Tag Archives: family

Generation 4 – Chapter 5

Electra and Ricky had rented a house in Sunset Valley where they had been staying for just a few months. After the success of the bands first album, Electra had thought that everything was falling into place, but – on the advice of her record label – the band had decided to go in a completely different direction for the next album, a huge failure. The album sales had been dismal, and Electra had fled Bridgeport and the masses of photographers who had all revelled in her downfall. Luckily she had Ricky, the only thing that was keeping her sane. She wanted her music to take off so badly, and everything had started out so well. The house they were staying in was completely protected by walls, with a thick oak door to keep the photographers and paparazzi at bay. It hadn’t had the same success with keeping away Olive, Electra’s mother. After her break up with Ryan, Electra and Ricky had flew into a shotgun wedding. Ricky hailed from ancient English family, the France-Lynches, who held a lordship, although Ricky never actually used the title. Olive, in her jealousy at her daughters new title of Lady Electra, had turned around on her promises of a new leaf and divorced her husband, The Governor of Bridgeport, and replaced him with Prince Andrew Von Derringer, allowing her to get one up on her daughter by making her a Princess. Electra could not have cared less.

“You better get ready.” Electra chided as she slipped on her maroon turtleneck and turned to her husband. “Your mom and grandma are downstairs waiting.”

“Ugh, exactly why I should stay naked and you should join me in bed.” Ricky smiled seductively at her. He loved his family, but he would rather be with her.

“Get dressed, I hardly even know them and you know your mother doesn’t like me.” Ricky’s mother, Illiana, was a ferocious English/French socialite who was beautiful in a harsh way and had mixed feelings about Electra.

“I’ll be down in ten minutes.” He kissed her long and deep as Electra laughed, trying to disentangle herself so she could get downstairs. There was a family gathering of sorts going on; two days ago Ricky’s mother, Lady Illiana, had flown over in her private plane from the France-Lynch estate in the English countryside, stopping in Paris to pick up Ricky’s grandmother Lady Olenna. They were both dying to meet Electra, but had been a little wary when they first arrived. They knew of her career in music – and were disappointed with it – but her long famous ancestry and blue blood made for a compromise. Marrying into the Belgravia family was better than Ricky marrying some common girl, they thought, but both would have preferred a nice, homely girl who would stay at home tending to the estate while giving lots of little France-Lynch heirs. The women of the France-Lynch family, however, tended not to be as mild or timid as the girls they usually hoped for, and every generation was more abrasive, cunning, and socially minded than the last.

“Well at least she’s pretty, but what else would you expect from Ricky, he always went for the beauties.” Electra heard Olenna saying as she walked through the utility room into the kitchen.

“It is fortunate that this rock career has stalled, though they should get out of this house and move into the estate back in England.” Illiana said in her clipped English accent, heavily laced with a French one.

“Sorry about the wait.” Electra embraced Illiana lightly and kissed Olenna – who never rose from her seat unless it was to dote on her grandson – on the cheek.

“I am sorry to keep you waiting also.” Olive’s thoroughbred American accent rang through the kitchen as she stepped in from the pool area. Having seen Electra through the window, she decided now was a perfect time to make her entrance – anything to upstage her daughter. She had flown in from Monte Carlo yesterday, staying at the Waldorf Astoria in New York before hopping on her husbands private plane and making the short flight to Sunset Valley. She detested the little town, having grown up in a place so small she only liked the big cities of Bridgeport, New York, Paris, London etc. There were few connections in Sunset Valley worth reaching out to to network with, apart from perhaps the Landgraabs, though that family – as powerful as they thought they were – were just big fish in a little pond compared to Olive’s Bridgeport connections. They had however, reached out to her, and Mrs. Landgraab, who was the eighth wife of the ancient and ailing Aaron Landgraab, had promised to throw a gala for her that very night – anything for Princess Olivia Von Derringer.

“Have you met my husband, The Prince?” Olive asked, pointing to her husband through the glass doors, who walked in just a few moments later.

“Oh yes, we’re old friends.” Illiana smiled sweetly and both began gossiping, laughing together with as no genuine feeling beneath the surface. Olive was actually happy with her daughters marriage, she could hardly have made a better one herself, but in Illiana she recognized a rival. Illiana never had any desire to move into the American social scene, but in England she was at the top of the ladder. Illiana also came from a much older and even better bred family than the Belgravia’s, and Olive’s husband, despite his title, had little money of his own. Olive paid for everything with her billions – that was their deal – he got immeasurable wealth, and she got to become a Princess. The House of Von Derringer was an ancient German Princely House, which had slowly dwindled away its fortunes over the years through excessive amounts of extravagance. When Andrew came into the title on the death of his father all that was left of the family fortune was a crumbling estate in the middle of the German countryside, and debts totaling over 40 million euros. Olive had settled his debts with a quick cheque (she’d probably make that back in interest within a year anyway) and supplied him with a generous allowance. She had loved Charles, her ex-husband, but her daughter couldn’t be higher than her. Electra may not ever use her title, but everyone knew she had one, and Olive wanted a better one.

“So lovely to meet you child.” Prince Andrew said with a smile as he clasped Electra’s hand and gave it a long, lingering kiss. He was a handsome man in an impeccable suit Olive had paid for, but Electra felt he had a kind of doctor-who-does-creepy-experiments look to him, and had to stifle her laughter.

“Great to meet you too.” Electra gave him her best smile. She wanted the relationship with her mama to work; for a while it had, when Olive had been with Charles, but Electra’s shotgun wedding and ascension to a Lady – a title which she usually laughed at or ignored all together – had torn them apart once more.

“And here is my beautiful grandson.” Lady Olenna smiled warmly as Ricky entered the room, looking gorgeous as usual in a cherry red polo shirt and brown pants. “Richard darling come give your grandmother a kiss.” Olenna got up with surprising virility and speed, her 86-years seeming nowhere in sight. A thin wisp of a woman, Olenna had been a ferocious socialite to rival Olive in her youth, on the English-French scene. Marriage into the France-Lynches had shot her to the top, and although she had mellowed in her age – she no longer had to fight for her spot at the top now, she still insisted on wearing diamonds at all times and never left the house without £2000 in cash ‘in case of emergencies’. She usually used it to tip off various waiters, drivers, and doormen, so that she heard the best gossip  before anyone else knew it.

“Grandmama.” Ricky nodded to each person in the room cordially before embracing his grandmother. He loved his mother and grandmother as much as anybody loved their family, but he could smell the lies and deceit from a mile off. He didn’t blame them for coming to check out Electra, he loved checking her out every single day, but he wished Electra’s mother had never came with this foreign Prince on her arm. He knew of the Von Derringer family, and he and most everyone else knew they held the title only in courtesy, it didn’t actually mean anything – they had no duties, and before Andrew married Olive, no money or social standing either. Ricky had been raised on his families huge estate, spending most of his time with the grooms who tended the stables or the groundsmen who tended the many many acres of land around the house. As such he knew how to get along with both the aristocracy and the working class, and most everyone who met him liked him because of his looks – which he was totally unaware of – and his friendly, charming demeanor.

“She’s quite a beauty, isn’t she?” Olenna smiled, nodding to Electra who was still talking to a wildly smiling Andrew. Ricky smiled softly at his grandmothers remark, he knew how much she loved him and was desperate for her to love Electra, who, despite her blue blood, was very different to the hoards of desperate Parisian socialites who had been chasing Ricky for years as he passed through Deauville for polo, and Paris to visit Olenna. He had many other women chasing him in Palm Beach, London, Argentina and across the world, usually coming onto him after a grueling polo match when he was looking for the company of a woman. He had dated many girls, and even had a fiancee once, but had never met anyone like Electra.

“There’s a battle of social dominance happening across the room. Who can manage to be the frostiest bitch while keeping the biggest smile.” Olenna laughed, nodding to Olive and Illiana, who were sat having an awkward conversation, both unused to being near someone on an equal social standing. While Olive’s many friends were both rich and powerful, she was the richest and most powerful of them all, and it was the same with Illiana. Society was a hierarchy, and both of the women were the top of the pyramid in their own particular arena, unused to coming across someone from another distinct group. Olive was the head of American society, while Illiana was the head of English-French society, the two groups mingled with each other, of course, but unless one was to move to a different venue, you were very much a part of a distinct group.

“So, do you like Electra? I know you haven’t had much of a chance to get to know her, but you don’t hate her?” He looked across at his wife, and thought how beautiful she was. She was out of place in the room, in her leggings and boots, but she still looked the best by far – he thought.

“Of course I like her, I would never dislike my grandsons wife, but darling, your mother and I worry over this rock thing she does – what about children?” Ricky had to stifle a laugh, he and Electra had discussed children – both wanted them – but he couldn’t exactly say to his grandmother they had spent the last few weeks doing little else than having sex and taking long baths together; she could be with child right now, the amount of times they had consummated their marriage, it would be surprising if she wasn’t!

“Her careers stalled, you know that, I’m going to help her get it back on track eventually, but she wants to wait until next year, after she’s toured with me on the polo season.”

“Oh, well that’s wonderful!” Olenna beamed at her grandson. She had heard Electra could play polo, but no doubt she was far away from her grandsons nine-goal handicap. Polo was a huge part of the France-Lynch family, they had played for generations, Ricky and his forefathers could all swing a polo stick before they could talk properly, and were riding by five years old. Olenna was relieved to hear Electra would be taking part in her grandsons life, and that children were being discussed. Her opinion of the little blonde bombshell was boosted immediately, and at least she didn’t have to worry about Electra being a gold digger – the Belgravia’s were one of the richest families in the world, though they did not have quite the prestige of the ancient France-Lynches, nor could Olive’s innumerable jewel collection match the five separate vaults full of diamonds, emeralds, and rubies that Olenna enjoyed in her Paris townhouse.

Across the room from Ricky, Olive and Illiana sat in a frosty silence, punctuated occasionally be some vapid remark about clothes, houses, or wealth in general. The two women were not getting along well, and Olive was glad of the distraction when Olenna’s laugh punctuated the room and she began to ease herself into a comfortable chair as Electra went over to Ricky and kissed him.

“Such a beautiful couple! We should get a picture!” Andrew shouted, a huge smile on his face. He had no idea about much of anything, and went along with whatever Olive said. The only thing he was good at was spending money – and he spent even faster than his forefathers. Sliding off the chair with a cool smile down at Illiana, Olive wrapped her arm through her husbands,

“Don’t be so gauche darling, we don’t take pictures, people just take them of us.”

“You are a sweet couple, I agree with this charming Prince.” Olenna smiled a vacant smile at Andrew and Olive, thinking what a  beauty Electra was. She had heard rumors about her parentage, a bitter old tart in a tacky turquoise dress and plastic earrings had told Olenna that Olive had a brief affair with some blonde hunk years back in Miami – but fled the city soon after and never spoke to any of them again. The boy had turned up dead in mysterious circumstances just a few weeks after Olive had married her first husband Maxwell, and many whispered that Olive had some part to play in it. If it was true that she was with this blonde it could explain Electra’s parentage, though Olenna had little to worry about if the man wasn’t alive – no nasty scenes could be caused.

As Olenna waved a perfectly manicured hand adorned with a huge ruby at Andrew, Electra embraced Ricky, basking in his scent and finding herself wishing that they were back upstairs in bed – alone.

“This is so boring, I’m sorry about this.” Ricky said, running his fingers through her silky blonde hair.

“It’s my fault as much as yours, with my insufferable mother.” She replied a little too loudly, gaining a giggle from Olenna who was listening to their conversation discreetly as she chatted idly with the prince. “Olive said she’s taking your mom with her to that gala thing later, so we can be alone if your grandmother goes too.” She gazed up into his eyes, dying to have him all to herself and not have all the family around them.

“We could slip upstairs right now, continue with that baby making.” He smiled as he kissed her; she felt her knees go weak.

“Electra!” Olive’s screech threw her from the moment, grudgingly she looked up at her mother, her heels tapping on the floor as she walked towards the dining room, turning round and beckoning for Electra to follow.

“I’ll see you in a bit.” She kissed him again, following her mother into the dining room. Olive stood stock still, her face implacable as she looked at her daughter.

“Princess.” Electra curtsied  mockingly, gaining a look of scorn from her mother.

“What on earth am I doing here Electra? You leave me in the corner trapped in an awkward conversation, then mock me so loud that people actually laughed! I came to show I am a caring mother, and this is what I get in return?” The truth of why Olive had came was actually to meet the France-Lynch women and to check out Ricky – she was fooling no one.

“Oh mama, what is  it with you? Just leave it okay. You better go get ready for the gala being thrown in your honor.”

“You should have made this a dinner then perhaps it wouldn’t be so awkward, and would it kill you to put on a skirt every once in a while? Even that ancient Lady Olenna looked more respectable than you did.”

Electra replied with a dramatized yawn, she could hardly understand this conversation at all.

“What’s the point of this mom?” Electra knew everything her mother did had some sort of motive behind it, but this time it seemed like she was just bitching for no reason.

“You listen to me Electra, you will go back in here, bring us all together as a good hostess should, serve some hors d’oeuvres or some champagne, and -” Electra cut her off with a huge grunt.

“I don’t think so mom, I’m not a society hostess and this isn’t some kinda  networking party, your meeting your god damn family – don’t you get it? These people are family now. Me and Ricky are married and if you wanna get to know his family then great, but don’t come here just to snoop.”

Electra threw a a long look at her mother before turning on her heel, storming into the kitchen, grabbing Ricky by the collar, and dragging him up to the bedroom.

*            *            *

“Your mother’s not going to be happy with you.” Ricky said a few minutes later as he nuzzled into Electra’s neck.

“Who cares. We don’t have a good relationship yano.” Electra kissed him back, stripping off his shirt as she did. The two of them rolled into bed, all talk of their families forgotten.

“C’mere you.” Ricky couldn’t keep his hands off her – the newlywed stage definitely didn’t seem to be ending any time soon. High season was coming up, which meant Palm Beach for the polo, followed by Westchester, Deauville, and Argentina. He’d have Electra on the road with him – although ‘the road’ was hardly the right description, as it was more a slew of fabulous hotels and mansions of friends – and he wouldn’t be leaving her side for a second with all those handsome, lecherous polo boys swanning around shirtless in their breeches. Electra would definitely be the apple of every eye.

For the next hour all thoughts of scheming mothers, dismal album sales, and feuding relatives trapped together downstairs were forgotten as they reveled in each others bodies. Electra couldn’t believe how her life had changed – before she had a great startup career, but was trapped with Ryan’s problems. Now she had no real career to speak of since the failure of the band, but the man in her life and the endless hours they spent with each other almost made up for it.

Afterwards, they laid in each others arms, dreading the moment when they had to go downstairs. Olenna had popped her grey hair through the door a few minutes ago, completely unfazed by the her naked grandson or her grand-daughter in law – she had seen quite a few things in her time – and told them that they were all headed to the gala in a few minutes.

Electra and Ricky descended to the hallway having thrown on their clothes – all Electra could think of was how fake her mother was. She sensed a similar level of deception from Illiana, although she felt she didn’t know the woman well enough to judge her. She did however like Olenna, and Andrew was nice in a dumb, money-grabbing kind of way. It was surreal to her that those two women were now her family. She had always imagined herself to be married one day, but not to someone like Ricky. Maybe when she was younger, at prep school, she would have seen herself with an English Lord, but as she had grown up she had found most of the Trust Fund Babies were vapid and boring, with a penchant for bitching and doing nothing all day. She had thought maybe she would marry another musician, like Ryan, but she was completely grateful that Ryan had left her life and she had found Ricky. He was so unlike anyone she had met, and was as bored with the whole ‘elite’ thing as she was. She was determined that when she had kids, they would be completely unlike Olive.

“Darlings! Are you sure you do not wish to come with us? It should prove to be a most interesting night.” Illiana asked, looking over Electra with a knowing eye.

“We’re sure mama.” Ricky kissed his grandmother on the cheek and whispered a few words in her ear, before doing the same to his mother. He gave Andrew a firm handshake and stopped for a few minutes to talk to Olive as Electra said goodbye to Olenna.

“We will miss you sweetie, we don’t know each other well it is true, but you seem a sweet girl, and you obviously adore my grandson as much as he adores you. ” Her twinkling eyes gazed into Electra’s knowingly, “and from that scene upstairs, I don’t think I’ll have to wait long for grandchildren.”

Electra let out a scream of laughter, giving Olenna a rather tight hug, marveling at the body Olenna had for her age.

“I’ll be very good to him, I promise.”

“You be sure you are, or you’ll have me to deal with.” It was said in jest, but Electra had a sense that the old woman would be as good as her word if it ever came to it. The four of them rushed out into the night, piling into the waiting limousine headed for the Landgraab mansion. The last sight was of Olenna, her diamonds glittering in the moonlight streaming through the open window, lighting a cigarette and blowing a kiss to Ricky and Electra before the limousine faded from view.

“What do you say we work some more on making those heirs my grandmother wants so badly?” Ricky pulled her into his arms and began kissing her again, his hands caressing the back of her neck before sliding up her shirt. They would have at least a few hours before anyone was home, and the dining room table, unlike much of the rest of the house, was still untarnished by their lovemaking.

“Well, she did give us her blessing.”

*          *          *

I’m back! Everything in my life has been sorted out, and I had a free day in which I just really had the urge to play again. I know I’ve been gone for way too long, but I hope all my favourite bloggers are still around. God knows when I’ll get round to reading everyone’s blog, but I’ll sure attempt it, I’m missing all my favourite sims!

– Marissa x

Generation 4 – Chapter 4

Peeling herself off the closet floor the next morning Electra thought back on the events of last night and almost wept. As she roamed through the loft she noticed Ryan still hadn’t returned, the only people around were Ricky, Noah, Sebastian, and Liberty. Sammy had left with Marc, and no one had heard from them. Electra didn’t even bother to get dressed for the rest of the day, she just sat on the chest at the end of her bed until night fell.

Watching the lights of the skyscrapers bring Bridgeport to life she decided that she had to do something, Ryan had turned her into a nervous wreck over the past few weeks and it was time to get back to doing what she loved: partying. Rooting through the wardrobe she pulled off the breeches, boots, and polo shirt she had been wearing for the past two days and, after a quick shower, slipped into a clinging black turtleneck and vertically striped black and white trousers. Applying a fresh makeup in the bathroom mirror she decided that she looked pretty good under the circumstances.

As she strolled through Bridgeport’s hottest new nightclub – Black – she noted that it definitely lived up its name. The walls were black, the floors were black, and only a few lights made it possible for her to see anyone. Shadowy figures hung around metallic tables, finished with a black sheen, chatting to each other and smiling, she kind of wished she had took Ricky up on his offer to accompany her, but she was worried what Ryan and Marc might think if they heard about it, she didn’t want to upset anyone, but still felt guilty as she thought had probably upset Ricky by declining his offer.

Ordering a neat Whiskey, her favourite drink, she took in her surroundings a little more. The club was compromised of three rooms: the bar, the dancefloor, and the blue room. The bar and dance floor were self explanatory, and the blue room was, as the bartender told her, the room where people would slip off too for a necking session, or in the case of some of the steamier patrons, particularly the famous rock stars and actors who frequented the club and were, due to their celebrity status, above the law, for a quiet place to have sex.

At first she was miserable, hanging her head as groups of glamorous friends passed her on their way to dance, their perfect bodies shimmying past her in a display of tight leathers and shockingly risque body stockings which showed off alarmingly extended nipples and a lot of smooth, taut flesh. She felt lonely and conspicuous, a social outcast forced to drink alone, but then she remembered her teenage days in Recliffe. She had always gone out alone then, and had always had an amazing time; she had an ability to get along with anyone, occasionally coming out of a club with a new best friend or, as she often did in her old days, a hard bodied, long haired rocker who she took home. Since Ryan’s introduction to her life she had been lagging a little in her social activities, finding it perfectly easy to give up the parade of male flesh for the exclusivity of Ryan. Although she loved him, she regretted that it seemed to have slowed her down somewhat, and tonight she had no desire to slow down. Downing two shots of vodka she headed for the dancefloor, and threw herself into the pounding music.

She didn’t care if she looked a fool as she twirled around the dancefloor with a huge grin on her face, she was having the most fun she’d had in weeks, ever since the arrival of Maud really. Polo had been an amazing reminder of a life she had left behind for a while, but it was a very different sort of fun, with a very different set of people. This was more her real idea of a good time, all she needed to make it perfect was Ryan. Dancing was lightening her spirits, it was helping her to believe that everything really could be okay. Once Ryan calmed down she would sit down and work it out with him, give him all the time he needed, anything.

She had been in the club for almost three hours now, and just as she was about to leave she saw, through the gap in the crowd, Ryan. He was talking to Sammy and seemed to be having a great time. She didn’t blame him for being in a club, after all she was in one too, they were very similar – partying was a rid of ridding themselves of their fears. She thought that perhaps it was fate, what were the chances of running into each other, whilst not speaking, in one of Bridgeport’s hundreds of club? Now was the time for her to go and make things better with him – all he had to do was forgive her for being too pushy, she still felt incredibly guilty over it. She never even thought about Ryan’s fault in all of it – she had a knack of always blaming things on herself.

A smile played on her lips as she pushed her way through the crowd, brushing against a series of unbelievably beautiful men and women; she felt fingers pinching her taut bottom a few times and smiled, she had missed the atmosphere of a club. All of a sudden the smile vanished from her face as she watched Sammy, still pretentiously wearing her sunglasses and clutching her permanent cigarette, wrap her chiffon-encased arms around Ryan, cigarette smoke churning with the smoke of the clubs machines, and then they were together, lips pressing insistently against one another, his hand crawling under her shirt to feel her breasts,  her hand snaking down Ryan’s skin tight jeans to his crotch, her shiny red talons squeezing a part of the jeans which had became much tighter.

“How could you?!” The scream rent the air as Electra crossed the club in one swift movement. Ryan and Sammy turned to her in shock.

“Slim! I thought you two were broken up, I swear it!” Sammy said truthfully, backing away from the two of them, her eyes wide with the horror of what she’d just done.

“It’s not what you think…” Ryan said sheepishly as Electra threw her hands up in anger.

“I’ve been wondering how to make things better with you, killing myself over pushing you away, and you’re here kissing Sammy! I think it’s exactly what it looks like!” Electra screamed, thankful that the anger was keeping the tears at bay. Just as she felt her lip trembling she turned and ran from the club, she would never give Ryan the satisfaction of seeing her cry over him. After pushing through crowds of bemused clubbers who laughed at her tear stained face she emerged onto the sidewalk, shielding her face from the photographers who always snapped pictures of the famous and glamorous patrons leaving.

“Electra Belgravia! Why the tears?!” One photographer shouted, recognising her from an article which detailed Olive, the new wife of Governor Charles Peredin-Bauer, and her family, with a huge spread on Electra.

“My boyfriend cheated on me! We’re over!” Electra screamed back at him, and winced as a flash went off in her face. “Leave me alone!” She shouted, running down the street as fast as she could. She would never forgive Ryan for this.

*      *      *

Electra turned into a shadow of her former self. After running all the way home she had collapsed onto the sofa in sobs and cried all night. Ricky, who had to skip the polo game which Sebastian and Nate were playing in that night because he had yelled at the umpire in an earlier game, stayed with her all night, stroking her hair as she told him what had happened. Afterwards it seemed she had no more tears left. She scrubbed off her makeup and changed into a baggy, unflattering sweater and curled up in the guest bedroom, she couldn’t stay in the bed in which she had shared so many amazing nights with Ryan.

Ricky and Sebastian were her saviors, although they couldn’t see it they were helping her by just being there, even if she didn’t respond to them whatsoever. They stayed in the room at all times, just talking either to her or each other about anything, it was what she needed to get through it. She didn’t sleep or eat, she just laid there, her open eyes unseeing. Sebastian had tired to track Ryan down, with the intention of smashing his fist into Ryan’s face, but he had vanished. Marc came by to see her, apologising for overreacting when he saw her in the closet with Ricky, admitting that he had blown it out of proportion. He sat on the floor next to her bed, head resting on his knees, trying to get her to speak, but no words had passed her lips for days. He was feeling guilty for his outburst, he knew Electra had felt awful over it and fretted whether it was contributing to her sadness now. The last thing he wanted was to see her sad, he loved her for christs sake.

Ricky and Sebastian tried to think of ways to get her to talk to them, they played music, told her of the polo games she could join in, offered to take her on a trip, but she merely shook her head and readjusted her position on the bed. She felt if she opened her mouth she would throw up, unable to comprehend how Ryan could have been kissing Sammy without even breaking up with her first. She blamed herself infinitely, thinking that if she hadn’t pushed him so hard over Maud and flaunted her wealth in his face by offering to pay for her rehab that he would have never stormed out and ended up with Sammy.

Ricky was perhaps the most conflicted of them all. Electra felt numb, Sebastian felt pure hatred, and Ricky battled with fury and delirious happiness. She was available, she was finally free from Ryan and ready for a new boyfriend, but she wasn’t. Being there for her every day but not being able to kiss her, hold her, make love to her as he wanted to, all things he knew would make her feel better, was awful for Ricky. But he sucked it up, he had to for Electra’s sake.

“Look, nothing we do is working!” Ricky said to Sebastian in hushed tones after he had finished feeding Electra her daily meal of soup. It had been two weeks and she had hardly moved from the bed, and never spoken once.

“I know, I know, I dunno what to do though, maybe she’ll just pull through.” Sebastian grumbled, just as worried as Ricky but with just as little many ideas for how to make it better.

“You’re sure there’s nothing we can do?” Ricky implored with a glance back at the huddled figure of Electra.

“Well maybe one thing…” Sebastian said quietly, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly. He could think of one person who may be able to get through to her. She wasn’t her favourite person, but she was irreplaceable in Electra’s life.

Looking at the huddled figure of his sister he decided there was nothing else for it, and went off to make the call. Sixteen hours later, after instantly jumping on the jet after receiving the call from Sebastian and racing back to the city from Australia, Olive arrived at the apartment. Sebastian didn’t know if it was the worst move he could have made, or would be the best, but she was Electra’s mother, and sometime a girl just needs her mom.

Standing in the doorway of the bedroom, which was done in a chinese style, Olive toyed with her diamond and ruby ring nervously. She hadn’t seen her daughter since she had cut off her trust fund, but she had seen the awful picture of her in The Post, with mascara running down her cheeks as she screamed at the photographer. the headline had read ‘Heiress breaks down after break-up’.

“E-Electra…?” Olive’s voice cracked a little as she spoke, she had never seen her daughter like this. Olive was used to the wild, abrasive girl who would give as good as she got, not this creature in front of her, a mere shadow of her former self. Very slowly Electra took in her mother, her eyes showing emotion for the first time in in weeks, their dead gaze finally changing. Olive held out her perfectly manicured hand and eased Electra off the bed. The girl who stared back at Olive looked worse than a drug addict. Her eyes had huge black bags underneath, her skin drawn and pale, her hair lank and greasy from weeks of not washing it.

“Darling… I’m so sorry.” Olive said, gasping as Electra threw herself into her mothers arms. Those words meant more than any outsider would think, by the look n Olive’s eyes Electra had known exactly what her mother meant; she was sorry for lording it over Electra for all these years, sorry for not being there for her, and sorry for the situation she was now in. Electra clung fervently to her mother, breathing in the wafts of her scent and rejoicing in the comfort of her mothers embrace. They were hardly typically mothering things; she was wafting Chanel no.5 and Electra could feel ribs digging into her, but it was still her mother.

“I’m so sorry, I never wanted this to happen to you.” Olive said sadly, looking at her frail daughter. “I know what you’re going through… being cheated on is an awful experience, but you should know I’m here for you now.” Olive said, determined to actually be there. Two of Olive’s four husbands had cheated on her, one leaving her for a nineteen year old Icelandic supermodel and one leaving her to pursue his passion for prostitutes without Olive to hinder him, so she knew how Electra was feeling, although her daughters feelings may have been more poignant than Olive’s as Electra had felt real love for Ryan.

“Thank you.” Electra whispered, her voice croaky from being underused.

“You have to get away, it really does help. I go through so many houses because I can’t bare to stay in the same one after a divorce. Take the jet, I have a wonderful house where you can hold up with Sebastian to get over all of this.” Olive, determined not to boss around her daughter, had to add, “and whoever you want for that matter.”

Electra gave her a weak smile, the presence of her mother had jolted her from her depression. If Olive, basically Electra’s worst enemy, could come to her aid, then she should be able to pull it together.

“You don’t have to mom, really.” Electra said, not wanting to push her mother too far when they had only just started speaking once more. Olive threw her hands open in protest.

“Please! It’s the least I can do. I know I haven’t been the best mother, truly I know that, but I always wanted the best for you.” Olive thought back on the way he had raised her children with regret, although her motives had been, at their core, good, she now realised the way she had executed it was beyond awful. “With Charles… I think I may be beginning to experience love.” Olive said, a little shyly but truthfully, thinking warmly of her husband the governor, the first man who had truly made her smile and laugh.

“Oh mama, I love you!” Electra burst into tears, letting Olive guide her onto the bed. She laid Electra across the bed, her head resting in Olive’s lap, and let her cry, stroking her hair as she listened to everything that had happened. The tears ruined Olive’s priceless vintage Valentino skirt and she didn’t even care.

*      *      *

The Sky King, the private jet belonging to Olive, touched down in the Côte d’Azur the following day, bringing with it Electra, Sebastian, Ricky, Liberty, and Marc. After reading all about the breakup of their cousin in various papers around the world the rest of  the Belgravia clan rallied. Olive sent the jet around the world, picking up relatives and friends from Argentina, Scotland, Paris, and other various exotic locations where family members were sunning themselves during the first week of the summer season. After numerous trips through the skies Le Maple Chambre, Olive’s gargantuan estate on the coast, was home to 24 guests. They are as follows: Electra Belgravia, Sebastian Belgravia and girlfriend Liberty Valentine, Ricky France-Lynch, Marc Butty, Arabella Belgravia, Landon Belgravia and girlfriend Claudette Simmons, Isiah Belgravia-King, Edward Belgravia and his wife Belzise Belgravia, Adam and Peter Whitley, Alexander and Julian Belgravia, Rupert Donahue and his twin brother Samuel, Billy Lloyd-Foxe, Nate Campbell, Mick Belgravia, James Jermaine, Jessie Fortesque, Maria van der Morago, and Francesca Killburn.

While still drawn and pale at first, Electra was glad to be away from Bridgeport, away from Ryan and Sammy, and to be surrounded by her family and closest friends. She had had sporadic correspondance with some of her more distant relatives over the years, the trip would be an excellent chance to get to know everyone better. Among the most distant members of her family were Isiah Belgravia-King, the son of Marquis Belgravia-King, son of Alexandra and Jeremy, and his wife Cambola. The family moved to Argentina, Cambola’s birthplace, before Isiah’s birth and he had hardly seen any of his cousins apart from at the major family gatherings. While he dabbed in polo from time to time and was a naturally gifted player (helped in no small part by the infamous Argentinian horses), his real passion was being The Don Giovanni of Buenos Aries; Isiah had an insatiable sexual appetite and a reputation for complete debauchery and hedonism and was determined to sleep with as many non-relatives as he could on the trip.

Also distant were her Scottish cousins Adam and Peter Whitley, the children of Maria and Charlie. Maria, the daughter of Oriana Belgravia, Arielle’s sister, was a noted environmentalist and film maker who had made a huge name – as well as a huge fortune – for herself in Britain. Adam and Peter had just finished stints at St. Andrews and Cambridge respectively, both dedicated students who had skipped the wild student nights to revise for their exams. Now freed from the restraints of their ancient universities they were thrilled to be invited on the trip, both ready to let loose after three years of opression.

Mick Belgravia, the child of Oriana’s son Freddy and his wife Cassandra, was a closer cousin despite his equal distance from Electra in the family tree. A bad boy who slept all day and lived through the night, his all black leather outfits and penchant for heavy rock music were closer to Electra’s comfort zone, and the two of them had often spent many a memorable night dancing on table tops in the Redcliffe clubs.

Kitty, Olive’s sister, and Laurence’s miracle-child Alexis Williamson was also joining in on the trip. A socialite who had been spoiled rotten by her parents she didn’t do much of anything, preferring to take trips around the world where she participated in a few show-jumping competitions before whiling the night away on one or another billionaires yachts.

Edward Belgravia, the adopted son of Tommy, Electra’s uncle, and his husband Austin, was also flown in from Paris with his French wife Belzise. Both infinitely kind and deeply in love, they had no intention of going wild, but were curious as to what a huge Belgravia gathering would be like, and relished the opportunity to get out of the oppressive Paris heat.

Cora, Olive’s younger sister, and her husband James’ children Julian and Alexander were also staying at Maple House. Despite two musicians who couldn’t have been more removed from the upper class world for parents, they had both turned out rather the opposite of their rock star mother and father. Preferring the world of polo they had became close friends with Sebastian, and were currently on the polo circuit trying to increase their handicaps. Constantly decked out in their navy blue polo shirts and with a fondness for mischief and an insatiable desire for fun they were sure to bring something interesting to the vacation.

Landon and Arabella Belgravia, the children of world famous artist Oliver Belgravia and his wife Celeste, who inhabited the same stratosphere of the social world as Olive did, were also flown in from Redcliffe aboard The Sky King. Landon was currently being shown eligable lady after eligable lady, his other desperate for him to make a sucessful marriage. To appease Celeste he had brough Claudette Simmons, a petite blond tobacco heiress who never had anything of substance to say, and whose main aim in life was to adopt a unicorn.

Arabella, despite her wide eyed innocence and favourite pink shirts, was a business whiz, and was currently working at Belgravia Industries International, the multi-billion dollar corporation which her great-grandfather Chace Belgravia had built up from nothing. Despite her business savvy she was still, at a mere 18 years old, shy and naive, and had relished the opportunity of a trip with her family to experience new things. Of course, she made sure the place had WiFi so she could conference call with the office.

On the non-relative side were Rupert and Sebastian Donahue, twin brothers and close friends with Sebastian and Ricky from the polo circuit. Completely identical, the only way to tell them apart was by the black and white shirts they wore: Rupert in black, Samuel in white. Despite their youth the two brothers were fiercely ambitious, determined to reach ten goal handicaps and win the Gold Cup back in their homeland of England. The allure of the trip, for them, had been the ability to play polo all day on the pitch built behind Olive’s massive stables, and the fact that they had both harbored a huge crush on Electra since school, and now had bets of which one of them would get her into bed first.

On the plane from London with Rupert and Samuel was Billy Lloyd-Foxe, another polo friend of Sebastian’s who also relished the opportunity to play on Olive’s wildly expensive thoroughbreds, said by some to be the best in the Europe. After a breakup with his long time girlfriend Jane he was also looking for a girl to blot out the pain, and hoped one of the girls on the trip would be willing to do it for him.

James Jermaine, a flamboyant socialite and notorious bisexual playboy, was also flown in from the Hotel Baglioni in Venice. Never one to miss a free trip, he had been a friend of Electra’s for years, always entertaining her with his stories of the rich and famous and regaling her with snippets of the scandalous exploits they got up to.

The Sky King also stopped off in New York to pick up Jessie Fortesque, a railroad heiress with a fierce, angry face and a personality to match. She and Sebastian had been friends since school, where he and she had many sexual dalliances in forbidden places and who was invited due to her call to Electra, who had been splashed across the front page of a New York gossip column, to offer her condolences for the break up. Electra, who had always got along with Jessie despite her cynical manner and quick temper, quickly invited her along.

The last member of the household, who had shared the plane with Jessie, was another heiress who couldn’t have been more different from her in-flight companion. Francesa ‘Fran’ Killburn was the sole heiress to the fruits of the Killburn Corporation, a multi-national business which raked in tens of billions of dollars every year. Despite her lavish wealth Fran had been raised lovingly by her parents, and was a shining example of how an heiress should turn out. Fiercely shy and as rich as an arab sheikh, Fran still found it hard to talk to strangers and blushed even when she spoke to the maid. She would never have took a trip with so many strangers had it not been for the desperate call Electra had placed to her, begging her to come so Electra would have someone who wasn’t a total narcissist to chat with her.

*       *       *

The house in which the assortment of relatives and friends were staying in was one of Olive’s favourites; in a prime position on the French Riviera it was the envy of the enclave of millionaires and billionaires. Up a driveway lined with Maple trees – which is where the house derives its name from – lies the main house; a motor court with a fountain adorn the front, with the yellow stucco house rising behind it.

Featuring ten bedrooms and eleven bathrooms, with six servants bedrooms on the attic floor and numerous living rooms as well as a games room, ballroom, and many other extravagances of the super rich, the place was loaded with Old Masters by Vermeer, Rembrant, Monet and Da Vinci, and featured priceless antique furniture Olive had acquired from all the four corners of the world.

On the west side of the house a large terrace with an awning of overgrown plants,  shielding the guests from the unwavering sun, leads to a set of marble steps which descend to to the olympic sized swimming pool, perched on a bluff with glorious sea views. Beyond the high shrubbery glimpses of the tennis courts and various yellow pavilions are visible through the trees, to the north of the tennis courts a formal garden with a glittering fountain for a centerpiece sits before an avenue of Cyprus trees, with the Octagnox, an eight sided pavilion full of wicker chairs and wild jungle plants, sitting on the very edge of the coast.

The formal gardens at the back of the house offer views of the east, where, beyond the garage, above which four drivers live permanently ready to cart the various guests of the house wherever they wish to go, lay the stables which house Olive’s famed horses. A paddock sits behind the stables for the horses to graze in, and beside the paddock lay the polo fields complete with stands for spectators. Just visible behind the paddock is  Cyprus Cottage, a six bedroom, five bathroom guest house where visitors can be removed from the hustle and bustle of the main house, avoiding the unpleasant situation of everyone being on top of each other.

*       *       *

Waking from a slumber in the master suite which had became her bedroom Electra stretched languorously in the huge four poster, reveling in the 1000 thread count sheets. A slight breeze blew through the room from a few open sash windows, and the endless blue sea was visible through the already drawn drapes. Electra couldn’t help but smile. Her mother may be a lot of things, which Electra didn’t want to think about anymore, but she certainly knew how to live.

Padding across the heated flooring into the suites personal foyer she woke herself up under the high pressure shower and selected an outfit of a pastel green polo shirt and floral shorts from behind the sliding glass doors in the walk in wardrobe. Walking barefoot to the terrace she passed the 18th century chairs upholstered in Missoni fabric which stood beneath an unobtrusive Da Vinci on the wall.

As she gazed out past the forest (which was also part of Olive’s land) to the sea, which glinted duck egg blue in the distance, she thought about how much had changed in the last two years. Her first great love was over, Revolutionis were gone without ever recording a single original song, and the most unlikely of all – Electra and Olive were actually beginning to patch things up. It was definitely the end of an era.

*      *      *

So how did you like this chapter guys?! I’m loving writing Electra’s storyline, thank you so much for voting her in, and thank you for your continued support of this legacy!

The summer should be an interesting few chapters to write, it’s going to be fun to explore the other members of the family – I hate leaving them behind! Who do you reckon will be your fvourite?

Thanks again for your support, you guys are the best! 😀

Marissa x

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.

Generation 4 – Chapter 1

“Argh! Why won’t this thing work?!” Electra screamed, shooting a kick at the rusty old oven as she threw her hands up in frustration. The apartment was the bane of her life, never having done anything domestic in all her eighteen years she was struggling with the day to day basics, leaving clothes all over the apartment; blobs of toothpaste and makeup all over the bathroom; wet towels on the beds; (another irritation – the only accommodation they could afford was a tiny one bedroom apartment which they had managed to squeeze two bunk beds into) and any other sort of day to day mess which would have usually been cleaned up by an army of maids.

“Sebastian! Can you help?!” She demanded, glaring at her brother who was sat on the very uncomfortable sofa looking for job vacancies in the Bridgeport Tribune.

“Mmhm.” He mumbled back, not really listening. He had learned to block out his sisters outbursts after they had moved into the apartment a few weeks ago.

“Sebastian!!” She screamed again, the hunger pains in her stomach becoming worse as the minutes ticked by.

“Dunno, sometimes a good kick works, or maybe its finally gave up the ghost and broke, order pizza or something. Hey look, here’s a job I can do – cashier at Crustys Big Burger.” He threw down the paper in irritation at the lack of job prospects. He wasn’t the most academically inclined at school, and as they had left without graduating they had no formal education to speak of – not in an employers eyes.

“Someone strike me down! Please, kill me now!” Electra screamed dramatically, throwing her hands to the sky. “What are we going to do?” She asked, hanging her head, sufficiently deflated. When they had ran from Belgrave Ranch they had all thought they would have the time of their lives, but money, or the lack of it, came between the four of them and the good times. Ryan and Liberty, both street smart kids who had been in and out of school over the years, had found jobs easily – after growing a five o’clock shadow and lying about his age Ryan had managed to get a job bar-tending, and Liberty was working at the local theater, although her wages didn’t help much as she spent them all on her weekly acting classes.

“We’re useless.” Electra whispered quietly, hanging her head.

“Hey, hey, it’ll all be okay.” Sebastian comforted as he jumped up from the sofa and headed towards his sister. Privately he thought she might at least try to find a job instead of insisting no one would hire her, but he didn’t want to make a bad situation worse.

“How will it be okay?! We’re going to starve to death in this tiny apartment and be found half eaten by cats three weeks later!” She screamed as Sebastian tried not to laugh.

“Shh. It’ll work out.” Sebastian held his sister gently, trying to calm her down.

“You know,” She tried to get her words out through the tears which were about to brim over, “that mama called me, right?” Her confession took Sebastian by surprise, he had heard nothing from his mother apart from the brusque message from the bank saying that all his and Electra’s cards and cheques had been terminated.

“What did she want?”

“She wants to meet. She’s in Bridgeport, at the Breach House apartment. I wasn’t going to go.” Electra told him, beginning to think more about the meeting with her mother – what harm would it do to just go and check it out? It might be interesting.

“Hey – come on, what’s up now?” Electra’s tears had subsided for a second, but now she hung her head once more.

“It’s just – well…” Electra was embarrassed by how she felt, she had thought she was so different. “I hate having to rely on money, but I don’t know any other way. I need money Sebastian.” She blushed red as she confessed, feeling like her mother. She had hated that world when she was in it, but now she realised what her mother always told her about money bringing security and freedom was true.

“You should go meet her.” Sebastian said after taking a big sigh. He found having money much easier too, who wouldn’t? But he didn’t think Olive was going to give their trusts back so easily.

“Really? You don’t think I’m selling out?” She asked, smiling at her brother. She was glad he understood.

“Just don’t agree to anything you might regret.” He said, embracing her in a hug before he watched her leave, he just hoped she would return – he knew his mother could be very persuasive.

*     *     *

As she came out of the subway she smiled, she had always enjoyed it down there; no matter how hot and stuffy it was she found it amazing to watch all the people, all the different cultures mixing together on one long metal tube. Electra just loved Bridgeport in general, she had never thought the East Coast would be for her, but once she arrived she found it a relief to be away from the heat of the California sun which beamed down on Redcliffe every day, and the family ties with Bridgeport (her great-great grandmother, Lily Belgravia, had lived here all her life) made it a fitting choice for her and Sebastian. She could see Breach House ahead now, and dreaded what would happen once she arrived.

The doorman had her name on a list and held open the doors for her as he thought what a beautiful girl she was, he didn’t see too many California blondes out here on the East Coast; he hoped she was moving in, although she didn’t look like the usual inhabitants of the building. Walking into the lobby of the very exclusive building she could tell Olive would feel at home here, the building was so her – old money, WASPish, and completely pretentious. The elevator took her to the thirty-fifth floor and before she knew it she was being ushered into Olive’s overstuffed apartment by a Hispanic housemaid.

She craned her neck to see of she could spot Olive anywhere, but she was nowhere in sight. Probably waiting to make her grand entrance. The maid deposited her in a horribly (to Electra’s eye) chintzy and traditional living room, the hoards of jewels in an antique case glittered in the light streaming through the windows, her feet sunk into two priceless Persian rugs, and the Picasso on the wall taunted her with its ridiculous price tag. Olive lived in a world of very visible money – this wasn’t what Electra wanted. She just wanted to be able to live comfortably, maybe then she could get her music going again – perhaps they could even start booking some gigs. A life doing nothing was not for Electra, her mother lived off her multiple divorce settlements and would never dream of lifting a finger. Electra wanted to do what she loved – music. She just needed a little help.

It wasn’t long before Olive appeared in the doorway, dressed – as always – to the nines, her hair perfectly coiffed and groomed, diamond pin holding it together at the back, her makeup done, as it was every day, by a professional who stopped by the apartment in the morning after Olive returned from her daily tennis match – she was looking more like she was ready for a cocktail party than ready to sit down and have a private talk with her daughter.

She said nothing, just standing and staring at her. Electra found herself wishing she had never came, unnerved by the cold stare of her mother. Finally taking her eyes off Electra she came around and sat on the plush chair opposite her.

“So, you finally realised you couldn’t hack it?” She asked with obvious mirth.

Electra said nothing, wishing more than ever that she hadn’t came, her mother obviously just wanted to gloat about her daughters failings.

“I’ll take that as a yes then. You know, it doesn’t have to be like this -” Electra interrupted her mother, who was getting ready for a long speech.

“I’m doing fine on my own. I came here because you asked me too, now just tell me what you want.” She said, wishing she could teleport back to the tiny apartment, she didn’t want anything from Olive.

“Fine. I’ll open your trust once again if you cease any contact with that awful boy.” The cards were laid out, but Electra wasn’t taking it, she had came here hoping that her mother would give her some money, now she would rather die than submit to her blackmailing ways.

“Well if that’s all you have to say then I’ll leave, I’m not going to stop seeing Ryan.”

“Come now, we both know that you won’t last much longer in that tiny apartment; Sebastian may fare better, but before long he’ll come running back to me for money.” Electra hung her head as her mother spoke. If she took her money she knew she would turn out just like her, bitter and shallow.

“By the way darling, that skirt is far too short. A hem should never come more than a few inches up from the knee.” She smoothed down her own dress as she spoke, thinking that Electra should put on something more respectable than that tiny little thing, and those boots were a mess.

“I don’t need to be taking tips from you.” Electra spat back, “in fact, I don’t need anything from you.”

“I can keep that money from you forever, I can keep it from Sebastian too! Don’t you realise that I’m trying to help you?! You think you’re so different from me, but money is clearly what drives you – just own it. Cut that boy out of your life and you can have it all once more.”

“Why would I want this?” She gestured around the ornate room with disdain, “You have nothing really – you may be the darling of high society but in the real world that counts for nothing. You may be praised for your philanthropy but you don’t care about the causes you donate to, not really. You have no real friends, and both your children have ran away from you. And guess what? We don’t even want your money.” Electra took a deep breath, the words may have been harsh but they were true, and Olive had to realise it before life passed her by.

“I’ll ruin you.” Olive said quietly, perfectly composed. “I could make a few phone calls and make sure no one ever, and I mean ever books you for a gig. I’ll ruin Ryan too.” Olive was about to continue with all the awful things she could do with her huge net of influence when they heard a voice from the hallway, and watched as Arielle Belgravia, Olive’s mother and Electra’s grandmother, strolled into the room.

“You will do nothing of the sort.” Arielle announced grandly, standing over the two of them. Arielle had been informed by her good friend Thomas, the doorman, who always kept her up on the gossip of the building, that a beautiful blonde with orange streaks in her hair had arrived a short while before Arielle got back from her shopping trip. She had known instantly that it would be her granddaughter, who she didn’t see as much as she would have liked but still loved very dearly. She had headed straight for her daughters apartment, which was much smaller than the Triplex Penthouse Arielle had owned since she was in her twenties and never ended up selling because of some sentimental attachment to her ‘young and foolish days’ as she often described them to her grandchildren. Slipping in just as Olive had sat down she had heard the entire conversation, and knew that something finally had to be done with her wayward daughter.

“Mother! What are you doing here?!” Olive said in shock, feeling like a nervous teenager again.

“Something I should have done a long time ago. Electra, you can have the money, but know right now that once you spend the trust that it’s gone. You won’t get any more from me, and as you can see you won’t get any from your mother either.” Electra was in shock, the last person she had expected to come to her rescue was her grandmother, a rather eccentric woman who had lived her life out of the public eye in a huge, family orientated house in the Redcliffe hills and still resided there with Electra’s grandfather, Noah, and their six cocker spaniels.

“Grandma, I don’t know what to say – I really can’t take the money from mama.” Electra said, feeling slightly guilty, but unwilling to take the money from Olive as if she  would catch her greed.

“And it’s no right of yours to give away my money.” Olive interjected, regaining her composure.

“Actually darling –” Arielle mocked, mimicking Olive’s voice, she had always thought the high society world her daughter lived in was beyond silly, “- the trusts for Electra and Sebastian are operated by me and you have no right to close them. You may have your own money that they would inherit but their trusts from me are considerable.” Electra felt her body relax as she listened to Arielle, knowing that the money wasn’t Olive’s was a huge relief.

“How dare you do this?!” Olive screamed, jumping up and coming towards her mother. “And in my own house – get out!” Arielle merely gave a small laugh.

“I’m not one of your society friends you can boss around. I won’t be thrown from your home, I am your mother. I had always hoped that you grow out of this phase, I was in it myself once, it was in that phase that I bought that ridiculously large penthouse upstairs.” Arielle sighed, feeling guilty as she wished that Olive could have turned out more like her siblings.

“Oh well I’m so sorry to disappoint you but I’m not a child and will not be treated like one.”

“Well you’re certainly acting like one!” Arille snapped back as her daughter backed away, her cool exterior once again shattered.

Giving Electra one last withering look Olive turned on her heel and marched out of the room as Arielle made her way over to the fire, sadness in her eyes.

“I never wanted this for her.” She said, more to herself than to Electra.

Electra didn’t know what to say to Arielle – she had a sense that her grandmother wasn’t up to talking about Olive, so she just sat for a few moments in silence, letting Arielle have her own private moment. Crossing the room Arielle lowered herself onto one of Olive’s overstuffed sofas.

“I’m not as young as I once was.” Arielle smiled. “Anyway, you better get yourself back to this Ryan. He sounds a little like my first husband…” She trailed off, staring into nothingness. Electra had never heard much about her Uncle Tommy’s father, all she knew was that he had never wanted to see his child again after his and Arielle’s marriage had fallen apart. “He was a good man, poor as dirt but exceptionally talented, and we loved each other.” Electra listened with deep enthrallment as her grandmother spoke, she loved stories of the old days, “But in the end the money was too much for him, it always is. Who would have ever thought that lavish wealth would cause so much trouble? Luckily I found Noah, rich in his own right, but still… Leonardo was quite something. We lived upstairs you know.”

“It must have been hard.” Electra said, respecting her grandmother even more than she had a few hours ago; she was much deeper and wiser than the gregarious woman she presented to her grandchildren.

“Yes, yes. Anyway, life is for living – so you better get back to it.” Getting up from the sofa with surprising vigor for her age she embraced her granddaughter in a tight hug. “Live life the way you too sweetheart, or you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.”

“Thank you for everything grandma. Without you I don’t know what I would have done!” Electra still couldn’t quite believe the help her grandmother had given her, she had been more of a mother in the past half hour than Olive had ever been, not just by helping her with the money but with the sentimental stories, the advice, and the love.

After giving Arielle another hug Electra raced from the apartment, hoping Olive wasn’t waiting in the lift ready to stab her to death; she wouldn’t put it past her. Resisting the urge to throw up as she ran past a huge pile of trash outside her apartment building she ran through the dark hallways to their apartment, located in the centre of the building, giving them no natural light whatsoever, there wasn’t a window in the place. Entering the apartment after struggling to open the door she saw Ryan cooking – the only one of them that could.

He had grown his hair out since the summer, choosing to dye it back to its original black, and was wearing some of Sebastian’s clothes – because all of his own were dirty and they could neither afford a washing machine or to have their clothes washed at a laundromat right now.

“Hey Slim.” He said, calling her by a new nickname he had coined when he had admired her slim figure in her favourite cotton dress. Leaving the food for a second he came over to her, he was a surprisingly good chef, having cooked most of the meals for him and his mother growing up he had learned fast – it was a blessing they had him in the apartment, they would have starved without him.

“What’re you so happy about?” He asked with a grin as he took in the glee on Electra’s face. Glee that she soon felt bad about, she knew Ryan wasn’t into the money side of her family, and the words of her grandmother were ringing in her ears, ‘the money was too much for him, it always is.’

“Here’s the thing…” Electra began, proceeding to tell him everything that had happened with Olive and her grandmother, watching his unmovable face very carefully for any sign from him. After she had finished he just stood there, taking it all in.

“Aren’t you happy?” Electra asked, wishing he would just give her something. He looked down uncomfortably as she waited for an answer.

“You know me,” Ryan said, “I don’t really care about that kinda stuff.”

In her moment she felt like blurting out that he didn’t seem to mind living in the comfort of Belgrave Ranch for a summer, but she held her tongue, it would only make things worse.

“Listen, this isn’t going to change us.” Electra said, holding his shoulders, “Like my grandma said, once this money is gone that’s it – and compared to all the money Olive has this is nothing, but it can buy us a great place, and give us a base to set up our music, we need new instruments,” she gestured over to the keyboard and guitar which were stacked in the corner and were in desperate need of replacing, “and we need to get our name out there again, the hype of that first show is fading fast, with Rasta and Josh still in California we need to either convince them to come out or find some new members, it isn’t gonna be easy.” She continued in this fashion for a while, and slowly Ryan came to understand what she was saying, the money would make things easier, he had just really wanted to succeed without it.

“Listen to me, I love you – that’s the main thing. I know you think moneys dangerous to relationships but you know I’m not like that – nothing can tear us apart.” Electra said, begging Ryan to understand her.

“I get it Slim. I guess I was hoping for too much, just expecting you to go from the life you lived to this one – I suppose this is a kind of compromise. I love you too.” Ryan replied, embracing her in a hug before kissing her over and over; they fell onto the sofa and spent the rest of the day there, just enjoying each other.

*      *      *

A week after Arielle had called and told her the trust was open Electra, Ryan, Sebastian, and Liberty set about finding a place to live. They wanted it to be perfect, as their group was made up of two couples it didn’t have to be huge, but they wanted a good living space with room to practice, even if it meant having to push furniture aside, good light, and an office space for Sebastian, who had taken up his role of managing the band once more, this time officially. They found a big, beautiful loft on the edge of the city and fell in love, and moved straight in.

“We’re home!” Sebastian had exclaimed when the move in date finally came. With the new found security of Electra and Sebastians trusts from Arielle they could set about doing what they wanted without the pressure of scraping enough money to get by hanging over their heads. Sebastian got straight to work trying to find Electra and Ryan gigs, but they both knew they needed more members before anything serious would come of it. Liberty continued with her acting classes, dropping her job at the theater and working full time on going on auditions. And Electra and Ryan worked on what was most important to them: the music. They were all determined to succeed, and with each others support they knew it was possible.

Generation 3 – Chapter 13

Electra threw her cigarette out of the open window of Ryan’s pick up truck and turned to him as they drove through the winding country streets. She still didn’t really believe he was here with her, as her boyfriend. They had never officially labelled themselves as ‘dating’ but everyone knew they were, the two of them were inseparable.

“How much longer?” He asked as he shoved a different CD into the portable car radio and lit up a cigarette of his own.

“Not far,” Electra replied, “hey – look, just follow that limo.” She settled back into the seat and took a deep breath, she knew it would be her mother in the car ahead. At least she wouldn’t have to direct Ryan anymore…

She could see the house ahead, the summer home of her family. Thankfully she knew enough about her mother to know that she would never dare make a scene in front of a guest, however low on the social scale that guest was.

This is your weekend house?” Ryan asked in shock as they emerged from the truck at the bottom of the drive and began walking up to the house. He had expected something a lot smaller, he knew Electra’s family had money, but not this kind of money.

“My mom has to go over the top, I told her we didn’t need something so big but she only wants the best. It’s really nice though.” Electra replied, snatching the still lit cigarette out of Ryan’s hand and throwing it away so her mother didn’t see.

Electra was glad she had brought Ryan here, it would be better to spend time away from the city so they could really get to know each other, and she loved this house much more than the penthouse. The city was an amazing part of her life which she loved, but the country was where her heart lay. Riding on her horses, playing with the dogs, taking long walks in the woods behind her house, sitting by the fire with a book and a cup of hot chocolate, she loved it. Walking into the double story entrance of the ranch-style house Electra kept her eyes peeled for Olive while Ryan looked around in wonder at the size of the place.

“So you’re spending the weekend here then?” Electra jumped in shock as she heard the clipped tones of her mother. Olive stood staring at the two of them, her face giving nothing away.

Decked out in her full country attire Olive stared at the two teenagers in front of her. She had never seen Ryan before, but she could sense he was bad news by the way he looked at her, by the arrogance in his face.

“Yep, I didn’t expect to see you or I would have told you.” Electra said lightly. “William!” She shouted with joy as the family dog came running towards her, picking up a brush from a side table she began to groom him as Olive continued to look at them with scorn.

“Well I’m going shooting with the Duke.” Olive informed them grandly as she opened a hidden panel on the wall and pulled out her gun. “I’ll probably be spending the night there, but Marcia is around somewhere.” Marcia was the live-in for the ranch house, and had quite a cushy job living in the huge house as if it was her own, only having to cook and clean for her employers an odd weekend here and there, it was a summer house but the real summer was usually spent in France or Italy at one of Olive’s other properties there.

“Cya.” Electra didn’t look up as Olive left, but she could hear her saying hello to the group that had just rolled up outside the house in their mud coated landrovers, with dogs barking all around as they prepared for a day of pheasant shooting. Grabbing Ryan’s hand Electra took him on a quick tour of the ranch before they settled in a small reading room in front of the fire.

“Your mom seems nice…” Ryan lied, feeling awkward and out of place.

“Shut up, she’s a witch!” Electra laughed, leaning back in the comfortable chair. Now that she was here she wasn’t sure what to do with herself, she had envisioned them having non stop fun, but the conversation had became stilted, the only sounds the crackling of the fire and the light footsteps of the dog, William, as he roamed around in the adjacent kitchen. Finding nothing to do with herself Electra began to sing to herself idly, as she always did. Ryan was taken aback as he listened to her singing PJ Harvey’s ‘The Last Living Rose’.

“You didn’t tell me you could sing!” He said as soon as she was finished. “You’re really good you know.”

“I’m just being dumb.” Electra replied, blushing. She had never thought much to her singing, she had been in the choir in school but was mainly a classic shower singer.

“I’m serious, you could really get somewhere with that voice, you just need to learn to use it better.” Having been singing with his band for two years Ryan considered himself pretty well versed on the music industry, and although his band ‘The Wild Ones’ hadn’t got a recording contract yet there was one company interested. “Can you play anything?” He asked, genuinely interested now, getting excited as ideas began to form in his head.

“I can do a bit on guitar I guess.” She replied shyly, flattered that he thought she was a good singer.

“Jesus, why didn’t you tell me?! This is perfect. Come on!” He grabbed her hand, yanking her off the sofa, running through to the main room of the house which Electra had showed him briefly. He had noticed the guitar and the piano and was determined to get her singing. Sitting down at the grand piano he got used to it for a few minutes while Electra plugged the guitar in, protesting that she was no good the entire time.

“OK, I guess I’m ready. I’m really no good though – this is embarrassing!” Electra protested, getting redder by the second.

“Just try it, ok?” The piano was heaven under his fingers, he had never played something so beautiful, but it was clearly never used.

Her voice was quiet at first as she tried to get into the swing of the music. It was one of The Wild Ones songs that she had heard the first night she had seen them. After seeing a half a dozen shows she knew all the words, and the two of them easily fell into a new rendition of the song. Ryan was in awe, the boys music was loud and raunchy, with the deep, throbbing voices of Ryan and Kris mixed with the booming drums of Rasta. Electra brought a much needed tenderness to the music without being overtly feminine. It was perfect. As she sung the last line of the song she broke out in a huge smile, she had surprised even herself with her ability.

“Bravo!” The two of them spun around in shock as they heard the clapping and cheering, and were greeted by Sebastian. “That was really great. Hi, I’m Sebastian.” He said, extending a hand to Ryan, who he had seen play at a show he went to with Liberty, but never met. Sebastian was quite shocked by Ryan’s bright blonde mohawk and his beard, he thought he looked frightfully old and much too rough for his sister, but he was determined to give him a chance. Ryan was less shocked than Sebastian, but still cast his critical eye over his girlfriends brother in his Adidas gym clothes, his black hair coming down over his forehead a little since he had started to grow it, and his muscular arms and sculpted chest on show through the clinging shirt.

“You really liked it?” Electra asked, her tough exterior vanishing for a second, hoping he wasn’t being sarcastic.

“Of course I did, you two are brilliant together. You had better get to work.” A big grin spread across his face as Ryan and Electra looked at each other, both thinking the same thing.

Olive never did come back from shooting at the Dukes. She left a message on the machine saying she had gone to the Klosters with Marcus for a few weeks of skiing and didn’t contact them again all summer apart from telling Marcia to FedEx her mink coat and white fox stole over, PETA wouldn’t be asking her to pose any time soon. Ryan, Electra, and Sebastian became a team, working together on the music. Sebastian would sit on the floor with the lyrics of the songs Ryan and Electra had been working on and read them out, correcting here and there, trying to make them better as Electra strummed away on the guitar, her confidence growing by the day, and Ryan used his magic fingers on the piano. Even William would join in, laying at their feet, and inspiring the song ‘Golden Mane’ which was all about him, written by Electra.

When Sebastian, who seemed to be more vested in their practice than they were themselves, took Olive’s dark green Aston Martin, which she had never drove in her life as she preferred the limousine, for the hours drive back to Redcliffe to see Liberty once or twice a week the two of them would curl up on the sofa in front of the fire, usually with William at their feet, getting to know each other more and more. Electra opened up about the resentment she felt towards her mother for showing no interest in her and her sadness about not knowing who her father was, a mystery which infuriated her and which Sebastian didn’t understand as he usually spent a few weeks here and there in France with his father, Maxwell, and his formidable grandmother, Alice, who had once almost came to blows with Olive. Ryan told her of his about his own mother, who had once been a stunning (albeit little known) stage actress, who had now fell into depression and alcoholism and his father, an Army veteran who now lived in California with a new wife and seven beautiful blonde haired blue eyed children who took up all of his time, leaving none for Ryan. Their own tragedy brought them closer together emotionally, they had no problems on the physical side; having hijacked Olive’s master bedroom they took full advantage of it, spending every night together.

Every day they would work on their music, occasionally taking a break to go and visit the horses in the stables out the back of the house, or to take William for a walk. Electra’s favourite times were the ones spent down by the pond at the back of the house with Ryan on the hot summer days, she never wanted summer to end in case the bubble of happiness that surrounded them popped. After weeks of practice, when Ryan finally began to think Electra was ready, he gently started persuading her into doing a show. She had already met the bandmates, who had came over for a long weekend of partying earlier in the summer, leaving masses of overflowing ashtrays, empty beer bottles and discarded clothes for Marcia to clean up. They were more than willing to give Electra a go with the band, although Kris was more against it than Rasta, thinking that a girl would mess up the vibe of the band. Ryan would bring the idea up as they walked through the gardens with William, gently persuading her into it, trying to make her suggest it rather than have him ask outright and scare her off.

He felt he was making progress, but summer was coming to a close soon, it would be back to the hustle and bustle of the city, back to school, back to the crummy bars playing for disinterested crowds. He was certain that if Electra was with them they could generate a lot more interest, and, crucially, be a better band. Coming into the great room one afternoon he was enchanted by the sight of Electra, wearing  a yellow polo shirt with a white collar, and beige jodhpurs tucked into shiny black boots; just back from a riding lesson at the local equestrian center. Her blonde hair was shining in the light, her face devoid of makeup apart from some glossy pink on her lips, the yellow top clinging to her slender body. He thought she looked fragile, beautiful, and ridiculously preppy.

“Hey beautiful.” He said as he joined her on the sofa, smiling as she slid easily into his arms. “What you up too?” He admired her smooth, creamy skin as she spoke, completely blemish free without the help of makeup, the pink lips, the long blonde hair. Everything about her turned him on.

“Just thinking. Listen, I’ve got an idea, you don’t need to say yes or whatever, just hear me out.” Ryan felt like a lightbulb had gone off in his head as she outlined her idea for a collaboration of her and The Wild Ones, his plan had actually worked! He knew that if he’d pushed her into it she would have backed off, it was a blessing that she’d finally brought it up.

“It sounds amazing, I’m totally up for it.” He said as Electra smiled up at him. She found it funny that he didn’t realise she knew what he had been doing all summer, telling her how great she was, how people would love to see her, etc. It made her like him all the more that he hadn’t pushed her.

“You know what Electra?” Ryan looked into her eyes as he spoke, he had known how he felt for a long time, but the only person he had ever said the same words to were his mother, and that was completely different.

“What?” She replied, flicking hair off her face and looking back into his eyes.

“I love you. I really do – I mean, sorry for just saying it but -” Electra cut him off as he began to ramble, one of his nervous tendencies.

“You do?” She asked, beaming up at him. She felt ridiculously happy.

“Course I do. I love you!” Ryan floundered for a second as Electra didn’t say anything back. He hadn’t presumed she would, he just wanted her to know how he felt. He was stumped, what was he supposed to say next?! You can’t really talk about the weather after dropping the L word. For lack of anything to do he began to kiss her, his favourite activity after music.

They made out for a few minutes, and as their lips parted Electra whispered the words Ryan had wanted to hear; the words she had been wanting to say for weeks.

“I love you too.”

They could hardly contain themselves any longer, the longing between them had amplified by a thousand after those words. Ryan’s shirt was about to come over his head when they heard the crunch of wheels on gravel and drew apart in shock. Looking out of the window Electra saw a sleek black limousine and turned to Ryan in horror.

“It’s my mom!” Electra screamed, fixing her hair with her compact and smoothing down her shirt which he been hitched up beneath her breasts as Ryan had caressed her stomach. “You’re not supposed to be here, shit!”

At that moment Olive entered the house, swanning into the great room looking ludicrously glamorous and very unsuitably dressed for a ranch house in a belted Burberry trench with a mink stole thrown over her shoulders, red soled Louboutin’s tapping on the wooden floor.

“Marcia! My bags are in the car, can you get them for me?!” She shouted before turning and looking over at Electra and Ryan, now drawn apart as if they were sat talking. “And who is this?!” She asked in shock, quickly jumping to the conclusion that Electra was having a liaison with this boy, who she thought looked very rough trade.

“Mom – this is -” Electra never had to finish the sentence for at that moment Sebastian, who had been listening at the top of the stairs, came running into the great room.

“This is my friend.” He waved over at Ryan with what he hoped was a vague gesture. “How are you?! How was skiing? We’ve missed you so much! You must be so tired, you should get a bath and rest.” If he had any desire to Sebastian could have made an excellent actor.

“Oh, thank you darling.” Olive gushed, happy to see her favourite child. “But really, you shouldn’t have guests without telling me.” She said, not really meaning it as she didn’t mind Sebastian having guests, casting a critical eye up and down Ryan, completely forgetting that she had met him at the beginning of summer. He wasn’t important enough to store in her memory.

“This is Winthorpe Faberge IIII, one of my friends from school.” He said, trying not to laugh as he pointed towards Ryan. Olive instantly relaxed, she guessed he must have just been going through a difficult stage, and prayed to god she never had that with Sebastian, putting Ryan out of her mind.

“I’m going to take your advice and have a nice bath, I hope Marcia has my room ready, you have to keep the help on their toes at all times.” Olive said, looking around for her trusty maid.

“Oh mom, I’m so sorry -” Sebastian began as Electra and Ryan widened their eyes and stared at him, hoping he got the hint that they had been using her room and if she went in she would find it covered with overflowing ashtrays, whiskey bottles, old clothes, and music sheets, all coated with a fine layer of Williams golden fur. “- but I’ve been staying in there, I hope you don’t mind. I’ll get Marcia to clean it right away, why don’t you use my bath?” It was lucky that Marcia had just cleaned Sebastian’s room this morning to the point where it looked more like a showroom than a bedroom.

“Okay that’s fine. I might just read for a while.” Electra narrowed her eyes, shooting signals of ‘get her out!’ to Sebastian.

“Mom, I wanna catch up, come on.” He grabbed her hand and guided her away from the great room, looking over his shoulder and finding Electra and Ryan smiling at him in thanks. They would never have gotten away with it without him.

Sebastian guided his mother into the breakfast room, where he sat down with her and they caught up. He thought his mother was a ridiculous social climber who cared more about money than emotions and who prided herself on always being perfect, but he still loved her.

*     *      *

Three weeks later Electra, Ryan, Kris, Rasta and Sebastian stood in the backroom of a Redcliffe bar. They were about to play their first show and Electra had never been so nervous in her life. Sebastian had been the real mastermind behind it, going out and sparking interest in the band with some glossy publicity shots taken by their uncle Oliver who owned a very successful gallery in Redcliffe. They had received this booking as soon as he’d showed them the picture, with the three boys stood in the background, staring at the camera with unsmiling faces, while Electra stood in front, blonde hair glossier than ever, but taken far away from her preppy look with an all black outfit and some dark makeup. They looked amazing, and they knew it.

Electra, pretending to be checking out her makeup, stood in front of the mirror, her stomach doing somersaults. She didn’t know if this was going to work – if they would gel as well live as they did in their practice sessions, and her look wasn’t exactly calming her nerves either. Sebastian had insisted that she, as front-woman of the band, had to stand out, and had persuaded her to dye part of her hair a shocking orange, and had watched approvingly as she applied far too much black eye shadow and mascara, as well as dark blush to her usually fresh cheeks. Opting to go without a t shirt underneath she had slipped on a tiny black waistcoat and skin tight black jeans, as well as her favourite cowboy boots and the strawberry necklace made up of rubies and emeralds, with a diamond chain, which Olive’s ex-husband Dimitri had given her for her birthday. She thought she looked a mess, but Sebastian had done them well so far, and he had said she could begin to tone it down as they got more attention, they just needed a fan base.

“You ok sis?” He asked, turning away from Kris for a second and looking over at Electra.

“Fine.” She lied, not trusting herself to speak in case she threw up. Sebastian knew she was nervous, why wouldn’t she be?!

“Listen,” he said, his voice dropping so the others didn’t overhear, “you’re gonna be great. You know these songs backwards, you’re amazing. You can do this.” Her face lifted as he spoke, instilling her with confidence.

“Thanks.” She turned to him and smiled before embracing him in a hug, she was glad he was here, she would never have been able to get on the stage without him.

“You better get out there!” He said, hugging her again. “Good luck, I know you’ll be great.”

As The Wild Ones walked onto the stage a cheer traveled through the room. People had seen The Wild Ones before, but now that they had this ravishing front woman with the wild hair and the perfect body they were much more interested. Electra thought she was going to faint, and was only steadied by Ryan slipping his fingers through hers for a second as he passed her on the way to his keyboard; a far cry from Belgrave Ranch’s grand piano, but it would do. The lights dimmed as they got themselves ready, she was about to run off the stage in terror when she found herself forgetting everything as the purple lights popped on, lighting up the band in a blaze of colour, Rasta’s drums, Kris’ guitar, and Ryan’s keyboard kicked in as the music started and she found herself swept along for the ride, hardly thinking about what she was doing, just playing as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

She began singing in time with Kris, whose doubts about Electra had faded away once he saw the huge crowd who were getting into the music like never before, bouncing around the room as they played their heavier songs, keeping in the spirit of the original Wild Ones. Gradually the songs began to meld into the new style, which, while still loud and booming, was given a softer edge by Electra’s exquisite voice, which sounded much better than when Ryan had first noticed she could sing all those months ago.

Apart from occasionally glancing down at the set list which showed the order of the songs they were playing Electra either kept her eyes on the crowd (which she could hardly see for the lights) for the entire performance, or tightly closed as she let the music overcome her, letting her voice soar freely during the slower songs. After what felt like only a few minutes the lights, which had been alternating between purple and red for the entire show, suddenly turned a bright white and she knew they were on the last song. This was her moment, it was ‘Golden Mane’, her song. It started off slow, with just the beat of Rasta’s drums being heard before they were joined by Ryan’s keyboard for  a few more notes before Electra began to sing, closing her eyes tight as the words poured out. The audience were mesmerised, swaying slowly to the music before she began playing the electric guitar around her neck and Kris joined in on his guitar, taking the song on a roller coaster of sounds, her magic voice joining it all together in perfect harmony. Kris and Ryan’s low voices offered the perfect backing vocals as the song picked up, sending the audience into ecstasy as they threw themselves around in time to the music.

Running off the stage to screams of approval, coated in sweat, the four of them hugged each other, slapping backs and beaming. Sebastian soon joined them, equally as euphoric. Electra looked back to the stage where she could see the crowd, still cheering and screaming for more. She knew this was her destiny.

Generation 3 – The Wedding

The wedding of Olive Elphinstone (nee Belgravia) to Greek shipping magnate Dimitri Stanislopolous was one which interested many of you readers. The society queen was wed on June 18th at the Redcliffe Botanical Garden, and gave us access to the exclusive pictures from the event. With two children from a previous marriage many of us were wondering how the kids would take to Dimitri, but Ms. Elphinstone assured us they adore him, ‘he’s such a good father – they couldn’t ask for anything more!’ she told us when we asked for a comment after taking these pictures of the happy family.

The engagement party was held at Olive’s penthouse and included most of the large Belgravia family, including her music mogul father Noah Belgravia, her journalist sister Kitty Williamson, and the new Duchess of Gloucestershire, Constance Cavendish, daughter of Olive’s brother Oliver and his wife The Hon. Celeste Belgravia.

The champagne flowed freely as guests mingled with the great and the good of Redcliffe society, limousines were parked back to back outside the building and paparazzi clamored for a chance to get pictures of the widely anticipated event. Toasts were followed by more toasts as the evening progressed, with the Mayor wishing the happy couple ‘all the best’ and Judge Peterson, whom Olive assures us is a good friend, said ‘there couldn’t be a more perfect couple.’

Dancing was a permanent fixture throughout the evening, while guests mingled on the outskirts of the room the center was consistently packed full of guests letting loose, including Electra Belgravia, Olive’s daughter, who eventually retired at 11PM, despite saying earlier in the evening she wanted to stay up all night, Olive herself assured us she was simply tired.

The actual ceremony the next day was a lavish affair, and although many guests were sporting dreadful hangovers from the night before everyone couldn’t help smiling as they saw the beautiful bride coming down the aisle, her father close by her side.

From left to right; Electra Belgravia (daughter of the bride), Cora Belgravia (sister of the bride,) Kitty Williamson (sister of the bride), Father Phil Morris (ceremony officiator), Dimitri Stanislopolous (groom), Adam Caravix (best man).

The ceremony was long drawn out with speeches of love and the sacred bond of marriage from the officiator, broken with tears from the mother-of-the-bride Arielle Belgravia, who sat in the front row with a huge smile on her face, despite the tears of joy that ruined her makeup. Guards patrolled the perimeter of the Botanical Garden as the ceremony continued, throwing out many intruding paparazzi, as well as a few crazed fans of the many high profile guests inside.

The first married kiss of the couple marked the end of the ceremony, and guests gathered around to throw confetti as the bride walked the aisle once more, this time on the arm of her new husband.

We managed to get more shot of the bride before she left for her honeymoon (a 3 month around the world trip with stops in New York, Bali, Paris, London, Rome, Fiji, Hong Kong, Thailand, Tokyo and finishing the trip off in Sydney) with her daughter, whom the new Mrs Stanislopolous gushed over, citing her fun nature as ‘the reason I love her the most.’ 

*      *       *

Hope you enjoyed the wedding! Real chapter coming soon.

Also I should note that this is written from the view of a journalist – Olive’s answers are suspect… you all know how much she loves to lie. 😉

 – Marissa x

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 –

*   *   *

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.

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.

*    *    *

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

Generation 2 – Chapter 13

The Dinner

“Come on Olive, get off that phone and grab me some rosemary from the spice rack will you” Arielle asked as she prepared the evenings dinner.

“Mom I don’t get why you’re going to all this trouble just for stupid Jake!” Olive whined as she searched trough the various spices and herbs on the opposite counter.

“You’re only saying that because you don’t like salmon and you know it.” Arielle laughed, “Don’t worry, I’ll do you something else for you, but for now help me with this. You know come here, I’ll teach you how to cut it just right.”

“Why, you do it perfectly.” Olive plonked herself down one of the stools, pulling out her laptop and logging onto Facebook.

“Well you need to know how to cut sweetie.” She busied herself with the salmon as she spoke, “you know, for the day when I’m not around any more…” Olive didn’t detect the anguish that flitted across her mothers face.

“Oh mom! I’m not moving out just yet, you’ve got a few more years of me yet. Oh my god! Milly Orkenfor just changed her relationship status from ‘in a relationship’ to ‘it’s complicated’!”

“They have relationship status’ on there?” Arielle asked, still preparing the salmon.

“O.M.G! I have to call her this instant, oh she’s online, I need to find out what happened!” Arielle smiled at her daughter as she typed away furiously, she couldn’t help but think what would happen if the cancer took her life from her, how would her daughter cope without her here to listen to the the snippets of her life that were so important right now?

“Oh Kitty you’re here! And you look lovely by the way.” Arielle smiled at her oldest daughter as she walked into the room, dressed for dinner. She was so proud of everything she was achieving, both in her personal life and her school life. Class president, and now she had a boyfriend! Arielle wondered if her own life would have turned out differently if she had experienced everything her children were experiencing, the childhood memories of sibling rivalry, boyfriends and girlfriends, teenage parties while the parents were away… It didn’t matter, she was extremely grateful for the way she had grown up, after all if it wasn’t for that she may never have been at the club on that fateful night that Noah walked in the door.

“Kitty can you go and put the washer on? I want everything to be done before dinner so I don’t have to do it afterwards.” Arielle asked as she rushed around the kitchen. Kitty smiled and sighed theatrically,

“Ah, if I must!” Trudging off to the pantry/laundry room Kitty tried to keep her nerves at bay. What if her parents didn’t like Jake? She liked him so much, and just wanted everyone else to feel the same. Olive was okay with him, they had talked about it as they laid in Olive’s bed watching The Notebook and eating Ben and Jerrys from the box, she loved having her sister to talk to about the relationship stuff, it’s not like Tommy would have been interested!

“Hey mom!” Oliver yelled as he walked into the kitchen, dumping a stack of easels in the sun room, which had became his domain ever since he started painting there as a child.

“Hi son, how was the art class?” Arielle asked as she poured herself a cup of coffee. She was so proud of her youngest son, he was so unlike his brother, which she loved. All her children were different, and she loved that about them.

“Meh,” he shrugged his shoulders, “it’s okay, the kids in there are total crap though. Today someone painted a house! I swear I painted a similar thing when I was 8.”

“Well not everyone is as good at art as you Oliver, that’s why they’re in the class!” Arielle said.

“I suppose. Can I have a sandwich?” He bounded over to the fridge, about to make his favourite turkey sandwiches.

“No you can’t have a sandwich! We’re having dinner soon. Close the fridge.” Arielle chided from her position on the island. Oliver was still searching the fridge, obviously still about to make his sandwich. “Oliver! Close it.” His mothers warning finally got through, and with a sigh he slammed the fridge door closed. If she was no longer around who would stop Oliver from gauging on his favourite foods? Who would instil the importance of family meals into him? They were slight, and in some ways silly things that she was fretting over, but she couldn’t help think about every aspect of their lives, and all the ways in which they needed her. She looked downwards, her children couldn’t know that she was ill, at least not yet, not with Noah’s big party coming up, and Kitty’s dinner to introduce them to Jake, Tommy’s football game this weekend, Oliver’s art show at the school next Wednesday, the shopping spree Olive had planned for the both of them coming up, and little Cora’s birthday on the horizon.

“Tommy!” Arielle exclaimed as she heard the back door open. “How was practice?” She kissed him on the cheek before she took his dirty gym clothes out of the backpack he had dumped on the floor.

“Fine.” He went and looked over Olive’s shoulder at her laptop.

“What the hell are you doing?” He asked.

“Connor cheated on Milly! But she still wants to be with him!” Olive got into her element, “Okay so I called Stacy who told me that she had seen Connor at the movies with – you’ll never guess who -” She paused for a few seconds as Tommy stood scowling at her “-Mindy! The girl you brought to the party!”

“Tommy brought a girl to that party you guys threw!?” Arielle exclaimed as she washed her now empty coffee mug.

“He totally kissed her too,” Olive continued, “because Stacey wasn’t in the same theatre as them so I called Michelle who works there, and she was doing that thing you know where they come in with the glasses and spy on you, and she was just looking then she got to Connor, and he was kissing Mindy!! Oh my God, biggest news ever right?!”

“Yeah biggest news ever.” Tommy said sarcastically, scowling.

“Come on, it is big news! They were like the perfect couple! Kitty don’t you think that’s big?” Olive asked when she saw Kitty walking out of the laundry room.

“Definitely. I mean, especially seen as she wants to stay with him. What woman would do that to herself? She needs to get some pride and leave him.” Kitty replied as she dried the mug Arielle had just washed.

“I knoooow right! She needs to get a grip! This is so exciting I have to call Clara right now, mom can I?” Olive pleaded.

“No you can’t, dinner will be ready in a few minutes. Tommy will you go get Cora from the den and put her in the high chair?” Arielle asked as she peered through the glass door of the oven to check her salmon.

“No!” Tommy said as he stormed out of the kitchen.”

“Who put a stick up his ass?” Oliver joked.

“Oliver, don’t swear! Although you’re right…” Arielle craned her neck to see if she could see Tommy in any of the rooms that were visible through the large glass doors in the den. “Go get Cora would you Oliver.” She said as she brought the huge plate of salmon out of the oven. She was thankful for Oliver as he came back into the room with Cora on his arm, but she worried about Tommy, maybe was just in one of those moods but what if it was something serious? If she wasn’t here who would he talk to?! None of the children would talk to Noah about their problems, they always came to her. It would be even worse for Tommy, as Noah wasn’t his biological father, and she hadn’t heard from Leo in years.

The whole family was seated for dinner, as well as Jake, who Arielle insisted on seating at the head of the table, which made it even worse for him as everyone could gawk at him freely. Kitty sat next to her father, who was next to Jake, and spent the entire dinner wishing she could swap places with her father, the stern looks he was giving Jake were beginning to make her nervous! Everyone else stayed mainly silent as they ate, it was always polite conversation during the beginning of dinner (and Arielle had sternly told them to be extra polite due to Jakes presence), school work, football, that sort of thing. Olive played with her BlackBerry under the table as she ignored the salad her mother had made for her. Oliver tried to talk to Tommy, who was having none of it, and furiously wolfed down his dinner before he asked to be excused, which Noah stopped with a few stern words about having guests and being polite, which instantly shut Tommy up. Cora was, in Kitty’s opinion, the saviour of the dinner. Every time she felt a little awkward she could talk about how big Cora was getting, or how sweet she was in her high chair, which would always result in huge giggles from Cora, making the entire table smile.

“So Jake, what are you interested in?” Noah asked as he took a sip of water.

“Um – Sports mainly…” Jake smiled lightly, he was understandably nervous, and Noah’s stern gaze wasn’t helping calm those. “Oh and your daughter, very interested in your daughter!” The corners of Noah’s mouth turned up in a half smile as he watched this kid squirm with nerves in front of him.

“Jake, Jake, it’s fine.” Kitty whispered, smiling at Jake as she reached across the table and squeezed his hand whilst Noah complimented Arielle on how wonderful the salmon was.

“Kitty, hows the class presidency going?” Noah turned to his eldest daughter whom he loved so much.

“Great actually, I’ve got a committee together and we’re planning a lot of positive changes around the school, do you know they don’t even recycle!”

“Well neither did we until you practically held mom at knife point until she got a recycle bin!” Oliver said, his mouth full of food.

“You know I think this is just a test run for you – if you know what I mean.” Noah looked proudly upon his daughter, he could definitely see big things for her future.

“I wanna talk to you guys about that actually!” Kitty said excitedly, looking at both her parents. “I’ve decided I’m going to apply for an internship in jounalism! Oh and don’t tell grandpa, I don’t want to get it just because he owns the company.”

“That’s amazing sweetie!” Arielle exclaimed as she smiled at her daughter, she always knew exactly what she wanted to do, so unlike her at the same age. Noah was oddly silent at this point, Kitty looked at him with a confused expression while Arielle tilted her head to the side, willing him to say what was on his mind.

“Well Kitty wouldn’t it be better for you to apply for a political internship at city hall? I thought that’s what you wanted.”

“No, I want to write about politics, not be in it, not yet anyway. Class presidents one thing but I don’t know if I want to do it on a grander scale, writing about it would be more fun, then I wouldn’t have to tread on egg shells like I would if I was a politician.” She had clearly thought over her reasons to apply for a journalism internship, but Noah still didn’t seem happy.

“I just don’t see why you’d want to write about politics when you could be in the middle of it.”

“It’s a snake pit daddy, I don’t want to be in there.”

“It’s not like you couldn’t hold your own though sis.” Olive said, finally looking up from her BlackBerry.

“Yeah Kitty, why aim so low?” Oliver chimed in, still chewing with his mouth full. Kitty turned and glared at him, her lips set in a thin line of disapproval , she didn’t like her family always getting their own views in.

“Olive turn your stupid phone off the beeping’s annoying me!” Tommy shouted from the opposite end of the table.

“Tommy’s got his panties in a twist.” Oliver whispered to Kitty across the table, causing her to burst out in laughter.

“Shut up Oliver!” yelled Tommy, punching Oliver on the arm.

“Woah, woah, what the hell is your problem Tommy?! Did you miss a throw at practice?! Are you on your period or something, God what is your problem today?!” Olive screamed, defending both herself and Oliver.

“Stop it!” Arielle stood up, immediately shutting everyone up. “We have a guest who has came here to get to know us and you kids can do nothing but bicker?!” She glared individually at everyone on the table, excluding Jake. Olive put that phone away!” She turned on her daughter with fury in her eyes.

“But mom -”

Now.” The phone went into Olive’s pocket with a lot of huffing and puffing. “Tommy, obviously something’s bothering you, but please try and get through it, we can talk about it later.”

“I don’t want to talk about!”

“Okay, fine. And apologise to your brother for punching him. And Oliver, you apologise for mocking your brother! And Kitty move your hand from your mouth, I know you’re sniggering behind there!” The two boys exchanged a grumpy apology, Arielle usually would have made them give a proper one but she realised she was going to get nowhere with Tommy tonight, and she didn’t want to make any more of a scene than had already taken place. They took to staring each other out in anger instead. Tommy planned ways to ruin Olivers easels while Oliver thought of places he could hide Tommy’s gym clothes and the best instruments to puncture his footballs with.

“Now let’s just finish dinner shall we?” The conversation slowed down after that, with none of the children wanting to talk due to their anger at being upstaged by their mother it all fell on the nervous Jake, who ended up telling much more about his life than he had thought would be necessary when he first arrived for dinner.

“Oh my God mom I feel sick!” Olive yelled, pushing over her chair as she jumped up from the table, standing there with her hands over her mouth.

“Oh jeez shes gonna spew!!” Oliver yelled holding his empty plate in front of him as a mock shield. Beofre anyone could ask what was the matter she was gone, flying out of the room leaving everyone confused. Why was she ill?

“I guess dinners over.” Arielle said as she stood up and began clearing the plates. “Nice having you Jake.”

The Party

“How shall I sit for my interview? I don’t want to seem nervous, but I don’t want to look like I know I’m going to get it. Does this look arrogant?” Kitty asked as she sat on the comfortable chair in the corner of her bathroom, testing out poses for her upcoming interview at the local paper, which fell under the Belgravia Industries umbrella.

“Hmm.” Olive turned to her sister and gave her a once over. “I think it looks fine, just pick a way to sit and stick to it, or better yet don’t think about it at all, you don’t want to over think it.” She turned back to the mirror and began examining her pores. “After all,” She covered the beginnings of a spot with some of Kitty’s expensive concealer, “they’re looking at your journalistic talents, not the way you sit.”

“I know but I don’t want to leave anything to chance!” Kitty said as she tested having her arms folded.

“They’re not gonna hire you because you look so demure you know Kit.”

“Oh I know, I know.” She stood up and shook her arms and legs, as if to get them out of the poses they had been stuck in for the last half hour. “Do you think I should try out a new lipgloss?”

“No, I think you suit that one, which one should I wear?” Olive asked as she sat down, looking through the extensive collection which was all held in a large box. “Have you ever even worn this?” She said, holding up a stick of hot pink.

“I’ve never worn most of them, they’re just good to have, for times like now when you need one!” Kitty replied, applying some mascara and checking herself out.

The two sisters moved from the bedroom, after Olive decided to not wear any lipstick after all.

“You have such beautiful jewellery sis, can I borrow this?” Olive asked as she sat on the floor pouring over Kittys antique jewellery box while Kitty slipped into the dress she had finally chosen.

“Is that guy from school coming tonight?” Kitty asked.

“James? I guess so, I didn’t dare invite him though. His parents work with dad so I guess he’ll come with them. I’m so nervous!” Olive distracted herself with her outfit for the night, she liked James, she really thought he could be her boyfriend, if only he would talk to her.

“Why? You have to talk to him, he’s so cute, and you would be so beautiful together!” Kitty wanted her sister to have as good a relationship as she had with Jake.

“Yeah okay, maybe I will.” She had no intention of actually doing so. She’d been admiring Tommy’s friend Austin for years, she’d even tried to flirt with him once but came up against a brick wall, she felt like she must be so ugly!

“I know that means you won’t! Come on what’s the problem?!” Kitty persisted.

“Kitty just drop it! It’s okay for you, boys love you with your little stick thin body and your blonde hair and your glossy lips! Who would want me?” She was on the verge of tears as she yelled at Kitty.

“Olive! How can you even say that, you know it took me ages to talk to Jake but I finally did it and look how it all turned out! You’re absolutely beautiful sis, you have such pretty hair and your body is amazing!”

“You think so? You’re sweet..”

“.. but I have to work for it. You’re so lucky that you don’t.” Olive blinked a few times, she could feels tears threatening to spill out, she couldn’t ruin her make up and get a blotchy face a few minutes before the party.

“Hey girls is everything okay, you ready?” Arielle asked, walking into the room in her long, flowing red dress.

“Oh my gosh mom you look amazing!” Olive yelled, staring at her mother.

“You don’t think I overdid it? I know this is so important to your father, I wanted to make a good impression.” She asked as she fumbled with her dress. “Oh!” She exclaimed as she let go of the dress and took in her two daughters properly, “You two look so beautiful.” Arielle smiled down at them, she loved them so much, loved that they could have these girly experiences of getting ready together before parties, talk about boys and whatever else they did. She put her arms around their shoulders and the three of them walked to the famous mirror that was always used for posing in before heading out to a party.

The party was a formal affair. Champagne was flowing freely around the room as waiters held their trays aloft darting in and out of the impeccably manicured guests. Noah was hoping to land a master maestro for his orchestra, and the party was an attempt to schmooze him into the deal. An avid celebrity worshipper, the presence of Noah’s famous wife and her family, especially the legend herself Lily Belgravia, would go a long way to sealing the deal. The den, which had been set up with a dance floor and gobos, had became the epicentre of the youth of the party, with all the teens grinding and dancing any way they wanted.

“Oh my gosh don’t look now – Mindy is here!” Kitty stage whispered to Olive as they stood in the centre of the dancefloor.

“She’s a little cow! Why would she come here after what she did to Milly?!” Olive fumed, staring across the room at Mindy.

“Oh my God – don’t freak out, she’s headed towards Oliver.” Kitty tried to be inconspicuous, dancing in circles around her sister as her gaze followed Mindy across the room to her little brother. “They’re dancing together!”

“Is she determined to get every Belgravia male going? She’ll be jumping on grandpa next!”

“At least Oliver doesn’t look very interested…” Kitty mused as she checked out the situation in the rest of the room.

“Hey what’s up with Tommy?” Olive asked, staring across the room to where Tommy was stood scowling, the date he had brought hanging behind him.

“Oh Rosy! I forgot he was bringing her – I feel bad for her, she’s totally in love with him and he’s just ignoring her!” Kitty fretted, wondering whether to go over and save Rosy from her clearly terrible date.

“Oh. My. God. Who is that weirdo?! She came in a swimsuit…?” Olive laughed as she pointed across the room to a girl who had clearly arrived expecting a pool party. Kitty laughed along with her sister. “The swimsuits so last season too.”

“I know right!” Olive and Kitty burst into laughter as they continued to stare at her.

“Sushi ladies” Offered a waiter, holding his tray in front of them.

“Ooh definitely!” Kitty said excitedly, grabbing a few pieces while Olive stood staring at the tray. “Olive, take some!” Kitty said, her mouth full of food. Olive reluctantly took a piece.

“Isn’t it strange, seeing our girls so grown up?” Arielle commented as she danced slowly with Noah, the odd couple amongst the throngs of teenagers. “God I wish I could still dance like them.” Arielle laughed as she watched Kitty hitting the dancefloor like she herself did in her youth.

“Arielle. You have to tell them.” Noah had been pushing her to tell the family about her cancer for weeks now, but he realised how hard it must be for her, and was there every step of the way, just waiting for the day when she was ready to tell the children.

“Yes, soon. For now, lets dance.”

“Where’s Olive?” Oliver asked, joining Kitty in her wild dancing.

“I dunno actually. Stay here, I better go find her.” Kitty was worried that she was upset about James, who had been talking to Kirsty in the corner of the room all night, and hadn’t so much as glanced in Olive’s direction.

“Olive?! Olive!!” Kitty went from room to room, searching the entire first floor, which was packed full of people, the second floor, which had a couple of people hanging around on the sofas in the hallway and a few waiting for the bathroom, and finally ended up on the deserted third floor. Every room was empty, and finally she came to her own. This was the only place she could be, the furthest room in the house. As she entered she was a little scared, it was pretty much silent way up here, the light sounds of laughter and clinking glasses drifting in through one of the windows she had left open, the curtains blowing in the breeze. Olive was nowhere in sight. Marching into the bathroom she slammed the lights on, but she couldn’t see Olive anywhere. Then she heard it, the light sobs, but she still didn’t know where they were coming from.

“Who’s there!?” Kitty shouted, becoming more freaked out by the second. She looked around, her eyes becoming drawn to the open toilet. She was sure she had shut it when she left. Looking down she saw it was filled with vomit, she had no idea what was going on. Then she saw her sisters thin figure huddled under the sink, sobbing into her knees.

“Olive! Are you okay, come out of there!” Kitty leaned down, tugging on her sisters hand, begging her to come out and talk to her. “You’re scaring me Olive, did you make yourself sick?” She had thought about Olive’s behaviour that night, she could have been drunk, but she hadn’t had a drink. She either must be genuinely ill or had made herself sick. Kitty’s instincts took her to the latter. After much coaxing Olive finally crawled out from under the sink, resting her head in her sisters lap as they laid on the ground.

“I’m sorry Kitty, I didn’t want you to see me like this.” Olive said, finally standing up and wiping away the tears from her face.

“Why would you do this to yourself?” Kitty questioned sternly. She felt bad for her sister, but she knew that this was no way for her to live her life. Kitty was expecting a heartfelt confession, maybe a few more tears, but what she got instead was Olive’s fury.

“Oh Kitty you have it so easy don’t you!” She screamed, throwing her arms wide.

“What?” Kitty was too shocked to argue back, and she didn’t want to upset her sister any more.

“Everyone in this family has something! Tommy’s the sporty one, Oliver’s the painter, even Cora is a little musical genius already – and you, the star of the family with a job at that pathetic grocery store, debate and newspaper club, published writer, political extrordinare, ‘destined for great things’ as Noah said! Well what about me?! I don’t know what I want to do – I’m not interested in things the same way you guys are! I wish I was, I really do, but it seems all I can do is shop and gossip, nothing else!”

“Olive, what – where is this coming from?” Kitty stuttered, Olive’s fury seemed to know no bounds, her arms were flying everywhere, threatening to whack Kitty in the face.

“All of you have it together, you’re all perfect!” She knew little of Kitty’s underlying insecurities, her fear of failure, of Tommy’s battle with his sexuality and his academic struggles, or of Oliver’s loneliness. “My body is what I can control! Something goes in, I can get it out, if I’m thin at least I can look pretty, I may not have my life planned out but I’ll look good figuring it out!”

With those words she stormed out of the room, bringing down several shelves on the opposite wall from the force with which she slammed the door. Kitty was speechless, still cowering in the corner. How could her sister be doing this, bulimic? Eating disorders were dangerous, people died from them! She had to find her mother and get her help.

“Mom I need your-” Kitty cut her sentence short as she ran into the kitchen and was faced with her entire family facing her mother and father, who clearly had an announcement. She joined the children in line, standing as far as possible from Olive, who had been planning on escaping into the hedge maze but had been dragged into the kitchen for a family meeting.

“Can we hurry this up?!” Tommy yelled. Austin was on his way to the party and he couldn’t decide if he wanted to run away from him in shame or run straight into his arms. He was about to complain again before Noah put him down with a stern glance, standing behind his wife, her protector.

“Kids I have something to tell you, now I don’t want you to be upset…” She wondered if she was making the right decision, about to tell her children about her cancer in the middle of a party. She had decided to do it, and she knew she had to do it now or she never would, but the words were just so hard to say. Once she did it, everything would change. The kids would be worried about her, they wouldn’t be able to lead such full lives as the weight of their mothers life would be hanging over their heads until she got better, or, God forbid, died.

“Mom?!” Oliver urged his mother on with a scowl, there was a girl he wanted to talk to in the next room, he thought she would be perfect to paint.

“Well the thing is, I’m ill kids. I have been for, a while now.” They all stared back at her with shock, exchanging worried glances between themselves.

“That’s why your mother and I went to Sunset Valley, to explore treatment options.” Noah explained as Arielle gathered her composure.

“It’s bad kids, I don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s -” She felt strange, her heart was pounding in her chest, her throat felt like it was constricting. Her eyes widened as she turned to Noah in panic. The children exchanged more worried glances, they still didn’t know the extent of her illness. Time seemed to slow down as the family watched their mothers eyes flutter shut and her body go limp as she began falling, her red dress cascading around her as her body hit the floor.

Generation 2 – Chapter 12

Olive –

“Come on Kitty, get yourself on one of these machines!” I said as I punched the ‘high terrain’ button on the alarmingly modern treadmill.

“I’m really more of an indoors kind of girl.” She said, not looking up from her newspaper.

“We are indoors doofus! This is so exhilarating, I feel so awake right now!”

“Uh huh, well you have exercise and I have coffee.”

“Come on Kit, it will be good for you!” Tommy managed to get out between his loud grunts as he trained his legs on the weight machine.

“Are you saying I’m fat?! Oh my God have you guys ever heard of Tom Wilde? He just died after being struck by lightning 34 times! 34 times!” She lowered her newspaper for a second to stare at us in shock.

“Never heard of him. Poor guy.” I panted out as I increased the terrain once more.

“You see these are the issues the government should be focusing on, that’s why people don’t trust them.” She lowered her newspaper as she took a sip of coffee.

“No Kitty, I don’t think you’re fat. And what about that guy? It’s the governments fault that he was struck by lightning?” Tommy questioned.

“No it’s the governments fault for not having adequate weather control in place. The forecast that day said sunny!” She replied testily.

“Kitty why do you care about this stuff, do it when you’re old, now now.” He shot back at her, clearly bored by her politics.

“Shut up Tommy, I can be interested in this all I want. Ha! The Betatown Bronco’s beat the Llamas 6 to 5 last night, I’m sure that will make you happy.” She said sarcastically, she knew the Llamas were Tommy’s favourite team, he wanted to play for them someday.

“Come on. You two better go shower, we have to be at school in an hour. I’ll drive?” Kitty asked, finally folding away the paper and finishing her coffee in one huge gulp.

“Sure.” I hopped off the treadmill, wiping away the sweat from my brow. I was glad to get to school, this weekend had been hell, nursing a hangover all day at school on Friday from the party we threw had not put me in the best mood to be grounded for the entire weekend. No phone, no PC, no TV, no nothing! Luckily we weren’t banned from the new gym mom had built, so the three of us had spent most of our days in here, Tommy and I working out while Kitty relaxed on the chair talking to us. Forty five minutes later the three of us were walking out of the house for the first time all weekend.

Kitty –

“…and that is why I, Kitty Belgravia, hope to be elected your class president. Thank you.” My large group of friends who were all clustered together screamed, standing up and cheering, the die hard political students clapped vigorously after my speech, the guys who found me hot wolf whistled, and everyone else clapped half heartedly. Jeez, versatile crowd. I smiled down at them from the podium for a few minutes before the clapping died down, I was desperately hoping to win this election, and if my smile could help then I was sure as hell going to use it.

“You were great!” Rosy told me as she embraced me in a friendly hug. She was my biggest supporter, I was so glad she was here for me!

“You don’t think the eco-policy was too long?” I asked her nervously.

“No, no. It was fine, people like the environment, it’s a sure vote clincher.” I sure hoped so, I really wanted to win, I felt like I could make a lot of positive changes to the school.

“Okay I’ll see you later.” I gave her another hug before I walked out to the parking lot and hopped into my Mini Cooper, a present from mom and dad for my birthday. I thought they might not have given it to me, my birthday was only 2 weeks after the disastrous party, but thankfully they seemed to let go of it after that weekend.

Pulling up outside the Little Corsican Bistro I fumbled in the back seat trying to get out of the suit I had worn for my speech and into my normal clothes, I didn’t have time to go home and change before my date with Jake. Yes, Jake! He asked me out again after the major flirting we did at the party, and I couldn’t walk in there in a suit, he’d think I was a weirdo! I could see him already sat there as I walked towards the restaurant (after a long struggle) jeez he was so handsome!

“Hey Kitty!” He waved over to me, I smiled back as if I hadn’t been searching the tables for him. Play it cool Kitty.

“Hi! Sorry I’m so late I just gave my speech for President at my school.”

“Oh yeah, you go to West Marino right?” He went to Tommy’s school, but his quality of education definitely didn’t make a difference to how smart he was, he was apparently one of the top students in the class.

“Yeah, but don’t worry I’m not as snobby as most of the people there!” I didn’t actually know if I was snobby, I mean I didn’t look down on him because he went to that school, but I did love designer clothes and expensive products and heels… whatever.

“Don’t worry, I didn’t think you were. You seemed really cool at the party, Tommy always told me you were like, the geek of the family.” Did he now?

“Well I guess I’ll have to just smack him down or… something.” I replied awkwardly, watching the date go downhill before my very eyes. Why was I so nervous?! Pull it together Kitty!

“Would you two like to order?” The pretty waitress asked, handing us both menus. From there the date got a lot better, we basically just got to know each other, talking about everything from our families to our favourite TV shows to our politics. This was going so well, he was really easy to talk to, and after the slightly awkward start (on my part) we hit it off big time, I always thought I’d have to act a certain way on a date, but I was just myself and he seemed to love it, I was so happy!

Tommy –

The three of us were crowded at one end of the dining room table, all working on our homework. Kitty was breezing through it, Olive was struggling a little with some equations, and I was simply baffled. I didn’t understand a word of this, and I didn’t even want to think about the English essay that was due in three days time.

“Kitty, have you done that English essay?” I asked, due more to stop working than actually being interested.

“Um, for Carlton? Yeah.”

“How?!” I was shocked, I’d expected her to say no, but what could I have really expected if I thought about it. She was taking all the same subjects as me as well as more of her own, and even though she was technically younger she’d been bumped up the school system quite a few times, so we had some overlapping classes. Obviously she was still in the right gym class, probably because she never did anything in it, it was always ‘that time of the month’ when it came to gym. “Please tell me how you could possibly have finished that essay. You have your study group every morning, then the actual school work, then you go to that newspaper club, then you go to that job you got at the grocery store, then you come home and do your regular homework. You’re telling me you did an English essay on top of all that?!” I was practically screaming at her. “Sorry Kit. I didn’t mean to shout, I just – I can’t do it!”

“It’s a lot of work, everything I do.” She replied, playing with her pencil nervously, I had clearly upset her a little by shouting. “Tommy, I’ll do the essay for you. Here.” She reached over, snatching my pad away before I had a chance to object and instantly began scribbling down notes, I felt bad letting her do it again but… I had to keep my grades up, or I’d be kicked off the team! I thought making it onto the team was the hard part, turns out staying on it was even harder.

Oliver –

Tommy, Kitty, and Olive were so uncool, it was like they were their own little group and I couldn’t be in it because I was too young! So unfair! I wanted Cora to grow faster so I could play with her properly, but for now I’d play little games with her and help her out with the blocks, stuff like that.

I didn’t have any games to play around the house, everything had already been done by the older kids. The playground that had been built when Tommy and Kitty were young was so boring, everything had been used so it didn’t feel as special, there were little princess stickers Kitty had stuck to the rides, and Tommy and Austin’s names carved on the inside of the treehouse. I wanted something of my own!

It was kind of like no one really noticed me, they knew I was there but they just weren’t interested in me, even mom. I had no idea what was going on with her, I had walked in on her crying a few weeks ago. She told me it was just the onions she was cutting but I wasn’t stupid, I knew she was sad! All I wanted to do was help her but she wouldn’t talk to me. I wasn’t as big as the others so my voice wasn’t heard as much, dinner was just Tommy going on and on about sports, Kitty talking about these weird people that I’d seen on the news and stuff, and Olive on her BlackBerry.

I was so glad for painting. There was an easel in the sun room, and the day I discovered it was the best day of my life. Hours went by in seconds while I painted these amazing things from my mind, I could make my ideas come to life, then mom would come and tell me how great it was. But however great she said it was I knew it could be better. And I would be the best in the world some day.

Olive –

“Uhh I know, it’s going to be amazing!!” I screamed down the phone. Me and Marie were planning the best party of the year. I had to do one like Kitty and Tommy did, and this time not get wasted and end up passed out in the front hallway.

“Marie I gotta go Kitty just walked in. Yeah, I will. Okay, bye!” Marie wanted me to invite Kitty and Tommy, which I had no problem with, the three of us fought but we were best friends underneath it all, especially seen as I had grown up a little now, not just in chronological age – I felt more mature from hanging out with them so much.

“Who was that?” Kitty asked as she ripped open a letter.

“Marie. What’s that? A love letter from your boyfriend!?” I teased.

“No!” she laughed, “It’s just from the bank, about my article payments.” I wish it was a love letter for me. At least she had a boyfriend, and after 3 dates! I hadn’t even been on one date!

“Oh yeah, my big shot sister published in a magazine!” I was genuinely happy for her, she’d worked long and hard to finally get something published. I suspected that under her tough exterior she was quite insecure, and this was a way of cementing all her hard work as worth it.

“What are we doing today?” She asked, shoving the letter into her pocket.

“We?” I didn’t really have any idea. “Shall we do online shopping and cakes? Not too many though, I’m on a diet.” She laughed at my weight crack and agreed. “Laptops in the kitchen in 5!” We both scrambled off upstairs to grab our stuff and moms credit card, I hoped we could find a really great sale, we both loved shopping, and we loved bargains even more.

“Shall I buy this bag?” She asked, I kind of liked it when she asked for my opinion, we were a few years apart, and it was nice having a big sister, but sometimes I liked being the one who she came to for help, even if it was with a bag.

“It’s Marc Jacobs and it’s on sale,” I observed as I peered at the gorgeous bag on the screen. “of course you should buy it!”

“I dunno… I’ll add it to the basket for later.” We had found an amazing sale, good job we picked today to do our online shopping and cake ritual, although we didn’t actually have the latter part of the ritual, neither of us knew where mom (the master of cake) was, she was always oddly absent lately.

“Oh no! It’s gone!”

“Oh yeah, that happens sometimes. You’ve just gotta go for it and click buy. Bad luck Kit.” The next four hours were dedicated to shopping, after all, I needed options for my party.

Tommy –

I was back in that place, that safe place that I loved. The dream world. Everything was so quiet. I hadn’t gotten to bed until 6am last night, desperately trying to finish a social studies assignment. I’d finished, but now I was so tired I think I’d already slept through most of Saturday.

Then there was a voice, no! Leave me alone, I had to get my rest for when Austin came over to practice football with me.

“TOMMY! Wake up man!” Someone was shaking me? Austin?!

“What time is it?” I mumbled through sleep filled eyes.

“Dude, it’s 6 in the afternoon, you’ve been asleep all day! Get up, we gotta practice.”

“Hey man… I gotta take a shower.” I laughed half heartedly, I was too tired to function, an ice cold shower would wake me right up.

“Sure, sure, I’ll just hang here.” He plonked himself down on the sofa, grabbing the remote and flicking aimlessly through the channels. The shower was so invigorating, it woke me right up, after a few minutes under the icy jets I turned it to warm, the cold woke me up but really, the warm was so much more relaxing. I couldn’t see my towel anywhere… my bathroom was nothing like Kitty’s, it hardly had anything in it. It was a bathroom, not a bloody cosmetics shop like Kitty’s.

“Hey dude can you just pull the curtain across I need to grab a tiss- Woahhhh!” Austin’s face dropped in shock as he saw me stood naked before him, reaching down to grab an old towel.

“Um – I, um, I’m sorry I didn’t know you were out. I’ll – um…” What the hell was wrong with him?

“Dude what’s up?” It couldn’t be the fact I was naked, he must have seen tonnes of naked guys in the locker room before and after games, the guys were pretty much naked all the time. I don’t think I’d ever been naked in front of him before but that couldn’t be it. I guess he just felt a bit awkward seen as it was in my house or something.

“I’m gonna let you get dressed…” He said slowly, still staring at me in shock.

“Well my clothes are in my room so d’ya wanna move from the doorway? Come on.”

“Actually I’ll stay here till you’re ready.”

“Why?” I asked, puzzled.

“Well because um, well I need to – use the …sink.” He was acting totally weird, I hope he hadn’t started taking those performance pills that some of the guys had been known to take before the game, if he got caught he’d be in serious trouble.

“Okay, whatever.” I left the room, leaving him to use the sink. Whatever that meant.

“Come on you wimp, you can throw better than that!” Austin teased me as he easily caught the ball I threw at him.

“You want a hard throw, you got it!” I put as much force into it as possible, making myself look like kind of an idiot at the same time, but hey at least he almost dropped it.

“Try and catch… this!” He threw it as hard as he could, good job I had been practising or I might have dropped it, damn he was good!

We  kept playing for about an hour, by the end I was exhausted, and so was he. We threw the ball onto the grassy verge and I was about to suggest a quick break before we started again, but he spoke first.

“Let’s do something fun. We haven’t done anything in ages!” Something fun?

“Like what?” I asked, it had definitely been a while since we had done anything.

“I dunno. Got any beers?”

“Um, I think my dad might have a few in the fridge. Where would we go with them, we can’t just sit here where they can see us.” That would be the worst thing to happen, especially after Olive’s little incident.

“I’m thinking right there.” He gestured towards the two statues flanking the entrance to the overgrown hedge maze.

“Dude, it’s like a real maze, I mean you can’t climb out or anything, and it’s really hard!”

“Fine, fine… wimp.” He muttered under his breath. I knew he was joking, he was smiling as he said it, and he would never actually call me a wimp. But I still fell for it.

“Okay, okay fine. You’re on. I’ll go get the beers.” We both got a 6pack each, there were quite a few in the fridge. Mom was sure to notice they were missing but I didn’t care, I wanted to have some fun and forget about sports and school and all of that crap. The maze was exactly how I described it – a nightmare. We trudged through, both drinking 3 beers each on the way and getting a little drunk, especially as I had no food in my stomach. It must have taken us about an hour to reach the floodlit centre of the maze, and by that time we were both a little tipsy, nothing bad, but a few more and we would definitely be drunk.

A Few Beers Later…

“I know! No I love the sports, but I just want a break!” I ranted, the alcohol slurring my speech a little.

“Sooo… did anything happen with you and Mindy after I left the party?” Austin asked.

“Mindy? Austin I already told you…I’m not into her!” I had a feeling we had already had this conversation, but I couldn’t really remember. I had only been drunk about three times in my life, yeah, I’m a lightweight. “Why you asking?”

“Oh… just wondering!”

“Come on Austin, do you like her, is that it?” I teased, jabbing him in the ribs. “It’s okay to like her, I don’t even like her!” Who was the last person Austin went out with… hmm.

“Nah, nothing like that. She’s not the one that I like.”

“So there’s a one!” He was looking more and more uncomfortable, any other time and I would have just dropped it, but I was pretty drunk so I didn’t realise the level of discomfort I was causing him, and like an idiot I kept pestering him. “Is it Kirsty Allaham? She’s cute…”

“Nooo, she’s not my type. At all.”

“What’s your type then??” I smiled at him, willing him to continue. I didn’t even know why I cared, the alcohol had made me feel like Austin’s love life was the most important thing in the world.

“Come on Tommy, you must have guessed.” He let out a drunken hiccup as he stared at me, um – what was he getting at?

That was the moment I realised he liked me. It all added up, jeez I was so dumb, I hadn’t understood it before. That must have been what he wanted to talk to me about at the party, and why he was so awkward when he saw me naked. What was I meant to do now? We sat there in silence, it wasn’t really awkward, I knew he was just giving me time to digest that my best friend was gay, and he liked me! This was weird…

“Tommy I’m sorry I never told you.” The words were still a little slurred, but it seemed like this news had sobered us up slightly.

“How could you lie to me all these years?!” I jumped up from the bench, extremely angry at him. It was as if the foundation of our friendship was a lie!

“Tommy I’m sorry! I thought you might not want to be my friend if I told you…”

“Do you really think I’m that much of a douche?! You should have told me!” The alcohol was heightening all my feelings, I felt a tear fall down my cheek. My best friend had lied to me, for years!

“Tommy, Tommy! I’m sorry!” He came over and put his and on my shoulder to comfort me. Shouldn’t I be the one comforting him?! He’d just came out, and to the guy he liked, that must have been hard.

We stood together as I calmed down, his hand still firmly on my shoulder. I wasn’t looking at him as I rubbed my eyes, I couldn’t cry in front of him! I could feel his hand moving up, finally resting on the back of my neck. Neither of us looked at the other one, this was so awkward, but his hand just felt so nice being there, why should I move it just because he was a guy? My eyes flicked up and looked into his. It was a split second before our mouths met in a clumsy, rushed kiss. It was one of those horny teenager kisses, but it was with Austin! I was kissing Austin, I didn’t know what to think. The guys on the team always said kissing a guy was disgusting, but it felt fine. Good even. Great. I was so confused, I had always looked up to Austin, but I had never thought of him in a sexual way. Was I gay? I didn’t feel gay, I checked out girls all the time, but I suppose Austin was a good looking guy, I’d just never thought of him that way. I couldn’t be feeling this! It was weird!

My life is a mess… But it felt so good.

*      *      *

This was meant to be a 2 part chapter, part 2 dealing with Arielle’s cancer, but as I started writing it look on a life of its own and became far too long to be a part 2!

Should be coming up soon. I was also wondering who your guys favourite child is so far?! I’m personally torn between Kitty and Tommy, but I do love them all!

– Marissa xx