will not love me.
9. Love me for who I am, not what you want me to be. “
“We know that mom,” said Garrett. “You’ve already brainwashed us.”
“We love you mom,” added Clara.
I went out to the back porch where my eldest brother Max, the great brooding Vampire was standing. Maxwell the hunter, the fighter, the legend among Vampires, the idiot when it came to women.
Max was thinking about the girl. The woman. The strong smart amusing Vampire woman. The woman he couldn’t figure out. The woman he thought was just a friend. A friend he slept with when he wanted to. And easy friend. Easy. Easy. Easy.
Then he realized that his thoughts went from woman to girl and he suddenly realized that he had never taken her seriously. Why would he?
Now she was gone and he missed her. Was it her or his ego? Or was it just the fact that she was always available to scratch his itch in places nobody else could scratch. Or was it the fact that she let him bite her and take her in ways that his other Vampire bitches would not? I think it was just for the face that she’d pissed him off. It was the fact that good or bad, he couldn’t stop thinking about her.
“You should call her.” I said to my brother putting a cautious hand on his shoulder.
He glared at me showing his fangs. “To Hell with her.”
“She never played games with you Max. You used her and dumped on her feelings. That’s sick Max.”
“I don’t know why she is so pissed off. I told her I’d never love her. She isn’t the kind of woman I fall in love with.”
“None of the women you ever get involved with mean anything to you unless they use you before you use them.”
I sat down on the porch swing and let him brood in the dark. He knew I was right. Or at least he knew he’d have to change and admit that I’m right. I wondered if I smacked him hard enough with a 2 x 4 if it would knock any sense into his head.
Tellias sat next to me and put his hand in mine. “Don’t be so hard on your brother. Boys are stupid.”
“What makes you so smart Tellias?” I asked the ancient Vampire.
“One doesn’t change their partner, they grow and change together.”
“How long have you and Eleora been together? Do you remember?”
“Since they started planning Hadrian’s Wall. That was a long time ago. I remember the first time I saw her. She was standing on the edge of a cliff singing some God awful song wearing the ugliest dress I’d ever seen. It was so odd. I just stood there and stared for the longest time until she turned and looked at me with eyes ablaze with fury. I thought she was going to kill me. It was love at first sight.”
“You’re still in love.” I gave his cold hand a gentle squeeze.
“I can’t imagine being with anyone else.”
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman