– Arielle –
“Yeah honey, you mind?” Jasper slurred over his shoulder as he went to light up a cigarette. A cigarette! In the middle of my kitchen! It’s not like I’d never had a cigarette before, he could have as many as he liked, but not around my kids!
“Yes I mind.” I snatched the cigarette out of his hands, running over to the trash can and throwing it away.
“What the fucks your problem?!” Oh God I really didn’t have time for him today. The kids would be home any minute, and I just knew as soon as they walked in Olive would wake from her peaceful nap and scream down the house, she definitely loved the attention.
“Oh Jasper why don’t you just go fawn over yourself, I’m sure your band are on a few of the music channels as we speak.” I busied myself sorting a pile of cook books as he stood there staring at me. Probably thinking of a response, he seemed pretty dumb.
“Chill out. Like I knew you were older than Ori but what are you, 50?” He threw his arms in front of him, trying to mock me. I didn’t really care in the slightest.
“Jasper. Go outside and have a cigarette. Go play your guitar. Just go. Do something! Please, I need to get all these things in order before the kids get home.”
“Dude, you act like 79 or somethin’. You’re pretty hot actually…” He cocked his head to the side as he stared at me from across the kitchen island. I couldn’t blame him for appreciating my good looks, but he really was starting to grind on me. Actually I tell a lie, he ground on me from the minute he stepped foot in my house in his dirty leathers. I literally laughed out loud at his remarks, God what was I doing? A few years ago I would have went crazy, telling him I’d never be a housewife, never be any of the things I am now.
“Jasper, Jasper. Look I know what you’re like…” The drugs didn’t really help his brain think of witty remarks, so maybe I should let him off for his totally lame retorts. “…Go and watch TV or something, or even better, I put your guitar in the garage, go play that for a while.” I was talking to him like he was one of my children, but I had gathered it was the only way to speak to him from his stay here.
“Garage, listen I ain’t played in a garage since I was 15. I ain’t goin’ there. Get me a studio or somethin’ yeah? And while your at it you got any vodka?”
“I suppose it will be a reminder of your youth. And yes I have vodka. And no you’re not drinking it. It’s 2:30 in the afternoon.”
“You’re seriously tellin’ me no?” He looked puzzled. He was one of those people used to getting his own way, after all he was the lead singer of one of the most popular rock bands in the country.
“Jasper, just go!” I was reaching the end of my tether, I threw my arms up in exasperation as he stood there stony faced, staring at me.
He stared at me a while longer before he went to leave. Turning around in the doorway he threw me a final remark, which surprised me.
“You know… I kinda like you.” The beginnings of a smile played on the corner of his lips before he was off out the front door, presumably on his way to the garage. Jeez, since when did I become a babysitter to rock stars? Just as I went to continue my clean up I heard the familliar (although now a little more harsh from years of smoking) voice of Oriana and turned around to see her walking through the door.
“Hey sis, what’s up?”
I gave up. I was never going to get anything done with these two in the house. We sat down at the stools on the island, it was a little awkward, we were sisters but we barely ever saw each other, then she showed up at my door in the dead of the night 2 weeks ago, with Jasper and 18 suitcases full of all their crap.
“How are you holding up?” I asked, I was genuinely concerned for her, I definitely didn’t buy her excuses of just wanting to ‘see her sister’. She had been off around Europe for the last 3 years, keeping Jasper company on his tour.
“Ari I… I need… no, no forget it.” She looked away from me, out of the window into the garden, what on earth was wrong?
“Oriana? What’s wrong, come on you can’t do that. You can’t just say something then not tell me the rest, not when I realise your in trouble.” She turned her head to me, clearly shocked that I knew something. “do you think I’m an idiot? I know you wouldn’t have showed up here if it wasn’t important. Whatever it is, you can tell me.” I could tell she was thinking about it, we stared at each other uneasily for a few minutes, waiting for what would come next.
“Um – well you know how Jasper’s band were sort of, failing a few years ago,” Of course I knew, they had made an amazing comeback at a time when they were about to disappear, I nodded at her. “Well around that time is when I met him and well, I kind of…” she stopped for a while, “I-kind-of-funded-their-comeback” She blurted it out, probably before she changed her mind.
“What?! You funded their comeback? Their album recordings? So what, it can’t have cost that much.”
“Well I sort of kept on funding them, the European tour, I paid for… all of it.” I saw her face drop as she said it. Oh God she was broke.
“You must be getting it back by now? They’re making tonnes of money, I bet if we turned on the radio we’d hear something by them.”
“Well we didn’t sign any documents or anything, I was… on a few things at the time,” Surprise surprise. “and well we got into debt also.” My mouth opened a few inches in shock.
“Ori! Why didn’t you sign any documents?! You can be so stupid sometimes!” I conveniently forgot the incident where I almost gave away 10 million simoleans without checking the facts. “So you need money? What do you owe?” I mentally prepared myself for the number, it had to be big or she wouldn’t be asking.
“It’s 5 mil.” What! “I know, I know, it’s a lot but I swear they’re raking it in, we’ll be able to pay it back reeeeal soon!” I sat in silence for a while, my face impassive. 5 mil, I suppose it wasn’t too much, and they were raking it in after all, even I knew that much was true. I looked over at my sister, who had eyes fixated on the oven, not wanting to look at me. What happened to her? She had such promise, she was even in a band for a while. We all knew about her smoking and drinking and we guessed she occasionally took a few drugs, after all she was in the business of rock music, but when she just left the band like that and moved in with Jasper 4 years ago she let it go down the drain. I suspected cocaine for the both of them, but I would never ask. It was their life after all.
“Of course I’ll loan you the money Ori.” I said quietly. Her face jumped in shock, did she think I wasn’t going to give it to her?! What kind of sister did she think I was, jeez.
“Oh you’re the best sister ever, your totally making the right choice. Unlike that fucking sonofabitch Alexandra, I can’t believe were related, never mind fucking twins the fucking stupid fucker.” Woah, clearly Alexandra had turned her down for the 5 mil, we all had 20 in our trusts, and I was pretty sure Alex wouldn’t have spent hers, why wouldn’t she loan her it? I wonder if she’d tried to hit up mom before she came to ask me. Whatever, I was definitely helping her, I could afford it. I ignored her outburst and we proceeded to hug, which was kind of nice, I wasn’t used to it. I think I missed my family, it was natural I suppose. Whatever, I had my own family to care for now.
– Kitty –
“Uh…no…….no! Get.. no, ah, ah…” He was chasing me again, with the evil red hair, the evil smile, and he stunk! GET AWAY!
AH! I woke up slowly, another bad dream! They were sooo scary, the man chasing me, I didn’t care what mommy did, I was getting up right now, I couldn’t be in that dream any more. It seemed pretty early, maybe 4 in the morning or something, hehe, wait till I told Rosy I was up so early! She’d be soo jealous, she always talked about seeing the sunrise. My balcony was so cool, Tommy was so jealous that I had it, well ha! Girls are better than boys, Tommy’s just a smelly older brother. I knew what I could do!
I slowly climbed down the wall, it had these little hole things I could get my feet into. Mommy called them my little feet, I wasn’t little though! I was a big girl. I ran across the grass as fast as my ‘little feet’ could carry me, I didn’t want to wake anyone up. The treehouse looked kind of scary in the night, but there was a light in there, not that I was afraid of the dark, big girls aren’t afraid. Ewww! It stunk of boys in here! I needed my own treehouse, I didn’t even want Tommys, it had all football things on the wall and old socks and food from weeks ago, boys were so disgusting, they had cooties, if one tried to kiss me I would cry! The swing was much better, it was nice and clean. Wow it was peaceful out here at night, much better than being in those silly old dreams!
The sun was coming up, I had to get inside!! I was a princess who had to get back before the sun came up or she would become ugly forever! Phew, I was panting when I got back into my room just as the sun woke up. Now I was bored! I put on on some pretty pink clothes, pink is my favourite colour, and played with my toys for a bit, it was a Saturday. Cartoons! They were kind of boring, I wanted to do something fun! I knew what to do… but I’d get in trouble… so what! Hehe…
I put it down carefully, I knew this was aunt Oriana’s favourite seat, she was going to be soo embarrassed! I couldn’t help but giggle, everyone would think she had farted! ‘Oh here she comes!’ I hid in the corner of the room… waiting for her to sit down! Hahahaha! She was so shocked, I pointed at her and laughed.
“You farted! You farted! Aunt Oriana farted!”
She stormed out of the room in anger, that’s what mom would call a drama queen. Oh, Olive! Olive was my favourite sister ever, she was going to be my best friend when she wasn’t a little baby any more. Rosy said you should play peek-a-boo with them so I did, wow she was good at it, definitely smart. Way smarter than stinky Tommy.
Oh there was Tommy now, sat doing his homework. Ha, I knew he would leave it till Saturday, I did all of mine last night, because I’m a clever girl. Well if he wanted to come in the den he wasn’t allowed. This was a girls club. Oh! Me and Olive would start our own girls club somewhere in the house, yep that was it, No Boys Allowed. Rosy could come over!
“Come on Olive” I said as I picked her up and walked away.
– Tommy –
“Dear… miss. If you read this… you… stink… of poo!” Ha! That would teach the stupid teacher, she gave me an F! Well now she stunk of poo, aha! She would admit it too, because she read this. Austin had so many funny ideas about what to write instead of doing our homework. Saturday was a free day, no way was I doing homework! It was too hard as well, I wasn’t really that good at the classes, I was better at sports and scouts and all those outdoor things.
Hmm what time was it? Austin would be here at 1, his mom was dropping him off. I had heard his mom saying they were ‘going through a divorce’ whatever that meant. Mommy and Daddy had one of those years ago, she told me. I hadn’t even seen my dad in years, I remember him coming when I was little then just stopping. Noah was my dad now. I was kind of bored now, maybe I could watch some cartoons… oh, Jasper was in there! He was kind of cool, a bit weird though, I sat down beside him and stared at a music video which was playing, what was this dumb music?
“This sucks Jasper. Can we put cartoons on?” I asked hopefully.
“SUCKS?! This is my band you little squirt, we’re the best band goin’, hey, hey check this out, it’s my guitar solo… yeahhhh, that’s good right?”
Why was he on the TV? The music was okay I suppose, mommy said kids didn’t really get that into music, I suppose she was right, this was boring.
“This is boring Jasper!!” I moaned loudly. When would it be 1?! I wanted Austin to come round.
“Borin’?! This is fuckin’ great kid. You don’t know nothin’.” He was staring at me, and he swore! He looked evil, like one of the bad guys on a cartoon, I was getting out of here!
The doorbell! That was my escape, mom would have called it saved by the bell, wow she was so right!
“Yey you’re here!” we didn’t hug or anything when I let him in, that was for girls. “Come on mom got me some cool new costumes!” I had to show him them, mom was the best, even though she tried to kiss me in public. She bought me anything I wanted, it was so cool! Dad never bought me anything any more, but he was too scary to argue with.
Me and Austin ran up to my bedroom and quickly changed into our new costumes, I was the Royal Red Prince and he was the Gallant Grey Knight! We looked totally cool, it was as if we were really in the middle ages or something!
“Come my gallant young knight, I request your presence in the royal gardens.” I told Austin as I strutted out of the bedroom with an English accent.
We played all around the playground, going up into the treehouse, which Austin thought someone had been in but he was obviously just being strange, no one could come up here, especially not girls! Boys were so much cooler than girls. Kitty was a geek! She wanted to go to the private school but I loved the school we went to now, the other kids in the neighbourhood who went to that school completely loved themselves and thought they were the greatest.
“Come on Austin push harder!” I shouted as we flew up and down on the see-saw, wow I wish I could just spend all day here, outside in the playground. Austin was just like me, we both loved the sports and the outdoor stuff, neither of us really liked TV or stuff like that, and we hated homework!
– Arielle –
“Come on Olive, yes, yes, that’s right, good girl.” I reached down, lifting her out of the crib. “Aw yes, come on my girl.” I stroked her hair as she snuggled into my arm, she was so cute! Hopefully the child kicking around inside of me would be as sweet as Olive.
“Mommy fish. Fish!” She loved fish, they were her favourite thing, which was why I did her whole room in such a style, I’d come in her bedroom to find her stood up in her crib staring at the fish swimming around the tank across the room, giggling as they bumped around in the tank.
“Yes fish. Come, the nice Doctor is downstairs, she came here just for you!” We had been passing a cold between us for a few weeks, and I wanted to get her checked on.
“Thank you so much for making a house call Doctor, I know you don’t usually do it, I just want you to know how much I appreciate it.” I told the Doctor as she fussed around putting the little vials of blood away her briefcase. I coughed loudly, followed by a sneeze. God this cold was annoying.
“It’s fine, anything for Lily’s daughter. Are you sure it’s Olive that needs checking though, you seem a little off, and you look quite pale.
“Oh no, it’s just a flu. And that’s just my complexion.” I laughed as she stared at me, waiting for more. “Well I’ve been a little ill for a few weeks now I guess, but I’m sure it’s just a bad spell of flu.”
“Oh erm, a month, 6 weeks maybe?” She nodded at me slowly.
“Seems a little long for a cold, I’ll take some blood while I’m here, you know, just to be sure. It could be side effects of your pregnancy, but again, I would like to be sure.” She went back to her briefcase, probably to get a huge needle.
“Oh no – no, I’m fine, I swear.”
“Listen, it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?” I nodded and held out my arm as she took a blood sample, ouch that needle was a bitch. She wasn’t going to find anything, I hadn’t been ill a day in my life. “Okay, I’ll call you with both Olive’s and your own results as soon as they’re ready, probably a few days.” I thanked her and showed her to the door, where I got a surprise as I opened it.
“Mom! Dad! What are you doing here!” It was a shock, they hadn’t even called, what on earth. Lily embraced me as dad looked at me sternly, was I in trouble or something? It wasn’t like I was 16 any more running away from Dad in a nightclub with Noah on my arm, but I still got a little pang of fear when I thought I may have done something he didn’t approve of.
“I’ll excuse my self, nice to see you Lily.” Heather said as she side stepped the family and left.
“Yes, yes you too, I’ll call you, we can lunch!” Lily shouted back as Heather made her way to her car. 60 years old and she was still networking any chance she could. “Well, are you going to invite us in? I’m not as young as I once was.” She joked as I quickly stepped aside and let them into the hallway. We made our way into the kitchen, where I busied myself making a pot of tea, and Chace went outside to take a call, probably business.
“Well mother, you must be here for a reason?” I didn’t really want to beat around the bush, she obviously had something to say or she wouldn’t have dragged herself away from her newest acting role.
“Well I thought we could exchange the pleasentires first, but as you’re so adamant, what on earth were you thinking giving Oriana that money?!”
“Excuse me?! Why wouldn’t I help out my sister? She needed the money.” I couldn’t believe she was shouting at me for trying to help Oriana. “What was I supposed to do, say no?”
“Yes! Just like everyone else did. You know she’s on drugs, we suspect the money is to pay off various dealers, buy more drugs, keep up the exorbitant hotel bills and the free flowing champagne. Did you know they went to Pastise a few months ago, and she paid for dinner for 15 people?! She’s unreliable, you should never have given her that money.” Well how was I supposed to know any of that?! I actually thought I was helping. “I don’t know why you let them stay here, she has to figure this out on her own.”
“Oh yes mother, you would say that.”
“And what’s that supposed to mean?!”
“Well just that we all had to ‘figure it out on our own’ growing up, you were never there to offer support, oh don’t put on that face mother you know that I’m only saying what all of us have wanted to say for years. You’ve came to see the children 6 times since Tommy was born. 6 times! Tommy’s almost 13 now, how could you see your grandson 6 times in 13 years?!” I was really going at it now, the walls had came down and everything I’d always wanted to say was coming out.
“Oh well I’m so sorry for giving you a sense of self suffiency. I’m sorry for not putting my dreams on the line for you kids! You think I would have wanted what you have? A stay at home mother, little miss housewife?!”
“Little miss housewife?!” I laughed at her, “Come on mother, has it been a while since you’ve gone toe to toe with someone in an argument? Please come up with something better.”
“Oh Arielle I don’t want to deal with you right now.”
“You never wanted to deal with any of us.” I told her bluntly.
“Arielle please.” She turned away from me and held her hand up, effectively ending the conversation. It always had to be her way. “I’m going to take a nap, my feet are killing me.” Maybe she shouldn’t wear high heels at 60 then.
“Fine.” I replied, also turning away and putting tea bags into the pot. She went upstairs, and stayed there all night. I didn’t feel bad in the slightest, she deserved to have me criticise her, she’d gotten away with it her entire life. And as for Oriana, I still stood by my decision, I was helping her! Chace convinced her to stay at the house for a few weeks, he had clearly heard the argument and was trying to give us the chance to mend our relationship, the only problem was neither of us would talk to the other. At least she was spending time with the kids, who loved having their famous grandmother around. Another grandchild for her to ignore came into the world a few weeks after our argument, Oliver Belgravia was the easiest labour I’d had yet, which was strange because it was one of the most stressful times of my life.
Everything with the family I had raised was perfect. It was my own mother that was the problem. We still hadn’t talked about the argument, and I didn’t think we were going to. I certainly wasn’t making the first move.Tommy and Olive’s birthday’s fell very close together so we threw a joint pool party as Tommy aged into his teens and Olive grew into childhood. I couldn’t believe Tommy was already a teenager, soon he’d be chasing girls, acting out and God knows what else.
It was such a wonderful day, with everyone running around having copious amounts of fun. Oliver had just missed spending his toddler years with Olive, but he wasn’t the baby of the family, oh no, there was another child on the way, God it was a hard thought. My 5th pregnancy., I stood back for a while, just watching everyone. It almost brought a tear to my eye that this was my family, I loved them so much. I just hoped that with yet another ‘bun in the oven’ it wouldn’t be too much to cope with.
I was about to go and rejoin the party when my phone rang. Caller ID told me it was the doctor, goodness I’d forgotten all about it.
“Doctor? Yes hello… I forgot all about this, what took so long?”
“I have your test results back.”
“Yes? Well what are they?” She told me she couldn’t tell me over the phone, “Well why? You told me Olive was fine over the phone a few weeks ago.”
“I think you should come in. We have to talk.”
* * *
Here are some updated pictures of the grounds: