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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 3 – Chapter 4

My heart ached as I typed ‘Belgravia’ into the search bar on Redcliffe’s leading gossip website, the host of entries that popped up made me want to break down and weep. The first one detailed the wedding of Kitty to someone named Laurence Williamson, whoever that was. I wish I could have been there for her, she must think I was the worst sister in the world. The next one told of the death of grandfather Chace, who died peacefully at the Chace Belgravia Wing of Redcliffe Memorial Hospital last Tuesday.

He joins his wife, celebrated actress Lily, who died 2 years ago.’ Lily and Chace were both dead?! Why wasn’t I there, I should have been there to comfort mom, who must have been crying her heart out. Ugh, I hated myself so much. More entries told me of the marriage of Oliver and Celeste, as well as the births of their children (I was an aunt now, what was I missing?!) and many posts showing Cora tearing up the Bridgeport nightlife scene after performing shows with her band. As bad as I felt, looking down at little Electra playing by my feet brought me back to reality.

I had to marry Max, it was the only way to ensure our financial security. And I would marry him, tomorrow. But first I had to get to Elphinstone Manor, where Elizabeth had set up a room for me, ready for the big day, such a hassle, but clearly a necessity with a pushy, traditional mother like Elizabeth. Throwing Electra into the baby seat of my new car (a gift from Max) I raced well over the speed limit through the winding streets until I saw the house looming over us in the distance, as imposing and overbearing as Max’s mother.

“Anyone home?” I shouted as my heels tapped on the marble floor.

“Darling, finally. You know how I simply hate to be kept waiting, get up here at once.” Elizabeth chided from her position on the upstairs landing, “and for goodness sake get rid of the child. Why do you think God invented nannies?” She said with a sigh, looking distastefully at Electra.

Hurriedly I handed Electra to one of the nannies and made my way upstairs, I thought I heard a little cry of ‘mommy’ from downstairs, but it was probably just my imagination.

After a restless nights sleep I sat in front of the mirror, trying to apply my makeup, but I was shaking so much it wasn’t going very well. Was I really doing the right thing, marrying this man? I barely knew anything about him, except that he was rich. We hadn’t even kissed yet, except for the peck I gave him when he proposed. Oh well, it was too late now.

He stood alone by the wooden arch decorated with flowers under which we were to married. Most of his friends lived in Europe, and he had told me he didn’t want to hassle them by asking them to fly out. So our wedding was a hassle was it? I didn’t mind, I had no one of my own to invite apart from Darcy, whom Elizabeth had promptly crossed off of the list for ‘being too common’. ‘She’d feel silly at such a formal wedding darling, better not to embarrass her.’ Elizabeth had told me. What a bitch, sat there in her white, didn’t she know only the bride was supposed to wear white?

I made my way nervously through the small crowd, feeling myself blushing as everyone stared at me. I felt fat and disgusting, I had thrown up last nights dinner but it hadn’t made a difference, I still felt ugly. Max smiled at me as I stood in front of him. I forced myself to smile back. As  he slipped the ring on my finger it became official, I was now part of the Elphinstone family, the biggest exporter of diamonds in the country.

Grabbing each others hands we smiled, and then he moved in for the kill. The big finish, the kiss. I felt sick as he moved towards me, as if the world itself was closing in on me, crushing my body. My breath was coming in short gasps, I wanted to push him away but I couldn’t make a scene. Then his lips were on mine, the gentle touch felt amplified fifty times over, it was Riley all over again, on top of me, ripping the dress of my body, forcing himself onto me. Hurriedly I backed off, and forgetting the crowd I ran to the wall, hoisted myself over, and ran.

The world seemed to melt away as I ran, I was back in Miami, running from that house, away from him. I ran and ran, right to the edge of the cliff, which overlooked a beautiful waterfall. This was all mine now, I was an Elphinstone, and as they owned all the land around here, it was mine. But not if I kept this up. I had to sleep with Max, or he’d be allowed to annul our marriage by law. But I couldn’t do it, it was too painful.

Surely Max would look after Electra if something happened to me? If I just happened to slip now, and crash onto the rocks below, she’d be well cared for, wouldn’t she? I didn’t want to leave her with no mother, but I’d rather have money than a dysfunctional mother like me. It was always an option. I must have sat by the cliffside for hours before I made my way back to the house. Sneaking into the bedroom, expecting Max to be fast asleep I was shocked to find him awake, laid on the bed, no doubt waiting for me.

“Thank God you’re alright.” He said as I came in, heaving himself up a little.

“I just couldn’t Max, it was too many memories, too much pressure.” I stuttered, looking down.

“Well you bloody well could have tried to make less a scene, people actually laughed you know!”

“I’m sorry.” Was all I could say. I looked down at the floor in shame, why was I such a screw up?

“It’s okay, I’m sorry.” He stood up, coming towards me as if to comfort me, but thinking against it he moved to the fireplace instead, poking the flames which were threatening to go out. “Why don’t we get away? We can take Electra, show her some culture, get a bit of relaxation. This could be our honeymoon.” He looked at me hopefully, god it was hard seeing him like this, he clearly liked me a lot more than I liked him.

“Okay.” I mumbled, still extremely embarrassed. A few hours later we were on the Elphinstone jet on our way to France.

*   *   *

After 10 hours in first class Max, Electra and I emerged into the heat of Saint-Sébastien in the Côte D’azur, or the French Rivera. I was awestruck by the beauty of the place as the limousine drove through the dense forest that kept the house secluded and down the huge tree lined driveway that led to the house. Electra loved the place, I’d sit outside, gazing out across the lake, occasionally catching glances of Electra screaming with joy as she ran around with her French au pair Marie.

The place was so peaceful, totally cut off from the outside world. Unlike Elphinstone Manor it was not grand and imposing, it was more of a farmhouse, although it was still huge. Smiling to myself I thought about how I could really get used to it here, it was much better than being back home, plagued with memories of Riley and of my wedding antics.

“Olivia? Olivia!” I could hear Max’s voice ringing through the house, he had started calling me Olivia recently, which infuriated me. My name was Olive. Okay so my given name was Olivia, but everyone called me Olive. “There you are.” He said as he came out onto the terrace.

“Aren’t you a little hot in that?” He asked as he sat down next to me.

“Aren’t you a little hot in that?” I chided back, fingering his thick jumper.

“Point taken.” the corners of his mouth raised fractionally. “Olivia, we need to talk about it you know.” I knew what he meant, the sex. I had been preparing myself for it since we had arrived 2 weeks ago, but  I was still weary, what if I couldn’t do it?

“I’m ready.” I smiled at him, trying to reassure him. He was sure to divorce me if we couldn’t have sex, it was always part of the equation for men.

“I really think I can do it Max. You know I love you.” We hadn’t said those words to each other yet, which was kind of odd I suppose, weren’t you supposed to be in love before you married? I didn’t know what love felt like, but I loved that Max could protect me and Electra with his millions, so I suppose that was a kind of love. The only kind that mattered was the monetary kind.

“I love you too sweetheart.” He said it with such conviction, his voice lowering and his hand touching his heart, I felt kind of bad that I didn’t love him back. Maybe I did love him, how was I supposed to know what love felt like?

“I’m ready Max, I swear.” I didn’t take my eyes off his as I spoke, when I read a murder mystery while pregnant with Electra it said the first sign of a liar was that they didn’t keep eye contact, so I forced myself to.

“Hmm.” He sighed, looking out to the gardens.

“Max what’s wrong?” I said, staring at his stoic profile.

“If you’re sure, I’ll be waiting upstairs.” With that he stood up and left, heading up to the bedroom. I waited a few minutes before I got up, it was too late to turn back now. We were man and wife, we had to have sex, it just wasn’t logical for us to not. He was fluffing up the pillows when I arrived, he hadn’t noticed me pad silently into the bedroom in my bare feet. He was handsome I suppose, at least I hadn’t had to marry someone ugly.

“I’ll take things slowly, I promise.” He told me as I joined him on the bed. I just tried to breath, I had been doing some research online, and it seemed like you just needed to relax. A lot of the websites I visited told me to call ‘Rape Victim Hotlines’, no thanks, I could barely think about the experience myself, never mind pour my heart out to a bunch of strangers. As his lips came towards mine I shut my eyes and tried to remind myself that this wasn’t Riley, it was my husband.

After a few minutes of kissing he broke away, waiting for my hysterics. They never came. The kissing was actually quite enjoyable, goodness why had I only just caught on?

“Are you okay?” He asked, his mouth agape a little.

“Max, I told you I’m fine. Let’s do this.” I said with a smile, throwing off my jumper and darting under the covers where our child was to be conceived. Part 1 of my plan: complete.