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Generation 3 – Chapter 7

“Oh. My. GOD!” Arielle screamed as she realised that it was me, her daughter, back after all these years. “What the – Olive!” She said as she threw herself into my arms.

“Mom, I’ve missed you so much…” The words came out in a choked whisper, I just wanted to hold onto her forever but she’d already dashed inside and was screaming for Noah to come down.

“NOAH! YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO BELIEVE THIS!” She shouted up the stairs before turning back to me. “I can’t believe you’re back…” She said in a whisper.

“Olive! Where on earth have you been!” Noah said in anger. Uh oh, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

“Um – Hi daddy.”

He stared at me for a long while, the stern expression seeming to gaze right into my soul. I was about to turn and run before he broke into a huge smile and ran into my arms, just like mom had. Now that I was back I couldn’t think for the life of me why I stayed away for so many years.

“Mom, dad,” I began as the two of them hugged in the hallway, both beaming with happiness. “MOM!” I shouted, snapping them out of their joy, god they were like two teenagers. “There’s some people I’d like you to meet…”

“Are you a lesbian?” Arielle blurted out as she looked at Marie holding the kids, and before I could stop her she was on a roll. “Ohmigod this must be why you ran away, were you ashamed? It’s fine sweetie, you shouldn’t be embarrassed. Tommy’s gay you know, he’s been with his boyfriend for years, oh dar-“

“What?! The last time I was here Tommy had a girlfriend, what happened?!” Tommy was gay?! I’d missed out on so much, I didn’t even know what was happening in my siblings lives. “And I’m not a lesbian mom, this is Marie, she’s Sebastian,” I squeezed Sebastian’s little leg, “and Electra’s,” I placed my hands on Electra’s shoulders, “au pair, and has been with me for years now.”

“What? ‘Been with you for years’? Who are you and what have you done with my daughter who was only interested in gossip and fashion?” Mom said, staring at me in shock. “Are these my grandchildren?” She gazed at Electra and Sebastian as if she couldn’t quite believe it.

“I think that makes it 8 grandchildren we have now.” Noah remarked as he came over and took little Sebastian into his arms. “Hello little man, I’m your grandfather, yes that’s right.”

“You have to tell us everything! Come on.” Arielle said, grabbing my arm and pulling me through the house into the kitchen. I had expected everything to look exactly the same but it had of course changed over the years I had been gone, rooms decorated differently, new pictures, different appliances… it was so odd being back here.

“So, what have you been doing?” Dad asked as he pulled one of the highchairs from when we were young out of the cupboard and put Sebastian into it.

“Well, after I ran away I went to Miami…” I said as I began my tale, the rising sun streaming in through the windows. I proceeded to tell them everything that had happened. It was difficult to tell them about the rape, Noah’s reaction was even harder to deal with, ‘I’ll kill him!’ He had screamed; too bad he was already dead, probably at the hand of Max although I was still unsure on that one, I didn’t want to delve into it, there were too many memories. I had planned on not telling them at all but my life had consisted of so many lies, lying about my bulimia, calling myself Mary, telling Max I loved him. It had all been a whirlwind, but it was over now.

“So you’ll be staying here for now, yes?” Mom asked as she busied herself cleaning the teacups after I’d finished my tale.

“Of course. Just until I find my own place though.”

“So you’re staying for good?! We never went over that, we’re so glad to have you home.” Noah beamed at me as he spoke, it was so touching to be back, it was nothing like I’d thought it would have been, no screaming, no shouting, no one blaming me, just open arms and love. Now all I needed was my own place.

*    *    *

“Come on Sebastian, that’s right come to mommy, you can do it.” I encouraged as Sebastian took a few tentative steps towards me. Now that I was home, free of Max, and in my new apartment I could finally spend more time with the kids. Marie was still around of course, I couldn’t be here all the time and it was good for the children to have the same nanny instead of a whole range of different babysitters.

“Hello-oo!” I heard over the ping of the elevator as the doors closed.

“Cora! You’re here, finally!” I ran to my sister and kissed her on both cheeks. I hadn’t seen her since I’d been back as she’d been on a tour of Asia with her husband and children. I’d seen Tommy and his boyfriend Austin over dinner a few weeks ago, and Kitty, Laurence, and their daughter Alexis had came over too. I just hadn’t seen Oliver, he was in London with Celeste and their kids. “And who’s this little man?”

“This,” Cora said as she snuggled into her son, “Is Julian. Meet your Aunt Olive.” She passed him into my arms with a lot of ooh-ing and ahh-ing.

“Do you want to meet your cousin, huh Julian? Your cousin Sebastian is over here, come on.” I took him to where Sebastian was playing on the block table and put him down beside him. The two were wary of each other at first, but they were soon giggling and playing with the blocks as me and Cora sat down and caught up.

“Sis, what happened?” Cora asked after we’d been talking about her marriage, her sons, and her music for a while.

“It’s… complicated.” I didn’t know how to tell such a tale, couldn’t she just ask mom and dad like all my other siblings had? “Well the jist of it is I went to Miami, had Electra with… a guy I met,” I couldn’t tell her the rape story with our sons playing at our feet, I’d made Electra take Sebastian out to the garden when I had told mom and dad, “then I met Sebastian’s father Max, we got married, moved to France, he cheated on me,” again, I didn’t tell her about my darker motives, I hadn’t told anyone that, “we got divorced, and now I’m back!”

“Okay well now that’s cleared up!” Cora laughed as she took in the condensed version of my life. “Are you okay?” She said staring at me with concern.

“Yeah…” I said uneasily. I was happy, I had two wonderful children, more than enough money to do whatever I wanted with, and an amazing family, but I was starting to feel lonely.

“Anyway, onto happier things. I’ve been doing photography lately, I got into it in China, here stand up. I’ll get a picture of you and Sebastian.” She said, picking up Sebastian and putting him into my arms before whipping out her camera. “Aaa-nd done!” she smiled at me, propping up the sweet little picture she’d taken on the table behind the sofa.

“Aw thank you sis, I really have missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too. It’ll be nice having all my sisters in town, we should have a girly night soon.”

“Definitely.” I agreed, a smile plastered on my face as I gazed at her. She was so pretty, all I had memories of was a good girl teenager, we’d never really spent much time together growing up, same with Oliver. It was always me, Tommy, and Kitty, and then we all grew apart. I looked down at our kids playing on the ground, and promised myself to make the cousins close friends – family was a bond that should never be broken.

“So when do I get to meet your gorgeous husband, I googled him to take a peek!” I laughed, “and Julian’s twin Alexander?” I so wanted to get to know all of the family.

“Well James took Alex with him to California for a meeting but they’ll be back on Friday and I suppose you can meet them then.” It was then that an idea struck me.

“Why don’t we have a party?! It’s been a while since I’ve been to one and it can be a sort of catch up session as well as being a housewarming party for this place. No kids of course, I’ll have to come and meet Alex before the party.”

“That sounds amazing! And you know we may be in the gritty music business but we know a lot of nice guys, CEO’s, managers, rock stars, company executives. I’ll invite a few to the party. We all have significant others now, you deserve someone.” Cora said, already pulling out her BlackBerry and making a reminder for herself. We spent the rest of the afternoon outlining details for the party, and the list of guys she said she was inviting wasn’t bad either. Maybe, just maybe, I’d find someone that could make me happy.

*    *    *

“Okay, ready.” I muttered to myself as I slipped on a diamond tennis bracelet and admired myself in the mirror that nestled among the plants and Louis Vuitton wallpaper. The party had to be a success, this was my debut into Redcliffe society, and it simply had to be perfect. I couldn’t afford any mistakes tonight.

“What on earth are you kids doing?!” I said in shock as I came down the stairs and took in the kids playing peek-a-boo in the middle of the living area.

“Mama!” Shouted little Sebastian as he looked up at me and smiled before turning back to his sister.

“We’re just playing mama. Sebastian likes me, look!” Electra turned to Sebastian and began their game again, eliciting screams of joy from both of them.

“Yes well that’s lovely but Electra you should be dressed, I want you to come out and meet the family when they arrive, and where the hell is Marie? She was meant to be taking care of Sebastian away from the party.” What was the point of me paying for a live in nanny if she wasn’t going to be around when I needed her?! Tonight was so important, if my party was a failure I’d be a laughing stock. Screaming children was so gauche.

“Mrs Elphinstone, I so sorry, I take Sebastian right away. Come little boy.” Marie said as she ran into the room and scooped Sebastian into her arms before running off down the hall to the bedrooms.

“Electra! Go and get ready. Everyone will be here soon, you’ll finally get to meet your family.” I hissed as I plumped up a few pillows, getting a scowl from my daughter. “Electra, come on!” I said, standing and staring at her.

“But who are they? Why can’t we go back to France? Where’s daddy?” She said with a confused expression on her face, her lower lip trembling. Oh no, I had forgotten all about Max and how she thought he was her father, I just didn’t know how to broach the subject to a seven year old.

“Come now, please just get ready OK?” I said as I took her hand and led her down to her bedroom. Being a mother was so hard, how on earth did people do it without staff?

“Mom I hate this dress, I look like an idiot!” Complained my troublesome daughter, tugging at the cardigan I had made her put on over her dress.

“You look wonderful sweetie.” I mumbled disinterestedly, primping my face in the mirror over her dresser.

*   *   *

“And this is Dimitri, a friend of your aunt Cora’s.” I said, pulling her towards Dimitri after I’d dragged her around the party saying hello to all of her family as she gazed around, looking bored. “Say hello!” I whispered furiously as I leaned over under the pretext of fixing her hair.

“Dimitri’s a stupid name.” She said with a look of scorn from under her lashes as she looked at the handsome man in front of her, why must she do this to me?! For the most part the people who could hear Electra laughed at her greeting, but I heard a few tuts and hisses of disapproval.

“Electra! Don’t children just say the funniest things?” I laughed, smiling at Dimitri while putting my hand on Electra’s shoulder and pinching her just a little harder than I should have. She had to learn the social graces. Cora had told me Dimitri was a shipping magnate, definitely a powerful man. Power turned me on, and money, I had to make a good impression.

“It’s fine.” A thin smile spread across his face, emphasising his strong features. The thick, Greek eyebrows, the strong aquiline nose and sharp cheekbones. Thick black hair that showed no signs of graying even though he was well into his forties, the impeccably cut suit showcasing his lean, toned body.

“Do you want to kiss my mama?” Electra blurted out, still staring at him with a cold look as he looked down at her awkwardly. Where on earth did she get that from?!

“Electra!” I feigned a laugh as I clenched my teeth, “why don’t you go to your room now, it’s getting late.” I shooed her off towards the bedrooms. Why did she have to be such a hassle? “I’m so sorry about that, my daughter doesn’t seem to have a filter.”

“Ah no worries, she’s quite the feisty young lady.” He stared at me for a while, the deep green eyes looking straight into mine. “She’s right you know, I want to kiss you very much, you’re easily the most beautiful woman in the room.”

“Dimitri you flatter me.” I blushed lightly as he spoke, the most beautiful woman in the room? Wow! “Just so you know I’m recently divorced.” I didn’t know if that would be a deal breaker, what did men think of divorced women?

“As am I. It makes no difference to me.” His hand lightly brushed my waist as he moved closer to me. “We should have lunch some time. Take my card.” He said, gently placing his gold engraved card in my hand. “I must go now but please give me a call. I’ll be in back in town next week.” And with a ping of the elevator doors he was gone. Maybe I didn’t have to be so lonely after all.

*    *    *

Sorry about the outfit change at the beginning from the last chapter – I had some issues with the game, resulting in having to delete some custom content, including that outfit.

Also a big thank you to everyone for getting me to 15,000 views! 😀 You guys are so amazing.

– Marissa

Generation 3 – Chapter 6

“Let me start off by saying how sorry I am, it must be really hard for you, going through this divorce. If there’s anything -” I cut off my high priced lawyer mid sentence. I wasn’t interested in the niceties.

“You can drop the concerned lawyer act. You want to make money, I want to make money. Lets just work together and take my husband for every penny he’s got.” She stared at me for a long while after I spoke, probably trying to figure me out.

It was when the smile spread across her face and she said, “Lets take the bastard down.” That I knew I had picked the right person for the job. I proceeded to tell her all about the marriage, leaving out the parts about me withholding sex of course. “How much are you looking for? Ballpoint.”

“I want 100 million.” I said with conviction. I didn’t actually know how much the Elphinstones had, but I knew that they were loaded. 100 million would be fine, I deserved it.

“What?!” She threw her arms up in the air, “100 mil? You really think he’s gonna pay you that amount of money?”

“He will once I show him these.” Fishing around in my Mulberry I pulled out the dossier I had taken from the investigators house, and watched the realisation dawn on her face as she flicked through the pages. “Still don’t think I can get it?” I asked, smiling at her and rubbing my hands together in anticipation of how rich I would soon be.

“Olive, this is a question I don’t usually ask,” She began, pulling her chair around so she was next to me, “but what do you really want out of this divorce? Is it purely for financial gain, as I first thought, or is it something else. I’m happy to help you either way,” I should think so, that’s what I was paying her for! “but I’m just curious.”

It was an understandable question for sure, and one I had held the answer to since I first spoke to Max when I was working at the bar. “I just want what any girl wants,” I gave her a long, penetrating look; I had to get her on my side. “to be free.”

“Anyway I must go.” I said as I stood up and glanced at my new Cartier watch (a parting gift on Maxs credit card – as were the Harry Winston diamonds at my ears) “I have an appointment at Nicky Clarke.”

“Yes, of course. I’ll call you when I’ve set up a meeting with his lawyers.” She began leafing through a huge folder covered in stick-notes before she looked up at me, “He does know, doesn’t he?”

*   *   *

Emerging from Nicky Clarke 3 hours later I felt like my old self again.

Now that I was free of Max I could shed the past – including Reena’s makeover. I had finally washed all the reminders of Miami off of me, well, except for the obvious one. As much as I tried not to think about it, I knew it would never leave me. I had booked myself into a spa for the rest of the day, but making my way down the street my plans were washed away by a phonecall.

‘Ellis’, read the screen, my lawyer.

“What is it?” I asked, still making my way down the busy street.

“Olive? Thank god you answered, I’ve been ringing you for the past hour. Everyone’s waiting, I just contacted Max’s lawyers and they came in for an immediate sit down. Get back to my office, now!” Quickly I called my driver, and safely enclosed in the limo I wondered why they wanted the meeting so soon, maybe they just wanted to get it out of the way. Max must have been shocked when he found out, I hadn’t even told him I was divorcing him, he must have thought everything was fine, and that I didn’t know all about his little extra curricular activities.

“So sorry I’m late.” I said as I quickly sat down next to Ellis in the conference room, across from Max and his obscenely overpaid lawyer, Randal Fairclough.

“Okay, we can begin.” Randal said, straightening the cuffs of his whiter than white shirt beneath the pinstripe suit. “In the case of Maxwell Elphinstone vs Olivia Elphinstone we are prepared to go with an opening offer of 1 million dollars. Quite a fair settlement for such a short marriage, with no probable cause for divorce.”

“Ridiculous!” Ellis exclaimed, throwing her hands in the air. “With the wealth of the Elphinstone family, and the fact that my client will be a single mother supporting two children once this divorce is finalised, we are pushing for a considerably higher settlement.”

As the two lawyers went at it me and Max resorted to staring at each other across the table. His face was impassive, I didn’t know what he was thinking, but I wasn’t going to be the first to look away.

“I like your hair.” He said suddenly, interrupting the staring match we had been going at for 10 minutes. I didn’t reply, just smiled weakly, tilting my head slightly and gazing across the expanse of glass at him.

He was handsome, but it was his money that was his appeal. He had no force to him, no driving ambition behind his millions, it had all just fallen into his lap. Elphinstone Diamond had been passed through the family for generations, and was overseen by a board of directors who never let things get out of control. Even his mother had more force in her than him, at least she had fire inside of her. She was probably the one who put Max’s out.

“No probable cause for divorce? Take a look at these.” I heard Ellis shout, sliding the dossier across the table. Max with his secretary. Max with his masseuse. Max with his favourite waitress at the local restaurant. Men were such pigs, I was going to take every penny off him. Although I was only 23 I had learnt that men couldn’t be trusted, ever. They could take care of you financially, entertain you sexually, but you should never trust them, they would always hurt you. Granted I had driven Max to other women purposely, but if he had really loved me he wouldn’t have done it at all.

“100 million?!” Randal shouted in shock, “that’s preposterous, extra marital affairs are nothing knew, and certainly not worth 100 million!”

“Does your client really want a scandal like this getting out?” Ellis asked smoothly, leaving Randal fuming. “Olive? Are you okay?” She asked, looking over her shoulder at me as she noticed the locked eyes of me and Max. I was still looking at him, why couldn’t men just be good?

I didn’t answer, and she was quickly distracted by more bullshit from Randal’s mouth.

“Why are you doing this Olivia?” Max whispered slowly, his face a mixture of anger and sadness. Why was I doing this?! Was he being serious, could he not see the photos?

“They’re offering 50. Olive!” Ellis said, snapping me out of my daze. I wasn’t going to answer Max, he knew fine well why I was doing this.

“100.” I told Randal with conviction. I wasn’t taking 50, it would hardly get me anywhere.

“Pah!” He threw his hands up in the air in frustration, “we are not prepared to offer that. If we can’t settle this here we’ll have to take it to court.”

“Fine by us.” Ellis told him as she gathered her things together. “Don’t worry, the judge will side with you, you’re the cheated woman with two children to support whose done nothing wrong.” She whispered into my ear, patting my shoulder and clicking her heels off down the hallway, followed quickly by Randal and Max, leaving me alone to muse over the situation. Would I really win if this case went to court? I’d make a few calls, try and make sure I had a sympathetic judge, dress myself demurely in a pastel colour, take off all my makeup, maybe pull my hair back into braids…

“Hello Olivia.” said a voice from behind me, jolting me out of my plan.

“Randal just filled me in on your demands. 100 million? Ambitious to say the least.” Elizabeth said cooly, moving across the room to gaze out of the windows of the high rise building to the city beneath. “I’ll give you 60 million, and you won’t need to go to the press about my sons… indiscretions.”

“100 million Elizabeth. A judge would give me that for sure.” I said bluntly. Her being here just proved how much more fire she had than Max, he would never have dared to negotiate with me without the aid of a lawyer.

“Don’t be so sure, you may walk out of the court with even less than 50 million, depending what mood the judge is in. Think about it, are you willing to risk millions of dollars on the hope that the judge will side with you?” She still faced the window, giving her a sinister twist not suited to the pink suit which she was wearing.

What she was saying made sense, if Max’s lawyer was so well paid he was sure to be a skilled negotiator in court, and if he could make the case that I had purposely withheld sex in order to catch Max in a compromising position… it didn’t bare thinking about. The only way out of that situation would be to bring up my past, and that was something I wasn’t willing to do.

“Make it 90.” I told her, suddenly deciding that she was right; this was the best way.

“I’m glad to see you’ve come to your senses.” She finally turned around and faced me as she spoke.

“Ill give you 70. I hope you realise how much money this is Olivia, I’m not going up from 1000 to 2000 here, I’m adding 10 million dollars. Take it.” She was smooth as she spoke, her voice never raising even an inch, only dripping with venom.

“Make it 75 and we have a deal. And I hope you realise I’m knocking 25 million,” I repeated her words, “off my original total.”

“Ah Olivia, you drive a hard bargain, I always knew you were a little money grabbing tart.” She gave me a half smile and tapped her drummed her fingers on the table as she thought about my offer.

“You have a deal. You know,” she said as she fished around in her bag, “you’re lucky you had a boy, if it was a girl I’d be offering you about half of this. And I wouldn’t budge.” She put two contracts down in front of me, one was a confidentiality agreement, that basically said I couldn’t mention the fact that I’d caught Max with several other women, and I couldn’t disclose the amount of money I received in the settlement. The other was the actual divorce paper, all I had to do was sign.

“If that money isn’t transferred to my bank in the next 48 hours,” I said before I signed, “then I’ll call every newspaper in Europe and tell them all about Max, I’ll give interviews on every show that will take me and I’ll drive your families name into the ground. Understood?” My pen flew across the page in a blur. I was officially a divorcée.

*     *     *

Pacing up and down the private lounge of the airport waiting for my flight was driving me nuts. This is what you get when you fly commercial!

“How much longer do I have to wait?!” I barked to a passing receptionist, who quickly went into apologetic mode.

“I’m terribly sorry ma’am, the plane is being refueled. Shouldn’t be much longer now.” She threw me a fake smile which really set me off.

“Get the plane here now. I have been forced to fly commercial after a tumultuous divorce and this is how you treat me? I’ve never seen anything like it, if the plane isn’t here soon I’ll be having words with your manager.”

“Um – I’m sorry. I’ll try and see whats going on. Can I get you anything while you wait?” She squirmed uncomfortably in front of me, so pathetic.

“Just go.” I said, pursing my lips and narrowing my eyes, sending her practically running into the next room. Fortunately for her the announcement that flight 246 was ready to board ran through the airport, and shortly afterwards I was ensconced in the air conditioned comfort of first class. It could never beat the Elphinstone jet, but it would have to do; the use of the jet was (unfortunately) not available to ex-wives.

*     *     *

Driving through the winding streets I kept my eyes closed. I had such nostalgia it was unbearable. Why didn’t I just fly to London or Paris?

Electra, now 7 years old sat beside me, and Marie held little Sebastian. After the divorce a judge had granted me full custody due to the ‘unsatisfactory role model Maxwell Elphinstone would provide for his son, with his hurtful treatment of his wife by indulging in affairs with several different women’ with Max having supervised custody rights for a week every other month. I didn’t really know what to do about it, it would be important for Sebastian to have a father figure; I knew that much. But was Max a good father figure? Maybe I’d have to find someone to fill Max’s shoes, at least for Sebastian and Electra’s sakes.

“Ma’am, we’re here.” The drivers voice came through the car speakers. Getting out of the car I made my way nervously to the front door, I didn’t know what to expect. Time seemed to slow down after I pressed the bell, standing there in front of the door, bracing myself. I took a sharp intake of breath as the door opened a a figure appeared in the doorway, her passive face quickly turning to one of shock.

“Hi Mom. I’m home.”