Tag Archives: art

Generation 4 – Chapter 2

The show started off slowly, just two white beams of light illuminating Ryan and Electra. A somber laser show was projecting from behind a speaker where Ryan’s bass was pumping from. Electra soon began to sing, her pure voice belting out a cover of Bjork’s ‘Hyperballad’. The audience loved it, they watched Electra with wonder as she sung, sometimes closing her eyes, sometimes staring directly into the crowd. “We live on a mountain, right at the top.” Electra crooned, getting more and more into the music as the song progressed. As she finished the last line and the lights dimmed the auidence began to cheer wildly, then the room burst into an amazing array of colours, confetti effects erupted into the life as they launched into their version of The Runaways ‘Hollywood’.

Hollywood, it feels so good!” Electra and Ryan sang into the same microphone, throwing a smile at each other. This was the first show for the new band, Revolutionis, and the reception couldn’t have been better.

Hoping to come off the success of Electra & The Wild Ones show back in Redcliffe had been a mistake, no one in Bridgeport had ever even heard of them, so instead Sebastian had reinvented them with a new name, turned the orange in Electra’s hair purple, and signed up two amazing new members – Sammy, a fresh find and an amazing keyboard player (Ryan had wanted to switch back to his original bass) and Marc, an extremely talented drummer who was quite well known in Bridgeport.

Time seemed to stand still as they played, listening to the screaming cheers of pleasure from the audience in the tiny gaps before they launched into the next song was one of the things Electra, and the rest of the band, loved most. To know that people enjoyed seeing them was the greatest pleasure; they better like them, there were 17 more shows in Bridgeport and the surrounding areas left to go in the next few weeks.

The band were all getting into it, but no one more than Electra, to wild cheers of applause she raised her guitar in the air as they performed a cover of Interpol’s ‘Evil’.

After an extremely eclectic mix of covers they came to their last song, a rock and roll version of Martha and the Vandella’s ‘Heatwave.’ “Thank you guys so much for coming, we’ve been Revolutionis!” Electra shouted into the microphone before the band burst into their last song. Both Ryan and Electra couldn’t help themselves from looking at each other and smiling, they had never expected such an amazing first show.

Running off stage to cheers and whoops of joy they all hugged each other behind the curtain that cut them off from the stage. “That was so great!” Ryan exclaimed, grabbing everyone and forcing them into a group hug. The place may have been a dive bar but it was getting their band out there. Liberty had thought they were crazy for using so many crazy effects on such small shows, but the bar had been packed to capacity and their other dates were selling out fast. Sebastian wanted them to become a cult hit before they burst through to the big time. Standing in the dressing room Electra lit up a cigarette, watching everyone who lolled around the room in various states of undress.

Every member of the band seemed to hate clothes. Ryan had already thrown his top off and kicked his shoes to the side and was sat talking to Sammy, an ardent feminist who insisted that if the boys were taking of their tops she would too, and was now sat with her favourite pleather trousers on, sunglasses perched on her nose, and her breasts free for everyone to see.

Ryan, who had seen her breasts many, many times during their weeks of practice, wasn’t phased at all. Opposite Ryan and Sammy, across the coffee table which groaned with every drink imaginable, glasses of wine, pints of beer, music sheets, ashtrays, and other nick nacks, Sebastian was sat with Marc, who had stripped down to his boxers after throwing his sweaty clothes into a bag.

A few strands of the thick smoke which covered the room escaped as  the door opened and Ryan’s mother, Maud, entered the room.

“Hey mom!” Ryan shouted, throwing a packet of cigarettes to her. She turned immediately to Liberty, who had been stood by the door texting furiously on her phone.

“Got a light sweetie?” Maud asked, Liberty was shocked by her appearance. Maud was 40 but looked 10 years older, a once relatively famous stage actress she had fallen into alcoholism after her career had failed ten years ago.

“I don’t smoke, sorry.” Liberty said, feeling a little awkward. Ryan’s mother proceeded to get well and truly drunk, downing one straight vodka after another, and chain smoking so much the entire pack had ran out within half an hour.

“She should slow down.” Sammy said to Ryan as she looked over at Maud, stumbling around and laughing as she joked with Liberty.

“She’s fine.” He snapped back, knowing that she wasn’t fine but not knowing what to do about it, his mother had been like this for as long as he could remember. He chose instead to follow by example and get bombed himself.

“Did we do okay then?” Marc asked Sebastian as they  sat together opposite Ryan and Sammy, who had instantly brushed off the little animosity over his mother and were now arguing about the best guitar players of all time.

“Yeah you were great.” Sebastian replied, his eyes fixed firmly on Liberty to make sure she was ok over there, stuck with Maud who was telling her about her own career. “We can really get some hype going with this I think, you had fun, right?” Sebastian asked, turning back to Marc.

“Yeah, it was the best. You’re a really good manager.” Marc said with a tiny trace of his French accent, being serious for once. Unfortunately Sebastian just laughed, he wasn’t at all put off by Marc’s almost nakedness but he still found it pretty funny, it was hard to take someone seriously when they were wearing nothing but plaid boxer shorts.

“Move over Marc, I wanna talk to my brother.” Electra said, nudging him out of the chair. She gave Marc a friendly hug, not noticing that Marc kept it going a little more than is normal for friends, before flopping down onto the seat next to Sebastian.

“Hey bro, how you doing?” She asked, noticing him staring over at Liberty. “Sebastian?!” She shouted after a few minutes of getting no response from him

“Huh? Oh yeah, sorry. I’m just worried about Liberty, acting isn’t really going as well as she would have liked.”

“How come? She’s a great actress.” Electra said, not entirely truthfully as she’d never seen Liberty act, but she wanted to make Sebastian feel better.

“Just not getting any parts, you know…” He said, trailing off. Liberty had gotten zero parts out of the hundreds of auditions she had went to. She couldn’t see what the problem was, she was pretty, she was friendly, and she could actually act. Why couldn’t she get a break? Now she was infuriated by having to stand and talk to this washed up stage actress.

“I could have been one of the greats you know!” Maud shouted, slurring her words a little.

“Maybe you should slow down…” Liberty said gently, trying to take the cup of gin out of her hands.

“Get off you thief!” Maud shouted back, grabbing the drink from Liberty and downing it before she could take it away. Ryan looked on in sadness. He poured himself another drink to help him forget.

“Excuse me? Hi!” The girl who had edged her way into the room could barely be heard over the chatter and music, but Electra noticed her and asked her what she wanted.

“I work for Azari -” She stumbled a little as Maud bumped into her, “we – um – just want to know if you’re interested in modelling for us.” The young girl was terribly nervous about having to walk into a room full of semi-naked musicians, now she was being shoved around by an old red head with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

“Um, what?” Electra asked, trying to listen to what Sebastian was saying while this nervous girl edged her way around the room.

“Modelling!” She shouted back. “You were great by the way!” Electra couldn’t tell if this girl was serious – Electra had heard of Azari, it was one of the most prestigious fashion houses, but this girl didn’t seem at all like their usual employees; she didn’t have the self confidence they possessed.

“Just leave the card on the table. Thanks.” Electra shouted over the din, “stick around for a while if you want.” She said as an afterthought, feeling bad for her.

“Come dance!” Marc shouted, “you can stick with me any day.” He added with a grin. He was incorrigible. The girl simply stood awkwardly in the corner of the room as people talked around her, she had admired Marc when she had watched the show, but now was nervous. “Come on, I won’t bite.” He said again, throwing her another smile. He would definitely take her home later.

The party continued in the same way for a while, everyone was having a great time until Maud collapsed to the floor in fits of laughter, clearly drunk out of her mind. Ryan got up from the sofa, feeling awkward. His mother hated it when she was helped up, the room went dead silent as everyone looked on in shock.

“Mom, come on.” He said, pulling her up, receiving screams of ‘get off!’ from Maud before she started to laugh.

“What you lookin’ at?!” Maud yelled at Electra, who had been looking on as if someone had been shot. Liberty fled away from the disaster, across the room to talk to Marc, who was temporarily dancing alone while the girl went to the toilet.

“Mom, you really do have to slow down. Or better yet stop right now before you hurt yourself.” Ryan told her as people started to relax again, lighting another cigarette to calm him down.

Maud only had the chance to take one drag before she fell down again, this time completely unconscious. Electra looked at Sebastian in horror, she felt so sorry for Ryan, while Sebastian clapped his hands together and exclaimed,

“Party’s over kids!” with a wry laugh.

*           *            *

Two weeks later, with only a few dates left on the dive bar tour, as it had came to be called, Electra decided to throw a dinner party. The moment the actual day came around she wished she hadn’t, she couldn’t cook so Ryan would have to do everything, which made her feel guilty as he had been worrying himself sick lately over Maud, who had dropped off the radar for a week without a single word. Electra had used some of her trust fund on a private investigator who had found her living with a transvestite go-go dancer in a run down apartment downtown. Electra had insisted Maud move into the loft, which she had thought would be a good idea but just turned into hell. Despite her guilt at putting more pressure on Ryan (it was only a dinner but he was determined to do it well, just as he did with everything in his life) she was glad to have guests over, Liberty was back from a movie (she was a maid who appeared in a three second segment which was still under threat of being cut) and Marc was coming to join them. Hearing the doorbell she ran for it, she needed new company.

Marc embraced her in a hug as he waltzed in, dumping a christmas bag full of wine on the floor so he had a better hold on her.

“Good to see you, Slim.” He said, smiling. Ryan’s nickname had caught on within the band, but Electra wasn’t bothered by it, it was a compliment, how could she complain?

By the time they had finished catching up on what had happened since she last saw him (only two days ago, but still…) Maud had swanned into the room wearing one of Electra’s dresses, as well as her heels, and Sebastian and Liberty were sat together on the sofa, Liberty was telling him all about her movie while he smiled on, he was glad she had finally gotten a part, however small it may have been.

Electra joined Maud at the breakfast bar as Marc had excused himself to take a phone call, and was now prowling around the other side of the room, shouting loudly in fluent French. She watched Ryan’s broad back as he slaved away making the meal, and found herself aching for some time alone with him, apart from the gigs they had never really spent any time together over the last two weeks, he was always making sure his mother was okay. Maud resented Electra for taking away her son, and reveled in the hours she spent with him, forcing him to get drunk and smoke weed way into the early hours with her.

“You looking forward to dinner then Maud?” Electra asked after cleaning up three of Maud’s empty wine glasses and sitting back down.

“Of course,” Maud replied, giving Electra an icy stare, “anything my son cooks will be amazing.” She paused for a moment, “speaking of family, I saw your mother in the paper today, apparently shes donated 300 million dollars worth of art to the BMOA.” She said, looking at Electra’s old burger t shirt with mockery, conveniently forgetting she was wearing one of Electra’s $800 dresses. Maud always wondered what a girl from the Belgravia family was doing with her son, and resented Electra’s family for the fabulous wealth they possessed, Electra didn’t begrudge her the second point, a lot of people were jealous, but she was infuriated that Maud couldn’t seem to understand that she was with her son because she loved him, not because he was some sort of rough trade.

“I hope you two are getting on!” Ryan chided from his position over the cooker, never really understanding his mothers snide remarks, in his eyes she could do no wrong. He hated that she got so drunk, and worried about her constantly, but to him that was normal; it had been that way since he was nine years old.

“Of course.” Electra said, with a tight smile on her face, just managing to resist turning to Maud and giving her one of the cold stares she had learnt from Olive.

“Dinner ready yet, I’m starving man!” Marc shouted from across the room, hanging up the phone on his father, Pierre, who had been calling from France.

“Just about… done!” Ryan shouted, beginning to move the food from the bowl to several plates Electra had laid out.

“I’ll do that!” Electra jumped up from the barstool and took the bowl from Ryan, feeling guilty once more that she had made him cook when he was so stressed. He gave her a weak smile, he realised that Electra was aware of how tired he was, and loved her for it. Giving her a quick kiss he linked Maud’s arm through his and walked with her to the table where Sebastian, Liberty and Marc were already sat. Electra had panicked yesterday she realised she didn’t even have a table, and had quickly ran over to her grandmothers huge triplex apartment (where she spent on average three weeks a year) and, with Arielle’s consent, taken a set of antique Egyptian chairs which had been gathering dust in Leonardo’s old studio.

“Looks great Slim!” Marc exclaimed as Electra started placing the food on the dining table, “I can tell you worked really hard on it, hours slaving away in the kitchen and all.” He joked, throwing her a huge grin. She laughed back, giving him a playful shove as she set his plate in front of him.

“Ooh, it looks gorgeous! My son, the chef.” Maud said, rubbing her hands in theatrical joy before shooting a look at Electra that no one else noticed.

They all proceeded to tuck into the delicious carbonara, conversation turning to music and art. They were all artistic people, three musicians (Electra, Ryan, and Marc), two actresses (Liberty and Maud), and Sebastian, an amalgamation of them all, knowing a little about everything, especially the classic art his mother loved; that was one of the things he missed most about living with Olive, the constant access to famed works of art and fabulous sculptures.

“You going to that modelling shoot tomorrow then? They asked me to do it too, you know.” Marc said without a hint of narcissism as he shoveled the food into his mouth, holding his plate in his hand, the closer it was the quicker he got it in.

“Really? Yeah, I’m glad you’re going, at least I won’t be alone.” Electra replied. “How was the movie Liberty?” she said, quickly changing the subject in case Ryan felt dejected by the fact that he hadn’t been asked.

“Oh, okay thanks. Pretty annoying though, I was on location for ages and I’m only in it for three seconds, delivering some tea to the star actor. He tried to hit on me you know!” Liberty replied with a laugh, “of course I turned him down.” She gave Sebastian a kiss on the cheek, Ryan looked on happily, thinking how good they were together.

She knew that everyone thought they were the perfect couple, and she had to admit that they kind of were, the only problem was her past, which she hadn’t been exactly truthful about. She stared ahead, ignoring her dinner for a few minutes as she thought about her parents. It was only last year that she had told Sebastian about going away with them, then to a cousins wedding, but that wasn’t entirely true. She had been visiting her parents, but not in the happy scenario she had portrayed for him.

As the dinner progressed Maud became more and more out of it. She had already been drunk when she sat down, but now the many drinks from earlier were kicking in, and combined with her running to the toilet every five minutes for a shot of the gin she kept hidden in her medicine cabinet, she was getting bombed.

“Careful.” Electra quickly held Maud steady as she threatened to fall off the chair. All she got in return was a fierce glare, before Maud started pointedly ahead, refusing to look at Electra.

“You okay?” Electra asked, trying desperately to diffuse the tension that had engulfed the room. She hated Maud for doing this, then felt guilty for it, Maud was Ryan’s mother after all.

“I’m fine! Just leave me alone!!” Maud slurred, knocking half of her mostly uneaten plate of carbonara flying all over Marc, who just brushed it off with a laugh.

“She’s out of it.” He whispered to Sebastian with a wave of his hand in Maud’s direction.

Unfortunately Maud herd him, and proceeded to ram her fork into his bare arm. He jumped up with a scream of pain, dragging it out as Maud leaned back in her chair with an amused grin.

“You’re crazy!” Electra screamed in shock. Fortunately the fork had only just broken the skin and wasn’t serious, but there was still a little blood, and Marc was cradling his wound while looking at Maud with a mixture of confusion and, if he was honest, a little fear; he completely agreed with Electra.

“Oh shut up you stupid girl! I hate you, I hate your money and your loft and your stupid pink lipstick! Stay away from me and my son!” Maud shouted back, jumping up from the table, sending her plate flying and her chair crashing to the floor. Glasses could be heard bouncing around in the kitchen cabinets from the force Maud slammed the door with as she ran off to her bedroom.

“Dinner’s over guys.” Sebastian, who had been frozen in shock and embarrassment since the beginning of Maud’s outburst, said, once again the one to bring an end to the soap opera.

Interlude: Tommy & Oliver

Being caught by Jenny while kissing Austin was not what Tommy had wanted to happen. He had wanted to ignore it forever, to just keep going the way things were going, but after Jenny’s discovery she had taken his life down a course he couldn’t change. Running off into the night she had reappeared a week later at the Belgravia house, proceeding to awkwardly tell Arielle and Noah everything.

They were understandably shocked by Jennys revelations, and confronted Tommy as soon as Jenny left, destined to board a plane to Australia for some ‘me-time’ as she put it. Tommy had fled the house when they confronted him, mistaking their concern for anger that he was gay. He fled straight into the arms of Austin.

The two boys proceeded to demolish their way through the town, hitting club after club, getting wasted, and falling into bed together at the end of the night.

Still ignoring Arielle and Noah’s phone calls, and refusing to tell them where he was staying (Austins small apartment in the center of the city) both of the boys concentrated on their careers in Sports, and each other. They didn’t fall so easily into domesticity, neither seeming to care about the tip they left the apartment in, and finally decided on hiring a maid, after all they were making big bucks. Tommy had been promoted to MVP, and Austin was a shoo-in for a promotion too. After a particularly vigorous practice game Tommy finally spoke to his parents when they cornered him after work. He had thought they were going to say how disgusted they were with him, but in reality all they wanted to know was if he was happy, which he assured them he was.

Problems with his sexuality were however, still around. He and Austin hadn’t told the team, who although they knew the boys were living together didn’t know they were ‘together-together’. They had decided to put it off for now, they had no real need or desire to flaunt their relationship to the world, both were intensely private and intended to remain so. Children was another factor Tommy and Austin hadn’t yet discussed. They were more interested in ‘living in the moment’ and for now and the foreseeable future they had no plans for children, the hassle involved with surrogacy or adoption was something neither of them wanted to deal with, besides, they were young, beautiful, successful, and having a good time, who needed responsibilities?

*      *      *

It wasn’t long after kissing her that Oliver and Celeste went to bed. Instantly Celeste announced that a little Belgravia was on his or her way into the world, and the two wedded immediately. Celeste had finally gotten what she wanted, but something inside of her told her it was more than that. Constance Belgravia, named after Celestes mother, was born on April 26th at New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York City, where Oliver and Celeste were vacationing. The budding family soon packed up their base at the Veloria Gallery and relocated to Celestes colonial mansion on the outskirts of town, close to the Belgravia house.

Constance became the darling of the Belgravia’s, the first grandchild of Arielle and Noah, and the first great-grandchild of Lily and Chace.

Sitting in the sunroom at the back of the house all day, watching her mother sculpt and her father paint, she soon became immersed in the arts, and developing a keen interest in music as she was exposed to the sounds of The Velvet Underground and The Beatles from her fathers collection, as well as Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky from her mothers collection.

Oliver continued to paint, even being granted a medal from the town Mayor for ‘extensive services to the arts’. The sunroom was the perfect setting for, with the huge windows framing an unmatched view of the town, and exquisite natural light.

Constance’s birthday party was a grand affair, with a life size sculpture of her nestling among two tables loaded with gourmet food, and a bartender on sight ready to cater to the needs of the guests. Most of her family came to the party, as well as many of Celeste and Oliver’s respective friends.

She particularly enjoyed getting to know her extended family, spending a lot of time with Cassandra, the wife of Freddy, who was the son of Oriana.

Even Celeste showed a rare streak of kindness, bringing the geriatric Chace his drinks throughout the night.

Her parents continued to lead a lavish lifestyle, out clubbing most nights and being seen by the world press, with articles about their wild antics appearing daily, and Oliver becoming something of a cult figure.  They often pushed the limits of what their celebrity would allow, sex in club hot tubs was one of their favourite activities. They did however devote as much of their time as possible to Constance, who was the apple of their eye.

Constance loved to watch her families artistic abilities, reveling in her fathers magnificent paintings, her mothers exquisite sculptures, and the beautiful sound of her father playing the piano.

She filled her days painting, trying to copy her fathers work – never seeming to (understandably) get it quite right. The two were inseparable, going on trips to the botanical gardens, the local art galleries, and the National Parks, as well as trips to France, where they soaked up the local culture from the comfort of the air conditioned limousine.

Despite her own plans, Celeste found herself very happy in marriage to Oliver, he checked the boxes for her, and for the time being at least she had no desire to leave and move onto her next man. The two became closer and closer, both sexually and emotionally, and it wasn’t long before Celeste announced she was pregnant once again.

As much as he loved her he never got the likeness quite right when he took to her sculpting station…

It wasn’t long after Constance had gone away to LeFromage Art School, more due to her own pleas than the wishes of her mother, that on the 1st of January, while Oliver and Celeste were attending a gallery opening in Paris, Landon Belgravia was born. As much as he loved his daughter a son sent Oliver over the moon with joy, and he was soon taking his son through the first, tentative stages of life, teaching him to walk on the cliffside patio, helping him with the potty, and teaching him to talk by the graveside of Mysterious Mr. Gnome.

It wasn’t long before Landon was given a similarly extravagant party for his birthday, with the Belgravia clan rallying round to welcome another one of their own to the next stage of life.

Landon especially enjoyed hearing tales of his great-grandfathers past as they sat eating cake, hearing stories of his now deceased great-grandmother and beginning his first tentative steps on the guitar that Chace had bought him for his birthday.

To everyones surprise another Belgravia was born the night of Landons party, people had thought Celeste had been cultivating the ‘hippy look’ to fit in with the other mothers at Constance’s school, but she had in fact been carrying another Belgravia. Arabella Belgravia was born on the 1st of January, ensuing birthday-party conflict with her brother forever more.

*    *    *

In other news…

Freddy Belgravia, musician, the son of Oriana Belgravia and Jasper Merridon (never married) married Cassandra Velci, a fellow musician, who gave birth to a son, Mick Belgravia, who is also an aspiring musician.

Maria Whitley (nee Belgravia), the environmentalist and documentary film-maker, daughter of Oriana Belgravia and Jasper Merridon, married Charlie Whitney, the acclaimed musician, at a ceremony in the Belgravia Penthouse. The couple plan to move to Charlie’s native Scotland.

Andrew Belgravia-King, currently a surgical resident, son of Alexandra Belgravia and Jeremy King, married Jenny Killmon, who he met while in residency (she is also a resident).

Marquis Belgravia-King, world-renowned surgeon, married Argentinian Opera star Cambola Mizichi in the grounds of her parents house in Argentina. Like his cousin Maria, he plans to emigrate to his spouses native country.

– CLICK HERE FOR THE FAMILY TREE –

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Condensed versions of what would have happened in Tommy and Olivers lives so far, as well as a little information about the rest of the family.

N.B. The time frame of this goes beyond where we are so far with Olive.

Profile: Celeste Clarence-Veloria

Celeste Clarence-Veloria was born The Honourable Celeste Spencer in Mayfair, London on the 11th June 1987 (age 24) the only child of Charles Spencer, 1st Baron Eliot, a British peer and art collector, and Constance Spencer (nee Brille) a philanthropist and former fashion model. Her early life was spent at the families ancestral home in Hampshire where she grew up with the best money could buy.

An inquisitive toddler, her parents soon grew tired of her erratic behavior, sick of her always exploring the house grounds and getting into places she shouldn’t. They couldn’t wait till she grew up so her parents could go on with their own lives, her mother a famed society hostess, and her father an introverted art collector who rarely left the Hampshire home.

By the time she was 11 she had developed an unnatural curiosity for the arts, sneaking into her fathers private gallery and devouring everything she could. She was also fascinated by the eccentric characters her mother entertained at her parties, and set her mind on entering a world that combined the two. At 13 she was shipped off to L’Evier, a hideously expensive all girls private boarding school in the Swiss mountains, where she was quickly introduced to the world of boys, drugs, and alcohol by some of her more rebellious classmates. She graduated at 16 with an impeccable record, despite her penchant for debauchery she never failed a class while at school, partly due to her superior intellect and partly due to the sexual favours she bestowed on several of her professors. On her 17th birthday her mother informed her she was to be married to George Nassau Clarence-Cowper, 3rd Earl Cowper, which she fought vehemently, but eventually gave up once she saw the lifestyle she would be given. For three years Lady Celeste Clarence-Cowper and her new husband lived a relatively happy life. The young Earl, much like Celeste’s father, was a very introverted, shy man, which infuriated Celeste to no end. She had desires for grand balls and extravagant galas, which her husband would never allow her to host. She entertained herself by taking a series of lovers to distract from her husbands paltry love making abilities, moving from the poolboy to the footman to the gardener. While she may have took lovers she was prepared to try and make the marriage work, inside of her was a small spark of respect for the institution of marriage, and she didn’t want to give up on it.

The final straw came when Celeste returned home early to the London townhouse from a trip to China to find her husband on all fours being roughly serviced by the butler. She was no prude, but there was such a thing as decorum. She fled to Paris to ride out the scandal after the rumours began to spread around the London social scene. Buying a magnificent mansion on the Avenue Foch with the money from her divorce settlement she finally set about using her art knowledge. She had a knack for finding an unknown artist, usually a male but she was not adverse to female company, ensnaring them with her sexuality and sending their prices flying through the roof with the glamour of the celebrity she had learnt from her mother. Soon the artists pieces would be selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and she became the central player of the European art world, jet setting across the continent in search of exciting, attractive artists.

While she had no desire to ever see her ex-husband again, she retained the title and kept on using his name, soon learning that being a Lady, and one from the Clarence-Cowper family, got her anything she wanted. For a year her collection continued to grow, and the collection of artists who owed their careers to Celeste became bigger and bigger. She went through men fast.  Most of them bored her after she had sampled their bodies. She needed more than sex, she needed an added thrill, which she found when she met Italian business tycoon (or at least that’s what he said he was) Roberto Veloria at a party she was hosting at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, a man of forty-five with charm, smooth lines, a reputation as a womanizer, and a great wardrobe. He courted her through the discotheques of Europe and married her on her twenty first birthday in the grounds of her parents Hampshire house.

They stayed together a year. She endured a still born child while he spent as much of her money as he could. His indiscretions hit the newspapers and magazines once to often. Celeste was furious to discover he had been dancing the night away while she was screaming the night away delivering their still born child. She settled two Ferraris and three million euros on her second mistake. He never had time to enjoy it, three months after the divorce he stepped out of a car in Paris and was blown to pieces by a terrorist bomb. Celeste had no time to mourn, she was too busy clamoring her way up the social scene in New York. Both of the names she had married were recognized world wide, so she restyled herself The Hon. Celeste Clarence-Veloria, quickly moving to the top of the American social world, establishing herself as one of the best dressed women in America as well as an unmatched hostess and fantastic patron of the arts. Frequently on the cover of Womens Wear Daily she was soon a favorite target of the American paparazzi. Immersing herself in American culture she soon found that one name stood out above all the others – Belgravia. Redirecting her focus to the city of Redcliffe she settled down in a Colonial mansion in the hills of the city and set about getting what she wanted, a Belgravia.

Styles and Titles

– The Honourable Celeste Spencer (1987-2004)                                                                   – The Lady Celeste Clarence-Cowper (2004-2008)                                                               – The Hon. Mrs. Veloria (2008-2009)                                                                                         – The Hon. Celeste Clarence-Veloria (2009- )

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Something to entertain you with until the heir vote is complete.

Generation 2 – Chapter 16 Part 1

Oliver

Celeste had suggested I move on with another show as quickly as possible. My art was getting rave reviews from the critics and the buyers were clamoring for more work. The  most popular were the paintings I did of Celeste and of Tommy, in such a short space of time they had been dubbed the new necessity for social acceptance in the art world, if I’d painted you, then you’d apparently ‘made it’. I’d already started more portraits for a show I wanted to do in the future with one of Kitty.

The portrait show that I saw for the future would be a mix of ordinary people I’d just ask to pose, combined with a scattering of models and celebrities to bring the crowds in. I hoped I could get Ingrid Cale to pose for me, she would definitely bring a lot of attention to the work, as well as grandma. I hadn’t actually asked her to pose for me, I presumed she’d be down for it but I wasn’t really sure how she felt about being painted, definitely need to check that one out. Although the portrait gallery was my focus at the moment it was still a long way off. It would take time to sit down with a host of different people, especially with the schedules of the celebrities I was interested in painting. My current show was all about the human form, a series of paintings of both men and women in just their underwear. At first I’d ran into problems because it had been done so many times before, I didn’t want to copy anyone or anything so I’d decided to spice things up a little by giving the main paintings a homo-erotic feel.

The guys clearly thought  I was gay, and the girls obviously thought I was a pervert but I didn’t mind, I was paying them to pose, not to think. The paintings came out great in the end, at lease Celeste thought they’d do well.

Ah Celeste, after she’d kissed me on the night of the show she’d just walked off as if it was the most normal thing in the world, I wish! I didn’t know what she was doing, if it was just some kind of game rolling around in her posh English head or if she was actually interested in me (which I sure as hell hoped!) but I didn’t care as long as I got to make out with her again. Ah, that kiss…

The show came around faster than I expected, before I knew it muscle men in tighty whiteys and svelte girls in their panties weren’t hanging around my studio any more, the paintings were all set up, and Celeste was popping in to sort out the lighting and last minute details in between endless calls to her party planner. I was excited to see my family at the show, Celeste owned a gallery right on Grand Street in the centre of town, the Veloria Gallery, which had a studio and living space above it, so I’d been staying there. It was easier to ask my models to get to Grand Street than trek up into the country so I could draw them at home, besides I didn’t think mom and dad would have appreciated a bunch of guys and girls making out for hours on end in the sunroom while I painted them.

People were definitely shocked when they walked in the door. Not exactly by the homosexual nature of the paintings, this was the art crowd after all, more that it was a 16 year old who had painted them. I didn’t care about things like that, sex wasn’t something that made me squeam or get embarrassed or anything, I don’t really know why, maybe it was because I’d been looking at nudes from a young age, ever since I was interested in art, but whatever.

“My son! I’m so proud of you!” Mom gushed as I went over to talk to her. She had let me stay at the Veloria gallery for the past few weeks without any problems at all, I thought she might have tried to keep me at home, as I was still in school and stuff, but she’d just mumbled somethings about ‘her at my age..’ and walked off, whatever that was supposed to mean.

“Now I know I don’t know that much about art, but I do know these are amazing son. I really love them.” She looked around the room, taking in all the work before she looked at me once more, smiling broadly. I was so happy that she liked it, it was fantastic to see her up and about after the awful ordeal with the cancer. You wouldn’t have even known she was wearing a wig while she grew her hair back.

“Thanks mom, I’m glad you like them. Is dad coming?” I looked around nervously for Noah, he was definitely happy that I was out making something of myself but he would probably have been a bit put off that his son was drawing men making out with each other.

“He said he’d try to stop by later. Listen,” she leaned in close to me, “do we need to have a conversation about your sexuality?” I couldn’t tell if she was joking or not, was she being serious?!

“Mom!” I shouted back at her, outraged. How could she even ask? “Don’t you think I would have told you?!” I couldn’t care less that she was asking if I was gay, it was the fact that she thought I’d keep something so big from her!

“Okay, okay, sorry!” She said, throwing her hands up.

After pecking mom on the cheek I went around and said hi to everyone, I had to make sure my presence was noticeable, Celeste said buyers loved it if the artist came and spoke to them, it wasn’t as if it was any trouble, so why not. Heading into the second, much smaller room with a few more pieces in I came face to face with Ingrid. I hadn’t seen her since the last opening, although I had gotten a call from her secretary, a Miss Suzie Sandor who invited me to an upcoming gala being hosted at her Grand Circle mansion.

“Well, well. Mr Belgravia himself. I’d take my hat off to you if I ever wore one.” Ingrid smiled at me, waving her arm around the room to indicate the art. “Who are these fabulously beautiful models? It’s a wonder bodies like these even exist.”

“That’s the first one I got, James.” I told her, pointing to him on  a painting of all of the five models I used for the show. “He basically hooked me up with the rest.”

“And then you hooked them up with each other.” She joked, her hand resting on my arm for a few seconds. Looking into her face I was captivated. She wasn’t the most beautiful woman I’d seen, but there was just something about her…

“Do you think anyone will be joining us in this room?” She was definitely flirting with me.

“I dunno. I hope not.” I was trying to make it clear that I wanted to be in here with her, this was so surreal.

I’d had a poster of this woman on my wall just a few years ago, now she was flirting with me!!

“Who’s that one? With the grey hair.” She nodded back to the painting.

“Andreas.” I didn’t have to look at the painting, I knew the models by heart, my eyes never left hers. I didn’t know if it was the confidence I was feeling from everyone praising me all night, or the adrenaline rush of being so close to Ingrid Cale but I felt myself moving closer and closer to her, she stooped a little to be at my level, I didn’t feel emasculated or anything, who would if Ingrid Cale was stooping down to kiss them?! For a second I thought about Celeste, what would she think? But how could I resist a star of the silver screen?

*      *      *

Kitty

The sense of elation I felt as I walked out of the journalism workshop was one I hadn’t felt for a long time. I hadn’t realised how behind I’d gotten on current affairs, how sloppy my writing had became, or, most importantly, just how much I missed writing. I’d finally caved and called grandfather, after all, what were family for if not to help each other? He’d gotten me onto the best course in the city within an hour of my call, and the next day I was there! I’d been hoping for some hot guys in the class, but they were total duds. Oh well, the writing was enough to occupy me anyway. I felt like I could do anything, thinking about the Nature vs Nurture debate we’d just had, thinking how the teacher had praised my work, it had been such a good day! I was so busy thinking about the class that I never noticed the loose curb…

Hitting the pavement hard I had the wind knocked out of me, ouch! I hadn’t taken such a bad fall in quite a while, thank God my spine wasn’t broken or something, jesus. I was definitely complaining to the local council about this one. Sitting up and nursing my head I got another shock, a total stranger leaning down right in front of me! He looked concerned, and was offering his hand.

“You okay there? Do you need me to take you to the hospital or anything?” He asked as he pulled me up. I was so embarrassed!

“Oh no, no, I’m fine, just silly old me, too wrapped up in my own little world to notice a god damn paving stone.” I laughed half heatedly, I really didn’t feel like talking, I just wanted to get home.

“You sure there’s nothing I can do?”

“Completely. Thanks for your help.” It was then that I really looked at him, he was actually really cute, and he was kind to boot! I had to take my chance now while I had it. “Um, I don’t know if you’re into it or anything but my brother Oliver is having an art show soon all these different portraits he’s done, I wondered if you’d like to come… you know, as a thank you.” I rung my hands nervously, it wasn’t often I was nervous about boys, but I wanted this guy not to think of me as a total freak.

He tilted his head to the side, smiling slightly. Damn I wished I had mind reading powers, I hated not knowing what he was going to say! It felt like hours before he smiled at me and nodded his head.

“I’d love to come, thanks…?”

“Kitty.” I smiled back, did I just pick up a guy on the street? Go me!

“Cool. I’m Laurence.” Laurence, hmm, the name didn’t really seem to fit the whole persona he had going on with the scruffy hair, denim jacket and converse, but whatever. After all, what kind of a name was Kitty?!

“Um, here, call me and I’ll tell you all about it.” I quickly scrawled my note on a scrap of paper from class and thrust it into his hand, and with that I ran off  to my car, smiling to myself all the way home.

*     *     *

Olive

For a second I didn’t know where I was, then I remembered, Riley’s bed. I’d just lost my virginity, kind of a big deal I guess, but at least it wasn’t hanging on my shoulders any more. Moving to the window I looked out over the dark ocean.

What was I doing? I should just go home, where I was meant to be, I didn’t belong here. But I didn’t belong at home either, everyone was so perfect apart from me, the wreck of the family. They’d be better off without me.

“Morning honey bun!” Reena squealed from the terrace as I moved out into the bright morning sun after a few hours in my own bed. When I wasn’t drunk I realised how annoying she was, ugh.

“Morning.” I replied, sitting down and playing with my hair, I didn’t really know what to do with myself, hopefully there was some drink in the house.

“How was last night? Was Riley just amazing?! I think about having sex with him myself sometimes, but like, he’s my cousin! Like, ew?!”

“Uh, yeah, it was great!” I threw her a big smile, to be honest it wasn’t all that. I was uncomfortable with it, and it hurt a lot, but at least my stupid virginity was gone, I guess it made me a real woman. I sat staring at the ocean for a few more minutes, jeez it made me feel small. Looking over at Reena I noticed a strange look on her face as she stared at me, what the hell was she doing?

“What?!” I snapped after a few minutes.

“Babes, calm down! It must be your icky black hair that’s making you so angry. You totes need a Miami makeover, oh em gee! Isn’t that the best idea ever?!”

“You think I need a makeover?!” I accused angrily. Was she saying I looked bad or something, at least I wasn’t a walking barbie!

“Oh hun calm down, I know what I’m doing. Trust me.” Before I could object she’d grabbed my arm and was leading me through the endless glass house down to ‘the makeover room’ as she called it. Standing in front of the full length mirror I thought I looked fine, why should I change?

“Sweetie you’re more goth glam!” Goth?! I wasn’t a goth at all, just because I had black hair?! “You need to lighten the hair a bit, get some color on your cheeks, and a cute dress! Listen put this on,” She handed me a hot pink blindfold, “I swear I won’t go far! You’ll really fit in more with the Miami vibe.” She gave me her famous puppy dog eyes, well why not? If she wasn’t gonna go over the top I might as well let her make me look a little more Miami.

Stepping down once she was done a few hours later I didn’t know what she would have done, hopefully I’d just look a little more ‘fun’. We made our way back to the terrace where Carlie was waiting for us, she still wouldn’t let me look in the mirror though!

“Where the hell have you guys been I wanna go- OH MY GOD! You look so different Olive, I swear you don’t even look like the same person!” Um, was that good?! What had she done?

“Isn’t it sooo fun?!” Reena gushed, fixing my hair at the back, I still hadn’t seen it! I quickly ran into the house and looked in the bathroom mirror. Was that me? I looked completely different!

“WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE?!” I screamed, marching back onto the terrace in a fury.

“Hun just calm down, you look totally hot. Goth chic’s out sweetie, you wanna be glam, right?” I was about to scream at her again when I realised there was nothing I could do. I could go back to my original look but what was the point? I might as well give this ‘Miami look’ a try, maybe they were right, maybe I really did look better.

“So cute.” Carlie agreed as Reena linked her arm through mine.

“So girls, we ready to hit the clubs?” Carlie asked, pouring herself a shot and downing it.

“Clubs? Can we get in?” I asked nervously, if I was drunk I wouldn’t have thought twice about it, but I’d been in that stupid makeover room all day, I felt like I was going crazy.

“Of course!” Carlie and Reena both laughed at my obvious naivety. “In this town all you gotta do is look hot, flirt with the bouncer and you’re in. Lets have a dance before we go!” Reena ran and switched the music on while I quickly went to the bar and had a few mouthfuls of vodka. Much better.

We danced on the terrace for a few hours, I loved dancing, I just felt so free! I must admit the new look was making me feel a little more confident, I felt like I fitted in with the others more, who needed family when I had friends like this? It was as if Reena actually cared about me, wow, I loved them so much! The club we ended up going to was apparantly the best in the city, ‘only the best for us!’ Carlie had shouted as we rode up in the elevator, I must admit I didn’t think we’d get in, but after a lot of drinks I was feeling pretty sure of myself, and a quick flirt with the burly bouncer got us straight in.

“Don’t look now girls but we’re totally getting the eye.” Carlie commented as she enjoyed her Bubblegum Bubbles. The eye?

“Of course we are. Where are they?” Reena flicked her long blonde hair and looked around the club, quickly spotting the three guys across from us, smiling and nodding appreciatively.

“Um, they’re total duds. Why are there no hot guys here?” I asked the girls, I wanted to find someone cute to have fun with, not those idiots who only looked about our age. I’d had Riley now, I was worth more than that.

“Can’t you see the guy on the left?” I looked over at the foreign looking guy with the shaved head, um- ew much?

“What about him? He’s ugly.” I said.

“Who cares about his looks, he’s worth like 400 million, I met him last summer.” Reena said, seeming very interested.

“Sorry Reena babes, you know moms cut me off. He’s gotta be for me.” Carlie stood up, and smoothing down her tight leather dress sashayed across the room to where the boys were stood. Me and Reena followed a strategic 5 minutes later.

After a few minutes of shouting to each other over the pumping music we ended up downstairs on the dance floor. I got the best out of a bad bunch, I didn’t know his name, but he was a decent dancer so whatever. He definitely liked me, I knew that much. He kept putting his arms around my neck, which I’d strategically wiggle out of by pretending to be dancing, like I was better than him, I deserved someone better. At least I didn’t get Reenas guy, who I could see eyeing her up and down, a mini Barbie in her pink playsuit, impossibly long blonde hair and hot pink lipstick. He even grabbed her boob at one point!

I noticed Carlie was busy ensnaring her guy, they were over in a quieter part of the club, and I could see her hand grazing his crotch from time to time, I suppose a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. Her mom was cutting her off, I mean I don’t have a clue what I’d do without money. Thank god mom didn’t lock my account when I ran off.

I guess the night was a success, we got guys, we had drinks, and we had fun. I just wished I’d met a better guy. Rolling out of the club at 3AM we were quickly picked up by the police, when we couldn’t give them any ID it was straight into the back of a cop car, for a second I was nervous but I just ended up laughing about it, after all what would they do to Lily Belgravia’s granddaughter?

*     *     *

Part 2 – the final installment of this generation – should be up tomorrow.

Also the family tree has been updated with Oriana and Alexandra’s families; can you believe that Lily is now a great-grandmother?! 

– Marissa x

Generation 2 – Chapter 15

TWO YEARS LATER…

Celeste walked around the gallery making sure everything was perfect, she wanted Oliver’s show to be amazing and it wouldn’t do to have a broken light or an off centre picture.

She was a little weary that he had chosen so many paintings of her to be in the show, but she had to admit that they were amazing pieces of art; and she did look exceptional in them. She wasn’t aware that when she met Oliver 2 years ago at the National Park that he would have turned out to be her best discovery yet. The paintings were incredible, there were at least a few Masterpieces in this gallery and even more Brilliant paintings. The Redcliffe Review had declared one of his paintings, showing his brother Tommy, as his first ‘Masterpiece’. She still smiled when she remembered telling him the amazing news, Oliver had been trying and trying to get recognition for his work but he couldn’t do it alone. Luckily Celeste Clarence-Veloria had connections in all the right places, and quickly the Belgravia house was being visited by some of the cities most powerful people, all willing to pay exorbitant prices for his art.

Extracting her phone Celeste dialed the number of her party planner, she had told her to have the champagne here by 7, it was now 7.15 and there was no champagne in sight. Celeste was a stickler for timing, except when it came to herself.

“Cara darling, would you mind telling me why the champagne isn’t here?” Her voice was icy, her eyes slits of disproval as she listened to the party planners excuses. “Cara I don’t have time for this. I pay you for a service, I expect that service to be completed, get the champagne here now or I’ll make sure you never work in this town again.”

She knew she was harsh, but that was, in her opinion, the only way to keep people in check. They had to realise that there would be consequences if they didn’t do as they were told, her father had taught her that many years ago. The scene was all set, all it needed now was the elite of society to fill the room, and hopefully make both her and Oliver a lot of money, not that either of them needed it.

*    *    *

Cora ran through the house laughing joyously, she loved playing games and having fun, and was encouraged to do just that by her mother and father. Delving into her dressing up box she looked for the perfect outfit for todays game, even though she didn’t have anyone to play with at the moment she still had as much fun as she could, she was by no means a loner, but her own company didn’t bother her.

“Gather round and listen to me, for I am your ruler!” She shouted, stood atop a chair in the dining room pretending to address her loyal followers.

“To the treetop castle we go!” Jumping from the chair with a huge bang she ran as fast as she could through the kitchen, out of the back door and into the play area. Climbing up into the tree house that had been passed down through all of the family children she wondered what to do next.

“Cora! Come on we’re ordering dinner, get down!” Kitty shouted from beneath the tree house.

“Wait! Kitty, stay there!” A smile spread across Cora’s face as she moved to the corner of the room where she always kept a few things to play tricks on her brothers and sisters.

“What is it Cora, come on I’m starving!” Kitty tapped her heels on the floor, waiting for Cora to come down the slide, she wasn’t looking where she should have been.

“Cora!” Kitty screamed up to the tree house, wringing out her hair as she stormed off into the house, leaving Cora howling with laughter.

*    *    *

“I’m so glad you’re here, it’s been too long since I saw you.” Tommy told Jennifer as they settled down on the sofa in Tommy’s room.

The two had been inseparable since they met in the hospital two years ago, on the night of the ordeal with Arielle. Jennifer had really helped him through the entire process, comforting him when he couldn’t deal with his mothers illness, going with him to the support sessions and telling him all about her own experiences with her mothers cancer. Once the amazing news that Arielle was in remission had came through a few months ago Tommy had finally asked her to go steady with him, he had wanted to do it for months but he was with Arielle a lot of the time, just talking to her and spending time with her, he didn’t want to leave Jennifer feeling like a spare part, but now he could give her his full attention.

Neither of them were really paying attention to the movie Tommy had thrown on when she had first arrived, they were more interested in giving each other the full attention they hadn’t been able to give before.

Although Tommy was liking Jennifer more and more, and she was his girlfriend, he couldn’t shake the memories of Austin from his mind, and he didn’t really want to. He was starting to realise that it didn’t matter if it was boys or girls that society said you were supposed to be attracted to, you could kiss anyone you wanted, it wasn’t about their sex, it was just about your feelings. Tommy could feel Jennifers hand on his thigh, and felt his face flush as he stirred down below. He didn’t know how far Jennifer wanted to go, he knew she wasn’t a virgin, but he was.

“Do you want to do it Tommy?” She whispered into his ear.

“I – um-…” Tommy stuttered, lost for words. Of course he wanted to have sex with Jennifer, he was a man wasn’t he?! He knew his virginity was supposed to be special, and he couldn’t think of anyone more special to him than Jennifer. The two teenagers moved to the bed, cautiously exploring each others bodies before disappearing under the sheets.

Afterwards they laid in each others arms, totally relaxed and comfortable with one another.

*    *    *

Kitty was bored. During Arielles cancer she had dropped out of most of her after school activities, and had not pursued the internship in journalism in order to be there for her mother. Now that school had broken for summer she had nothing to do with herself all day, so used to being incredibly academically busy before her mothers cancer, and being incredibly busy taking care of Arielle during the cancer, now she was stuck. Roaming the house looking for something to do she decided to go and see her brother, maybe he’d want to go to a movie or something. She never had learnt to knock.

She was shocked when she saw what was going on in the room. Tommy and Jennifer making out wouldn’t have been that shocking, but on the bed in their underwear! Sex was clearly on the agenda for them, she was so embarrassed that she ran out as fast as she could, knocking over a huge pile of DVD’s on her way.

“Kitty! Hey, Kitty!” she could hear Tommy shouting from the bedroom, she wished she had just knocked! Walking as fast as possible down the hallway she hoped Tommy wouldn’t follow her.

“Kitty wait!” She turned on her heel and faced him, both of their faces blushing with embarrassment.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” She said, throwing her hands in the air.

“It’s fine, just knock next time okay? And don’t tell anyone.” Tommy wasn’t sure how his parents felt about sex, after all he was getting old now, most of the people he knew had lost their virginity so it couldn’t be that shocking to them, but it wasn’t really the sort of thing you sat and discussed with your parents.

“Of course I won’t.” Kitty squirmed awkwardly as she spoke. She wasn’t that disturbed by her brother stood in front of her in his underwear, more the fact that she herself was still a virgin. She had wanted it to be special, and Jake just hadn’t been that person. Their relationship had been put under a lot of strain because of her mothers illness, and the two of them had broken up a year ago.

“Go and, I guess enjoy yourself.” Kitty laughed, pushing him back towards the bedroom. She still remembered how angry he was on the night of the party, before everything happened. She knew there was something behind it, probably to do with a girl (or so she thought) but she was glad he’d found Jennifer and seemingly gotten over it all. She just wished she had someone of her own, she was lonely, especially without Olive.

*     *     *

“Come on you pussy down it! I can drink more vodka than you!” Olive laughed as she stood on the terrace of her friend Reena’s parents beach house in Miami, a glass of pure vodka in her hand.

“No way! I can definitely drink more than a girl.” Marc, one of Reena’s Miami friends shouted back, throwing back the vodka in one swift gulp, causing him to choke and splutter as everyone laughed.

“Can you?” She looked around at her friends before she also threw her vodka back, standing perfectly composed.

The vodka barely affected her, she had drank so much of it over the past 2 years that she couldn’t get through the day without a few glasses. She always carried a silver hip flask in her bag, using it to spike her coffee or pouring it into a glass and pretending it was water. Arielle’s cancer had hit her worst out of everyone, she just wasn’t able to think positively, and had turned to alcohol to get rid of the thoughts of her mother dying that had consumed her daily. Her bulimia had escalated to the point where she was making herself sick after a single mouthful of food, and although Kitty had tried to help her, Olive just wouldn’t listen.

“Lets dance!” Reena shouted, dragging people over the dance floor on the corner of the terrace, Olive loved being around these people, they didn’t care what she did, drinking vodka daily and making yourself sick was just a normal occurrence to them, cocaine was also a daily habit, although Olive hadn’t joined in that one yet.

“Come on Olive, do that dance with me!” Reena screamed over the music, her high pitched girly voice ringing over the ocean. Olive hardly knew the girl, she had been in a few of her classes at school and had a reputation as something of a party girl, so one day Olive had just started talking to her. As long as Olive drank like a fish, smoked like a chimney and was as skinny as she could possibly be her and Reena got  on perfectly, hence the invite to Reena’s step-fathers Miami beach house for the summer.

“What the hell are you guys doing?! Turn the music down!” Reena’s cousin Riley shouted as he emerged onto the terrace. He was staying with them at the house, supposedly ‘keeping them in check’, little did the parents know Riley threw more parties than Reena did, and did a lot harder drugs.

“Oh no, no, no, no, Ri-leeey! Please let us keep it on.” Reena mock-begged, sticking out her bottom lip and giving him her infamous puppy dog eyes.

“Hmm…” He mused, staring at his cousins friends on the dance floor. He had never really paid them much attention over the few weeks they had been here, he was too busy with his string of girlfriends. But he was bored and horny… “I’ll let you keep your crap little party going if you do something for me.” He leaned over and whispered into Reenas ear.

Standing on the corner of the deck overlooking the ocean Olive yearned for home, this wasn’t her place, not really. But she knew she couldn’t go back. She had caused to much trouble to just go back with her tail between her legs, she was too proud to admit that she had been a wreck for the past two years, she simply couldn’t cave so easily.

“Hey Olive. Thought I’d come see ya’.” Riley said, flexing his muscles and leaning against the stereo.

“Yeah cool, haven’t spoke to you much while we’ve been here.” Olive replied, checking him out. He was definitely attractive in a very brash, muscled, beach boy kind of way.

“C’mere.” He grabbed her shoulder, pulling him close to her and began whispering into her ear. “My cus’ told me you’re down for a bit of fun.” Olive looked at him with a confused expression on her face, her experience with men was exactly none. “You know, you help me out, I help you out, that kinda’ thing.”

“What the hell! No way, I don’t even know you!” She shouted back.

“Woah, woah! My cousin said you were cool, what’s the big problem?!”

She couldn’t believe what he was asking her, he had only met her a few weeks ago and he wanted them to have sex! Moving away from him and standing over at the edge of the terrace with her vodka she mused about her love life, no one had ever shown any attention to her, sure guys had wolf whistled at her in the street but every girl got that from time to time, maybe she should go with Riley, just to get it out of the way, she’d only need a little more vodka. She downed the glass.

“Olive! I can’t believe you! Riley’s gonna shut of the music, just because you won’t have sex with him!!” Reena shouted, her eyes emitting rays of anger.

“I’m not having sex with your cousin, I don’t even know him.” Olive replied blankly, staring straight through Reena.

“Why not?! He’s obviously great in bed, he must have had sex with like 30 girls in the two weeks we’ve been here, it’ll be fun, stop being so boring!” The words boring snapped Olive out of her daze, boring was one thing she always prided herself on not being. She may not have been the smartest or the prettiest girl, but she certainly wasn’t boring. Looking down at the floor she thought for a few seconds.

“I’ll do it, should be fun.” She faked a smile at her ‘friend’, looking around for Riley.

“I knew you’d come around! I told him you’d do it, so he’s gone to wait in the bedroom. Enjoy it sweetie, oh can you pass me my bag?” Olive leaned over and passed the hot pink clutch to Reena, who proceeded to fish out a small bag of white powder, which she laid out on the table and snorted with a rolled up hundred. It didn’t faze Olive, she was used to it. Heading up to the master bedroom where Riley she stayed she didn’t feel nervous at all, a little excited maybe, but really she just felt numb. She had been drinking none stop since she woke up, drink didn’t give her that elated sense of joy it gave so many people, it just made her unthinking, as if her sense was snatched away from her.

“Hey kido. Glad you came.” Riley watched from his position on the side of the blank white bed as she sashayed across the room in her spangled swimsuit.

*    *    *

“You can do this..” Oliver muttered to himself as he adjusted his shirt and checked himself out in front of the bathroom mirror. Tonight was his first show, and although he usually favored jeans and an old t shirt he wanted to look respectable for tonight, after all the photos would probably be on page six.

The party was the only social event going on. Well, the only one worth going to. It was an amalgamation of the Redcliffe glitterati, who had turned out in force to support who was soon to become one of their own. The star power was brought by Oliver’s grandmother Lily, the famous movie star, as well as a host of other actors and actresses, models, journalists, musicians, and business moguls who would pay exorbitant prices for a good piece of art. Oriana, Oliver’s aunt, was there with her rock star boyfriend Jasper (still going – well, is strong really the word for those two?) as well as his other aunt Alexandra, the international best selling author.

“The work is so great, I’ll definitely be buying a few pieces for the new studio Jasper and I are building in our backyard.” Oriana slurred, already drunk before she arrived. Oliver had never had much of a relationship with her, but he thanked her nonetheless.

“Isn’t it just divine?” Celeste’s clipped English voice could be heard shmoozing clients from the back of the gallery, where she basked in the attention that she was getting; people turned to stare at her once they noticed the woman in a lot of the paintings was among them. She was currently persuading a first time buyer to purchase, her specialty. “A Belgravia piece will just go so well in any setting, wonderful for a hallway or a dining room to really make a statement, you know sweetie,” she leaned in and whispered, “this is the young mans first show, and as you can see by all the red stickers around here he is very popular.” She stood up straight once more, her voice rising, “Why I imagine his paintings will be selling for ten times the amount I’m selling them for now in ten years!”

“There he is over there, isn’t he just a darling?” She pointed behind her to where Oliver was stood, still in conversation with Oriana.

“Is that Oriana Belgravia he’s talking to? She was on the cover of Rolling Stone a few weeks ago with Jasper.” The woman said, clearly impressed. Celeste knew she’d got her.

“Oh yes, his aunt you know. This family has a lot of star power.” Celeste had learnt long ago that for the majority of the people willing to spend thousands, or even millions on a piece of art the artist was as every bit important as the work itself. Coming from a family like the Belgravia’s Oliver had a massive amount of star power, she knew that people would be interested in the art just because of the name he had been born into.

“I can’t  believe he did a painting of me!” Tommy was shouting from behind the partition in the middle of the room, staring at the painting of himself up on the wall, which had already been marked with a red sticker to show it had been sold, probably due to the glowing review it was given in The Redcliffe Review. “And who the hell bought it? Why would someone want a painting of me on their wall?!”

“Because it’s a good painting man!” Oliver said as he came around the corner. Tommy smiled at his brother, he was insanely flattered that his brother had painted him, never mind put him in the gallery. The two brothers hugged and stared at the painting, Tommy trying his hardest to look like he was interested. They caught each others eye and burst out laughing.

“My grandson!” Lily boomed, embraced Oliver in a light hug. “I simply love the work, it’s incredible, I’m so proud of you.” Lily was genuinely impressed, she was glad her grandson had some talent, she would have hated to see him end up like a lot of other rich, off the rails children.

“I must ask though, who is the woman in all of the paintings? I heard people saying she’s here tonight. I have to say she looks a little old for you.”

“Grandma!” Oliver laughed, he couldn’t think of his grandmother in a sexual scene, he preferred to believe she had never had sex in her life. “It’s my agent, she’s the one who made all this happen, and I just love painting her.” He smiled at his grandmother. It was true, apart from the part about being completely infatuated with Celeste being missed out.

“Well as long as she makes you happy, that’s what I always say.” Lily replied, thinking to herself that it was her who had made all of this happen, half the people here wouldn’t have turned up if rumors of her attendance hadn’t ‘leaked’ onto the internet, no doubt spread by Celeste. ‘I must get my Private Investigator onto her…” She mused as she walked off to chat with the co-star in her latest blockbuster.

“Am I brilliant or am I brilliant?” Celeste beamed as she quickly walked across the room to Oliver. “I just sold Starburst for three times it’s worth, people are willing to pay anything for these!”

“That’s great, I hope it doesn’t cause problems but I gave two of these to aunt Alex, so I marked them.” His aunt had expressed an interest in buying the paintings, but he never saw her, and knew she had a growing brood to support, with Celestes insane prices she might have left with nothing, besides, it took nothing for him to paint, it was easy. Celeste pressed her fingers to her temple to stop herself yelling in the middle of the packed room.

Slowly opening her eyes she spoke in an unnaturally even manner, her eyes never leaving Olivers.

“Are you being serious? That’s the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard, I could have made thousands off two paintings, and you’re just giving them away?”

“Hey it’s no big deal, it’s not like I care about the money, I just want some recognition for my work.”

“You don’t care about the money? Well you bloody well should because that’s what the recognition is. The more a painting is worth the more recognition it gets. We can steadily rise your prices with each show, but giving them away isn’t doing you any favors.” If there was one thing Celeste knew it was art, she needed Oliver to listen to her if their working relationship was going to work.

“Fine, it’s no biggie. I’ll paint two more and you can sell them privately.”

Celeste leaned back, glaring at Oliver. He was her best client, but his laid back attitude really got to her sometimes. She knew she couldn’t win this one, and it annoyed her. She was a woman who always won. But she had to give in before they caused a scene.

“Fine. Ingrid Cale is in the other room, she wants to speak with you.” and with that she turned on her heel and stalked out of the room.

Ingrid Cale was one of Olivers favourite actresses. He never really got star struck, having a famous actress for a grandmother you got used to seeing famous people daily, but Ingrid Cale was better than any of them, she was basically the Lily Belgravia of her generation, and for her to want to talk to him was amazing.

“Ah! Oliver! I have been wanting to speak  with you all night, the art is fabulous darling, simply fabulous! And for one so young it is fantastic! I’ve already bought three pieces. You must come to my next party you know, I’ll make sure Suzie puts you on the list. Come, let us smile for this photographer!” She  put her arm around his waist, smile fixed firmly in place as she stared at the camera in front of her. Oliver managed to smile just in time.

“I- wow, thank you, it’s amazing to hear you say that. I love your movies by the way.” He didn’t care if he sounded like a dumb star struck fan, he had to tell her how much he loved her work.

“Ah thank you! Now where is that waiter with the champagne, have you had much dear?” She craned her neck looking for the waiter, before her eyes rested on Olivers face, and she peered at him intently.

“You are old enough for champagne aren’t you? You’re what… 19?” She was a woman renowned for being able to guess an age perfectly, but Oliver stumped her. He looked youthful, yet there was an attractiveness and a confidence there she usually associated with older men, he was also a great talent, which she rarely saw in those younger than 18.

“I’m old enough, besides it’s my party.” Oliver replied slyly, grabbing two glasses from the waiter and handing one to Ingrid, letting his fingers rest on hers for a moment.

“My, my, aren’t you something. Definitely coming to one of my parties.” She narrowed her eyes and smiled at him coyly, she always did like them young.

“Amazing turn out wasn’t it?” Celeste said as she roamed up and down the gallery with Oliver. The party had wound down about an hour ago, the trail of limousines had looked like the Presidential cavalcade as they wound their way through the country lanes back into the centre of the city, many with a Belgravia piece wrapped tightly in the back.

“It was amazing, thanks Celeste.”

“Oh it’s no problem darling. Of course I’ll work out my commission, but that isn’t important right now.” Celeste needed Oliver. Although her place in the tabloids and her standing as one of the reat socialittes of Redcliffe was firmly in place her career as an art dealer was on the down. Unknown artists didn’t sell anymore. Oliver himself may have been unknown, but the Belgravia name was renowned world wide, and as such sold buckets worth of art. She wanted to show her appreciation for him in the best way she knew. Before Oliver could react she’d grabbed him around the waist, turning him towards her and looked into his eyes for only a second before she plunged her crimson lips onto his. He didn’t resist, she knew he wouldn’t. Just a second before she had kissed him Oliver thought he saw her face soften, her steely glare turn into one of kindness, or joy, but he lost it as he immersed himself in the kiss, his first kiss to be precise. He had gotten complete recognition for his art and his first kiss with a woman so far out of his league he thought she might be gone in an instant. All in all a a very successful night for Oliver.

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Sorry if anyone is a little dissapointed that I sort of skipped over the whole cancer situation, I really wanted to do it justice, and I think I kind of rushed into the storyline without thinking about how I would do it properly. We’re on chapter 15 now (can you believe it!?) and I really wanted to give the kids my full focus. Also being an issue that is so close to my heart (and many others) I just felt it would be easier to move on with the story, and get back into happier times – I hope everyone’s okay with that!

What do you think of the new characters? Any ideas for how the story should proceed, I love to know what you think!

– Marissa x