Celeste had high hopes for her eldest daughter from the moment she was born. She wanted her to experience the finer things in live, just as she had in her youth, minus the multiple divorces and heartache. All Celeste wanted was the happiness of her children, and she would do anything to ensure their happiness. For Celeste happiness came in one form and one form alone: power. Whether that be power of the monetary kind, power of the career kind, or power granted through a name. She had to secure such power for her daughter Constance, and then she could worry about her other children. Constance knew nothing of her mothers meetings with foreign dignitaries, English aristocrats, or the old American families with names that stretched back to the Mayflower.
Constance had led a sheltered life, summers spent in the South of France, winters in New York, and the rest of the year in the gated, idyllic house in the Redcliffe hills, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city where her cousins Electra and Sebastian lived. She wasn’t interested in social climbing or name dropping – just her horses. For her eleventh birthday she was given a white foal, Blossom. For her thirteenth birthday she was given another brown and white spotted foal, Prairie. And for her sixteenth birthday she was given a fully grown adult, Delilah. The three horses were her main interest. She’d run home from school, change into comfortable leggings and her riding coat and go out to the houses expansive grounds to groom and talk to her three companions.
Although she loved all the horses there was a special place in her heart reserved for Blossom, her first horse, her big love. She trained the horse vigorously for years until she felt she was ready to enter some of the competitions at the International Equestrian Center, conveniently located just a short ride form her house. She could be there in 10 minutes if she sped Blossom up to a trot, and often did just that. She soon became well known on the equestrian circuit, blazing a trail from Redcliffe to Monte Carlo as she won competition after competition. Boys didn’t particularly grab her attention, she’d talk about them with her friends but she never pursued anyone, and never let any boys get close to her. There was a certain fear of them in her mind, she much preferred her horses.
As she matured and reached her seventeenth birthday she felt that she should find someone to be her boyfriend. She didn’t want to, but all her friends had boyfriends – immature brats who wanted to have sex with their girlfriends, and that was it – the problem was she couldn’t find anyone who she would ever consider dating. It didn’t matter. Her mother had found someone for her. His Grace William Cavendish, Duke of Gloucestershire was 37 and lonely. He hadn’t found a wife yet, beating away all advances from the ladies in his social circle, until finally his mother, a friend of Celeste’s, had taken over and looked around herself. It just happened that she bumped into Celeste on her little quest for a suitable wife for her son, and the two soon formed a plan. On Sunday the 24th of August William arrived at the colonial style Belgravia mansion, haughty and full of his own importance.
Constance wasn’t informed of what her mother was planning, she thought he was just a visitor, and as such was polite and charming. that is until it came time for her to feed the horses, upon which she’d leave without a backwards glance. For two months life went on as normal for Constance. She went to the same private school that her cousins Electra and Sebastian attended every day, fed her horses, participated in show jumping and racing competitions, and kept her eye out for a suitable boyfriend.
She even started thinking of her career. Of course horses were her first love, but she revelled in learning new skills and trying things out, such as playing the guiat at her cousin (the descendant of Oriana Belgravia) Mick’s house, or being taught the human anatomy by one of her doctor cousins (the descendants of Alexandra Belgravia).
Returning home from a particularly tough show jumping competition one night she was caught off guard by the huge party which was going on at her house. Her arm was grabbed firmly by Celeste, who informed her that this was her engagement party. The rest, for Constance, was a blur. The future Duchess was thrust through the London social scene in three months. Three months without a day of respite, or even a moment with her horses. She could barely contemplate what was happening, she was about to be married to a man she hardly knew. A man who was more interested in his collection of exotic animals than his wife-to-be.
She tried to get out of it, but once the cogs had been set in motion by her mother it proved harder than she had thought. Celeste assured her this was the best thing for her daughter, it would give her social standing, wealth, and power. Constance couldn’t see why she needed any of those things, but if her mother said it was the best thing for her then it must be the best thing for her, right? Before she knew it she was standing in a private suite at William’s Kensington house in London, fully dressed up, the train of her dress stretching along the ground, a row of pearls in her hair, diamonds glinting at her neck and ears, and the famous Cavendish emerald on her finger.
After the wedding things didn’t go as she expected. She had thought that she’d be forced to move to England to stand by her husbands side, but it turned out that William did have a streak of good in him. He told Constance that, if she wanted to, she could return to Redcliffe to finish her education. She had never been a particularly studious girl, but she jumped at the chance to go back to her horses and her friends. She returned to school a Duchess, wearing the Cavendish emerald on her hand at all times. Suddenly she was followed by Royal Protection agents at all times, the school bus turned into a limousine, and the horse pens had to be checked for bombs before she went in them. But at least she was home.
Her mother seemed unfazed by the fact that Constance was living at home while her husband was back in England, unlike Oliver, who found the whole situation ridiculous and demanded that William fly to see Constance immediately. Celeste had to delicately work out the situation, and tried to explain her motives to Oliver. He left things as they were because he loved his wife, but he felt trouble was stirring for his daughter, and he didn’t know how to stop it. Still in love with her horses and spending more time with them than ever Constance asked her mother about a career on the equestrian circuit as she brushed Prairie in the stables one morning before school.
Celeste felt for her daughter, there was so much she didn’t understand. But she let Constance down gently, telling her that there would be plenty of time to ride horses when she was older, but as soon as she finished school she had to fly to William’s side and begin her one and only job – to produce heirs. Constance was horrified, she had never had sex before, and was definitely not ready to be pregnant. She knew she had to do something about it. That very night she packed a small bag and woke Landon, her brother, at four am. He was always up for something dangerous, and although he was afraid of horses he was always up for an adventure, and together the two of them set off on their horses. They didn’t know where they were headed, but Constance wasn’t ready for the life her mother had laid out for her. And she was going to change it.
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Hope you guys enjoyed this, I’m experiencing a few technical problems with Olive & the rest of the family but I want to give you guys something to read. 🙂