Tag Archives: marriage

Bridgeport Social Diary: Olive Belgravia

EXCLUSIVE: AN IN-DEPTH PROFILE OF THE WOMAN WHO SITS ON THE THRONE OF HIGH SOCIETY AND THE LEGACY OF THE GREAT FAMILY SHE DESCENDS FROM

Olive Belgravia-Elphinstone-Van Aston-Peredin Bauer. A four times married billionaire heiress, fashion muse, arts patron, and avid collector of jewels and antiques, it is a name that conjures up images of the high life, of riches and fame, and of many marital troubles. Sitting down with Olive Belgravia is an experience in itself. The queen of high society, who now goes by the name of her current husband, Charles Peredin-Bauer, smiles warmly as she settles down in the seat opposite us at The Samovar, the legendary Bridgeport restaurant. Heads turn to listen as she skips lunch (“I’ll eat when I’m dead!”), opting instead for a simple glass of champagne, crossing her stocking encased legs before adjusting the flawless Chanel suit and taking a deep breath.

“I’m ready.” She breathes with excitement in her voice.

And excited she should be – we have a lot to discuss. Notorious for her tight lipped stance on her personal life, she has always employed the air of the less available you are, the more exclusive you become. Now we will discuss all.

Born into the wealthy and prominent Belgravia family, Olive grew up in the lap of luxury, while she didn’t quite lead the lifestyle she does now (her family had a sprawling suburban home in the Redcliffe hills) it was an extremely comfortable life. Four siblings (Tommy, Kitty, Oliver, and Cora) kept her days filled, but, unlike her siblings, she never saw a clear cut future for herself, leaving her with feelings of inadequacy at her seeming lack of ambition; little did anyone know she would go on to become one of the richest Belgravia’s of them all.

For all our new readers or those less versed on the Belgravia family we feel obliged to give a little background to which you can place Olive into. Her grandmother is Lily Belgravia, the legendary actress who you have, no doubt, seen in at least a dozen movies. A three time Oscar winner who successfully broke into the business world with her line of fragrances and handbags, she created an impressive fortune for herself, most of which she bequeathed to her three daughters.

Perhaps even more impressive than the great Lily, but far less well known, is her husband, Chace Belgravia. Creating a fortune numbering in the tens of billions with Belgravia Industries International, he declined to leave his mammoth fortune to his daughters – they hardly needed it with the money they received from their mother – instead setting up ‘The Belgravia Trust’ a stack of money so large it has been surrounded in mystery and rumour for the hundred-or-so years that it has sat in the bank; some say the fortune is 20 billion, some say 100 billion dollars sits there, however much it is one thing is sure – it is always growing, the trustees who protect it number among the brightest business minds of the age, and continual investments keep the dollars flowing in. Protected and administered by a board of twelve trustees, every member of the family will receive a large chunk of money on their thirty fifth birthdays – the idea being that by that time they should have established themselves in a legitimate career, and the money will only exist to help them better said career. It just so happens Olive has received her own portion of the trust just last year – turning 36 a few weeks ago – but she declined to comment on the amount, tilting her head shyly and calling it ‘personal’.

Despite the trouble that can come with wealth, the family lived a happy life, after the birth of Arielle (Olive’s mother) the couple went on to have twins Oriana and Alexandra, before Lily had a hysterectomy, telling the press at the time she had no desire to ever have more children. A wild streak existed for Arielle when she inherited $30 million on her 18th birthday, proceeding to by the biggest apartment in Bridgeport, the famed Belgravia Triplex at Breach House (a property which she still owns, although she does not live there) and a constant streak of clubbing. Marriage to French painter Leonardo tamed Arielle, and (to the chagrin of the world press) she proceeded to fade quietly from the limelight into a suburban life in Redcliffe. Divorce followed the couple after the birth of their first child Tommy, and her second marriage (which she is still in after many, many years) to musician and world-renowned maestro Noah Belgravia followed, going on to have four more children. Child number three for this couple was non other than Olive. With her aunt Oriana a famous rocker married to the musician of the century (both known for their wild drug antics as well as their music), and the famed fiction writer Alexandra Belgravia-King as her other aunt she was sure to lead an interesting life from the get go.

“I recall my aunt Oriana visiting the house a few times, my mother later told me it was to ask for money,” Olive explains as we mention her aunt, “but she always seemed quite fun to me, always letting us play on her guitars and such, though that dreadful Jasper had the most frightening vacant eyes, and would light up his cigarettes in the house… to my mothers fury!” She recalls with a laugh.

Growing up Olive felt in the shadow of her siblings, all of whom had very clear career goals. Tommy dreamt of superstar athleticism, a goal which he soon achieved and now, along with his husband Austin, is a star of the Recliffe tigers. Kitty had journalistic aims, and also achieved them – she is now editor in chief of DIALOGUE, a prominent New York magazine. Oliver – who probably needs no explanation – spent his days painting, and now has art hanging in every prominent gallery and every household wealthy enough to afford his exquisite work. Cora, her youngest sibling, had dreams of musical stardom, and aided by her aunt Oriana she soon achieved that goal, and now enjoys a relatively successful career in the indie music scene. Meanwhile Olive would flick aimlessly through fashion magazines and gossip continuously with her friends via the internet and phone – both talents which would come in useful later in life,  when she started to be critiqued by the fashion world for everything she wore, and when one bitchy word from her could send a would-be socialite straight to the bottom. Leaving home at 16 Olive headed for Miami with friends, where she began partying and drinking.

“It’s a time in my life I do not like to think about. I was so irresponsible, it’s embarrassing to look back on. And why on earth did I choose Miami? It’s the epitome of tacky.”

While she may look back on Miami as ‘tacky’ now, back then Olive Belgravia was a well known party girl and budding socialite on the Miami scene, a city which she would soon change for the much more desirable land of Europe.

After a brief relationship at the tender age of 17 which she ‘does not wish to discuss’ which produced her only daughter Electra, Olive met Maxwell Elphinstone.

“I was in a bar one night and there he was. The attraction was instant, and while he was many years older than me I never thought the relationship was odd, we were just right for each other at that time.”

After a lavish wedding which included a moment of panic for the bride when she ran from the ceremony after the vows had taken place in Westchester, NY, Olive boarded the private Elphinstone jet and headed for a new life in Europe.

While the Elphinstone family maintains a large estate in Westchester, they are originally from Europe, and own many estates in the French Riviera. It seems unlikely that Olive could meet such a man in a bar – but meet him she did, and a very lucky meeting it was, for the Elphinstone name would help Olive forge a path through the bounds of European socialites to the top of the ladder.

While the Belgravia name is known across America, in Europe at that time they were just whispers of Lily’s name from the few who had shipped her films over and could speak English to watch them; the Elphinstones were much more prominent. At the time of Olive’s marriage to Maxwell they were headed by Elizabeth Elphinstone, the famously pearl-draped and pink-clad matriarch of the family, who has donated millions of euros to charity over her years, and who has friendships with Windsors and Rothschilds.

“Me and Elizabeth never really saw eye to eye, to be frank she didn’t like me, and I didn’t like her.”

The animosity between the two may have added to the eventual split between the couple, but, after the birth of Sebastian, Olive says the two fell into an uneasy truce.

“Maxwell had no heir at the time of our marriage, he was getting on, and Elizabeth was desperate for a little boy to continue the family. I’d have never got so much in the divorce if little Sebastian had been a little Sarah.” She laughs dryly as she explains the archaic attitude of the Elphinstones.

Olive continued her ascent up the social ladder with all seeming well, with her and Maxwell even being dubbed ‘the happiest couple in France’ at one point; but unbeknownst to everyone the marriage was suffering extreme difficulties.

“We had simply fallen out of love – I don’t know what it was, but we weren’t close to each other any more.”

Rumours have abounded about the marriage for years, with multiple women coming forward claiming to have slept with Maxwell at the time of his marriage to Olive, although they have all faded away after alleged meetings with Elphinstone family lawyers. The influence of Elizabeth is all over them. Divorce soon followed, and although no official amount has been disclosed, it is rumoured Olive received around $80 million in the settlement, as well as $400 thousand yearly alimony, although she refuses to comment. Returning to America with her two children and four nannies, Olive bought a sprawling penthouse with views over Redcliffe and set about lamenting her position as the queen of American high society.

“It wasn’t a conscious decision, [to get to the top of society] those were just the circles I moved in, parents from Electra and Sebastian’s school were prominent, and we soon became friends. I began my charity work, and suddenly I was ‘the’ socialite. Rather amusing really.”

While it may not have been an active decision it was definitely a swift move. At the tender age of 25 Olive had done the impossible – pushed past the rows of grey haired doyennes who guard society like the crown jewels and usurped them – placing herself in their position.

A few years back in Redcliffe and Olive had built an impressive reputation for herself. She donated generously to charity (to date she has gifted over $400 million), she gave dinner parties for the rich and famous, and had begun building her impressive collection of jewels, antiques, and artwork. An interest in everything the high life had to offer such as the ballet, theater, art openings and constant travel, led her to husband number two – Dimitri Stanislopolous III.

Like Maxwell Elphinstone before him, Dimitri came from a prominent European family – the Stanislopolous name is eponymous with shipping, often mentioned in the same sentence as Onassis and Niarchos. A billionaire from his involvement in his families shipping company, Dimitri was a well known aging party boy who was just beginning to settle down and take care of his investments.

“We met on Princess Charlotte’s yacht, I was enjoying some champagne and gazing at the view, and suddenly this handsome man was by my side. He swept me off my feet.”

A whirlwind romance followed, a prominent American socialite and an infamous Greek shipping heir seen together – it was tabloid gold. Splashed across the front page of every magazine from here to Australia as they toured the world at various parties in London, New York, Bridgeport, Paris, Athens, Rome, and Sydney, the couple were soon hounded by the press, everyone wondering if they would marry.

Dimitri shocked everyone by doing just that; fending off marriage for years, the world watched with baited breath as the big day came, and hundreds of photographers crowded the gates of Redcliffe Botanical Garden when the couple married on the 18th of June.

“It was a wonderful wedding, definitely my best.” Olive comments as she flicks through a few photographs she has brought with her, “he was an amazing man.”

While Olive and Dimitri tore their way through the world on The Sky King, a jet which she would receive in the impending divorce settlement, Olive’s two children began to dabble in all of lifes pursuits.

Both enrolled at St. Rudolphs, the notoriously expensive school in Redcliffe, the two children – who are very close, they share an apartment in the city now – began changing from their navy blue school uniforms, slipping out of white tights and beige pants and into black leather and daringly short skirts.

“Of course I had trouble with the children – I wouldn’t have needed the botox if they’d been angels.”

Angels they were not. Electra was frequently pictured leaving different clubs highly intoxicated, always with a new man on her side. All of her activities remained unknown to Olive, who was fighting her second divorce.

“It was all so fast, I think Dimitri and I rushed into it. The thrill of the travel, the luxury, the parties, it all shrouded my vision. He was a serial workaholic, always on the phone to some company or another, always planning a takeover. Once the dust had settled and the initial attraction of his charm had wore off it was obvious we weren’t made for each other.”

The world waited for the divorce to be finalized, all desperate for details of Olive’s second divorce settlement. Again, with that tight lipped scrutiny about money that so many of the wealthy employ, Olive refused to comment. Speculation is all over the place about the amount she received; the aforementioned Gulfstream 650 jet will have set Dimitri back around $50 million, and Olive also received a yacht – appropriately named The Golden – which has been cited as costing somewhere between $200 and $250 million, as well as a sprawling estate on the Greek coast with a cool $30.4 million price tag, an Athens penthouse, two heavily customized and bulletproof Maybach 62 limousines worth around $1.2 million, a six story townhouse on the Upper East Side in New York, and a reported lump sum settlement of $1.2 billion, with additional alimony payments. The lack of a pre-nup made Dimitri rethink his next marriage, and his second wife reportedly signed an iron clad document.

“Oh goodness, the money thing again? It’s all anyone ever asks me – ‘how much?!’ they all shout, it’s so tedious. I’m not going to talk about how much I received, it’s private.”

With nothing coming from Olive we’re all free to speculate, but we do know it was definitely a hefty sum. With the help of Dimitri’s money Olive continued her extensive charity work, appearing at benefits and galas across the globe, often as the guest of honour. Scrutiny over her increased, with the world wanting to know what she wore, how thin she was, how much money she had, who she was dating, where she was going.

“I would be stalked day and night by the press, it was ridiculous. I never spoke to any of them, they would criticise my weight and my wealth. It didn’t bother me, one can never be too rich or too thin.”

With the money from her divorce settlements Olive purchased a sprawling ranch, Belgrave Ranch, where she started breeding horses, and used it as a weekend getaway. She also became more interested in art, purchasing master after master, solidifying her position in the art world forever when she famously purchased the stolen Vermeer painting The Concert back from the thieves in an amazing exchange, before donating the piece back to the Isabella Stewart Gardener museum in Boston from which it was stolen. With two divorces under her belt the socialite now had a new man in her sights – wealthy New York financier Marcus Van Aston.

“Marcus and I met the opening night of the opera, and while he wasn’t as charming as Dimitri he was definitely something, and definitely thought of me as a catch. That was the problem – I was just a trophy wife.”

Romance quickly caught up Olive once more, and before long another marriage was taking place. During this time other members of the Belgravia family, who had remained distant, began to come into their own across the world. After the death of the matriarch of the family, Lily Belgravia, a few years ago, the family were under the spotlight more than ever. Oriana and Jasper’s children Freddy and Maria found their careers soaring as everyone was interested in what they did. Marquis and Andrew Belgravia-King, the children of Alexandra and Jeremy, were the only ones who stayed away from the spotlight; both doctors, people could only speculate on what they were like, although that is changing recently as Marquis’ son Isiah is often seen at the Buenos Aries clubs with a number of different girls on his arm.

On the 1st of July Olive and Marcus were married at the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid. It was a lavish wedding with members of the European jet set converging on Madrid for the ceremony.

The couple took off on Olive’s yacht The Golden from her divorce settlement to Dimitri, and set about on a world tour. During this time Olive’s children, who had now left school – both without any grades – moved in together in a tiny apartment in Brdigeport.

“It pains me to talk about it now, but I had Electra and Sebastian cut out of my will. I didn’t want to see my daughter with someone so beneath her – I told her if she would not leave that boy then I would not be supporting her financially. Of course my mother found a way around it.”

Olive will not elaborate further on the subject, but property records show Electra Belgravia purchased a modest $1.2 million loft in downtown Bridgeport, with money presumably from her grandmother. With property prices dropping across the globe Olive took this chance to purchase several luxury properties, adding yet more desirable real estate to her portfolio.

“I had so much furniture, I had six warehouses downtown just full of my antiques and my art, they were so expensive to keep – people kept trying to steal them. So I bought some more houses to fill up.”

The six warehouses are in fact, famous in themselves. While Olive will not go into detail about what was kept there, it is said at least three Rembrandts, five Monets, a few Gainsboroughs and even another Vermeer which she purchased from the MET were stored there, all under twenty four hour security at a cost of $45 thousand a month. As well as the impressive art stored in the temperature controlled warehouses there were also a number of priceless antiques, which included a red lacquered desk commissioned by Louis XV for his study at Versailles, which has been said to be the most important piece of French furniture ever to touch North American soil.

“Oh I had a lot of antiques, there was a Savonnerie carpet, which had been installed at the Fifth Avenue apartment, and we were having lunch one day and someone – I can’t remember who – dropped a cigarette on it. Peter Wilson [then head of Sotheby’s] was alarmed and said, ‘That’s a $2 million carpet!’ I had it brought to the Met the next day.”

The galleries devoted to French decorative arts – named for Olive Belgravia – were begun in during her marriage to Dimitri and continually honed during the following years. As well as her extensive work for the art world, and her continuing entry into the world of horse racing and polo, Olive also donated generously to charity, although, as a friend recalls, “Mrs. Peredin-Bauer does not have anything to do with unpleasant things,” says an observer, “aids, for instance, or cancer.” (One source, though, says that Peredin-Bauer gives anonymously to many causes – especially medical research and libraries.)

During this time Olive also became highly prominent in the fashion world. Always seen at Fashion Week in New York, London, Paris, and Milan, she began to garner the atention of prominent designers, and cultivated friendships with Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Wintour, and Phillip Treacy. Her thin frame, which has been scrutinised over the years for not offering a healthy body image to young women, allowed her to fit effortlessly into the sample sizes of the designer wares she is often seen in.

“I don’t see the fuss about my frame – I work hard to stay thin, I’ve been existing on red bull and nutrition shakes all week, and I in no way encourage young girls to do the same, this is just what I want.”

While her weight may have came under scrutiny over the years, it definitely acted as a catalyst for her growing wardrobe. It is estimated that her couture wardrobe comprises 2,500 garments in total, as well as 450 pairs of shoes, 70 hats, and 200 handbags. Real estate blogs reported her addiction to haute coture led her to the conversion of two bedrooms adjacent to her master suite simply for room to store all her clothes.

While she may be renowned in the worlds of art, fashion, and high society, the great unwashed masses who were not lucky enough to be invited to any number of the parties she attended could still only watch with envy as Olive jetted around the world, never granting interviews, never sitting down for photoshoots that focused on her, although she often did pieces for Architectural Digest and House & Garden. The press was then free to scrutinize the socialite and her stiff-lipped group of friends, who say she is ‘friendly, funny, and vivacious’, yet many beyond her inner sphere view her as cold and even ‘excluding.’ (‘Cozy’ is a word that will never be associated with her,’ says an art-world expert wryly.)

“It’s ridiculous the things people come out with about me. They call me a bitch, they call me cold and stiff, yet those people have never taken the chance to know me. While I may not be like the smiling hoards of feeble celebrities that people seem so enamored with, I am a loyal friend, and the cold demeanor is just an intense desire for privacy, and perhaps even a certain shyness.”

Whatever Olive says to the contrary, shyness does not seem to be one of her attributes. As we sit together during lunch no less than seven people approach the table to greet her, all engaged in the same polite conversation, with a lot of smiles and laughs, before Olive gently moves them on – it’s an art honed by years of practice. Olive and Marcus continued their never ending round of socializing over the next few years; summers spent in Palm Beach at her impressive Mar-A-Lago estate which she purchased from Donald Trump (“a close friend”) for an eye popping $56 million; winters spent in the Seychelles; christmas in St. Barts (where she was recently a guest at Roman Abramovich’s famous New Years party) and St. Tropez; and a never ending round of jet setting in between.

“The plane was a godsend. It allowed me to bring anything I wanted home with me, I could keep plants,  art, and antiques on it and not have to endure the horror of worrying about them being shuttled across the globe on some dowdy commercial airliner with workers who would not understand that their cargo was worth more than the plane itself.”

While her position at the top of society had been lamented for years, and continued to solidify with her endless rounds of parties (dinner parties for the Churchill’s were hosted in Palm Beach, cocktail parties in honour of Barons and Earls at her Mayfair townhouse, and continued sightings of her in the front row of every fashion show from New York to Milan) her love life was, again, suffering problems.

“I had begun to suspect Marcus’ infidelity a few years after our marriage. He couldn’t handle my difficult children, it pushed him over the edge. He took up with someone, and we grew further apart.”

The woman of whom Olive speaks was none other than her long time friend Niya St. Alderton, whom she met at a party in China before her marriage to Dimtri. As was hashed out in the gossip columns, Niya had taken up with Marcus after the death of her ailing husband (pharmaceuticals billionaire Alan St. Alderton), eventually driving Marcus to divorce Olive.

“It was a hard time. I hadn’t wanted to divorce Marcus, I had hoped we could work it out, that if I just left it long enough his affair would sizzle out, but it did not happen that way at all.”

In fact, in his hurry for a divorce from Olive, he sidestepped the pre nuptual agreement they had both signed to protect their considerable wealth and settled the divorce with an undisclosed sum, which has been speculated to be around $500 million.

“I know it’s awful, but money was the only way I could get back at him. If I stopped the divorce going ahead, he would be forced to pay more in his desire to remarry. It was the only way I could get revenge.”

While Olive’s fortune (and her number of ex husbands) grew, her children began dabbling in the music world. As members of the Belgravia family, pictures often appeared of Electra and Sebastian performing gig after gig in Recliffe, and eventually Bridgeport. The music never really took off, and a rumoured recent split in the band has left the fans wondering if ‘Revolutionis’ will return.

“I met Charles at a Belgravia Industires board meeting. He is a member, as well as I [of the board] and we had engaged in a mild flirtation for years, but it came to fruition once my divorce from Marcus was finalised.”

Charles Peredin-Bauer. You will most likely know him as the recently elected governor of the Bridgeport district, but before his prominent political position Charles engaged in a multitude of businesses. Building up a publishing company from nothing, Charles had made his first million by the time he was 22. Twenty years later that million would have multiplied into over 7 billion dollars, giving him enough cash to fund his ascent into politics. Divorced from two supermodels on his way to the top, Olive was his third wife, and he her fourth husband.

“I really feel Charles is the one.” Olive gushes as we begin discussing her current husband, “he understands me completely. Unlike my other husbands we just seem to click very well, I can’t put my finger on it. There’s just something about him.”

Recent years have seemed to turn Olive’s fortunes around for the better. With the relationship with her children on the up after many years of animosity (she was spotted boarding her daughter onto The Sky King just a few weeks ago, exchanging tender smiles with her in the pictures) and a relationship which she assures us is ‘the one’ the woman seems to have finally gotten everything together. We all hope it will last.

*      *      *

I hope you enjoyed this, I’m having a few problems with my game so I decided to write a little something to keep you guys interested.

Remember that this is an interview, and as such Olive would never discuss the darker aspects of her life (rape at the hands of Riley, using Maxwell for his money etc.)

What do you guys reckon to Olive’s life? 🙂

Marissa x

Interlude: Constance Belgravia

Celeste had high hopes for her eldest daughter from the moment she was born. She wanted her to experience the finer things in live, just as she had in her youth, minus the multiple divorces and heartache. All Celeste wanted was the happiness of her children, and she would do anything to ensure their happiness. For Celeste happiness came in one form and one form alone: power. Whether that be power of the monetary kind, power of the career kind, or power granted through a name. She had to secure such power for her daughter Constance, and then she could worry about her other children. Constance knew nothing of her mothers meetings with foreign dignitaries, English aristocrats, or the old American families with names that stretched back to the Mayflower.

Constance had led a sheltered life, summers spent in the South of France, winters in New York, and the rest of the year in the gated, idyllic house in the Redcliffe hills, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city where her cousins Electra and Sebastian lived. She wasn’t interested in social climbing or name dropping – just her horses. For her eleventh birthday she was given a white foal, Blossom. For her thirteenth birthday she was given another brown and white spotted foal, Prairie. And for her sixteenth birthday she was given a fully grown adult, Delilah. The three horses were her main interest. She’d run home from school, change into comfortable leggings and her riding coat and go out to the houses expansive grounds to groom and talk to her three companions.

Although she loved all the horses there was a special place in her heart reserved for Blossom, her first horse, her big love. She trained the horse vigorously for years until she felt she was ready to enter some of the competitions at the International Equestrian Center, conveniently located just a short ride form her house. She could be there in 10 minutes if she sped Blossom up to a trot, and often did just that. She soon became well known on the equestrian circuit, blazing a trail from Redcliffe to Monte Carlo as she won competition after competition. Boys didn’t particularly grab her attention, she’d talk about them with her friends but she never pursued anyone, and never let any boys get close to her. There was a certain fear of them in her mind, she much preferred her horses.

As she matured and reached her seventeenth birthday she felt that she should find someone to be her boyfriend. She didn’t want to, but all her friends had boyfriends – immature brats who wanted to have sex with their girlfriends, and that was it – the problem was she couldn’t find anyone who she would ever consider dating. It didn’t matter. Her mother had found someone for her. His Grace William Cavendish, Duke of Gloucestershire was 37 and lonely. He hadn’t found a wife yet, beating away all advances from the ladies in his social circle, until finally his mother, a friend of Celeste’s, had taken over and looked around herself. It just happened that she bumped into Celeste on her little quest for a suitable wife for her son, and the two soon formed a plan. On Sunday the 24th of August William arrived at the colonial style Belgravia mansion, haughty and full of his own importance.

Constance wasn’t informed of what her mother was planning, she thought he was just a visitor, and as such was polite and charming. that is until it came time for her to feed the horses, upon which she’d leave without a backwards glance. For two months life went on as normal for Constance. She went to the same private school that her cousins Electra and Sebastian attended every day, fed her horses, participated in show jumping and racing competitions, and kept her eye out for a suitable boyfriend.

She even started thinking of her career. Of course horses were her first love, but she revelled in learning new skills and trying things out, such as playing the guiat at her cousin (the descendant of Oriana Belgravia) Mick’s house, or being taught the human anatomy by one of her doctor cousins (the descendants of Alexandra Belgravia).

Returning home from a particularly tough show jumping competition one night she was caught off guard by the huge party which was going on at her house. Her arm was grabbed firmly by Celeste, who informed her that this was her engagement party. The rest, for Constance, was a blur. The future Duchess was thrust through the London social scene in three months. Three months without a day of respite, or even a moment with her horses. She could barely contemplate what was happening, she was about to be married to a man she hardly knew. A man who was more interested in his collection of exotic animals than his wife-to-be.

She tried to get out of it, but once the cogs had been set in motion by her mother it proved harder than she had thought. Celeste assured her this was the best thing for her daughter, it would give her social standing, wealth, and power. Constance couldn’t see why she needed any of those things, but if her mother said it was the best thing for her then it must be the best thing for her, right? Before she knew it she was standing in a private suite at William’s Kensington house in London, fully dressed up, the train of her dress stretching along the ground, a row of pearls in her hair, diamonds glinting at her neck and ears, and the famous Cavendish emerald on her finger.

After the wedding things didn’t go as she expected. She had thought that she’d be forced to move to England to stand by her husbands side, but it turned out that William did have a streak of good in him. He told Constance that, if she wanted to, she could return to Redcliffe to finish her education. She had never been a particularly studious girl, but she jumped at the chance to go back to her horses and her friends. She returned to school a Duchess, wearing the Cavendish emerald on her hand at all times. Suddenly she was followed by Royal Protection agents at all times, the school bus turned into a limousine, and the horse pens had to be checked for bombs before she went in them. But at least she was home.

Her mother seemed unfazed by the fact that Constance was living at home while her husband was back in England, unlike Oliver, who found the whole situation ridiculous and demanded that William fly to see Constance immediately. Celeste had to delicately work out the situation, and tried to explain her motives to Oliver. He left things as they were because he loved his wife, but he felt trouble was stirring for his daughter, and he didn’t know how to stop it. Still in love with her horses and spending more time with them than ever Constance asked her mother about a career on the equestrian circuit as she brushed Prairie in the stables one morning before school.

Celeste felt for her daughter, there was so much she didn’t understand. But she let Constance down gently, telling her that there would be plenty of time to ride horses when she was older, but as soon as she finished school she had to fly to William’s side and begin her one and only job – to produce heirs. Constance was horrified, she had never had sex before, and was definitely not ready to be pregnant. She knew she had to do something about it. That very night she packed a small bag and woke Landon, her brother, at four am. He was always up for something dangerous, and although he was afraid of horses he was always up for an adventure, and together the two of them set off on their horses. They didn’t know where they were headed, but Constance wasn’t ready for the life her mother had laid out for her. And she was going to change it.

*      *      *

Hope you guys enjoyed this, I’m experiencing a few technical problems with Olive & the rest of the family but I want to give you guys something to read. 🙂

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: Kitty & Cora

Over the summer Kitty’s love of her journalism class went from strength to strength. She quickly moved to the top of the class, and by the time school came around she flew ahead of her classmates, standing out as ‘the one to watch’. Aspirations of being a political journalist were never far from her reach if she would call her grandfather, but she felt like she had cheated enough by asking him to get her on the summer course, so she kept working in her own time, hoping that the old saying ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ really wasn’t true; she wanted to think better of the world.

Devouring the ever updating political pages and reeling off article after article she sent them to every magazine in town, to no avail. Her frustration was only abated by the presence of Laurence, who she had been seeing ever since Oliver’s art show. They would spend long days roaming around the park hand in hand, evenings having dinner at the local bistros, and the cold winter nights curled up in the TV room. He was the one that kept her sane.

Although Kitty didn’t brag about the wealth of her family, or go around bragging about who she was, she still enjoyed the lifestyle that was afforded to her; something Laurence found difficult to deal with. Growing up in a single parent family on the wrong side of town Kitty’s life was something completely new to him. His mother had worked all the hours that god sent to put him through private school, leaving herself with nothing when she was paralysed at 40 after a bad car accident. Laurence did everything he could to keep the money coming in to pay for the full time nursing she required, but like Kitty he was finding it difficult to get a foot in the door. Laurence was too proud to accept the many offers for financial help that came from Kitty, but he was desperate to give his mother some security, and Kitty was desperate to help, so eventually they both gave in and went to see Chace.

Chace had been the top figure in business for the past 20 years, building a media and banking corporation that stood over all the others. He had been offering his granddaughter help for years, and was thrilled that she finally accepted; he didn’t mind that Laurence came along with her. He placed them both as junior editors at two of his separate publications. Of course he put Kitty in the better one. The magazines, resentful at first, quickly became dependent on the both of them to keep things running, finding their input invaluable. With his mother being safely looked after the two devoted even more time together, finally uttering those special words ‘I love you’ to each other.

After a day of pampering booked for her by Laurence, a walk in their favourite park where they marveled at the families running around with their dogs and their children, and a hearty meal at their favourite restaurant Laurence finally took the plunge.

She was thrilled when he popped the question, and immediately accepted. She had started to feel like she was lagging behind the rest of her family, Oliver was married with children, Tommy was in a steady relationship with his boyfriend and had been for some years, and Cora had been with an entire host of boys (but she was still a teen). Olive she didn’t know. She missed her sister desperately, and hadn’t heard from her in years. Their engagement period didn’t last long, a few weeks after Laurence proposed they married at a very small, very private ceremony on the beach.

The one thing they both wanted more than anything was a family. Both very family oriented, they planned on a huge brood of children with dogs, cats, horses, and a whole host of other animals in a rambling farmhouse in the country that they had seen while on a country drive. Unfortunately their wishes were proving difficult to achieve. The house was possible, they were both raking in money after flying up their career ladders, but as much as they prayed for Kitty to fall pregnant she simply seemed not to be able too. And it wasn’t for lack of trying.

After many unsuccessful months they went to see a doctor, who heartbreakingly informed them that Kitty had a less than 1% chance of having a child. Their dreams of family life came crashing down around them as they sat in the office, barely able to speak after hearing the news. Both of them withdrew from each other, in the old days they would sit and read together in a comfortable silence, now it was awkward between them.

Laurence hated himself for blaming Kitty for their marriage failing, he never voiced his thoughts to her, but he found it difficult to look at her without resenting her for not being able to provide him with a family. Kitty in turn couldn’t help but feel both guilty that she couldn’t fulfill Laurence’s wishes for a family, and depressed that her own family dream would never materialise. Physical attraction wasn’t a problem for the two, Kitty still found her husband extremely attractive, and Laurence vice versa. It was the emotional attraction that had drifted. The couple still had sex, even more so than when they were emotionally close, they found sex the only way to keep the marriage alive.

Amid the depression of her marriage, Kitty also became frustrated with her very temperamental immune system. Every day she would throw up for seemingly no reason. It became so bad that she had to start taking time off work. She also put on weight and began having cravings for chocolate and other high calorie foods like never before.

Finally going to see the doctor after months of sickness Kitty was in disbelief when the doctor informed her she was pregnant. Neither Kitty nor Laurence could believe it; against all the odds she had fallen pregnant. Their relationship seemed to heal overnight, awkwardness disintegrating, happiness returning. They both knew what a miracle this child was, and devoted themselves completely to it. Pregnancy books scattered the house, the cooking channel was always on, and Laurence was always listening and feeling Kitty’s tummy, reassuring himself that the baby was still okay.

On May 16th their daughter Alexis Williamson was born. They were over the moon that Kitty had gave birth without any trouble, they had been so convinced something would go wrong, after all the child was a miracle. They were realistic enough to realise that their dreams of a big family were over, but it didn’t matter. They had the love of each other, amazing careers, and a beautiful baby; after a long period of depression they finally had everything they wanted.

*         *          *

Cora Belgravia had grown up as the perfect daughter. Everything that a good, respectful girl should be. Educated at a small, independent all-girls catholic school where, among her academic subjects, she studied piano and ballet. One of the more extroverted girls of the school she soon became extremely popular with both the teachers (due to her high grades and valuable participation in class) and her peers (due to her sense of fun which had stayed with her from childhood and her friendly nature). She didn’t really know much about boys, drinking, or drugs; the darker side of life. Fun for Cora was participating in one of her schools ballet performances or playing board games with her friends at a sleepover.

As much as Cora enjoyed her more conservative piano lessons she loved nothing more than getting her fathers guitar out and stringing a tune together. She was adept in most instruments, she just never got a chance to show her skills off.

She resorted to playing around the house, thrilling her family with her amazing talent. Her father Noah, who was high in the music industry, knew his daughter had a talent. She’d had it since she was young, bashing out music on the xylophone. He gently persuaded her to explore other avenues of music other than her piano; and her mother recommended getting herself out to some of the less reputable establishments around town to take in the local music. Arielle knew that her daughter had led a sheltered life, and prayed for her safety as Cora left the safety of the Belgravia gates.

The bars Cora visited were frightening to her at first, as she sat in the corner watching the action, but she soon found as long as she could hold her own there was nothing to fear. However the perfectly coordinated, conservative outfit didn’t help her out so black and leather soon became staples of her wardrobe as she began taking to the stage in the clubs with her fathers iconic guitar that he had used for so many concerts in the past.

It wasn’t long before she was a regular at many of the bars, performing night after night to decent sized crowds. In amongst the drunks, underage drinkers and prostitutes was a man named Jeremy Harris, an old timer on the dive bar scene who had been trying to break into the big leagues for years. He told Cora all about his vision for a group, and thought Cora would be perfect for it. After a little persuasion she agreed to form a group with Jeremy and The Bees were born.

Consisting of Jeremy on guitar, Cora on second guitar, Jeremy’s friend James on bass, and Cora’s shy school friend Lauren who also happened to be a master pianist. By the time Cora and Lauren graduated the band had steady gigs at a few local haunts and were improving their craft day by day, trying to piece together some original music.

Cora loved being in a band, she found the companionship much better than slugging it on her own, if she made a mistake she could laugh it off with the band instead of standing alone under the brights lights quickly going red with embarrassment. Her first experiences of life beyond the tinted windows of the limousine brought not just the band to her, but also her first boyfriend, James Fruscani, who played the bass in the band.

Being her first boyfriend she didn’t know what to expect, but despite his grungy lifestyle and arrogant attitude she found that when they were alone he could be quite sweet.

Cora soon discovered the joys of sex and cursed herself on missing out for so many years. The two would make love in Cora’s bed when Arielle and Noah weren’t home, a rather odd backdrop for the rock and roll couple.

Although the two loved each other after a year together they broke up. The band was struggling, and it took it’s toll on the relationship, especially as they worked together all day and were together all night. Cora was devastated by both the failure of the band of the failure of her first relationship, and distracted herself with many different boyfriends that didn’t last long; including a brief fling with Jeremey which widened tensions in the band even more.

As many people as the two went through while they weren’t together they soon found that only the other could make them happy, and began their relationship again secret; Arielle didn’t approve of James and the rest of the band thought it was damaging their performance. The disapproval of everyone else made it even more exciting for the couple. They would steal secret moments together when the performance was over and the bar had emptied out, or James would sneak through Cora’s window late at night. It was everything she had missed out on as a teenager, and she was thrilled by it.

On her nineteenth birthday, after many, many hours of drinking, dancing and performing the couple found themselves at the local church sheltering from the rain. Laughing and joking as they ran up and down the pews they suddenly decided to get married. They woke the priest, who was about to throw them out before they shoved a wad of green notes into his hand, and were married then and there. He eyed the young couple warily as he presided over the ceremony and watched as they exchanged cheap rings bought from an arcade machine down the street and had their first married kiss; ‘kids’ he thought with a sigh before going back up to bed.

Arielle didn’t take the news well, but the band took it even worse. They decided to throw Cora and James out, but by this point the two couldn’t have cared less. They decided to start a double act, and Cora & James soon became a rock and roll version of the great Motown double acts. They tore up both dive bars and high end joints alike, making their stamp not just on Redcliffe, but across the country.

They were soon touring extensively, just the two of them, which left plenty of time for after hours activities.

It wasn’t long before Cora was having to run out to the front garden on the Belgravia house during dinner to throw up, she knew she was pregnant.

She was desperately nervous about telling James the news, although she loved him she wasn’t sure if he’d be to thrilled about having a child; it may mean leaving the music world behind, at least for a couple of years.

In fact his reaction was the complete opposite, he was thrilled when she told him he was going to be a father and was there for her every step of the way, even holding her hand as she delivered their twin boys, Julian Belgravia and Alexander Belgravia.

The family continued to gain more and more popularity as they toured the globe, flying home every chance they could to show off the twins to the family, who had soon came to love James once they got to know him and realised the arrogance was only a facade; he let down his barriers when he was with them. Cora’s life had fell into place in the most unexpected way, the day she entered that dive bar she set her life on a course she never expected. She wouldn’t have it any other way.

– CLICK HERE FOR FAMILY TREE –

Generation 3 – Chapter 5

Admiring my body in the dressing room mirror I wailed that it would soon be bloated out with another child growing inside of me. Since the night me and Max had sex I had felt a little better about myself, he actually wanted to be with me, he liked the way I looked. He didn’t want to rape me and defile my body, he wanted to be with me. I was throwing up less and less lately, preparing myself for another pregnancy, I was also happier with my weight, I couldn’t really get much skinnier.

“Olivia?! What on earth are you doing in there?” I heard the shrill, clipped tones of Elizabeth from outside the dressing room and groaned. She was so infuriating, insisting on coming with me on my first major shopping trip, probably to make sure I didn’t buy anything too brash which would taint the ultra-conservative Elphinstone name. Tucking the $400 Calvin Klien t-shirt into the white Halston skirt and finishing it off with a $2500 Chanel jacket I went outside to see what she thought.

“Perfect darling. It seems I’ve still, as so many people say, ‘got it’.” She pursed her lips in a grotesque smile, clearly pleased with her modern terminology.

“It’s very conservative Elizabeth, isn’t it a little old for me?” I asked, tugging on the jacket and smoothing down the skirt.

“No, no, no. Now I know you’re young but you must understand this is the perfect outfit for a woman of the class which you now are. You cannot be seen in hot pants and an electric blue vest top, or something of that sort. Quelle horror!” I stared at her for a long while, trying to figure out if she was genuinely being kind or if she was just making sure I didn’t embarrass the family, probably the latter.

I felt older than my years through many of the outfits I chose over the next 3 hours. I flew through the stores buying everything from tights to sunglasses, from jackets to shoes, with a trip to Bulgari to finish it off, picking out several exquisite diamond pieces. The joy of credit cards eh? Elizabeth had looked disapproving as I bought so much, but surely she knew the price of looking good, she may not look like it now, but one day she must have spent money on decent clothes, and judging by the rocks on her ears she certainly still knew how to spend.

Max and I had fallen into an uneasy routine, still finding our feet, not 100% sure of the way the other worked yet, which was fine by me. We lived our lives pretty much separately. I spent the day at the spa, in the limousine taking in the sights, or out shopping. Max spent the morning in the home office, the afternoon in the work office (Elphinstone Diamond spanned much farther than I originally thought) and the two of us would meet up for dinner or a party in the evenings.

“You okay?” I asked as I padded into the bathroom one day, as we both got ready to go to a party at the cliffside mansion of one of his close friends.

Are you okay.” He said. What? Seeing the confused expression on my face he elaborated, “It’s are you okay. Not ‘you okay’. I don’t mean to criticize….” He continued rambling but I’d stopped listening to him, hurrying over to the small radio I cranked the dial up. ’23 year old Riley Sampson was found dead in suspicious circumstances yesterday at his uncles home in Miami, the family are asking to be left alone during this sad time.”

“Max! That’s him, he’s the one!” I shouted across the room.

“I know. If you ask me he deserves it. Good riddance.” He continued brushing his teeth as if nothing had happened. Riley was dead! What had happened to him, could it have been…? No!

“Max? Did you… did you do this?” I asked slowly, wrapping my arms around myself.

“Olivia! Don’t be stupid, I would never do such a thing and for you to even think that is… well frankly it is both ridiculous and offensive!” He glared at me, willing me to argue back.

“Okay, I’m sorry.” I said, extending a hand of apology.

“Come. We shouldn’t keep the driver waiting.” He hurried me along out into the passageway and into the waiting car. I vowed then and there to stop thinking of Riley. It was over now.

*    *    *

The year of my pregnancy was a whirlwind introduction to the European social scene. Max and I jetted from Saint-Sébastien to Paris, from Rome to Berlin, London to Vienna, Amsterdam to Prague. The private jet that I managed to persuade Max to buy was a godsend, I couldn’t have bared all those trips mixing with the commoners in first class, they let in anyone these days. Max’s friends were an eclectic bunch of socialites, celebrities, businessmen, artists and club hoppers, and they fascinated me. I loved being part of their scene, being photographed for major European magazines and being on the front page of the tabloids, having artists asking to photograph me for galleries or paint me for an upcoming show. For 6 months I was introduced to everyone that mattered. I kept off the drink for the sake of the child, as well as trying to stop my bulimia. I slipped up once, after a roast dinner at a traditional pub in London where we were dining with a new business associate, but otherwise I was doing well. The pregnancy slowed me down a little, in the last few months I went back to the house in Saint-Sébastien alone, Max had flown back home for business, but France had basically became our permanent residence. I couldn’t go back home, not yet. (N.B – There are no pictures of the pregnancy apart from this one due to my games strange choice of attire for her during pregnancy – naked from the waist down and a vest top with bright red heels.)

Another difficult birth produced Sebastian Belgravia, (who definitely inherited the family cheekbones – have you ever seen a child with such a defined face?!) named after his birthplace. The heir to the Elpinstone fortune, and a sure means of me getting as much money as I want if we ever divorce.

*   *   *

“Marie, keep up.” I barked at the au pair carrying Sebastian as I entered the house. “I definitely need a spa break, flying so much is taking it’s toll on me.” I remarked to her as we walked into main living area.

“Just set Sebastian down here if you will, and then go and check on Electra. I told Renee to have her in her crib by the time we got here, but you know what part time nannies are like, they don’t care about the children as long as they get their pay check. I trust you much more.” Marie now worked for me full time, with her own quarters in the house, and I couldn’t have done without her. Quite a cushy job I would say, jet setting around Europe with me. I sometimes even took her out to restraunts and such if I wanted people to meet the children. As she put him down I noticed how he grabbed for her, as if begging her not to leave. He’d never done that to me.

“Come to Mommy!” I scooped him into my arms and swung him round the room, at first he screamed in fright, Marie wasn’t allowed to do such things in case she dropped the children, so he wasn’t used to it, but he soon the screams became screams of joy. I loved both of my children, but I had to keep up a particular schedule now that I was a fixture on the European social scene, and I didn’t have as much time with them as I would have liked.

“Do you want to do some reading? We haven’t done that for a while.” I said as I set him down on the rug and pulled a childrens book from the shelf before joining him.

“Wead. Mama wead!” He shouted, slamming his little hands on the floor.

“Okay, okay, I’ll read and you can tell me about the pictures, okay? Come here, sit closer to me.” I smiled down at my little son, reaching my arm across his shoulders so he could see the book.

“..and the whale swam faster and faster, looking for his friend.” I watched him smile as I read him the story, which was about whales looking for friendship, as well as doubling up as a maths book, helping with counting. “How many whales can you see on this page Sebastian?” He looked at the page, clearly confused.

“Mama?”

“How many whales?” I asked, pointing to one of the pictures.

“No! Next!” He yelled, trying to turn the page and giggling.

“Mrs. Elphinstone?” I heard from behind me as I giggled along with Sebastian.

“Yes?” I asked, turning around to face the two women who were framed in the doorway, cameras and notepads at the ready.

“We’re here for the photoshoot. So nice to see you here with your son, such a candid moment.” She smiled down at us, she would probably write about how she found me reading with my son, still making time for my children even with such a busy schedule, which would increase public opinion of me. The photographer behind her snapped a few pictures before I stood up, might as well put a face to the story.

“It’s so kind of you to travel all the way to the house for me.” I said graciously as I stood up and a team of makeup artists and hairstylists made me camera ready. A quick fluff piece followed, questions about my fashion, children, and my charity. I evaded all questions about my childhood and the family wealth, which Elizabeth had told me I was to under no means discuss.

“Thank you for the interview. Can you just turn your head, we want to get a few shots of you. We’re putting you on the cover you’ll be pleased to know. Oh that’s perfect!” She clapped her hands in delight as I turned my head and stared at the camera, showing off my profile.

“Well that’s a wrap. Thanks for your time. Magazine should be out next month.” She slipped me a card as she left, telling me how much she hoped for another interview someday. I probably wouldn’t give another one, there were many more magazines to be conquered. As the day began to wind down, the sun not yet casting its orange glow across the world I settled down to enjoy a book I had just recently purchased when Max came barging into the house.

“Olivia!” He exclaimed, clearly surprised to see me. “What are you doing here, I thought you were in Geneva until Tuesday?”

“I had a photoshoot.” I mumbled, barely looking up from the book. He didn’t approve of all the publicity I was doing, he preferred to keep a low profile, only being known to the elite of Europe, not the commoners who devoured the magazines his friends owned. I knew he was glaring at me, he did every time I did publicity.

“Olivia.” His voice was so commanding I put the book down. “You know I don’t approve of all your publicity, and neither does mother.” I didn’t give a rats ass what his mother thought of me, I had secured my place in the family by having Sebastian, there was nothing she could do now. “And frankly you’re spending too much money. The bank showed me a bill for three hundred thousand euros a few weeks back. How did you spend all that in one weekend?”

“Oh Max just leave it, it’s only money.” Why he was so angry I didn’t know, it was only three hundred thousand.

“I know how you can make it up to me.” He whispered as he came over to the sofa and attempted to put his arm around me.

“Max!” I shouted, shrugging his arm off of my shoulders.

“Why Olivia?! We are man and wife, and sex is part of it!”

“You know why!” I shouted, giving him my sad eyes. I would have been quite happy to go to bed with him in reality, but that wasn’t part of the plan. “Just stop.”

“Okay, okay.” He replied, throwing his arm up in defeat.

“Can’t you understand that I can’t do it?”

“Olivia, we haven’t had sex since the night we conceived Sebastian. You have to break down those walls of defense again. Or,” He added, raising his voice, “I’ll find it somewhere else.”

I knew he had meant to hurt me with those words, but what he didn’t know is the exact thing that I wanted was for him to find someone else.

*   *   *

“Olive Belgravia?” The raspy voice asked as I picked up my cell a few weeks later.

“This is she.”

“I have some information, will you come in?” The voice was impassive, showing no emotion, giving nothing away. Ten minutes later I raced from the house in my car, speeding much to fast to the shabby offices downtown. Entering his office gave me the feeling of being in an old movie, the smell of smoke was overpowering, the dark blinds filtered out the light, making the never ending dust which floated around glint in the strips of sunlight that managed to get inside the room. Books and folders were crammed on every available surface, and a side table groaned with half empty bottles of various spirits.

The investigator stood up and moved to the window, strips of sunlight falling on his lackluster skin as he lit up his forty fifth cigarette of the day. “Take a look at that.” He took a drag on his cigarette and nodded to a pile of tightly bound dossiers.

“It seems your suspicions were right.” He said blankly, taking another drag. “You might wanna have a listen to the tape too. More evidence.” He looked out of the window again, turning his back on me. As I opened the dossier a sly smile spread across my face. These files contained everything I needed to finally be free, to finally be independent. And I intended to use them for just that purpose.

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.


Generation 3 – Chapter 3

Giving birth was the worst thing I had ever done in my life. I never imagined it would be so painful, the nurses had thought I was dying the screams were so loud. Electra Belgravia came out of the womb with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, which the doctors had thankfully fixed. I hadn’t chosen her name until the moment I saw her, when I thought of the tumultuous circumstances of her conception, and of her delivery, Electra had came straight to mind.

She was the most incredible thing, with her sweet smiling face, bright blue eyes, and lovely blonde hair. Strangers would remark how alike we were ‘she has definitely inherited her mommys hair!’ they would skquark as they leaned over the stroller to inspect her. If only they knew it was Riley’s hair, not mine.

She soon became adapt in everything a toddler needed, learning to walk, talk, and poop in quick succession. Watching her making those first tentative steps towards me was one of the proudest moments of my life, and from that moment on I knew I’d never sleep safe again unless she was safe.

Money brought safety. Being a Belgravia had taught me that much at least, which was why I had been on several dates with Maxwell ‘Max’ Elphinstone. He was actually rather interesting, totally not my style, but he had money, and I had to make sure Electra was cared for. Tonights date would be our 8th since I had first met him at the bar, which I was still doing shifts at. I knew I had to look great for this one, although it was kind of hard to make sure I looked good when the only mirror in the house was in the bathroom, which had a blown light. Trying to achieve beauty by the moon light was not for me.

When I arrived at Perdrix D’Or an hour later, after putting Electra in her crib and making sure Darcy (who I had bribed into babysitting by offering to cover one of her shifts) had my phone number, I was thrilled to find we had a private room, just my style. After downing three bottles of wine between us my tounge began to loosen, if I was going to marry this man I should at least tell him the truth, shouldn’t I?

“Max, I know you want to know about Electra’s father, yes?” I couldn’t seem to stop myself telling him, I hadn’t told anyone about my brutal rape, I just had to get it off my chest.

“If you’re ready to talk about it yes.”

“Well the truth is…” Could I really say it out loud, it all began to feel so real, it felt like a distant memory if I just focused on the good that came out of it, the birth of little Electra, but now that I was about to say it I wasn’t so sure, “…I was raped Max. Sorry to just blurt it out, but I had to tell someone. I’m so ashamed.” I was tripping over my words in nerves, my hands shaking so much that my glass fell out of my hand and shattered to the floor, staining the Persian Rug with red wine.

His mouth dropped in horror for a few seconds before he regained his composure, oh god he was going to run out on me, then Electra would grow up with nothing. “Mary, don’t be ashamed. It should be the despicable thing that did that to you that should be ashamed.” He looked down gravely for a few seconds, “I assume this man is Electra’s father?” I nodded back slowly, wiping away a tear that threatened to spill onto the dress I had stolen from Carlie’s wardrobe before I left Miami.

“Max while I’m telling the truth I have another confession,” he was going to think I was a nutcase, with all my lies, “my name isn’t Mary, it’s Olive. I changed it when I ran away, I didn’t want anyone to find me, I was just so embarrassed and ashamed…” what had I gotten myself into? Saying things out loud made me realise the severity of my situation. I was a single mother, working in a bar, trying to raise a child who was the result of a rape in a one bedroom cottage while living under a false name. How had this happened?!

“I know.” he said, throwing his arms up. He knew? What?!

“What do you mean you know?” I asked, deeply confused.

“I know that you’re Olive Belgravia. You’re far too beautiful and cultured to be common Olive. I had my PI do some research on you, and now that you’ve told me the truth…” He jumped out of his chair and got down on one knee. Was this really happening?!

“Olive. You told me the truth, about everything. You are a beautiful woman that I now know I can trust, I can give you the life you left behind back. Will you marry me?” He opened the box, flashing the huge diamond in my face. I hesitated for only a second.

“Of course I will!” I screamed as he slipped the diamond onto my hand, my plan had come together even better than I expected.

Returning home in a daze I found Darcy asleep on the sofa. Quickly shooing her out and running upstairs I grabbed Electra out of her bed and swung her around the room in joy. “Mommy’s getting married sweetie, you hear me, we’re moving out of here!” As happy I was that I could now buy my own Chanel, I was happier that Electra had some security, Max would take care of her, I knew he would. Besides, I had a plan to make sure he couldn’t leave us with nothing.

*   *   *

Three weeks later I went to meet Max’s parents, which I was actually nervous about. I’d never even had a boyfriend before, and now I was engaged to be married, it was surreal. As the taxi pulled up outside the gates of the ancestral Elphinstone manor I felt the nerves getting worse. What if they hated me, what if they refused to allow Max to marry me? What on earth was I saying, he was 52 years old for god sake, he could do what he wanted.

In the foyer I was met by Elizabeth Elphinstone, an overly made up woman in her eighties in a pink Chanel suit who reeked of old money, supposedly a great beauty in her day although I didn’t see it, and Albert Elphinstone, Max’s ruthless father, who had clawed his way to the top of the business, destroying anyone who got in his way.

“It’s so nice to meet you.” I said, extending a hand, which Elizabeth ignored and Albert shook so hard I thought my fingers may break.

“Come dear, lets leave the boys to talk. I want to show you the grounds.” Elizabeth hurried off ahead of me. I was impressed by the gardens, especially the pond, but I had to admit the house was a little daunting. It was a true manor, grand and imposing, whereas my childhood house was really a home, cosy and friendly.

“Now dear I hope you will agree to be married here, just I as was, and my mother before me, and her mother before her. This house has been in my family for generations.” It was becoming clear that this was the woman who ran the show. Her husband had taken her ancient family name when they married, Mrs. Rom wasn’t a name that had appealed to stuck up Elizabeth.

“Yes of course, I couldn’t think of a better setting. I was thinking of doing it over there by the pond.”

“Yes, I think that’s doable…” She mused, looking around her perfectly manicured gardens.

“Maybe have a band over there, and a whole bunch of doves released when we exchange the rings.” I hadn’t really thought about the wedding, I just wanted to get it over with.

Darling! Doves? You simply cannot, now I know you’re relatively new money but you must have some class.” New money? I was a third generation heiress, or I would be if I hadn’t ran away. Now why don’t you just leave everything in my very capable hands, I’ll make sure it’s the perfect wedding.” She spread her arms wide in what I guessed was supposed to be a caring gesture, god she was definitely going to make things hard for me.

“Oh and darling, I took the initiative and booked you a dress fitting, it’s at 5.” She began to walk back to the house before spinning around with a last thought, “Oh, and I do hope you’re not hiding any post-baby weight under that black jumper. A fat bride is most unbecoming.” Yep. Definitely trouble.